Tag Archives | Activism

The White House Celebrates Transparency Week by ENDING Transparency

In honor of “Sunshine Week”- where activists push for a more transparent government- the White House issued an end to FOIA requests, and Jen Psaki accidentally reveals the US’ long-standing tradition of supporting coups around the world.

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Can a documentary move a social issue agenda forward?

As a member of the film distribution community, most notably relating to documentaries, I have watched more than my fair share of non-fiction films, and studied over years the release patterning of even more. One thing I have learned is that there are no shortage of topics to choose from when it comes to a filmmaker selecting a theme to focus on. From a tour that guides you through Hermitage Masterpieces to a biography of Aleister Crowley (In Search of the Great Beast), films are created and released on a broad spectrum of non-fiction subjects. That was the case in 1984 when I first entered the industry, and that is the case now… 31 years later.

One area that I have seen great expansion is that of films addressing a social or political issue with the agenda of raising awareness or causing viewer perspectives to sway in one direction or another.… Read the rest

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Cruz Won’t Say How Much Wife Makes at Goldman Sachs

Zaid Jilani Via Alternet:

Why Did Ted Cruz Refuse to Disclose How Much His Wife—a VP at Goldman Sachs—Makes?

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has announced his intention to run for the presidency. He is widely expected to tap into the Tea Party base of the Republican party and posit himself as anti-establishment – in this case, an establishment that is too weak-kneed and too willing to compromise with the Democrats.

But a curious statement on Cruz’s financial disclosure shows that he may not be so opposed to the establishment he rails against. See, Cruz’s wife is a vice president at Goldman Sachs, the megabank so close to the powers in Washington that it is often jokingly referred to as “Government Sachs.” Because spousal income is shared, it is required for Members of Congress to list their spouse’s employement if it gives them over $1,000. They are not required to list the exact income their spouse receives, but they are certainly allowed to if they are willing to be that transparent.

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Fed Up With Austerity Policies, #Blockupy Storms Streets of Frankfurt

"Capitalism Kills" via @blockupy.

“Capitalism Kills” via @blockupy.

Deirdre Fulton writes at Common Dreams:

Anti-austerity protests boiled over near the new headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt on Wednesday, with hundreds of people arrested after an off-shoot from an otherwise peaceful march clashed with police.

Around 10,000 anti-austerity protesters reportedly gathered under the banner of #Blockupy—an alliance united against the so-called ‘Troika’ of the ECB, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund who oversee bailout packages in the eurozone. The alliance opposes the economic policies behind such packages, saying they harm the poor and middle class.

According to the German news service Deutsche Welle, the Blockupy network “is composed of more than 90 organizations from across Europe—some big, some small—that have united in opposition to what Blockupy calls ‘the European crisis regime’.”

As Deutsche Welle reported on Tuesday:

Some of the bigger member organizations include the activist groups Attac, founded in 1998 to advocate a financial transaction tax; the German political party ‘Die Linke’ (The Left), which currently has a little over ten percent of the seats in the national parliament; and even Germany’s second biggest union union, Verdi, which has over two million members.

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Hear Dr. Carl Hart Eviscerate Drug Propaganda

HartPhotoVia Midwest Real

Dr. Carl Hart is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and the author of High Price

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Before we were engulfed in a tsunami of boundless digital knowledge containing more truth (and garbage) than we could ever digest in thousands of lifetimes, we lived in an incredibly different world. If you were a child of the 90’s like myself, you were constantly inundated with overly-simplistic catchphrase propaganda– “This is your brain on drugs,” “just say no,” the list goes on. I specifically remember being taught in school that marijuana was supremely dangerous because it was a “gateway drug.” The connotation being that if you so much as tried it, you’d probably wind up a strung-out, do-nothing idiot with a Kentucky-fried brain who’d never amount to anything.

This tireless barrage of indoctrination has forged us into a population that looks to traditional sources of authority with an immense amount of skepticism.Read the rest

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Technology should be used to create social mobility – not to spy on citizens

Private eyes are watching you: the British government communications headquarters (GCHQ) is monitoring the communications of millions of people. Photograph: GCHQ / British Ministry of Defence/EPA

Private eyes are watching you: the British government communications headquarters (GCHQ) is monitoring the communications of millions of people. Photograph: GCHQ / British Ministry of Defence/EPA

Cory Doctorow via The Guardian:

Why spy? That’s the several-million pound question, in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Why would the US continue to wiretap its entire population, given that the only “terrorism” they caught with it was a single attempt to send a small amount of money to Al Shabab?

One obvious answer is: because they can. Spying is cheap, and cheaper every day. Many people have compared NSA/GCHQ mass spying to the surveillance programme of East Germany’s notorious Stasi, but the differences between theNSA and the Stasi are more interesting than the similarities.

The most important difference is size. The Stasi employed one snitch for every 50 or 60 people it watched. We can’t be sure of the size of the entire Five Eyes global surveillance workforce, but there are only about 1.4 million Americans with Top Secret clearance, and many of them don’t work at or for the NSA, which means that the number is smaller than that (the other Five Eyes states have much smaller workforces than the US).

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The Ideological Babelfish

Are you tired of the communication problems endemic to political or religious dialogue? Frustrated about talking past each other in political debates? Have no fear… Our wizards of innovation and science have a solution for you! This product promises to revolutionize the way that we pedantically micro-analyze eachothers linguistic choices for the rest of all time! It will save the world!

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Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Shrine 93rd circus 2014 Paula Lively (CC BY 2.0)

Shrine 93rd circus 2014
Paula Lively (CC BY 2.0)

Tamara Lush via ABC News:

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus says the “Greatest Show on Earth” will go on without elephants.

Animal rights groups took credit for generating the public concern that forced the company to announce its pachyderm retirement plan on Thursday. But Ringling Bros.’ owners described it as the bittersweet result of years of internal family discussions.

“It was a decision 145 years in the making,” said Juliette Feld, referring to P.T. Barnum’s introduction of animals to his “traveling menagerie” in 1870. Elephants have symbolized this circus since Barnum brought an Asian elephant named Jumbo to America in 1882.

Kenneth Feld — whose father bought the circus in 1967 and who now runs Feld Enterprises Inc. with his three daughters — insisted that animal rights activists weren’t responsible.

“We’re not reacting to our critics; we’re creating the greatest resource for the preservation of the Asian elephant,” Kenneth Feld told The Associated Press as he broke the news that the last 13 performing elephants will retire by 2018, joining 29 other pachyderms at the company’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida.

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Four Reasons Young Americans Should Burn Their Student Loan Papers

'Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it's a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.' (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

‘Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it’s a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.’ (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Paul Buchheit writes at Common Dreams:

‘Hell No, We Won’t Go’ — 1967
‘No Way, We Won’t Pay’ — 2015

Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it’s a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.

There are at least four good reasons why America’s young adults— and their parents—should take up the fight against financial firms who are holding high-interest student loans that total more than the nation’s credit card debt, and more than the total income of the poorer half of America.

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Democracy Movement Launches Nationwide Actions

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday March 2nd, 2015

Kevin Zeese: ​​Popular Resistance ​- kbzeese@gmail.com
Eleanor Goldfield:​​ Rooftop Revolutionaries, Art Killing Apathy, Act Out! ​- Eleanor@BackboneCampaign.org

Actions Roll Across the Nation Defending Internet Freedom Before Historic FCC Vote & in Opposition to Congressional Fast-Tracking of Largest U.S. Trade Deal Ever

On February 26th the FCC cast a historic vote upholding Net Neutrality. Simultaneously, as Congress reconvenes after the congressional recess, they are preparing to bring Fast Track of the Trans-Pacific Partnership up for a vote. The Rolling Rebellion for Real Democracy is confronting these two current issues of people power vs. corporate power that will have a major impact on people’s lives.

Firstly, the issue of Net Neutrality. A people-powered movement convinced the FCC to reclassify the Internet to ensure equal access for all without discrimination. Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance notes that “Net Neutrality is essential for the exercise of Freedom of Speech in the 21st Century.… Read the rest

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