Democracy Earth’s Ambassadors Program!


Democracy Earth
Published on Dec 7, 2017

Welcome to Democracy Earth’s Ambassadors Program!

TO FIND OUT HOW TO BECOME AN AMBASSADOR, CLICK HERE: goo.gl/89YTxK

We need your help to bring our message to all four corners of the world 🌎, and create a global movement that will redefine what democracy is in the 21st century!

As an Ambassador, you will help us spread 📣 ideas of Liquid Democracy into your home town, and find others that can do so as well.

We need Ambassadors in every city, and in every country!

We want you to help us start Democracy Earth meetups in your local city, so we can bring the community and kick start the debate about what kind of democracy do we want in the internet age!

Our belief in democracy means we believe that human collaboration is the best possible way to arrive at great solutions, therefore we use github and document our work as open source projects where anyone is free to contribute. Democracy is always a work in progress, and so is our work: we encourage you to take an active role in building it with us, making suggestions and creating debates!

We will give you resources to help you carry the message and implement our work: videos and slides so you can make presentations in all kinds of events, in the name of Democracy Earth, and also technical information of how to implement sovereign in a local server so your local groups can start using it!

You can find extensive material that we have put together for our Ambassador’s program on Github ( https://github.com/DemocracyEarth/amb… ), and engage with us – both on Github’s issues and Slack – discussing our paper, The Social Smart Contract, where we are debating liquid democracy with collaborators from all over the world! We have also created a channel on Slack called #ambassadors ( https://democracyearth.slack.com/mess… ), where you will be able to connect with all the Ambassadors, share and learn from each other experiences!

As an Ambassador of Democracy Earth you will represent the Democracy Earth Foundation vision of a borderless, post-nation state world, its mission to put the tools of liquid democracy in the hands of every self-sovereign global citizen of the world, and our values of being open source, transparent, accountable, and decentralized. It is fundamental that you embody our open-source values, welcoming everyone into our collaborative work as co-creators of the future of democracy.

Join us!

Soundtrack credits: Alex Lappin

Leaked Documents Expose How Corporations Use Spies to Subvert People’s Movements Worldwide

Given what “these companies have gotten away with,” concluded Naomi Klein, it is “no wonder they fear our power.”

 Anti-war demonstrators rally in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations September 19, 2006 in New York City. (Photo: Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

That governments deploy undercover law enforcement officers to infiltrate, gather information on, and subvert protest movements has long been common knowledge. Less well-known, however, is the extent to which some of the world’s most profitable businesses have hired private spies to keep tabs on political movements they perceive as a threat to their power and profits.

“The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread.”
—Meiron Jones and Rob Evans, the Guardian

Hundreds of pages of newly leaked documents—reported on for the first time Tuesday by the Guardianand the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ)—provide an unprecedented glimpse into this mysterious world of “corporate spies,” who have been hired by major companies like the German carmaker Porsche, the U.S.-based manufacturing giant Caterpillar, and the Royal Bank of Scotland to monitor anti-war demonstrations, protests against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and environmental campaigns against the destruction of the planet.

“The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread,” report the Guardian‘s Rob Evans and Meirion Jones.

Despite this fact—and despite claims by police that corporate spies embedded in protest movements frequently outnumber undercover law enforcement officers—these private firms face “little or no regulation.”

And while these “security” companies have attempted to fashion themselves as run-of-the-mill service providers, they are in reality quite different.

“One key distinguishing factor is that corporate investigation firms are often staffed and run by former spies and veterans of special forces, even if they work alongside graduates, accountants and lawyers,” TBIJ notes. “Some of the companies even have private military arms.”

Speaking anonymously to the Guardian, a man who claims he personally infiltrated political groups for a corporate spy firm said that his work involved more than merely collecting information on protesters.

“He described how the spies surreptitiously fostered conflicts within a campaign to set activists against each other, in order to wear them down and make them lose their political motivation,” the Guardian reports.

One of the companies featured heavily in the cache of documents is the private security firm C2i International, which has deployed spies on behalf of Porsche and other major companies to infiltrate groups of environmentalists and anti-Iraq war campaigners.

According to the Guardian, “documents show that C2i claimed it had ‘real-time intelligence assets’ in a range of environmental campaigns including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, local green groups in Oxford and ‘all anti‐aviation groups.'”

In 2008, C2i also “pitched its services to Donald Trump’s property development firm, which was seeking to create a huge golf course and build a hotel and flats on ecologically sensitive land in Scotland.” C2i reportedly warned Trump that his company was “under threat from a consortium of environmental activists,” but it is unclear whether Trump took C2i up on its offer.

In one case exposed by the leaked documents, C2i—hired by Caterpillar—spied on the family of Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in 2003 while protesting the destruction of Palestinian homes. The bulldozer was manufactured and sold to the Israeli military by Caterpillar.

As the Guardian reports, “Corrie’s family took legal action against Caterpillar, alleging that the firm was complicit in war crimes by exporting bulldozers to the Israelis knowing that they would be used to demolish Palestinian homes.”

Just days after U.S. judges dismissed the lawsuit, Corrie’s mother spoke to members of the campaign supporting the family’s legal action on a conference call. C2i appears to have listened in on the call and obtained the campaign’s notes pertaining to the conversation.

After learning that her conversation was infiltrated by private spies, Corrie’s mother Cindy told the Guardian that it is “really distasteful” that corporate operatives would lie about their identities to listen to a conversation she believed only consisted of supporters.

Reacting to the newly leaked trove of documents, author and environmentalist Naomi Klein—who has written extensively on the exploits of corporate contractors—argued that given the enormous human and environmental abuses global corporations have committed, it is not surprising that they would hire spies to monitor those who threaten to expose their criminality.

Warning Against Abdication of Duty, Senators Demand FCC Abandon Net Neutrality Vote

Ajit Pai’s plan would leave the U.S. with a “gaping consumer protection void,” say 39 senators

At one of hundreds of protests last week, net neutrality supporters in New York City demanded that the FCC abandon its plan to repeal net neutrality protections. (Photo: TeamInternet/Flickr/cc)

Thirty-seven Democratic senators, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), sent a letter (pdf) to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday, urging the panel to abandon its “reckless plan to radically alter the free and open Internet as we know it.”

If pushed through, the letter warns, the move, spearheaded by Trump’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai, “would amount to the largest abdication of [the agency’s] statutory responsibilities in history.”
The lawmakers argued that Pai’s plan to gut net neutrality regulations represents an abandonment of its “primary responsibility to protect consumers and the public interest with respect to the nation’s communications networks.”
“In short, you are walking away from your statutory duties and effectively eliminating FCC oversight over high-speed internet access,” wrote the senators.

In the House, after hearing from many of his constituents on the issue, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) became the first Republican to ask Pai to delay the vote and allow Congress to hold hearings on the issue, while Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) vowed to introduce a bill after the FCC’s vote, to roll back Pai’s new net neutrality policy.

Pai has proposed repealing Obama-era net neutrality regulations which prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating against web content. Without the rules, ISPs like Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast would be able to offer a “fast lane” for wealthy Internet companies like Google and Facebook, allowing their content to reach users more quickly.

If the FCC, which consists of three Republican commissioners and two Democrats, adopts Pai’s proposal on Thursday, the panel will permit ISPs “to freely block, slow down, or manipulate a consumer’s access to the internet as long as it discloses those practices—no matter how anti-consumer—somewhere within the mounds of legalese in a new ‘net neutrality’ policy,” wrote the senators.

The new rules would also prevent states from implementing their own regulations, resulting in what the Democrats called a “gaping consumer protection void.”

In recent days, Pai has been dismissive of net neutrality supporters’ concerns over his proposal, calling dozens of consumer advocacy groups and the City of New York “desperate” after they sent him a letter about the vote last week. The groups urged him to delay the decision until a court case involving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s right to sue telecom companies that mislead the public—including over net neutrality issues.

The FCC chair has also refused to turn over information to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who’s opened an investigation into whether fake comments were left on the FCC’s website during its public comment period on net neutrality. FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who supports open internet rules, has urged Pai to delay the vote until that inquiry is complete.

Public banking: A Year of a Major Shift, Support Our Important Year Ahead

Public Banking Institute

Public Banking Institute Year-End Update: December 12, 2017

2017 has been

The Year of a Major Shift

Today, we are delighted to see the following states and cities move forward quickly toward establishing a Public Bank. After years of educational outreach and tireless work, PBI has been fortunate to make presentations, meet with legislators, or provide guidance and resources to almost all of these efforts.

We’re hoping you will continue your much appreciated support with a year-end contribution so we can advance our work in the important year ahead: http://www.publicbankinginstitute.org/donate

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San Francisco could become the first city in the nation to establish a Public Bank. Supervisors Malia Cohen and Sandra Fewer are rapidly advancing the idea and applications are open now for the City’s Task Force.

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PBI met with LA City Councilmembers as the City implements their resolution to divest from Wells Fargo. PBI also made central presentations in a powerful Bring On the Power of a Public Bank: People’s Forum in May, which led to more advances. We’ve been working with many strong grassroots groups Bernie Sanders BrigadeYes CA Public BankDivest LARevolution LA, and California for Progress.

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Friends of Public Bank of Oakland have been on the forefront as these cities agreed to jointly fund a feasibility study.

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PBI, Commonomics and Revolution LA all helped with presentations to the State Treasurer John Chiang who has recommended studying a state bank as a potential solution for the cannabis industry’s banking needs.

Trump isn’t lying, he’s bullshitting – and it’s far more dangerous

Lying means you’re actually concerned about the truth.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past week or so, you know that over the weekend America was introduced to the concept of “alternative facts.” After Trump administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer rebuked the media for accurately reporting the relatively small crowds at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Spicer wasn’t lying; he was simply using “alternative facts.”

News outlets are still working through the process of figuring out what to call these mischaracterizations of reality. (“Alternative facts” seems to have been swiftly rejected.) Many outlets have upped their fact-checking game. The Washington Post, for instance, released a browser extensionthat fact-checks tweets by the president in near real-time.

Other outlets have resisted labeling Trump’s misstatements as lies. Earlier this year, for instance, the Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief Gerard Baker insisted that the Wall Street Journal wouldn’t label Trump’s false statements “lies.”

Baker argued that lying requires a “deliberate intention to mislead,” which couldn’t be proven in the case of Trump. Baker’s critics pushed back, raising valid and important points about the duty of the press to report what is true.

As important as discussions about the role of the press as fact-checkers are, in this case Baker’s critics are missing the point. Baker is right. Trump isn’t lying. He’s bullshitting. And that’s an important distinction to make.

Bullshitter-in-chief?

Bullshitters, as philosopher Harry Frankfurt wrote in his 1986 essay “On Bullshit,” don’t care whether what they are saying is factually correct or not. Instead, bullshit is characterized by a “lack of connection to a concern with truth [and] indifference to how things really are.” Frankfurt explains that a bullshitter “does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.”

In addition to being unconcerned about the truth (which liars do care about, since they are trying to conceal it), Frankfurt suggests that bullshitters don’t really care whether their audience believes what they are saying. Indeed, getting the audience to believe something is false isn’t the goal of bullshitting. Rather, bullshitters say what they do in an effort to change how the audience sees them, “to convey a certain impression” of themselves.

In Trump’s case, much of his rhetoric and speech seems designed to inflate his own grand persona. Hence the tweets about improving the record sales of artists performing at his inauguration and his claims that he “alone can fix” the problems in the country.

Jackie Evancho’s album sales have skyrocketed after announcing her Inauguration performance.Some people just don’t understand the “Movement”

Likewise, his inaugural address contained much rhetoric about the “decayed” state of the country and rampant unemployment (a verifiably false statement). Trump then proceeded to claim that he was going to rid the country of these ailments. The image of Trump as a larger-than-life figure who will repair a broken country resonates with his audience, and it doesn’t work without first priming them with notions of widespread “carnage.”

A stinky, slippery slope

There are several problems with Trump adopting the bullshit style of communication.

First, misinformation is notoriously hard to correct once it’s out there, and social media, in particular, has a reputation for spreading factually inaccurate statements and conspiracy theories.

One study, for instance, examined five years of Facebook posts about conspiracy theories. The authors found that people tend to latch onto stories that fit their preexisting narratives about the world and share those stories with their social circle. The result is a “proliferation of biased narratives fomented by unsubstantiated rumors, mistrust, and paranoia.” Another study examined Twitter rumors following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. These researchers explored how misinformation about the identity of a suspected terrorist abounded on the social media platform. They found that although corrections to the error eventually emerged, they didn’t have the same reach as the original misinformation.

Second, because Trump’s communication style relies heavily on anger, people who are predisposed to his message may become even less critical of potential bunk. Research suggests that when people are angry, they evaluate misinformation in a partisan way, typically accepting the misleading claims that favor their own political party. One study, for instance, primed participants by having them write essays that made them feel angry about a political issue. The authors then presented them with misinformation about the issue that either came from their own party or the opposing party. Participants who felt angry were more likely to believe their party’s misinformation than people who were primed to feel anxious or neutral.

Finally, a communications strategy based on bullshit inherently makes enemies of anyone who would seek to reinstate the truth and expose his statements as bunk. Journalists, scientists, experts and even government officials who disagree with him are subject to charges of ineptitude, partisanship or conspiracy. They’re then threatened with restrictions on fundingaccess and speech. We’ve already seen this happening with the suggestion that Environmental Protection Agency data may undergo review by political appointees before being made public.

In fairness, Trump may very well believe the things that he’s saying. He was recently quoted as saying “I don’t like to lie.” And people can convince themselves of things that aren’t true.

There’s some evidence, for instance, that he avoided information that Muslims in New Jersey didn’t actually celebrate the terrorist attacks on September 11th, as he claimed. Like all of us, Trump may be putting up psychological defenses to avoid accepting information that challenges his worldviews, as research suggests all of us do. So although he’s corrected frequently by journalists and on social media, it’s a very real possibility that he’s simply shut out anyone or any source of information that threatens his way of seeing things.

But this is of little comfort. Trump has an affinity for speaking mistruths with little consideration for their factual accuracy. Combine this with his relentless efforts to discredit anyone who challenges his declarations and his heavy use of social media – where posts and tweets can go viral with little context and no fact-checking – and it sets the stage for a dangerous turn in American political and civil discourse.

(Submitted by Bruce King.)

Why the FCC’s proposed internet rules may spell trouble ahead

 

How fast is that video really coming in? hvostik/Shutterstock.com

As the Federal Communications Commission takes up a formal proposalto reverse the Obama-era Open Internet Order, a key question consumers and policymakers alike are asking is: What difference do these rules make?

My research team has been studying one key element of the regulations – called “throttling,” the practice of limiting download speeds – for several years, spanning a period both before the 2015 Open Internet Order was issued and after it took effect. Our findings reveal not only the state of internet openness before the Obama initiative but also the measurable results of the policy’s effect.

The methods we used and the tools we developed investigate how internet service providers manage your traffic and demonstrate how open the internet really is – or isn’t – as a result of evolving internet service plans, as well as political and regulatory changes. Regular people can explore their own services with our mobile app for Android, which is out now; an iOS version is coming soon. We’re working with the French equivalent of the FCC to promote our measurement tools in France to help audit whether French ISPs are compliant with local net neutrality protections. Other countries, including the U.S., could follow the French lead, using our tools to evaluate their internet service quality.

Rules take effect

Before the Open Internet Order took effect in 2015, companies running cellular networks were allowed to use throttling to manage how much data their networks needed to handle at any given time. To do this, some companies capped users’ download speeds, which could cause video to stream at lower quality, with less-sharp images that were blurry during action sequences.

But there were limited rules governing how the mobile companies enforced those caps: We found some providers slowing down YouTube videos but not Netflix or other video services. This is an example of a major concern net neutrality supporters have: that internet providers might give preference to traffic from one site or another – perhaps making video providers pay extra to have their material delivered at high speed. If the speed or quality consumers can get from an online service depends on how much providers can afford to pay, that can put startups and innovators at a disadvantage to existing internet giants.

When it took effect, the Open Internet Order allowed internet providers to use throttling in only a limited way, under the so-called “reasonable network management” provision. Instead of singling out specific types of data for throttling, mobile companies – and wired internet providers as well – were required to do so in a way that treats all traffic equally. We observed the companies that had slowed down YouTube but not Netflix shifting their policies to reflect this new requirement.

The return of throttling

In late 2015, though, T-Mobile announced a program it called “Binge On,” departing from its competitors by offering its customers “free” video streaming – the ability to watch some video services on their devices without counting against monthly high-speed data limits. The trade-off was that their video quality from those providers would be limited in the best case to the equivalent of a regular DVD – not the high-definition video most people have come to expect, and which mobile data networks are capable of carrying. Some video sites would come in at higher quality, but their data would count against users’ monthly caps. Other sites’ videos, strangely enough, would come in at low quality, though the data would still count against users’ monthly caps.

When my team heard the announcement, we were perplexed. It seemed clear T-Mobile was throttling, perhaps even preferentially, choosing a handful of services to exempt from users’ monthly data caps, while continuing to count data from other video providers. And many users were opted in by default, potentially never knowing that T-Mobile had decided for them whether they could stream high-quality video. But most confounding, how did T-Mobile know what “video” was, as distinct from other data flowing through its networks?

What are ‘packets,’ and how do they travel around the internet?

Internet traffic is broken up into small chunks of data called “packets” that travel through the wires separately and then are reassembled by the computer or mobile device that’s receiving them. Think of these as small messages in individual envelopes traveling through the mail. In both cases, the packets and envelopes reach their destination according to the address written on the outside – not what is contained inside.

It would be strange if the U.S. Postal Service looked at the envelopes, guessed what was inside, and decided your credit card bill should be delivered first, but delayed your paycheck. Unlike some envelopes, packets coming from YouTube or Spotify don’t carry information on the outside declaring what’s inside – say, “video” or “music streaming” or “web.” To the internet, they all look the same. And under the principles of net neutrality, they should all be treated the same.

Unequal handling

Through a set of rigorous experiments, we were able to find out how T-Mobile and other internet companies tried to tell the difference between video packets and packets containing other types of data: They were looking inside the packets – inside the envelopes – for particular words or terms, like “netflix.com” or “googlevideo.”

Someone had come up with a list of hints that indicated a particular piece of network traffic was in fact part of an online video. But of course there are countless video streaming platforms – and old ones die off and new ones are started every day. T-Mobile’s list couldn’t possibly cover them all.

We found that the popular video service Vimeo was not throttled by T-Mobile or Verizon. This meant that people who streamed Vimeo content used up some of their monthly data cap, but got better video quality than people watching YouTube or Netflix. This decision by T-Mobile – though it passed a review by the FCC – affected how well YouTube and Netflix could compete with Vimeo, which raises a specter of more problems to come if the FCC scraps the Open Internet Order (which, for all these reasons, I have urged them not to). What, for example, would stop AT&T from giving its DirecTV subsidiary faster and better-quality traffic than it gave competitors Netflix and Hulu?

Protecting consumers

One way to ensure users get the service they’re expecting – and paying for – is to require more transparency from internet providers. Specifically, they should disclose how much they slow down video and what that does to video quality, but also what hints or techniques they use to detect video traffic in the first place.

In addition, those methods must ensure that internet companies treat all content providers equally – so users don’t get better or worse performance from different sites based on corporate interests or disputes. And regulators need to enforce these basic rules, using auditing tools like the open-source ones my research team has developed.

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article originally published Sept. 29, 2017.

(Submitted by Bruce King.)

USA Today Opinion: Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom?

A president who’d all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets in Obama’s presidential library or to shine George W. Bush’s shoes: Our view

THE EDITORIAL BOARD | USA TODAY

Updated 6:12 a.m. PST Dec. 13, 2017

White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders flatly denied that President Donald Trump's tweet about NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in any way sexist, insisting only people with their minds "in the gutter" would have read it that way. (Dec. 12)White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders flatly denied that President Donald Trump’s tweet about NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in any way sexist, insisting only … Show more   AP

With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low.

Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president’s smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men. Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her “wherever,” he didn’t mean her nose.

President Trump viewed through a lens in Pensacola,

President Trump viewed through a lens in Pensacola, Fla., on Dec. 8, 2017.
GREGG PACHKOWSKI, PENSACOLA (FLA.) NEWS JOURNAL

And as is the case with all of Trump’s digital provocations, the president’s words were deliberate. He pours the gasoline of sexist language and lights the match gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame in a country reeling from the #MeToo moment.A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.

This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.

Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed.

It should surprise no one how low he went with Gillibrand. When accused during the campaign of sexually harassing or molesting women in the past, Trump’s response was to belittle the looks of his accusers. Last October, Trump suggested that he never would have groped Jessica Leeds on an airplane decades ago: “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you.” Trump mocked another accuser, former People reporter Natasha Stoynoff, “Check out her Facebook, you’ll understand.”  Other celebrities and politicians have denied accusations, but none has stooped as low as suggesting that their accusers weren’t attractive enough to be honored with their gropes.

If recent history is any guide, the unique awfulness of the Trump era in U.S. politics is only going to get worse. Trump’s utter lack of morality, ethics and simple humanity has been underscored during his 11 months in office. Let us count the ways:

  • He is enthusiastically supporting Alabama’s Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of pursuing — and in one case molesting and in another assaulting — teenagers as young as 14 when Moore was a county prosecutor in his 30s. On Tuesday, Trump summed up his willingness to support a man accused of criminal conduct: “Roy Moore will always vote with us.”
  • Trump apparently is going for some sort of record for lying while in office. As of mid-November, he had made 1,628 misleading or false statementsin 298 days in office. That’s 5.5 false claims per day, according to a count kept by The Washington Post’s fact-checkers.
  • Trump takes advantage of any occasion — even Monday’s failed terrorist attack in New York — to stir racial, religious or ethnic strife. Congress “must end chain migration,” he said Monday, because the terror suspect “entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security.” So because one man — 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. who came from Bangladesh on a family immigrant visa in 2011 —  is accused of attacking America, all immigrants brought to this country by family are suspect? Trump might have some credibility if his criticism of immigrants was solely about terrorists. It isn’t.  It makes no difference to him if an immigrant is a terrorist or a federal judge. He once smeared an Indiana-born judge whose parents emigrated from Mexico. It’s all the same to this president.
  • A man who clearly wants to put his stamp on the government, Trump hasn’t even done his job when it comes to filling key government positions that require Senate confirmation. As of last week, Trump had failed to nominate anyone for 60% of 1,200 key positions he can fill to keep the government running smoothly.
  • Trump has shown contempt for ethical strictures that have bound every president in recent memory.  He has refused to release his tax returns, with the absurd excuse that it’s because he is under audit.  He has refused to put his multibillion dollar business interests in a blind trust and peddles the fiction that putting them in the hands of his sons does the same thing.

Not to mention calling white supremacists “very fine people,” pardoning a lawless sheriff, firing a respected FBI director, and pushing the Justice Department to investigate his political foes.

It is a shock that only six Democratic senators are calling for our unstable president to resign.

The nation doesn’t seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed. But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great.

USA TODAY’s editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature.

To read more editorials, go to the Opinion front page or sign up for the daily Opinion email newsletter. To respond to this editorial, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

Originally Published 4:30 p.m. PST Dec. 12, 2017

Net Neutrality

Thanks for signing up to participate in the “Break the Internet” protest on December 12th, to get Congress to stop the FCC from ending net neutrality.

In the past few weeks, there’s been a tremendous surge of opposition to the FCC’s plan. If everyone does as much as they can right now, there’s still a chance to stop it. We need to persuade our members of Congress to oppose this plan.

Here are some concrete things you can do right now:

  1. Call Congress now, if you haven’t already— we need as many calls as possible.
  2. Share the BattleForTheNet campaign to get others to call: share now on Facebook and Twitter with just a couple of clicks.
  3. If you run a website, display a prominent alert for the day of action using this codeYou just need to embed a bit of javascript in the header of your site, and on December 12 your site will invite users to contact the FCC and Congress. You can also use the Cloudflare app or WordPress plug-in. Or you can also install our WordPress CatSignal for important announcements in the future.
  4. If you’re a video creator, use our 30-second bumper to explain why net neutrality matters.There are square, vertical, and horizontal versions for you to download here.
  5. Blog about the day of action. Whether you’re a business or a blogger, tell your followers why net neutrality matters to you, and then send us a link. Feel free to adapt this language from the July 12th day of action.
  6. Share this video so that everyone will know what net neutrality is.

We encourage everyone to get creative and think about how you can best get your friends, family, or audience to participate in the “Break the Internet” day of action – whether it’s by sharing on Facebook and Twitter, putting something prominent on your site, sending a push notification to your mobile app users, making a video, or anything else you can think of!

There are a ton of resources for you to pick and choose from at https://act.demandprogress.org/go/12202?aktmid=tm2816365.aiiRAv&akid=a34071300.2399787.mUoKDS&t=12&source=conf.

Don’t stop driving traffic to BattleForTheNet.com! We need to keep up the pressure, even after the vote, to make sure Congress does everything it can to stop the FCC from dismantling net neutrality.

So if you’re ready to start driving traffic from your site, go for it! And don’t let up. We’re in this for the long haul.

-Team Internet/BattleForTheNet.com

Colin Kaepernick Presented With SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Gina Johnson Smith

Gina Johnson Smith

Communication Specialist at SPMG Media

#SPMGMedia

Beyoncé surprised ex-49ers player Colin Kaepernick Tuesday night, presenting him with the SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, which honors an athlete who uses their platform to further change.

Beyoncé took a strong stance on Kaepernick’s actions to protest police brutality at the 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Awards Show in New York. Kaepernick’s decision to remain seated while the national anthem played back in 2016 sparked similar protests by NFL players that continue to incite controversy in the present.

“Thank you Colin Kaepernick. Thank you for your selfless heart, and your conviction,” the “Lemonade” singer said in her presentation speech. “Thank you for your personal sacrifice. Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion only hope to change the world for the better. To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color.”

“We’re still waiting for the world to catch up. It’s been said that racism is so American, that when we protest racism, some assume we are protesting America. So, let’s be very clear. Colin has always been very respectful of the individuals who selfless serve and protect our country and our communities and our families. His message is solely focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people. Let’s not get that mistaken.”

“I say this as a person who receives credit for using my platform to protest systemic oppression, racialized injustice and the dire consequences of anti-blackness in America,” he said. “I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.”

Kaepernick has been unable to find a new NFL position since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers at the end of the 2016 season, and sued the NFL and its owners in October for collusion against hiring him. Kaepernick also received the ACLU’s courageous advocate award Monday evening.

The 2017 SI Sportsperson of the Year Show will air on NBCSN and on Univision Deportes Network at 8 p.m. ET Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, respectively.