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Why Haven’t Conservative Thinkers Denounced Trump?
Before the election, I wrote a piece describing why, despite his radical deviation from conservative orthodoxy on many policy issues, Donald Trump’s rise and triumph as a candidate of the right bore an uncanny sort of logic. The Tea Party movement, whose nominal candidate in the Republican primaries had been the upright Christian constitutionalist Ted Cruz, smoothly transferred its support to Trump, the sybaritic populist who said that Cruz’s dad was linked to John F. Kennedy’s killer, and this, somehow, seemed about right. Why not? What’s the difference? This fit with the scheme laid out in Corey Robin’s book “The Reactionary Mind”: the substance of conservative doctrine is secondary to a deeper, perennial force in conservative politics, which is the spirit of reaction itself. ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
5 mins ago
Rapid Arctic ice melt sets the stage for economic disaster under Trump
The great ice sheets are unstable, ice melt is speeding up, and deniers will soon be in charge. What could go wrong?A Trump presidency could make this future for South Florida and “Miami Island” unstoppable. CREDIT: Climate CentralThe anti-climate policies embraced by President-elect Donald Trump— coupled with the ever-more stunning news and analyses that keep coming about the polar regions — means trillion-dollar economic impacts from climate change are closer at hand than people realize. Here’s why.First, a new Nature study finds the Greenland ice sheet is as unstable as the Antarctic ice sheet and prone to rapid melt. It adds to the fast-growing body of evidence we are headed toward the high-end of sea level projections, up to 6 feet or more by century’s end (and you can throw in another 2 feet for the highest tides if you live in South Florida).Second, we already knew that meant devastating Sandy-level storm surges will become more and more common on the East Coast, where sea level rise is the fastest.Third, unusually warm weather has been driving record ice melt this year (which in turn causes more warming and more melting in an amplifying feedback called “Arctic Amplification”). Last month, Arctic sea ice extent and volume hit ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
10 mins ago
Report Finding $125 Billion In Waste At Pentagon ‘Raises Serious Questions,’ Says Top Democrat
WASHINGTON ― A damning new report exposing that the Pentagon buried a study finding the department was wasting billions of dollars on business operations has enraged Senate Democrats. The Washington Post published a piece on Monday revealing details of a study that the Defense Department commissioned to help identify potential ways to save money and make its administrative workings more efficient. But the article says leaders kept the study secret when they found the department was wasting more than they had realized, and did not follow through with a plan to help the Pentagon cut costs by $125 billion over five years.Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), ranking member on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, told reporters on Tuesday that lawmakers hadn’t been briefed on the study and that his staff is looking into it. “But it really raises serious questions about overhead management of the largest part of our government and the most expensive department of our government,” Durbin said. “We want the safest nation in the world but we certainly don’t want to featherbed it with management people who are not doing their job and we don’t want to privatize this sending out to contractors that overcharge.”The revelation of exorbitant waste should ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
19 mins ago
Keith Ellison Will Resign House Seat If Elected DNC Chair
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said Tuesday he will step down from his seat in Congress if Democrats elect him head of the party.“In order to further their commitment and maximize my effectiveness, I have decided to resign as a member of Congress if I win the election for DNC chair,” Ellison said in a statement. “Whoever wins the DNC chair race faces a lot of work, travel, planning and resource raising. I will be ‘all-in’ to meet the challenge.”Ellison has quickly racked up a series of key endorsements in the race. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his successor Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are behind Ellison, as are populist champions Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with more than 100 Democratic lawmakers. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has indicated he would like to see either Labor Secretary Thomas Perez or former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm get the job, while Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) is promoting South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison, a former Capitol Hill staffer and corporate lobbyist. Some Democrats backing other candidates have objected that Ellison’s job in Congress will distract him from important work as the party tries to rebuild after a devastating 2016 ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
30 mins ago
A Jewish Rapper’s Response To The Nazi Who Hacked His Twitter
When a Nazi Internet Troll hacked Zachg's Twitter account, it was an attempt to deflate years of hard work building up to his third solo album release. The hacker meticulously went through his tweets to delete the ones pertaining to the upcoming album release and also went about blocking every one of the account's 2,000+ followers. Instead of letting that slow him down, Zachg moved forward launching his album and issued a near-perfect response. Reflecting on his experiences as a Jew in America decades apart, Zachg reminds us that the anti-Semitism, bigotry, and racially-tinged vitriol so apparent following the election of Donald "Cheeto Jesus" Trump are hardly new. The intro is quoted below, but head over to his blog to read the rest. 2016-12-07-1481131313-4369424-WholeTushie.jpglarge Image by/courtesy of ZachgIt's 1996. A 15 year old Jewish boy is sitting in a 10th grade chemistry class at Saint Thomas Aquinas, a private Catholic high school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He transferred to this school as a sophomore, and he is one of very few Jewish students. He smells gas amidst a lecture and, fearing a leak, he raises his hand. The teacher calls on him, "I smell gas Ms. Messenger." She ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
35 mins ago
Donald Trump Taps Border Hawk And Retired Gen. John Kelly To Head DHS
WASHINGTON ― President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, a border hawk and yet another general, as his secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, multiple news outlets reported on Wednesday. DHS could be extremely powerful under Trump because many of his campaign promises fall within its purview: building a border wall, ramping up deportations, creating a Muslim registry and enacting a ban on certain people entering the country. The selection of Kelly, a recently retired four-star general, to head the Department of Homeland Security, would add to the growing concern that Trump is increasingly filling his Cabinet and top advisory positions with generals ― particularly ones that clashed with President Barack Obama. (The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision.)Trump has already nominated  retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn as his national security advisor and Gen. James Mattis to serve as Defense Secretary. Mattis has only been out of the military for three years, so he will require a waiver from Congress in order to head the Pentagon. In an attempt to guarantee civilian control of the military, current law requires the secretary of defense to have been out of active duty for at least ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
38 mins ago
It’s A Difficult Path For Gun Violence Prevention Advocates, But There Is A Path
Until around 9 p.m. on November 8, just about everyone in the gun violence prevention (GVP) community, myself included, thought that we would have a great ally moving into the White House on January 20, 2017. Then some disturbing and unanticipated results came out of Pennsylvania, and in short order Gun-sense Nation went from dreaming about the possibility of reducing gun violence during a Hillary Clinton presidency to figuring out how to keep the issue of gun violence prevention alive during the Age of Trump. Let’s begin counting the numbers which don’t look so good. The Senate is still held by the GOP, even if a pro-gun weasel named Kelly Ayotte got tossed out the door.  And in the House the GOP dropped a net of 6 seats, but a 241-194 majority is still a good score. At the state level there has never been a time when so many Governors or legislative chambers were colored red. In other words, the current political alignment doesn’t bode well for sensible gun reforms.And here is the basic dilemma facing GVP, namely, that the agenda for reducing gun violence, as sensible and modest as it is, calls for some kind of government intervention for ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
41 mins ago
Democratic Leadership Looks Like Old Soviet Politburo
2016-12-07-1481131232-8264514-PelosiSchumer.jpeg What does a professional sports team do after 6 straight losing seasons? Among other things, it usually fires the coach and looks for new blood, new leadership, and new strategies. But not if you're the minority House and Senate Democratic leadership...Or the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party shortly before the collapse of communism. Instead, the failed, and increasingly geriatric leadership holds onto its fading power with increasing tenacity. The highest ranking elected Democrats are now...drum roll...Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (who has served in Congress for 35 years since 1981) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who has served in Congress for 30 years since 1986). Schumer and Pelosi will be the most prominent public faces of the Democratic Party for the next four years. Does that get you fired up and ready to go? The top three House Democratic leaders are 76 (Pelosi), 77 (Steny Hoyer) and 76 (Jim Clyburn). The average age of the Democratic House leadership is 76. That's even older than the 70-year old average of Soviet Politburo members in the age of Brezhnev, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The top three Republican House leaders, in contrast, are 46 ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
43 mins ago
African Elephants May Need China To Save Them From Extinction
Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden are the duo behind the China Africa Project and hosts of the popular China in Africa Podcast. We’re here to answer your most pressing, puzzling, even politically incorrect questions, about all things related to the Chinese in Africa and Africans in China.In the powerful new Netflix documentary “The Ivory Game,” Elephant Action League Executive Director Andrea Crosta ominously warns that the entire fate of Africa’s elephants is in the hands of a single man, Chinese President Xi Jinping. Only President Xi has the power, argues Crosta, to shut down China’s domestic ivory trade that drives so much of the killing of Africa’s rapidly diminishing elephant population.'For the first time in history, one person has in his hands, the destiny of an entire species.'Andrea Crosta in "The Ivory Game"Crosta is among the central characters in “The Ivory Game,” where he is also joined by Nairobi-based conservation activist and founder of the nonprofit organization China House Kenya, Huang Hongxiang. Huang and Crosta traveled the world to expose the complex trading networks that facilitate the illicit ivory trade. While Huang generally agrees with Crosta that the Chinese president plays a large role in the destiny of these animals, ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
43 mins ago
The Never-Ending Ben Carson Nightmare
When Ben Carson emphatically declared that he has no government experience that would qualify him to run a federal agency, most took this to mean that he would quietly recede if not fade from public attention. We should have known better. Trump saw to that when he brushed aside Carson's momentary candid admission and plopped his name down as the Secretary to be of HUD. This was a remarkable but not surprising return from the political dead for Carson. Now we'll have a man who self-admits he has no government experience running a crucial agency that ladles out billions annually in public housing subsidies, rental assistance, and housing finance activities, employs more than 8000 workers and administrators and operates more than 100 subsidy programs. If that's not bad enough, Carson doesn't even like what HUD does. He has a long and well-documented track record of lambasting housing discrimination suits, over-dependence on "social safety net" programs, getting government out of competition with private enterprise, and denouncing anything that supposedly deadens individual initiative. This was the stuff of snickers, chuckles, and lampooning when Carson was simply private citizen Carson, or, the mercifully brief, failed GOP presidential candidate Carson. Few then could ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
46 mins ago
It’s Been A Year Since Trump Proposed His Muslim Ban. The Fate Of Muslims Is Still Unknown.
Exactly one year ago, President-elect Donald Trump announced his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. The comment was an unequivocal and alarming pledge that threatened to impact the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, but today, it’s unclear what the fate of Muslim Americans will be in a Trump administration.Trump initially called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” following terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Paris. Many Republicans, including several who eventually came around to support Trump, condemned the idea.Months later, Trump appeared to shift his position, saying he wanted to block all immigrants from countries that had a history of terrorism against the United States. In June, Trump said he only wanted to focus on “people coming from the terror states,” until there was a better vetting system, though it’s unclear which countries would fall under the policy. He has also called for “extreme vetting” for immigrants, a kind of ideological test to determine whether they should be admitted into the United States.In October, Trump’s then-running mate Vice President-elect Mike Pence said that Trump no longer supported a blanket ban.Reince Priebus, who will be Trump’s chief of staff, refused to rule out ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
50 mins ago
The Walter Scott Mistrial and the Crisis of Facts
Liberals have of late devoted a great number of pages to describing, analyzing, and lamenting the declining faith in American institutions, and its role in the election of Donald Trump. But, as the hung jury in the murder trial of Michael Slager—the police officer who, in April, 2015, shot an unarmed fifty-year-old black man, Walter Scott—makes clear, the resounding faith in particular institutions can be just as corrosive to democracy. ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
50 mins ago
We Need Swing Voters, Not Swing States
2016-12-07-1481130078-6729586-forum.jpg Yesterday, House Judiciary Democrats convened a forum on "The Electoral College and the Future of American Democracy." It has been nearly twenty years since the last hearing on this topic in 1997, and much has happened since then. [Watch the forum on CSPAN] As we all know, in 2000, Al Gore narrowly won the popular vote but lost the election to George W. Bush. This year, Hillary Clinton lost the election despite winning the national popular vote by a record of more than 2.6 million votes. But these aren't the only times in American history that this has happened: on five occasions since 1824, the winner of the popular vote has lost the election. It is abundantly clear by now that the Electoral College is fundamentally antiquated, broken, and antidemocratic. The Supreme Court has long held that the "conception of political equality from the Declaration of Independence, to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, to the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Amendments can mean only one thing--one person, one vote." The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution likewise guarantees that all voters may equally participate in elections and that diluting votes based on a voter's residence "impairs basic constitutional rights under the ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
1 hour ago
Time Person of the Year: Donald Trump
Time magazine's 2016 Person of the Year goes to President-elect Donald Trump, its editors announced on Wednesday. The magazine cover features a photograph of Mr. Trump in his Trump Tower residence with the headline "Donald Trump: President of the Divided States of America." "When have we ever seen a single individual who has so defied expectations, broken the rules, violated norms, beaten not one but two political parties on the way to winning an election that he entered with 100-to-1 odds against him?" Time Editor Nancy Gibbs said on NBC's Today show. ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
1 hour ago
Twitter Erupts At Rick Santorum For Telling Dreamer To Leave The U.S.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) can’t speak to whether President-elect Donald Trump plans to deport undocumented immigrants en masse beginning next year, but he has made one thing clear: People who came to the U.S. illegally as children, also known as Dreamers, should just leave the U.S. if they’re worried about their immigration status.Elizabeth Vilchis, a mechanical engineer who said she came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 7 years old, asked Santorum about Trump’s immigration plans on Tuesday night during a town hall event with CNN’s Van Jones. “I stand to lose all the work that I’ve done if the new administration decides to end DACA,” she said, referring to the federal program that offers undocumented immigrants work authorization and deferred action from deportation.“I will lose my career and will potentially be labeled for deportation” if Trump follows through on his promises to get tough on immigration, she said.She asked Santorum how he would advise her to plan for her future.He began his reply by talking about his father, who left Mussolini’s Italy to come to the U.S. when he was 7 years old ― even though, Santorum said, “he wasn’t allowed to come because of the immigration laws at ... read more
Published on 12-07-2016
1 hour ago
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Information

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828, making it the world's oldest active party.Once its dominant worldview was classical liberalism, but modern social liberalism became a force within the party with the candidatures of William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson, who won the presidential nominations in 1896, 1900, 1908, 1912 and 1916. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s the Democratic Party has promoted a social-liberal platform, supporting social justice and a mixed economy. The Democrats' philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state. It pursues a mixed economy by providing government intervention and regulation in the economy. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, support for labor unions, moves toward universal health care and equal opportunity, consumer protection, and environmental protection form the core of the party's economic policy.Well into the 20th century, the party had a conservative pro-business wing and attracted strong support from voters of recent European extraction—many of whom were Catholics—based in the major cities, and included a populist-conservative and evangelical wing based in the rural South. After 1932 and Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the business wing withered and, between the 1960s and the 1990s, Southern whites and many Catholics moved into the Republican Party. Today, the congressional Democratic caucus is composed mostly of progressives and centrists, with a smaller minority of conservatives.There have been 15 Democratic presidents: the first was Andrew Jackson, who served from 1829 to 1837. The most recent is the current one, Barack Obama, who has been in office since 2009.In the 114th Congress, following the 2014 elections, Democrats hold a minority of seats in the House of Representatives as well as in the Senate. The party also holds 18 governorships and control of a minority of state legislatures. (en)