Lawrence O’Donnell Takes Off The Gloves: National Defense Authorization Act, Soft Journalism, and the Spoonfed Two Party System

Taking a cue from the pages of Superman, Lawrence O’Donnell lambasted the mainstream media Wednesday night for their failure to cover the Third Parties debate and for failing to address this little nightmare:

Imagine if Congress passed a bill that the president signed that allowed indefinite detention without charge or trial. That would be issue one at any presidential debate, wouldn’t it? The media’s favorite debate moderator, Martha Raddatz, would have forced a full discussion of that one at the vice presidential debate, wouldn’t she? Well, Congress did pass that law last year and President Obama signed it and he never mentioned it on his list of his accomplishments in any of the debates. And he was never asked about it, not by the media’s second favorite debate moderator, Candy Crowley, and not by Mitt Romney. It never came up at the two-party presidential debates.

Watch the video here.  It starts with the drug war (I’m not for legalization, but am for reform), and if that bothers you, fast forward to the part about the National Defense Authorization Act.  I kind of like how someone on Examiner.com put it:

But in the most shocking segment, O’Donnell laid out a serious charge against President Obama and the failure of the media and the public to hold him responsible due to a certain law that he signed called the National Defense Authorization Act, which according to O’Donnell will allow the government to detain, interrogate, prosecute or just make people who it suspects to be terrorists disappear without a trial of any kind, and this includes American citizens! O’Donnell then blasted all of the moderators of the three presidential debates between Obama and Romney for not bringing this issue up, and then he blasted the cowardly Mitt Romney for also being to [sic] sheepish to ask President Obama about this issue, instead of crowing about how he would repeal Obamacare, when he should be repealing this monstrosity.”

O’Donnell encouraged people to vote for third party candidates, especially in swing states.

Good for you, Larry.  Even if you were a few hours late to the party:

The Good Old Days Weren’t Always Good: A Transatlantic Reminder to Tim Stanley

But it isn’t just Obama’s flaws that are making this race interesting. Mitt Romney might not be the most charismatic candidate, but that’s a hidden strength in an election that’s all about competence and getting back to the basics of what once made America work so well. This week, the pro-Obama journalist Andrew Sullivan wrote that with his wealth, good looks and apple-pie conservatism, Romney is like “a focus-group tested model president from 1965”. Sullivan obviously doesn’t realise how popular the TV show Mad Men is. Who wouldn’t warm to a candidate that represents an age marked by low unemployment, stable families and a laissez-faire attitude towards drinking at work?

At first blush, this bit from Tim Stanley’s “Obama is Carter” piece feels clever.  If you’re white, straight, and male, it might take a least one full second to remember that 1965 isn’t the good old days from everyone’s perspective.

I’ll give Stanley this much:  Don Draper assumed a whole new persona when it was expedient to do so, and his public life is one huge pose.  Romney and Obama are vulnerable to this charge on various counts.  Does anyone really believe Romney’s ashamed of RomneyCare or that he’s a pro-life?  Does anyone really believe that Obama is a federalist on marriage equality?

Yes, this is what politicians do.  But Obama was supposed to end all of that.  As of right now, he’ll be lucky to win a second term.

False Choices Aren’t Choices: What If Athens Had the Internet?

Coke is better than Pepsi.  The National League is superior.  Heinz > Hunts.

The Democrat and Republican brands at the national level?  Both unappealing.

The populist, rational elements in the Tea Party and Occupy movements?  More aligned than everyone who benefits from the “your two choices are” narrative wants to admit.  (Everyone like both national parties and much of the media).

The efficacy of Americans Elect remains to be seen, but they’re right: Iowa and New Hampshire shouldn’t have the biggest say in which major-party candidates survive to other states. And we shouldn’t only have major-party options in the first place. )Sorry, Campaigns and Elections class in college.  You were right about almost everything else.)

This is closest we’ve ever gotten, practically, to a direct nomination process.  Remember when Ross Perot said we’d have townhall meetings and direct democracy via computers in the future?  Will we?  Only if we want to.  Sure, he thought he’d get the contract to build our civic Cerebro, but that’s another story.

 

Superman, Mark Twain, and Lawrence Lessig: Congress Is The Light That Never Goes On

Lawrence Lessig and Jimmy Wales at the iCommon...

He hates it when they make him sit with Jimbo at the kids' table.

A few days ago, I posted a link to this piece by Lawrence Lessig.  It’s something of a love letter to Newt Gingrich in which Lessig blames the former Speaker  for most of Washington’s current dysfunction.  According to Lessig, Newt was the architect of the current winner-take-all, reelection obsessed profanities posing as politics.  I’m not entirely convinced by the narrative, which isn’t to say he doesn’t make salient points.

The thing is, some of this goes back to Andrew Jackson.  Most of it goes back to Thomas Hobbes.  It’s been chronicled by Mark Twain and in Action Comics #1 (where we also learn that populist Superman was also an isolationist in the build-up to World War II?  That’s a post-and-a-half).

Has Congress ever worked?  Has it Congress ever been this bad?

Did NPR Just Endorse Newt Gingrich?

This is from 2011. I actually met Newt Gingrich in 2000 when I was an intern at ABC News. The former Speaker has done and said many things since this post that would probably color how I would write it now.  But these thoughts below are in the context of the 2012 GOP primaries.  That was a at least two lifetimes ago.  – CC, 2018

Did NPR Just Endorse New Gingrich?

It depends on how you feel about the ’90s.  Brian Naylor’s Friday piece, entitled “To Imagine a Gingrich Presidency, Look to the ’90s” ends on the obligatory NPR dead-note (“It’s impossible to predict what kind of president Gingrich would make, but if his speakership is any guide, it seems safe to assume a Gingrich White House would be one of bold ideas and polarizing politics,”) but otherwise paints a picture of Speaker Newt as a shrewd, if closeted, bi-partisan compromiser due a big slice of the credit Bill Clinton often gets for making the 90s rock just that hard.

Even the title sounds like an endorsement.  Weren’t the ’90s the last good American decade?  The last American decade, period?  Oh, sure, we were blissfully sewing the seeds of every problem we now face, only kind of trying to contain Al Queda, and doing a Wag the Dog war in Kosovo because Kosovars are white (even if they’re Muslim, right?) and Clinton had a sex scandal.

Whoa, wait a minute.  That sounds really, really cynical.  But maybe that explains the influx of visitors to this blog searching for information about Thomas L. Day’s recent Washington Post op-ed.

In any case, I will always love you, The ’90s. You had me at hello.

Lawrence Lessig has a different take on Gingrich. What do you think?

Ward Sutton and the Village Voice Illustrate The Daily Cocca? (I Did See Michael Musto on a Bike in Chelsea Once)

Do Ward Sutton and folks at the Village Voice read The Daily Cocca?  You know I like to think so.

Finally, there’s proof. Via Graphic Policy:

See 7 more designs at “Washington DC Reboot” via the Village Voice.   We anticipated as much here on November 1.

In related news, NPR basically endorsed Newt Gingrich yesterday, perhaps not realizing what they were really saying by saying a Newt presidency would bring back the 90’s.  More to come on that later.

Who Is the American Middle? Almost Everyone You’ve Ever Known Is Crazy (but Might Not Know it Yet)

CRAZY LIKE A ME!

Who is the American Middle that has the power to make the 2012 election something different?

Most people reading this post.  That huge nexus of overlap between the responsible Tea Partiers and the responsible Occupiers.  The employed. The unemployed.  The insured and uninsured.  Homebuilders and homeless.  Students with too much debt, families without enough food.

A reader writes:  “I know you joke about your Kuccinich/Paul dream ticket, but I go one step further: it takes a group of crazy D’s and a group of crazy R’s putting aside all that easily divides them and works toward helping real people overcome the big government and big business working against them. What a concept?”

What a concept.  I hereby propose the noble and wrongly-maligned fox as the symbol of the next American electoral revolution.  If crazy is Ds, Rs, Is, TPs, OWSs all working together for the kind of change we need, I’m crazy all day long.