Happening This Week

First: Across the country the movement against corruption in politics is gaining steam.  In California, dozens of activists marched on the state capital to demand political leaders acknowledge that our system has been corrupted.  That same day the California Senate passed AJR-1, making California the second state to call for a constitutional convention to address the problem of money in politics. The group of marchers, who began their journey in Los Angeles, plans to stay in the capitol until their demands have been met.  So far the police have arrested more than a dozen members, mirroring state efforts in New York last month and North Carolina this week.  Meanwhile, more than 50,000 protesters gathered on Saturday in the middle of London only to be ignored by the BBC and other major press agencies.

Second: The World Cup.  When the United States isn’t playing I root for Uruguay.  Sure, they have a weird player who bites people (the Uruguay fans still love him) however Uruguay is the birthplace of one of my favorite writers, Eduardo Galeano, and boasts the so-called “World’s Poorest President,” Jose Mujica.  Though Mujica was a Marxist guerrilla at one time, I admire him as one of the very few who do not expect great wealth to come with increased power.  As president he refuses to live in the presidential mansion, gives most of his salary to charity and when called ‘the poorest president in the world,’ Mujica says he is not poor.  He says: “A poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more. I don’t live in poverty, I live in simplicity. There’s very little that I need to live.”  This sentiment echoes the anti-Fifa protests across Brazil which sometimes use the slogan “Your party in the stadiums aren’t worth the tears shed in the slums.”

Conclusion: It would be nice to live in a world where you can’t purchase democratically elected leaders because they see themselves as public servants and don’t want your money.  Short of this utopia: Join 99Rise and their efforts to reclaim our democracy here.

TV = Not Evil?

Two good things on TV this week:

First, for anyone who hasn’t watched the interview with Edward Snowden on NBC you can find it here.  Snowden talks about how he burned down his own life in order to deliver information to journalists.  He does not demonize the NSA, only a few top ranking officials who are taking power not granted to them.  My major takeaways: Snowden was a high ranking operative for the CIA, not some kid hacker, and he is much more intelligent than I was made to understand.  We need to do more to protect people with the courage to come forward when our government is doing wrong, especially with a president like Obama who is bloodthirsty when it comes to whistle-blowers.

Secondly, John Stewart is on a roll.  I’ve been critical of him in the past for giving Democrats a pass on his show, but earlier this year he absolutely stomped Pelosi into the ground (skip to 6:50 for embarassment, continue to extended interview for pure ugly) and this week he worked over Obama appointed secretary of treasury and famed jerk Timothy Geithner.  (The extended interview isn’t worth 40 minutes unless you like watching Geithner squirm and make excuses for screwing over the American people while protecting the banks.)

But before we get ahead of ourselves: The internet is abuzz with criticism of the way NBC edited Snowden’s arguments.  Some point out that NBC did everything it could to distance itself from Snowden leading up to the interview.  Well, what can we expect?  It is just TV after all.