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Calling All Writers!!!
04-26-2013, 02:02 AM,
Calling All Writers!!!
I am finally taking on a dream project of mine: creating a magazine.

I've been wanting to do a magazine that speaks in a clear, impassioned, and entertaining voice, but is geared toward the grassroots liberal/socialist/green. To tell the stories and share the voices of those activists/artists working just outside the corrupt epidermis of American politics.

It would be a vehicle for Green ideals, but without hitting potential readers over the head with obvious plugs on every page. I.e., it would also include Justice Party members, Left-Libertarians, Anarchists, etc.

If you have any idea that you're passionate about, and fancy yourself a capable writer (style is just as important as substance), and are okay with the idea of exposure being an initial reward, please let me know. So far, I'm just doing this myself, but I'm a graphic designer, so I've at least got a third of the battle in the bag.

Thanks for your time.

-Bryan (GPofPA)
"The balance of power is the scale of peace." --Thomas Paine

"Always stand on principle....even if you stand alone." --John Adams
04-26-2013, 02:12 AM,
RE: Calling All Writers!!!
I'm your man for writing. This is an opinion piece I wrote for my school newspaper about the loosening of ballot access laws, which won 1st place at state competition.

Quote:Oklahoma ballot access laws stifle participation
Memorial Staff Writer

Every election year, Oklahomans go to the polling stations to cast their ballots. Each time, many voters grimace at the meager choice laid out before them: spoiled sauerkraut or curdled coleslaw?

Oklahoma’s ballot access is notoriously strict, requiring 50,000 valid voter signatures for a party to qualify for placement on the ballot. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson managed to obtain 70,000 signatures, but after a few levels of “signature verification” by the Oklahoma Election Board, he fell 10,000 short.

The real kicker, though, is that Oklahoma is one of only five states that forbid write-in votes, even though 40 percent of American voters identify as independent.

America is a free country and its citizens are guaranteed their choice of leaders, so long as the two ruling parties approve of them. Allowing third parties on the ballot would undermine the Republican-Democrat duopoly and compromise the constant Congressional deadlocks; perhaps this would be the stimulus we need to nudge this nation forward.

It is incredibly difficult for young voters to be animated by parties run by Baby Boomer fossils with their minds trapped in the past. Political squabbles in the last couple of years have rarely resulted in anything meaningful, with the two parties arguing over everything from potatoes in schools to birth control.

It is hard enough to take this seriously, but many young people are also tired of a system seems to provide a mere illusion of choice; regardless of whether the incumbent is a Republican or Democrat, America will still see military interventionism, bloated defense and social spending and low taxes on the wealthy, and millions of voters are tired of it.

The upcoming generation of voters, including some students from Memorial, is pushing hard for more choices, their voices stemming from all across the political scale.

From the libertarians to the Occupy Movement, young people across America are mobilizing to bring about the change they want to see in the world. Their devotion is nothing short of phenomenal.

Watching these two groups, one can see their hearts swelling with pride, their voices laden with hope and indignation as their protestors surround governmental and financial institutions. The Occupiers were so devoted to their cause that they camped out in public parks for months, weathering rain, snow and tear gas so that their voices would be heard.

By contrast, observe the Republicans and Democrats; the once-eager Democrats are now burned out, sticking with their candidate out of loyalty rather than optimism. Likewise, Republicans see Mitt Romney as simply “good enough,” and the only primary candidate to maintain a passionate following was Ron Paul. It is a sad day for America when voters are content with candidates for whom they must craft excuses.

The status quo is no longer acceptable for young voters. Forcing them to continue to comply with the ruling parties will do nothing but smother their desire to become active in political activities. Oklahoma must loosen the ballot access laws in order to allow everyone’s voice to be heard lest we risk alienating hundreds of thousands of young voters and, by extension, place the future of the state and the nation in peril.
"If you speak the truth, have your foot in the stirrup." -Turkish proverb
"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." -Thomas Jefferson
"The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." -Confucius
04-26-2013, 03:35 AM,
RE: Calling All Writers!!!
Nicely done! If you have any ideas about which you'd like to pen 1500-2000 words, shoot me a private message on this forum.

Thanks, OKDrake!

"The balance of power is the scale of peace." --Thomas Paine

"Always stand on principle....even if you stand alone." --John Adams
04-26-2013, 06:33 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-26-2013, 06:36 AM by KrisSmootKY.)
RE: Calling All Writers!!!
I wrote a 2000-word editorial for my school newspaper explaining why people should vote for Jill Stein, but I had to cut it down to 400 words. If I could find the flash drive it's on, I'd post it here. I also posted it to the Jill Stein Facebook page in October, so I could find it there. I can crank out a good piece if I put my mind to it. I also wrote a 25 page paper on third parties, their influence, and their roadblocks for a class last fall.

Actually, I just remembered that I sent it in an email, so I was able to recover it. Here it is:

Quote:Disregard Major Parties: Vote for Jill Stein

By Kris Smoot

I have already voted in the 2012 Presidential Election. In this era of political discourse, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the mudslinging and lack of civility taking place in Washington and on the campaign trail. From the health care debate in 2009 to the debt ceiling crisis of 2011, neither side seems to make a convincing case that its side and only its side is best for the country. The Democrats bend to the will of the Republicans and the Republican standpoint tends not to register on the cognitive scale. Both sides seem to have problems that need to be worked out. So which side should you take in this election?


"But, Kris, how could you not vote for Obama? Do you want Romney to bomb Iran? Do you want gays to be further oppressed? Do you want women's rights to be set back 100 years?"

No, I don't want these things. Any sane person could see that bombing Iran would cause a world catastrophe that the United States just could not win. I recognize that women and gays are people too and are entitled to the same rights.

Now this seems like a good case for Barack Obama, so why didn't I vote for Barack Obama?

Drone strikes. Kill lists. Corporate friendliness. The War on Drugs. Do any of those ring a bell?

A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can be controlled from a safe distance and fly towards a specific target. It drops bombs onto said target. Statistics show that an all too sizable portion of drone strikes succeed not in killing a specific terrorist target in the Middle East and Africa, but result in the slaughter of innocent civilians. To date, according to an article on, President Obama has commissioned 284 drone strikes during his administration. (1) To me, even one civilian death is unnecessary and cruel. Does President Obama not values the life of those in other countries? What about in this one? Even on that statement, I hold serious doubt. Take a look at the case of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a 16-year old American citizen from Colorado. His father, Anwar al-Awlaki, had ties to an al-Qaeda operation in Yemen, was killed in a drone strike in said country. The 16-year-old, also in Yemen was ordered killed in a separate drone strike two weeks later after he went to go look for his father. When asked about this, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the teenager should have had a more responsible father. (2) Is this carelessness towards an innocent civilian something someone who professes himself or herself to be a liberal would exhibit? I, as a liberal, have more compassion for human life than that. In addition, President Obama has significantly raised the number of troops in Afghanistan and decided to keep the 2014 withdrawal date. Obama only pulled forces out of Iraq because Iraq wouldn't sign a Status of Forces Agreement with the United States, not because the President was committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, while sticking Bradley Manning, a whistleblower who witnessed strikes on Iraqi civilians, in prison for life while subjecting him to torture. (3)

"But, Kris! He's just continuing the policies that President Bush left for him to complete."

The President does not necessarily have to continue the policies of a previous President. He has had his chance to prove himself a man of peace. Instead, he's just as conservative as President Bush in the foreign policy department, if not more. Speaking of war, Obama has heightened efforts drastically in waging the War on Drugs, forcefully shutting down medicinal marijuana clinics in states where the practice has been legalized while littering prisons with minor drug offenders, greatly increasing costs to the state by forcing prisons to keep drug offenders. This is not a cost-effective solution in the short-term or the long-term.

"Okay, I support marijuana legalization, but I'll take it being illegal since Obama kept us from falling into another Great Depression."

He may have done so, but at what cost? Obama has refused to support the arrests of the lenders and bankers who got us into the mess in the first place. He passed the bank bailouts which allowed banks to continue their practices of charging massive interest on loans while also allowing CEOs to collect huge bonuses. Unemployment has recently fallen below 8% for the first time in the Obama presidency, yet jobless claims have also gone down, showing that a sizable portion of the work force is no longer seeking work. The unemployment rate is a misleading figure. In the debates, you also had Mitt Romney say that "the government does not create jobs" while saying that Obama hasn't created enough jobs. While Romney's statement is of course contradictory (as a lot of his rhetoric has proven to be), he also speaks the truth in saying that Obama has not created enough jobs. Obama passed the Affordable Care Act, but he did not remove the corporate handle on the insurance industry. He claims to support energy independence, yet he supports wars for oil and continued mining for coal. He also appointed Michael Taylor, former head lobbyist and Vice President of Monsanto (notorious for its genetic modification of goods), as head of the Food and Drug Administration. (4)

So where's my point of view? I saw neither Obama nor Romney as my ideal candidate. I wasn't just going to abstain from voting. I'm a politically conscious individual. I decided to look for other other options. It turns out that there is a candidate on the ballot in the state of Kentucky that closely reflects my views.

Jill Stein.

Maybe the name doesn't ring a bell. Per her campaign website (), Stein is a Harvard Medical school graduate and certified physician who resides in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is the Green Party candidate for President. A quick read through of her platform goes a little like this:

- A Green New Deal (in the vein of FDR's New Deal), an emergency program that 1) replaces unemployment offices with nationally-funded but locally-run job banks, 2) investing in green businesses and research so that green jobs will become available, 3) relieving student and homeowner debt and breaking up "too big to fail" banks, and 4) overturning Citizens United while doing away with the Electoral college and establishing Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).

- Full LGBTQ+ rights.

- Legalization of marijuana, pardoning drug offenders, and investing in rehab facilities instead of incarcerating drug offenders.

- Establishing "Medicare for all."

- Pulling out of the Middle East, ending drone strikes, and vastly decreasing our bloated defense budget.

- Using added funds to invest in education so that education can become free in all public schools (thus a pull-down effect would occur at an institution such as Transylvania which would reduce costs here for the sake of competition for students). (5)

This all sounds wonderful, so how come you haven't heard about Dr. Stein?

The mainstream media has kept us all in the dark in regards to the third parties. The media loves to make this election look like a football game where there are only two sides, when the election is really like a track meet where multiple schools compete. However, the media and thus the track meet has been fixed towards the two dominant schools. The two major parties have also been engaged in legal battles in states such as Michigan, Virginia, and Pennsylvania to keep third parties off the ballot so that no one can play a "spoiler" (more of that later). In addition, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has been actively engaged in keeping third party candidates out of the debates. Aside from the constitutional requirements for being president, the CPD imposes the rule that a candidate has to receive 15% of more support in five national polls to be included, yet typically, pollsters tend only to include Obama and Romney (Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who is also on the ballot in this state and advocates limited government spending while emphasizing civil liberties, has sued the CPD for excluding him from the debates despite proof that he has 15% support in five polls that only included him and President Obama). (6) Dr Stein was even arrested for trying to get onto the property of the second debate. In addition, it is also much harder for a third party candidate to get on the ballot in most states (Oklahoma doesn't allow third party candidates on the ballot at all). In addition, PACs and SuperPACs don't typically collect money for causes outside of the two major parties. While Obama has decried Citizens United as a travesty of justice, he has benefited considerably to the tune of over $100 million from liberal SuperPACs. The Green Party does not have any known PACs or corporate donations. The Greens want to get the corporate money out of politics and legitimize democracy.

And now for my favorite argument: "A vote for Stein is a vote for Romney."

Not true. Kentucky is, as one can see by opening his/her eyes, a true red state. We know Romney will win this state. So what is the problem with voting your conscience? I did not waste my vote for Dr. Stein over Fall Break. Technically, if you vote for Obama even though you know he will not win, you're "wasting" your vote as well.

"But Nader cost Gore Florida in 2000 and gave us Bush!"

Exit polls show that this is not true. Nader pulled as many votes from Bush as he did from Gore as well as pulling in voters who were dissatisfied with both Gore and Bush. There were plenty of other demographic minorities that could have swung the election in Gore's favor. Gore should have done a better job to convince Nader voters to vote Democratic. Saying Nader was a spoiler is nothing more than a fear-mongering tactic, scaring you into voting for one of the corporate-funded, change-stalling parties. Doing so just means that you are consenting to the partisan gridlock that has plagued Washington for so many years. A vote for a Green or a Libertarian break this gridlock by putting new voices in Washington and forcing the two major parties to either work together and make their similarities more obvious or listen to the alternative voice and gravitate back towards the ideological center since a lack of powerful Democratic opposition has pushed the Democratic party much farther to the right, especially in recent years.

So why did I waste my vote on Dr. Jill Stein?

This is simple. The rules of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) state that if a candidate receives 5% of the popular vote in a presidential election, that candidate's party is eligible for full matching funds (at least $20 million) in the next presidential election (in this case, 2016). I've contribute my vote to this greater purpose. Jill Stein needs to have strong showing in states where it's already assumed that one of the big two will win (California and New York - Obama and Texas and Kentucky - Romney) in order to get to this mark. It may be dicier in a state like Ohio or Florida because of the smaller margins in polls there, so voters may be much more easily scared into voting for Obama just to prevent Romney's draconian-then-not-draconian-then-draconian again social policies from even seeing the light of day. Since we go to school in Kentucky and most of us are registered to vote in Kentucky, this more concerns our efforts to get Jill Stein up to 5% of the popular vote. We need to do all we can to increase Jill Stein's profile in this state. Talk to your friends and family. Make posts in social media. Have healthy debates with those who are dead set on voting for Barack Obama. Dr. Stein needs your help.

So who wants to waste your vote with me now?


1) "Obama’s 284 Drone Strikes in Pakistan"
2) "Top Obama Adviser: Awlaki’s 16-Year-Old Son Should Have Had a More Responsible Father If He Wanted Us Not to Kill Him"
3) "Voting Green in a Swing State" (Has links to other sources and arguments)
4) "Monsanto Exec Heads FDA, and the Obama Administration’s Revolving Door Politics"
5) "Summary of the Green New Deal"
6) "2012 Candidate Selection Criteria"
“We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.” ~Mikhail Bakunin

04-27-2013, 04:09 AM,
RE: Calling All Writers!!!
Thank you, Kris! I can't read it now, but I will and reply back.
"The balance of power is the scale of peace." --Thomas Paine

"Always stand on principle....even if you stand alone." --John Adams
04-30-2013, 02:23 AM,
RE: Calling All Writers!!!
Excellent reporting, Kris. You definitely seem to have the form and method down. If there are any more specific issues you are passionate about, I'd be honored to include them in the magazine. The magazine is going to be an updating of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense", as in that, as opposed to straight reporting pieces, the articles are to be of a more opinion/editorial nature. Find a topic that you deem needs further personal analysis (breaking with current mindset trends is optimal) and give a heartfelt (but not without research or fact-checking) persuasion essay. The tone of the magazine, as I see it, borders more on philosophy, than straight reporting. More theory, than fact. For instance, rather than writing a piece about why hydro-fracking is bad, try to think about the mindsets of those who are knowingly damaging the planet for profit. There have to be at least SOME that participate in the destructive process that believe the climate scientists, but are stuck with a "what can we really do? we have to make a living" mentality. How do they weigh those dual responsibilities, of family income in a horrible job market vs. ecological preservation?

Liberals have a long rich history of spewing facts and expecting to change hearts. Thomas Paine got to the heart of the cause of the American Revolution, not by shouting "KING GEORGE SUCKS!" but by taking on, and taking down, the basic tenant of the colonies' opposing nation, England's system of monarchy. He used theoretical analysis, in plain prose, to persuade. And it worked. He could've rambled on about taxes for 50-200 pages, but he knew that would be a lead balloon. Basically, the magazine is not looking to only change what people think about, but their WAY of thinking about important issues today.

It's a tall order. I know.

Right now I'm trying to write an article about the growth of the chasm of status between elected officials and their electorate. How public office became celebrity, and how that translates to a lack of representation for all in our governing bodies.
"The balance of power is the scale of peace." --Thomas Paine

"Always stand on principle....even if you stand alone." --John Adams
04-30-2013, 08:43 AM,
RE: Calling All Writers!!!
I actually enjoying writing about theory. Many of my posts online are ponderings of theory. I'm quite fond of the way Plato wrote things (like the Allegory of the Cave). I need to work on being personable.
“We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.” ~Mikhail Bakunin

05-07-2013, 01:49 AM,
RE: Calling All Writers!!!
I dig the idea of organizing leftist voices together and collecting various writings, but is a magazine really the best way to do that? It's just that less and less people are reading printed sources like that every day, unfortunately. Maybe a website or something similar would be slightly more practical?

Then again, I'm sure that a magazine may be feasible depending on how often new issues are published and how they are distributed. Would this be monthly? Biweekly? Annually? Or would it be just a single issue? Maybe you could have a member of each caucus write about their specific interest. For example, I'm in the Lavender Green caucus, so I could write a fair amount about the current status of the LGBT community in relation to political affairs.

I also have a couple of friends who are highly skilled writers and might be interested in contributing. They don't affiliate with the Green Party though, mostly because they'd prefer not to belong to any party at all. Never fear, they are leftists.

Either way, I would love to contribute however I can. I don't have many writings to offer at the moment, but I do have a soliloquy I wrote out about why I'm a member of the Green Party now. If you'd like to include it, I'd be honored.

Quote:I admit that I was once very much in bed with the enemy. This past November, I worked for President Obama’s re-election campaign as an “Early-Vote Organizer,” also known as an “E.V.O.” For those of you who don’t know what it means to be an E.V.O, it basically means you’re the campaign’s bitch. I worked sixty hours a week (bare minimum) canvassing a county that was over 60% Republican, helped organize the main Democratic headquarters, trained volunteers, handled their petty complaints, and made late-night runs to the regional campaign office for supplies. One Friday night I drove through Chapel Hill, NC at 12:30 AM, through Franklin Street. For any of you familiar with the UNC campus and what Franklin Street is like on weekends, you know my pain. I got home at 2:30 that night and came in later that morning at 10:00 AM. Bear in mind that I lived half an hour away from the local office where I started each morning.

They only paid me $2,000 for all of my efforts, but I didn't care. I was a loyal Democrat at the time, why should it matter? I wanted the president to be re-elected and I was willing to do anything in my power to make sure that happened. As the smoke cleared after the campaign, I felt like an immeasurable weight lift off of my shoulders. After working fourteen-hour shifts daily for the week leading up to Election Day, I didn't have a single fiber of my being that wasn't crying out for relief. The campaign had pushed me far beyond my limits, but I was proud of the work I did. Despite the fact that my home state suffered a huge blow when Pat McCrory won the governorship, there was pride that I had contributed to the president being re-elected.

I remember when I spoke to my friends about politics and most of them brought up what they held against Obama. At the time, I just convinced myself that it wasn't significant enough to really concern myself with what they were saying. In retrospect, this was the same kind of dedication to a politician that fundamentalists and fanatics show to their religion of choice. The facts didn't matter because I couldn't hear them over my own bias. The same can be said of a lot of people who consider themselves far-left liberals, but still inexplicably support the president.

Once I had the time to catch my breath, I made a point to look into what the president and the Democrats as a whole were doing, deeper than I had a chance to look at it before. No one was kind enough to tell me about Obama-sanctioned drone strikes on innocent men, women and children that were going on in Pakistan and several other countries. I didn't bother to research the absolutely inhuman crimes that Israel had committed against Palestine, which Barack Obama and countless other “liberals” proudly stand in favor of. They think they’re taking the side of Judaism over Islam, as if it were really that simple. Now, Obama has compromised social security and has shown that he will gladly agree to unmake the New Deal. At the Democratic National Convention, countless speakers presented their views on economics, so much to a point that I was sick of hearing it. “We’re not punishing millionaires for their success; we just want them to pay their fair share.”

“Their fair share,” really? The Democrats want to raise their tax rate by 4%, not a dime more than that. How in the world is that their “fair share,” if you take in to account that they make more money than over 90% of the United States combined? It’s asinine to imply that the Democrats have our interests at heart over Republicans, just because they support one issue over another. Of course, you have the social issues too. God, this election was driven entirely on petty social issues and I can’t believe I fell into that trap myself. Abortion, marriage equality, immigration, etc.; all of which are issues very near and dear to my heart, all of which I will fight for until the day I die. Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats did what they do best: they ignored the real problems that BOTH parties are subject to by burying them in social issues.

I have friends who I know for a fact would not give a damn about politics for anything, were it not for the social issues, particularly marriage equality and abortion. No one makes a point to inform them about the damage Democrats and Republicans do to each and every one of us on a daily basis. No one makes a point to tell them about economics and how much of an imbalance there is. When it comes to economics, I can’t help but quote Jill Stein. Republicans are wolves in wolves’ clothing and Democrats are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

When I came to realize all of this, I was absolutely disgusted with myself for doing what I had done, for taking that job and putting my own body and sanity at risk to serve Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. They paid me a criminally small amount, judging from the sheer amount of hours I worked, never mind the suffering from having to canvass in such an area that was crowded with Tea Party conservatives. It took more than courage to do so much of that, I honestly put my own life at risk in the process. I had countless doors slammed in my face, received scorn everywhere I went during that experience, and I was literally chased off of someone’s property by attack dogs. I’m not exaggerating; a couple of Dobermans ran after me as I approached one person’s house.

All of this for a president who didn't hold any of Wall Street’s criminals accountable for what they did to the American economy, all of this for a president who orders drone strikes on Pakistani men, women and children who haven’t done anything wrong. I couldn't believe it, to be honest. I felt more of a sense of betrayal than I had ever anticipated, especially considering that politics mean so much to me. Especially considering that job fueled my decision to change my major in college to political science (and I intend to keep it as such). I still believe that it taught me plenty of useful things and I still plan on being involved with campaigns and politics for the remainder of my life. It taught me how to organize; it taught me how a society of the working class rationalizes voting for a man like Barack Obama. It helped me understand more about the corruption in American politics than I ever would have learned on my own.

I will use every inch of that knowledge and that experience together combined with an uncompromising passion, but I will not use it for the Democratic Party. I will use it to serve whichever party stands behind REAL reform, whichever party stands behind REAL justice, whichever party stands behind REAL equality and REAL peace. I will use it to stand behind a party that has a genuine concern for the people; I will use it to stand behind a party that will NOT unmake the New Deal by dismantling social security. The Democrats have proven to me that they will never be that party, after how much I trusted them and put so much energy into their cause.

Therefore, the time has come to stand with a new party. After I took the time to read their platform in depth, and took the time to listen to Jill Stein’s speeches and her debate with Gary Johnson, I chose the Green Party. The party has proven to me that they will work for equality, economic justice, peace, and political reform. This is why I am a proud Green.
05-08-2013, 06:44 AM,
RE: Calling All Writers!!!
OK Drake ... any objections to adding this to ?

05-08-2013, 07:07 AM,
RE: Calling All Writers!!!

I'm fine if my article gets up there, but it's up to the other writers to authorize the use of their own articles.
"If you speak the truth, have your foot in the stirrup." -Turkish proverb
"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." -Thomas Jefferson
"The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." -Confucius

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