* Cross-posted from Humanitarian Left.I've heard people criticize Lawrence Lessig, accusing him of being a scammer or somehow not on the up and up and Hedges has been under attack recently, accused of plagiarism. I'm skeptical about these criticisms and accusations based on my sense of who these fellows are. I don't see willful dishonesty in these guys, but I can sure see why certain special interests (read status quo ante, or rule of the 1%) would want to attack them.
The crowd that dominates us all are afraid of populists like these. They both hail from the elite ranks, it's true, but they seem honest about that. In my view, one's socio/economic background (high, low or in-between) should not disqualify anyone from anything as long as they don't misrepresent it, it doesn't distort their frame of reference and they are genuine advocates for progress.
Hedges defends himself:
Statement from Chris HedgesThat such an accomplished and brilliant writer who has devoted his career to telling the truth would purposely stoop to plagiarism defies credulity. I don't believe it for a minute. I also don't doubt that he will continue to be attacked. After all, he's on our side. The slime machine is on the attack.
Statements made in Christopher Ketcham’s article in The New Republic are false and attempt to damage me personally and professionally. The failure by The New Republic to verify the charges by assigning an editor or fact checker to vet the story and contact me or the publications involved, violates the most basic tenets of journalistic ethics. Ketcham has been attempting to publish these allegations for more than a year. His queries engendered lengthy investigations into his charges by The Nation Institute, Nation Books and Truthdig, all of which found no basis for his charges, as they state in the article.
Any writer is potentially vulnerable to plagiarism charges in that writers constantly read (taking words into their brain) and write (turning words from their brain into writing). Unconscious and unintentional 'copying' can conceivably happen to anyone, particularly writers who read and write a lot. Again, the thought that Hedges is not smart enough to know that getting away with actual plagiarism in the age of Google is virtually impossible, is preposterous.
These two speak to me, particularly Hedges. Lessig has more faith than I do in the existing system, but I like his thinking about it and I think he's earnest and has a clear understanding of the problem. I agree with him that if there is hope for reforming our system it starts with campaign finance reform and getting the influence of big money out of the system.
I think the conversation in these three videos is an important one. It's a worthy investment of your time, imho. I'd be very interested in your thoughts on these matters.
Lessig has been successful with his MAYDAY PAC, raising $5 million in his latest round of fund raising, which I and many of you supported. Below is his latest email wherein he asks for input about political targets. Many of you are much smarter about the present electoral environment than I (at least partly because I tend to view it with suspicion) and could provide valuable feedback to Lessig which would also be helpful to me. Please read his email and share your thoughts:
Randall,I'm hoping that Lessig is onto something here and that this is the beginning of the fight to get our government back in the corner of we the people. I'm very interested in hearing what you have to say about it.
Yesterday, MAYDAY directors and advisers met to discuss district targets for our 2014 campaigns. Our goal is simple: to send a message that we intend to fundamentally change politics for good. But before we make our final decisions, we want to hear from you.
Many of you have asked "what makes a MAYDAY race?" There are several core criteria for the kinds of races we want to target:
1.We want a plausible path to victory where MAYDAY can make the difference.
2.We want to target bad actors and support good ones.
3.We want to use our resources where they will be cost-effective.
4.We want our work to have a “ripple-effect,” proving that MAYDAY is a powerful threat to incumbency.
If you think you know a race that fits these criteria, let us know where MAYDAY should go:
We know you're eager to hear more about what comes next. We're eager to get there, too. But our strength is this community, so before we make this critical decision, we want to make sure we've heard from you.
Thank you for all you've done, and all you do still.
Thanks very much for your kind attention and careful consideration.