Don't petition the White House, Use Change.org

Don’t petition the White House, Use Change.org

Nov 18, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
Secessionists. I first want to say thank you for finally learning something from history. The last time so many desired to rid themselves of a tyrannical president they declared war on the Union. Thus, your use of a peaceful means through petitions on the White House’s site is commendable. Furthermore, each state now finds themselves represented by a petition and signatures from people possibly...
The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The whole campaign season did not just depend upon the presidential race that finally came to an end last night. Yes, the country voted clearly to give Barack Obama another four years in the White House. He received more than 50 percent of the vote and won handily in the electoral college. Yet, it is what happened down the ballot that shows the nation’s...
Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Oct 24, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
During last night’s Indiana Senate debate the Republican candidate, Richard Mourdock, did more than stick his foot in his mouth. I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from...
politics

Democracy Now – 12/4/12

Democracy Now – 12/3/12

Democracy Now – 11/19/2012

Nov 19, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments

Don’t petition the White House, Use Change.org

Nov 18, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
Don't petition the White House, Use Change.org

Secessionists. I first want to say thank you for finally learning something from history. The last time so many desired to rid themselves of a tyrannical president they declared war on the Union. Thus, your use of a peaceful means through petitions on the White House’s site is commendable. Furthermore, each state now finds themselves represented by a petition and signatures from people possibly wanting to secede from the United States. Texas leads the way with more than 100,000 people asking the White House to address the issue. This is the same state governed by Rick Perry who drummed up his base of supporters with calls for seceding prior to his Republican bid for President. The irony seemed lost on him.

Governor Perry is obviously not a viable option to lead the cause. He hardly put up a fight against a weak group seeking his party’s nomination. I also question the tool used to help you in this struggle. At first the petition tool unveiled by the White House was thought of as revolutionary as it provided a wonderful way for everyday people to address the leader of the free world. Unfortunately during its time the tool has not yet provided any real avenue to enact positive change for the people petitioning the White House. Seeing that the cause to secede from the United States already seems like a long shot, to say the least, it might be time for you to bring in a real winner. An organization that fights the powers that be and seeks to place everyday people on the same level as Fortune 500 companies and high ranking officials. Do not fret if they do not take up your cause right away because the organization is a for-profit and promotes your cause for a small price.

​And without further delay. Call Ben Rattray at change.org. His site’s modifications now allow any organization or person to use their petition tools and online organizers. So long as the group does not openly advocate violence, anti-lgbt rhetoric, and a couple other things that are not currently being done. (keep the gay hatred and violent tendencies on the down-low and you will be golden).

​You see, if the original petition out of Texas started on Change.org’s site secessionists would have access to more than 100,000 emails from fellow supports. You would have free labor by well-trained and well-connected publicists and organizers. You would have a better targeted reach online that could identify even more supporters. This is a company with employees that helped stop Bank of America’s five dollar surcharge and focus national attention on Trayvon Martin’s killer (don’t blow this opportunity by exposing your support of George Zimmerman).

​I mean if anyone out there can cheerleader your cause and help you win, it would be change.org. Their sellout of progressive principals and their new found worship or change for the sake of making the company more money is a once in lifetime opportunity for you.

​Now you might be wondering how they make that money. Remember those emails? They sell them to you for about $1.75 each. Don’t have money? You cannot hide the wealthy investors that Karl Rove milked hundreds of millions of dollars and ask them for it? Seriously, ask the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson for it. Change.org doesn’t ask questions about the money and will allow front groups even more devious than StudentsFirst on their site.

So give it a try. I am sure they will welcome you with open arms. Well, at least more open than you are about American Democracy.

Photo by sylvester75117

The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The whole campaign season did not just depend upon the presidential race that finally came to an end last night. Yes, the country voted clearly to give Barack Obama another four years in the White House. He received more than 50 percent of the vote and won handily in the electoral college. Yet, it is what happened down the ballot that shows the nation’s move toward progressive values.

It appears that Democrats will pick up a couple seats in the lower chamber but the real change happened on the senatorial level. Voters said no way to Republicans Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock after they attempted to scapegoat women and downplay the trauma of rape and sexual abuse. Furthermore, women won in Massachusetts, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Wisconsin for their first terms. All four of them will be more progressive legislators than their predecessors. In Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin will be the first openly gay Senator. Meanwhile, Arizona will send the first openly bi-sexual person to the House as Kyrsten Simena appears to have won the 9th Congressional seat.

That leads me to four ballot initiatives in which voters said yes to equality in three state and no to discrimination in another. Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Or better yet – recognize the love and commitment that two people have for each other, regardless of sexual orientation. Minnesota’s ballot question would have amended the state constitution to ban marriage equality. Voters said no to the amendment and state sanctioned discrimination. These four victories are the first for marriage equality at the state level.

California voters had the opportunity to vote on a few ballot initiatives (only in California) with a potential impact on the nation. Voters said yes to raising taxes the richest of California households. They also said no to limiting the political voices of working families in a proposition that would limit union involvement in election… while continuing to allow corporations near unfettered control.

Washington and Colorado did not want to be outdone. Both states voted to legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21. These two states now lead the movement to decriminalize a harmless drug that has sadly placed too many people in prison and cost taxpayers far too much money.

We could go further into the details of statewide initiatives but these pretty much show the drift of the country. Mitt Romney stayed competitive because of whites and older voters. President Obama won re-election because he appealed to a more diverse populace. He won with voters under 40 and each minority group. Simply put he won over a majority of Americans.

The results from last night do not guarantee over night success as Color of Change says in the statement:

“Throughout the election, the choice couldn’t have been more clear. President Obama’s commitment to fight for everyday people in his next term stood in stark contrast to the failed economic and social policies of the other party.

“But we’ve still got more work left to do to ensure that our efforts at the polls result in real change for our families. There are far too many folks suffering from the effects of this long-lived downturn economy, and we look forward to working with President Obama and advocates across the nation to push for reforms and policy solutions that will help Americans everywhere achieve the American Dream.”

That much is true. But the country did move to the left last night. I find it hopeful. I am heartened by the results.

Statistically I should feel the opposite. I am a straight, white male and a Christian. Born and raised in rural Illinois. I should be a Republican because of either social issues or fiscal concerns. But I do not identify with the party because of my compassion for others, regardless of who they love, their ability, their ethnicity, faith or gender. I believe in equality and justice for all. It is for those reasons that I find opportunity to further justice and equality after last night.

I welcome the work we have ahead of us because their is grace and love on the left. Walk the progressive walk and experience the grace throughout a diverse and welcoming cause. Feel the love in accepting people for who they are and the compassion to advocate for others.

The country moved to the left. Let us rejoice for today. Let us mobilize for tomorrow.

Photo by HowardLake

Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Oct 24, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

During last night’s Indiana Senate debate the Republican candidate, Richard Mourdock, did more than stick his foot in his mouth.

I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.

Mourdock joined a club made exclusively of Republicans but a club that seems to be growing as the November election nears. Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh made a reprehensible comment about exceptions for the life of the mother following his debate.

“There is no such exception. With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance.”

Complete crap as this woman explains.

Of course who can forget Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s claim that a woman’s body can shut down their reproductive system during a “legitimate rape.” It all comes on the heals of legislation that tried to redefine rape as “forcible rape.” The bill received 216 Republican sponsors and 11 Democrats (including the one who Mourdock is running against).

These statements may seem to come from the fringe of the Republican Party. They may seem to come from people who hold close to a God that turns lemons into lemonade. They even come from ordained pastors and politicians like Mike Huckabee. He too claims that women should not be allowed to have an abortion in cases of rape or incest. He does not even like some types of contraception!

The Republican party is against abortion and the move to demonize it flies in the face of their so-called small government argument. These candidates want to create an aura of false information so it becomes more palatable to ban all abortion. If women cannot get pregnant because of rape or that medicine is so far advance that a pregnancy never jeopardizes a woman’s life… then why do we need the exceptions.

The misinformation will not set in overnight. It is a long game to move the country further and further to the right. Pushing an an anti-choice agenda is not truly about a fetus becoming a child. Nor about contraception intervening on God’s will for you to become pregnant. This is about control. Control over women and their bodies.

The Republican party is filling up with men, hiding behind their faith, that want to dictate women’s health decisions. These politicians threaten the freedom of half of American citizens.

Reflect on these words from Rachel Maddow:

“But think about the big picture here for a second. Between those two guys, between Akin and Ryan. Which one is worse? Saying you want to force a woman who has just conceived against her will to also give birth against her will by order of the government?

Or – telling yourself a fake science fairy tale so you can pretend those women don’t exist, and you would never want the kind of government that would do something so barbaric to a woman for nine months after the barbarism that was done to her in the incident of rape. Which is worse? The person with the fairy tale or the person without one? Because they both want the same policy either way. It’s just that in the newfangled Republican Mike Huckabee way of justifying it, they drop the fake science fairy tale. They don’t bother trying to make it seem less barbaric.”

Women, and the men who believe in equality for women, must give this some serious thought when they go to the polls.

Democracy Now – 10/24/12

Oct 24, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments

Change.org Pits Choice and Anti-Choice Against One Another

Oct 23, 2012 Aaron Krager 1 Comment

News broke yesterday of Change.org’s decision to open its platform to anyone except hate groups. Ryan Grim covered it here, Jeff Bryant here, and my own piece.

Initial talks between Ben Rattray, the CEO and founder of Change.org, and team members started in July. Discussions, according to an internal email, highlight the founder’s desire to open the platform for everyone… except hate groups of course! These talks happened shortly after progressive activists and unions pressured the company to drop StudentsFirst and Stand for Children. Both organizations are anti-union and front for corporate education reform. Under the new guidelines both could be welcomed back with open arms.

Matt Browner Hamlin highlights a hypocrisy in Change.org’s talking points and their own internal FAQ.

The implication expressed in Change.org’s internal documents, by Change.org’s spokesman Ben Joffe-Walt who Ryan Grim quotes as saying, “Change.org is “not beholden to one community,” and by the talking points circulated by multiple Change.org staff members on progressive email list serves all point to the idea that it’s simply not possible for Change.org to make determinations about which clients are or are not progressive. As a result, they are saying they are now formally stopping to make any attempt to limit who they sell email addresses to based on their “values.”

Yet, developers for the company are working on tagging and machine learning… much like Amazon can recommend a book or product to you based upon your past interactions (read: purchases).

Like this:

Tagging: we want to move from our current 8-cause system to a much more flexible tagging system. Once complete, users and Change.org staff will be able to tag any petition in many different ways, for example as “pro-choice.” We will then be able to show that “pro-choice” advertisement to people who have signed petitions tagged as “pro-choice” while suppressing people who’ve signed “pro-life” petitions. This is technically complicated, and we’re hoping to make significant progress in 2013.

You cannot offer people an effective tool for social change when opposing forces use it again you. Offering organizations this tool to fight against women’s rights and simultaneously keep a pro-choice group is beyond crazy.

This is like giving a person a hammer to drive in a nail while giving another person that is trying to take the nail out a hammer as well. There is no theory of change with this newly proposed open platform. It is a money grab. Pure and simple. Progressive organizations should abandon Change.org just as the company abandoned them by selling out.

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