Tag Archives | Politics

Google Ditches ALEC

If you haven’t heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, generally referred to as ALEC, it’s a conservative group of American lawmakers who are trying to institute extreme right wing legislation throughout the states.

American Legislative Exchange Council (logo).gif

They’ve been remarkably successful in persuading large corporations to back them, but first Micrsoft and now Google are distancing themselves, reports the Chicago Tribune:

Google is breaking ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent network of conservative state legislators that, among other projects, works to roll back laws that promote solar and wind power, the company’s chairman said Monday.

The decision marks a major victory for a campaign by environmentalists, union activists and other liberal groups that have pushed companies to drop support for ALEC. Microsoft ended its ties to the group a few weeks ago.

“The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said, referring to the initial decision to support ALEC.

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The Rise of the Barbarians and Why the United States Has Lost All Credibility

The Pale Blue Dot, the Earth suspended in a sunbeam like a mote of dust.  Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

The Pale Blue Dot, the Earth suspended in a sunbeam like a mote of dust.

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.

Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

– Hermann Goering

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities.Read the rest

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People Are Attracted to the Body Odor of Others with Similar Political Beliefs

By Matthew Hurst via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By Matthew Hurst via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

A new study reveals that people find the smell of others with similar political opinions to be attractive, suggesting that one of the reasons why so many spouses share similar political views is because they were initially and subconsciously attracted to each other’s body odor.

During the study, 146 participants rated the attractiveness of the body odor of unknown strong liberals and strong conservatives, without ever seeing the individuals whose smells they were evaluating.

“People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive. So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction,” said Dr. Rose McDermott, lead author of the American Journal of Political Science study.

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Rand Paul: From Purist to Politician

One thing you can say about former Congressman Ron “Dr. No” Paul: he never compromised his libertarian views. It definitely held him back, career-wise; now his son Rand seems to have learned this lesson and is showing all the signs of a politician whose opinions change with the wind. Major profile in the Washington Post:

Sen. Rand Paul wanted to eliminate aid to Israel. Now he doesn’t. He wanted to scrap the Medicare system. Now he’s not sure.

Rand Paul (5584558924)

He didn’t like the idea of a border fence — it was expensive, and it reminded him of the Berlin Wall. Now he wants two fences, one behind the other.

And what about same-sex marriage? Paul’s position — such marriages are morally wrong, but Republicans should stop obsessing about them — seems so muddled that an Iowa pastor recently confronted him in frustration.

“With all due respect, that sounds very retreatist of you,” minister Michael Demastus said he told Paul (R-Ky.) after the senator explained his position during a stop in Des Moines.

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Festivals, Politics, and Change

Some enlightening words by David Nickles, of the DMT-Nexus’ magazine – The Nexian:

We can collectively dream of worlds that surpass our wildest individual imaginings and bring them into being year-after-year—and we do. Is it really less conceivable that we could take actions in our daily lives to challenge the systems and structures that seek to deny us access to that which we need to survive? By all means, change yourself and your festival culture, but don’t stop there. Unless we act to dismantle the destructive cultural constraints that hold us hostage, our change will never manifest beyond personal revelations and state-sanctioned temporary autonomous zones. We know we are capable of incredible actions; now is the time to focus on ways to break free of the culturally-prescribed containers of festival settings and to build new worlds that truly realize our fundamental needs as human beings.

Humberto Braga recently wrote an article entitled “How and Why ‘Conscious’ Festivals Need to Change,” where he argued forgoing one year of Burning Man in order to buy our way out of dominant culture by building a techno-utopic retreat.

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We Can Put An End to Pay to Play

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

What is Pay to Play? Commonly held, pay to play is a form of getting a special deal because you paid someone off. Usually this is an indirect transaction, because of clear legal guidelines, and so creative ways are devised around long-standing common-sense laws prohibiting politicians from taking bribes. For instance, when Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was asked to testify in his corruption trial as to who gave him a lavish Rolex watch, the governor artfully suggested, “from Santa.”

But while the McDonnell tragicomedy may be the stuff of Lifetime movies, the reality is, there is not much difference from a first family taking goods to endorse a company than when a candidate for office takes thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from those who expect a personal return. And since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision removed limits to outside spending in elections, the TV ads that dominate political campaigns are basically unregulated as far as spending or disclosing who is paying for them.… Read the rest

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Barack Obama is the Greatest Terrorist Hunter in the History of the Presidency

ObamNSASpeech2.PNG

That bold statement is made by Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, who asks why President Obama gets no credit for his terrorist hunting successes:

…Washington has reached a consensus view that Obama has been hesitant, contradictory, and flinching on a range of issues related to the Middle East. It is true that his rhetoric has not often matched his strategy (see Peter Baker’s story on the disconnect between some of Obama’s reassuring statements on the Middle East and the dispiriting reality of the place, and Richard Haass’s comments on Administration promises); it is true that early reports suggest that the strategy he is unveiling to counter ISIS seems limited and evolutionary; and it also true, as Ron Fournier, and others, note, that Obama has a tendency to tell America’s enemies what he won’t do to them, rather than what he will do.

Here are two things that are also true: Obama has become the greatest terrorist hunter in the history of the presidency; and his successful push to disarm the Assad regime of the bulk of its chemical-weapons stockpiles has removed from the Middle East, and beyond, the possibility of an unparalleled cataclysm.

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How the Government and Private Elites Have Teamed Up for Decades to Astroturf America

Dean G. Acheson, U.S. Secretary of State, January 21, 1949 to January 20, 1953

Dean G. Acheson, U.S. Secretary of State, January 21, 1949 to January 20, 1953

Recently it was reported that a blue-ribbon, anti-Iran nonprofit is so well-connected that it may have been working intimately with the U.S. government behind the scenes. Journalist Glenn Greenwald wondered whether the group, United Against Nuclear Iran, is in fact a government front. That would hardly be as unusual as you’d think.

After serving as President Harry Truman’s secretary of state, Dean Acheson reminisced that 1940s organizations he had supported — the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies and the Citizens’ Committee for the Marshall Plan — were “uniquely and typically American.” Many groups engage in protest, Acheson noted, but “few organize privately to support Government, and fewer still to support policies and measures not directly beneficial to themselves or their group.”

My research discloses that these organizations, far from being extraordinary, were just the most famous of dozens of elite, bipartisan “citizens committees” that have secretly collaborated with the administration of the day, whether Democratic or Republican.… Read the rest

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The Scapegoat: A Brief History of Meaning

Be it personal, political, or otherwise. Scapegoating erodes through a lack of accountability.

A modern interpretation of Azazel as a Satanic...

A modern interpretation of Azazel as a Satanic, goatlike demon, from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (Paris,1825). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Megge Hill Fitz-Randolph @ suite.io

According to Sir James Frazer’s turn of the century classic, The Golden Bough; A Study in Magic and Religion, scapegoating has existed in every culture since the earliest times. Animals such as goats, snakes, and lizards as well as human beings were used to carry the village sins away from the community.

Either through sacrifice or banishment, the chosen victim carried the guilt and blame for the entire population. The perpetrator’s story is slightly different, however.

Historically Speaking

Historically what was chosen to carry the sins could be animal, vegetable or mineral.

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