December 31, 2013
Originally Posted at AcronymTV
What an amazing year for the movement of movements that continues to develop here in the United States and around the world, and what an amazing first season of The Resistance Report.
In this week’s special expanded episode, we take a look back at some of the most amazing stories of the year. In addition to coverage of Edward Snowden, the Acronym TV 2013 Person of the Year, we also remember 2013 as a time when people took power and reversed what seemed like the inevitable march to war with Syria.
In 2013, The Resistance Report served as an antidote to the hear-no-evil see no evil attitude of mainstream media outlets here in the United States about the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan. In the attempt mitigate future catastrophic damage; the global community is faced with challenges unique in the history of humankind.
While The Resistance Report launched this year on July 29, 2013, and so our review of Resistance Reports is but a half year old, but there is still enough Manning, Snowden, Greenwald, Keystone X-L protests, Stop the TPP Protests, Dream Defenders, Fast Food Strikers, Hunger Strikers, and neo-liberal shenanigans to jam pack this 60 minute year in review.
I want to thank all of the viewers and supporters and people who watch and share these videos with friends and your social networks. 2013 has been a great year for the Resistance, and 2014 is looking even brighter. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
Tell your friends. Tell your enemies.
The Resistance Report is now and will remain commercial free and viewer supported.
December 30, 2013
It depecits a not-so-distant future in which every fucking thing has a screen on it. EVERY FUCKING THING.
Not just practical things like handheld devices, or maybe your bathroom mirror.
Your coffee cup? Put a screen on it.
Your coffee table? Put a screen on it.
Your bedroom wall? It's got a screen that your dad can use to spy on you while you sleep.
The video starts with 30 seconds of garbage saying that "technology starts with a love for you."
I'm going to skate right past the creepy idea of my toaster being in love with me, and I'm going to move on to the practical critique of the screen placements themselves.
In reality, I don't think a SINGLE ONE OF THESE items would be used as shown in the commercial.
When television first came out, it was heralded as being an opportunity to educate the masses for free. We love education, or we think we do, but in reality, we really like stupid things.
Obey Your Master
The iPad wasn't advertized as a device that transforms your kids (or your mother) into anti-social 'Angry Birds' addicts. They advertise it showing kids looking at things in space. Because we all really want to think that this device is going to teach our kids something cool about space that we don't understand. But let's face it. Astrophysics is hard, and your 5 year old doesn't understand basic algebra, let alone multi-variable logarithmic equations, so they aren't going to Mars on their own anytime soon. So why not watch a game show where people try to fit through a hole in a styrofoam wall?
Since I'm a cynic, and since we always do the dumb thing instead of the smart thing, I've compiled a play by play of the differences between how these devices are proposed to be used, and how they would be used in reality by the majority of people:
Ideal: Your coffee cup tells you your blood pressure, weather, and other helpful information.
Reality: You pick up your cup. You are groggy and your coffee cup is COVERED IN TOUCH SCREEN. Which sucks because you have to PICK IT UP to DRINK FROM IT, which is how cups are meant to be used. Thusly, your iCoffee/Phone/Computer sends gibberish to everybody in your contact list.
BONUS: People pour hot coffee all over their laps while trying to read the news during their morning commute to work.
Ideal: dad says hello to his daughter while getting ready for work somewhere around the world.
Reality: "Hey Honey! Good morning!"
"Dad, WTF? Leave me alone!" *turns off screen*
Ideal: cool space age screen clock that folds in half
Reality: almost nobody will pay $7,000 for a clock, no matter how cool it looks
Ideal: cutting board becomes a ... food computer?
Reality: there is food stuck all over the screen and now the touch display is freaking out and hitting buttons that you didn't mean to hit and you can't get it to stop, and now your wireless oven won't turn off. Thanks samsung.
Ideal: Control panels are on the window of your car
Reality: oily finger smudges, all over the window.
Ideal: School's windows passively educate kids by displaying words and images
Reality: Kids learn to ignore the constant barrage of billboard ads that their school put up to help cover the budget cuts.
Ideal: Kids play video games with children from around the world, I guess, ending war as we all enter the new global society?
Reality: Kids use the internet to semi-anonymously bully other kids they don't even know and may never meet. Also, finger smudges all over the walls! Wash your damn hands kids!
Ideal: Kid drops display, it doesn't break
Reality: Kid drops display 100,000 times, it breaks
Ideal: science class has an awesome screen wall, turns teacher into a weatherman for the solar system.
Reality: Who is going to program these lessons? How will the schools pay for them? They won't. This is just another for-profit bullshit infotainment that FEELS like learning, but really isn't actually education (despite looking like a school.)
Ideal: Amazing elevator displays provide information available only on CNN (NEWS: Headline!) your iphone, or coffee cup, your car window, your wristwatch, or apparently anything else that is event remotely flat. Vitally important elevator related information like, "is it raining in Paris?" or "What time is it?"
Reality: ...just, why?
Ideal: Your purse is actually just an ipad now.
Reality: Will still be manage to become filled with tiny pieces of crud of unknown origin.
Ideal: Your husband can call you on your wristwatch phone! Like dick tracy!
Reality: You will intentionally leave your wristwatch/phone on the counter at home because you are sick of getting inane phone calls from your husband about absolutely nothing every couple hours.
Ideal: Wife talks to husband while he is at work through her display window
Reality: The government uses your window cam to spy on everybody in your house
Ideal: you utilize your coffee table display to bring up important information about a presentation
Reality: *checking twitter*
Ideal: Your kid uses the floor tv to learn about space (there's that space thing again)
Reality:Your kid spills ice cream all over the floor screen and doesn't clean it up, leaving it to harden into an unremovable glue-like substance, but not before attracting and trapping all the dust bunnies in the house.
December 23, 2013
December 19, 2013
TIME magazine generates plenty of buzz each year in rolling out their PERSON OF THE YEAR.
Not to be confused with a popularity contest, TIME is very clear in its criteria. It’s editors state: TIME's Person of the Year is bestowed by the editors on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year. Got it? Given those criteria, whom would you have chosen for 2013? Time chose Pope Francis. Even an atheist, like me, who has argued, as I have, that the Catholic Church has been running at a net moral deficit for a few hundred (or a few thousand, but who’s counting?) years can find much to admire in Pope Francis. He talks openly about the Tyranny of Capitalism, he sneaks out of the Vatican at night incognito to feed the poor., and all of that kissing of the feet? Amazing.
Person of the year? Come on now, Francis just took the job, and he heads an institution that still, let us not forget, relegates women to second class status, and protects pedophiles from the full punishment of the law. Could it be that Time magazine was acting in pre-emptive manner? In describing The People’s Pope, Time writes: “He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is POISED (emphasis mine) to transform a place that measures change by the century.”
Is another case of our times affinity for pre-emptive action? There was once a time when attacking a country that did not declare war on you and posed no threat to you, never mind shocking and awing it into the stone age, was considered a war crime. Now offense is the new defense and Pre-Emptive wars waged based on lies are now the standard foreign policy of the U.S. Empire. Barack Obama, for his part, has not (as promised) ended the war in Afghanistan. He has not scaled back the Drone Program started under Bush, rather he hasescalated it. But before he got a chance to prove himself, the Nobel Peace Committee pre-emptivly gave a peace prize to a man who was and remains commander in chief of what Martin Luther King Jr correctly described as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. And so it goes with TIME magazine, granting a title based on promise rather than actual impact.
And so it is with pride that I announce the Acronym TV person of the year is Edward Snowden. Edward Snowden opened up a Pandora’s box that cannot be closed. In the Christmas season, many parents of small children will find themselves humming the refrain “he see you when you’re sleeping and knows when your awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good…” to keeps kids in line with the promise of toys under the tree. Adults, however, are now confronted with a reality that can no longer be dismissed as conspiracy theory paranoia: The NSA, for all intents and purposes, sees us when we sleep, and wake. The data, we are learning is being collected pre-emotively. Just in case.
The list of things we know from the Snowden leaks are still evolving; more is said to come. Here is a quick rundown of what we know now:
The NSA is allowed direct access to Google, Apple, and Facebook.
Documents reveal that the NSA makes regular exceptions to only spying on foreign targets. In one-example NSA officials tried to excuse the revelation that they collected all phone data with the Washington DC 202 area code by saying it was a mix up with the “20” country code of Egypt.
Oh and, by the way, the US spied on Presidents or leaders of what are considered countries friendly to us like Brazil, Mexico and Germany- and also hacked the United Nations video conference systems- the for those of you who are tech savvy enough to encrypt your communications, know that the NSA has been working to systematically influence encryption standards or insert backdoors in the code of commercial encryption software to enable it to access Internet users’ communications.
The list goes on and on. And more, we are told, is on the way. The impact on the world of Snowden’s leaks is real. Our allies don’t trust us, a growing number of citizens here is the U.S. no longer have faith in our government, and the U.S Empire is tottering like Humpty Dumpty on his wall. And so it is clear that the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, to say nothing of the future impact of the mounting Snowden revelations will have in 2014 and beyond is Edward Snowden, the Acronym TV 2013 person of the year.
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December 18, 2013
A group called We the People Maine went to the State House on Wednesday to deliver a formal request for the Legislature to apply for a Constitutional Convention of States to overturn Citizens United and establish that “corporations are not people and money is not speech.”Asher Platts was there, and files a report.
December 17, 2013
Donald Sutherland, who stars in the Hunger Games Franchise, wants to see a revolution that brings about the end of the American Empire, and he wants the Hunger Games movies to be a spark for that flame. Speaking to Rory Carroll of the Guardian UK, Sutherland says: "You know the young people of this society have not moved in the last 30 years." With the exception of Occupy, a minority movement, passivity reigns.” Whether Sutherland is engaging in a very clever marketing ploy or he sincerely wants to see a revolution is a question for another day.
Carl Gibson, in this exclusive for the Resistance Report, shows us just how close we are to the dystopian futuristic landscape of the Hunger games:
“Just as was described in The Hunger Games, the resistance here has been met with the cold boot heels of police, who only exist to protect and serve the 1 percent and their property. The chilling footage of the UC Davis Police pepper-spraying "Occupy UC Davis" student protesters sitting peacefully, UC Berkeley police clubbing Occupy protesters with batons, the NYPD violently assaulting and mass arresting protesters and credentialed journalists, and the Oakland police turning the streets into a war zone are clear evidence that the state does not tolerate dissent. Scott Olsen is living proof that even those who go overseas to fight the nation's wars are not immune from the state's violence against dissenters when they come home and participate in nonviolent protest.”
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December 16, 2013
Your employer can tell you how to cut your hair.
Your employer can tell you not to engage in certain activities like sports.
Your employer can tell you to smoke or not smoke, drink or not drink.
Your employer can tell you what clothes you are allowed to wear.
Your employer can tell you to be straight.
Your employer can decide your gender expression.
Without either a government to tell your employer that you have certain rights, or democratic control of the workplace, your employer is in charge of every aspect of your life.
If your employer decides to pay you a starvation wage, and there is a labor surplus (there always is), then you have no choice but to submit to the will of your employer to continue living.
Your only other option is to starve, freeze, and die.
That's your idea of freedom?
Originally posted at AcronymTV
15 innocent people in Yemen were killed Thursday by a Drone attack.
According to a Reuters report:
“An air strike missed its target and hit a wedding car convoy, ten people were killed immediately and another five who were injured died after being admitted to the hospital," one security official said.
Five more people were injured, the officials said.
The United States has stepped up drone strikes as part of a campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), regarded by Washington as the most active wing of the militant network.
Yemen, AQAP's main stronghold, is among a handful of countries where the United States acknowledges using drones, although it does not comment on the practice.
Human Rights Watch said in a detailed report in August that U.S. missile strikes, including armed drone attacks, have killed dozens of civilians in Yemen.”
The 15 homicide victims will be called collateral damage, and yet we are not at war with Yemen. It is a country, that, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia pose no threat to us and certainly have not declared war on us and yet, who contain within their borders members of an organization- Al-Qaeda- whose ranks will surely swell with each innocent victims whose bodies are pulverized at the click of a button from an Air Force pilot half a world away.
December 14, 2013
On this episode of The Resistance Report:
1. Dennis Trainor, Jr. talks about the 15 innocent people in Yemen who were killed Thursday by a U.S. Drone attack. The 15 homicide victims will be called collateral damage, and yet we are not at war with Yemen. It is a country that, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia pose no threat to us and certainly have not declared war on us and yet, who contain within their borders members of an organization- Al-Qaeda- whose ranks will surely swell with each innocent victim whose bodies are pulverized at the click of a button from an Air Force pilot half a world away.
2. We hear the haunting yet absurd steps taken by the NSA to monitor citizens. Unfortunately for activists, revolutionaries, and other agents of social change, that’s only the “state” prong of surveillance. The corporate arm is much more damning. Joel Northam reports.
3. Donald Sutherland, who stars in the Hunger Games Franchise, wants to see a revolution that brings about the end of the American Empire, and he wants the Hunger Games movies to be a spark for that flame. Speaking to Rory Carroll of the Guardian UK, Sutherlandsays: "You know the young people of this society have not moved in the last 30 years." With the exception of Occupy, a minority movement, passivity reigns.” Whether Sutherland is engaging in a very clever marketing ploy or he sincerely wants to see a revolution is a question for another day. For now, Carl Gibson gives us this report that shows just how close we are to the dystopian futuristic landscape of the Hunger games.
4. A group called We the People Maine went to the State House on Wednesday to deliver a formal request for the Legislature to apply for a Constitutional Convention of States to overturn Citizens United and establish that “corporations are not people and money is not speech.” Asher Platts was there, and files a report.
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December 13, 2013
December 11, 2013
Only hours before Paul Ryan and Patty Murray announced that they reached a two year budget agreement (The BiPartisan Budget Act of 2013), representatives from a broad coalition demanding a budget that would cut military expenditures in order to increase funding for a wide range of domestic programs called on Congressional leaders to craft a budget for people, peace and the planet.
Now, because this broad coalition included over a hundred peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups it is almost universally ignored within the walls of Congress. That is one reason why part of that call came in the form of an unscheduled visit to the office of Paul Ryan and Patty Murray.
David Swanson, writing at War is a Crime points out, the Murray Ryan Budget deal, which sets aside more than 50% of the 2014 budget for the military budget is an unbelievable outrage to churn out on International Human Rights Day while numerous members of Congress were off in South Africa claiming to support the use of nonviolence to effect change in the world. At a press conference before the office visits, speakers representing a Budget for People, Peace and the planet spoke to the media.
Speakers at the news conference included the following: Jill Stein, Green Shadow Cabinet; Cheri Honkala, Liz Ortiz, and Glen Davis of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign; David Swanson, Roots Action; Mark Dunlea, Hunger Action Network of New York State; Dr. David Schwartzman, Professor Emeritus Howard University and community activist.
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December 10, 2013
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” – Mandela wrote in his memoir Long Walk to FreedomReflecting on the death of Nelson Mandela, Jerome Roos, writing at Roar magazine states: “The only appropriate way to honor the legacy of the iconic freedom fighter is not to beatify the man but to take his struggle to its logical conclusion.”
The finality of death, combined with the human need for a neat linear narrative, will work against placing Mandela’s impact on a continuum. For, while it may be true that the arc of the moral universe is long, but bends towards justice – that bending is still not happening for too many in South Africa, and the world over.
Watching the farcical juxtaposition of our a noble peace prize winning President who, through his drone program, commits acts of global terrorism memorializing Nelson Mandela, another noble peace prize winner, who even after earning that honor and serving as the president of South Africa, remained US terror watch list until 2008 makes one wish that clearer voices for justice emerge to shape the narrative and bend that moral arc.
Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, World Reactions Mandela Dies, Jerome Ross, Roar, Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV, Resistance Report
An interview with Carl Gibson, the co-founder of US UNCUT and co-author of the recently published story on Occupy.com that claims that a globally renowned activist whose claim to fame includes being one of the architects of the movement that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic has been collaborating with the intelligence firm Stratfor. Horn and Gibson write:
“Lesser known, an exclusive Occupy.com investigation reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence firm Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.
These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks' “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists for clients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.
Referred to in emails under the moniker “SR501,” Popovic was first approached by Stratfor in 2007 to give a lecture in the firm's office about events transpiring in Eastern Europe, according to a Stratfor source who asked to remain confidential for this story.
In one of the emails, Popovic forwarded information about activists harmed or killed by the U.S.-armed Bahraini government, obtained from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights during the regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists in fall 2011. Popovic also penned a blueprint for Stratfor on how to unseat the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in September 2010.”
Gibson and co-author Steve Horn’s conclusions are not without their critics. Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men authored a scathing rebuttal claiming that Gibson and Horn are engaged in Yellow Journalism:
“Carl Gibson and Steve Horn’s misleading and poorly researched story—about the links between Srdja Popovic, cofounder of Otpor! and CANVAS, and a crappy corporate spy outfit named Stratfor—does no one any good.”
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December 9, 2013
Originally posted at AcronymTV.com
Fast Food workers walked off their jobs in over 100 cities on Thursday, demanding a living wage. The actions were part of a movement to seeking the right to form a union without retaliation and for a $15 an hour wage. Chanting “We can’t survive on $7.25” workers and their allies took to the streets.
The fast food strikes are unfolding at a time when many seem prepared to confront the immorality of a global system that impoverished people. We’ve got a growing movement of Walmart workers striking, a new Pope that is scary the Jesus out of Conservative Christians by talking about the tyranny of capitalism, and the death of Nelson Mandela who said “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
All this, while Congress is debating severe budget cuts that would shrink the social safety net. All of this, while worker productivity has increased. As Richard Eskow reports: “Productivity and the minimum wage generally increased at the same rate from 1947 to 1969, during this country’s postwar boom years. Using a conservative benchmark, economists Dean Baker and Will Kimball determined that the minimum wage would be $16.54 today if it had continued to keep pace with productivity.”
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December 7, 2013
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Reflecting on the death of Nelson Mandela, Jerome Ross, writing at Roar magazine states: “The only appropriate way to honor the legacy of the iconic freedom fighter is not to beatify the man but to take his struggle to its logical conclusion.”
The finality of death, combined with the human need for a neat linear narrative, will work against placing Mandela’s impact on a continuum. For, while it may be true that the arc of the moral universe is long, but bends towards justice – that bending is still not happening for too many in South Africa, and the world over.Additional Stories covered in Resistance Report #14
Does A Globally Renowned Activist Have Ties To Global Intel Firm STRATFOR?
An interview with Carl Gibson, the co-founder of US UNCUT and co-author of the recently published story on Occupy.com that claims that a globally renowned activist whose claim to fame includes being one of the architects of the movement that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic has been collaborating with the intelligence firm Stratfor. Gibson and co-author Steve Horn’s conclusions are not without their critics. Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men authored a scathing rebuttal that labeled Horn and Gibson Yellow Journalists.
The Fight For 15
Fast Food workers walked off their jobs in over 100 cities on Thursday, demanding a living wage. The actions were part of a movement to seeking the right to form a union without retaliation and for a $15 an hour wage. Chanting “We can’t survive on $7.25” workers and their allies took to the streets.
What is Up With Iran?
Joel Northam examines the western power’s next formidable boogeyman, Iran. You’ve no doubt heard much about the Islamic State recently in the bourgeois media, as news of the historic P5 + 1 deal regarding Tehran’s nuclear program has made its way through the airwaves, being as it wasn’t that long ago that the west and Iran wouldn’t even share the same breathing space.
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December 5, 2013
Earlier this year, as the Edward Snowden story was just starting to break, Michael Grunwald – the Time magazine senior national correspondent and poster boy for everything wrong with journalism, no strike that, poster boy for everything wrong with the blowback inducing homicidal bull in a cultural, religious and geopolitical china shop of US foreign policy that I like to call manifest destiny’s child, wrote that he “could not wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange. “
While it might be a stretch to imagine that Julian Assange is on Barack Obama’s infamous kill list- there is a overt trend to brand journalists as terrorists. If the objective behind this trend is successful, it might grant Michael Grunwald his sadistic wish after all.
For example, this week it was revealed that British police are examining whether Guardian newspaper staff should be investigated for terrorism offenses over their handling of data leaked by Edward Snowden, Britain’s senior counter-terrorism officer said on Tuesday.
If one parrots the talking points that filter down form on high, for example, one is considered a journalist. If you challenge the dominant narrative, and very few do, you run the risk of being labeled a terrorist.
Ask Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who worked with Glen Greenwald to film Edward Snowden and break perhaps the biggest story of the year. You’ll have to go to Germany to ask her, however, because she will not work in her country of birth, the United States, out of fear.
Ask Glenn Greenwald- who continues to break more of the evolving Edward Snowden story and saw his partner, David Miranda, detained in an airport under a terrorism act.
Ask the editors of the Guardian UK who had hard drives destroyed under the orders of UK security officials.
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This is a full and uncut interview with Vlad Teichberg, of Global Revolution TV, shot in December 2011 at the squat in Bushwick, Brooklyn where Global Revolution TV had set up studio space, just days before an NYPD raid would rout them from the space. Portions of this interview appear in the documentary American Autumn: an Occudoc (available on iTunes, or set your own price for the DVD).
A New Yorker feature article described Vlad and Global Revolution TV in the following way:
“Global Revolution brands itself as non-hierarchical, but if anyone is in charge it is Vlad Teichberg, a thirty-nine-year-old former derivatives trader. (…) Teichberg was born in Moscow, and moved with his parents to Queens when he was ten. He attended Princeton, where he wrote a thesis on number theory, then headed to Wall Street, where he worked for Deutsche Bank. “I thought globalization was going to create equality around the world,” he said. After 9/11, his views changed. “The politicization of it—using it to start wars, and the Patriot Act and everything—it was obvious we were heading down the wrong path.” He left finance, helped found a grassroots media collective, and poured his savings into the resistance.”
Get American Autumn: an Occudoc DVD (pay what you will)
Get American Autumn on iTunes:
American Autumn: an Occudoc, was the first feature length film to be released on the Occupy movement, receiving critical praise, including:
The New York Times: "(American Autumn) is calm and smart, offsetting its stridency with discussion, music, even humor, while issuing a call to arms."
MichaelMoore.com: “We now have a film of our own. This is not amateur hour. This is a movie as well made, in technical terms, as any Hollywood blockbuster with Pentagon funding.”
Variety: "American Autumn" impresses most where many docs disappoint, expanding its scope without short-changing the wider subjects it covers.”
Hollywood Reporter "an impassioned celebration of the Occupy Wall Street movement"
New York Daily News: "… this necessary and informative documentary looks at the faces behind the Occupy Wall Street movement… it is an effective, and heartfelt, clarion call.”
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December 4, 2013
Yeah, the mostly unfunded worker's centers are getting highly unpaid volunteers to protest for better working conditions! What do THEY know about work anyways?
Well... (source: TheHill.com)
Unions did not create worker centers, and most worker centers receive little or no funding from unions. Often operating on miniscule budgets, many probably wish they were union funded. Some worker centers receive limited financial and non-financial support from unions, which is unsurprising given that they share the goal of improving job protections for all workers. But the goal of worker centers is not to unionize workers. They do not engage in collective bargaining or negotiate legally binding agreements. Unlike unions, most worker centers have tiny full-time staffs and external advisory boards, not elected officers. They help vulnerable workers retrieve stolen wages, improve dangerous and unhealthy conditions, and educate workers about federal and state labor and employment laws.
Worker centers have won back stolen wages and enhanced safety in construction and other industries. In Texas, which has one of the nation’s highest rates of job-related fatalities in the construction sector, they have provide vulnerable workers with training and education, protective equipment, and guidance with compensation claims. In the process, worker centers have retrieved over $1 million in unlawfully withheld wages and have advocated for more effective protections for undocumented workers. Without worker centers, those vulnerable immigrants would be entirely on their own and without an advocate.
(Emphasis added by me.)
So when volunteers, or EVEN WAL*MART EMPLOYEES THEMSELVES, tell you about how fucked up Wal*Mart treats their employees, just slough it off. You don't need to care. Your only job is to buy our cheap shit!
Fast food workers are demanding a living wage, meanwhile McDonald's and others use massive CEO pay as a tax write-off.
1) More on the "performance pay" loophole - http://www.alternet.org/food/how-fast-food-giants-gorge-govt-subsidies-rake-monster-profits
2) More on nationwide strikes by fast food employees - http://lowpayisnotok.org
3) Outro music is by Iron Age Mystics and intro is by Speciez
4) Help MOC continue by becoming a member at www.LeeCamp.net
December 3, 2013
The full campaign spoofing the Direct TV commercials, produced by Acronym TV for Move To Amend. All six spots, each about 30 seconds, are included here in this single video.
Written by Lee Camp and Dennis Trainor, Jr, and Directed by Trainor, these spots aim to hijack a popular meme to shine a seriously unserious light on the issues of corporate personhood and money as free speech.
Move to Amend is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.
We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.
Over 300,00 people have signed the Move To Amend statement that states:
"We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights."
Links to each video as a stand-alone piece are below. We encourage you to share these far and wide.
Move To Amend, Direct TV Parody Campaign:
Don’t Be A Naked Hulk http://bit.ly/1eMqmeQ
Don’t Do Interpretive Street Corner Dance http://bit.ly/IKi65g
Don’t Miss The Supermodel Love Letter http://bit.ly/19fbNwm
Don’t Get Ducked Taped To A Chair In The Yard http://bit.ly/1g3IG7b
Don’t Do Cats http://bit.ly/1bdJL8P
Don’t Be A Loser With No One At Your Birthday http://bit.ly/18YCOI2
Move To Amend’s Direct TV Parody Compilation
Written by Lee Camp and Dennis Trainor, Jr
Directed by Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Editing, graphics, keying and color correction by AJ Russo
Associate Producer Christopher Webb
Costumes Lara de Bruijn
Corporate personhood, Supreme court, Super Bowl Ad, Super Bowl parody ad, Super Bowl spoof commercial, Douche waffle, Douche Waffles, Money free speech, corporations are not people, corporate personhood, Lee camp, Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV, parody, satire, comedy, spoof, Direct TV, Move To Amend, Amend the constitution, Legalize Democracy, End Corporate Rule, sketch, humor, comedy, atv,
December 2, 2013
This is an open letter to you.
Yes, you: You! Are! The 3.5%!
We are in a historic moment where a new cultural, political, ecological reality must emerge and replace the dominant paradigm. The planet itself, to say nothing of the overwhelming majority of human beings, can no longer live with the killer that is global corporate capitalism in our midst.
Research of hundreds of resistance movements shows that no resistance movement in the last 100 years has failed when 3.5 percent of the population participate. How close are we to that tipping point? We may be closer than you think.
So, you are cordially invited, challenged even- to become part of the 3.5 percent; to commit to an action or actions starting April 4, 2014 against the corporate controlled State and it’s paradigm that preys on the resources and spirits of people. Your actions, and the actions of others, will become a ripple that crisscross with other ripples, each coming from their own centers of daring. These ripples can build a current that can wipe out the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Okay, so Robert F. Kennedy said that. They killed him. So it goes.
You who else they killed? Martin Luther King, Jr. Think they killed him because he had a dream?
They put him on a stamp because he had a dream. They killed him, neutered him, and packaged him up all nice and delivered a version of him to your children’s history books that omits the really dangerous ideas he was proposing like a guaranteed income for all. King was ready to wage a war on poverty, and today we have the reverse: a war on the poor.
It is perhaps for that reason that the recent call for a crowd sourced worldwide wave of action put forth by Anonymous suggests a 3 month span beginning on around April 4, 2014: the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther Kings assassination. The naysayers and propagandist will be quick to dismiss the next fissure that erupts through the façade of Empire by saying we are not focused enough. Once again they will ask: what is your demand?
As the call from Anonymous states:
“Throughout history, when people have fought against tyranny and oppression, they didn’t have one perfect utopian model outcome agreed upon beforehand. They just knew that the invading and old systems were detrimental to their wellbeing and had to go. We are now in that position.”You are now in that position. Leverage it.
Become one of the 3.5 %.
Anonymous, Anonymous Call to action, Anonymous Leaks, Worldwide wave, Reform, Revolution, transformation, Capitalism, Kill Capitalism, MLK, Martin Luther King Jr, RFK, The 3.5%, Liquid democracy, 001101000010111000110100001011100011000100110100, #www, meme,
Before the trial on December 9th, there are two ways you can help us protect free speech and support Rev. Billy and Nehemiah.
(1) Please make a donation of $10 (or more) to our Golden Toad Legal Defense Fund. Here's the link: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/please-donate-to-reverend-billy-s-legal-fund
(2) Share this petition with your friends. www.revbilly.com/petition
December 1, 2013
I am currently unemployed. No, wait. THIS IS my job. I make t-shirts, I make videos, I do interviews with interesting and intelligent people, and then make that content available to you.
I don't make any money via ad revenue. This is ad-free content.
I don't get paid by any corporation. I rely on the support of you, the audience (just like NPR does.)
While I am searching constantly for side-work to help pay the bills, the only callbacks I'm getting are for things like medical jobs I'm not qualified or suited for, and valet parking. I'm actually hoping to take a valet parking job, where I'll be making $5 an hour. That's where I'm at right now.
I'm not asking you to buy me a new computer. I'm asking for help with getting a computer so that I can continue to produce the content you apparently like (for some reason).
UPDATE: My computer is totally dead.It won't stay on longer than a few minutes. And then I get this:
I am not sure the cause. Either hard drive failure or video card failure.
I've been searching for refurbished MacPro tower workstations online, and I've found several good deals under $1000 with specs that fit my video editing workstation needs. (Plus with the towers, I can always expand certain things, like RAM, and HD size), my currently dead computer is a nearly 10 year old iMac. Pretty much anything I get will be better. Since my boss uses FCP (and I use FCP too) it needs to be a Mac. Which sucks. I don't really like Macs. But they have FCP, and FCP works seamlessly with p2 media cards, which is what I have in my professional quality camera...
If you don't like just giving away money, and want to get something in return, consider buying a t-shirt over in my store links over that way --->
If everybody who "likes" the Punk Patriot's facebook page and reads this blog chipped in $0.50, It would be more than enough:
Raised so far:
Thanks to those who have donated, plus some of my own money, I now have a functioning computer to make video on again!
There will be new Punk Patriot videos on the horizon soon!
November 27, 2013
If you had a great job that paid really well, but your health insurance benefits from that job had to be paid in full for 75 years into the future, it wouldn’t matter how much you got paid because you would always be broke and in debt.
The same thing is happening to the United States Postal Service.
The USPS is NOT in trouble. Despite the doom and gloom trumpeted by the corporate media, the post office actually posted $700 million in operation profits in the last four years.
The USPS is certainly in a crisis, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the post office’s facilities, online commerce or employee salaries. It should come as a surprise to nobody that the USPS’s dire financial situation is a direct result of the callousness and shortsightedness of Congress. Luckily, there’s a way we can all help the post office generate more revenue while simultaneously bleeding the banks dry one envelope at a time. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
The reason the U.S. Postal Service is running at constant losses and having to shutter offices around the country is a direct result of the Postal Reform and Accountability Act (PRAA) of 2006. The bill was passed by the same lame duck Congress that got their asses handed to them in the 2006 mid-term elections, amidst a wave of populist anti-war anger that mobilized millions of voters to throw the war hawks out of Congress.
November 26, 2013
In the United Sates, One out of every three women has had an abortion. If you are a women living in Texas, that state has passed hundreds of laws in the last several years that strip a women’s right to privacy, limit access to abortion and shame women into thinking that their choice about what to do with their bodies is wrong.
As Cecil Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, put it:
“We've heard stories from women who have taken 400-mile bus rides to get an abortion several towns away; heartbreaking accounts of folks who are trying desperately to raise the money to leave the state and travel somewhere they know they'll be able to access their constitutional right. Anecdotally, we're seeing signs that more than anything else, women are simply delaying having the procedure. Some of those women may be holding out hope that a court will rule, or an elected official will step in; others are just plain out of options. History shows us that in this situation, we all have reason to fear that some women will take matters into their own hands and resort to desperate, possibly unsafe measures.”
Recently, Lizz Winstead and Sarah Silverman decided to do something about the war for female reproductive rights and served as co-hosts of the “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can Choose” telethon, which raised over 50 thousand dollars to benefit groups that provide funding for women seeking abortions, including The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Fund Texas Women, Texas Equal Access Fund, and the Whole Woman’s Texas Action Fund.
Katie Klabusich who was a producer of the event along with Winstead, is our guest interview guest in this segment to discuss the war on Women.
Abortion, Rick Perry, Richard Blumenthal, Tammy Baldwin, Don’t Mess With Texas, Women's Health, Lizz Winstead, Katie Klabusich, Reproductive Rights, Texas, Texas Abortion, Texas Abortion Bill, Women's Health Protection Act Of 2013, Supreme Court, Abortion on demand, Dennis Trainor Jr, Katie Klabusich, Lady Parts
November 22, 2013
Apparently, about a year ago, the Portland Tribune ran an article about a Portland, OR elementary school that was taking some specific measures to help teachers be more sensitive to the needs of children of color. One of the things that was mentioned as an example of "subtle racism" was a classroom activity involving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Instead of explaining what the activity was or why it would be considered racially charged, the author, Jennifer Anderson, decided to just throw that in there without context and then include a bunch of decontextualized quotes from the principal, Verenice Gutierrez, to make her sound kind of anti-white and crazy.
So, here's the thing. Apparently, a fairly popular writing activity/assessment is to have students describe, in as much detail as possible, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Gutierrez pointed out that some of the schools students are first generation immigrants, and most countries outside the US don't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The activity is supposed to involve taking something that all of the kids know how to do and have them describe how to do it. If you've never eaten a PB&J sandwich because your parents never make them at home, you're not going to be able to explain how to make one. This is an activity that has an unnecessary obstacle built in for kids with different cultural backgrounds. Some people are arguing that that doesn't have anything to do with race or ethnicity, because it's a cultural difference, and that would be true if we were talking about a classroom with a bunch of recent immigrants from Europe, in which case the activity would probably be modified pretty quickly because white European kids don't have the same stigmatized expectations attached to them. When Mexican or Somalian kids fail, it's assumed to be caused by something else, not bad teaching - it's a crappy, baseless assumption, but you know that there are people, even well meaning people, who think that way. We're talking about something that all of the white kids in the class can do, and likely some of the non-white children can also do, but the ONLY ones who are adversely affected are children of color. For something to be racist, it doesn't have to affect EVERY SINGLE PERSON of that race. It is racist because it exclusively disadvantages children who are not white.
Anderson also speculates that the school is running a drumming class going on during lunch periods that is exclusively available to black and Latino boys. The basis that it is discriminatory apparently came from an anonymous letter saying that girls and children of other races had tried to sign up but were not allowed to join. It's hard to piece together what's going on there, since the original article is so poorly written, but what's most likely going on is that it's an intervention for at-risk students, as group drumming lessons have lead to positive outcomes for kids with behavioral issues. Considering the fact that 65% of the student body at the school in the article is black or Latino, there is only space for 30 students in the class, and girls at the elementary school level are known to have less behavioral issues, it doesn't seem unbelievable that the kids who need the class the most happen to be black and Latino boys. Anderson wrote a year ago that a teacher had reported this drumming group to the ACLU, who apparently decided not to pick up the case. Considering the fact that the ACLU takes discrimination pretty seriously, I'd wager that if they don't think this drumming class is a problem, it probably isn't one.
Predictably, a bunch of shitty white people are working themselves into a frenzy over this whole thing. The article somehow resurfaced over the past couple of days and people are responding as though it is recent news. They're storming the school's Facebook page to give reactionary 1-star reviews and idiotic commentary is spreading like wildfire across conservative outlets. Particularly offensive to these shitty white people is the fact that Gutierrez made several references to white privilege, or in other words, she pressed the panic button for shitty white people collectives across the US. Somehow, there are people who live in the US, the same US that I do, and claim not to have noticed the fact that some things are a little easier here for white people than they are for almost everyone else. More specifically, white culture is the dominant culture in the US, so when little white kids go to school, they're likely to encounter lessons and expectations that were designed by people who share their cultural background. It's not always intentionally discriminatory, it's just the way things happen. That makes a difference. It doesn't mean that no white person has ever had a hard time with shit (duh) or that no person of color has ever had an easy time with shit (obviously that happens sometimes too). It just means that most of our institutions are designed with white people in mind. It's an advantage: one that isn't earned, isn't based on merit, and isn't based on general ability or intelligence.
So when that teacher at that school decided to use the PB&J activity, their white privilege prevented them from being aware of the fact that it was an activity that wouldn't make sense to some of the students. They likely had not had the experience of being in a classroom where things that were expected to be "universal" knowledge were not part of their personal background. Things that are problems for people who are outside the dominant culture are invisible to members within the dominant culture (until someone brings them to light). That doesn't mean that the teacher is a racist bigot or anything like that. But it does mean that being informed and aware about that privilege will make the teacher more sensitive to the needs of students with different cultural backgrounds. Why would that possibly be a bad thing? If you don't want to level out the playing field to help disadvantaged kids succeed, there's something broken in your brain and I don't know what to tell you.
This is why efforts for "equality" shouldn't always involve treating everyone exactly the same way. As an analogy, let's say you and all your friends are going to a movie that starts at 8pm. Your friends all have the evening off, so they decide to meet up for dinner beforehand and then walk to the theater together. You have to work until 7:30pm, so you can't join them for dinner. Let's say your friends demanded that you need to be treated "equally" and insisted that after you get out of work, you have to go to the same restaurant and eat dinner and then walk to the theater alone. You're going to be really late to the movie (or maybe even miss it altogether). Would that demand make any kind of sense? Of course not. Assuming your friends aren't totally unhinged, they'd have no problem with you just driving straight to the theater from work and maybe buying a hot dog at the concession stand or something. Because it isn't a contest. Because it doesn't hurt them for you to be on time for the movie. Because it's more fun for everybody when you all get there on time.
There's nothing wrong with making exceptions so that the system works for everybody.
It doesn't hurt anyone to use an example other than peanut butter sandwiches in writing class.
Unless your definition of "hurt" is that you and your kids don't get an unfair advantage anymore. If that's your working definition, I have some advice for you: suck it up.
November 21, 2013
There is a nagging trend towards treating workers humanly, including paying them a living wage, that has the Walmart Public Relations department working overtime to alter the public perception that the company is not a blood sucking tick on the face of humanity.
Think of it this way: If corporations truly are people, then Walmart is Ebenezer Scrooge. Ok, so Scrooge is a work of fiction, you got me – but I want this to be a story filled with hope. Perhaps the Walton heirs will receive visitation from a trio of ghosts and emerge from their paranormal experience with a world-view where they are so repulsed by the fact that their obscene wealth is built and predicated on the suffering and poverty of the people they call Associates. - and the corporate welfare they receive to the tune of $900,000 a year per Wal-Mart super store in the form of government assistance to the Wal-Mart Associates whose wages are so low that qualify for these programs.
The straw that could break the camels back, however, is the story emerging from Ohio, which many websites are qualifying with the disclaimer: NOT AN ONION STORY where containers at a Walmart store are marked with signs asking for donations for employees .
Jen Steer, writing at Cleveland.com notes: “These bins in an employee-only area of the Atlantic Boulevard store are labeled “Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.” A worker at the store took photos of the setup and sent them to OUR Walmart, a group that pushes for higher wages and respectful conditions for Walmart employees.”
Associates soliciting donations for other associates so that those who have a job at the Company that generates more revenue that any other company in the world can have a Thanksgiving meal before they report to their shift on black Friday, which actually begins at 6PM on Thanksgiving day- this has to be the final straw, yes?
When you add this latest flack to the already well documented illegal anti-union tactics, violation of child labor laws, forcing workers to work off the clock without pay, forcing suppliers to deliver goods at a price point that incentivizes factory conditions with no emergency exits where brown people living in a far off lands get burnt alive while sewing clothes that we can then wrap so daintily in tissue paper and boxes and festive holiday wrapping papers and ribbons and bows all tucked under the Christmas tree with sugar plums and cheer in a never ending cycle of consumption that has delivered wealth to the six Walton heirs that exceeds the wealth of the bottom 40% of Americans – all of this can no longer be called living better, can it?
ExxonMobil plans to build a toxin-spewing export terminal on the shores of Casco Bay in Maine.
According to 350.org:
“Such a terminal would allow the flow of millions of gallons of Canadian tar sands to be transported through the region, putting our planet, our local waterways, and community health at unacceptable risk.
All evidence indicates that ExxonMobil – the majority owner of the PMPL - wants to pump toxic tar sands oil through New England and South Portland is now a crucial battle line in the fight to stop them.
In addition to the climate change risks of tar sands oil production, additional local impacts – with or without with a spill or rupture – would be devastating.
As the CCSP says firmly, "The threats that tar sands pose to our environment, health, water supply and air quality are simply unacceptable." “
Asher Platts files this report, which includes an interview with Bob Klotz of 350Maine.org.
Tar Sands, Tar Sands oil, ExxonMobil, 350.org, Casco Bay, 350, Portland, Maine, Asher Platts, Bob Klotz, Exxon cares, Acronym TV, ATV, Resistance Report,
(cross-posted at Feminist Nonfiction)
November 20, 2013
How my guitar is strung:
How Ronnie's guitar is strung:
I don't explain this clearly in the video, but I tuned my B string down a tritone to F, rather than tuning my top E string up a half step to F, putting my voicings down an octave from how Ronnie plays in the video.
In what should be another colossal embarrassment for the United States- recently leaked internal documents show how little our government is prepared to take responsibility for the damage done by climate change, the negative effects of which are caused by our hyper capitalist culture of consumption without consequence.
Nithin Sethi, writing at the Hindu.com reports:
“In an internal briefing paper prepared for its diplomats across the world ahead of the Warsaw climate negotiations, which The Hindu has accessed, the U.S. has opposed the setting up of a separate process on ‘loss and damage’, pushed primarily for the role of private investments and finance in providing the promised money to the poor countries to adapt to climate change and have a 2015 climate agreement where no country is forced to take higher emission reduction pledges than the ones they initially volunteer. It also informed its diplomats to keep pushing the line with other countries that the U.S. was doing enough domestically on the climate change front and these were priorities for President Barack Obama and John Kerry.”
There are two things at play here. One is setting limits and playing a chess game over who will pay for the climate change damage that will come – and disproportionally affect less developed countries that have not the means to defend themselves from human induced climate change or contribute to the conditions that will harm or kill them The other thing at play, the Giant Pink Elephant in the room that our world leaders can’t seem to deal with is the reality, as outlined in a study by the Global Carbon Project, of a 4 or 6 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures that could mark a significant and perhaps final chapter in the story of our species.
Get this image on a shirt, yo!