In his State of the Union address tomorrow, President Obama will declare his intention to use executive authority to bypass Congress. The Wall Street Journal reports that a host of such policies are being considered on the economy, job training, infrastructure repair, climate change, and education.
Republicans are outraged. Yesterday Rand Paul declared that Obama’s promise of executive action smacks of a “threat,” adding that he should instead be “building consensus.” Senator Roy Blunt similarly argues that “we don’t need more class warfare” and that the President “has a lot of explaining to do.”
Do you know the best thing about being a progressive?
It’s the diversity.
Something interesting happened yesterday. A guy who writes for Digby’s blog, Hullabaloo, David Atkins, took a quote from one of my posts, and posted it on the blog, with a shout out on Twitter.
Not long after that, a “progressive” chided him and Digby for daring to “endorse” me, because I allegedly “hate” Snowden and Greenwald. As I pointed out at the time, I didn’t see that he was endorsing me; he was endorsing the quote and the article. But I don’t “hate” Snowden and Greenwald; I have ever met either. Although my encounters with Greenwald over the years have been generally unpleasant, and he seems to be very childish, my dislike of him is professional – it is based on what he writes.
Obama said elected officeholders have a responsibility to the Constitution. Obama refused to talk much about Edward Snowden, but he did say, “The sensational way that these disclosures have come out have shed more heat than light.”
The president called out other countries who feigned surprise over the Snowden revelations for doing their own spying on the United States government. Obama also pointed out that threats to privacy don’t come from government alone. Private corporations are also collecting data one every American, but the standards for government surveillance must be higher. He said the basic values of the American people converge a lot more than the crude characterizations that have emerged over the last several months.
The Guardian: Arianna Huffington, her website and AOL were on the receiving end of a $105m lawsuit by a group of angry bloggers unhappy that she sold the Huffington Post for $315m without them being paid a penny.
The class action is led by Jonathan Tasini, a writer and trade unionist, who wrote more than 250 posts for Huffington Post on an unpaid basis until he dropped out shortly after the news and comment site was sold to AOL earlier this year.
Tasini complained that “Huffington bloggers have essentially been turned into modern day slaves on Arianna Huffington’s plantation” and said he was bringing the action because “people who create content … have to be compensated” for their efforts.
The complainant and his lawyers estimate about 9,000 people wrote for the Huffington Post on an unpaid basis – and argue that their writings helped contribute about a third of the sale value of the site, the basis of their $105m claim for compensation ….Tasini promised to wage a passionate campaign, saying he was “pissed off and angry” and that he would “picket her home” in his campaign….
Think Progress (March 9, 2011): Last year, Koch Industries began employing New Media Strategies, an Internet PR firm that specializes in “word-of-mouth marketing” for major corporations … it appears that ever since the NMS contract was inked with Koch, an NMS employee began editing the Wikipedia page for “Charles Koch,” “David Koch,” “Political activities of the Koch family,” and “The Science of Success” (a book written by Charles).
Under the moniker of “MBMAdmirer,” NMS employees edited Wikipedia articles to distance the Koch family from the Tea Party movement, to provide baseless comparisons between Koch and conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros, and to generally delete citations to liberal news outlets. After administrators flagged the MBMAdmirer account as a “sock puppet” – one of many fake accounts used to manipulate new media sites – a subsequent sock puppet investigation found that MBMAdmirer is connected to a number of dummy accounts and ones owned by NMS employees like Jeff Taylor.
… Lyndsey Medsker, a senior account director for NMS, spoke to ThinkProgress today. She explained that NMS also maintains the Koch Industries Twitter page, Facebook page, and has an active team working on promoting Koch Industries in the comment section of blogs and news websites.
…New Media Strategies at one point tried to lie about its affiliation with Koch Industries. The account “MBMAdmirer” wrote in December on Wikipedia: “I am a citizen who has read about and admires the Koch family. I was not pleased with the way that they have been presented in the media. And I thought that I could come to Wikipedia to try to make sure that there are balancing facts. Nothing I do is in coordination with Koch or authorized by Koch.