November 25, 2015

Sanders has more women donors than Clinton

Washington Post - As of the last reporting period at the end of September, some 301,154 women gave money to Sanders in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to his campaign. That would top the approximately 240,000 women who have given money to Clinton since she launched her campaign. All the analysis relies on numbers released by the campaigns, since they include small-dollar donors that the candidates are not required to itemize on federal filings.

Why the Muslim world changed

Ismael Hossein-zadeh, Counterpunch -  The history of the relationship between the modern Western world and the Muslim world shows that, contrary to distorted popular perceptions in the West, from the time of their initial contacts with the capitalist West more than two centuries ago until almost the final third of the twentieth century, the Muslim people were quite receptive of the economic and political models of the modern world.

During that period of more than a century and a half, the majority of the political elite and/or national leaders viewed the rise of the modern West, and its spread into their territories, as an inevitable historical development that challenged them to chart their own programs of reform and development. Not only did the political elite, the intellectuals, and government leaders view reform and modernization as the way of the future, but so did many Islamic leaders and scholars, known as “Islamic modernizers”

It was only after more than a century and a half of imperialistic pursuits and a series of humiliating policies in the region that the popular masses of the Muslim world turned to religion and the conservative religious leaders as sources of defiance, mobilization, and self-respect. This historical background indicates that for many Muslims the recent turn to religion often represents not so much a rejection of Western values and achievements as it is a way to resist or defy the oppressive policies and alliances of Western powers in the Muslim world. It also means that explanations of derailed and delayed historical transitions in the Muslim world, that is, of an Islamic reformation, rest more with the policies of the Western powers in the region than the alleged rigidity of Islam, or “the clash of civilizations.”


Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Drake University.

Getting scared about the wrong people

NY Times, June 2015 -  Despite public anxiety about extremists inspired by Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, the number of violent plots by such individuals has remained very low. Since 9/11, an average of nine American Muslims per year have been involved in an average of six terrorism-related plots against targets in the United States. Most were disrupted, but the 20 plots that were carried out accounted for 50 fatalities over the past 13 and a half years.

In contrast, right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities, according to a study by Arie Perliger, a professor at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. The toll has increased since the study was released in 2012.

Last year, for example, a man who identified with the sovereign citizen movement — which claims not to recognize the authority of federal or local government — attacked a courthouse in Forsyth County, Ga., firing an assault rifle at police officers and trying to cover his approach with tear gas and smoke grenades. The suspect was killed by the police, who returned fire. In Nevada, anti-government militants reportedly walked up to and shot two police officers at a restaurant, then placed a “Don’t tread on me” flag on their bodies. An anti-government extremist in Pennsylvania was arrested on suspicion of shooting two state troopers, killing one of them, before leading authorities on a 48-day manhunt. A right-wing militant in Texas declared a “revolution” and was arrested on suspicion of attempting to rob an armored car in order to buy weapons and explosives and attack law enforcement. These individuals on the fringes of right-wing politics increasingly worry law enforcement officials.

In a survey we conducted with the Police Executive Research Forum last year of 382 law enforcement agencies, 74 percent reported anti-government extremism as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdiction; 39 percent listed extremism connected with Al Qaeda or like-minded terrorist organizations. And only 3 percent identified the threat from Muslim extremists as severe, compared with 7 percent for anti-government and other forms of extremism.

There'll always be a Rhode Island

ABC News - A portrait of former mayor and two-time felon Buddy Cianci was unveiled at [Providence] City Hall... "It's not the first time I've been framed," Cianci cracked to an overflow crowd of cheering supporters.

Cianci, who spent 21 years in office and is the city's longest-serving mayor,...Cianci was forced from office twice, first in 1984, when he pleaded no contest to assaulting a man with a fireplace log, an ashtray and a lit cigarette. His second administration ended in 2002 with a 4 1/2-year federal prison term for racketeering conspiracy. He attempted a comeback bid for mayor as an independent last year but lost to Jorge Elorza, a Democrat and political novice.

TPP: A time bomb under the Internet

Truthdig - The copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership could curtail Internet users’ basic access to information and right of self-expression on the Web, criminalizing common online activities and enforcing widespread Internet censorship, writes digital rights campaigner Evan Greer at The Guardian. Greer continues:

To fully grasp the impending trainwreck here, it’s important to understand that copyright laws have a profound effect on what internet users can see and do online. The US regime of copyright enforcement has been repeatedly co-opted by special interests to censor legitimate content from the web. Copyright laws have been used to attack LGBTQ websites, censor investigative journalism and scrub homemade videos from the net just because of the music in the background.

Many of the scariest scenes in the TPP script take place in the intellectual property chapter. This section exports the most draconian aspects of the United States’ broken copyright system and forces them onto the rest of the world, without requiring “fair use” provisions that are necessary to protect free speech.

One provision demands that TPP member countries enforce copyright terms 70 years after the death of the creator. This will keep an immeasurable amount of information, art and creativity locked away from the public domain for decades longer than necessary, and allow for governments and corporations to abuse copyright laws and censor content at will, since so much of what’s online will be subject to copyright for decades.

TPP even prescribes a mechanism for that censorship to occur. A section that can best be described as “Zombie-Sopa”, due to its similarity to the failed Stop Online Piracy Act, would require internet service providers to play “copyright cops” and create systems for hastily taking down internet content upon a copyright holder’s request, even without a court order.

November 24, 2015

The People's Party: Birth control

86% of adults (including 91% of Democrats and 83% of Republicans) support policies that make it easier for those 18 and older to get the full range of birth control methods.

News from our allies

Reuters - “A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a Palestinian poet to death for apostasy, abandoning his Muslim faith, according to trial documents seen by Human Rights Watch, its Middle East researcher Adam Coogle said on Friday. Ashraf Fayadh was detained by the country’s religious police in 2013 in Abha, in southwest Saudi Arabia, and then rearrested and tried in early 2014.” Middle East Eye reports: “The exact charges under which Fayadh was initially held were not made clear, although some have suggested that his arrest was linked to his publication of a video showing religious police in Abha beating a young man in public. … Saudi Arabia has put to death nearly 150 people so far this year, the highest figure in two decades. Most people are executed by beheading with a sword, a method Saudi authorities say is more humane than other alternatives.

Moring Line

As the results of the last three polls show, Cruz is moving up in Iowa

An easy way to help and save homeowners

We've been suggesting this for years: A program for new and less wealthy would-be homebuyers in which the federal, state or local government became an equity partner with the purchaser. At the time of sale, the federal government would get its share back including its portion of the increase in value. This program would be immensely popular not only with would-be home buyers but with the real estate industry. And the beauty is that it could easily be a money maker. The system could also be used to prevent foreclosures. The government would become an ownership partner and keep the house afloat.

Jazz break