Issues (not Personalities)

There is far too much media attention on personality at the expense of the urgent issues facing America. Moreover, those who fear to discuss issues always seek to create a meme or trope so the rest of us won’t pay attention to the issue talkers.

AOC speaks issues at SXSW…

It’s all about our concerns, politics yes – partisanship no.

The Economy

This week the president dismissed a question he didn’t like from a reporter and called for questions on the economy. Too bad Robert Reich wasn’t there …

Or maybe he’d like to respond to this?

I’ll give him this, the last GOP President crashed the economy–he hasn’t (yet). Although many of the flaws in the regulatory safeguards have not been fixed and there is no GOP support for good oversight to be seen.

Who’s Minding The Store?

We’ve become inured to self-dealing, and hiring the fox to guard the chickens. There are great risks involved in not paying attention. That’s why I support the Project on Government Oversight (POGO). They shine the spotlight on issues we all should be concerned about. Here is one of the latest…

The Auditors aren’t Auditing

Your alarm bells should go off every time you hear a politician complain about “over-regulation” and government “overreach.” If the government doesn’t look out for Joe Average Guy, who will?

Guns: License The Owners/buyers

All the talk about universal background checks is a diversion from taking effective action to reduce gun violence. The fact remains that most gun violence is happening between people who know each other, not by criminals who buy guns to do crimes. Rigorous background checks don’t prevent suicides, domestic violence, and the other assorted motivations for one person shooting another.

Vox explains why licensing owners would help and presents statistics that support the assertion. Here is the video:

Why licensing is more effective than background checks.

Search “guns” on this site for more on this topic. The stats are old, but not much has changed for the better.

Coalescence?

All the candidates we are watching vie for limelight–each of them has his or her cohort of backers, and each of them presents issues that motivate some element of the liberal base to back them. My concern has been not knowing how these diverse followings can be fused into a groundswell of grassroots support.
Enter Tom from the shadows at the back of the stage, not from stage right, not from stage left. Kinda looks like he may have been there all along working as a grassroots organizer. Listen to this guy. He may have what’s needed…

A minute is not Enough

My early impression of Marianne Williamson was that she was just another opportunist building her celebrity status. I was wrong, as were most of the media pundits who mocked her.

The Democratic debates only served to make matters worse and ended up being a media spectacle with little substance and a ton of hype.

But some more thoughtful observers saw something that the rest of us missed. Williamson was speaking to the core problem of America. She alone among the hopefuls had a big vision of what we could and should be. Here’s what NY Times’ David Brooks saw:

And the LA Times:

And the Washington Post:

What she brings to the debate is too complex for the over-compressed and frenetic format of the debates. Her ideas, once understood, have the ring of authenticity. There is vision and a strong sense of what the soul of our nation truly is. It resonates.

Here in no particular order are video clips from interviews that raised challenging questions and gave Williamson time to make her point. See if you don’t find what she is saying compelling.

Vision is what’s missing from the political rhetoric–vision and soul. Williamson has awaked us to that.

US Politics Explained

In a cogent ten-minute segment of a much longer program, Noam Chomsky offers a clear explanation of the US political situation and the forces driving it. Watch his low-key analysis and you’ll see that some of the happenings that leave us incredulous actually make perfect sense.

Using Chomsky’s frame for recent events, it easy to see why Mitch McConnell and the GOP establishment do what they do. Control of US politics depends on not letting the popular majority rule.

McConnell’s actions to scuttle tamper-proof voting, to stack SCOTUS with like-minded justices, and to lavish economic benefits on large business interests is justified in his mind by the threat to the establishment posed by reform candidates who want America to deal with the pressing issues that will be economic disrupters: climate change, economic justice, etc.

The Dem establishment is also trying to avoid big ideas that would disrupt the status quo and risk losing wealthy backers. It’s the young upstarts who are championing change. Chomsky warns that failure to see what he sees could lead to the GOP winning in 2016.

All of us are being played. The manipulation is happening through the media and most of us are not yet savvy enough to see it, nor are we outraged enough to adjust our personal priorities to do anything about it. Our democracy is being dismantled while we are distracted by the daily political theater.

God save America.

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