Saturday, May 30, 2015

LET'S KILL THE SO-CALLED "PATRIOT" ACT!





Remember the outrageous Patriot Act?

It's due to expire but our "representatives" in DC are considering extending this horrendous, intrusive, restrictive piece of legislature. Below is the latest email I received about it, including what action you can take. It's up to us to stop NSA spying. (This is an urgent action!) Read on...



Tomorrow is the big day. 

Congress put expiration dates on the PATRIOT Act for a reason: when emergency powers become permanent, a piece of democracy dies. 

Now, the Senate has a choice. They can renew mass spying. Or they can let the NSA’s PATRIOT Act powers expire, by doing the simplest thing ever: nothing. 

Why? Well, in narrow terms, if Congress doesn’t renew section 215 of the PATRIOT Act by 11:59pm on Sunday, the NSA has to stop tracking Americans’ phone calls, or use a weaker legal framework to do so. 

And because the NSA’s activities are secret, this win *could* mean much more than we realize. Ending phone metadata collection may be only the tip of the victory iceberg. 

Even better, this will be the first major rebuke of the NSA, the first clear step towards curtailing their powers since the Snowden revelations began.

Now, in the last 36 hours, we need to pull out all the stops. Here’s what you can do right now:


ONE: Call the House and Senate. We created a phone number anyone can use to call Congress, that Reddit is generously running ads for, and that Edward Snowden himself shouted out last week. Use it to call your Senator right now: 920-END-4-215 (1-920-363-4215). 


TWO (and it’s been *blowing up* in the last 24 hours): Join the Congress Blackout. It’s an Internet Defense League campaign where over 14,000 websites are blacking out Congress and redirecting them to the naked photos of indignant NSA protesters, the #ifeelnaked campaign that many of you participated in.
 
THREE: Help supercharge our work. Ever since last weekend’s epic win when the PATRIOT Act reauthorization failed by 13 votes, we knew that tomorrow would be the final showdown. So we set out to sound the alarm, and it’s working. But in these last 36 hours, we need to be even louder. There are hundreds of high-traffic websites that support the cause and would be happy to sign up. We just need the staff time to approach them all — can you chip in $5 to give us the funds to make that happen?
 
Between all these different actions, our work has been *all over* the front pages of reddit lately. Thanks to all the redditors who made that happen, to reddit itself for generously donating ads, and to all the people and sites who’ve participated!
 
It’s not too late to take part. Call 920-END-4-215 (1-920-363-4215). Join the blackout with your site or tumblr. Submit a photo to #ifeelnaked.org. Or send an email and tell your friends. There’s less than *36 hours* left. Go berzerk.
 
Here’s to a beautiful sunset,
-- Holmes, Tiffiniy, Evan, Jeff, Charlie, Vasjen, Susan and the whole FFTF team.
 
P.S. Today is the last day of mega-popular DJ Bassnectar's contest to support ending mass surveillance! Winning gets you for VIP tickets to the sold out Electric Forest music festival to support ending mass surveillance! You can win tickets to the sold out Electric Forest music festival, an exclusive VIP package, and a chance to hang out with him. Click here and take action to win!

 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

CAN YOU LIVE WITH THIS?





Every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually it is a child under the age of 5.   
(Source: UNICEF website)

What are you prepared to do?


Friday, May 22, 2015

CHARLES BARRON -- STILL A PANTHER AT HEART


Charles Barron: "Power to the people!"


One of the best things about what I do is getting to interview fascinating people.

Recently, I interviewed the inspiring Charles Barron -- if the name isn't familiar to you, do yourself a favor and Google him.

The interview is for Black Impact magazine and is, per SOP, "embargoed" until the issue is released on July 25. But I can share a little here.

Barron is a very rare creature. He was a member of the Black Panther Party back in the day, has been an activist his whole life, served on the New York City Council, and is now a member of the New York State Assembly. In terms of housing and other basics for the survival and dignity of his constituents in East New York City, there would be few politicians who would come close to what Barron has done for so many people. And he's still the same man he was when he was a Panther.

A few outtakes from the interview...

-- When asked about Malcolm X's "by any means necessary" quote which is on Barron's Assembly website:
"'By any means necessary' means just that. The tactics and strategies of Africans who are oppressed by capitalism and racism in America, means they have to do whatever is necessary – and sometimes it goes beyond peaceful means."

-- "I was able to [push through several important reforms] as a black, radical revolutionary socialist, nationalist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist."

-- "I’m still a Black Panther to my heart. I still demonstrate and protest and will do whatever’s necessary for our liberation. And electoral strategy was something that the Black Panther party used!"

-- "We have to begin to engage big power!" 

-- "We’ve got to get to the minds of our people, and we can’t get to our people by having fear of prison or death."

Remember, you can be radical too. What are you prepared to do?

Charles and his activist/politician wife Inez.

Take care,
Adrian

* Black Impact magazine is available by subscription only, via the B.I. website.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

POEM FROM A FRIEND



 "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" by Katsushika Hokusai

Hokusai says


Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.
 


He says keep doing what you love. 

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.


He says everything is alive —
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.


Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.


It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice. 

It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.


He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.


Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.
– Roger Keyes

Sunday, May 10, 2015

WATCHING THE NSA



There was an important story in the "Politics" section of the New York Times on May 7 that hasn't received the attention it deserves.

It seems the NSA's mass-collection of our phone records -- part of the sinister and cynically named Patriot Act -- is set to expire on June 1. Of course, that doesn't mean it will expire -- the butting of heads in Congress has already started over this very point.

A federal appeals court in New York ruled recently that the once-secret National Security Agency program is illegal. No kidding?! It seems "illegal" has never been much of a deterrent to our government's actions.

This is the kind of thing we need to care about. Remember: Edward Snowden sacrificed a hell of a lot to "out" the NSA and its outrageous, Orwellian spying. Contact your members of Congress and let them know how you feel.

Take care,
Adrian

PS: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is under pressure from Congress over its support for Net Neutrality. Again, this is a huge issue for us all: in terms of a free and open Internet, and a tool for democracy and activism. Make your voice heard!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

RUN BERNIE RUN!


Bernie Sanders: A man who doesn't know how to kowtow
I usually have about as much time for electoral politics as I do for those rotten bastards who cold-call me at the worst possible time and try to sell me some crap I don't want.*


But occasionally there is someone (or something) worth voting for. A person who is not a bought-and-paid-for Beltway hack and who is genuinely out to do some good. Such was the case when my friend Norman Solomon -- activist and gentleman -- ran for Congress. And recently I interviewed Charles Barron -- an assemblyman from New York State and former Black Panther who calls himself an "elected activist." More on Charles another time.

So cue the music for Bernie Sanders, congressman from Vermont. Sanders -- a longtime voice of the people and no-bullshit agitator for a better country -- has announced he's running for president. This really throws the cat into the birdcage. A candidate who will go into debates, viewed by millions of Americans, and actually say things of substance and call the other recycled dunderheads out on their lies.

Sanders deserves the support of anyone who believes that the planet is frying, that the poor count, and that invading other countries is a war crime.

I urge you to Google Bernie and see what he's about. (His campaign website goes live on the 26th but there is plenty of other info on the Net in the meantime.)

It's usually just a pile of manure that gets shoveled into DC, but here's a person who has spent a lifetime fighting the good fight. It's a rare event, so don't let it slip by without your scrutiny and, hopefully, your support.

Upward!
Adrian
* Profound "across the board" and institutional change will only come when the state is done away with and there are no longer elections and centers of power. And occasional "positives," such as someone like Sanders gaining public office, should never be construed as evidence of the "system" working.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

VIDEO: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BALTIMORE STORY




With the rioting in Baltimore that stemmed from peaceful protests over yet another African-American death in police custody (25-year-old Freddie Gray), America's mass media has had a field day. 

Oh yes, they wanted to be sure that we got all the "facts." That we were kept apprised of events "up to the minute." That all the "information" that the citizenry "needed" was delivered by our corporate-owned talking heads.

To follow the mainstream media's accounts was to see the juicy story of wild hordes roaming the streets, wreaking havoc, and out for police blood.

I am not saying that I agree with all the actions taken by everybody who has been in the streets of Baltimore the past few days. What I'm saying is, there is much more to this than the lurid "movie" the media is giving us. We are getting the Establishment's views (edited film, speeches from officials, slanted commentary, etc.). 

Not only are we not getting the "other side" of this particular community eruption, but the larger context of the crippling socio-economic structure that grips this community (and all others), and the repressive nature of our police state, are regarded as completely off limits for mainstream reports.

Watch this excellent video report from DemocracyNow.org to get the full picture.

Take care, and speak up!
Adrian