Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A survey of US political power and attempts at reform

From Common Cause  |  The Political Process: New Game Please  |  by Helen Grieco  |   May 11, 2011

During most of my 25 years as an activist, I advocated for women’s rights. Once again, I was disheartened by the small number of women in elected office. To answer the gender inequality in France, the people there went so far as amending their Constitution to require political parties to select the same number of women and men candidates.  With one change in the law, dramatic governance transformation ensued.

From Cato Institute  |  The Military-Industrial Complex at 50 (policy forum)  |   March/ April, 2011
“We the people” need to understand: it’s no longer our army—it hasn’t been for years— it’s theirs and they intend to keep it.  The American military belongs to Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright, to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, to Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates, to Admiral  Mullen and General Petraeus. They will continue to employ that military as they see fit.  If Americans don’t like the way the army is used, they need to reclaim it. This can only happen by resuscitating the tradition of the citizen-soldier.

From DemocracyJournal.org  |  Principles before heroes  |  by Robert Reich
Once the financial crisis seemed to have passed, the public lost interest, with the result that the Street’s lobbyists played a major role in fashioning the resulting legislation. ...
It will not be easy to devise and sell policies—more progressive taxes, stronger unions, universal access to high-quality education through college, adequate public funding of elections, for example—that respond directly to the increasing concentration of income, wealth, and power in America. But without a fight, progressive ideals will never be met. No president and no administration can do it on its own. Obama is already being labeled a “socialist” for his efforts to expand access to health care. The fight will take a generation, and it will require a progressive movement willing to push its elected leaders, to educate the public, and to organize and mobilize Americans to achieve the nation’s most basic ideals.

From Common Cause  |  State Political Party Reform: A political army in need of a few good soldiers  |   By Diane C. Walsh  |  April 9, 2006
Rachel Pittard, an education coordinator for the Citizens' Campaign [of New Jersey], said, "Our goal is to teach regular folks with limited time and limited funds how to access the political power levers."

From Cato Institute  |  The Poison Of Professional Politics  |  by Mark P. Petracca  |  May 10, 1991
Professionalism and careerism dominates American politics; it poisons the prospects for political representation in America and threaten the promise of democratic government. ...
In response, a national movement to limit the terms of congressmen and state legislators is gaining momentum.