Tag Archives: democrat

Schakowsky: Assault Weapons Ban ‘Just the Beginning’

Schakowsky: Assault Weapons Ban ‘Just the Beginning’

by Joel B. Pollak

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the Democratic Party’s leadership in the House of Representatives, suggested to Jason Mattera at a Feb. 13 women’s rights rally that plans for an assault weapons ban and private-sales background checks were only the beginning of a broader gun control agenda extending to handguns as well.

Schakowsky evidently did not recognize Mattera, a conservative video journalist and senior investigative reporter for Talk Radio Network, who infamously confronted Vice President Joe Biden in the Capitol. (Mattera introduced himself to Schakowsky by name but did not indicate that he was filming or that he is conservative.) She spoke to Mattera as if he were a fellow gun control enthusiast–and Mattera played along, eliciting answers about Schakowsky’s enthusiasm for gun control.

“We want everything on the table,” Schakowsky told Mattera. “This is a moment of opportunity. There’s no question about it.”

One poignant exchange was as follows:

Schakowsky: We’re on a roll now, and I think we’ve got to take the–you know, we’re gonna push as hard as we can and as far as we can.

Mattera: So the assault weapons ban is just the beginning?

Schakowsky: Oh absolutely. I mean, I’m against handguns. We have, in Illinois, the Council Against Handgun… something [Violence]. Yeah, I’m a member of that. So, absolutely.

In another exchange, Schakowsky proposed allowances for states and municipalities to ban guns–though such laws have been repeatedly rejected by the Supreme Court:

Mattera: We’ll never get a handgun ban with the Second Amendment as stated.

Schakowsky: I don’t know. I don’t know that we can’t. And there may be an allowance, once again, for communities–I have communities in my district that prohibited handguns within their borders. The rights of municipalities and states to view that as a sensible way to keep people safe–I don’t think it’s precluded.

When Mattera asked why legislators were not pressing for a handgun ban, given that most murders are committed with handguns, Schakowsky replied: “Because we’re not going to be able to win that. Not now.” She went on to explain why background checks were a useful interim policy, arguing that they would “address any kind of weapon.”

Schakowsky’s remarks about plans for broader gun control are not the first time she has revealed the long-term goal behind short-term policy debates. She has a tendency to do so when speaking to apparently sympathetic audiences. In 2009, she told a crowd that the goal of Obamacare would be to “put the private insurance industry out of business.”

Officially, Democrats–including Schakowsky–hew to the party line as laid down by the president, which pledges support for the Second Amendment and for gun ownership in rural communities where hunting and shooting are viewed as traditional pastimes.

Gun owners fear that the Sandy Hook-inspired gun control measures before Congress–none of which would have stopped the mass shooting at Sandy Hook–are a prelude to broader regulations, including the banning of handguns and the eventual registration and confiscation of firearms, despite earnest assurances by Democrats to the contrary.

The Democratic Party has taken a hard line on guns recently, with President Obama’s strategist, David Axelrod, joining New York mayor Michael Bloomberg in backing gun control enthusiast Robin Kelly over former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, in the recent primary to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois. Kelly has promised to be a “leader” in “banning guns.”
SOURCE

Democratic Rep: Amend Constitution To Allow Control Of Speech

Democratic Rep: Amend Constitution To Allow Control Of Speech

– A Democratic representative is calling for an amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow for some legislative restriction of freedom of speech.

“We need a constitutional amendment that would allow the legislature to control the so-called free speech rights of corporations,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) was quoted as saying by CNS News.

He reportedly made these comments while speaking at the Annesbrooks HOA candidate Forum held last month.

In a video obtained by the website, Johnson asserts that “corporations control … patterns of thinking.”

“They control the media. They control the messages that you get,” he added. “And these folks … are setting up a scenario where they’re privatizing every aspect of our lives as we know it. So, wake up! Wake up! Let’s look at what’s happening.”

Corporations and unions are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution because of the ruling in “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,” which found that a state law prohibiting corporations from making political campaign contributions using their treasury funds was unconstitutional.

The ruling additionally stated that the spending was a form of political speech that is protected by the First Amendment, according to the official blog of the Supreme Court of the United States.

“These corporations, along with the people they support, other millionaires who they’re putting into office, are stealing your government,” Johnson was quoted as saying by CNS News. “They’re stealing the government and the U.S. Supreme Court was a big enabler with the Citizens United case.”

SOURCE

Hostile Workplace: Obama White House pays women less than men

Hostile Workplace
Obama White House pays women less than men, records show

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BY: Andrew Stiles –

Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show.

According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).

Calculating the median salary for each gender required some assumptions to be made based on the employee names. When unclear, every effort was taken to determine the appropriate gender.

The Obama campaign on Wednesday lashed out at presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney for his failure to immediately endorse the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, a controversial law enacted in 2009 that made it easier to file discrimination lawsuits.

President Obama has frequently criticized the gender pay gap, such as the one that exists in White House.

“Paycheck discrimination hurts families who lose out on badly needed income,” he said in a July 2010 statement. “And with so many families depending on women’s wages, it hurts the American economy as a whole.”

It is not known whether any female employees at the White House have filed lawsuits under the Ledbetter Act.

The president and his Democratic allies have accused Republicans of waging a “war on women,” and have touted themselves as champions of female equality. Obama’s rhetoric, however, has not always been supported by his actions.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters last week that Obama believes it is “long past the time” for women to be admitted to the traditionally all-male Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters golf tournament.

But the president has demonstrated a strong preference for all-male foursomes in his frequent golf outings, a bias that extends well beyond the putting green and into the Oval Office.

“Women are Obama’s base, and they don’t seem to have enough people who look like the base inside of their own inner circle,” former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers told the New York Times.

In a 2011 article titled “The White House Boys’ Club: President Obama Has a Woman Problem,” TIME magazine’s Amy Sullivan detailed the president’s fondness for male-dominated environments.

“There’s a looseness to Obama when he’s hanging out with the boys club that doesn’t appear in co-ed gatherings,” she wrote. “The president blows off steam on the golf course with male colleagues and friends. He takes to the White House basketball court with NBA stars, men’s college players, and male cabinet members and members of Congress.”

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama was criticized for paying the women on his campaign staff less than the men, and far less than GOP opponent John McCain paid his female staffers.

SOURCE

Catholics, contraceptives and John Locke


Catholics, contraceptives and John Locke

By Michael Gerson

It is extraordinary how far some will go to knit the random scraps and patches of events into the quilt of a narrative. So the Susan B. Komen controversy, resistance to the administration’s contraceptive mandate, a stag-party joke by Foster Friess and a cruel epithet from Rush Limbaugh somehow add up to a Republican war on women, sure to provoke the political backlash of an entire gender.

American women haven’t behaved as predicted or demanded. President Obama’s job approval has risen or, more recently, fallen independently of the chromosomal status of voters. Men and women, it turns out, resent dipping into their retirement savings to drive to work.

Recent opinion surveys on the contraceptive mandate, in particular, have shown women to be an independent-minded lot. In coverage of its own recent poll, the New York Times conceded that the views of women on this topic are “split.” By a plurality of 46 percent to 44 percent, women believe that employers should be able to “opt out” of providing birth-control coverage for religious reasons. But opinion is not really “split” on the question of whether “religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital and university” should be able to opt out of offering coverage. Women support this proposition by 53 percent to 38 percent.

How is this possible? Americans overwhelmingly endorse contraception and regularly practice what they preach. Most believe — myself included — that child spacing and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases are public goods. Why not impose this social consensus on all private institutions?

The answer depends on your view, not of contraception, but of pluralism and religious freedom.

One tradition of religious liberty contends that freedom of conscience is protected and advanced by the autonomy of religious groups. In this view, government should honor an institutional pluralism — the ability of people to associate, live and act in accordance with their religious beliefs, limited only by the clear requirements of public order. So Roger Williams welcomed Catholics and Quakers to the Rhode Island colony, arguing that a “Church or company of worshippers (whether true or false) .?.?. may dissent, divide, breake into Schismes and Factions, sue and implead each other at the Law, yea wholly breake up and dissolve into pieces and nothing, and yet the peace of the Citie not be in the least measure impaired or disturbed.”

There is another form of modern liberalism that defines freedom of conscience in purely personal terms. Only the individual and the state are real, at least when it comes to the law. And the state must often intervene to protect the individual from the oppression of illiberal social institutions, particularly religious ones.

This is the guiding philosophy of the American Civil Liberties Union. But as Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, pointed out to me, this approach has roots in the Anglo American tradition of political philosophy. John Locke’s “Letter Concerning Toleration” urges legal respect for individual conscience because “everyone is orthodox to himself.” But Locke offered no tolerance for the institution of the Catholic Church: “That Church can have no right to be tolerated by the magistrate which is constituted upon such a bottom that all those who enter into it do thereby ipso facto deliver themselves up to the protection and service of another prince.” In Locke’s view, Catholics can worship as they wish as individuals, but their institution is a danger to the liberal order.

In American history, the treatment of the Catholic Church has often been the measure of institutional religious tolerance. It is amazing how Lockean (unconsciously, one assumes) recent actions by the Obama administration have been. Catholics individuals are free to worship. Catholic institutions must be forced to reflect liberal ideals and values.

On a variety of issues, balancing individual and institutional rights isn’t easy. But the contraceptive mandate is a particularly revealing test case. One side of the controversy argues that the autonomy of religious institutions is essential to the expression of individual conscience and important to the common good. The other side believes that the moral and health choices of individuals need to be protected by government against oppressive religious groups such as the Catholic bishops. So it is not enough for contraceptives to be legal and generally available; they must be provided (directly or indirectly) by Catholic institutions to their employees.

This is the real debate on the contraceptive mandate — and the administration has not won it.
SOURCE

Ron Paul Placed Second in New Hampshire Presidential Primary……..The Democratic Presidential Primary

Ron Paul Placed Second in New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary

On January 12, the New Hampshire Secretary of State posted election returns on his web page from the January 10 presidential primary. It is the custom in New Hampshire to count write-ins in the Democratic presidential primary received by all candidates who appeared on the Republican presidential primary ballot, and vice versa. No tally is made for write-in candidates who were not on any party’s presidential primary ballot.

The returns for the Democratic primary can be seen here. Ron Paul received 2,273 write-ins in the Democratic presidential primary, so he placed second in that primary behind President Obama, and ahead of the other thirteen candidates whose names were printed on the Democratic ballot. No one will ever know how many write-ins Hillary Clinton received, since her votes weren’t tallied because she wasn’t on any 2012 primary ballot in New Hampshire. But, the total number of write-ins for people who weren’t on any primary ballot, in the Democratic race, was only 759, so obviously Clinton received a smaller number than 759. Mitt Romney placed third in the Democratic primary, with 1,808 write-ins. Thanks to Robbin Stewart for this news.

SOURCE

Not ONLY in America

Young black men make up four in 10 of youth jail population

Report shows proportion of black and minority ethnic young men in young offender institutions in England and Wales has risen

Alan Travis,

Young black men now account for nearly 40% of the population of youth jails in England and Wales, according to a report by the chief inspector of prisons.

The report, published jointly with the youth justice board, shows that the proportion of black and other minority ethnic young men in young offender institutions (YOIs) has risen from 23% in 2006 and 33% in 2009/10 to 39% last year.

The changing demographic profile of the population inside youth jails in England and Wales also shows an increasing proportion of young Muslims, up from 13% last year to 16% this year. Foreign national young men account for a record 6% of the population.

The chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, says young people aged 15 to 18 are being held in deteroriating conditions in the YOI network, with fewer feeling safe while they are locked up.

The inspection showed that fewer young inmates felt they could tell someone they were being victimised or believed a member of staff would take them seriously. Only half said they had done something while they were inside that would make them less likely to reoffend in the future.

The report also reveals that more that one-third of the young men had been physically restrained as part of the disciplinary process at their YOI. The highest restraint rate – 66% – was at the Keppel unit at Wetherby, which deals with male teenagers who have not responded to a “normal” YOI regime. The lowest – 8% – was at the Carlford unit near Woodbridge, Suffolk, which holds 30 teenage boys serving long sentences.

The over-representation of young black men in youth jails comes despite a sharp fall in the number of children and young people in custody that has already led to the closure of five YOIs, including a specialist unit for young women.

The total population of the youth justice “secure estate”, which includes eight male YOIs and three specialist units for girls and young women, continued to fall from 1,977 in March 2010 to 1,822 this March, before this summer’s riots.

Hardwick says, however, that the number of black and minority ethnic children in custody has not fallen at the same rate as the number of white children being locked up.

Between 2007 and 2011 there was a 37% reduction in white children in custody, compared with a 16% reduction in black and ethnic minority children,” says the report.

The report does not discuss the reasons why young black people make up an ever greater proportion of the shrinking youth jail population. But Hardwick does note that an increasing number – 53% now, compared with 39% last year – of young men are being sent to prison for the first time.

Hardwick said: “This report has highlighted some deterioration in children and young people’s experience of custody. Despite the falling numbers, this population has well-defined vulnerability and increasing numbers within minority groups. The need, therefore, to provide these people with support during their time in custody and in preparation for their release is as great as ever.”

Frances Done, the chair of the youth justice board, which commissions places in youth prisons, said it would be working with all secure establishments to make sure that young people’s time in custody has positive results.

The inspection was based on the experience of 1,115 young men and 47 young women in YOIs and specialist units.

SOURCE

Ron Paul Right For America

By DAN HIRSCHHORN |

Ron Paul’s opinions about cutting the budget are well-known, but on Monday, he’ll get specific: the Texas congressman will lay out a budget blueprint for deep and far-reaching cuts to federal spending, including the elimination of five cabinet-level departments and the drawdown of American troops fighting overseas.

There will even be a symbolic readjustment of the president’s own salary to put it in line with the average American salary.

During an afternoon speech in Las Vegas ahead of Tuesday’s debate, Paul will say that his plan for $1 trillion in cuts will create a balanced federal budget by the third year of his presidency.

“Dr. Paul is the only candidate with a plan to cut spending and truly balance the budget,” says an executive summary of the plan, which POLITICO obtained, along with detailed spending and taxation levels, ahead of its release. “This is the only plan that will deliver what America needs in these difficult times: Major regulatory relief, large spending cuts, sound monetary policy, and a balanced budget.”

Many of the ideas are familiar from Paul’s staunch libertarianism, as well as tea party favorites like eliminating the departments of education and energy. But Paul goes further: he’ll propose immediately freezing spending by numerous government agencies at 2006 levels, the last time Republicans had complete control of the federal budget, and drastically reducing spending elsewhere. The EPA would see a 30 percent cut, the Food and Drug Administration would see one of 40 percent and foreign aid would be zeroed out immediately. He’d also take an ax to Pentagon funding for wars.

Medicaid, the children’s health insurance program, food stamps, family support programs and the children’s nutrition program would all be block-granted to the states and removed from the mandatory spending column of the federal budget. Some functions of eliminated departments, such as Pell Grants, would be continued elsewhere in the federal bureaucracy.

And in a noticeable nod to seniors during an election year when Social Security’s become an issue within the Republican primary, the campaign says that plan “honors our promise to our seniors and veterans, while allowing young workers to opt out.”

The federal workforce would be reduced by 10 percent, and the president’s pay would be cut to $39,336 — a level that the Paul document notes is “approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker.”

Paul would also make far-reaching changes to federal tax policy, reducing the top corporate income tax rate to 15 percent, eliminating capital gains and dividends taxes, and allowing for repatriation of overseas capital without tax penalties. All Bush-era tax cuts would be extended.

And like the rest of his GOP rivals, Paul would repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, along with the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law enacted last year. Paul, a longtime Federal Reserve critic, would also push a full audit of the central bank, as well as legislation to “strengthen the dollar and stabilize inflation.”

Read more: SOURCE

Fmr. Clinton Adviser: ‘Very Possible’ Obama Will Bow Out of Presidential Race


Fmr. Clinton Adviser: ‘Very Possible’ Obama Will Bow Out of Presidential Race – For Now

By Grant M. Dahl

In an interview with conservative radio icon Sean Hannity, former President Clinton adviser and campaign manager Dick Morris stated that, after speaking with a Democratic strategist, he thinks it is “very possible” that President Obama might acquiesce to requests from the Democratic leadership in Congress and bow out of the 2012 race, leaving the door open for him to return sometime in the future.

“I asked a top Democratic strategist the other day and he thought that it was possible that, in January, Harry Reid comes to Obama and says, ‘Look you cost us control of the House last year, you’re going to cost us control of the Senate this year. For the good of the party you have to step aside’
” said Morris.

“And, then, (Obama) pulls a Lyndon Johnson, he says ‘I’m fighting to solve the recession, and problem is because of partisanship and my re-election people reject everything I say because of partisanship, so I’m going to not run for president and focus my full time attention on solving this recession’ and then go out popular,” Morris added.

The strategy proposed here is an interesting one. With his approval ratings at an all time low, Obama is looking at a very high likelihood of a defeat in the 2012 elections and forecasters, using the examples of the 2011 special elections in New York City and Nevada, have forecast a very high probability of losses across the nation for the Democratic Party because of Obama.

A withdrawal by President Obama, with a statement that the reason he’s bowing out is to solve the recession, would likely allow the Democratic Party to recover some of its popularity and allow the president to present himself as rising above the partisan fights in Congress with a higher goal in mind. This would help the Democrats to better portray the Republicans, and especially the Tea Party, as the stubborn, non-compromising party uninterested in truly solving the nation’s problems.

Morris added that he thinks that this strategy could also set up Obama for a presidential run in a later election.

“The twenty second amendment does not preclude non-consecutive terms, he is young, (he could) preserve himself as a possible candidate down the road” said Morris. “We’ve seen how Bill Clinton is much more popular now then he was when he was leaving office, same with Jimmy Carter.”

Intriguing as that possibility is, however, non-consecutive presidential terms have only happened once before in American politics, though they have been attempted by a few former presidents. The only president to successfully serve non-consecutive terms was Democrat Grover Cleveland who won election in 1884, lost in 1888, and won in 1892

SOURCE

North Carolina Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue Calls For Suspension of Congressional Elections

Perdue jokes about suspending Congressional elections for two years

Submitted by jbfrank

Speaking to a Cary Rotary Club today, N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue suggested suspending Congressional elections for two years so that Congress can focus on economic recovery and not the next election.

“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that,
” Perdue said. “You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

The comment — which came during a discussion of the economy — perked more than a few ears. It’s unclear whether Perdue, a Democrat, is serious — but her tone was level and she asked others to support her on the idea. (Read her full remarks below.)

Later Tuesday afternoon, Perdue’s office clarified the remarks: “Come on,” said spokeswoman Chris Mackey in a statement. “Gov. Perdue was obviously using hyperbole to highlight what we can all agree is a serious problem: Washington politicians who focus on their own election instead of what’s best for the people they serve.”

The Republicans sure are taking it seriously as they look to score political points. Here’s a statement from GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood:

“Now is a time when politicians need to be held accountable more than ever. To suspend an election would be removing the surest mechanism that people have to hold politicians accountable: the right to vote. Does the Governor not believe that people of North Carolina have the ability to think for themselves about whether or not the actions of elected officials are working?”

UPDATED: GOP House candidate Paul Coble didn’t think much of Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s idea that congressional elections be suspended for two years so Congress can concentrate on the economy.

“That’s a proposal that only the politicians that have worsened our economic mess could appreciate,”
said Coble, who is chairman of the Wake County commissioners. “Governor Perdue and the politicians in Washington may fear the message voters send next November.”

Perdue’s full statement:

“You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It’s a little bit more contentious now but it’s not impossible to try to do what’s right in this state. You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

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The Top 10 Reasons Why Dr. Ron Paul Is the Only Rational Choice

The Top 10 Reasons Why Dr. Ron Paul Is the Only Rational Choice


The top 10 reasons why Dr. Ron Paul is the only rational presidential choice for Americans, Democratic, Republican and Independent:

10. Dr. Paul works a real job, has run a small a business and served in the military. He has been a physician for 40 years, co-owned a coin store for 12 years and was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. National Guard for five years. That was how our country was set up — for public servants to work a real job that they returned to after their public service was done. He has real skills and is not a professional politician.

9. Dr. Paul has decades of experience running a business and in depth knowlegde of health care.

8. Dr. Paul understands money and is chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology.

7. Dr. Paul does the right thing referencing the U.S. Constitution and works for the country versus campaigning for his ego. He has been serving the public in politics for over 40 years.

6. Dr. Paul refuses to accept a federal pension for his public service, something other members get after a short period because they do not have real jobs. According to Dr. Paul, to receive a pension for public service would be “hypocritical and immoral.”

5. Unlike most other candidates out there, Dr. Paul is not a good-looking, smooth-talking, snake charmer or charismatic zealot. He is a regular, plain-spoken person who says it the way it is.

4. Dr. Paul doesn’t care if big groups like him (like unions and businesses). His donations come primarily from individuals, not from groups. He is willing to serve his country honorably without personal gain. Dr. Paul will do what is right for the U.S. based on the Constitution whether or not big money or big government likes it.

3. Dr. Paul has written a bill, called the Sun Light Rule that requires our politicians have at least 10 days to read bills before signing them.

2. Dr. Paul will bring practical wisdom, cut spending, balance the budget, stabilize the economy and probably be able to do away with the IRS and income tax, a tax that is not constitutional and was started to fund the civil war and supposed to stop after the civil war. He wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education, giving the states and parents back control. He wants to do away with other large government agencies, restoring the rightful power to the states.

1. Dr. Paul’s old-fashioned decency, integrity, honor and real-life experience are exactly what our country needs after hiring actors, puppets, oil and other group-connected slick sales men and marketers. He’s been married to the same woman, Carol, for 54 years (married 1957).

Electing dishonorable, irresponsible, good-looking, smooth-talkers over the past several decades has eroded our country’s stability.

Are Americans finally ready to elect an honest, decent man who will not listen to non-sense from regular Americans, politicians or corporations? A president who will be accountable and hold us all accountable? I hope so.

“Special interests have replaced the concern that the Founders had for general welfare. Vote trading is seen as good politics. The errand-boy mentality is ordinary, the defender of liberty is seen as bizarre. It’s difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic.” — Dr. Paul

He does not take money from corporate PACs. Lobbyists cannot sway him; to try is a waste of time. He never bargains with his own deeply held beliefs, nor does he cut backroom deals. Because his political views and his personal convictions are in complete harmony, he seldom faces a “tough” vote. And when the politicking for the week is over, he returns to his district to take up his lifelong occupation, which has nothing to do with politics.” — S. C. Gwynne

SOURCE

Time to end America’s two-party system?


Time to end America’s two-party system?

Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Confidence in the U.S. Congress is at a historic low, more than half of Americans think that the Republican and Democratic parties are doing such a bad job that a third party is needed, and the word “dysfunction” has been common currency in the drawn-out debate over the national debt.

Does this mean the bells are tolling for the Republican-Democratic duopoly which has dominated American political life for more than 150 years?

The answer is yes for a budding political force that aims to get the millions of voters who are disaffected by the present system to bypass the traditional selection of presidential candidates through primary elections.

Instead, the new organization, Americans Elect, says it wants voters “to decide the issues that matter, find candidates to match your views and nominate the President and Vice President directly.”

It’s a novel and extremely ambitious idea, backed by a 50-strong board of advisors that includes business executives, seasoned political operatives and senior former government officials, including ex-FBI director William Webster and former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills. Also on the board: Doug Schoen, a pollster who worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The chairman of the group is Peter Ackerman, who heads the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and made a fortune in the 1980s working for Drexel Burnham Lambert, the junk-bond dealers. His son Elliot is chief operations officer. Both are confident that the Internet and social media are the right tools to change the way the system functions.

The debt debate has strengthened the case of those who think the two-party system is failing. According to a CNN poll this week, 77 percent of Americans say that elected officials in Washington have behaved “like spoiled children” in the tug-of-war over raising the debt ceiling.

Schoen described the disenchantment of many Americans with the bickering in Washington as an “extraordinary opportunity” to win support for the Americans Elect project and said some 40,000 voters had added their signatures in the past few days to the 1.7 million the campaign had already collected. “We are winning greater public acceptance than anyone might have expected,” he said.

Traffic to the website also jumped, according to Americans Elect. “We had more than 600,000 page views on AmericansElect.org in the past 10 days,” said Ainsley Perrien, the project’s press secretary. “And, in the same period, more than 3,000 ideas and comments.”

These are substantial numbers for a new website and for an organization barely known nationally until an influential New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, wrote about it in enthusiastic terms in July: “What Amazon.com did to books, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life – remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in.”

FORMIDABLE OBSTACLES

Perhaps. There are formidable obstacles on the road to the goals of Americans Elect: win access to all 50 state ballots as an essential step to holding an online convention in June, 2012, open to registered voters who have signed up to select a candidate for president and vice president. The running mate must be from a different party (or independent).

Joshua Levine, the group’s chief technology officer who joined Americans Elect from the same position at E-Trade, has predicted that the way the group is planning its online convention will be a model for the way the voting process will be shaped in the future. Again, perhaps.

Old traditions die hard. But it is worth noting that according to polls, 41 percent of Americans are describing themselves as independents, beholden to neither of the two parties – which are more polarized than the electorate as a whole.

Will the disenchanted middle go to the trouble of registering with Americans Elect, participating in debates, selecting candidates?

It’s difficult to predict whether the depth of disgust shown by the polls will translate into action, and the will to try something novel and untested. What Americans Elect is hoping to do is more than a twist on an old story of third party candidates taking on the establishment, as did Ross Perot in 1992 (he won almost 20 percent of the vote), John Anderson in 1980 (6.6 percent), or Ralph Nader in 2000 (2.7 percent).

Officials of the group say it’s more about opening a second, 21st century process than about a third party.

To paraphrase a Wall Street phrase – past polls are no guarantee of future results but it’s useful to keep in mind the surveys mentioned at the beginning of this column. Gallup began asking about Americans’ confidence in various institutions in 1973. Then, 42 percent of respondents said they had confidence in Congress. By June 2011, it had dropped to 12 percent, dead last on a list of 16 institutions.

Gallup began asking about support for a third party in 2003, when 40 percent of respondents said there was no need for it. By May 2011, 52 percent thought there was a need for a third party. Among independents, 68 percent of independents thought so.

And by June 2012, when Americans Elect plans to hold its online convention? Let the betting begin.

You can contact the author at [email protected]

SOURCE

Obama Successfully Demobilized the Anti-war Movement

Obama Successfully Demobilized the Anti-war Movement

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
April 8, 2011

It is more evidence the antiwar movement is largely a left-vs-right distraction. A new study by U-M’s Michael Heaney and colleague Fabio Rojas of Indiana University shows that the antiwar movement in the United States demobilized as Democrats took over Congress and the White House.

A small, dedicated core of people protest against Obama’s third war.

“As president, Obama has maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan,” said Heaney. “The antiwar movement should have been furious at Obama’s ‘betrayal’ and reinvigorated its protest activity.”

“Instead, attendance at antiwar rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement have dissipated. The election of Obama appeared to be a demobilizing force on the antiwar movement, even in the face of his pro-war decisions.”

“Since Democrats are more numerous in the population at large than are members of third parties, the withdrawal of Democrats from the movement in 2009 appears to be a significant explanation for the falling size of antiwar protests,
” Heaney said. “Thus, we have identified the kernel of the linkage between Democratic partisanship and the demobilization of the antiwar movement.”

Overall, our results convincingly demonstrate a strong relationship between partisanship and the dynamics of the antiwar movement. While Obama’s election was heralded as a victory for the antiwar movement, Obama’s election, in fact, thwarted the ability of the movement to achieve critical mass.”

Democrats and other liberal supporters of the establishment are not opposed to mass murder and wanton slaughter by the state – they merely oppose it when Republicans do it. Opposition is a partisan formality.

A corporate media poll conducted in late March on Obama’s handling of the unconstitutional attack on Libya shows that two-thirds of Democrat respondents support violating international law and pummeling the oil-rich north African country with Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Congress Democrats often howled about “Bush’s Wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan, but supported them – including the mass murder of 1.5 million Iraqis, a war criminal of immense proportion – by continuing to fund them. The number of anti-war Democrats in Congress who worked to defund the illegal occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq was miniscule.

Obama duped the so-called anti-war faction of his party during the election. He said he’d bring home the troops and close down Gitmo. During the primaries, he tried to make Hillary Clinton look like the war candidate.

Once elected as savior, Obama not only continued Bush’s war policies – in fact the war policies of the global elite – but expanded them. Troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon and the CIA stepped up the terror campaign in Pakistan. Gitmo remains open.

History repeats itself. In 1999, then president Clinton attacked Yugoslavia. Democrats and liberals cheered him on. Congress was silent. Only four Democrats objected. In the House, there was only one, Barbara Lee of California. In the Senate, just three – Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Fritz Hollings of South Carolina, and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.

Both Republicans and Democrats love mass murder and military conquest. War is the health of the state, declared Randolph Bourne as the First World War unfolded. The Great War extracted a great toll – 37 million casualties. London and Wall Street bankers cooked up that devastating war and every one since, including the one now expanding in Libya as a U.S. general hints the government will soon send in ground troops and thus initiate a third war in the Arab and Muslim Middle East.

Democrats are so enthusiastic about the murder campaign in Libya, they didn’t even bother to vote on it, not that Obama gave them a chance – like Bush before him, he used the unchecked power of a unitary presidency to attack the African country. “He has proceeded in a way that is cautions and thoughtful,” said a proud Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat. “He has put the ducks in a row before he decided the United States should take the lead for a short period of time to do what only we could do.”

Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich stands alone in the wilderness with Rep. Ron Paul. He said Obama’s unconstitutional attack “is an act of war” and an impeachable offense. “The president made statements which attempt to minimize U.S. action, but U.S. planes may drop U.S. bombs and U.S. missiles may be involved in striking another sovereign nation. War from the air is still war,” he said in a lengthy speech on the House floor, a speech mostly ignored by fellow Democrats.

“It is hard to imagine that Congress, during the current contentious debate over deficits and budget cutting, would agree to plunge America into still another war, especially since America will spend trillions in total for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and incursions into Pakistan,” he said.

Really, it is not hard to imagine at all. Democrats and Republicans do the bidding of the global elite and the global bankster elite not only want war in the Middle East, they want the enslaving debt that invariably comes with it.

In 2003, as he prepared to attack Iraq, Bush dismissed the antiwar movement as a focus group. Democrats are not so crude. Instead, they deem their war “humanitarian,” as a previous war criminal, Bill Clinton, did as he bombed the former Yugoslavia with depleted uranium, in effect launching a nuclear war against that small country.

http://www.infowars.com/obama-successfully-demobilized-the-anti-war-movement/

Eric Holder: Black Panther case focus demeans ‘my people’

Attorney General Eric Holder finally got fed up Tuesday with claims that the Justice Department went easy in a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because they are African American.

Holder’s frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia.

Left of Center

The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

“Think about that,” Holder said. “When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, to compare what people subjected to that with what happened in Philadelphia, which was inappropriate….to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line for my people,” said Holder, who is black.

Holder noted that his late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone Jones, helped integrate the University of Alabama.

“To compare that kind of courage, that kind of action, to say some Black Panther incident is of greater concern to us, historically, I think just flies in the face of history,” Holder said with evident exasperation.

In a series of questions and comments earlier in the hearing, Culberson insisted that race had infected the decision-making process. “There’s clearly overwhelming evidence that your Department of Justice refuses to protect the rights of anybody other than African-Americans to vote,” the Texas Republican said. “There’s a double standard here.”

“This Department of Justice does not enforce the law on the basis of race,” Holder insisted.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Democrat from Philadelphia, said the Black Panthers “should not have been there.” But he said the GOP was making too much out of a fleeting incident involving a couple of people.

“The most unethical thing a person can do is make allegations based on absolutely nothing,” Fattah said. “The only issue of race is singling out this particular decision…That this rises to national significance is bogus on its face.”

http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/0311/Eric_Holder_Black_Panther_case_focus_demeans_my_people.html