Tag Archives | Elections

Iceberg Ahead: The Big Money That is Sinking Democracy

TitanicI keep thinking of that clear April night 100 years ago when the unsinkable RMS Titanic steamed towards New York. It was actually on its way to dock just a few blocks from where I live at what are now the Chelsea Piers. There was a sense of optimism abroad as a new record for a speedy transatlantic passage was about to be set.

There was music, dancing and fine wine. That is, until they saw that iceberg high in the water. The captain and his mates were aware that 80 percent of it was underwater and out of sight. They didn’t react in time.

Everyone knows the story—most recently recreated in 3D—but the lesson is really not just about that great ship that went down, or even the company that bypassed safety regulations, or even the hubris of the owners whose greed sent so many passengers to that legendary “watery grave.”

It was also about not seeing the dangers in front of us.… Read the rest

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The Creepiness Factor: How Obama and Romney Are Getting to Know You

Mitt Obama

Barack Romney or Mitt Obama?

Terrence McCoy writes in the Atlantic:

On a clear day in February 2001, a trim mid-career political analyst named Matthew Dowd landed in Washington, D.C., from Austin, Tex., and hurried into the White House for a meeting with Karl Rove. Inside a manila folder, he carried a sparsely-populated bar graph. The few numbers it had hit Rove like a bomb.

“Really?” Rove asked, snatching the document and glancing back at Dowd. “Man, this is a fundamental change.”

The truly independent voting bloc, Dowd’s data showed, had dissolved from one-fourth of the electorate in 1984 to just 7 percent. That meant the years of work leading up to the 2000 campaign and hundreds of millions of campaign dollars during it had focused on just 7 percent of voters — fewer than 8 million people. Everything next time, Dowd told Rove in his second-floor office, would have to be different.

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Young Mitt Romney Makes A Lot of Sense Talking About Politics and Partisanship (Video)

Mitt Romney’s parents were two moderate politicians who bucked the Republican establishment of the time, an idea that has been unthinkable to Mitt in his two presidential campaigns. Maybe it’s time to have a talk with your younger self, Mitt. Great find from Andrew Kaczynski on Buzzfeed:

Mitt Romney’s roots in politics run in his family. His father George served as the Governor of Michigan from 1963–1969 and later as HUD Secretary in the Nixon Administration. George Romney was a natural and charismatic politician, but the younger Romney perhaps better takes after his mother Lenore, who lacked her husband’s natural political gifts. Lenore Romney ran for Senate in 1970, and 23-year-old Mitt Romney campaigned during his summer vacation for his mom. Romney appeared in a video made for her campaign.

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No More Santorum

From PBS:

Speaking in the state that he used to represent in the Senate, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told supporters in Gettysburg, Pa., that he’s suspending his campaign ahead of the Pennsylvania primary. “Against all odds, we won 11 states, millions of voters, millions of votes,” Santorum said. “We found that support. I found a deeper love for this country.”

“This game is a long, long, long way from over,” he added, taking aim at President Obama’s hopes of re-election. Santorum did not answer reporters’ shouted questions after the speech about whether he would throw his support behind rival Mitt Romney.

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The “99% Spring”: Co-Opting Occupy or Helping Spread its Message?

Jake Olzen writes on Alternet:

Next month, activists and organizers across the country are planning to train 100,000 people in nonviolent direct action for what they call The 99% Spring. But despite borrowing one or two of the Occupy movement’s favorite slogans, The 99% Spring hasn’t been called for by any general assembly.

Rather, this massive and controversial effort is coming from the institutional left — a diverse coalition of labor unions, environmental and economic justice groups, community organizations and trainers’ alliances. While some celebrate what appears to be a mainstreaming of resistance thanks to Occupy, others are crying co-option.

“This spring we rise!” write 99% Spring organizers in a letter to “America.” “We will reshape our country with our own hands and feet, bodies and hearts. We will take non-violent action in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi to forge a new destiny one block, one neighborhood, one city, one state at a time.

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Gun Sales Soaring Driven By Obama “Re-Election” Concerns

MagnumBill Briggs reports on MSNBC:

“Stand Your Ground” laws, which have come under fire as a possible factor in the Florida shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, may be having another impact, too — helping fuel a surge in gun sales.

Gun buyers swamped retailers nationwide last year, prompting a record 16.4 million instant criminal background checks of potential owners, up 14.2 percent from 2010, according to FBI figures. While some buyers may not have followed through with gun purchases or may have been denied, others bought more than one, so background checks are considered a good proxy for sales in the industry.

On Wednesday, gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Co. announced the company was forced to temporarily suspend its acceptance of any new firearms orders due to a barrage of wholesale orders — more than 1 million in 2012 alone. Last year the company shipped a total of 1.1 million firearms.

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