Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:43:23 +0000
2016 Presidential Poll Results
Note: This is not a scientific poll; it is a straw poll of 3 million Democrats.com subscribers. If you are not currently a subscriber but would like to vote, please subscribe here and we'll send you our poll via email. Thanks for your interest!
|Clinton or Sanders or O'Malley||20%||14%||17%||4%|
|Not eligible to vote||0.2%||0.2%||0.3%|
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:15:41 +0000
Everyone sorta knows "Libertarians" are first and foremost about individual rights. But what are those rights exactly?
Individual Rights. Because individuals are moral agents, they have a right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property. These rights are not granted by government or by society; they are inherent in the nature of human beings. It is intuitively right that individuals enjoy the security of such rights; the burden of explanation should lie with those who would take rights away.
So property rights are pretty darn important to libertarians like Rand Paul, right?
In fact, Rand Paul got into deep voodoo over property rights and the Civil Rights Act when he argued Southern restaurant owners had the right to refuse to serve lunch to blacks if they wanted.
I don't like the idea of telling private business owners — I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant — but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership.
So given the importance of property rights, it was a pretty serious betrayal of those rights when Rand Paul stole Warner Music's music copyright to "Shuttin Detroit Down."
Moreover, Rand Paul got busted for it:
But did you hear about this scandal in the political coverage of Paul's announcement? Of course not. But just imagine the screams from the press corpse if Hillary Clinton were to trash women's rights in her Presidential announcement.
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 13:40:34 +0000¡Hola Jeb Bushito! 1 John Ellis Bush, son of George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush, and the brother of George Walker Bush - notwithstanding all those good Yankee names - is, by his own sworn statement, Hispanic. In a 2009 voter-registration application, obtained from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, Mr. Bush marked Hispanic in the field labeled “race/ethnicity.” A Bush spokeswoman could offer no explanation for the characterization. Carolina Lopez, deputy supervisor of elections for Miami-Dade, said voters must submit hard copies of applications with a signature before receiving a voter information card confirming their address and polling location. According to the Florida Division of Elections, the application requires an original signature because the voter is swearing or affirming an oath. Y'know, the same kind of oath you have to swear to be President. But hey, no biggie. Actually, it is a BFD under Florida's strict voter fraud laws: 104.011 False swearing; submission of false voter registration information.-- (1) A person who willfully swears or affirms falsely to any oath or affirmation, or willfully procures another person to swear or affirm falsely to an oath or affirmation, in connection with or arising out of voting or elections commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. (2) A person who willfully submits any false voter registration information commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. In purely political terms, it's bad enough that Jeb was so desperate to pander to Latino voters that he married a Mexican and learned Spanish. But clearly that wasn't enough of a pander, so now he actually declared himself to be a blood brother. But in legal terms, this is far graver - real, honest-to-goodness felonious voter fraud, which brings severe penalties under the laws that former Governor Jeb Bush once swore to uphold. So if you believe all criminals should pay for their crimes - especially corrupt lying politicians like Jeb Bushito - here's how you can report the crime to Florida law enforcement. 1. George W. Bush loved nicknames and during the 2000 campaign famously called his boot-licking NY Times stenographer Frank Bruni "Panchito," which makes "Bushito" the perfect nickname for his brother Jeb. [...]
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 12:58:43 +0000
(image) So why do journalists obsessively hyper-scrutinize every word, every gesture, every hairdo, every hire, every rumor about Hillary Clinton - while doing none of these things to every other candidate for President?
Thanks to Jason Zengerle of New York Magazine, now we know the reason: it's all Hillary's fault!
"The question confronting Clinton ... is not so much whether she can withstand the scrutiny but the degree of the scrutiny itself. Are we so fixated on diagnosing and dissecting her weaknesses ... that the effort becomes, in a sense, self-fulfilling? ... [T]he strength Clinton will need most, and on which the fate of her campaign may rest, will be
her ability to make us stop dwelling on her weaknesses."
So if Hillary is unable to cure the press corpse of its collective Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, well than that just proves she's guilty. All the obvious comparisons to the Salem Witch Trials are purely coincidental, of course.
Thank you, Jason Zengerle, for so brilliantly describing the disease that is killing our political press corpse. To honor your scientific achievement, we shall henceforth call this Zengerle's Disease.
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:22:33 +0000Update 4/1/15: Micah is a Mensch and links to this blog post with a thoughtful comment: Bob Fertik, the longtime director of Democrats.com (and PDM friend), takes aim at yours truly for allegedly "obsessing" over Hillary Clinton because we've run several items at the top of this email digest in the last week covering the controversy around her private email set-up. A few words of response are in order. First, most of the time I put news about the major presidential contenders at the top of First POST since they are (alas) big news. And for the last week or so, the controversy about Clinton's private email has been all over the news; noting it here hardly means I'm obsessed with her or a "Hillary hater." And finally, in my view, questions about her fidelity to government transparency rules, as well as the still unresolved issue of her email security, are relevant subjects, not partisan bugaboos. Do you agree/disagree? Let me know at msifry-at-gmail-dot-com (and send me other feedback/tips/complaints as well). To which I reply: Not every news report about Presidential candidates and their email or social media or tech is genuinely newsworthy. Some are just trivial, and some are purely partisan attacks. Coverage of Hillary's emails - starting in the corporate media and spilling over to PDM - is full of both partisan attacks and trivia. On the trivia side, it's a safe bet that the majority of government officials and politicians have private email accounts - just like the journalists and pundits who cover them. What makes private emails a month-long headline issue? On the partisan side, why are Hillary's email issues getting endless high-octane coverage, while Jeb's email issues were a one-day blip? And if your concern is about national security, what about the never-solved and likely criminal deletion of 6 million emails from George Bush's White House? And, by the way, how many of those deleted email involved Bush's lifelong close advisor ... Jeb? Are any email-obsessed journalists investigating that juicy scandal? For me the bottom lines are fairness and objectivity. If one candidate's email are issues deemed important, then all candidates' email issues must be deemed equally important. Obsessing over Hillary's email issues while totally forgetting Jeb's (and George's) is neither objective nor fair - it's simply #HillaryHating. For that kind of coverage, we can watch FOX News. Today's edition of Plus gets it exactly right - it treats all Presidential candidates equally on campaign finance, holds Jeb equally to his own "transparency" standard, and covers Hillary's Benghazi testimony concisely and fairly. Kudos Micah!! Original post begins here: Members expect a say in the decision-making process of the networked organizations they join. Readers want to talk back to the news-makers. - from the Manifesto of PersonalDemocracy.com Like many others who care about our emerging digital democra-tyranny, I long ago joined PersonalDemocracy.com, an amazing networked organization created by two good friends, Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry. And you should too. But now I'd like a say in its "decision-making process" - in particular, the obsession with Hillary Clinton in its daily newsletter, Personal Democracy Plus. Nearly every morning, the lead story is a microscopic examination of Hillary Clinton, no matter how trivial. Here are just the most recent examples: 3/25: items 4 and 6 3/26: 4 out of 5 top items 3/27: 3 top items 3/31: top item In all, PDF's obsession with Hillary Clinton fills innumerable pages, and lately much if not most of it is about her emails. To paraphrase Google VP Rachel Whetstone's blog about Rupert Murdoch, Really Micah? Digital democracy movements are battling oppressive governments around the world. Bloggers are getting murdered and jailed. Despite years of revelations, the NSA continues to hoover every phone call, email, text, and mouse click on the planet. Aren't these the stories that sho[...]
Sun, 02 Nov 2014 19:35:18 +0000
Don't forget to vote on Tuesday November 4 2014!
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:05:23 +0000The U.S. Air Force says it is not halting its use of Depleted Uranium weapons, has recently sent them to the Middle East, and is prepared to use them. A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). "Weight for weight and by number of rounds more 30mm PGU-14B ammo has been used than any other round," said ICBUW coordinator Doug Weir, referring to ammunition used by A-10s, as compared to DU ammunition used by tanks. Public affairs superintendent Master Sgt. Darin L. Hubble of the 122nd Fighter Wing told me that the A-10s now in the Middle East along with "300 of our finest airmen" have been sent there on a deployment planned for the past two years and have not been assigned to take part in the current fighting in Iraq or Syria, but "that could change at any moment." The crews will load PGU-14 depleted uranium rounds into their 30mm Gatling cannons and use them as needed, said Hubble. "If the need is to explode something -- for example a tank -- they will be used." Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told me, "There is no prohibition against the use of Depleted Uranium rounds, and the [U.S. military] does make use of them. The use of DU in armor-piercing munitions allows enemy tanks to be more easily destroyed." On Thursday, several nations, including Iraq, spoke to the United Nations First Committee, against the use of Depleted Uranium and in support of studying and mitigating the damage in already contaminated areas. A non-binding resolution is expected to be voted on by the Committee this week, urging nations that have used DU to provide information on locations targeted. A number of organizations are delivering a petition to U.S. officials this week urging them not to oppose the resolution. In 2012 a resolution on DU was supported by 155 nations and opposed by just the UK, U.S., France, and Israel. Several nations have banned DU, and in June Iraq proposed a global treaty banning it -- a step also supported by the European and Latin American Parliaments. Wright said that the U.S. military is "addressing concerns on the use of DU by investigating other types of materials for possible use in munitions, but with some mixed results. Tungsten has some limitations in its functionality in armor-piercing munitions, as well as some health concerns based on the results of animal research on some tungsten-containing alloys. Research is continuing in this area to find an alternative to DU that is more readily accepted by the public, and also performs satisfactorily in munitions." "I fear DU is this generation's Agent Orange," U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott told me. "There has been a sizable increase in childhood leukemia and birth defects in Iraq since the Gulf War and our subsequent invasion in 2003. DU munitions were used in both those conflicts. There are also grave suggestions that DU weapons have caused serious health issues for our Iraq War veterans. I seriously question the use of these weapons until the U.S. military conducts a full investigation into the effect of DU weapon residue on human beings." Doug Weir of ICBUW said renewed use of DU in Iraq would be "a propaganda coup for ISIS." His and other organizations opposed to DU are guardedly watching a possible U.S. shift away from DU, which the U.S. military said it did not use in Libya in 2011. Master Sgt. Hubble of the 122nd Fighter Wing believes that was simply a tactical decision. But public pressure had been brought to bear by activists and allied nations' parliaments, and by a UK commitment not to use DU. DU is classed as a Group 1 Carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and evidence of health damage produced by its use [...]
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 19:12:58 +0000
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Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:51:10 +0000According to a book by George Williston called This Tribe of Mine: A Story of Anglo Saxon Viking Culture in America, the United States wages eternal war because of its cultural roots in the Germanic tribes that invaded, conquered, ethnically cleansed, or -- if you prefer -- liberated England before moving on to the slaughter of the Native Americans and then the Filipinos and Vietnamese and on down to the Iraqis. War advocate, former senator, and current presidential hopeful Jim Webb himself blames Scots-Irish American culture. But most of medieval and ancient Europe engaged in war. How did Europe end up less violent than a place made violent by Europe? Williston points out that England spends dramatically less per capita on war than the United States does, yet he blames U.S. warmaking on English roots. And, of course, Scotland and Ireland are even further from U.S. militarism despite being closer to England and presumably to Scots-Irishness. "We view the world through Viking eyes," writes Williston, "viewing those cultures that do not hoard wealth in the same fashion or make fine iron weapons as child-like and ripe for exploitation." Williston describes the passage of this culture down to us through the pilgrims, who came to Massachusetts and began killing -- and, quite frequently, beheading -- those less violent, acquisitive, or competitive than they. Germans and French demonstrated greater respect for native peoples, Williston claims. But is that true? Including in Africa? Including in Auschwitz? Williston goes on to describe the United States taking over Spanish colonialism in the Philippines and French colonialism in Vietnam, without worrying too much about how Spain and France got there. I'm convinced that a culture that favors war is necessary but not sufficient to make a population as warlike as the United States is now. All sorts of circumstances and opportunities are also necessary. And the culture is constantly evolving. Perhaps Williston would agree with me. His book doesn't make a clear argument and could really have been reduced to an essay if he'd left out the religion, the biology metaphors, the experiments proving telepathy or prayer, the long quotes of others, etc. Regardless, I think it's important to be clear that we can't blame our culture in the way that some choose to blame our genes. We have to blame the U.S. government, identify ourselves with humanity rather than a tribe, and work to abolish warmaking. In this regard, it can only help that people like Williston and Webb are asking what's wrong with U.S. culture. It can be shocking to an Israeli to learn that their day of independence is referred to by Palestinians as The Catastrophe (Nakba), and to learn why. Similarly, many U.S. school children might be startled to know that some native Americans referred to George Washington as The Destroyer of Villages (Caunotaucarius). It can be difficult to appreciate how peaceful native Americans were, how many tribes did not wage war, and how many waged war in a manner more properly thought of as "war games" considering the minimal level of killing. As Williston points out, there was nothing in the Americas to compare with the Hundred Years War or the Thirty Years War or any of the endless string of wars in Europe -- which of course are themselves significantly removed in level of killing from wars of more recent years. Williston describes various cooperative and peaceful cultures: the Hopi, the Kogi, the Amish, the Ladakh. Indeed, we should be looking for inspiration wherever we can find it. But we shouldn't imagine that changing our cultural practices in our homes will stop the Pentagon being the Pentagon. Telepathy and prayer are as likely to work out as levitating the Pentagon in protest. What we need is a culture dedicated to the vigoro[...]
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:26:15 +0000I would not have guessed that people cared so much and so well about U.S. prisoners. The Governor of Pennsylvania is expected to sign into law a dangerous precedent that we all need to speak out against and put a quick stop to. In the first day since posting the following petition, over 10,000 people have signed it and added quite eloquent reasons why. It can be signed here. We stand against the passage, in Pennsylvania, of the so-called "Revictimization Relief Act," which affords virtually unlimited discretion to District Attorneys and the state Attorney General to silence prisoner speech, by claiming that such speech causes victims' families "mental anguish." Politicians are claiming a power that if granted to them will be difficult if not impossible for citizens to check.In seeking to silence the legally protected speech of prisoners, the state also damages citizens' right and freedom to know -- in this case, to better understand an area of U.S. life physically removed from public scrutiny.This legislation emerged following the failure of the Fraternal Order of Police and its allies to stop prisoner and radio journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal from delivering an October 5, 2014, commencement address. This bill sacrifices the rights of all prisoners in Pennsylvania in order to silence Abu-Jamal -- an unethical deployment of collective punishment by those in power.Victim relief is not served by denying fundamental rights to those convicted, especially because prisoner freedom of speech is crucial for redressing wrongful convictions and the current crisis of harsh sentencing that is often disproportionate to alleged crimes. Our society is currently engaged in a full-scale debate on the problems of mass incarceration that could not have developed without prisoners' voices. Here's a PDF of the names and comments of the first 10,000 plus people to sign this. Flipping through the first few pages, these comments jump out at me: Lawrence Fine NY This is an ill-conceived bill. Christopher Scerbo ME Democracy is never served by silence. Robert Post NJ The only proper answer to bad speech is good speech! Ellen Kirshbaum NY Why does speech frighten these corrupt politicians? Let all prisoners SPEAK! Jenefer Ellingston DC Why is our local or national gov't afraid of Free Speech? Allan Carlson NJ This is a FASCIST law. It represents that antithesis of the intent of the Founding Fathers who penned the U.S. Constitution. Jesse Reyes NJ This bill only makes sense if it is known, beyond all shadow of doubt, that the incarcerated person is actually "guilty." The Innocence Project and several other high profile cases ("The Central Park Jogger" case) has proven that far too many incarcerated people are not guilty of the crimes they were sent to prison for. I would not want to deny anyone their rights on that basis alone. This bill is wrong and should not be signed by anyone who actually cares about our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Jan Clausen NY [...]