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"The election season highlights not our dedicated patriots vying to improve the country, but the greedy villains who are subtly but devastatingly destroying the democratic process like a creeping and relentless rust."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (photo: unknown)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (photo: unknown)


American Politicians Are a Bigger Threat to Democracy Than ISIS

By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, TIME

05 November 14

 

The lying campaign ads, shady voter ID laws and sanctioned dishonesty should be illegal—and those complicit should be arrested

he upcoming mid-term elections should inspire a swell of patriotic pride in our hearts as we Americans dutifully cast our precious votes to reshape our national priorities and values. This is the American democratic ideal in action that we’ve been promoting around the world as a model for all oppressed nations to emulate. “Abandon your monarchies, overthrow your plutarchies, eliminate your dictatorships and join hands with us as we give power to the people,” we encourage. And we believe in that credo so much that we sometimes give guns and bombs to the people to help them take that power. After all, that’s how we did it back in 1775.

That’s why our election days should be an international advertisement for the glorious success of democracy. The aromatic sizzle that sells the hearty steak. The action-packed trailer that lures you to the blockbuster movie. But in reality it’s more like the aggressive perfume sprayers in department stores that deaden your senses with a cloud of acrid stench leaving you blinded and dazed.

The election season highlights not our dedicated patriots vying to improve the country, but the greedy villains who are subtly but devastatingly destroying the democratic process like a creeping and relentless rust. In addition to hunting those home-grown terrorists sneaking over to Syria to join ISIS, we should also be rooting out the saboteurs amongst us who are doing greater damage. While the culprits are pointing and shouting, “Hey, look over there! We’re under attack by Ebola and ISIS,” they are brutally clubbing the baby seal of the democratic principle.

This is the democratic ideal we so love: an informed population weighs the positions of those running for political office, then selects, through majority, the person they think will best represent them in government. It’s so beautiful in its simplicity and sincerity that it’s no wonder those hungry for freedom worldwide would want to embrace it. But here in America that ideal is facing the same fate as an extra in The Walking Dead who says, “I’m going to go on night patrol alone. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”

We can’t keep touting our political system as a model for the world while tolerating the worst kind of bad actors whose actions slowly grind away our system. We shouldn’t just shrug it off with cynical acceptance, “That’s politics.” It reminds me of that line from a Brenda Shaughnessy poem, “It’s like having a bad boyfriend in a good band.” The good band is the democratic system; the bad boyfriend is the abusive politician willing to compromise that system to satisfy his own lust for power.

The two most egregious examples of this betrayal are in misleading political ads and in partisan lawmaking that is meant to obstruct fair voting practices. The first attempts to misinform the public, inhibiting its ability to make an informed choice. The second attempts to obstruct eligible voters from casting their ballot because they might not vote the way those in power want them to vote.

There’s no shortage of examples of political ads that lie, but one of the most memorable came from the Mitt Romney presidential campaign in 2011 in which they showed a clip of Barack Obama in his 2008 campaign against McCain saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” The lie is that Romney’s people edited the original film which was Obama saying, “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’” The second lie came when Romney defended the ad, saying that there was “no hidden effort” to mislead voters. What other purpose was there?

That spirit of lying to the public to undermine democracy continues in these midterm elections. The Democrats and Republicans have spent about $50 million dollars, with Democrats spending nearly twice that of Republicans, over the last nine months in ads that mention the dreaded “m” word—Medicare. The focus of the ads is to scare senior citizens by portraying Republicans as anxious to snatch away their Medicare benefits. Some Democratic ads accused Republicans of wanting to “end the Medicare guarantee,” or of causing prescription drugs for seniors to rise as much as $1,700. These claims are reactions to Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to significantly change Medicare. And, while I may not agree with his plan, the Democrats have deliberately misrepresented it in order to scare seniors into voting Democrat.

A conservative advocacy group, Crossroads GPS, spent $3.5 million on ads falsely depicting Colorado Sen. Mark Udall as soft of ISIS (or ISIL). Their TV ads depict Udall as saying, “ISIL does not present an imminent threat to this nation.” Then they show a woman who is the mother of five and a Marine who says she’s worried about her children’s future and safety in light of this statement. No need to worry, because Udall’s complete quote included, “But if we don’t respond to the threat it represents, they will be a threat to this country.” So, if that’s what worried this Marine mother, no need. Udall actually agrees with you. We’ll await your correction.

A candidate’s stance on abortion is the easy litmus test for many voters. So, distorting an opponent’s position is a simple way to sway the vote. Some Democrats have been doing just that. Republican House candidate Barbara Comstock from Virginia has been accused in an ad by Democratic nominee John Foust of wanting to make abortion illegal, “even in cases of rape and incest.” But Comstock previously and publically announced her position: “I do support a life of the mother and rape and incest exception for abortion.” At least four other Democratic ads across the country also lie about opponents’ positions on abortion.

The recent push by the GOP in many states to force a form of voter ID as well as reduce voting hours has rightfully been described by many as a modern version of the poll tax, which was declared unconstitutional in 1966. The requirements for photo IDs are meant to create a hardship for the poor and minorities (of those eligible voters without IDs, 25 percent are black, 16 percent are Hispanic, and only 9 percent are white), who are mostly Democrats, because they would have to obtain documentation such as birth certificates that can cost as much as $75 for travel and paperwork. Student IDs are not accepted, so students would also have to pay to vote. Poll analyst Nate Silver determined that ID laws could reduce voter turnout by 2.4 percent, a margin that might sway close races toward Republicans. U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan, said that such ID laws exist only to “discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.”

The same problem exists when the voting hours are reduced because wage-workers and single parents have less time to vote. And that’s the point, however un-American and anti-democracy: to keep voters away who may vote against you. This deliberate act to sabotage the democratic election process is worse than anything ISIS could do and yet we not only permit it, we vote people who support it into positions of power.

Proponents of the voter ID law often admit that the studies prove voter fraud is extremely rare. So, they counter by saying, as did Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Pat Mullins, and Secretary of State of New Mexico Dianna Duran, “One is too many.” Would they agree that “one is too many” when discussing innocents who might have been executed by the death penalty? Would they agree that “one is too many” when advocates of gun control site statistics of children accidentally killed by guns at home? Does “one is too many” only apply when restricting the votes of the poor and minorities?

Ironically, much of the battle over the Second Amendment right to bear arms is the fear that someone will take over the country, remove our freedoms, and we will not be able to fight back. But that’s what’s happening now. And we are already armed with the vote, which many don’t use. It’s more cinematic (and a lot easier) to wave a gun rather than read the speeches and voting records of candidates. But standing around with a gun won’t keep our freedoms as much as voting for someone who isn’t manipulating our passions with lies. I would like to blame us, the voting public, for not being more diligent, but it’s unreasonable for us to have to research every thing that every candidate says. And clearly, we can’t count on the candidates’ personal integrity.

We need to do two things to stabilize the listing ship of democracy. First, scrape off the barnacles. In this case, the barnacles are those who would pass laws deliberately restricting voters from voting. We have to join together on principle and vote out such sinister people, even if these voting restrictions benefit your party. Because this isn’t about giving your party more power, it’s about having a party that supports the democratic ideals of the Constitution. It reminds me of Joe and Theresa Giudice, cast members of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, who are both going to prison for fraud. They often proclaim “family is everything” and “we do everything for the family.” But their crimes hurt others, and others’ families, all so they could live in a mansion and buy expensive furs and jewelry. The family in politics should be the country, not the political party. Win because you’re right, not because you’re the better liar.

Sixteen states criminalize making false political statements. Only sixteen. Worse, a federal judge struck down Ohio’s law as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The judge felt having the government decide what was true or false might create a situation in which the government could harass critics. That decision very likely will cause a domino effect of removing those laws from other states, leaving Americans with no legal safeguards against, to echo Al Franken, “lies and the lying liars who tell them.”

What should be do to protect democracy against these saboteurs from within? We certainly shouldn’t be doing away with these laws against false political ads; we should be enacting more such laws and enforcing them more diligently. These laws should include punishments that range from assessing huge fines capable of crippling a campaign to prison. Do those punishments really seem too steep for someone destroying the democratic process?

Some may say my outrage shows political naiveté or hyperbole. But I don’t think it’s possible for a black man who has lived in America for 67 years to be politically naïve. Instead, of spouting grimly sophisticated cynicism of pundits, I still believe that the inherent goodness of the process can defeat the greed of the politically ambitious and ethically vacuous.

Maybe I’m just saying that even one lying political ad is “one too many.”

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+124 # randi1randi1@yahoo.com 2014-11-05 16:11
Every year, politicians lie their way into office, and every year, good-hearted people like Mr. Abdul-Jabbar call for reforms. I don't expect to see election reform any time soon, if ever. We've already lost the battle. It will take a truly massive catastrophe to dislodge the villains now holding American Democracy hostage.
 
 
+46 # WallStWallFlowerGirl 2014-11-06 10:57
And maybe that "catastrophe" is what the GOP celebrates today.

While my bottle of bubbly is still corked, the hope is that what they do henceforth, without a donkey of a majority to pin its tail on now, will have ironic consequences to "dislodge the villains" holding democracy hostage.

McConnell knows this; telling was his specious acceptance speech after Kentuckians amnesia to keep him in office was revealed. This weasel of a man, the one leading his party to make their number #1 goal to obstruct Obama at every turn, is now saying he hopes to "come together" to work together for us... What the *%^#???!!!

Yeah Mitchy- go ahead and disenfranchise millions of people who now have what you have (at OUR expense): health care. Let that tsunami be on your watch. Go ahead. Let you be the poster boy for plutocracy in America because without Democrats to blame- who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?
 
 
+7 # Cassandra2012 2014-11-06 12:16
or a widespread revolution?
 
 
+7 # ritawalpoleague 2014-11-07 06:34
Absolutely, you are 100% correct, ranki1randi1. And, I do predict an implosion/revol ution in the making, here in the U.S. of (greed and need for power over) A.(ll), our anything but a democracy, so broken country. No way should we pass this dreadful, greedy, and environmentally deadly mess onto our kids, grandkids, and future generations.
 
 
+8 # politicfix 2014-11-08 11:48
The Democrats were gutless. They needed to rally behind the President and tout what he has able to get done with a Congress that was totally uncooperative, didn't earn their paychecks at all by say "NO" to everything therefore disenfranchisin g the people and the country, and further kept threatening to shutdown the Government unless they got their way. The President got healthcare, he got Pre-existing conditions put aside. He got Bin Laden. He did a few things with his hands handcuffed by the Republicans. You can't tell me that Republicans didn't benefit from the elimination of pre-existing conditions. That is a success coming from someone who was faced with that horrible stigma. I'm ashamed that the Democrats didn't allow Obama to campaign for them. These were your card and you didn't even play them, you tried to waffle around with the Republicans cards, and you lost completely. It was just plain STUPID. And....Allison Grimes not saying she voted for the President was the biggest mistake of her campaign. NO GUTS NO GLORY! They left successes of the President lying on the basement floor. There is no left to the Democratic party anymore. Dems think they have to run center right which makes the Republicans go crazy far right. You never win playing someone else's game. It's time the Democrats quit trying to play defense with the Republicans game and play their own cards as they were dealt. The Dems learned nothing from 2008. Get a grip, and quit trying to be FAUX Republicans.
 
 
+138 # bckrd1 2014-11-05 17:03
Amen to everything said. It was very well written and it was like he was reading my mind. I believe the people should be able to constitutionall y charge them with sedition.
 
 
+46 # wrknight 2014-11-06 07:32
"American Politicians Are a Bigger Threat to Democracy Than ISIS" is the greatest understatement ever. The only threats that compete with the politicians are the voters.
 
 
+16 # wrknight 2014-11-06 17:37
143 million eligible voters DID NOT VOTE on Tuesday.
 
 
+73 # Dust 2014-11-05 17:11
WORD!!

Well said indeed!
 
 
-181 # brux 2014-11-05 19:43
May be ... but everyone has to ask themselves how they contribute to that, because it is not all on the people who want to do something about ISIS or the threat of Islamic Radicalism, which maybe someone named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar might possibly be more than partial to defending.

In other words, why is it this point is always made by someone who has an Islamic sounding name?
 
 
-178 # brux 2014-11-05 19:46
>> But I don’t think it’s possible for a black man who has lived in America for 67 years to be politically naïve.

Oh, here is a big earning member of the 1% trying explain to everyone how he is the victim of the man ... pul-leeeeeeze Kareem!
 
 
-153 # brux 2014-11-05 20:23
Or should I say Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr?
 
 
+34 # backwards_cinderella 2014-11-06 04:37
& your REAL name is .... ?
 
 
-54 # brux 2014-11-06 09:36
The point is that I did not change my name to try to appeal to black Muslims or any other group. Or my writing or opinions either.
 
 
+45 # dyannne 2014-11-06 10:31
My name is Diane Noland (could it be any more clear what group I belong to?) and I agree 100 % with this article and these opinions. And it pretty much looks to me like most of the people reading Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's words and opinions agree too. Ya think they're all black Muslims?
 
 
-20 # brux 2014-11-06 23:37
Agreeing with him ... OK, but he is saying nothing new. He is synthesizing nothing, he has no new ideas. He is a parrot. I do agree with much of what he says, but it is a PR thing to make you emotionally attach to him as a celebrity. Now. if you, or anyone reading this gets a emotional glow from this, you will go out and buy his book. Do you think all the endless books that are getting published saying thew same thing ... for years, or decades are having any effect. I don't. So, yes, I think this is useless crap.
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2014-11-06 18:43
Quoting brux:
The point is that I did not change my name to try to appeal to black Muslims or any other group. Or my writing or opinions either.


Aye well, your writing and opinions are "Noir" enough by themselves not to need any assistance; you remind me of that cartoon character who went about with a black cloud permanently hanging over them!
 
 
-11 # brux 2014-11-06 23:34
For someone who says they are not going to bother with someone as terrible as me, I sure am seeing a lot of responses from you. And such fact and content free comments too.
 
 
+87 # Ken Halt 2014-11-05 22:15
You're kidding, right? A sports celebrity isn't within spitting distance of the 1%, however much more they are paid than our children's teachers, who deserve far much more. What is obvious in your comments is a deep-seated bias against Islamism.
 
 
-81 # brux 2014-11-05 23:13
The top 1% of working people make from $390,000 to $710K and include 1.3 million families.

Does that help you understand where you are wrong.

Where the 1 Percent Fit in the Hierarchy of Income:
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/30/nyregion/where-the-one-percent-fit-in-the-hierarchy-of-income.html?_r=0
 
 
-35 # brux 2014-11-06 09:39
I love this .... -43 points for quoting facts! LOL ;-)

This is the real character and heart of this site, such a disrespect for facts and logic is really astounds me.
 
 
+15 # dyannne 2014-11-06 10:32
Yeah, you're the only genius here.
 
 
-12 # brux 2014-11-06 23:32
I can respect facts and use them without claiming to be a genius .... you just made that up. The way you are is the norm here, so, be happy, but if you think about it, +10 for a comment like that really says more about you and the people here than anything about me.
 
 
+4 # freelyb 2014-11-08 00:37
Then friggin' leave. Your unconscious is spewing obvious projections all over the place, and you have no intention of cleaning them up. Begone.
 
 
-5 # brux 2014-11-09 14:34
You are not fit to pass judgement on my used dirty socks and you think you can tell me to leave and banish my point of view ... and I bet you even think of yourself as being Liberal or Progressive don't you? LOL.
 
 
-31 # brux 2014-11-06 09:42
Most big sports celebrities are well into the 1%, in fact they are most of them in the 0.1% ... at least 1 in 1000, probably even more elite than that.

You have to remember, and think, there are 350 million Americans in this country ... 1% of them ... 1 out of 100 is 3.5 million people. It included many small business people, doctors, lawyers, investors, actors, musicians, etc. How can you be so oblivious of that? Did you fail math as a kid? I bet a lot of the people here did.
 
 
+5 # reiverpacific 2014-11-06 18:45
Quoting brux:
Most big sports celebrities are well into the 1%, in fact they are most of them in the 0.1% ... at least 1 in 1000, probably even more elite than that.

You have to remember, and think, there are 350 million Americans in this country ... 1% of them ... 1 out of 100 is 3.5 million people. It included many small business people, doctors, lawyers, investors, actors, musicians, etc. How can you be so oblivious of that? Did you fail math as a kid? I bet a lot of the people here did.


Most big, black (and Latino-a) athletes are from poor beginnings and made it by sheer, raw talent.
 
 
-13 # brux 2014-11-06 23:30
Is that a bit of your reverse prejudice? If I said that most Latino athletes are rapists you'd have a field day, but you are just fine with statements that you want to believe are true or agree with.
 
 
+2 # Working Class 2014-11-11 21:03
Jabbar hasn't played ball since 1985 and the salaries they were earning then would come close to putting him in the 1% as you imply. But hey you are happy thinking of yourself as someone who uses "facts". The truth is you have a very needy ego - but hey you seem to be feeding it well.
 
 
+37 # WallStWallFlowerGirl 2014-11-06 11:14
Oh come on, brux! He may be a member of the 1 percent, but at least he's saying what we all know OUT LOUD! When have we heard Michael Jordan or Barry Bonds or any white athlete say anything like this?

And while I'll never walk in a 7-ft black mans NBA shoes, I venture to say that his career was not as easy, breezy and unbiased as say, Tom Brady or Wayne Gretzky.

I not only applaud what he wrote but I hope he opens up the minds of many- both in positions of power to make change and the "working poor" for whom change is why we fight the power.
 
 
-4 # brux 2014-11-09 14:43
The point is he is using branding, to draw the unsuspecting dolts here into the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar economy and have them purchase his books and expand his celebrity. I'd bet his PR company suggested he do this, and I'd lay you ever money he did not even write this himself - BUT even if he did, this is just a repeat of what has been said in the alternative/Lib eral/Progressiv e idea space for well over 10 years now.

You lot here I think would be happy losers to think and read about this stuff for 100 years as your world shatters around you and have no clue about it except this BS.

The point is, none of it is needed, and all of it, and many other Liberal/Progres sive voices are just parasites taking up money, ideas, time, bandwidth and space repeating the same stuff that has not gotten anything changed and has no vision. Why do you think Progressives lost the last election?

Remember the Republican echo chamber everyone use to talk about so much ... the media repeating the same coherent but wrong message all throughout the country in order to gell Conservative support for legislation and action.

Well, the Democratic, echo chamber repeats the same old many correct messages to many different groups with the intention of breaking them up and keeping them from cohering.
 
 
+4 # tgemberl 2014-11-06 17:49
How do you know he's a member of the 1%? I think you have to be a multi-millionai re to be in the 1%. And even if he was in the 1%, does that automatically invalidate everything he says?

He might have been in the 1% back in the 70's when he was a basketball star. I doubt he is today.
 
 
+75 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2014-11-06 01:21
Brux, you state:"...why is it this point is always made by someone who has an Islamic sounding name?

The answer is IT ISN'T. Your assertion that only those with an Islamic sounding name reference ISIS as a comparative threat to our nation is a lie. The Republicans promoted the pants-pooping hysteria over ISIS in this election campaign, so it's a fair comparison, and having the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not disqualify him from referencing it.
 
 
-43 # brux 2014-11-06 09:35
So, you are just fine with ISIS then, eh?
 
 
+22 # Cassandra2012 2014-11-06 12:22
Quoting brux:
So, you are just fine with ISIS then, eh?



This is just a non-sequitur, and utterly illogical and childish false 'comeback'... .
 
 
-9 # brux 2014-11-06 23:27
If you are not fine with ISIS, then what do you believe is the appropriate response, or is it all just phony CIA propaganda to control your mind? Put up or shut up.
 
 
+4 # tgemberl 2014-11-06 17:52
Brux,
You've made sensible statements before. You must be having a really bad day.
 
 
-10 # brux 2014-11-06 23:26
> You've made sensible statements before. You must be having a really bad day.

How does that work?
 
 
+2 # tgemberl 2014-11-07 11:01
Well, I just mean you don't seem to be yourself today. Was Tuesday real tough for you? It was for me, too. Don't lose hope.
 
 
+22 # randrjwr 2014-11-06 11:28
Quoting brux:
May be ... but everyone has to ask themselves how they contribute to that, because it is not all on the people who want to do something about ISIS or the threat of Islamic Radicalism, which maybe someone named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar might possibly be more than partial to defending.

In other words, why is it this point is always made by someone who has an Islamic sounding name?


What a fine example of a "red herring!" The point here is the immediate damage being done to this country by these politicians as compared to damage done by ISIS. ISIS is not doing any immediate damage to the USA (maybe some embarrassment, but nothing serious) but the politicians are, even evoking fear of ISIS as a weapon, but there is hardly a murmur of protest. And how can you possibly infer from this article that Kareem might be partial to ISIS?

In language we can all understand, I would call Kareem's article a SLAM DUNK!
 
 
-9 # brux 2014-11-07 12:51
Clear you do not know what a "red herring" is, or it has nothing to do with your point, which is that you like this article.

So, your point is that nothing that happens in the world that does not cause immediate damage to you, the US and your family and friends is important or deserves any response.

So, it would be fair for me to assume that during WWII you would not declared war on Hitler until he came marching into the US through Canada, or started sending rocket bombs over New York and Washington DC?

So I can also assume that you probably do not really feel this way about countries and people in general, but in order to appear consistent in your hatred of Israel which I am sure you think the US should not support, you have to try to make yourself look pro-US in this peculiar way rather looking like an anti-Semitic hater, which you are.
 
 
-4 # randi1randi1@yahoo.com 2014-11-07 08:28
I support brux's right to free speech without him having to feel intimidated. Maybe we should cool it with the thumb things.
 
 
+2 # freelyb 2014-11-08 00:42
Brux loves the negative attention; it's the only kind he can generate.
 
 
-4 # brux 2014-11-09 14:32
What do you call only making posts about other people and being unable to think or speak for yourself ... it would be kind to describe you as being a lemming. Enjoy that jump Lem.
 
 
+1 # Working Class 2014-11-11 20:50
You are an idiot brux. Good God man ( and I use that term in the loosest of translations) Kareem has had his name long before anyone heard of ISIS or for that matter before the "threat of Islamic Radicalism" was created by the West's policies of propping up dictators in the Middle East to get the oil flowing. I really feel sorry for you really don't have a clue.
 
 
+70 # Thomas Martin 2014-11-05 22:43
Brux - I feel sorry for you, and I feel sorry for whoever is responsible for your views
 
 
-97 # brux 2014-11-05 23:13
If it's so comforting for you to be so ignorant, great for you!
 
 
+10 # wrknight 2014-11-06 15:38
Quoting Thomas Martin:
Brux - I feel sorry for you, and I feel sorry for whoever is responsible for your views

Tom, you're feeling sorry for the wrong people. Those who are supplying Brux with his Kool-Aid are doing so deliberately and benefiting from it. You might feel sorry for Brux as he appears to be a simpleton who is more than willing to drink the Kool-Aid. But you should really feel sorry for the rest of us who have to suffer the consequences of stupid policies enacted by stupid politicians that are elected by stupid voters like Brux and enabled by even stupider people who don't bother to vote at all.
 
 
-8 # brux 2014-11-06 23:25
Do you really get something out of imagining superior comments to make about people you never met, do not know, and are too biased to even perceive without major psychological dysfunction.
 
 
+1 # Working Class 2014-11-11 21:08
Brux - go back and read your own comments in this stream. "superior comments to make about people you never met"? Are you kidding you just described the majority of the comments you have made here.
 
 
+102 # Hermit 9 2014-11-05 22:59
For those who seem to not follow much of anything, Mr. Abdul-Jabbar has published several critically acclaimed books focusing on American History and his personal experiences away from the court

I am most grateful for his courage and insight. I especially applaud him highlighting the real threat to American democracy. "If you can't beat them then deceive them" and, "If you can't win their votes, make sure they don't" do more to destroy what is left of our democracy.
 
 
+81 # reiverpacific 2014-11-05 23:04
Y'know I was waiting for some chowderhead ignoramus to accuse the author of being one of the 1% whilst in the past, lamely and allegedly exculpatorily stating that they "Believe in Western Civilization", taking snide shots at Indian ("Chiefs") Casinos, is practical unbalanced about Israel's occupation and destruction of Gaza -as witness the utterly stupid comment about this author's Arabic (or as stated "Islamic") name -adopted or given- (I guess that Mohammed Ali would garner the swift disapproval of this spawn of blinkered bigotry, refusing to go to Vietnam, speaking out against war and it's US progenitors, whilst losing his hard-fought title for it) and who claims to hate this site and it's lefty readers and contributors, whilst himself posting on a frequent and usually bile-filled basis, hate glands phuttin'.
US culture, if it exists at all outside of Jazz and Blues, rewards the extremely talented very well, who raise the bar in their sport and I personally think that's OK, if they speak out like Ali and Jabbar on behalf of we who have no voice, so that the shameful US owner-media are forced to at least give a little though to what they say and defy their corporate sponsors, which take it's own kind of courage. And what does he, or we know about Mr Abdul-Jabbar's philanthropic persona? Sweet Fuck-All.
I'd love to hear Tiger Woods and many others speak out as Mr Jabbar has done -and he expresses himself VERY well in print, don't y'all think?!
 
 
-84 # brux 2014-11-05 23:15
Sure, I'd believe Tiger Woods would be sincere in his views of how exploited the prostitutes he hired are.
 
 
+36 # handskhan 2014-11-06 03:00
This is definitely called hitting below the belt to some who himself is not present to defend himself. Why one has to be so abnoxious in some serious discussions?
 
 
-26 # brux 2014-11-06 09:37
Speaking to integrity of character ... I would not place Tiger Woods high on that list, maybe you would, but it is not "obnoxious" to make the point just because you don't want to have to deal with it.
 
 
+24 # Henry 2014-11-06 08:21
Brux, what is your GOAL in coming to these pages?
 
 
-19 # brux 2014-11-06 09:34
Henry, why do you ask?
 
 
+17 # reiverpacific 2014-11-06 10:16
Quoting brux:
Sure, I'd believe Tiger Woods would be sincere in his views of how exploited the prostitutes he hired are.


I rest my case.
-And you have the gall to call other posters "ignorant"! --------Sheesh, gadzooks and e'fackins!
You must be a ton of fun to be around and I'd feel sorry for you but you're not worth it.
Now go ahead and wallow in y'r miserable, narrow little box; I'm not about to continuing to bandy words with a deeply negative, hopeless narrow-minded, racist cipher; I prefer a foeman worthy of my steel.
By-eee and try to find an injection of fun somewhere; -like a big ol' spliff and a puff o' laughing' gas.
 
 
-7 # brux 2014-11-06 23:22
> You must be a ton of fun to be around

Maybe you judge arguments by how much fun the commenter is, but I'd call that reasoning a pure prerequisite for ignorance.

You call this fun ... this is fun for you? Think about your process of psychological satisfaction. Go talk to a real person, except I'm sure you won't find any people you consider "fun" because the problem is with you.
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2014-11-09 20:04
Quoting brux:
> You must be a ton of fun to be around

Maybe you judge arguments by how much fun the commenter is, but I'd call that reasoning a pure prerequisite for ignorance.

You call this fun ... this is fun for you? Think about your process of psychological satisfaction. Go talk to a real person, except I'm sure you won't find any people you consider "fun" because the problem is with you.


"If I can't dance, I won't come to your revolution"; Emma Goldman.
Your repeated retreat into the word "Ignorance" is a self-defining characteristic and seems to include the entire cast of pretty intelligent, perceptive and mostly articulate posters on RSN which you purport to detest so much and seemingly the entire outside world from whatever grim, self-imposed, humorless citadel you inhabit.
I don't think you know what the word "fun" means. I can deal with almost anything but have no time, nor patience, for humorless bigots.
The down-to-earth people of Yorkshire (Northern England) had a pretty nice saying for the general attitude to life of inward-looking narcissists like yourself; "They's all daft but thee and me and thee's a bit funny sometimes".
I think that's funny and profound if applicable to certain cases.
Or as my national bard Rabbie Burns wrote;
"O' wad some power the gif tie gie us,
Tae see oorsel's as others see us".
Byee.
 
 
+57 # tarantilla 2014-11-05 23:11
You sound like Ann Frank. She died in a gas chamber believing in the inherent good of people. Democracy works only if people want it to. Elections have been degraded consistently over the recent decades as the judges have become more blantantly political. Billionaires and their fortunes are legally and politically protected. The rest of us carry their luggage. ISIS in grey suits with smiles. At least ISIS is honest about killing. America is a dishonest ISIS. Admit it.
 
 
+63 # Thomas Martin 2014-11-05 23:23
To come back to what Mr. Jabbar wrote, I fully endorse it, and hope that others take it to heart too! We need to be honest with each other, and search for how to do good. Mr. Jabbar's writing points out how difficult, given today's political climate, it might be for us to decide on how to do this.
 
 
+42 # Cdesignpdx 2014-11-05 23:54
Great article and it needs to be read more than once.
PBS News Hour now opens with a slick PR video of all the good Koch Industries brings to our lives.
Words shape worlds. Image polishers and poisoners know this and how best to reach our deepest emotional triggers.
Everyone needs to get away from the TV (especially Fake news) and really understand how they are being manipulated by both the right and left. Only then will we not vote against our own best interests and those of our country.

Aside: I'm waiting for the Supreme Court to uphold the denial of voting rights to people who don't pass a breathelizer test–with or without a voter ID. That, too, would even the playing field.
 
 
+12 # reiverpacific 2014-11-06 10:35
Quoting Cdesignpdx:
Great article and it needs to be read more than once.
PBS News Hour now opens with a slick PR video of all the good Koch Industries brings to our lives.
Words shape worlds. Image polishers and poisoners know this and how best to reach our deepest emotional triggers.
Everyone needs to get away from the TV (especially Fake news) and really understand how they are being manipulated by both the right and left. Only then will we not vote against our own best interests and those of our country.

Aside: I'm waiting for the Supreme Court to uphold the denial of voting rights to people who don't pass a breathelizer test–with or without a voter ID. That, too, would even the playing field.


As you allude, PBS is NOT PUBLIC and hasn't been since the FCC was run by Michael Powell during the Dimwits anti-populist usurpation, with it's "Grants" (Commercials) like the commercial owner-media, thereby just as censored and compromised, with a "P.C.", bourgeois-milqu etoast overtone: Hell I wouldn't be surprised if the Koches are donors!
I see "pdx" in y'r nom-de-plume (I live at the Oregon coast) and believe that OPB is actually as popular, if not more so, than the commercial stations, especially radio in that allegedly "Liberal" city; pretty self-delusional , what (OK, I listen to "Car Talk" for a good belly laff but that's it)?
Suggest you give KBOO 90.7 a listen. Totally volunteer-drive n, listener-suppor ted, in-depth and unabashedly progressive.
 
 
+8 # Cdesignpdx 2014-11-06 13:28
RPacific, RIP Tom Magliozzi. I miss my Saturday laughs. Yes, I am a member of the west coast deep blue culture, and proud to be a 4th generation OR native.
 
 
+5 # reiverpacific 2014-11-06 13:58
Quoting Cdesignpdx:
RPacific, RIP Tom Magliozzi. I miss my Saturday laughs. Yes, I am a member of the west coast deep blue culture, and proud to be a 4th generation OR native.


Shit! Sorry Cdesingpdx.
I meant to give you a green thumbs-up but my bloody essential tremor betrayed me so consider y'reself "Greened": wish RSN could change this. I'll try to "Report to administrator" as my screw up.
 
 
+4 # Cdesignpdx 2014-11-06 14:31
It's all good.
 
 
+52 # dyannne 2014-11-06 00:09
Bravo! How anyone can disagree with what you're saying is beyond my comprehension. You are fair, which is admirable, for calling both sides on the errors of their ways. Our political process is so flawed and because of money - the absurd amounts spent on it - we can't do anything about it. The money talks and drowns out the truth. We must stop the lies or all is lost.
 
 
+4 # wrknight 2014-11-06 17:08
Quoting dyannne:
The money talks and drowns out the truth. We must stop the lies or all is lost.
Money talks, but money doesn't vote - only people vote; and unfortunately, you can't stop the lies, but you can stop listening to them.
 
 
+5 # corals33 2014-11-06 00:12
Why is such an intelligent man still living in that mad-house.Stop jumping through the hoops of the stars and strippers and take your wisdom to someplace that might actually benefit from it.America is a lost cause.
 
 
+51 # Jim Young 2014-11-06 00:59
Very very well said.

My respect for his communicating skill and thoughtfulness goes back to what I learned from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Cat Greenleaf's "Talk Stoop." She surprised him by acknowledging his "Sky Hook" but asked him what his greatest achievement was off court. He hesitated a little but, said "I guess learning to get my point across without confusing, or alienating people."

I consider it "telling it like it is" as gently as possible.

I've found trying to do the same gets much richer exchanges with people starting out from very different perspectives.
 
 
+13 # Henry 2014-11-06 08:29
Good point. Difficult to do with people who, for whatever reason, are out for a FIGHT for fighting's sake.
 
 
+34 # audreyl 2014-11-06 01:38
Political ads are by far the biggest costs in campaigns, tipping the scale inevitably to increase the power of the wealthy…humans or corporations. Get rid of them! Set up dedicated channels to provide free time for creditable candidates to speak. Each should appear on camera alone, in an empty room, sitting on a chair or standing at a lectern, and speak or read statements outlining his or her plans and qualification for serving in a government position.
That's all. No music, actors, videos, etc. Simple, direct, and economical!
 
 
+38 # Barbara N Shabo RN 2014-11-06 02:15
Kareem the great! You have no equal. Coach Wooden would be proud!
 
 
+27 # Carol R 2014-11-06 06:16
"The requirements for photo IDs are meant to create a hardship for the poor and minorities (of those eligible voters without IDs, 25 percent are black, 16 percent are Hispanic, and only 9 percent are white), who are mostly Democrats..."

(Great article.) I taught elementary school in a poverty area in Illinois for 12 years and saw the effects of poverty. It hurts knowing that too many people don't meet the requirements to be able to vote.

Indiana has one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the county.

[I worked as a poll clerk in this election and heard comments.]
I cringed inside when proud white people stated how happy they were that Indiana doesn't allow voter fraud.
 
 
+30 # fredboy 2014-11-06 07:22
This is true. Their selfish, reckless, and wanton behavior has caused every major crisis of my 66 year lifetime.

But there is another threat, a threat that is gold in the hands of such politicians: public ignorance. It is amazing that more than half the people who voted for Repugs this week voted against their own personal interests? They literally voted to hurt themselves--and hurt others.

As the years pass I increasingly believe that the good people here are few indeed. And that the law, ethics, and brotherhood and sisterhood are but pale remnants of past dreams.

Once, it was "United we stand." Now one letter has been moved, and it reads "Untied we stand." Apart. And against one another and our collective best interests.

When America falls, like Germany fell, we who survive will look back and say "We did it to ourselves. We made it happen."
 
 
+6 # Cassandra2012 2014-11-06 12:28
As the Roman republic fell, too.
 
 
+8 # randi1randi1@yahoo.com 2014-11-06 07:40
People don't base their vote on a candidates ideas; they vote for the person who looks and sounds like them. Image is maybe the most important factor. People support people like themselves, candidates who validate the lives they are living and the beliefs they were brought up to honor and respect.
 
 
+19 # wrknight 2014-11-06 07:42
The point that is missed here is that it is the voters who put those fools into office and allow them to rob us blind. It is the voters who drink the Kool-Aid and cast their votes at the ballot box. And it is the voters who don't bother to show up at elections.

We can blame the politicians all we want, but if we ever want to fix the problem, we have to start looking in the mirror.
 
 
+19 # Henry 2014-11-06 08:32
to wrkknight: The voters in the year 2000 didn't actually vote to install George Bush in the White House ...
 
 
-14 # arquebus 2014-11-06 09:44
Bush got elected because the Democrats didn't run a viable candidate. Simple as that. I wish they had.
 
 
+20 # dyannne 2014-11-06 10:44
That candidate you say was not viable won that election. Bush stole that election with a lot of help.
 
 
+11 # Cassandra2012 2014-11-06 12:33
Quoting dyannne:
That candidate you say was not viable won that election. Bush stole that election with a lot of help.

Quoting dyannne:
That candidate you say was not viable won that election. Bush stole that election with a lot of help.

Diebold, that assured Jeb Bush they would win the election for his brother, for starters, the Fla. Secy of State that 'lost' boxes of ballots , and Scalia's corrupt court members for finishers.
 
 
+9 # reiverpacific 2014-11-06 14:06
Quoting arquebus:
Bush got elected because the Democrats didn't run a viable candidate. Simple as that. I wish they had.

You call Dimwits Bush a "Viable candidate"? an incurious, dim-bulb of an ignoramus who had never been outside the US before his "Selection" (except one trip to I think China with daddy which he declared "Boring").
He made Popeye or Daffy Duck look like viable candidates!
 
 
+3 # wrknight 2014-11-06 14:53
Quoting Henry:
to wrkknight: The voters in the year 2000 didn't actually vote to install George Bush in the White House ...

Quite true, but it was the voters who voted for the electors and the voters who didn't vote who allowed the voters to elect the electors they did. And when you figure that 40% of the eligible voters didn't vote that year (nearly 100 million), it makes the number of hanging chads pale by comparison.
 
 
+6 # wrknight 2014-11-06 15:03
And given the demographics of this country, I would wager the election results would have been much different if those 100 million people had bothered to vote.
 
 
+4 # wrknight 2014-11-06 15:09
It all comes back to the people. If we want a government of the people, by the people and for the people, then the people must govern. And if the people are unwilling to govern, then someone else will.
 
 
+24 # TeM 2014-11-06 08:28
I have never in my life written a fan letter so allthough its taken me over seventy years I want to say thank you.Your piece said all I could wish.
 
 
+20 # Citizen Mike 2014-11-06 08:31
Kareem, you write very well and I am impressed! I see that you are a very intelligent, well-educated and thoughtful man.
 
 
+12 # randi1randi1@yahoo.com 2014-11-06 09:09
I don't believe too much can be laid at the feet of the voters. People go to the polls expecting to be treated fairly and honestly; I can see this in the comraderie most voters treat each other with while waiting in line to vote. But money and prestige are powerful influences once a politician gets into office, and I can imagine it's easy to become corrupted, and probably very early in their careers. Everybody wants to fit in, and politicians are no exception. Psychological research has demonstrated that people will modify their behavior to become accepted as part of a group.

In addition, it is unfortunate that only two political parties are able to get onto a ballot. This is a systemic problem, because the Democratic and Republican parties control the laws prescribing eligibility for holding office and getting on the ballot. These rules are weighted to prevent many political philosophies from getting a fair hearing. How many times have you seen a socialist, green, or communist party cadidate on your ballot? These are legitimate political parties, and many politicians in Europe have successful careers under these party banners. But Socialists and communists are heavily discriminated against in the US because of government propaganda originally promulgated against these groups. O'bama was quick to disavow the label "Socialism" when he was rolling out his health care initiative. And how many want to be known as a communist?
 
 
+16 # Cassandra2012 2014-11-06 12:38
'Socialism' you know — Medicare, Social Security, public education, firefighters coming to the rescue for EVERYONE, public roads, postal service, etc.

ooh, bad bad 'socialism!
The most civilized of countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada (well maybe not Canada anymore...) have empathy and compassion for their populations and are essentially Democratic 'Socialists'; here we have vulture capitalism and a profound disregard for the people and individuals of our own country and blind worship for money and those with $$$$$$$..
 
 
+10 # randi1randi1@yahoo.com 2014-11-06 09:12
There are a lot of isues preventing political diversity in this country. I think it's the primary reason for the gridlock in Washington and the incerasing number of elections too close to call; Democrats and Republicans use the same tactics and spew the same messages. It's almost impossible to distinguish between the two. I don't wonder that many people become too jaded to bother with the electoral process al all.
 
 
+14 # walt 2014-11-06 09:40
KAJ is right on.

Our political campaigns have become nothing but "Send money so we can defeat the bad guys," and then using that money to finance absurdly expensive smear campaigns. People are tired of it and tired of seeing big money flowing from wealthy donors to buy the government.

Time to stop lobbying and publicly fund campaigns so we can keep from getting the best governments that money can buy.
 
 
+5 # wrknight 2014-11-06 15:00
Quoting walt:

Time to stop lobbying and publicly fund campaigns so we can keep from getting the best governments that money can buy.

Good idea, but you have to stop private funding first. Public funding of political campaigns can never compete with unlimited private funding. Adding public funding to private funding (as we do now) only raises the ante.
 
 
+13 # tomwalker8 2014-11-06 10:42
One essential key to improving the democratic process would be to eliminate gerrymandering (a practice of which no party is innocent). Efforts to create "safe" political seats translate into politicians accountable only to unrepresentativ e slices of partisans. A more blatant subversion of the people's voice can hardly be imagined.

The technology capable of ensuring representative voting districts exists. Laws ought to require their use.
 
 
-2 # lfeuille 2014-11-06 11:18
This is another example of false equivalence. Many Republicans do want to gut medicare and end the guarantee. The ads to that effect did not come out of nowhere but out of Paul Ryan's budget. Maybe Mr. Jabbar doesn't have to fear privatization schemes, having enough disposable income to pay the extra premiums and copays they would entail, but the average citizen does not.
The dem ads just dramatize a real threat and to equate them with voter suppression is either extremely naïve or dishonest,
 
 
+4 # tgemberl 2014-11-06 18:04
I support Jabbar's message. The greatest danger to democracy is when one faction says, "they cheated us, so we'll cheat them this time." Once that attitude has taken over, your democracy is almost dead.
 
 
+2 # perkinsej 2014-11-06 11:21
How about the advertising lies we see every day in the media, including on TV and in the newspapers where Jabbar is a syndicated columnist. I am thinking, in particular, about the multitude of questionable "health care" ads.
 
 
+8 # joe_me 2014-11-06 13:04
I believe the changes mentioned by
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar to our political system will not happen now or later. Instead a good strategy would be to BOYCOTT for example all KOCH INDUSTRIES product so as to weaken one of the major culprit in BUYING election, politicians for their personal benefit. Here is a partial list:
Paperproducts: Dixie, Angel Soft, Quilted Northern, Brawny. Georgia Pacific Tough Rock Drywall. Lycra, Stainmaster Carpet, Cordura & Coolmax Fabric, Antron Fiber.
 
 
+6 # Activista 2014-11-06 13:58
Remember how the "Iran hostage crisis" was solved the moment Reagan won ..
Now ISIS - ISIL is "solved" after Republicans won ... strange how these crisis are timed to influence American elections ...
 
 
+7 # ghostperson 2014-11-06 14:22
KAB's comments are, if anything, an understatement.
 
 
-1 # tom paine devotee 2014-11-06 14:47
A bit of advice- if you own any guns, protect them, You will need then when the eventual revolution to recover our stolen republic is necessary .
 
 
+5 # Corvette-Bob 2014-11-06 17:10
Guns will never be able to take democracy back. In years gone passed, but not now. You are living in the pass so clutch you guns and amo but they will never deliver your rights back to you in the modern era.
 
 
+2 # tgemberl 2014-11-06 18:00
Yes, what will your guns do against drones and tanks?
 
 
0 # tom paine devotee 2014-11-07 14:54
Quoting Corvette-Bob:
Guns will never be able to take democracy back. In years gone passed, but not now. You are living in the pass so clutch you guns and amo but they will never deliver your rights back to you in the modern era.




Not to fight the army-they might even be on our side. The personal guns would be necessary to take out the heads of what has happened. I am sure that they would be surrounded by body guards but if someone wants to get them, they can. Those 50 caliber rifles are accurate to 1mile and will penetrate 1 inch of cold rolled steel and the distance. You are right about the past but this isn't the past. These billionaires who have taken over our country will always be vulnerable. I'm a ww2 veteran who is 88 years old so I won't be in the fray but I am sure that there will be plenty who will refuse serfdom. There were in 1776.
 
 
+4 # Corvette-Bob 2014-11-06 17:06
As a long active participant in our democracy, I can say that I have totally given up on it. The big money using hate and fear has caused the white population to stampede over the cliff. Wall Street and corporations have total and complete control of our society. The middle class and the working poor have handed the keys to the safe to the rich and powerful. All I can say is good luck to the younger people of this country, I am going to read and relax and enjoy the remainder of my life while people are going to live in a much less comfortable life than if they had exercised a little common since. Go back to your televisions, computers and take it from the back.
 
 
+6 # wrknight 2014-11-06 17:18
Quoting Corvette-Bob:
As a long active participant in our democracy, I can say that I have totally given up on it. The big money using hate and fear has caused the white population to stampede over the cliff. Wall Street and corporations have total and complete control of our society. The middle class and the working poor have handed the keys to the safe to the rich and powerful. All I can say is good luck to the younger people of this country, I am going to read and relax and enjoy the remainder of my life while people are going to live in a much less comfortable life than if they had exercised a little common since. Go back to your televisions, computers and take it from the back.

You mustn't give up. Your kids and my kids and their kids are vulnerable.
 
 
+4 # tom paine devotee 2014-11-06 19:10
Working mans wages stalled when Reagan gave us Reaganomics and have not recovered in the last 30 some odd years.
When adjusted for inflation they show about 5-10 5 increase during that time period. Now we have the republicans back in power I guess we will see more of the same. They have been against any increase in minimum wage increases which shows where their mind is set.
Quoting Corvette-Bob:
As a long active participant in our democracy, I can say that I have totally given up on it. The big money using hate and fear has caused the white population to stampede over the cliff. Wall Street and corporations have total and complete control of our society. The middle class and the working poor have handed the keys to the safe to the rich and powerful. All I can say is good luck to the younger people of this country, I am going to read and relax and enjoy the remainder of my life while people are going to live in a much less comfortable life than if they had exercised a little common since. Go back to your televisions, computers and take it from the back.
 
 
+1 # Corvette-Bob 2014-11-06 17:06
As a long active participant in our democracy, I can say that I have totally given up on it. The big money using hate and fear has caused the white population to stampede over the cliff. Wall Street and corporations have total and complete control of our society. The middle class and the working poor have handed the keys to the safe to the rich and powerful. All I can say is good luck to the younger people of this country, I am going to read and relax and enjoy the remainder of my life while people are going to live in a much less comfortable life than if they had exercised a little common since. Go back to your televisions, computers and take it from the back.
 
 
+1 # Corvette-Bob 2014-11-06 17:06
As a long active participant in our democracy, I can say that I have totally given up on it. The big money using hate and fear has caused the white population to stampede over the cliff. Wall Street and corporations have total and complete control of our society. The middle class and the working poor have handed the keys to the safe to the rich and powerful. All I can say is good luck to the younger people of this country, I am going to read and relax and enjoy the remainder of my life while people are going to live in a much less comfortable life than if they had exercised a little common since. Go back to your televisions, computers and take it from the back.
 
 
0 # tgemberl 2014-11-06 17:54
I've got an idea that I'd like to put out for consideration. We should get rid of political advertising altogether. It performs no useful function in our democracy. I realize that in our current constitutional structure it is protected free speech. It might not be very hard to amend the constitution to get rid of that, because both Republicans and Democrats are annoyed by attack ads.

In this internet age, it should be possible for both parties to cooperate to run a web site where candidates would post their statements. As with Amazon.com and Google, the statements would rise in prominence because voters were interested in them, not because of advertising gimmicks. Admittedly, people with money could hire professional writers to compose their statements, giving them some advantage, but it seems at least that the focus would shift towards issues rather than personal attacks and innuendo.

This Amazon-like function replaces the role of money in today's politics. Today money is the only thing that narrows the field of candidates. We can't vote for 1,000 people for president; something has to bring the candidates down to a manageable number. But candidates' statements could do the same thing in an Amazon-like structure.
 
 
+3 # moonrigger 2014-11-08 16:21
This was the most expensive election in history, because the megawealthy upped the ante so far, it's all but made it impossible for uncorrupted newbies to enter the playing field. If ever there was a time to make the argument for campaign contribution limits, this is it. I for one think TV ads should be banned altogether. Then they'll have to resort to print/online ads/pleas, not ultraexpensive, backstabbing, lying TV ads. That would roll back some of this quite a bit, I think. I know, I know, the GOP will run to the SCOTUS crying foul, wah wah wah! We need to demand an end to election corruption.
 
 
+1 # AS56Rovner 2014-11-09 16:31
Interesting Idea; could have some real merit!
 
 
+7 # Ojai Bill 2014-11-06 20:15
The writer may be more known to the public as a great athlete than a political commentator, but he has expressed more clarity, perceptiveness, and foresight than anything coming from our current pundits and politicians. He is absolutely correct--our domestic political problems and dysfunctions constitute a much greater threat to our nation's well-being than ISIS, Ebola, or any external threat, and he has the courage and the independence from vested interests to say so. Our leaders, while marshaling resources to fight external threats, are either blind or paralyzed in responding to our greatest domestic threats, clearly identified by Mr Jabbar.
 
 
+2 # AS56Rovner 2014-11-09 16:30
1,000 percent agreement!!
 
 
+4 # Activista 2014-11-06 20:40
Only 35% of American REGISTERED voters voted in 2014 midterms - but the figure is even lower
"Turnout is usually measured as a proportion of registered voters, rather than of those eligible to vote – and U.S. census numbers show that more than 70 million U.S. citizens of voting age are not currently registered voters."
america.aljazeera.com/blogs/scrutineer/2014/11/5/why-the-real-electionturnoutwasfarlowerthanreported.html#alabama
do we have democracy ... do we care?
 
 
+2 # moonrigger 2014-11-08 16:15
Kareem standing tall where others have not. How many have simply turned a blind eye to the real problem--our Congress, the Military, the lobbyists, Big Oil et al, who perpetrated all these wars. Now they have spawned terrorism of such greater proportions that we may never again feel secure, and with good reason. She's gonna blow, folks, and it's not only a matter of time. So long, good ship America.
 
 
+2 # AS56Rovner 2014-11-09 16:29
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar,
I have always admired you for your athletic prowess, your conduct in your professional life, and perhaps more substantively, for your thoughtfulness, which is on ample display in this article. You have beautifully articulated the great peril that I agree faces the "great experiment in Democracy" that America was meant to be. We need someone like Michael Bloomberg, who never seemed shy about asserting government's right to effect positive change, to get on board with the ills of money in politics and of the inherent racism which fuels all of the recent initiatives meant to restrict voter accesss.
 

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