Oct 29 2010

Weekly Digest – 10/29/10

Our weekly edition is a nationally syndicated one-hour digest of the best of our daily coverage.

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This week on Uprising:

* Big Election Spenders Violating Campaign Finance Laws
* Understanding the Latino Vote
* Why Independents are Tilting Rightward
* Wikileaks Releases 400,000 Iraq War Documents – Media Ignores Story

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Big Election Spenders Violating Campaign Finance Laws

money in electionsThe record amounts of money being spent on next week’s mid-term elections was described this week by the group Public Citizen as a “prelude to something far worse in 2012”. The non-profit consumer advocacy organization released its analysis of who the big spenders are among organizations that are independent from a political party, and what motivates them. Public Citizen found that $176.1 million has been spent by outside groups to influence November elections. The majority of that money, over $114 million (or 65%), was contributed by only 10 groups, revealing that national opinion is being influenced by a small number of well-funded voices. The top 10 spenders favor Republicans, raising $79 million on behalf of the GOP versus $28.5 million for Democrats. One-hundred-and-five-million dollars (or 60%) has come from organizations that will not disclose the sources of donations because they are not legally obligated to do so. Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, said the findings show that “[O]utside group funding is shaking the foundations of our electoral democracy, but the situation is far worse than it seems at first blush. … The key to repairing our democracy is a constitutional amendment to undo the [Citizen’s United] decision.” Earlier in the year the Supreme Court ruled to allow certain non-profits and any corporation or union to spend unlimited amounts of money on electioneering communications with its landmark ruling in the Citizen’s United Vs. FEC case. Until it is voided by a constitutional amendment, the only way to slow the deluge of Citizen’s United cash is to mount legal challenges against organizations by filing complaints with the IRS and Federal Elections Commission when they break laws. Several watchdog groups have already filed complaints against Karl Rove’s multi-million dollar fundraiser Crossroads GPS. But the IRS and the FEC are slow to investigate and prosecute the cases before them, possibly allowing illegal spending to go unpunished for many election cycles.

GUEST: Amanda Terkel, Senior Politics Reporter at the Huffington Post

Read Terkel’s writing at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-terkel

Understanding the Latino Vote

latino voteAn ad targeting Latino voters in Nevada made national attention recently for its surprising message. The ad urged Latinos to punish Democrats on election day by staying away from the polls. The nationwide Spanish language network Univision quickly pulled the ad, and it was immediately denounced by community groups and Democratic party candidates who have been working to register and mobilize Latinos. The “Don’t Vote” message was sponsored by a group called Latinos for Reform, which is led by Robert de Posada, a conservative pundit and Republican. Earlier this month a Pew Hispanic Center survey found that two-thirds of registered Latino voters plan to vote for Democrats. However, in a finding consistent with the national mood the survey found that Latino Republicans are more likely to vote. Sixty-three percent of registered Latino voters approved of President Obama’s job performance, but only 26% said his policies have been helpful to Latinos. Of those surveyed the top three issues of concern among Latinos are education, jobs, and health care. Immigration ranked fourth among all Latinos and fifth among Latinos registered to vote. In a year in which Latino immigrants have been alternately courted and demonized by candidates and targeted by extreme immigration laws their voter activity is being closely watched.

GUEST: Antonio Gonzalez, President of the William C Velasquez Institute, one of the founders of the National Latino Congreso, host of KPFK’s Strategy Session which airs Mondays at 4 pm.

Find out more at www.wcvi.org.

Why Independents are Tilting Rightward

independent votersWithin the past decade, independents have become the fastest-growing group of voters in the United States. Forty percent of Americans register as “independent” voters each year, and at least 3.4 million Californians alone have registered as “decline to state” voters instead of choosing a political party to belong to. In some states, such as Massachusetts, the number of independent voters outnumbers registered Republicans and Democrats combined. Not surprisingly, the independent vote has been decisive in several major elections, most notably the 2008 Presidential election. Two years ago most independents supported President Obama and leaned toward progressive politics after the 8-year long Bush era. But now, according to a poll released by Politico and George Washington University on October 25th, independents favor Republicans over Democrats by 14 points.

GUEST: Jim Mangia, Chair of IndependentVoice.org, the nation’s largest organization of independent voters

Find out more at www.IndependentVoice.org.

Wikileaks Releases 400,000 Iraq War Documents – Media Ignores Story

Julian AssangeIn the largest leak of classified materials in the history of the US, the whistle blower website Wikileaks.org released 400,000 documents on last Saturday, relating to the Iraq war. Eclipsing the summer expose of nearly 80,000 war logs from the Afghan war, the new release also consists of US Army field reports, and is believed to originate from the same source as the Afghan logs. In a press conference on Saturday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange explained the reason for releasing the documents: “The attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends. We hope to correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war and which has continued on since the war officially concluded.”

Before being released to the public the documents were shared with a number of media organizations including the New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian in London, Der Spiegel in Germany, and Le Monde in France. Through their analysis, the Iraq war logs reveal that the US “failed to investigate hundreds of reports of torture, abuse, rape, and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers” (The Guardian), and that more than 15,000 Iraqi civilian deaths previously unaccounted for, were discovered. Even though the US has always maintained that no official count of Iraqi deaths are kept, a simple count through the logs reveals a total of 66,081 deaths, which are greater than the online group Iraq Body Count’s numbers. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Human Rights Watch, and others have called for an investigation into reports of illegal detention and torture documented in the war logs. Meanwhile, the US mainstream press has largely ignored the story, as evidenced by a near complete silence on the major Sunday talk shows.

GUEST: Ray McGovern, Retired Army Intelligence Officer, served for 27 years as a CIA analyst. He is currently on the Steering group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Browse through the documents at www.wikileaks.org.

Sonali’s Subversive Thought for the Day

“We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.” — Alexander Solzhenitsyn

One response so far

One Response to “Weekly Digest – 10/29/10”

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