Henry Giroux was featured on Bill Moyers’ most recent show, and he regret that we are headed toward “zombie politics.”
In his book, Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism, author and scholar Henry Giroux connects the dots to prove his theory that our current system is informed by a “machinery of social and civil death” that chills “any vestige of a robust democracy.”
This week on Moyers & Company, Giroux explains that such a machine turns “people who are basically so caught up with surviving that they become like the walking dead – they lose their sense of agency, they lose their homes, they lose their jobs.”
What’s more, Giroux points out, the system that creates this vacuum has little to do with expanding the meaning and the substance of democracy itself. Under “casino capitalism,” the goal is to get a quick return, taking advantage of a kind of logic in which the only thing that drives us is to put as much money as we can into a slot machine and hope we walk out with our wallets overflowing.
We’ve already determined that the 2012 elections overall produced in the most expensive election cycle ever, costing an estimated $6.3 billion. Newly updated numbers that we released today in the Historical Elections section of OpenSecrets.org, though, show that the average “price of admission” went up as well. The average winner in a Senate race spent $10.2 million, compared to $8.3 million in 2010 and just $7.5 million in 2008. That’s an increase of 19 percent since 2010. Senate Democrats seemed to have to work particular hard to win their seats, spending an average of $11.9 million, compared to the average Republican winner who spent $7.1 million.
On the House side, there was a smaller but still quantifiable increase in the cost of winning. On average, a winner in the House spent $1.5 million, compared $1.4 million in 2010 and $1.3 million in 2008. In the House, it was Republicans who had to work a bit harder: The average winning House Republican had to spend $1.59 million to win a seat, a bit more than the $1.53 million spent by the average Democratic victor.
According to Lee Camp, little bits of comfort are getting in the way of the possibility of progress.
The first photo below is an HDR photo I took of the Lincoln Memorial 3 nights ago. Walking around DC, I’m mostly repulsed by the thought of what this city has become: Blatant corruption and warmongering hypocrisy. But I draw strength and hope from the glorious monuments on the National Mall.
Approaching crisis point for journalism and corruption – Bill Moyers talks with John Nichols and Robert McChesney
Bill Moyers, John Nichols and Robert McChesney are three of the people I admire most in the world. Here they are sitting at the same table discussing what to do about the massive corruption of our political system, specifically, the challenges faced by those who are trying to do responsible journalism to report on this travesty. These issues are discussed with precision in the latest book by Nichols and McChesney: “Dollarocracy,” a stunningly sober look at the situation (I’ve almost finished reading it).
Toward the end of this excellent video, McChesney and Nichols indicate that they are “optimists.” They argue that we are at one of those acute crisis points periodically faced by Americans and thus positive change is in our grasp. The authors further argue that it is becoming apparent that we need to make the case for publicly funded journalism. This is an approach taken by many functional governments, and it was one of the cornerstones of early America, a topic discussed by Nichols and McChesney in one of their previous books.
Fascinating video lecture by Dylan Ratigan. I’m in the process of reading his recent book, Greedy Bastards: How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires from Sucking America Dry. It’s an extremely well written book that succinctly explains many of the problems faced by Americans (including chapters on Wall Street and Health Care).
In this video from October, 2013, however, Ratigan suggests that writing the book was a waste of time, although it might serve as a useful inventory of issues.
I have a hard time believing that Ratigan believes that. Seeing him deliver his talk, and receiving several impassioned email blasts from him, it sure seems that he is still putting up a good fight, though it is a fight that will be extremely difficult to win, and maybe he is exhausted from the fight.
Dylan writes (in a mass-emailing that I received today) that he wanted to tell “stories of those using distributed power to solve old problems in new ways.” I’m all for grass roots action and organizing, and I do believe in the power of reframing. But to win back the country, we will also need people like the author of Greedy Bastards to identify particular issues, lay out the history and propose workable solutions. Occasionally David beats Goliath, but it’s a great story because it only rarely happens.
I’m wondering whether Ratigan was demoralized by the long battle, has taken refuge away from the battle, and is gearing up to get back into the game. that is my hope.
Here’s the scenario: Jeremy Paxman continually tells Russell Brand that he has not right to be heard because he doesn’t bother to vote. Brand explains to Paxman that voting is a farce that makes voters complicit in the rampant political/corporate corruption. Invigorating discussion that is well worth your time.
At Democracy Now, Amy Goodman discussed McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which has been referred to as “the next Citizens United.”
Republican leaders and wealthy GOP donor Shaun McCutcheon wants the Supreme Court to throw out aggregate limits on individual contributions in a single two-year cycle, saying they violate free speech. “If these advocate limitations go down, 500 people will control American democracy. It would be ‘government for the 500 people,’ not for anybody else — and that’s the risk,” says Burt Neuborne, law professor and founding legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. . .
“AMY GOODMAN: During the oral arguments, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, quote, “By having these limits you are promoting democratic participation, then the little people will count some, and you won’t have the super-affluent as the speakers that will control the elections.” Justice Antonin Scalia responded somewhat sarcastically by saying, quote, “I assume that a law that only—only prohibits the speech of 2 percent of the country is okay.” That was Scalia.
BURT NEUBORNE: And that’s the—that’s the gulf that divides the court on these cases. Justice Ginsburg thinks that we should use campaign finance reform to advance equality, so that everybody has a roughly equal political influence. Scalia says, “Look, if you’re rich, you’re entitled to have as much influence as you can buy.” And that’s now been the collision, and the Scalia side has won five-to-four consistently in recent years.”
There are many people out there who want to believe that the American flag is being honored no matter how it is displayed at government sanctioned Fourth of July celebrations. I’m not one of them.
My problem is that only a couple hundred feet from this above huge flag hoisted on by use of firetruck ladders, one sees many smaller American flags waving side by side with the corporate flags of businesses who essentially own Congress and who often call the shots contrary to the wishes of the People of the United States.
If I had my way, corporate influence would be eradicated and thus invisible at Fourth of July festivities. If it means giving up air shows and big fireworks displays, so be it. The number one priority for the People of the United States should be to take back their country. It needs to be actually run by the People. Kicking the corporations out of Fourth of July celebrations would be a powerful first step.