Controlling the narrative in Ferguson

Anonymous "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" protester in Ferguson, MO.

Anonymous “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protester in Ferguson, MO.

The news coverage of Michael Brown‘s killing in Ferguson, MO is a classic example of conservatives trying to change the story. The facts are that Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson shot the unarmed teenager Brown multiple times, seemingly execution style, and killed him. But the Ferguson Police, Fox News and other conservatives are trying to distract us from the facts with various narratives.

Good government and capitalism meet near Las Vegas

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

Las Vegas, perhaps the ultimate symbol of capitalism, ironically is bookended by two huge examples of business/government partnership. The first one, as we all know from Rachel Maddow‘s MSNBC “Lean Forward” videos, is the Hoover Dam, located about 30 miles from Las Vegas. Hoover Dam is an example of government working with business to create a huge public project that business could not accomplish by itself. In the case of Hoover Dam (the creating legislation for which was signed by conservative Republican President Calvin Coolidge), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, a division of the Department of the Interior, partnered with a consortium of large corporations known as Six Companies, including familiar capitalist faces Henry J. Kaiser Co. and Bechtel Corporation.

Today’s the anniversary of infamous Bush PDB on Bin Laden

George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney

George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney

August 6, 2001. That’s when President George W. Bush, on one of his numerous vacations, was given a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” Among the PDB’s findings was:

FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

What did Bush do after receiving such a warning? Crickets. Even worse, Bush reportedly told his CIA briefer: “All right. You’ve covered your ass now.”

Good roads come from good government

 

Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ, where the highways meet.

Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ, where the highways meet.

Route 66, America’s “mother road,” was built in large part by the federal government. This includes funding going back to the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 and the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921. In the 1930s, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt put thousands of unemployed young men to work completing Route 66. Likewise, America’s Interstate Highway System was constructed pursuant to the 1956 National Interstate and Defense Highways Act envisioned and signed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. All of this federal highway construction has brought about tremendous benefits for Americans, from commercial to recreational, and it could not have been done without politicians from all sides participating in Good Government for patriotic reasons.

What we’d like to hear at the Congressional town hall meetings

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) at 2010 town hall meeting.

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) at 2010 town hall meeting

Congress is about to take a paid vacation for the entire month of August. During this time, many members of Congress hold town hall meetings where they take questions from their constituents. Here are some questions we would love our Republican friends to ask their Republican members of Congress:

The FCC’s Net Neutrality outrage of the week?

Net Neutrality gravestone

Net Neutrality gravestone

If you needed more evidence that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is captured by big corporations and ready to take a dive for them on Net Neutrality, that evidence seemed to arrive this week. Many of you know that Net Neutrality, i.e., the idea that companies should not be able to speed up, slow down or otherwise herd Internet users into particular affiliated corners of the Internet, generated over one million comments to the FCC, a record-setting amount. The FCC’s website got so overloaded that it shut down, and the FCC had to extend its Net Neutrality comment period, a rare occurrence. But now comes Gigi Sohn, the FCC’s Special Counsel for External Affairs, who said in an NPR interview that:

A lot of these comments are one paragraph, two paragraphs, they don’t have much substance beyond, ‘we want strong net neutrality.’

Tell your Republican friends they are being used

Right-wing impeachment message, December 2011

Right-wing impeachment message, December 2011

For many of us, it’s heartbreaking to see our Republican friends and family members being brainwashed by Fox News and GOP identity politics beyond all rationality. Sometimes we try to argue the merits of issues with them, to no avail of course. Other times we just write them off, which can make for some estranged relationships. But here’s another idea: let’s try to point out to our Republican friends that they are being used by the Republican Party.

Closing 2014 election arguments against the Republicans

The 2014 elections are only 16 weeks away. That means you’re going to be hearing all kinds of noise in the media — from kids with Ebola to Benghazi to lawsuits against President Obama. The Republicans will do everything to distract from the real issues on which they are vulnerable. So it’s time for Democrats to focus.

We already suggested back in February of this year that the Democrats needed a positive unifying theme for the 2014 elections. You can judge whether the Democrats came through. But now it’s time for the flip side as well: the Democrats need a unifying attack theme against the Republicans that they can focus on for the next four months. Here is our simple two-part suggestion:

Boehner lawsuit against President Obama backfires big time

Sad John Boehner

Sad John Boehner

Last week, Republican House Speaker John Boehner confirmed that he plans to file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama for Obama’s use of executive orders. The reaction to Boehner’s lawsuit threat has been a combination of derision and ridicule for Republicans, and more money for the Democrats.

Conference call with Senator Harry Reid on getting money out of politics

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Last night, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) held a conference call featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, about efforts to pass a Constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions which have flooded our elections with “dark money.” Also on the call were Rob Weissman of Public Citizen, Marge Baker, who is Executive Vice President of People for the American Way, Larry Cohen, the President of CWA, and Bob Master, CWA’s District 1 (Northeast) Political Director.