Pages tagged "Featured Blog"
Yesterday, the Justice Department unsealed its indictment of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks—the organization that released classified materials on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as a large trove of State Department cables—following his arrest by British police at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The rapid series of events has left constitutional law experts and journalists alike asking: Is this an isolated case of legitimate criminal charges being brought against someone who, independent of those charges, happens to be a controversial media figure, or does it constitute an attack on the free press?
Assange was not indicted for his publication of classified materials—an action that would have been an overt attack on press freedom of enormous consequence—but rather for allegedly conspiring with Chelsea Manning to attempt to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the nation’s main anti-hacking law. In broad terms, the act prohibits individuals from using computers to gain unauthorized access or exceed authorized access to data and information. The indictment alleges that Assange conspired with Manning to help her crack a password and use it to obtain unauthorized access to an administrator account in Department of Defense systems, which in turn would allow her to better conceal her removal of classified materials.
By Greg Munford. Reposted from Better-Angels.org
We, as Americans, cherish the freedom and right to disagree—which we do, often deeply about important issues that need resolution. But polarization undermines that freedom by tightening prejudices rather than opening thought, thus diminishing the chances for finding resolutions and moving forward. So while polarization may feel like a righteous champion of freedom and right, it is in fact just the opposite—a stick jammed in the spokes of the democratic discourse of freedom. Here are some of the common ways it does it:
By Melissa Appleton. Reposted from ParticipatoryBudgeting.org
Rosa was bubbling over with excitement. She’d just accepted $50,000 to launch a new childcare program unlike any other in Rochester, NY. After months of working with community members, local partners, and lots of data, Rosa’s community cast participatory budgeting (PB) votes on how to spend $200,000 of New York State government anti-poverty dollars in Rochester-Monroe county—and their votes spoke for themselves: Rosa’s community funded a child care cooperative for parents working night shifts, along with programs for food recovery, tiny houses, an emergency housing fund, and community service.
Reposted from One America Movement
Last month marked my one-year anniversary with The One America Movement. And reflections on complexity are on my mind.
I traveled across Oklahoma, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Charlottesville this past year. I’ve learned a lot. But above all, I’ve learned that it’s much easier to conceive of your enemy as a caricature than to be forced to grapple with their complexity.
Reposted from AllSides.com
We’ve all done it. We see or hear something (like a news story or meme/tweet) and are outraged — we MUST respond. We. Can. Not. Let. It. Go. Unchallenged.
Besides, we know we are smarter than whoever is offending us, right? (Cue music of self-righteousness.)
Whew. My blood pressure goes up just thinking about it! I’m not often caught up in outrage these days, but when I am, it may take me days to calm down again. And there is so much to be outraged about — from dehumanization to nasty rhetoric to all manner of injustice. It feels more dramatic and heightened than ever before.
So I’m curious — what would happen if we looked a little deeper, both into ourselves and into our society? Outrage isn’t part of who I want to be. What about you?
Reposted from Essential Partners
When I first trained as a mediator, I was awed by a demonstration from one of my early instructors: he would listen to people argue, he would ask a question or reflect something back in fewer than five words—and then he … waited. And waited. He waited until the people in conflict felt they could respond to the question.
Embracing silence lets people take ownership of the conversation, gives them time to think before speaking, and helps them be more intentional. It’s also one of the hardest things we ask of people in a dialogue.
The continuing “Price of Power”: How the political parties leaned on legislative leaders for cash during the 115th Congress
Reposted from IssueOne.org
One of the open secrets in Washington is that the Democratic and Republican parties both lean on their most powerful legislators to raise extraordinary amounts of campaign cash, often under the guise of paying “party dues.”
The more influential the role, the more money party leaders expect legislators to raise. And to meet these fundraising quotas, senior lawmakers who serve as committee chairs or occupy other positions of power in the House of Representatives raise campaign contributions from a variety of sources, including the corporations, labor unions, and other special interests that have business before Congress.
Reposted from SLLF.org
I found a dinosaur- or at least something that I thought had become as extinct as the dinosaur: a high profile, competitive statewide campaign that was about issues and not personalities. In fact, it appears that the two candidates actually liked each other and treated each other with respect and dignity. Who knew such an animal still existed?
In 2018, two-term Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton could not seek re-election due to term limits so there was an open seat for the position. After long and hard-fought primaries, the Democratic Farm Labor party (DFL) selected six-term Congressman, military veteran and former teacher Mark Walz and Republicans selected County Commissioner and former state legislator Jeff Johnson, their gubernatorial candidate in 2014, as their candidate. Johnson defeated former GOP Governor Tim Pawlenty in a contested primary to gain the 2018 nomination.
Reposted from BetterAngels.org.
Democracy Dies in Darkness, according to the Washington Post. I disagree. We’re seeing democracy’s demise in broad daylight, played out on television, in the halls of Congress, on social media, and via a dearth of leadership that unfortunately has infiltrated both parties. Among the many, many collateral damages caused by our current hyper-partisanship and political dysfunction, killing the notion of public service in the next generation will inflict the most lasting damage to our democracy.
I cannot blame anyone looking for a job for bypassing an industry that is maligned by its top executives, is accused by candidates for office of collecting nothing but lazy underachievers for its workforce, and cannot keep up with most other employers when it comes to competitive compensation. (That last one’s true, actually.) Not to mention volatile job security: at the whim of the top executives (i.e, the President and/or Congress,) the place gets shut down and you’re either told to stay home because your job is simply not that important, or that you have to come to work, and figure that whole “paycheck” thing out later.
Reposted from AmericanPromise.net
A strong majority of American citizens support an amendment to authorize limits on the influence of big money on our political system—an influence that has exploded since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC. Whatever their beliefs on specific issues, Americans see how unlimited political spending is undermining representative democracy, distorting our economy and undermining public trust—and they want it to change.
But, what do the opponents of the amendment believe? What were the arguments that led five Supreme Court justices to decide in favor of Citizens United? Their primary argument was that unlimited political spending strengthens democracy, by increasing access to office and fostering productive debate. Conversely, they argue, limiting spending enables government to limit speech about political candidates and elected officials.