This is not about Sanders being the next US president (although he might be and that might even turn out to matter). This is about pushing the envelope of politics in the US and worldwide.
I am generally very supportive of the campaign. I don't necessarily expect Sanders to get elected, or even to do very much good in terms of policy if he is elected. The very fact that his "populist" campaign is doing so well is itself a huge success and has the potential to greatly affect political discourse in the US and worldwide.
On this particular topic, however - Citizens United, and campaign finance in general - Sanders is (naturally) fundamentally off the mark. Electoral campaigns are fundamentally an elitist affair. No amount of campaign finance regulation (and certainly not overturning Citizens United) will affect this basic fact.
People who are committed to democracy should overturn electoralism itself, not waste their energies on reforming electoral campaign finance regulations.
Yes, cows. Here’s the story: During the activism of the first Palestinian intifada, residents of the West Bank town of Beit Sahour organized boycotts of Israeli goods in an act of civil disobedience intended to pressure the government. Local activists in 1988 hatched a plan to bypass Israeli suppliers and produce milk locally. They bought 18 cows from a kibbutz, a collective Jewish farm. The plan, the activists thought, was both simple and elegant.
The Israeli military thought otherwise. As soon as the authorities got wind of the “Intifada milk” being distributed in Beit Sahour, they declared the cows a threat to Israel’s security. Following orders to aggressively clamp down on the intifada’s “neighborhood committees,” a local army commander directed his troops to shut down the dairy farm and seize the cows. Thus begins the tale of the wanted cows.
The story of the cows is a West Bank parable. It illustrates a reality that is at the core of the Palestinian experience of life under occupation: that Israeli military control permeates all aspects of life. In the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli state controls Palestinians’ border crossings, internal movement within the West Bank, airspace, tax system and population registry. Israeli officials decide where and when Palestinians are allowed to travel. Israeli state authorities even shape our diets by determining what imported foods we are allowed to eat and drink.
I am the co-director of a film about the wanted cows and the Palestinians who sought to raise them as symbols of freedom. The film, called “The Wanted 18,” premiered at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival on June 13. But I was unable to attend the screening at Lincoln Center due to another element of this system of control: Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement.
As a resident of the city of Ramallah holding the so-called West Bank ID, I cannot travel to Jerusalem without a special permit from the Israeli military. So when I set up an appointment at the U.S. Consulate in occupied East Jerusalem to apply for a visa, I also had to apply for a pass to Jerusalem. After weeks of waiting, the date of my visa appointment approached. Finally, on the day of the appointment, Israeli officials told me I had been rejected for reasons of “security.”
Israel’s instrumental use of the word “security” is both elastic and arbitrary. In practice, it is used to limit the freedom of movement of Palestinians who have no recourse. This is a reality that I encountered in the process of shooting “The Wanted 18.” In 2012, on the eve of an important shoot, Israeli forces briefly arrested my props manager, taking him during a nighttime raid on his house near Ramallah. The soldiers also seized a range of props that we needed for the shoot.
My interests include politics (theory and practice) and statistics (theory and practice).
Within politics, I am focused on issues revolving around elitism, political equality, and the application of chance in order to achieve political equality. I am an editor and a contributor to a group blog, Equality by Lot, which deals with the use of chance in governance and resource distribution.
If you have a statistical problem associated with a pro bono cause, please contact me.
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