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Bernie Sanders’ Moment Of Truth: These Are the Political Fights He Could Win Right Now

July 21, 2015 in Blogs

By David Dayen, Salon

He's electrified the Democratic Party, but how will that translate into actual change? The ball's in his court, now.

Bernie Sanders explicitly wants to start a political revolution in America. Judging from the crowd of 11,000 supporters in Phoenix on Saturday night, that has already taken place. Within a short period, Sanders has become the most electrifying presence on the 2016 campaign trail, attracting bigger crowds than any presidential candidate of either party. He has the grassroots army that he says is the critical component to progressive change. Now the question becomes what he will do with it, immediately, before any primary vote is cast.

After some unfortunate tone-deafness dealing with a protest from #BlackLivesMatter activists at Netroots Nation – something the campaign is already working to correct – Sanders rallied audiences in Phoenix, Houston and Dallas over the weekend. At the Phoenix Convention Center, the notably young crowd has gotten to know the democratic socialist’s positions so well (probably from his applause lines being tweeted on the campaign Twitter feed) that they repeated them in real time, like lip-synching at a concert. He has captured the imagination of a segment of the population who feels ill-served by the narrowness of our politics.

Among liberal millennials in their formative political years, Sanders offers truth-to-power rhetoric that speaks to the disappointments of the Obama years, on issues like Wall Street’s power, the takeover of government by the wealthy and the need for single-payer universal health care. Sanders’ path for sustaining real change is entirely based upon bottom-up organizing. “The key mistake of the Obama Administration,” Sanders said last year to Bloomberg, “was to more or less disband the grassroots network that he had put together to get elected.”

Now Sanders has that grassroots network, or at least a critical mass of people willing to listen to him on the issues of the day. There is no more prominent voice on the American political left today, save for Elizabeth Warren. And Sanders is arguably more visible right now, with news-making rallies and a growing email list (the campaign won’t say how big).

This gives Sanders an opportunity …read more


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10 'Seinfeld' Episodes That Might Be Considered Racist and Sexist Today

July 21, 2015 in Blogs

By Sola Agustsson, AlterNet

The four main characters sometimes had a reactionary attitude toward woman and minorities.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock or aren’t in a serious relationship with every online streaming service like I am, you’ve probably noticed that episdoes of Seinfeld are all available to stream on Hulu. As I’ve been spending my summer rewatching all nine seasons, I’ve noticed that it still remains a funny and original show, but is unapologetic about its lack of diversity. Like HBO’s Girls, it focuses on four narcissists living in New York City. Seinfeld’s characters are often without jobs, yet somehow afford spacious Upper Westside apartments. They move about the world totally oblivious to their white privilege.

As Jerry Seinfeld has said, he is opposed to adhering to political correctness in comedy. “I don't play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, Don't go near colleges. They're so PC.” He has dismissed critics who point to the show’s lack of diversity, replying, “People think it’s the census or something, it’s gotta represent the actual pie chart of America. Who cares? Funny is the world that I live in. You’re funny, I’m interested. You’re not funny, I’m not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that, but everyone else is, kind of with their little calculating, 'Is this the exact right mix?' To me, it’s anti-comedy, it’s more about PC nonsense than are you making us laugh or not.”

While the show features Jewish characters (and was even criticized by NBC’s Brandon Tartikoff for being “too Jewish”), critics lamented the show’s lack of diversity even in the 1990s. “The show has never been terribly concerned with political correctness. Its depictions of minorities, from Babu the Pakistani who was eventually deported because of Jerry’s carelessness to the Greek diner owner with an apparent yen for amply endowed waitresses, can be patronizing. And its attitudes toward women can become downright hostile, as the final episode illustrated with its portrait of a gleefully nasty female network executive,” said New York Times writer John J. O’Connor.

Comedians often use politically incorrect language to …read more


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Kansas Man Facing Felony Murder Charge for Telling an Acquaintance Where he Could Find Marijuana

July 21, 2015 in Blogs

By Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project

This is one part of what's the matter with Kansas.

Wichita, KS — Kyler Carriker is a good person. He is a loving husband and a father whose life could be ruined because of the ridiculous nature of the state’s war on drugs.

According to Carriker’s family, on April 17th, 2013, Kyler and a friend had finished work and were headed out to go fishing. They were stopped by a train where they ran into Carriker’s former classmate. Carriker was asked if he could find any “smoke,” meaning marijuana. Carriker said he could try, so they exchanged telephone numbers.

What Carriker didn’t know was that his old classmate from school had since become an active gang member. This former classmate planned to rob Carriker and whomever else was involved in the marijuana transaction.

Kyler Carriker agreed to meet his former classmate at his friend Kyle Belts’ home to introduce his former classmate and the marijuana dealer. However, the former classmate arrived with several other gang members, and later testified in court to the fact that the plan was to rob Carriker, Belts, and Ronald Betts, the marijuana dealer and brother of former Kansas state Senator Donald Betts.

Almost immediately upon entering Belts’ home, the gang members began firing. Carriker and Betts were both shot and unfortunately Betts died from his injuries.

According to Carriker’s family, after leaving the home, the shooter bragged to the other gang members, saying that he had “killed them all.”

After the shooting, instead seeking actual justice for this killing, Carriker was charged with the murder of Betts because he acted as a middleman in the marijuana sale.

In a tyrannically absurd move, the state of Kansas added marijuana offenses to the list of inherently dangerous felonies, or crimes where death is likely to occur. The law was amended on July 1, 2013, three months after the incident involving Carriker. However, the state retroactively applied this nonsense to Carriker’s case!

Carriker did absolutely nothing morally wrong; he merely lined up a potential trade deal between two other people. In the process, he and his friend became victims of an armed robbery. For being …read more


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Capitalism’s Assault on the Indian Caste System

July 21, 2015 in Economics

Dalits—once called untouchables—constitute one-sixth of India’s population. They traditionally occupied the bottom of the caste hierarchy, in the filthiest occupations. In a new paper, Cato scholar Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar explains how the arrival of the competitive market and its creative destruction broke old caste bonds and facilitated the shift of dalits to new occupations. “The dalit revolution is still in its early stages,” says Aiyar, “but is unstoppable.”

…read more


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The Monkey Trial Ended, but the War Goes On

July 21, 2015 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

Ninety years ago today, the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” immortalized on stage and screen, drew to a close. But while the most famous battle ever over evolution — and perhaps the most famous trial of all time — ended nine decades ago, the war between evolution and creationism continues.

The trial, dramatized in the canonical play and film Inherit the Wind, was ostensibly about whether public school teacher John Scopes, in teaching Darwinian evolution, had broken a Tennessee law forbidding such instruction. But the trial, which attracted rapt national attention and was enveloped in a circus-like atmosphere of revival tents, vendors of all kinds, and a plaid suit-wearing monkey named Joe Mendi, was about far more than Scopes’ guilt or innocence. It was about what many saw — and many still see — as inherently contradictory views about the origins of life, religion and science, and what should be taught in the public schools.

Inside and outside the Rhea County courtroom of Judge John Raulston, the proceedings came to a head when counsel for the defense Clarence Darrow called three-time presidential candidate, creationism defender, and assistant to the prosecution William Jennings Bryan to the stand. The questioning grew heated, as Darrow put Bryan’s religious beliefs on trial, and Bryan responded in kind against those he felt were out to get fundamentalist Christianity.

Bryan, for his part, declared that, “these gentlemen…did not come here to try this case. They came hear to try revealed religion. I am here to defend it.” He went on to accuse Darrow of having called the local Tennesseans “yokels.”

Darrow replied that he had never called the people yokels, and that Bryan had insulted “every man of science and learning in the world because he does not believe in your fool religion.”

Let parents take the funds for their children’s education to schools that share their values, and allow educators to freely choose what instruction their schools will provide.”

The debate was bitter, but the immediate result anticlimactic: Scopes was found guilty, but his $100 fine was tossed because the court had followed improper procedure in setting it. A muted conclusion to the trial, however, hardly put an end to boisterous national debate.

Over roughly the last decade, according to the Cato Institute’s Public Schooling Battle Map, the country has seen fifty conflicts over the teaching of evolution in the schools, many at the state level. One of the …read more

Source: OP-EDS