Posted by Libergirl…Laughing OUT LOUD!
I’ve said before that the alleged behavior of Alabama Senate Candidate Roy “10 Commandments” Moore toward teenage girls was perfectly biblical. I’ll stand by that, citing chapter and verse. (Other Christians or former Christians have made similar observations.) The Bible is a mishmash of texts that were written and assembled over the course of several hundred years by men with varied objectives. All manner of behavior and misbehavior can be and has been justified from the contradictory stories and commandments between its covers. Men like Roy Moore who think they speak for God, who think their end justifies any means, play this to their own advantage.
Fortunately, most Christians are better than that. Where the Bible contradicts itself or endorses archaic cruelties or tribal thinking, their own conscience guides them toward something higher. Since the Iron Age, when most of the Bible texts were written, humanity has gotten clearer about kindness and justice and how people in power should behave toward those who are less powerful. We have evolved a more expansive view of who deserves to be treated according to the Golden Rule.
More from Raw Story
Posted by The NON-Conformist
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Thursday to eliminate net neutrality protection.
Net neutrality means internet service providers must treat all data on the web equally, regardless of the content, website, platform, application or method of communication.
The FCC says net neutrality is preventing websites from investing trillions of dollars in network services. However, it is feared that with net neutrality regulations gone internet service providers will charge extra to prioritize traffic, effectively creating a ‘slow lane’ for smaller websites.
RT discussed the possible consequences of the decision in regards to the freedom of the internet with Chris Kitze, founder of “Unseen,” a company providing secure communications, and Katy Anderson, the director for the Net Neutrality campaign.
RT: Could you give us your insight on what this ruling on net neutrality will mean, in practice, for ordinary internet users?
Chris Kitze: Let’s look at what happened before they had these net neutrality rules – they had no rules. And the internet did just fine. And then they imposed these rules under President Obama, and now they are getting rid of these rules. Why did they want to impose these rules? If you look at the people who benefited from having everything equally carried – if you are Netflix and you are literally consuming one-third of the internet bandwidth, and you want to be charged the same as some small website to deliver their content, of course, it makes sense. That is why those are the people who are in favor of net neutrality. What they did is they dressed it up and tried to put it in the class warfare, the kind of communist things that you hear about from a lot of people who are in favor of a lot of regulations. And what happened is that they just swept it away. It is actually a very good day for the internet, I think.
RT: The FCC is controlled by Republicans. Why is scrapping net neutrality so important for the Republican Party? What are they gaining by it?
CK: I don’t look at it politically. I don’t get politically motivated. I just believe in freedom. And the problem with net neutrality is that it is a way for the government to come in and regulate and control the content that is going through the pipes. That to me is the real issue…If you look at Google and Facebook, they are controlling the access to a lot of content, [if] you look at Netflix – all these different large Silicon Valley companies have controlled the dialog, they are the once who are behind this net neutrality. And this is in effect, something from Donald Trump going against these big companies, who by the way, did everything they could to keep him from being elected.
‘Step in the wrong direction’
RT: Is this the end of the open internet as we know it, essentially equality for all web-users?
Katy Anderson: We’ll see. The vote is definitely a step in the wrong direction as it repeals the 2015 order that put in force these net neutrality protections. It is sad to see, but I hope, we’ll see Congress in the US repeal it. We already had five Republicans come forward as well as a slew of Democrats. Hopefully, it is something that we will see overturned over the next coming months.
RT: What does it mean for the average American?
KA: Over the past 20 years we’ve seen the internet where all content was treated equally. It doesn’t matter what news website you want to see, it doesn’t matter what video content you want to see – the internet service provider treats it exactly the same, and they can’t charge a content producer more money to actually get in front of consumers… What we will see is that internet search providers can charge more for some companies to get in front of consumers faster or completely block other companies that don’t pay. For consumers what that can mean that prices could go up as their favorite service providers are forced to pay more or that their favorite websites could get blocked.
RT: Who will benefit from the absence of net neutrality?
KA: Internet service providers. The people that control the networks right now are the ones that are going to benefit. They will be able to charge more and just have more control. And those billions of dollars industry will have even more control of what you and I see and do online.
Posted by The NON-Conformist
Supporters of Net Neutrality protest the FCC’s recent decision to repeal the program in Los Angeles, California, November 28, 2017. © Kyle Grillot / Reuters
“I am extremely disappointed in the FCC decision to remove the #NetNeutrality protections,” wrote Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels on Twitter. “We’ll continue to work with our peers, partners and customers to find ways to ensure an open and fair internet that can continue to drive massive innovation.”
“Today’s decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity – and internet providers shouldn’t be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer.
“We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order,” Netflix tweeted.
Mozilla called the vote an “unsurprising, unfortunate disappointment” in a statement against the rollback, Vimeo labelled it as “disheartening”. Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said the decision “jeopardizes” the benefits of an open internet.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian shared an example from the telecommunications market in Portugal and Spain in which specific apps are included as add-on data package plans and wrote: “We cannot let this happen to our internet in the US.”
Three out of five federal congress regulators voted to completely repeal the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order decision, taken during the Obama administration, on Thursday. Net neutrality ensured that Internet Service Providers accomodated a fast, free and open internet space for giant players and small businesses alike.
If the rollback goes ahead – it will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which could take a minimum of six weeks after the FCC vote, and several states have already filed against the FCC decision – ISPs will be able to control accessibility to certain websites.
For example, if Verizon buys Yahoo!, they would be legally allowed to charge users to access Google or facilitate a faster loading time/improved quality when visiting a certain webpage.
FCC Chairman for the Trump administration Ajit Pai has previously expressed his dislike for net neutrality and argued that the regulations discouraged ISP from investing in their networks or expanding to rural areas.
“I sincerely doubt that legitimate businesses are willing to subject themselves to a PR nightmare for attempting to engage in blocking, throttling, or improper discrimination. It is simply not worth the reputational cost and potential loss of business,” said Commissioner Mike O’Rielly who also voted to overturn the protections.
For what it’s worth Verizon, AT&T (which is seeking to buy Time Warner, the parent company of CNN) and the US Telecom and Broadband Association have all spoken out against the proposed law change and promise to uphold the unbiased market.
“We do not block websites, nor censor online content, nor throttle or degrade traffic based on the content, nor unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic,” said a spokesperson for AT&T in a statement.
“These principles, which were laid out in the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order and fully supported by AT&T, are clearly articulated on our website and are fully enforceable against us. In short, the internet will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has.”
“Verizon fully supports the open Internet, and we will continue to do so,” said Verizon’s Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Will Johnson. “Our customers demand it and our business depends on it.”
“Today, the future of our open, thriving internet has been secured,” wrote the US Telecom and Broadband Association.
“America’s broadband providers – who have long supported net-neutrality protections and have committed to continuing to do so – will have renewed confidence to make the investments required to strengthen the nation’s networks and close the digital divide, especially in rural communities.”
Posted by The NON-Conformist
Alabama Democrat Doug Jones was elected to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday by a mere 21,000 votes. That margin would have been much larger if Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, a strident partisan Republican, would have taken steps to inform his state’s voters than thousands of ex-felons were eligible to vote under a 2017 state law. But Merrill didn’t do that, as an extraordinary Twitter thread by Danielle Lang explains. Lang is an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, a bipartisan-led Washington-based voting rights law firm that has fought for expanded rights for years, especially across southern states. Her remarkable thread is below.
1. Folks, a few thoughts on the extraordinary turnout among black voters in last night’s
#ALSEN special election and about how much greater it could have been.
2. Here are the numbers on the photo ID law:118,000 registered Alabama voters do not have a photo ID they can use to vote; Black and Latino voters are about twice as likely as white voters to not have ID. Last night’s
#ALSEN election was decided by under 21,000 votes.
3. While in AL in November, I personally ran into several voters w/o ID who thought there was no point in registering for that reason.
4. And just as the
#Alabama legislature put this new ID hurdle in place, it closed down DMVs in the black belt.
5. But not to worry, AL SOS Merrill thinks only voters who try harder should be able to vote: “As long as I’m secretary of state of Alabama, you’re going to have to show some initiative to become a registered voter in this state.” Cool. (But I didn’t even come here to talk about the voter ID law. I’m not the expert on that case but
@RossDeuel and my friends at @NAACP_LDF are.)
6. I’m here to talk about Alabama’s outrageous locking out of people with convictions (disproportionately people of color) from the electoral franchise.
7. Hundreds of thousands of people in Alabama either couldn’t vote yesterday in the
#ALSEN election or thought they couldn’t vote bc of AL SOS’s failure to communicate the law.
8. Here’s a long but important timeline. In 1901,
#alabama created a criminal disenfranchisement law designed to disenfranchise blacks. They said as much right in the record.
9. They chose to disenfranchise ppl with crimes “involving moral turpitude” b/c that standard was mushy enough to let their friends vote while disenfranchising blacks for violations of the “black code” crimes they made up.
10. In 1985, the Supreme Court struck down the moral turpitude phrase as racially discriminatory because duh. But in 1996, the
#AL legislature put the “moral turpitude” standard BACK INTO THE LAW.
11. From 1996 to 2017, there was absolutely NO standard for what convictions were disqualifying. There was no set list of crimes that “involved moral turpitude” and individual registrars county to county decided who got to vote. Many treated ALL felonies as disqualifying.
12. Remember how the standard was chosen in the first place because it could be applied to hurt minorities? (And by the way, Alabama is one of only 12 states that still permanently disenfranchises anyone after their convictions are complete and their time is served.)
13. Americans of all political stripes overwhelmingly support letting people vote after they have completed their sentences (although apparently
#RoyMoore does not).
14. Since disenfranchisement based on registrars’ whims is not constitutional, we sued in September 2016: Thompson v. Alabama
15. In May 2017, Alabama passed a law finally defining what convictions take away your right to vote. And while it’s a long list, it excludes some important ones like most nonviolent drug crimes.
16. But then, for reasons I still can’t attribute to anything but indifference to certain voters, the AL SOS refused to take basic steps to inform voters with past convictions of their rights.
17. The current Alabama voter registration form requires people to sign under penalty of perjury that they have not been convicted of a “disqualifying felony” and then NOWHERE describes what felonies are disqualifying.
18. There are likely thousands of voters that were previously told by their registrars that they could not vote b/c of their conviction but under the 2017 law clearly are eligible. The SOS refused to notify these people of their rights.
20. We took them to court and continue to fight that issue but the court did not order them to act for these elections. So we and SO MANY others — Pastor Glasgow
@anvoo2 @ACLUAlabama @LSAlabama — did Secretary Merrill’s job for him the best we could. We’ve been helping train community leaders on the law so they can register eligible people with past convictions to vote.
21. We created a toolkit for folks to use to navigate the law. Here is one voter that voted for the first time yesterday in the
#ALSEN election. He had been blocked for decades from voting because of convictions in his youth.
22. B/c of the hard work of so many advocates, a lot of new voters were able to cast ballots yesterday in the
#ALSen election. But this was in spite of Secretary Merrill’s failure to clear up the confusion his office created after decades of arbitrary disenfranchisement.
23. Just think of how many more voters he could have reached if he’d used his office to make sure every voter understood her rights. We have a list of over 75k voters that were previously denied the right to vote bc of past convictions. the myth that these individuals arent interested in voting is just false.
24. I’ll close by saying that the 2017 law, despite the confusion, was progress but it did not fix the problems in Alabama. Alabama is still one of only a handful of states that permanently disenfranchise people for past convictions. The list of “disqualifying” crimes is still long and includes many low level theft crimes that sweep tens or hundreds of thousands of individuals into its net.
25. Again, this law likely continues to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Alabama citizens. Yesterday’s election was decided by less than 21k votes.
By Steven Rosenfeld/AlterNet
Posted by The NON-Conformist
Read the story at Mediate
Posted by Libergirl
Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama’s special election yesterday was another win for the lesser evil.
That’s not to suggest that Jones is evil. Far from it. He seems a perfectly adequate politician who ran an excellent race that few of his peers would have considered winnable when he started campaigning. He seemed genuinely grateful—to his staff and to the voters—in his victory speech. But even after following the much-watched campaign and hearing Jones’ speech, you’d have a hard time nailing down exactly what it is that he believes, or how he thinks the country should be run. He won not because he convinced the voters of deep red Alabama to suddenly transform into liberal Democrats (or even conservative Democrats), but because of who he was running against.
Alabamans had not come close to rejecting a Republican senatorial candidate in a quarter-century. The nearest thing to a close call was a 19-point victory in for Jeff Sessions in 2002. Their rejection of Roy Moore, then, is a stunning result, but it’s one that points mostly to just how terrible the GOP candidate was. Leave aside the allegations of child molestation if you want, and there was still a long, long list of reasons why he should never have been allowed access to one of the most powerful governing bodies in the world.
The politics of the lesser evil are very much in vogue right now—though not usually in terms as stark as what we just witnessed in Alabama—because neither major party has much in the way of a compelling vision to win support. Demonizing the other side and hardening tribal lines over issues of race, class, and social policy is, if not the only way to win in that environment, then certainly the easiest. This “negative partisanship” has infected all parts of the political dynamic, and it’s getting worse.
But winning elections isn’t supposed to be the goal of politics. Creating policy is. And the politics of the lesser evil are not good for the creation of policy, because whoever wins gains power and therefore quickly becomes the greater evil.
Voters last year rejected Hillary Clinton—just as they previously rejected Jeb Bush and the rest of the Republican clown car—and Donald Trump happened to be the guy who struck just enough voters as being slightly less awful. The “Trump phenomenon” that the media and political class have spent the last 12 months trying to decode and repurpose for other elections was never the dominant force in the GOP. Indeed, Trump still struggles to elucidate any clear governing philosophy. Many of the votes for Trump, like many of the votes for Jones, were cast not out of any particular love for the man or his political avatar, but as a rejection of his opponent.
There’s nothing innately wrong with voting against a candidate instead of voting for a different candidate. The mistake comes higher up. Both major political parties see results that aren’t really there. The Republicans headed into 2017 believing they had a mandate from the American people because they had been given control of all three parts of the legislative process, but that was hardly true. Trump, after all, got a scant 62 million votes last year, and far more voters picked other candidates.
Now that Republicans hold all the power in Washington, D.C. (and in most states too, for that matter), Democrats have set about demonizing their policy ideas as outright evil. The GOP is in charge and suddenly the lesser evil is the greater one. The wheel turns and crushes those who rode it to the top.
Democrats may make the same mistake in the wake of the Jones victory—liberal pundits are already excitedly talking about what Tuesday’s election means for the 2018 midterms—but their reactions will likely be tempered by the fact that they are still a minority party in the federal government and they are facing an uphill battle in next year’s Senate races even with Trump driving voters into their arms. Still, if they are successful in retaking Congress in next year’s midterms, I have little doubt that it will be because voters suddenly see them as the lesser evil. Republicans can lend a hand by continuing to nominate noxious candidates like Moore.
Building a mandate requires a vision for how the country should be, and getting voters to back that vision. Republicans don’t have a mandate now, and haven’t had one all year. Nor did Democrats win in Alabama because scores of conservatives suddenly changed their minds about which direction the country should go. Neither major party has the makings of a mandate, and neither will unless it moves past the politics of the lesser evil.
By Eric Boehm/Reason
Posted by The NON-Conformist