Reviews and Blog Posts: politics

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #4 - Money in Politics

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

Montana, 1890. Copper magnate William Clark runs for the U.S. Senate. He is not elected. In 1899, however, he wins the Senate seat, but opponents expose the financial corruption and bribery behind his election.

The Senate declares his election null and void. (You can read about the Senate process and the evidence in a digital image of the New York Times from April 24, 1900.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #3 - Check Your Facts!!

Courtesy www.american.edu/media/news/20100907_2010_Primaries_Voter_Turnout.cfm/

It happens a lot during election years - a candidate confidently makes a statement of apparent fact and you wonder, “Can that possibly be true? What’s he or she basing that on?” Later, media pundits enter the fray, asserting or denying the claim’s validity with equal vehemence, muddying the water even more. What’s a conscientious voter to do?

It’s times like these when an on-call investigative journalist would come in handy to shed light on the issue before time and tide leave it behind and unresolved.

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #2 - Beyond the Ballot Box

Democracy depends on informed citizens --- who vote!

What does it mean to you to be an American citizen?

What do you value most in our Democracy?

What issues are critical to you in the 2012 election?

If you want your views to count, you need to get involved and vote! Do you know who votes? Young people have a whole lot at stake, but typically those over 50 (about 70%) turn out in much greater numbers than those between 18-30 (about 50%). (Data from the Current Population Survey, of the U.S. Census Bureau)

Our Democracy Un-Spun! #1 - Register to Vote!

Democracy depends on informed citizens --- who vote!

Democracy - according to Webster: "...a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people .... usually involving periodically held free elections."

Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy, but that wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t even guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution!

Initially the Founding Fathers wanted voting only for wealthy, white landowners, and then only to vote for members of Congress – not for senators, or the president. What a long way we have come from the days of the original Constitution! It took many years of struggle for African Americans (15th Amendment 1870 - Voting Rights Act of 1965) to be able to vote.

Playing president : my close encounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Reagan, and Clinton-- and how they did not prepare me for George W. Bush

by Robert Scheer

DPL Rating:
4

Scheer, a hard-hitting journalist for the Los Angeles Times and other rags, reviews interviews with and columns about Nixon, Carter (the one about his lustful heart), Reagan, Bush I (the one in which he said there could be a nuclear war winner), and Clinton. He's never met Bush II but...

Dictionary of Republicanisms : the indispensable guide to what they really mean when they say what they think you want to hear

by Katrina Vanden Heuvel

DPL Rating:
4
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Some witty definitions sent from all parts of the nation to The Nation. Here's a good example: Chickenhawk, n. - A perspicacious bird of prey with an aversion to having its feathers ruffled; when the winds of war blow its way, it prefers to remain roosted and use its talons...

Let's stop beating around the Bush : more political subversion

by Jim Hightower

DPL Rating:
4

Another funny and insightful book from Hightower. The Bush-bashing genre produces much of the same but Hightower always has a different spin, a different angle. You'll learn a lot.

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