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Third Party opinion piece from 2012

Third party candidates are usually regarded as "spoilers" that ruin the elections of the two-party system. That in itself is part of the problem; the two parties want to scare people that could potentially be lured into voting for someone else by saying "you'll be electing the OTHER guy." Personally, I feel that the third parties would do best by banding together and throwing out their more extremist policies. Sadly, most of the third parties in America are founded as extremist parties or are focused so much on one issue that they cannot draw from a wide enough audience to have any chance of success.

The only parties that I see as stable and large enough to work together would be the Greens and the Libertarians. The Greens are regarded by some as socialists or social democrats, but their main focus is environmental policy, not an entire social democrat platform. The Libertarians have the potential, on their own, to be a "big tent" party, trying to appeal to people who feel that the government does too much overall.

Environmentalism can work with both Libertarians and Greens, as the Libertarians have often pointed out, the federal government is the greatest polluter. A non-democratic government would not have reason to care about their environment, as they would not have to listen to anyone's concerns. Social liberalism also can tie Libertarians and Greens together. Both are significantly further to the left on issues such as marriage rights, reproductive rights, and drug laws. A platform of making polluters pay for their own mistakes (rather than the government), legalizing gay marriage, taxing and regulating marijuana, and ending all farm subsidies would be a good place to start for a third party. None of these opinions would frighten off a large majority of potential voters, and it would allow both the Greens and the Libertarians to work toward their goals.

In this election, I feel Gary Johnson provides an exciting opportunity for the Libertarian party. The past Libertarian candidates have generally been very un-Libertarian on issues such as border control and social issues. But I must admit, a little bit of my hope for humanity every dies every time I see a Ron Paul fanboy claiming "Gary Johnson is a statist" or generally chastising any former Ron Paul supporters for even considering anyone else. Gary Johnson is more of a Libertarian than Ron Paul ever was, or ever will be. Hell, the same goes for Mike Gravel, Russ Feingold, and Bill Richardson. You can't be a Libertarian and want a fence around the border.

I do not agree with Gary Johnson on everything; I'm more comfortable with his social policies than his economic ones, but given my disagreements with Obama on social issues, I have been considering voting for Johnson. In all reality, I do not expect this election to be close. The media want it to be close... they want an "exciting" analysis full of talking heads obsessing over polls in Virginia and Florida. I'm really confident that Obama is going to win. You have an incumbent with a slowly growing economy who is very strong on terrorism and foreign policy, and an opponent from New England that seems out of touch and elitist. It seems like 2004, except the Republicans have John Kerry.

Don't be afraid to vote your conscience. Do not obsess over the fact that your favored candidate will lose if you decide to vote for Gary Johnson or any other third party. That is the only way that America can ever have a viable third party.. if we stop the false dichotomy between Red and Blue.

And as for the Greens, look into Libertarians as well. If your main concern is the environment, rather than fiscal policy, you do not need to stick with a party because of its name or key issue. Someday, I hope that the Greens and Libertarians can work together or even merge. I know that the ideological purity tests of the current LP and the detailed social democrat platform of the current Green party make this unlikely, but I'm optimistic that it could happen, and if it did, it would be more than just a 1% spolier "stealing" New Hampshire and Florida from Al Gore.

In this election, I do not see Gary Johnson as a huge spoiler. He will likely give Obama even larger victories in New Mexico and Colorado and Nevada, and possibly give him Montana, as McCain carried Montana by just 2.5% with an unofficial Ron Paul candidacy taking 2.2%. If Johnson got a lot of traction, Montana could possibly go for Obama. People have also been discussing Arizona as potentially changing sides this year. I myself suggested that earlier, but I would say that Montana is more likely than Arizona to vote Democratic in this election.

And in closing... look into all the candidates. "Throw your vote away" if you want to.

Trump interviews a cat.

I have created an event on Facebook called: "Buy Nothing! - Hit 'Em Where It Hurts"
It is a silent protest against the Trump Administration and the Corporations funding it. If you would like to join, here is the link to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/632973416889378/ Even if you can't do it, share it with your friends and on Twitter. Use the hashtag #buynothing2017!

I really think this can be big. One day may not seem like a big deal, but if half the population does it, it will be.

Thanks,

Allyson
I'd like to springboard off of this post in another community to discuss a disturbing development in European culture and politics caused by the Syrian refugee crisis. In my view, it really calls into question whether we can really all just get along.

The European project, until recently, has been about the freedom of movement and trade within the European Union, which with time would tear down the cultural rifts separating the different constituent nations and lead, eventually, to the emergence of a modern, cosmopolitan, multicultural but always European culture. It was a utopian vision, to be sure. It was supposed to lead to the establishment of a strong but peaceful geopolitical player that could hold its own on the world stage - and, I'd once hoped, to be a source of inspiration for those, like the American Left, who favor progressive government policies supported by intelligent, educated populations.

But by now it is becoming clear that this vision was perhaps too utopian to be true. What went wrong?

In my view, I would suggest that Europe has expanded too quickly. As it has continued to expand, it has taken under its wing nations - such as Romania and Bulgaria, which were admitted in 2007 - whose populations lack the education or intellectual sophistication required to understand or embrace the European project, whose cultures have had too many differences from the kind of cosmopolitanism that had previously characterized the European consensus.

For example, in the post I've linked above, you can find quite a bit of racism, ignorance, and unsophisticated commentary masquerading as legitimate political discussion, expressed by citizens of recently-admitted members of the EU. The OP I've linked, for instance, parrots a couple of propaganda videos, devoid of context, that are intended to smear Syrian refugees as being uncivilized (despite Syria's having been, in the not too recent past, itself relatively cosmopolitan, educated, and well-off, and without any consideration for the ordeal individual refugees have undergone or are surely continuing to undergo while far from home). The post is akin to the sort of selectively-edited videos we see circulated by right-wing pundits, in the US, every time POC's protest racial injustice, and it's comparably vile. Similarly, one of the comments links to a junk website describing a recent press conference given by John Kerry, with a commentary suggesting that the commenter simply doesn't understand the difference between a barely-literate caricature of something John Kerry probably didn't say and something he in fact said.

These elements pollute the European project. They inject a kind of hateful, racist, uninformed rhetoric that is incompatible with the multicultural discourse that a unified Europe requires. How is the utopian vision of the European Union possible, when its citizens are so easily whipped into xenophobic, racist furor? It seems that the Syrian refugee menace, as some have described it, has brought out what really threatens the European vision - a deeply prejudiced and vehement racism.

In hindsight, perhaps it would have been wise for the European Union to close its borders to these people.

Recession?

I am hoping our mods find this post acceptable. We have an item of liberal interest going on right now over in the_recession. It seems that recession has become quite plausible in 2016, or not. In the spirit of a livejournal global economic poll we did a few years back, taking advantage of the truly global reach of eljay to encourage as wide a range of opinions as possible, and, with recession 2016 topic du jour, we're doing it again. Please join us and share your votes and your thoughts on the prospects for the US and Global economies this year 2016 Recession Poll! Thank you for your interest! - Ciel
Do yourself a favor. Watch a short video.



Once you've done that, watch a not-as-short video. Or not. Your choice.Collapse )

The Powell Memorandum At Work



Behold, a simple political cartoon (this one got to me by agoodcartoon. Ha, ha, we all laugh. Look at the pretty conservatives and the ugly liberals. Ha, and ha again.

But, a serious question: could there be a deeper reason for this beyond the simple tropes trotted out as explanation? Perhaps. Bear with me here. Let's consider the advice given to conservatives—and here I specifically mean business conservative, or political leanings that elevate the needs of private interests above those of folks that believe words like "society" and "community" are spelled with more than four letters. The advice comes from a man who in just a few months after this advice was given was himself elevated to the Supreme Court by President Nixon.

His name is Lewis Powell.Collapse )
I'll be the first to admit that most primary and even secondary educations are inadequate. No, scratch that: they are adequate for most things; for some things, they completely miss the point, because to come to the point they would have to address uncomfortable facts and what school wants to deal with uncomfortable stuff? That's just unnecessary.

So in school I learned almost nothing about Vietnam—how it started, reasons the country was even involved—even though many of my classmates had fathers and uncles still deployed there. We learned of old wars, and of course of the big one, WWII; but teachers shied away from even mentioning 'Nam, lest some student go home and mention the mention, leading to a shitstorm from one side of the kerfuffle or the other.

It turns out one of the biggest taboos of our history went back a bit farther to the Civil War. And these taboos, according to a fascinating article, regard the Dark Period after the Confederate Surrender, specifically how this period leads to, of all things, the Tea Party.To the Dark Age!Collapse )

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Reasons to Revive Actual Liberalism

Ever since the "New Democrats" have installed themselves in the political scene, many of the standard rallying calls of the Progressive Movement have been sidelined into being mere tropes and tall tales. The problem, as I see it, is that these New Dems are, rather than the raging bull liberals of our past, merely steers who mewl rather than snort with rage and charge into the breeches. They have adopted meek standards, weak tea compared with the heady strong stuff of former years, and have in pursuing these standards continued to survive the increasingly competitive political environment forced upon all potential candidates.

What might these weak standards be?Collapse )


An agreement has been reached in Lausanne, Switzerland between Iranian and American officials on Iran's nuclear program.

The officials spoke outside weeklong talks that have been twice extended past the March 31 deadline in an effort to formulate both a general statement of what has been accomplished and documents describing what needs to be done to meet a June 30 deadline for a final accord. A news conference was set for later in the day, when the results of the talks were expected to be announced.

President Obama's talks with Iran are something unique in presidency, in that for most of the time, world events foisted the agenda upon him. According to a great piece in the Washington Post, Iran is a different matter for the President. He chose it from the very first days of his presidency and made it a priority. He has consistently stated U.S. leadership can "bend the arc of human history." Nuclear proliferation has been a foreign policy concern, in fact, President Obama's first foreign speech as President was on that topic.


Obama and senior aides have bemoaned what they see as a tendency in Washington to look first to the military to solve America’s most vexing foreign policy problems. “The debates around the Middle East don’t seem to recognize that the Iraq war took place,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to the president. There continues to be “an instinctive reach for military solutions as the only sign of America’s seriousness,” he said.