Tag Archives | Politics

Letter of Inquiry to the Police in Regards to Militarization

From Divided Core:

       Below is the template of a letter that I sent to my local police department and city government inquiring about any weapons or equipment the police may have received from the U.S military.  Considering what’s going down in Ferguson, I think it would behoove you to ask your local police station if they’ve accepted any dangerous gifts from the U.S Pentagon. (I received a polite response from the Sebastopol Chief of Police, and am happy to report that Sebastopol, CA is does not currently participate in any program in which military gear is provided to them by the Department of the Defense.)  Here’s the template of the simple letter:

Dear Chief of Police ________ and the City of _____,I am a resident of ______ and am curious if our police department receives any funding and/or equipment and weapons from the Department of Defense.  I love our town and respect our police department, yet (in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, MO) I am curious if our police force has accepted any arms, ammunition, robots, or otherwise from the U.S military.
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[Poll] The Poll of Polls

coverThis week, I’m pushing my work off onto you, dear Disinfonauts. Help me come up with new weekly poll topics. I’ve listed five that I thought of, but feel free to send in ideas or leave ‘em in the comment section.

The Poll of Polls

Which poll topic would you like to see?

• Favorite political cartoonist
• Most effective torture device
• Favorite paradox
• Least effective president of the last 20 years
• Favorite conspiracy theory

Most hated company?

So, Monsanto won by a landslide, with Walmart in second and Koch Industries in third. I thought Monsanto might win as it’s the corporation in the news as of late, but I didn’t expect this big of a blowout. I also didn’t expect Disinformation to beat out Amazon!

Monsanto (40%, 430 Votes)
Walmart (13%, 138 Votes)
Koch Industries (10%, 108 Votes)
JP Morgan Chase (5%, 59 Votes)
Comcast (5%, 51 Votes)
Facebook (5%, 49 Votes)
McDonald’s (4%, 41 Votes)
BP (3%, 35 Votes)
21st Century Fox (3%, 34 Votes)
Apple (3%, 31 Votes)
Google (2%, 26 Votes)
Pfizer (1%, 15 Votes)
Disinformation (1%, 13 Votes)
Verizon (1%, 10 Votes)
Microsoft (1%, 10 Votes)
Amazon (1%, 9 Votes)
General Motors (1%, 8 Votes)
Syngenta (0%, 5 Votes)
Novartis (0%, 3 Votes)
Merck (0%, 3 Votes)
Johnson & Johnson (0%, 2 Votes)
Glaxo (1%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,082

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Rand Paul, Kennedy and the ‘Libertarian Moment’

Rand Paul (7004226384)

Rand Paul. Photo: Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

One has a feeling that we’re going to be seeing an awful lot more of Rand Paul in the media over the next two years. The New York Times Magazine kicks off with a lengthy piece about Paul and the “libertarian moment” (whatever that is):

“Let’s say Ron Paul is Nirvana,” said Kennedy, the television personality and former MTV host, by way of explaining the sort of politician who excites libertarians like herself. “Like, the coolest, most amazing thing to come along in years, and the songs are nebulous but somehow meaningful, and the lead singer kills himself to preserve the band’s legacy.

“Then Rand Paul — he’s Pearl Jam. Comes from the same place, the songs are really catchy, can really pack the stadiums, though it’s not quite Nirvana.

“Ted Cruz? He’s Stone Temple Pilots. Tries really hard to sound like Pearl Jam, never gonna sound like Nirvana.

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Could a Psychological Bias be Determining Our Political Stance?

So can desensitizing people to violence and depravity through media influence their future political choices?

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via Psyblog:

Our position on the political spectrum — right, left or centrist — could be down to a deep-seated psychological bias in the way people think about the world.

That’s according to new research published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, which tested reactions to viewing negative stimuli, like people eating worms or maggot-infested wounds (Hibbing et al., 2014).

The study found that the more conservative people’s politics was, the more intense their reaction to these pictures.

The variation between people was quite striking: some people did not seem to mind the pictures that much, while others reacted strongly, with much higher levels of skin conductance, showing they were sweating more.

This finding, combined with other research from around the world, suggests our so-called ‘negativity bias’ — an automatic orientation towards negative aspects of our environments — may be at the heart of our place on the political spectrum.

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Rush Limbaugh Says the Left Will “Politicize” Ebola for Their Gain

Limbaugh_Award_croppedAnd the pot calls the kettle black.

via The Raw Story:

Radio host Rush Limbaugh warned his listeners on Monday that liberals would make Ebola into a political issue and use it like they had used AIDS to “undermine” President Ronald Reagan.

In an audio clip flagged by Media Matters, the conservative talker explained that he had received some complaints from listeners who said that he should not be spending time talking about the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

“You know, it never ceases to amaze me,” he opined. “Twenty-six years and there are people who still think I miss things. If you really want to understand this program — if you really do — you’re going to have to accept something, that pretty much everything I talk about, I’m talking about because it is political.”

“Have you ever heard of AIDS?” Limbaugh asked. “You think that wasn’t political?

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Why Aren’t More Americans Atheists?

Meslier.jpg

Jean Meslier, 17th Century French Catholic priest who was discovered, upon his death, to have written a book-length philosophical essay promoting atheism.

“Turns out it has nothing to do with science. And everything to do with politics,” writes Nick Spencer at Politico:

Many expressed surprise recently when, in one of its periodic surveys of Americans’ views of other faiths, the Pew Research Center found that atheists fare poorly—fully 40 percent of those polled described their views toward atheists as “cold.” Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons—all are viewed more favorably than nonbelievers. Only around 2 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheists, even though religious observance, measured by things like church attendance and daily prayer, has been trending downward for decades.

You might think that America would be fertile ground for the rise of atheism. After all, the United States is the most scientifically advanced society in human existence, and as far as atheism has a history—and it is an oddly uncharted one—it is popularly believed to be of slow, steady scientific advance.

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Captain America on Immigration

I think this is a perfect summation of America’s dysfunctional immigration system.

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Taken from Captain Vol 7 14 (credit to Imgur user Snowchill).

via Policy.Mic:

Why Cap’s words matter now: Congress will leave soon for its August recess, potentially leaving the crisis on the border with Mexico completely unresolved. With just hours left until the legislative branch leaves town until Sept. 7, the president’s requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding to deal with the crisis of unaccompanied child refugees fleeing to the U.S. from Central America has not been assigned. Obama’s legislation is quite likely dead in the water.

A competing House GOP-sponsored bill which funds spending through September may have a rocky road in the Senate. The Republican version has provisions designed to appeal to the anti-immigration crowd, like eliminating hearings for child migrants in order to speed their deportation. While Democrats consider those provisions a poison pill, it is still possible that most conservative opponents of immigration reform will decide the bill doesn’t go far enough.

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What Do Philosophers Do?

An inside look into the life of the modern day philosopher.

The School of Athens, by Raphael, depicting the central figures of Plato and Aristotle, and other ancient philosophers exchanging knowledge.

The School of Athens, by Raphael, depicting the central figures of Plato and Aristotle, and other ancient philosophers exchanging knowledge.

via The Atlantic:

The romanticized version of what it’s like to be a philosopher must be one of the most appealing careers possible: read great thinkers, think deep thoughts, and while away the days in a beautiful office, surrounded by books, an Emeralite lamp, a hot mug of coffee, and perhaps a cat curled up by your feet. For the very few, your profound thoughts could revolutionize whole fields, herald new political ages, and inspire generations.

Of course, for many, academic philosophy proves a disappointment—an endless slog to publish, the tedium and heartache of departmental politics, and a dismal job market that tends to  people to far-flung college towns, far away from family and friends.

So what is a budding philosopher to do?

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EPA to Host Four Public Hearings on Climate Change Reduction

mokestack of Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Facility waste-to-energy plant.

Smokestack of Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Facility waste-to-energy plant.

And yet another battle in the climate change arena.

via EcoWatch:

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host four public hearings on its plan to reduce climate change pollution from power plants. The speakers list is already filling up. Physicians will outline the health hazards linked to climate change. Farmers will talk about the challenges of raising crops in the face of extreme weather. And governors and mayors will describe the benefits of attracting clean energy investment to their communities.

Many people will testify in favor of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This should come as no surprise considering 7 in 10 Americans view global warming as a serious problem and want the federal government to reduce the pollution that causes it, according to a recent ABC News poll.

But the hearings will also attract another group of speakers: representatives from the American Coal Council, Americans for Prosperity and other dirty industries.

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Should We Have the Right Not to Work?

This is the logo used for egalitarian/ equality beliefs. Similar to the well known anarchy "A", a capital "E" inscribed in a circle is used in political imagery to show a belief in the equality of different types of people.

This is the logo used for egalitarian/ equality beliefs. Similar to the well known anarchy “A”, a capital “E” inscribed in a circle is used in political imagery to show a belief in the equality of different types of people.

John Danaher examines Andrew Levine’s argument that the right not to work “is entailed by the fundamental principles of liberal egalitarianism.”

via Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology:

Voltaire once said that “work saves a man from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.” Many people endorse this sentiment. Indeed, the ability to seek and secure paid employment is often viewed as an essential part of a well-lived life. Those who do not work are reminded of the fact. They are said to be missing out on a valuable and fulfilling human experience. The sentiment is so pervasive that some of the foundational documents of international human rights law — including the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR Art.

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