Tuesday on his facebook page, documentary film maker and activist, Michael Moore outlined five things that we can do this week to combat the coming Trump administration. 5 Things You Can Do Right Now About Donald J. Trump It’s been seven weeks since Hillary beat Trump by nearly 3 million votes but lost the presidency …
May 24 2015
Back in 1964 musician, songwriter, pacifist, and activist Buffy Saint-Marie wrote the song “Universal Soldier,” one of the best known songs of the anti-war movement of the 60’s. Last week she spent an hour with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman and Juan González to talk about her music and her activism.
The transcript can be found here
In a Democracy Now! special, an hour of conversation and music with Cree Indian singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. In the turbulent 1960s, she was just out of college but already famous for her beautiful voice and moving lyrics in songs like “Universal Soldier” and “Now that the Buffalo’s Gone.” Over the years, Buffy Sainte-Marie has worked with the American Indian Movement, but also with Sesame Street, and even Hollywood, winning an Academy Award for the song “Up Where We Belong” in 1982. She’s won international recognition for her music, has a PhD in fine arts, and began a foundation for American Indian Education that she remains closely involved with. We speak with the folk icon about her life, her music, censorship, and her singing and speaking out about the struggles of Native American peoples for the past four decades. She also performs live in the firehouse studio.
Apr 07 2015
I have 3 articles for your perusal this morning!
First, poor poor ALEC, but they probably should’ve thought it through:
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive organization that brings together conservative politicians and major corporate interests, is out to correct the impression that it’s a “climate denier” organization by threatening to sue groups that refer to it as one. But after a string of abandoned sponsors, the expansive free-market group’s threat to sue Common Cause and the League of Conservation Voters appears to be more motivated by containing its public relations spiral, rather than reshaping its anti-climate and anti-clean energy agenda.
As the Washington Post reports, in recent weeks attorneys for ALEC sent letters to the two organizations asking them to immediately “cease making false statements” and “remove all false or misleading material” suggesting that ALEC does not believe that “human activity has and will continue to alter the atmosphere of the planet.”
Dec 07 2014
Reposted from Wednesday. The night before Thanksgiving is not the best time to post. ;-
After marching for about 4 hours and being on the front line when the police confronted the protesters and having only 6 hours of sleep, I’m exhausted. Still, I have all these random thoughts going through my head this morning as I process both what I directly experienced last night and the social commentary I’ve read since then. This may ramble or be disjointed. It may also be raw, unclear or not fully thought out. I’m seeing it as a snapshot into a frame of mind and body after a highly charged event. Nuggets to, perhaps, spark dialogue or lead to further exploration. I want to see what comes out in hopes of not losing any particularly valuable nuggets. So, here goes….
Aug 11 2014
In my youth I attended a public relations training for a local civic group I was involved with. It was basically all about staying on message and not wasting an opportunity to get your message out. You know, just like the Professional Pols do it. We spent hours honing our elevator pitch waiting for interviews that never happened.
Ever since then I’ve prepared myself for that once in a lifetime opportunity, imagining when that CNN microphone would be jammed in my face and I’d have one shot to send a message to the people of earth…. Would I blow it????
I’d like to think I’d grab hold of the microphone with both hands and the message I’d send would be “Keep Right Except To Pass!” since that has always been a particular pet peeve of mine. And that still might be how I choose to handle that once in a lifetime opportunity.
I imagine it would shake down something like this:
CNN: You sir, person walking down the street, how do you feel about the verdict in what’s being called the trial of the century?
BobbyK: (grabs microphone with own hands) While this was a very important verdict, it’s even more important to remember to keep right except to pass when traveling on the highway. Anytime you are not actively passing someone, you should move right and leave the far left lane clear for someone else who wishes to pass YOU. It’s common courtesy to keep right except to pass, and on many of our highways, keep right except to pass is the law. I urge everyone, when they think about this verdict in what’s being called the trial of the century to remember to keep right except to pass. Keeping right except to pass makes highway travel safer and less stressful for everyone on the road. It is our civic obligation when we share our roads with other drivers to keep right except to pass. When we all commit to this social contract and keep right except to pass, our country will have moved one lane closer to its full potential and promise. When everyone keeps right except to pass, we can rightfully call ourselves exceptional. And one more thing about the verdict: Keep right except to pass!
These days well trained Pols almost never miss an opportunity to deliver their message regardless of the question asked. And our “well trained media elite” almost never call them sharp when a Pol completely dodges the question to deliver their desired sound bite. Part of being a “well trained media elite” seems to be the art of pretending to ask hard hitting questions, while actually throwing the pol a preapproved softball tailor made to be hit out of the park with a sound bite response. It’s as if the Pol and the media elite are dance partners like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
As long as the media and our pols maintain their access driven, poll tested sound bite stenographer, relationship the important questions will never be answered. Which brings me to the Gotcha questions that are almost never asked… So how can we get them asked?
Town Hall campaign events? YouTube debates? Almost always prescreened and only the preapproved softballs will see the light of day.
Twitter shaming? Trending? May have some potential but there are ways to game that system too.
But whatever the method I’d like to be as ready with my questions as I am with my answer about how I feel about that verdict in the trial of the century.
Mar 02 2014
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This essay is in part a reply to AoT’s “No, you don’t want another OWS”– I agree we don’t need another, but not entirely with the author’s reasoning why…)
People who were involved with Occupy Wall Street have an understandable emotional attachment to what they experienced within the movement. In fact, for many in this age of electronica and isolation, it was their first experience in ground level activism and social work. People cooperated, they exchanged food, medical services and felt unity. By sheer numbers, they managed to enter the concept of the one percent versus the rest of us into the National dialogue. That cannot be underrated.
In any discussion of what is next, we have to look with an unemotional, analytical eye at whether or not Occupy was or was not a success.
Jan 26 2014
There's been a common theme lately of calling for a new OWS. I would be overjoyed if all of these calls were in fact calls for a new OWS. But they aren't. I want to make clear that this isn't necessarily an attack on people making these calls. They make them for different reasons, and those reasons are often reasons I agree with. But, they are in fact calls for a completely different movement, one that bears little if any resemblance to OWS. I'm going to go through the common refrains of what “the movement” needs and my responses to them. Let me say first that I think that people really mean that they want another successful and visible social movement when they say they want another OWS they really . I'm completely on board with that, I want another movement with the energy of Occupy. The problem is that the things that made OWS successful are exactly the things people are calling to change.
Jan 05 2014
Fracking, like cigarette production, is one of the moral indicators of Capitalism-as-practiced. A lot of money is spent by the companies involved proving that it causes no harm and is in fact a common good. It also provides a good case study in how the fight against corporate/ governmental hegemony can be a long drawn out process punctuated by the occasional surprising success. If the city of Dallas, the home of Big Oil, effectively bans fracking, that says a lot.
However, fracking is a complicated subject. The points made for it by its apologists include economic development, the prospect of having a smaller carbon footprint than with coal fired energy generation, and cheaper gas for those who are vulnerable to high heating costs. Proponents say that fracking is a proven technology used for many years, has never been proved to have a negative effect on environmental degradation, and has never caused earthquakes, which is true…if you define fracking narrowly as sending an explosive charge down a borehole to loosen the formation from which the oil is extracted, and discount the storage and transport of waste, the fugitive emissions from extraction and storage, and earthquakes caused by injection disposal wells. Fracking is also bound up in our ideas of individual versus collective rights, class warfare, corporate/ governmental collusion, and climate change, something we on the Left are passionate about, and rightly so. On the Right it is likewise associated with decreasing reliance on foreign gas and oil imports, national economic progress, and providing jobs. Because the media promotes controversy, everything from the visual images of protesters to the letters written to local papers are often chosen to be polarising. The most extreme examples of corporate sponsored puff pieces are often balanced with impassioned but uneducated letters and e-mails, so that readers unfamiliar with the process become confused. One friend of mine asked, “How can anyone possibly think that injecting a highly pressurised column of carcinogenic chemicals into a pipe through the water supply could be a good idea?” Another made equally valid points from his point of view: “If you all say that nuclear power is off the table, renewables can’t generate enough power, biofuels take up too much productive land, and coal and petroleum has to stay in the ground, how are you going to heat your houses and cook your food?”
Oct 06 2010
All across Europe recently there have been wave after wave of co-ordinated general strikes and massive demonstrations showing a solidarity and a unity across unions representing different kinds of workers in different countries, different levels of skill, against austerity proposals by governments, that put to shame the levels of public street activism in the US and Canada.
Fresh off a summer lecturing in Greece and France, economist, author, and Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Richard D. Wolff, well-known for his work on Marxian economics, economic methodology and class analysis, Yale University Ph.D. in Economics, and Professor at The New School University in New York City, gives his analysis on the massive European mobilizations and strikes. He also compares the US movement to the European one, and find the European workers to be much more advanced in their struggle.
This extraordinary unity is all built around a central demand which can be conveyed by their chief slogan: we are the working people who produce the profits, the goods, and the service of the capitalist economy; we are not going to pay for its crisis. And that’s really the central demand, that if the banks and the corporations and the speculations produced a crisis that working people had no role in-and I want to remind viewers that in Europe they didn’t even have the mortgage kind of crisis in European countries that we had here; it was a crisis of the banking sector, the financial, large corporations, and so on-the demand of the people is, we are not going to be made to pay. You’re not going to solve this economic crisis by having the government borrow money, throw the money at the banks and the big corporations, bail them out, and then make the mass of people pay by cutting government payrolls, by cutting government services, all those things called austerity.
Real News Network – October 05, 2010
European Workers Distance from US Through Action
Richard Wolff: European workers say they won’t pay for crisis while US counterparts talk of ‘One Nation