The UN General Assembly meetings this week offer President Obama a chance to capitalize on recent diplomatic developments with Syria and to extend a hand to new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the hopes of launching renewed negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. In an op-ed in the Washington Post last week, Rouhani urged other leaders “to respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue.” It is critical for Obama to show that his administration is willing to answer Iranian concessions with some relief of sanctions that Rouhani can bring to the Iranian people.
Iran is Ready for Talks
A prominent adviser to the Iranian leadership, Amir Mohebbian, explains that Iran’s leaders see the next six months represent the best opportunity to reach an agreement, before campaigning for parliamentary elections begins in March. This is a window the US cannot afford to miss. It is time for the US to offer a reasonable deal that would signal to the Iranian people that the West is willing to work towards a larger agreement. Read more
Many commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington protest, one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement. The hopes, dreams and aspirations of Martin Luther King Jr. and many others striving for equality were celebrated. Some might argue that much progress has been made, and civil rights are no longer a partisan issue. However, this may not be the case. Frank James pointed out that “The parties have seldom seemed so far apart as they did Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of King's speech and the March on Washington. Not a single Republican elected official spoke at the ‘Let Freedom Ring’ event at the Lincoln Memorial, site of King's 1963 speech, though some were invited.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/08/28/216580613/something-w...
This could be due to mere coincidence, yet there is some reason to believe otherwise. Read more
What is worth reading in todays world? Naturally there are any number of books that one can find online, in a bookstore, or the library that will peak someone's interest, but I would like to talk today about political memoirs. The question I have, and would like to offer an answer to, is the question of whether or not political memoirs offer anything of substantive value to our study and knowledge of the political scene of a given period. Read more
Ok. Snowden is on the run.
“It’s espionage!” “He’s a traitor!!”.
Yeegads. All for telling us that our government is listening to us and wants to listen to the globe.
“We have warrants!” shouts Obama,
And then in a whisper “from that secret FISA Court” that nobody knows anything about because it’s a secret. National security you know.
Google moved today for a declaratory judgement in Federal Court (the REAL court!) to be allowed to disclose the warrants it received from the NSA through the FISA Court (not to be taken as an admission that there are any warrants of course - they are secret), arguing that it’s business has been irreparably damaged.
Now suppose the security state can’t catch Snowden? Suppose he gets asylum? How would you feel if Obama put him on the drone list over a Tuesday afternoon coffee at the White House?
Nah. Of course he wouldn’t. Would he? He can. Maybe after getting a secret warrant from FISA Court so it’s all nice and legal. Read more
Justice Scalia finally made us proud.
In common with the vast majority of progressives I have considered our two Italian - American Justices to be running dogs of right wing conservatives / corporatists; borderline demi-fascists.
Scalia was on the side of Citizens United; against Obamacare; consistently voting with the other four right wing Justices. Obamacare passed Court muster only because John Roberts pulled a Becket, shocking his political allies.
Justice Scalia, on the other hand, has written several opinions in 4th Amendment cases which progressives should be cheering. His greatest opinions have involved his passionate defense of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. It was Scalia who held, for a majority of the Court, that police need a valid warrant before they can use thermal imaging devices on a suspect’s home, or track his movements 24/7 for a month using a GPS device. Scalia has also written memorable dissents in defense of privacy, including his denunciation of warrantless drug testing for customs employees as “a kind of immolation of privacy and human dignity in symbolic opposition to drug use.” Read more
Busy #opengov week here in NYC. I’m pleased to be attending the following events on behalf of PPF: Read more
Its Sunday April 28th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1967, Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. military. The self-proclaimed "Greatest Fighter of All Time" cited religious reasons for staging his most important fight; a fight against institutionalized, senseless killing. Take a moment to process these statements - yes, a fighter by profession and religious person (Ali converted to Islam in 1964) refused to go to war! Ali was fined $10,000, sentenced to 5 years in prison, and was stripped of the world title he had won by beating Sonny Liston. He avoided prison while appealing all the way to the highest court, and lost his heavyweight title the first time the same year he won his case in 1971. Muhammad Ali is the only three-time boxing world champion, and is still one of the most intriguing figures in American history. His reason for refusing conscription was because "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong." Amazing that the government of a "Christian nation" would seek to take everything from a person who was acting exactly in the manner that Jesus would have prescribed. Read more
Writing from the plane headed to the National Conference on Media Reform in Denver, CO, organized by the terrific folks at PPF’s longtime friends at Free Press. My first time in Denver, look forward to seeing the mountains. Read more
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"READ THE OFFICIAL RULES"
The Mormon Church took an unprecedented step toward accepting gay people recently and though it is a positive move, it does not go far enough.
The church opened a website: mormonsandgays.org , which seems to be an attempt to reach out to Mormon gays and the gay community at large. The website’s official statement states:
“The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”
I am glad that the Mormon Church has accepted the fact that gay people are born the way they are, which is a step in the right direction. What they do not seem to grasp, the same as Evangelicals and even Catholics do not grasp, is that gay people are not going to choose to live a life of celibacy because of whom they are. Read more
Its official, like 2008 the Republicans are saying Colin Powell is endorsing Obama because he is black. I hope people understand how outrages this is, that a man like Colin Powell is treated in such a disrespectful matter. The implication is white people are able to make decisions independent of race, while black people are not. The Romney campaign feels We (Black People) will always be beholden to race.
Why didn't John Sununu just say that we (The Romney Campaign) didn't expect Colin Powell's endorsement since he (Colin Powell) endorsed Obama 4 years ago. Instead they specifically added race into the mix. The question is why?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Well, in November of 2002 the people of Massachusetts gave a businessman named Mitt Romney political power. And, of course, Mr. Romney is now seeking even greater political power, truly awesome power, power that provides, as Abraham Lincoln found out, an awesome test of a man’s (or possibly someday a woman’s) character. (Indeed, by many accounts Mr. Romney began his quest for the presidency about halfway through his term as governor of Massachusetts, or 8 years ago.) Read more
Don’t you love how we’ve advanced as a people? 160 characters are able to shake the bones and communicate effectively to this extremely world. At any given moment one is able to know what a political official is thinking, something unlike we’ve ever imagined.
Recently, Twitter has popped up a lot in political news, especially regarding the domestic and international reactions to the anti-Muslim video. Read more
Something that was discussed in great detail on Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry’s program yesterday was Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech to the NAACP convention held here in Houston this week past. He brought up some interesting points, which made me think. A lot.
With the advent of voter ID laws here in this country, we’re heading backwards on voters’ rights, according to Mr. Holder. Mandating that EVERYBODY has to have a valid photo ID of some sort, issued by the state in which that person is voting, Mr. Holder said, was like unto the reintroduction of poll tax laws. Me, I think that the situation is a lot worse than people realize. I think that we’re trying to institute apartheid into this country.
Here’s the Webster’s dictionary definition of apartheid: Read more
by Kim Krisberg
Hunger in America can be hard to see. It doesn’t look like the image of hunger we usually see on our TVs: the wrenching impoverishment and emaciation. Talking about American hunger is hard because, well, there’s food all around us. Everywhere you look, there’s food — people eating food, people selling food, people advertising food, people wasting food, people dying of eating too much food. The obesity epidemic alone is getting so big that it’s slowly swallowing the health care system in billions of dollars of care.
We have a food problem. Read more