Seriously...what I had heard of this proposal up until this point was that it is a spam-fighting measure that is intended to finally block, once and for all, unsolicited commercial emails while allowing legitimate emails to get through. Commercial sites like Amazon and Ebay would also pay the fee per email to get through AOL's spam filters, and this would have the effect of cutting back the number of unsolicited emails the legit commercial outfits send. It would also most certainly cut back on the use of unsolicited emails for political fundraising, which I find to be a big annoyance even when they come from Democratic candidates (as an aside, when I have left an email address on a campaign website asking for people to volunteer for the campaign and the only response I get is frequent spam emails asking for money money money, my usual response is to change my mind and decide that the candidate in question is not really worth actively supporting.) I'm not sure which way I feel about this particular proposal. But in general, I would be supportive of most steps which would curtail or ban spam outright.
I am very disappointed to see Democratic groups and candidates increasingly relying on the use of spam emails for political organizing and fundraising. Spam email, junk mail, billboards, and streets sprouting hundreds of political campaign signs like poison mushrooms every election, are not consistent with my idea of what a sustainable society would look like. Surely there's a better way.
Okay, i'll try. To understand the history of the Sierra Club you have to go back to the late 1960s when David Brower was heading the club. Under his direction the club was turning from merely a hiking club into a political powerhouse, and was very effective at stopping dams from being built in Grand Canyon among other things. The conservative elements in the club, led by Philip Berry, were becoming alarmed at Brower and organized a group within the club to stack the board of directors with Brower opponents and force him out. For two decades the Sierra Club remained under the control of a clubby group of insiders who were fond of their privileged position and access to the D.C. social circuit, and afraid to rock the boat and take stronger environmental positions.
Fast forward to the 1990s. Grassroots activists within the club were getting tired of the club leadership's clubby insiderness and timid positions. They (we) organized to get stronger environmentalists back onto the board of directors. Among those elected at various points were David Brower, Dave Foreman, and Michael Dorsey. Dorsey was best known for the "Dorsey Memorandum" which was widely circulated, pointing out where the Clinton-Gore administration backtracked or failed us on the environment.
The grassroots push in the 90s to take back the club led to the club leadership finally taking stronger stands on logging, and on decommisioning a destructive dam on the Colorado River among other things. The conservative elements in the club responded by trying to restrict democracy in the club - club members for example can propose changes in club policy to be voted on by the membership, and nominate candidates for the board of directors by petition. There have been moves to restrict or eliminate all of these.
The board of directors has 15 members. By 2003, six of the fifteen were people in support of strengthening democracy in the club and effective in heading off attempts to restrict club democracy. The six were: Paul Watson, Ed Dobson, Lisa Force, Doug La Follette, Ben Zuckerman, and Marcia Hanscom. The 2004 election had the potential to increase the pro-democracy elements within the club to a majority for the first time, with the possibility of two of the main reformers of the 1990s, Chad Hanson and Michael Dorsey, getting back on the board, Ed Dobson almost certainly being re-elected, and Richard Lamm also in the running. This in my opinion is what pushed the conservatives and beltway insiders in the club into action to stop this.
They formed a group called Groundswell, modeled after the earlier group that forced Brower off the board in the 1960s. Even some of the big names like Philip Berry are the same. They picked two issues, immigration, and to a lesser extent, animal rights, and raised a shrill alarm that people wanting the club to take on restricting immigration were on the verge of taking over the club. This is patently ridiculous since there were only three members of the board known to favor restricting immigration, and only one (Zuckerman) actively pushing that issue on the board. There were three more running in 2004, but only one (Lamm) with a chance of winning. The other two were simply not well known enough. This would have meant 4 members of the board, out of 15, favoring immigration reform, hardly a majority. There was no numerical chance of it ever happening, and the club membership had already voted that issue down in a 1998 referendum. Having 3 or 4 members on the board out of 15 with that position is only fair since it is an issue that good environmentalists debate over and differ on, and the board should reflect that diversity of opinion.
moveon.org bought the lies and sent out emails telling people to vote for the same 5 conservatives that Groundswell endorsed. People bought it because of moveon.org's reputation with the netroots. I smell a rat here. moveon.org completely lost my support for good with that move. They have proven themselves just more beltway insiders and establishment hacks. That is where Paul Hackett comes into the picture, and also the challenge to Lieberman in CT. Given moveon.org's history in interfering in the Sierra Club on the wrong side, why should we trust them? I would fully expect that moveon.org would have endorsed Brown over Hackett had Hackett stayed in the race, and would endorse Lieberman over his challenger. They already have a history of channeling netroots activism back into support for the beltway establishment, so why would they be any different if they were to start taking positions in Democratic primaries?
Had moveon.org and Groundswell not interfered in 2004, my guess is that Ed Dobson would have been re-elected, and Chad Hanson, Michael Dorsey, and Richard Lamm would have gotten on the board. That would be 9 out of 15 pro-democracy and pro-grassroots people on the board, a majority for the first time. Dorsey is known to strongly dislike Lamm but they would both still have joined together in defending club democracy and the grassroots. It was disingenuous of anyone, least of all moveon.org, to lie and claim the race was about immigration. Instead, today the Sierra Club is completely controlled by beltway insiders who are mostly interested in schmoozing on the D.C. cocktail circuit, the last couple of grassroots activists still on the board are about to retire and are not up for re-election. The insiders have just rammed through a proposal to disallow new club members from voting in club elections, and the next thing on their agenda is to ram through a proposal that part of the board, probably 1/2, be appointed by club insiders rather than elected. Democracy in the Sierra Club has been destroyed in one fell swoop, all of the grassroots efforts of the 1990s to take back the club have been undone in two short years, and moveon.org is partly to blame. That is why I don't trust them.
"Please think for a minute, if moveon.org with its massive base and political active stance, were a party - would you vote for them"
I wouldn't trust their stance or judgment on anything right now. Their meddling in the last two Sierra Club elections on the side of the beltway insider ticket reveals at best an astonishing lack of good judgment, and at worst, that they are bought, paid for, and controlled by the very same beltway-establishment machine that recently ran Paul Hackett out of the Ohio primary.
My loyalty isn't to moveon.org, it's to the Democratic Party, or at least to those elements within the Democratic Party who speak for me (on issues like labor, wages, trade, and outsourcing).
The Brady Bill is about as un-progressive as they get since it was based on a law enforcement approach (rather than, say, fighting the root causes of urban violence, i.e. POVERTY) and it endorsed the unfair and racist "prohibited category" approach of the Gun Control Act of 1968. It also killed our electoral chances in states as diverse as West Virginia and Arizona, perhaps for a generation or more.
I'm still waiting for the Democratic Party to start pushing for some real progressive legislation:
Repeal of Taft-Hartley Act
America's Redrock Wilderness Act
National card-check union recognition legislation
Double the minimum wage
Single payer health care
Wholesale and total repeal of the Patriot Act, with no equivocation and no apologies
End the War on Drugs and legalize the softer drugs
Repeal mandatory minimum sentencing and civil forfeiture laws
Any chance of this happening in my lifetime? Anyone? Anyone? Schumer? Schumer?
LoBiondo had a great Democratic challenger two years ago. A union shop steward, very left of center on economic issues, who was also simultaneously outflanking LoBiondo from the right on gun rights issues. Just the kind of Democrat we need to run for office in large numbers to win back the trust of the rural and small town working class. I'm afraid until we do so, states like West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Iowa that should rightfully be ours will continue to be lost causes, and states like Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Minnesota will soon be joining them. Unfortunately the Democratic Party all but ignored his campaign and wrote it off as unwinnable.
Y'know, I always love it when people try to change the subject from gun rights to "keeping guns out of the hands of convicted felons and the mentally ill". Gun control laws don't keep guns out of their hands, they keep them out of the hands of the rest of us. This issue is just like the abortion issue - if abortion is made illegal, abortion will continue at the same rates, it will only move to the black market with unsafe back alley abortions. I also take issue with your choice of words here, that "convicted felons" (including those with nonviolent convictions long in their past, who deserve a right to get on with their lives with a clean slate and get their rights back) rather than "criminals" (those who intend to continue in a life of crime) shouldn't have guns. Do you also believe convicted felons shouldn't be allowed to vote for the rest of their lives and be subject to lifelong job discrimination too?
The new site looks a lot better than the old site, and Direct Democracy is a much better name than Due Diligence.
The text in the right column is not aligned correctly with the column in Opera. It's still readable but just looks a little "off".
I don't know what other pictures you have, but I know that if I was designing a Democratic site I would populate it with photos of American workers. You know - auto workers, steelworkers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, electricians, coal miners, farmers, and construction workers, instead of the Dalai Lama (or as Utah Phillips succinctly puts it, the Tibetan Ruling Class in Exile :) The Republican noise machine has been trying to portray us as the party of third worlders, non-Judeo-Christian religions, and hoity-toity urbanite hipsters, and themselves as the party of American workers, for many years now. Why lend credence to their stereotype by playing into their hands? Just a thought.
Um, because "sensible gun control laws" is an oxymoron?
I support Casey for the same reason I support Feingold and the same reason I supported Dean. Until the Democratic Party takes gun control completely off the agenda, we will continue to lose, lose, lose.
Harris Miller is also one of the individuals most personally responsible for the hemmorage of high-paying jobs out of the country over the past 10 years, through his lobbying for the Information Technology Association of America. He is mentioned more than once in this context in Lou Dobbs' book "Exporting America".
James Webb on the other hand is not only a strong critic of Bush's Iraq War, he also opposed daddy Bush's Gulf War I and raised some hackles in the Reagan administration when he was Naval Secretary over the direction of U.S. Middle East policy.
This isn't just any race, this is about the very heart and soul of the Democratic Party, which is why it is imperative that James Webb be convinced to run. My rule is always to vote a "yellow dog Dem" ticket no matter who the candidate is, but if it's Harris Miller I may have to make an exception...