Tag Archives | Politics

The Fortune 500 Companies Funding the Political Resegregation of America

rslcReynolds American, Las Vegas Sands, Walmart, Devon Energy, Citigroup, AT&T, Pfizer, Altria Group, Honeywell International, Hewlett-Packard are some of the Fortune 500 companies identified by Mother Jones as major contributors to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which via its Redistricting Majority Project is literally changing the political map to help elect Republicans:

Over the past four to five years, the United States has been resegregated—politically. In states where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and presidential races can be nail-biters, skillful Republican operatives have mounted racially-minded gerrymandering efforts—the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts—that have led to congressional delegations stacked with GOP members and yielded Republican majorities in the state legislatures.

In North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, to name just three, GOPers have recast state and congressional districts to consolidate black voters into what the political pros call “majority-minority districts” to diminish the influence of these voters. North Carolina is an especially glaring example: GOP-redistricting after the 2010 elections led to half the state’s black population—1.1 million people—being corralled into one-fifth of the state legislative and congressional districts.

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Republican Engineers Call Ted Cruz Out For Ignorance

Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Tech Dirt:

Last week, we mentioned Senator Ted Cruz’s nutty tweet comparing net neutrality to “Obamacare.” It was widely mocked — even by many Republicans — as it showed Cruz’s ignorance of the subject at hand. In fact, one report detailed a number of comments on Ted Cruz’s Facebook page from Republican/conservative engineers disagreeing with Cruz and pointing out that he’s uninformed about net neutrality.

There’s a lot more like that, but it highlights what we’ve seen before — that while Congress likes to pretend that Republicans are against net neutrality while Democrats are for it, the reality is that net neutrality is a non-partisan issue with voters of both parties overwhelmingly supporting net neutrality.

Rather than recognize this fact, Cruz has decided to double down on it with a rambling and misguided opinion piece in the Washington Post that repeats the “Obamacare for the internet” line, and lumps in a variety of other tech issues in a confusing (and often self-contradictory) jumble.

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This Is What Dollarocracy Looks Like

Dollar symbol gold.svg

Rugby471 (CC)

John Nichols (featured in Pay 2 Play!) writes “The 2014 election campaign was an exercise in dollarocracy, not democracy,” at The Nation:

In a democracy, citizens are in charge, votes matter and the governments that take shape after elections reflect the will of the people.

In a dollarocracy, money is considered “speech,” corporations are considered “people” and elected officials take their cues from the billionaires and corporate interests that write the biggest checks. Campaigns cost exponentially more from cycle to cycle (the 2014 price tag will exceed $4 billion for federal races and billions more for state, local, judicial and initiative and referendum contests), and government becomes reflective of the demands of donors.

But that is just the most obvious evidence of the crisis.

Dollarocracy is about a lot more than the money raised and spent in campaigns. It is about the collapse of meaningful journalism, resulting from the downsizing and closure of newspapers, the replacement of local news and talk radio programming with syndicated “content” from afar, the reduction in political coverage by local television news outlets, and the horse-race coverage and spin that tend to characterize national news programs on broadcast and cable television.

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Veterans Day and the Last Day on Earth

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

On the eve of Veterans Day, President Obama announced that he will send another 1,500 Americans troops to Iraq to advise the Iraqi military on how to fight militants in a civil war.

While not seeking Congressional approval for the troop surge, the White House intends to request $5.6 billion for this latest military campaign, the end of which is nowhere in sight. This at a time when cost of the decade-long war in Iraq has exceeded $2 trillion ($6,250 for each American citizen), which makes it one of the most expensive clusterfucks in modern history. Yet war spells profit for numerous weapons manufacturers (roughly half of all the weapons in the world are sold by the United States), military contractors, and oil companies, all of which have joined hands with the mainstream media to churn out war propaganda and lies while funding the election campaigns of unscrupulous politicians who later vote to re-direct taxpayer dollars to their corporate sponsors.… Read the rest

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Revolution vs. Rationalization: The Militarization of the Police and The Death of Rebellion

DonkeyHotey (CC by-sa 2.0)

DonkeyHotey (CC by-sa 2.0)

[Editor’s note: For future reference, Willis Gordon will be running a column on Disinfo.com: “Photobombing Salman Rushdie.”]

I initially wrote this to be presented to a crowd of highbrow poets and writers in the aftermath of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Considering my audience, I started reading up on classic poets and philosophers and found myself revisiting some of my favorite English Philosophers to get a handle on America’s current events. One of these sages, the Philosopher Jagger once said in 1968 that “in sleepy London town there’s just no place for a street fighting man.”

That was 44 years ago. That sleepy London Town is now the entire American landscape, and the street fighting man has not been displaced by some massively oppressive police force, totalitarian government, private death squad or even overfunded espionage tactics. It was us. We are so afraid of true revolution, or even change, that we have conditioned ourselves to shrink back from any indication of it.… Read the rest

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Citizens United, Explained With Dogs

It is an antiquated rule banning cameras from the Supreme Court, when they are public proceedings affecting all Americans. John Oliver was right to challenge this seclusion from the public eye on his recent episode of Last Week Tonight when he had no choice but to dramatize courtroom proceedings with a bench of jurist dogs. Clearly a better means of public information is necessary for the highest court in the land.

Until then, here is a case that is often mentioned, though is still not clear to all: Citizens United vs. FEC, which said that corporations have the right to spend unlimited outside money in elections. Working with interviews compiled for my documentary exploring the Citizens United decision, PAY 2 PLAY, I have re-mixed the footage to include the Supreme Court of Canines.

This election cycle shows that the impacts of Citizens United are no laughing matter, with more anonymous money flowing through our elections than ever.

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“Pay 2 Play” — A Disinfo Election Event

DON’T MISS THIS SPECIAL DISINFO ELECTION EVENT!

At 12:01am on November 1st, Disinformation will release John Ennis’ acclaimed film Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes on our VOD platform. Timed to the upcoming mid-term elections, Pay 2 Play may very well change the way you perceive America’s election process and the way you vote.

Watch the trailer, bookmark the location right HERE on Disinfo.com, and set aside the time on your calendar. Even if you’ve never watched a Disinfo documentary before, be sure not to miss Pay 2 Play.P2PStills101

If you give a shit at all about the political process in the US, this is a very important film to watch. You’ll be able to stream the film for only $4 or download for $10.

“A must-watch film!” — DAILY KOS

“Follows politicians, lobbyists and activists, taking you through a roller coaster of controversy.” — ABC7 Eyewitness News

“A masterpiece… The talking points in this film are bladed lasers.” — OpEd News Review

Pay 2 Play vividly tells the story of the threat posed to our political process by big money interests and what we can do to fight back to defend our Republic.

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The British-American coup that ended Australian independence

Prime minister Gough Whitlam watches ACTU president Bob Hawke drink beer from a yard glass Melbourne, Australia, 1972. Photograph: News Ltd/Newspix/REX

Prime minister Gough Whitlam watches ACTU president Bob Hawke drink beer from a yard glass Melbourne, Australia, 1972. Photograph: News Ltd/Newspix/REX

via The Guardian:

Across the media and political establishment in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety.

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Political Polarization & Media Habits

PJ_14.10.21_mediaPolarization-08

Do you listen to NPR or watch the Colbert Report? You may be more liberal than the folks who watch MSNBC. Do you read “The Blaze”? You may be more conservative than those who watch Fox News.

via Pew Research:

When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The project – part of a year-long effort to shed light on political polarization in America – looks at the ways people get information about government and politics in three different settings: the news media, social media and the way people talk about politics with friends and family. In all three areas, the study finds that those with the most consistent ideological views on the left and right have information streams that are distinct from those of individuals with more mixed political views – and very distinct from each other.

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