The Hilarious and Disturbing History of Shaye St. John

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The Internet is home to some of the strangest and most wonderful oddities. It’s also filled with opportunists who try to capitalize on trends, eventually transforming once original ideas into kitsch filled circle jerks. That’s why it’s especially captivating to come across something wholly original. And the story of Shaye St. John is just that: captivating.

Many of you already know about Shaye’s horrendous past and have most likely seen many of her videos. But for those of you that haven’t, prepare to be disturbed, but strangely intrigued. Shaye St. John’s videos seem to be a mash-up of Lynchian uncomfortableness, Tim and Eric’s humor, with a bit of Harmony Korine’s oft-used lo-fi shock value. She is the brainchild of the late comedian, Eric Fournier.

Shaye St. John was once a supermodel who was hit by a train (car? I’ve heard both versions) that horribly disfigured her face and resulted in the amputation of both her arms and legs. This didn’t hold Shaye back, though, and she rebuilt herself with mannequin parts and covered her disfigured face with a mask.… Read the rest

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Amnesty International World Report: 2014 a ‘Year of Regression’

Via Hetq:

Amnesty International’s report for 2014 has condemned the response of the international community to worsening human rights abuses across the globe.

Amnesty, which released its annual report yesterday, said last year marked a nadir in the global state of human rights that was not due simply to a stalling of progress, but a “regression”.

The report is highly critical of Azerbaijan’s government over its silencing of critics, particularly the currently-jailed OCCRP and Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty journalist Khadija Ismayilova, whom Amnesty has named a prisoner of conscience. Ismayilova was targeted by authorities after publishing investigations into corruption amongst the oil-rich country’s political elite.

More generally, the report decries the widespread harassment of independent journalists in Azerbaijan that culminated in a raid on the Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty offices by the Prosecutor’s office in December 2014.

Russia’s crackdown on freedom of expression also came under fire.

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After Paris and Copenhagen, Let’s Not Forget Corporate Censorship

Pic via Jon S via Flickr (CC)

Pic via Jon S via Flickr (CC)

Christian Christensen writes at Common Dreams:

It has been a bad and bloody few months. From the brutal mass murder at the offices of Charlie Hedbo to the tragedy in Copenhagen, the purportedly cherished Western values of freedom of speech and freedom of the press came under attack from religious extremism. The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, which exploded in the immediate aftermath of the Paris killings, was supposed to symbolize a collective opposition to any restrictions (imposed or self-imposed) on free expression. Similarly, there was widespread condemnation of the killings in Copenhagen, followed by reaffirmations of the central place of a free press and free speech in modern European society.

In the midst of these brutal and senseless killings, two other stories caught our eye: the suspension in the US of NBC anchor Brian Williams for lying about events during his time in Iraq; and, the revelations provided by Daily Telegraph political commentator Peter Oborne on the influence of advertiser HSBC on editorial decision-making.

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Homan square is the blackest of the black holes: New Revelations About CPD ‘Black Site’

On Wednesday, the Chicago Police Department responded to a Guardian exposé detailing CIA style interrogation tactics at the building on the 3300 block of West Fillmore Street with a typical “nothing to see here” attitude, calling NATO demonstrator Brian Church’s allegations of torture and abuse “false,” and blaming the death of another detainee, John Hubbard, on an accidental heroin overdose.

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

New stories of abuse and interrogation tactics reminiscent of now freed police torturer Jon Burge however, continue to make national headlines. Kory Wright, a now 29 year old man living in Bronzeville, told The Intercept’s Juan Thompson of his 2006 experience with several others at the Homan facility:

For six hours, a sweaty Wright sat zip-tied to a bench with no access to a restroom, a telephone or water. “They strapped me — like across, kind of — to a bench, and my hands were strapped on both sides of me,” he says.

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Pope Francis Calls Money the ‘Devil’s Dung’

Pope Francis. Photo: Korean Culture and Information Service (CC)

Pope Francis. Photo: Korean Culture and Information Service (CC)

Pope Francis describes money as “the devil’s dung” in a speech carried by Vatican Radio. “When money becomes an idol, it controls man’s choices,” he said. “It makes him a slave”:

First, the Pope said, co-operatives must continue to be “the motor that uplifts and develops the weakest parts of our local communities and civil society.”

The first priority is to establish new co-operatives, while developing existing ones, so as to create new employment opportunities, especially among youth, he said.

Second, the Pope urged the co-op movement to be a “protagonist” in proposing new welfare solutions, particularly in the area of healthcare.

As a third point, he spoke of the economy and its relationship with social justice and human dignity. Speaking of the need to “globalize solidarity,” he urged the confederation to bring co-operatives to the “existential peripheries” and to continue to be “prophetic” by “inventing new forms of co-operation.”

The Pope spoke of “a certain liberalism,” which “believes it is first necessary to produce wealth—and it does not matter how—to then promote some state redistribution policy.”…

[continues at Vatican Radio, which has audio of the speech]

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Does the US have a Left, Left?

J.P. Miller writes at CounterPunch:

I am not Christ or a philanthropist, old lady, I am all the contrary of a Christ…. I fight for the things I believe in, with all the weapons at my disposal and try to leave the other man dead so that I don’t get nailed to a cross or any other place.

— Che Guevara

Introduction

For the purposes of this article, the “New left” is defined as a genuine group, party, or organization in the United States (US) that promotes Marxist revolutionary, Socialist principles in opposition to the Capitalist US government construct and society. This does not include anarchists, Democrats or independents. Also, the “Old Left” is celebrated as that great agitator and loosely revolutionary composite of unions, parties, and individuals, that historically brought us much needed reform from the 1900’s to the 1950’s. More in tune with this article is the contributions that the “New Left” provided through the Civil Rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war movement in the US along with the grassroots led social movement that gripped much of Europe during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

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Africa, Shamanism, and the Transhumanist Future with Kilindi Iyi – Free Radical Media Podcast

In this installment, the Free Radical crew speaks with martial artist and world traveler Kilindi Iyi. Iyi discusses his travels through the African continent, including his studies of ancient shamanistic practices, secret societies, and martial arts traditions. Kilindi has studied under and worked with tribal elders and leaders throughout Africa. He also details his extensive study of entheogenic substances, particularly psilocybin (in amounts that make Terence McKenna’s “Heroic Dose” look like child’s play), and his theories of the new, natural shamanism and transhumanism.

Kilindi can be reached via facebook.

Free Radical Media can be reached via:
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What We Know About the Mysterious Suicide of Missouri Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Schweich

Jenna McLaughlin and Pema Levy write at Mother Jones:

On Thursday morning, Thomas Schweich, Missouri’s auditor and a Republican candidate for governor, died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. His death—coming moments after he had invited two reporters to his home later that day—shocked Missouri political observers, who point out that in addition to his beloved family and distinguished career in public service, Schweich, 54, had just won re-election to a second term as state auditor and was leading in early polls of the 2016 governor’s race. Why he would have taken his own life is a mystery to those who knew him. Just as strange is the predominant theory of what may have provoked his apparent suicide: rumors that he was Jewish.

In the days before his death, Schweich had been worried that the head of the Missouri Republican Party was conducting a “whisper campaign” against him by telling people that he was Jewish.

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The Official History of Monopoly Is a Fraud

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First page of patent submission for second version of Lizzie Magie’s board game, submitted in 1923 and granted in 1924.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of America’s best-selling board game, Monopoly. And while many folks might fib about their age, Hasbro’s accounting of the game’s birth is quite the tall tale.

The true story is revived in a new book by journalist Mary Pilon, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game, just released by Bloomsbury. I also cover the game’s origins in my documentary PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes, showing how a folk game was co-opted by a big company to become a billion-dollar industry.

I had set out to use a Monopoly metaphor to make the issues of campaign finance more relatable. Since practically everyone played the game in childhood, it has a nostalgic connection, though in hindsight it does teach some rather insidious lessons, such as felony crime.

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