Tag Archives: Politics

One reason Congress is broken? Negative ads cripple even the winners.

By David B. McLennan – These ads matter — but not in the ways that the candidates and their campaign consultants hope they do. When the negative barrage of ads is over, the winner will likely emerge with an approval rating well under 50 percent.

Majority of winning candidates take office without the majority support of the citizens they represent. They can no longer legitimately cite the “will of the people” in proposing legislation — because they are not in a position of strength when it comes to public support. Elected officials now often have little or no honeymoon period – even with the voters who supported them. more> http://tinyurl.com/l6vox44

Nationalism Threatens Racism, Not War

By Paul Collier – In much of the high-income world, the concept of the nation-state has become unfashionable both with educated elites and with the young. Modern individualism has deep roots. Rene Descartes derived our knowledge of the world’s existence from his experience of his own thoughts: cogito ergo sum.

Many modern philosophers now think Descartes got things back to front. We cannot have knowledge of ourselves except in the context of a society of which we are a part. Hence, at the foundations of philosophy is a tension between people as individuals and people as members of society.

Nations have fallen out of favor as solutions to the problem of collective action. But the fears of nationalism are outdated. As Steven Pinker argues, warfare between developed countries is now unthinkable. more> http://tinyurl.com/ndbnymb

How to Tackle Complexity Using Systems Thinking

By John Kamensky – In 2002, British academic Jake Chapman wrote a paper for Demos, a UK think tank, entitled: “System Failure:  Why Governments Must Learn to Think Differently.” It is based on his experiences in working with large government challenges, especially in the energy and health care sectors.  In his paper, he contrasts the traditional, linear approach to problem-solving with a more holistic, systemic approach.

Chapman says the failure of the “reductionist” way of thinking in the face of a complex issue is that “the assumptions of separability, linearity, simple causation and predictability are no longer valid.” more> http://tinyurl.com/k9vlgdq


Prosperity without power

By David Rohde – Economic liberalization has sparked vast economic changes in the BRIC nations – China, India, Russia and Brazil. A middle class that was once made up of government servants is now dominated by private-sector employees.

At the same time, government institutions that once provided the basics of life – education, healthcare and employment – are crumbling. Frustrated members of the middle class are demanding change, but traditional power holders, from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to India’s large political parties, remain entrenched. more> http://tinyurl.com/q5bksfn


CONGRESS WATCH Meaningless Words in Politics, US Congress


CONGRESS WATCH Boxer Introduces Bill to Create Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area, US Senate What Repealing Health Care Reform Would Mean to America’s Families, Sen. Barbara Boxer, huffingtonpost.com Boxer Introduces Judge Jon S. Tigar and William H. Orrick III … Continue reading

Super PACS: Follow the money – if you can

By Marcus Stern, Kristina Cooke and Alexander Cohen – Ever since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case paved the way for Super PACS, they have been a legitimate new tactic for political campaigns. As far as can be determined, Winning Our Future (WOF), the pro-Gingrich political action committee, did not do anything impermissible under campaign finance laws. But a look at its regular reports to the Federal Election Commission reveals a degree of legerdemain that appears commonplace in FEC records and makes it difficult for the public to know who ends up with the record amounts of money flowing into the political system today.

“Opaque transactions in politics undermine public confidence in the process,” said Meredith McGeehee, owner of McGehee Strategies, which works on public interest advocacy, and policy director at the Campaign Legal Center. more> http://tinyurl.com/78vz44u