The Obama NSA has been secretly collecting millions of phone records of American citizens. For all this intelligence-gathering, they haven't found the intelligence to realize how wrong this is.
Turkish authorities have heard the rumbles of uprisings across Europe and the Mid East, but haven't listened to their own people's concerns, nor learned how to peacefully quell a protest.
A Senator who listened to the challenges faced by New Jersey & the nation has passed away. A Governor who can only hear the drumbeat of ambition has chosen an illogical expensive way to replace him.
With governmental leaders these days, you don't have to ask, "Can you hear me now?" But when it comes to responding to their citizens, the real question is, "Why the heck won't you listen?"
If you want to be heard, listened to & engaged, start a convo with the welcoming cohort at your local progressive social club
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Its Wednesday May 8th! Do you know where your Podcast is? On this day in history back in 1858 John Brown held a secret anti-slavery convention in Canada where he and around 50 like-minded individuals adopted an anti slavery constitution. Brown is one of the most polarizing figures of the chaotic period leading up to the civil war. Hated by supporters of the southern way of exploiting human beings for their own personal gain and glory - I mean advocates of states’ rights; revered by the growing population of civil rights warriors who believed that change would not come without a fight; shunned and shamed by peace loving, meek abolitionists who preferred to sing songs, publish articles, and peacefully assemble to end slavery. Read more
This weekend in D.C. – it’s the “un-conference” of the year for #opengov heads & civic engagement developers. That would be Transparency Camp, organized by the Sunlight Foundation. By “un-conference”, it’s a straightforward-yet-refreshing take on usual conference get-togethers – panels are generally organized bottom-up, so actual tech developers can get-together in the same room and look at actual code & actual features & actual data & actual UIs & actual needs & actual opportunities. Well maybe not as much as would be ideal, but it’s still rather refreshing if you’ve spent months looking at a project management system like Pivotal Tracker or whatever & writing grant proposals in Google Docs.
David from OC & PPF will be there to demo our new major project: Read more
Last week was a tough week. Moments after the marathon bombings, first responders and ordinary citizens rushed in to provide help to the injured, not knowing whether or not they were putting their own lives at risk.
After those exemplary moments, the week went down hill as the nation went into freak-out mode. Pundits, politicians, news outlets and self-appointed sleuths on the internet heaped disgrace on themselves.
The talking heads went on interminably as if in filibuster; the news outlets got the basic facts wrong and the internet geeks identified an innocent guy as a suspect while never identifying the actual suspects. A New York tabloid ran a picture of the innocent guy on the front page. Wonder how his family feels.
Right wing media immediately picked on a “Saudi national” as a suspect (he apparently had nothing to do with Boston) and accused the “gummit” of suppressing the “story”.
We prayed that the bombers were “foreign” rather than white-bread Americans - turned out they were a little of both.
All the powers that be were doing their level best to shade the story for short term advantage, either in the ratings or politically. Read more
Labor Day Demonstration against child labor - 1909
So if "class warfare" actually breaks out (we’re not talking about beheading rich folks .... yet!) with what "class" do you identify?
Are you "middle class, upper middle-class, lower class?" These are categories we love to use and always see in the corporate media.
These categories are based on how much you make and how much you consume. They assume you work. You have a job. If if are "lower" or "middle" class you cannot stay home and live on accumulated wealth or on income generated by others working for you. Yet rarely are such folks characterized as "workers".
The broad categories of class are better defined by your relationship to the process of the production of wealth.
You are either a worker, selling your labor because you have no other adequate source of income or you are an owner, a capitalist whose income is generated by others - i.e workers in your factory/corporation or your investments, or your accumulated wealth. Read more
The OpenCongress team has submitted a proposal to the Knight Foundation NewsChallenge for open-government projects:
OpenGovernment.org – a version of “We The People” for state, city, and local governments
… thanks to mentions from friends-of-PPF like Chris Hayes, Zephyr Teachout, Reihan Salam, and others, as of this writing we’ve risen in the ranks to the bottom of the first page of most-viewed projects overall. Currently ranked 20th most-viewed of 825 proposals, not too shabby – and we’re sixth most-applauded overall, which is awesome popular support. Lots of great #opengov submissions, more on that below. (Right: a sample of our new, clean design for Q&A on OG.) Read more
Our tiny non-profit team was plainly excited when we heard that the Knight Foundation NewsChallenge had an #opengov theme, viz.: How might we improve the way citizens and governments interact? Good Q! Read more
The President having GOP Senators for dinner didn't stop them from having him for lunch. He may win over their taste-buds and tummies, but it's a far reach to their hearts and minds.
Paul Ryan's past budget proposals have turned the Republicans into lemmings, yet despite a decisive national defeat,Ryan's new budget is a lot like the old.
More Americans speak against the sequester but stopping cuts requires Washington action,and in DC these days, the hardest task is getting Congress to do anything at all.
We need a group of proud aging men with differing goals & fractured alliances to can get together to make a decision.
They just did it in the Vatican -- why is Capitol Hill having so much trouble?
Whether discussing the white smoke in Rome or just the hot air and dark tempers in DC, share your thoughts, a drink & a night with your local progressive social club.
Find - or start - a chapter near you.
I will give Senator Rand Paul (KY) credit for being steadfast with his filibuster, which says he actually believes what he is saying, or else he has serious designs on Continue Reading →
The post Rand Paul’s Filibuster and Rant Shows Fear and Ignorance
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It’s February 18th; do you know where your podcast is? On this date in 1856 the American Party held a convention to nominate a candidate for president - electing Millard Fillmore as the nominee for the Know-Nothings. This moniker reflected the early nativists’ tight lips when asked about their political platform, as members would respond to questions by saying the knew nothing. Two secretive nativist organizations, the “Order of United Americans” and the “Order of the Star Spangled Banner” (sound like great folks), merged to form the American Party in order to protect America from insidious immigrant influences. Ironically, every tribe of “nativists” on the continent prior to the arrival of the European deluge most certainly had a kindred faction the Know-Nothings would really have related to. History was, alas, not on the side of these patriotic souls. The nomination of Fillmore officially ended the party’s demure disposition as they “came out” to the public. This act also signified the beginning of the end of the party itself, as the public responded with a resounding “you suck” and the Know-Nothings won only Maryland, eventually disbanding shortly after. Read more
Last week, I drove up to my state’s capital, Olympia, to lobby on Arts & Heritage Day. I was the Team Captain for the Washington State Arts Alliance for several legislative districts, and a representative for the nonprofit arts organization I work for. My oldest son went with me as an ambassador for his school. Wearing gold stars of arts advocacy, we were ready to tell our elected leaders a thing or two about the value of culture, both economically and socially.
Except that’s not what happened.
Instead, my son and I were schooled in the finer points of state budgets, taxation, and funding by our fearless leaders. Taking their time to teach us about how government works, my legislators sent my son and me away better citizens. Needless to say, I was in love! Read more
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Watching the House vote on the Senate’s bill to avoid the fiscal cliff last night, I was struck by how relieving it can be to watch our leaders to their jobs. When the votes were tallied, we saw forward movement, with Reps. Boehner and Paul voting in favor of the necessary legislation. A splinter of hope was realized in the middle of the night on New Year’s Day. Rationality won out over ideology.
What has nearly broken our union time and again is a devotion to identity politics: so often we vote for candidates we think are like ourselves rather than the best people for the jobs. President Obama’s administration has been harassed and harangued by politicians and a media outlet obsessed with how his identity is different than theirs- and consequently, they’ve felt him unworthy of their support. At last, we are seeing that strident belief begin to weaken, and a glimmer of logic shines in. Read more