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Category Archives: Liberal
Posted: at 4:31 am
An image of, from left, Robert, Ted and John Kennedy, is shown at Ted Kennedy’s memorial service at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library on Aug. 28, 2009, in Boston.
On this day in 2009, Edward Ted Kennedy, the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and one of the longest-serving senators in U.S. history he served as a Democratic senator from Massachusetts from 1962 to 2009 succumbed to brain cancer at age 77.
Edward Moore Kennedy was born in Boston on Feb. 22, 1932, the youngest of nine children born to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, the daughter of a Boston politician, and Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., a financier who served as the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and later as President Franklin D. Roosevelts ambassador to Great Britain.
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After serving in the U.S. Army in the early 1950s, (he had been expelled by Harvard for having cheated on a Spanish exam), Harvard said he could return. Kennedy graduated in 1956 and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1959.
In November 1960, John Kennedy was elected as the nations 35th president. The following month, a Kennedy family friend was appointed to fill the president-elects vacated Senate seat until a special election could be held. In November 1962, Ted Kennedy, who earlier that year had turned 30, the minimum age requirement for a senator, won the right to serve the remainder of his brothers term. Massachusetts voters thereupon re-elected him eight times.
Senators are usually restricted to holding a seat on only one major committee. Yet, as Adam Clymer wrote in his 1999 biography Edward M. Kennedy, Kennedy was assigned to the Armed Services Committee without having to relinquish his seat on the Judiciary or Labor and Human Resources committees. There was some grumbling in Democratic ranks. Why, some asked, should the rules not apply to him?
Oh, came the reply, Clymer reported, Kennedy is Kennedy.
On July 18, 1969, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Massachusetts Chappaquiddick Island, costing the life of his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned. Kennedy failed to report the incident to the authorities for nearly 10 hours, claiming the delay was because he had suffered a concussion and was exhausted from attempting to rescue Kopechne, who had worked in the Senate office of his assassinated brother, Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.).
He subsequently pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a two-month suspended sentence. Kennedy later referred to his actions as inexcusable, and said Kopechnes death haunts me every day of my life.
In 1980, Kennedy made a failed bid to deny President Jimmy Carter the Democratic nomination. He never again ran for the White House, instead focusing on wide-ranging legislative initiatives on Capitol Hill, where he was dubbed the liberal lion of the Senate.
During his long Senate career, Kennedy fought for legislation often with bipartisan support that spanned a wide range of issues, including education, immigration and health care reform.
SOURCE: EDWARD M. KENNEDY, A BIOGRAPHY, BY ADAM CLYMER (1999)
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Posted: at 4:31 am
Judy Foote stepping down as minister and Liberal MP for family reasons
Foote announced Thursday that she's resigning immediately from the federal cabinet and will step down as a Liberal MP shortly after Parliament resumes next month. She has been on an indefinite leave of absence from the Public Works and Government …
Liberal MP Seamus O'Regan seen moving to cabinet to replace Judy Foote
Judy Foote stepping down as minister and Liberal MP for family health reason
Posted: at 4:30 am
Randy Ludlow The Columbus Dispatch @RandyLudlow
Jim Renacci launched one of the most-virulent attacks of the Republican gubernatorial campaign Thursday in targeting Jon Husted.
TheU.S. House memberfrom Wadsworth posted a video on Twitter thatclaimed Husted has a “liberal record”while portrayingthe two-term secretary of state as dishonestand “not as conservative as he pretends to be.”
Renacci’s campaign said the video was in response to a Tweet by a pro-Husted super-PAC, Ohio Conservatives for a Change, that questioned the congressman’s support for drug education for children in Ohio schools.
“@JimRenacci just says ‘no’ to drug education for our kids! Ohioans deserve better. Our kids deserve better,” the tweet said. In his video, Renacci called the allegation “a laughable false attack.”
.@JimRenacci just says no to drug education for our kids! Ohioans deserve better. Our kids deserve better. #HustedforOhio #OHGov pic.twitter.com/vd3dLWO8YL
In his video, Renacci says, “… Career politicians like Jon Husted are already desperately slinging mud at me. If I were him Id be scared too. … He tells people one thing in public and another in private, and has been desperately hoping no one would ever check under the hood and find out hes not the conservative he pretends to play on TV.”
Ohio Conservatives for Change spokesman Thomas Norris said the group’s anti-Renacci tweet was based on comments he made, apparently about Attorney General Mike DeWine, another GOP gubernatorial candidate in next year’s race,before a Highland County tea party group Monday.
Norris said a super-PAC tracker recorded Renacci as saying, One of my opponents talks about education, and educating more, and more, and more. You know what, they laugh. They say, ‘When we were in school, and the person would come and talk about drugs, wed start laughing and say weve already had those drugs, weve already done that, weve already been past that.’ So, in some ways, what they tell you we have to do is look at opportunities. Its not about education, its about opportunities.”
Renacci campaign spokesman James Slepian called the super-PAC’s take on his candidate’s words as “absurdly desperate.”
Join the conversation at Facebook.com/dispatchpoliticsand connect with us on Twitter @OhioPoliticsNow
The “they” referencesin Renacci’s statement in Highland County refers to his opioid epidemic advisory board that includes recovering addicts, Slepian said. “Jim was sharing that information and discussing the importance ensuring young people are aware of and have access toopportunities other than the world of drug addiction. He was clearly not saying that he opposes drug education in general.”
Husted supports educating school children about the dangers of drugs, said campaign spokesman Joshua Eck. Husted’s campaign is legally forbidden from collaborating with the super-PAC, which received a $1 million donation from Dayton-area billionaire Clayton Mathile.
Renacci also said in his video that Husted helped usher in Democrat President Barack Obama’s Common Core curriculum into Ohio schools. Eck said that Husted, a former House speaker and state senator, opposed Common Core and helped create the first statewide school choice scholarships. Husted, Eck said, has the “most conservative record of anyone running for governor.”
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Posted: at 4:30 am
A prominent evangelical ministry has filed a federal lawsuit against the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), saying it defamed the Christian organization as an active hate group because it endorses the biblical view of homosexuality.
The clash marks the latest chapter in a growing feud between those who embrace historic monotheistic beliefs, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, and progressive activists who have begun targeting mainstream Christian groups that hold traditional beliefs about sex and other issues.
Officials of the D. James Kennedy Ministries, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., accuse the SPLC of deceptive practices, saying that it wrongly asserts that some organizations breed or fuel hate because of their religious positions on such things as same-sex marriage and other social issues.
Its completely disingenuous to tag D. James Kennedy Ministries as a hate group alongside the KKK and neo-Nazis, Kennedy Ministries spokesman John Rabe said to Fox News. We desire all people, with no exceptions, to receive the love of Christ and his forgiveness and healing. We unequivocally condemn violence, and we hate no one.
Its ridiculous for the SPLC to falsely tag evangelical Christian ministries as hate groups simply for upholding the 2,000-year-old Christian consensus on marriage and sexuality, Rabe said. Its nothing more than an attempt to bulldoze over those who disagree with them, and it has a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion in a nation built on that. We decided not to let their falsehoods stand.
Kennedy Ministries filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Montgomery, Ala., where the SPLC is headquartered.
The SPLC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
SPLC critics say its original mission was a commendable one, setting out in 1971 to fight the Ku Klux Klan. The SPLC went after several Klan leaders, driving them into bankruptcy after court losses.
But increasingly, especially since Donald Trumps victory in the presidential election, both liberals and conservatives say that SPLC has grown overzealous bringing down its huge and very high-profile hate-group hammer on not just people and organizations that actually encourage hate and violence against certain groups, but also on those who simply dont fall in line with liberal positions on hot-button social issues.
They deserve praise because they used the law to hurt the Klan — a lot, said Scott Walter, president of Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank that monitors nonprofits. But as often happens in the charity world, it concocts new ways to keep donations flowing.
Hate is the issue here, Walter said. When you talk about hate groups, youre talking about a group that is a threat because of its violent tendencies and racism. If you go up to somebody on the street and ask What is a hate group? that is what they would take it to mean.
Its an outrageous lie that some mainstream Christian group is a threat in terms of violence and racism, Walter said.
In a statement after the lawsuit was filed, the Kennedy Ministries president wrote: These false and illegal characterizations have a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion and on religious free speech for all people of faith. After having given the SPLC an opportunity to retract, we have undertaken this legal action, seeking a trial by a jury of our peers, to preserve our own rights under the law and to defend the religious free speech rights of all Americans.
Members of other religious groups including non-Christian groups — that embrace biblical views on sexuality are also feeling pressure from the SPLC.
In recent weeks, British Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz said on Bill Mahers television show that he was considering suing SPLC for putting him on its list of anti-Muslim extremists.
SPLC has said that Nawaz has been a supporter of intelligence-gathering efforts in the name of fighting terrorism that ensnare people who have not been proven a threat to national security.
Nawaz, a former Islamist who says that many liberals overlook the growth of jihadism, thinks the SPLC made him a target for violence.
We know what happens when you list heretics, Nawaz said. They end up dead.
Maher responded with dismay and said he would support a lawsuit against the SPLC.
Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for FoxNews.com, and can be reached at Elizabeth.Llorente@Foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.
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The Economist Exclusive The Future of Bannonism: ‘The Judeo-Christian Liberal West Won’ – Breitbart News
Posted: at 4:30 am
Bannon openly acknowledged his animus for the Party of Davos editorial positionsofThe Economist,referring tothem as the enemy of economic nationalism for their radical obsession with free trade at all costs.
He alsoaffirmed his loyalty to Trump and his desire to help him. Breitbart will never turn on [Trump], Bannon said, But we are never going to let him take a decision that hurts him.
Bannon acknowledged that in the White House he had influence, but outside at Breitbart he has power. He said he intends to use that power to rally the base and have [Trumps] back. The harder he pushes, the more we will be there for him.
The discussion soonturned to what Bannon sees as the inevitable civilizational struggle between the Judeo-Christian classical liberalism of the West which affirms human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and self-governance versus the mercantilist, Confucian system of an ascendant China.
From The Economist:
Among the particular opponents he has in his sights, said Mr Bannon, seated in a dining-room decorated with Christian iconography and political mementos, are congressional Republicans (Mitch McConnell, Im going to light him up), China (Lets go screw up One Belt One Road) and the elites in Silicon Valley and Wall Streettheyre a bunch of globalists who have forgotten their fellow Americans. Despite his departurevoluntarily, he insists, though his resignation is reported to have been demanded of himMr Bannon says he will never attack his former boss. Yet Breitbart will caution Mr Trump to stick to the populist nationalist course Mr Bannon charted.We will never turn on him. But we are never going to let him take a decision that hurts him.The website offered an early taste of this in its disparaging coverage of Mr Trumps flip-flop decision to send more American troops to Afghanistan, which was announced on August 21st and Mr Bannon strongly opposes (seearticle).
As Mr Trumps campaign chief (his third in two months, the campaign having been roiled by scandals) Mr Bannon urged him to redouble that effort [to campaign on as a populist economic nationalist taking on the politically correct establishment]. The American people understood his foibles and understood his character flaws and they didnt care, he says. The country was thirsting for change and [Barack] Obama didnt give them enough. I said, we are going for a nationalist message, we are going to go barbarian, and we will win.
For Mr Bannon, who went from a working-class Virginian family to careers in Wall Street and Hollywood, those agreements epitomised the folly of globalisation, which he considers disastrous for American workers and avoidable. He hardened this critique after returning to America from a spell in Hong Kong; China, whose gaming of WTO rules Mr Bannon considers tantamount to an economic war against America, remains at the heart of it. A zealous Catholic who believes in the inevitability of civilisational conflict, he considers Chinas growth to be an additional, overarching threat to America, which it must therefore dial back. I want the world to look back in 100 years and say, their mercantilist, Confucian system lost. The Judeo-Christian liberal West won.
The president has, if not fixed intellectual differences with Mr Bannon, different predilections, including his slavish regard for the military and business elites now stocking his cabinet, whom his former adviser derides. (What did the elites do? asks Mr Bannon. These are the guys who gave us happy talk on Iraq, who let China into the WTO and said it would sign up to the rules-based order.) When some of Mr Bannons early schemes failedincluding the shabbily planned travel ban, now snarled up in the courtsMr Trump turned increasingly to his more conventional advisers, including Mr Kushner and Mr McMaster. On trade and security in particular, they have edged him towards the mainstream. Whereas Mr Bannon urged the president to withdraw from NAFTA and Afghanistan, for example, he has launched a modest-looking review of the former and will send more troops to the latter. Increasingly isolated, Mr Bannons departure from the White House was predicted.
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Posted: at 4:30 am
To build a coalition, everyone has to give a little. Photograph: AZP Worldwide/Alamy
Abortion rights are central to my identity. As an ambitious teenager, I wanted to have both a vital career and a vibrant intellectual life, and I felt that having a baby at the wrong time would doom me. I went on to a both a full career and motherhood. It all worked out for me, but only because I could control my fertility.
My life has centered around what the sociologist Mary Blair-Loy calls call the norm of work devotion. Work has provided me with joy, social status, dignity, and financial stability. To me, the image of the stay-at-home mom epitomized oppression and thwarted self-fulfillment. Abortion rights are crucial to the logic of lives like mine, which is why I and about two-thirds of college grads support them.
But only about half of Americans without college degrees do. The logic of their lives is different. They fault white-collar professionals for unhealthy work worship and a failure to understand that family comes first. Elites think they are so high and mighty, but its we who keep the world in moral order, the working class believes.
Republicans have top-to-bottom control in 24 states Democrats in only six. Purity may feel good but its not working
The demise of blue-collar jobs means that many families face a daily scramble between two not-very-fulfilling or well-paid jobs, with Mom working one shift and Dad working a different shift, and with each parent caring for the kids while the other is at work.
Tag-team families are under such pressure, and these parents see each other so rarely, that they have three to six times the national divorce rate. In the light of this harsh reality, its no wonder they look back with yearning at the breadwinner-homemaker family, supported by the husbands blue-collar job.
This helps explain why abortion rights look different to those with good jobs and education and those who are struggling. To women like myself, they are the bare minimum of human rights. To working-class women, who often see motherhood, not work, as the key source of social honor, obsession with abortion rights among well-off women is selfish, exemplifying lack of an adequate devotion to family. Seen in this light, opposition to abortion rights becomes, for high-school educated women, a way of claiming social honor.
Thats why research since the 1980s has found class differences in the levels of support for abortion rights. The fight over abortion becomes a fight over what it means to be a good person. Thats why things get ugly really fast. When elites dismiss abortion opponents as mindless misogynists and non-elites dismiss abortion rights advocates as selfish careerists, class conflict becomes acute.
Debates over guns and gun control are similarly visceral, again because identities are at risk. To me, the ready availability of guns is associated with killings among young black men without a future, struggling to find dignity in a society that offers them precious little. Guns mean Sandy Hook and other horrors, and living in a country where mentally unstable kids regularly murder their classmates.
But even as I feel so strongly, I understand how other Americans feel differently. If the abortion debate involves ideals of femininity, guns involve ideals of masculinity. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of women but less than half (43%) of men support stricter guns laws.
Theres also a dramatic class gap: 57% of people with post-graduate education say gun ownership endangers safety; only 35% of those with high school education or less agree. Where I come from, said John Edwards in 2004, guns are about a lot more than guns themselves. They are about independence independence that intertwines with masculinity.
Studies of white working-class men depict the role of hunting in mens lives. Joseph Howell recounts setting off on a hunting trip with Barry Shackelsford, the hard-living, alcoholic, good-hearted hero of Howells Hard Living on Clay Street. Barry does not cling to his guns. Hunting provides him with a way of relating to nature and indulging his love of the countryside; it is a bonding experience he enjoys sharing with close friends and his son.
Jennifer Sherman, in a book written about 40 years later, recounts how men in rural California many on disability due to the lack of jobs often hunt to supplement their families income. These rural white men, in a very different way from inner-city men, use their relationship to guns to claim a full measure of masculine dignity. To them, guns represent pleasure, power, and providing key ingredients of the masculine role. One reason some people hated Hillary Clinton so much is that she wants to take our guns away. Not too subtle, whats going on there.
No one gets their way all the time: thats called a coalition
Look, I wish masculinity worked differently. But whether youre poor or privileged, being a man is something that has to be earned, over and over again. Working-class mens relationship to guns is similar to attitudes in the supposedly enlightened Silicon Valley, where work is a masculinity contest and harassing women is just one way of keeping score. Too often, critiques of manliness deride blue-collar men but are silent about educated mens chosen ways of enacting masculinity.
This is the relevant context for the debate over whether Democrats should make abortion and guns into litmus tests: whether the national party will support candidates who are opposed to abortion rights and strict gun laws. These issues highlight the way the Democratic party has taken sides in the culture clash between the sincerely held truths of folks like me and the sincerely held beliefs of non-college grads, fueling class conflict that leads to Republican victories.
The Democrats have become a regional party, confined to blue coasts and blue-dot islands, leaving an ocean of Republican rural and rust belt red in between. This outcome has not helped abortion rights. Republicans now control so many state legislatures that 87% of American counties have no abortion provider and Roe v Wade may well be overturned. We already have a situation where access to abortion depends on where you live which is what the Roe v Wade decision sought to avoid.
Gun control has not fared any better. Some advocates for a litmus test act as if Democrats just wanted gun control a little more, it would happen. If only that were true. Though polls continually suggest broad support for specific gun control policies the NRA wins time and time again. Clearly, the polling data is not giving us the full picture, noted one writer in Politico.
Whether its the influence of the NRA, that gun control opponents are more likely to vote on single issues than proponents, or both, or neither, who knows? The result is the same.
For Democrats to make progress in that sea of Republican red, we need to be willing to address whats fueling economic populism: economics. When Montanas governor, Steve Bullock, asked Trump supporters what Democrats needed to do to win their votes, a 27-year-old apprentice in a metal shop answered: Get us good jobs. Plain and simple. Seems like I got to work my butt off, and I barely get by.
This sounds like an accurate description to me, as a labor rights advocate. The pollster Stanley Greenberg found the same thing in focus groups of Trump voters who also voted for Obama: Hes trying to create jobs, trying to keep jobs in the United States. Counties that swung for Trump tended to have high levels of white non-college voters dependent on low-skilled jobs and vulnerable to structural economic change.
Democrats need to prioritize good jobs for non-college grads affected by or alarmed about the hollowing out of the middle class ahead of some issues that matter more to me personally, notably abortion rights and gun control.
That strikes me as appropriate for tactical reasons, because now what we have is geographically limited access to abortion, no serious gun control, and a Republican president, Senate, House, and Republican control of 68 out of 99 partisan legislative chambers. Republicans have top-to-bottom control in 27 states; Democrats in only eight. Purity may feel good but its not working.
But we need to prioritize good jobs for low-income and poor people not just for tactical but also for ethical reasons. Americans without college degrees of all races are falling further and further behind economically because we havent cared enough to provide good jobs for them.
For those who say thats impossible in a globalized world, I have a one-word response: Germany. Germany has retained large numbers of blue-collar jobs for a simple reason. The 1930s taught its people just what were learning now. This is vital for social peace.
People who are in low-paying jobs or are unemployed just want what most college-educated people have already: jobs that yield their vision of a solid middle-class life. Providing those jobs, to me, is a pressing progressive priority. Thats why the Democrats Better Deal is an important first step in the right direction.
Democrats need to thread a necklace that includes four overlapping groups: the liberal-to-moderate college-educated elite, the white working class, communities of color, and the progressives and millennials who flocked to Bernie Sanders. Good jobs hold deep appeal for both communities of color and the white working class. College-educated liberals and moderates will vote Democratic regardless.
Sorely needed is something concrete to inspire the millennials who flocked to Sanders. I support single-payer health insurance but thats counterproductive as a campaign issue: it just sets us up for defeat again as Big Government Liberals. Why not focus on college debt relief?
Thats the maw millennials see gobbling up their future, and the current trajectory of college debt is unsustainable anyway. We dont need to design a program: people dont vote on policy details. People vote because, as Kamala Harris once pointed out, youve connected with what keeps them up at night. Economic issues do that.
To build a coalition, everyone has to give a little. But saying abortion should not be a litmus test is very different from saying the party is backing off support for reproductive rights. Democratic leaders last spring failed to articulate this distinction clearly, given Nancy Pelosis statement that abortion rights are kind of fading as an issue and loose talk by Bernie Sanders, too. Great lets give up what matters very deeply to progressive women but not so much to progressive men. Thats what many heard.
What litmus tests should mean is that we wont hold candidates in red districts to progressive purity. Whose issue should we trade off? Trade-offs should be balanced and situational. Announcing that you are always going to abandon the most cherished priority of a single group is a recipe for discord.
The Democratic National Committee should make a considered assessment of who the most viable candidates are in a given district, and make trade-offs about whom to run so that no one groups ox gets gored consistently.
No one gets their way all the time: thats called a coalition. And its coalitions that win, folks. If you want purity, become a priest. Politics is for people not afraid of the messy business of living peaceably with people whose most fundamental truths clash with your own.
Even in red states, liberal candidates are climbing into power in the nation’s cities – Washington Post
Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:40 pm
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Randall Woodfin is not going to talk about change. The 36-year old Democrat, a candidate for mayor of Birmingham, is running to unseat a two-term incumbent and he is selling a vision of how his city, which had lost one-third of its population since the 1960s, could be economically transformed.
It just feels dangerous to boil that down to change.
That word will trip you up, said Woodfin, sitting in a campaign office covered in maps and volunteer walk lists. This is not about that. Change for changes sake is what got us Trump. This is about progress for everybody.
Woodfin, a soft-spoken attorney and former school board member, has spent a whole year on his bid for mayor. In that time, Democrats have been locked out of national power, further diminished in state legislatures and wiped out in rural America. That has left the increasingly blue cities and suburbs as the obvious places for Democrats to attempt to rebuild.
In May, Philadelphias progressives helped civil rights attorney Larry Klasner win the Democratic primary for district attorney; if he wins a full term this November, the citys top legal job will be held by a lawyer who defended members of Black Lives Matter and will refuse to seek the death penalty. In Jackson, Miss., progressive-backed candidate Chokwe Antar Lumumba won the mayors office, promising to make Mississippis capital the most radical city on the planet.
The trend is continuing. Birminghams August 22 primary is one of dozens of 2017 races where progressive candidates are trying to climb into power, knitting together community organizers, new activists and the remnants of Sen. Bernie Sanderss (I-Vt.) presidential bid to form new left-wing majorities.
I think Donald Trumps win changed the way we thought about elections, Woodfin said. I tell people, Listen: Whatever you want in 2020, from a new president, youre not going to get it if you just think about 2020. We know people who work two jobs, and have to take two buses to get to them. We know people who just finished high school and dont have jobs. Were talking to them right now, about a decision they can make right now.
In recent years, the off-year municipal races that follow presidential elections have seen turnout plummet to the teens or single digits. Just 11.5 percent of eligible voters in Los Angeles voted this past March to re-elect Mayor Eric Garcetti; fewer than 65,000 Detroiters voted in this months mayoral primary, which incumbent Mike Duggan won in a landslide.
That low level of voter interest has given progressives an opportunity. In both Philadelphia and Jackson, turnout was low but higher than in elections four years earlier. Some of the boost came from Our Revolution, the group Sanders founded after his primary campaign ended, which has made under-the-radar endorsements in urban elections, directing money and clout toward left-wing candidates.
The folks at Our Revolution had not done as good a job as they should at touting these things, Sanders said in an interview. I believe when we talk about revitalizing American democracy, we start with local offices and grass roots campaigns. The media will talk about congressional races, sure; but I think what we are seeing is a revolution at the local level, in the cities.
Sanderss focus on municipal races comes from experience. In the 1970s, he waged four quixotic bids for statewide office in Vermont. In 1981, supporters in Burlington realized that, while losing everywhere else, he had been over-performing in the citys working class wards a revelation that led to his first mayoral run, which he won.
The paths for the new progressive urban candidates are not quite as clear. In 2016, most cities went solidly for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries; Woodfin himself was a Clinton supporter. Democrats, firmly in control of most big and diverse cities before the election, gained ground with Clinton on the ballot.
But the new progressive campaigns aim to replace the current Democratic regimes, with their comfortable business community relations, with progressives who want to use what powers they have to redistribute wealth. In Atlanta, State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Ga.) is running to replace Mayor Kasim Reed by energizing the left. His platform is Sanders on a local scale a $15 minimum wage, marijuana decriminalization and two years of free tuition at college within the city.
In an interview at this months Netroots Nation conference, where May the Fort Be With You merchandise was more visible than anything pitching a national candidate, Fort emphasized that he was one of the only black politicians in the South who backed Sanders, and was doing best where Sanders had performed well against Clinton. He was adding to that support with a campaign about redirecting the citys growth, to the people who needed it.
Twenty years ago, Atlanta, depending on what study you look at, was 20 percent gentrified, said Fort. Now were 70 percent gentrified. If we dont start talking about income inequality and affordable housing in a real honest way, were going to have a city thats made of the very wealthy and the very poor, and the middle class is going to get screwed.
Woodfins campaign platform is not quite so radical, but it shares a narrative that downtown has gobbled up money and attention while most of the citys black and poor residents have suffered or jogged in place. Free community college is packaged with a school-to-startup pipeline. The plan for combating crime would divert high-risk, repeat offenders into a different court than one-time offenders who could be rehabilitated.
Woodfin has been more responsive than his rivals including the incumbent mayor, William Bell to a growing community of activists. Richard Rice, 35, who wore a Woodfin for Mayor shirt to the citys August 13 vigil in solidarity with anti-racism protesters, said he got on board after his group, the Grassroots Coalition of Birmingham, submitted a Black Agenda to every candidate. Woodfin was the first to sign on, committing to everything from rehabilitation of ex-convicts to the end of food deserts in poor neighborhoods.
Most of our elected officials are black, but were still falling behind, said Rice. We had 120 homicides this year. The poverty rate is 30 percent. And hes talking about the issues we put in front of him.
That, for activists, was the difference between change and progress. Woodfin would not be the only change candidate on the ballot. Bells bid for a third term, after decades in city government, was being challenged by an array of candidates. In pure name recognition, the strongest challenger was a former Auburn University wide receiver named Chris Woods, whod plowed his own money into the race. At an August 14 candidate forum attended by only Woods and Woodfin, Woods frequently answered questions about urban policy with anecdotes about his football career; Woodfin gave low-key, multipart answers quoting from his agenda.
But by the final days of the race, the forums have almost become a distraction from the on-the-ground organizing. Just 27,435 ballots were cast in 2013, the last time Birmingham elected its city government; over the long campaign, Woodfins volunteers have talked to thousands more voters than that.
On Saturday, they got one more boost from the national progressive network when Nina Turner, the new president of Our Revolution, flew in for a get-out-the-vote rally. The former Ohio state senator cast Woodfin as the public servant of public servants, the savior of his city, if people put sweat equity into electing him.
We cant ask other folks to do more for us than we will do for ourselves, she said.
Woodfin took the microphone, apologizing for having to follow a tub-thumping speech from Turner. Quietly, he ran his volunteers back through his platform, pointing to the neighborhood around them to give it some grounding.
We want to be able to walk down a walkable sidewalk, he said. We want the swings to work in the playgrounds our kids play in. People want to feel safe on their own porch, yall.
He paused to tie it all together.
This is not about change for changes sake, he said. This is about progress.
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PSNI and Garda officers in the Belfast Gay Pride parade on August 5. Irelands gay prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said it was only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal in the north. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
The 60th anniversary of the Wolfenden report, which recommended an end to the ban on male homosexuality, will fall on 4 September. Although it was groundbreaking and led to subsequent gay law reform in 1967, it was also flawed.
John Wolfenden, who chaired the committee that produced the report, is often hailed as a great liberal reformer. But he opposed homosexual equality and obstructed fellow committee members who proposed a more far-reaching decriminalisation. A cautious conservative, he described homosexuality as morally repugnant on a BBC TV programme and wanted only small changes in the law.
His opinions dominated the committees deliberations, which suggested that homosexuality was partly a matter of self-control, comparable to the extent to which coughing can be controlled. Such attitudes contributed to the subsequent half-baked, partial decriminalisation of sex between men 10 years later.
Gay rights veterans Antony Grey and Allan Horsfall, who campaigned in the 1960s for the implementation of the report, believed it was more restrictive than it could have been but that it gave the gay community a valuable springboard from which to campaign for law reform.
Wolfenden argued, commendably, that what is deemed by many people to be immoral (homosexuality) should not necessarily be criminal; that the law should not dictate private morality. He proposed that homosexual behaviour should not be prosecuted, providing it took place in private, with consent and involved no more than two men, both aged 21 or over. There was never any question of legalising same-sex acts.
The report did not urge the repeal of anti-gay laws, merely a policy of non-prosecution in certain circumstances. The existing, often centuries-old laws were to remain on the statute book under the heading unnatural offences.
This advocacy of limited decriminalisation was a de facto reiteration of support for anti-gay discrimination in law.
As well as proposing a gay age of consent five years higher than the heterosexual limit of 16, Wolfenden recommended that in the case of a man aged 21 or over who was convicted of consenting oral sex or masturbation with a 16- to 21 year-old male the maximum penalty should be increased from two to five years. These homophobic proposals were incorporated into the subsequent law reform, the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.
Home Office transcripts of the internal deliberations of the Wolfenden committee provide an insight into the thinking of Wolfenden and other members, revealing a battle between those like him who wanted little change in the law and others who were more critical of the way the criminal justice system treated gay and bisexual men.
Wolfenden was often an obstacle to progressive recommendations. On three key issues, he played a negative role. When committee members discussed the age of consent, Wolfenden was aghast to discover that seven wanted 18, one advocated 17 and only three supported his proposal of 21. In a committee session in 1955, Wolfenden indicated his belief that young men could be seduced and corrupted into homosexuality. He was adamant that he would never put his name to a report recommending anything other than 21 as the age of consent. He overrode the majority who favoured a lower age limit.
Equally shocking, Wolfenden wanted to keep anal sex illegal in all circumstances, even between consenting adults in private. He also supported retaining the option of punishing serious cases of anal sex with life imprisonment. Wolfenden watered down criticism of the police by fellow committee members, exonerating officers over their use of agents provocateurs in parks and lavatories. Defending the police, his report insisted the committee was on the whole favourably impressed by the way officers carried out their unpleasant task.
Wolfendens sanction of undercover operations as legitimate gave them the nod of approval. If he had exposed and condemned such tactics instead, police entrapment may have declined (rather than subsequently increasing) and thousands of gay and bisexual men might have been spared arrest.
There were omissions too. He did not recommend the decriminalisation of the invitation and facilitation of homosexual acts, nor of the crime of men chatting each other up in public.
But though Wolfendens proposals were flawed, he set Britain on the path to gay law reform. That was progress.
The author is director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation http://www.petertatchellfoundation.org
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