Political Articles from 2017
Building the Institutions for Revolt
By Chris Hedges
Posted January 26, 2017
Politics is a game of fear. Those who do not have the ability to make power elites afraid do not succeed. All of the movements that opened up the democratic space in America—the abolitionists, the suffragists, the labor movement, the communists, the socialists, the anarchists and the civil rights movement—developed a critical mass and militancy that forced the centers of power to respond. The platitudes about justice, equality and democracy are just that. Only when power becomes worried about its survival does it react. Appealing to its better nature is useless. It doesn’t have one.
We once had within our capitalist democracy liberal institutions—the press, labor unions, third political parties, civic and church groups, public broadcasting, well-funded public universities and a liberal wing of the Democratic Party—that were capable of responding to outside pressure from movements. They did so imperfectly. They provided only enough reforms to save the capitalist system from widespread unrest or, with the breakdown of capitalism in the 1930s, from revolution. They never addressed white supremacy and institutional racism or the cruelty that is endemic to capitalism. But they had the ability to address and ameliorate the suffering of working men and women. More…
America dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016. What a bloody end to Obama’s reign
by Medea Benjamin
Posted January 19,2017
While candidate Obama came to office pledging to end George W Bush’s wars, he leaves office having been at war longer than any president in US history. He is also the only president to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.
Looking back at President Obama’s legacy, the Council on Foreign Relation’s Micah Zenko added up the defense department’s data on airstrikes and made a startling revelation: in 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day. More…
Should We Choose Ranked Choice Voting?
By Rob Richie
Posted January 18, 2017
Ranked choice voting (sometimes called “instant runoff voting” and “preferential voting”) is a proven voting method designed to accommodate having more than two choices in our elections. When used to elect one candidate, RCV essentially simulates the math of traditional majority runoffs, but in one trip to the polls. Voters have the freedom to rank candidates in order of choice: first, second, third, and so on.
RCV upholds majority rule while accommodating increased voter choice. It creates incentives for winning candidates to reach out to all voters in order to get a higher ranking and allows a voter to consider more choices with a greatly reduced likelihood of “splitting” their vote in a manner that might otherwise result in an unrepresentative outcome. Based on the context of its use, RCV can mitigate partisan inflexibility, foster greater accountability for incumbents, increase civic engagement, and reduce the impact of campaign spending. More…
Not Acting Is a Decision: The Obama Legacy’s Empty Spaces
By William Rivers Pitt
Posted January 11, 2017
Not acting is also a decision, and in this case, the decision to let torture stand unpunished means that torture itself will not only stand, but expand. The Obama administration could have set a legal precedent by prosecuting the perpetrators. It chose not to, and so this corpse flower of a policy will bloom once again. This was not the hope and change we were looking for.
Then there is the matter of Wall Street and the financial collapse of 2008. President Obama and his administration did yeoman’s work holding the economy together after all the gaskets blew, and the recovery we have enjoyed since those dark days is not to be sneezed at. Yet that recovery is merely an accent in the symphony of financial fiction we labor under like so many cheese-seeking mice in an endless maze. More…
[Photos] Before & After in Aleppo and Why We Need an Antiwar Movement
by Dylan Charles
Posted January 8, 2017
2016 marked the most terribly divisive election in U.S. history and while people found many issues to argue about, practically no one on either side of the left/right paradigm stood against the Orwellian permanent war and asked the candidates what they could or would do to bring an end to conflict.
President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing more than smiling at the cameras and smoothly reading a teleprompter, yet he stands as the only U.S. president in the entire 240 year history of America to serve an entire two terms in office while being at war every single day. And somehow, people are still willing to boast of his benevolence and good will, all the while bombs keep falling on foreign nations with absolutely zero effort, interest or leadership in forging a path to peace. More…
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