Last year, a blogger, activist, and “amateur pornographer” named Furry Girl requested her FBI file on a lark. Last month, she got it and posted some of its highlights online.
Among other details, Furry Girl learned that she and a few others were followed for several days several years ago while they planned and participated in a small, legal protest. (She doesn’t specify what it was about—being an amateur pornographer, she’s sensitive about her whereabouts and activities—saying “It was the sort of thing activists do every month all around the world.”)
The 436-page file, which was begun in 2002, notes that she and her cohort neither planned to nor engaged in any illegal behavior—besides a little dumpster diving—but the FBI kept following them anyway:
It’s the surveillance detail where things get funny and weird. Eleven or twelve of us were followed by a group of 3-6 FBI agents over the course of five days, and there was often a detail sitting outside of my apartment, totally unbeknownst to me. (I feel like a total chump that I didn’t notice that I was being followed and photographed during this time.) I had never read law enforcement surveillance logs before, so it was interesting to comb through the pages.
The file notes, for example, that one day she left the house wearing an orange cap, kissed somebody, got in a car with some friends, and went to see Lord of the Rings. Then she and her friends left the movie theater while agents “attempted” to photograph them, went to the store, got a case of beer, went to someone’s house, and other boring stuff that people do.
We will host a National Consumer Protection Week question and answer session on Tuesday, March 6 at 2pm EST.
Experts from USA.gov and the Federal Trade Commission will be on hand to answer your consumer-related questions and and provide government resources that can help. So whether you have questions about how to file a complaint with a company or how to learn about the latest scams, now is your chance to get answers…
I can see this being relevant to many, especially OWSers.
Cause seriously, there are some dirty, scamming, shameful companies out there.
The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.
The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.
As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries.
As NBA player Jeremy Lin’s prowess on the court continues to attract international attention and grab headlines, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) would like to remind media outlets about relevance and context regarding coverage of race.
In the past weeks, as more news outlets report on Lin, his game and his story, AAJA has noticed factual inaccuracies about Lin’s background as well as an alarming number of references that rely on stereotypes about Asians or Asian Americans.
Please give careful consideration to the following tips to ensure fair, accurate and sensitive portrayals of Lin and others who are Asian American.
AAJA and AAJA MediaWatch stand ready to assist any news organizations that have questions or concerns about news coverage and race. We all have the same goal: good journalism.
OUR GUIDELINES Stop to think: Would a similar statement be made about an athlete who is Caucasian, African American or Latino?
Use caution when discussing Lin’s physical characteristics, particularly those that feminize/emasculate the Asian male (Cinderella-story angles should not place Lin in a dress). Discussion of genetic differences in athletic ability among races should be avoided. In referring to Lin’s height or vision, be mindful of the context and avoid invoking stereotypes about Asians.
THE FACTS 1. Jeremy Lin is Asian American, not Asian (more specifically, Taiwanese American). It’s an important distinction and one that should be considered before any references to former NBA players such as Yao Ming and Wang Zhizhi, who were Chinese. Lin’s experiences were fundamentally different than people who immigrated to play in the NBA. Lin progressed through the ranks of American basketball from high school to college to the NBA, and to characterize him as a foreigner is both inaccurate and insulting. ..
DANGER ZONES “CHINK”: Pejorative; do not use in a context involving an Asian person on someone who is Asian American. Extreme care is needed if using the well-trod phrase “chink in the armor”; be mindful that the context does not involve Asia, Asians or Asian Americans. (The appearance of this phrase with regard to Lin led AAJA MediaWatch to issue statement to ESPN, which subsequently disciplined its employees.)
DRIVING: This is part of the sport of basketball, but resist the temptation to refer to an “Asian who knows how to drive.”
EYE SHAPE: This is irrelevant. Do not make such references if discussing Lin’s vision.
FOOD: Is there a compelling reason to draw a connection between Lin and fortune cookies, takeout boxes or similar imagery? In the majority of news coverage, the answer will be no.
MARTIAL ARTS: You’re writing about a basketball player. Don’t conflate his skills with judo, karate, tae kwon do, etc. Do not refer to Lin as “Grasshopper” or similar names associated with martial-arts stereotypes.
“ME LOVE YOU LIN TIME”: Avoid. This is a lazy pun on the athlete’s name and alludes to the broken English of a Hollywood caricature from the 1980s.
“YELLOW MAMBA”: This nickname that some have used for Lin plays off the “Black Mamba” nickname used by NBA star Kobe Bryant. It should be avoided. Asian immigrants in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries were subjected to discriminatory treatment resulting from a fear of a “Yellow Peril” that was touted in the media, which led to legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion Act.
“The truth is that the talking point that half of all Americans pay no taxes is a misrepresentation. Here is the full quote from the Tax Policy Center,
The fraction of tax units paying no income tax varies widely by filing status and type of unit. About 47 percent of single filers will owe no tax, compared with 38 percent of joint filers and 72 percent of heads of household. More than half of elderly tax units and tax units with children will pay no income tax this year.
The 47% statistic is not all Americans pay no taxes, but single filers who will pay no federal income taxes. According to the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities the real reason why 47%-51% of Americans paid no federal income taxes in 2009 is,
The 51 percent figure is an anomaly that reflects the unique circumstances of 2009, when the recession greatly swelled the number of Americans with low incomes and when temporary tax cuts created by the 2009 Recovery Act — including the “Making Work Pay” tax credit and an exclusion from tax of the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits — were in effect. Together, these developments removed millions of Americans from the federal income tax rolls. Both of these temporary tax measures have since expired.
The combination of the recession and the Obama stimulus cut taxes to low and middle income Americans led to fewer Americans owing federal income tax in 2009.
Let me explain—repeat actually—what this means: About half of taxpayers paid no federal income tax last year. It does not mean they paid no tax at all. Many shelled out Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. In fact, only 14 percent of Americans didn’t pay either income or payroll taxes. Some paid property taxes and, it is fair to say, just about all of them paid sales taxes of one kind or another. So to say they pay no taxes is flat wrong.
However, this class warfare-like rhetoric plays to a perception that the income tax is a chump tax: Only hard-working folks like us pay it. The welfare queens don’t. The super-rich don’t. It is a powerful emotional argument. It is also flat wrong.
The actual number of Americans who don’t pay any taxes isn’t half, but 14%. This group of non-taxpayers of any kind is largely composed of the elderly and disabled. The people who don’t pay taxes do so because they can’t work.
The myth that the wealthy are carrying the tax burden for America is used to justify tax cuts for the rich. Conservatives use the inaccurate statistic hand in hand with their, “wealthy are the job creators argument.” One statistic that was intended to demonstrate the loss of income due to the recession, along with the impact of the Obama tax cuts has been distorted and misused to justify a policy of not asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.
The truth is that 86% of Americans pay taxes. In one recession strapped year (2009), less than half of single filer taxpayers paid federal income taxes.
Since the truth undercuts the conservative’s reverse Robin Hood steal from the poor to give to the rich policy, they are going to do their best to keep the facts buried under a mountain of misinformation.
Anytime anyone tells you that half of Americans paid no taxes, do your country a favor and straighten them out. We have the facts. It’s time to tear down this talking point.”
It is time to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp in the United States. There is a huge market for textiles, paper, high protein food, clean burning diesel fuel and biodegradable plastics that industrial hemp farmers could produce using less water than cotton, needing no pesticides or herbicides for growing this ‘green’ alternative product. Industrial hemp contains virtually no THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. Industrial hemp has less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana typically has 5-25% THC. Additionally, industrial hemp contains a relatively high percentage of CBD (cannabidiol), which negates THC’s psychoactive effects.
According to Agriculture Canada, “Canada’s Industrial Hemp Industry,” March 2007, available online at [http://www.agr.gc.ca/misb/spcrops/sc-cs_e.php?page+hemp-chanvre].
Hemp’s remarkable advantages are hard to beat: it thrives without herbicides, it reinvigorates the soil, it requires less water than cotton, it matures in three to four months, and it can yield four times as much paper per acre as trees. Hemp can be used to create building materials that are twice as strong as wood and concrete, textile fiber that is stronger than cotton, better oil and paint than petroleum, clean-burning diesel fuel, and biodegradable plastics. In addition, it can produce more digestible protein per acre than any other food source. These advantages are in tune with the environmental and health preferences of today’s North American public. The growing curiosity of consumers, the interest shown by farmers and processors, and Canada’s excellent growing conditions for industrial hemp allow optimistic views for its future.
Every other industrialized nation in the world permits the farming of industrial hemp for fiber and seed, and industrial hemp is recognized in international law. Article 28(2) of the 1961 United Nations’ Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, to which the U.S. is a signatory, states “This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the Cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fiber and seed) or horticultural purposes.” In spite of this, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to intentionally confound industrial hemp and marijuana. This has resulted in an absurd policy: hemp seed, oil and fiber are all currently legal for trade in the U.S., and domestic industry imports industrial hemp for diverse uses. Yet, at the same time, U.S. farmers are prevented from producing industrial hemp for the domestic market. It is time to remove unnecessary barriers to the domestic production of legal industrial hemp.
“The president’s liberal friends in Hollywood [are] targeting a younger demographic using animated movies to sell their agenda to children.”—
Fox News’ Lou Dobbs, on the movie version of Dr. Suess’ The Lorax
I am 99.9999% sure that when Theodor Suess Gisel wrote The Lorax in 1971 he thought, “This will be really wonderful propaganda in the event that we eventually have a black president and he and his liberal friends are inspired to use it as anti-capitalist, Occupy Wall Street material!” and not “Look, a fun, colorful book about caring for the Earth and being a good person!” Pretty positive.
The Constitution makes it absolutely clear; the President is to execute federal law. The past two Presidents – one a Republican, the other a Democrat – have not only failed to execute laws, they have broken the law. The American people should be taking action, instead of ignoring what their leaders have been doing.
We’ve had one President who supported water-boarding – or, “enhanced interrogation,” as he called it – wiretapping American citizens and sending prisoners of war offshore to be tortured. Now we have a President who’s refused to prosecute the bankers who brought our country’s economy to its knees, who sends destructive drones around the world with no congressional approval, and who signed the National Defense Authorization Act which allows for indefinite detention of US Citizens on American soil without a trial.
The rapidly deteriorating biophysical situation is more than bad enough, but it is barely recognized by a global society infected by the irrational belief that physical economies can grow forever and disregarding the facts that the rich in developed and developing countries get richer and the poor are left behind.
The perpetual growth myth promotes the impossible idea that indiscriminate economic growth is the cure for all the world’s problems, while it is actually the disease that is at the root cause of our unsustainable global practices.
This is the new Gilded Age. It hasn’t been like this since the 1920s. The top 1% hold 40% of the wealth in this country while 22% of children live in poverty? That can be changed, but it will take tenacious action by people who understand the economic and social injustice. 2.3 million people are imprisoned, by far the worst incarceration rate in the world. 60% of them are Black and Latino, when only they 30% of the population. Tax cuts for the wealthy are equivalent to a 3 million dollar raise for the richest 160,000 people when people are losing their homes and students who take out loans to pay their tuition are unable to pay them and have massive debts hanging over their heads. Enormous capital gains, of 50%, are being made by people who are passively sitting by making investments while working people are struggling.
We know these massive changes, including the ratcheting up of the imperial presidency has never seen, are going to keep happening unless we all stand up together, organize, take tenacious and sustained action to let those in power know that we are not going to give up until we see fundamental change in our nation.
Note - This article uses the term “illegal,” with which I take much issue.
It seems this story still needs confirmation. That said, I would not at all be surprised to find out it’s true. And while in some ways not as big of a deal as the Anthony Wiener scandal, in some ways more-so. I mean, he’s an immigration “expert” threatening an ex-lover with deportation. That’s pretty messed up in a whole bunch of ways.
At at minimum, at least Fox will probably stop asking for his ‘expert’ opinion.
Coverage of “denialgate” is increasing. Reblog if you can…
“Heartland, which bills itself as anti-regulatory and libertarian, annually produces climate change “denier” conferences and pays expenses for elected officials to attend. For example, the budget shows that Heartland allocated $304,704 for scientists supporting its contrarian views in 2012.
One of these scientists is Fred S. Singer, a physicist and National Weather Bureau satellite center founder, who is said to receive $5,000 a month. The same day as the document leak, a science watchdog named John Mashey released a detailed investigation into Singer and his Science and Environmental Policy Project, indicating that he failed to properly fill out income forms for the foundation. Singer has previously worked with Heartland arguing that secondhand smoke is harmless. One of Heartland’s funders, according to the documents, is Phillip Morris.
Other scientists, researchers and pseudo-scientists on the Heartland payroll include a former California TV weatherman, Anthony Watts, who runs an anti-climate change science blog called WUWT (Watts Up With That). Heartland budgeted him $90,000 for a “special project.”
On his blog yesterday, Watts admitted taking an unspecified sum:
Heartland simply helped me find a donor for funding a special project having to do with presenting some new NOAA surface data in a public friendly graphical form, something NOAA themselves is not doing, but should be. I approached them in the fall of 2011 asking for help, on this project not the other way around.
The Heartland budget allocates more than half a million dollars for “government relations” and another $800,000 for communications. Besides the big-budget annual climate conference, another $25,920 was budgeted for eight “Heartland Capital Events” identified as “events in state capitals for elected officials,” at $3,240 each.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Heartland is legally barred from using its tax-free income of $7.7 million to lobby for or against legislation. The fact that the group appears to be intending to do just that could transform the group’s ongoing public relations disaster into a legal problem. Heartland’s activities are no surprise to environmentalist watchdogs, but actual proof of moneys spent on lobbying activities might affect their legal status, if the IRS bothers to investigate.
Besides trying to influence public (and lawmaker) opinion on fossil fuels and climate change, Heartland works on other overtly political projects that have nothing to do with climate change. The group gave $612,000 for something called “Operation Angry Badger,” aimed at the nonscientific goal of supporting Wisconsin’s anti-union Gov. Scott Walker, who is targeted for recall by progressives.”
I’m curious to see how much press this gets. You know that if it was the other way around, that if some prominent climate-change organization was spending even a tiny bit on a shady stuff, that it’d be all over the news… and Fox, esp Fox.
The problem with lies - like the anti-climate science ones - is that it’s difficult for people to purge them once they’ve accepted them. Just like “climate-gate.” Even though it was shown that the emails were harmless, that there was no wrong-doing, I routinely hear people referencing it as evidence that scientists cheat. *facepalm*
In 25 years, people are going to look back and wonder what the hell was wrong with Americans.
Save the last 130 Western Gray Whales The western gray whale is on the edge of extinction. There are probably fewer than 130 remaining with less than 26 breeding females. Every year, they come to feed off the coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia, but now a new oil platform threatens the survival of this critically endangered whale.
130 left?! That’s really, really, really bad news. A lot of people think it works like Noah’s Ark - if you have 2 or 7, then you’re fine. Sadly, that’s not reality. Most animals need their “community” to survive, just like we do. 130 individuals is… really low.
Take half a minute to sign this; you get to draw a whale afterward =D
Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked.
The companies used special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users. Safari, the most widely used browser on mobile devices, is designed to block such tracking by default.
Google disabled its code after being contacted by The Wall Street Journal.
This is the problem when you consolidate power. Even great people or organizations may come to abuse it. I mean, I used to really, really respect Google, but lately… I miss the google which passionately embraced the value of “don’t be evil”. And that’s google, one of the better ones. Just think of how other power magnates, like murdoch and the koch brothers, use their power!
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority would send a message to the Israeli government and to the world reminding them of the bases and terms of reference on which the Middle East peace process was built.
“We will not accept continuation of the status quo, and will soon take the steps we have agreed on with the Arab countries,” he said.
At a meeting in Ramallah with members of his Fatah party’s Revolutionary Council, Abbas said the peace process collapsed because the Israeli government violated previously signed agreements.
The Israeli government, he added, failed to comply with international resolutions, the international Quartet’s decisions and the Road Map peace plan, and instead imposed facts on the ground through increasing settlement activities. Israel continued to confiscate Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Jerusalem for the separation wall and settlements.
Abbas updated the Fatah leadership on the results of exploratory meetings between Palestinian and Israeli officials in Amman as well as the outcome of the meetings with the Arab follow up committee in Cairo.
He reiterated that the Palestinian side would insist that Israel recognize the borders of an independent Palestinian state and stop settlement activities in order to start serious negotiations leading to a withdrawal from Palestinian territory occupied in 1967.
The president stressed that national reconciliation between Palestinian rivals would remain a priority. The leadership is adamant to put into effect all terms of the reconciliation agreement, the most important of which is the technocrat government which will reconstruct the Gaza Strip and prepare for elections.
The left is always looking for a way to control you. They’re always trying to make you feel guilty, so you’ll give them power so they can lord it over you. They do it on the environment all the time. …
We have to have all sorts of government regulations now because of the threats of hydrofracking. It’s the new bogeyman. It’s the new way to try to scare you … And they’re preying on the Northeast, saying, “Look what’s going to happen. Ooh, all this bad stuff’s gonna happen, we don’t know all these chemicals and all this stuff, what’s gonna happen?” Let me tell you what’s going to happen: Nothing’s going to happen, except they will use this to raise money for the radical environmental groups so they can go out and continue to try to purvey their reign of environmental terror on the United States of America.
Update: Stop the Pipeline! Over 800,000 Messages in 24 Hours!!!
This is pretty damn impressive. Personally, I’m proud of everyone who’s been involved with fighting this terrible pipeline, including the various organizations which teamed up, and every one of those over 800,000 people who took a minute to sign this petition. It’s sending a loud message and I’m psyched to shout it louder!
It seems they’ve reached their goal of half a million signatures! w00t! That’s pretty damn awesome! The real question is, what now? Will the Senate listen? I hope so, and not just for the pipeline, as big of a deal as it is, but bc it could show that democracy isn’t dead in the USA, that like the sopa/pipa fight, citizens can use the internet to spread awareness and share outrage, and use that to help direct actual policy. On the other hand, I could easily see certain corrupt individuals fighting this petition and similar ones for precisely those same reasons. So, it’s a bit of a toss-up.
When we started the Keystone fight there were just a few of us, and no one thought we had a chance.
But with hard work and lots of great organizing we scored an unlikely victory when the President eventually rejected the pipeline last month. However, the oil industry’s representatives in Congress are eager to undo that, and it looks like a deal could be coming together in the Senate this week to sabotage that win. It’s time for us to defend our victory.
Beginning at noon today, every environmental group in the nation, not to mention great allies like MoveOn.org and CREDO Action, will come together for the most concentrated burst of environmental advocacy this millennia. We’re aiming to send half a million messages to the Senate in the next 24 hours. And they’ll all have the same message: back the President and make sure this pipeline doesn’t get built.
This is what movements look like. And we need you to play a big part.
2—Make sure that everyone else you know does the same thing.
The arguments by now are clear: This pipeline won’t create jobs (that’s why the biggest labor unions in the country support the President). It puts the heartland of the country at risk from spills — the kind of leaks that devastated the Yellowstone and Kalamazoo Rivers in the year past. And after the year with the most weather disasters in the nation’s history, and amidst this weird and out-of-kilter winter, the fight against climate change must start here.
The only argument for the pipeline comes from folks like the Koch Brothers—“we can make a lot of money.” It’s not a good argument, but that money buys votes in Congress, unless we stand up.
"Enough is enough! Let’s stop letting Big Oil & Big Money dictate US policy while trampling on the health of our citizens, wildlife, and environment. It’s time to invest in green energy. It’s time to do what’s right. It’s time to put a stop to the pipeline!”
Pps. They already have over 300,000 signatures! But still 200,000 away from their goal of a half-million. Come on guys, I know tumblr itself can make a huge dent in that! Let’s get this done already!
For almost 30 years — from 1983 to 2012 — the New York Police Department went about arresting people under laws that state and federal courts had long declared unconstitutional, cuffing and booking almost 22,000 people. In 2010, federal judge Shira A. Scheindlin finally held them in contempt of court. Yesterday, she signed an order approving what is effectively their punishment: a $15 million class-action settlement that could generate individual payments of as much as $5,000.
“A strike against Syria or Iran is an indirect strike against Russia and its interests. Russia would lose important positions and allies in the Arab world. Therefore, by defending Syria, Russia is defending its own interests, what the United States and NATO did in Libya is “nearly identical” to what Hitler and the Nazis did in Poland and Russia. He said Russia is protecting the world from fascism.”—Russian Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov (via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity)