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August 2018

Spike Lee’s Film Makes Cop That Spied On Blacks Into Hero

This contains spoilers, so read no further if you don’t want the film spoiled. This is not so much an aesthetic critique of the masterful craftwork of this film as it is a political critique of the content of and timing of the film. I also want to say, as I tweeted last week, that Spike Lee has been a huge influence on me. He’s the reason I went to film school so many years ago. He’s the first person I sent a demo tape of my music to when he had 40 Acres and a Mule Musicworks, and he has inspired me as a cultural critic as well. He never held his tongue about what he thought of Tyler Perry films or any other films that he happened to see and be displeased with. Spike doesn’t hold his tongue. Although I’m gonna lay out my disagreement, I hold him in highest respect as a filmmaker.

Corporate Astroturfers Push For Bayou Bridge Pipeline & Criminalization Of Protesters

A key public relations tactic that the fossil fuel industry uses to advance its interests is the creation of fake grassroots campaigns that support its oil and gas projects. The way this often works is that companies or industry associations pay communications firms to run commercials, publish op-eds, commission reports, and prop up so-called “consumer” groups. All this creates the appearance of popular backing of controversial fossil fuel projects. These efforts are a problem because, even as they distort the truth and lack transparency, they shape media narratives and offer cover to industry-backed elected officials who are trying to advance corporate interests.

Teaching My Sons That Water Is Life: A Father/Son Road Trip.

This was a special summer for me as a dad. For the first time I took my sons, Felix and Jaxson, on that classic TransCanada road trip so many of us did when we were young. We traveled across two provinces, from Manitoba to Alberta. It was a journey across our Treaty 6 territory. We drove across many bodies of water, with much of it flowing north. Water—both our Cree and Dene relatives, along with every other Canadian, depend on for life. As I drove with my sons, I wondered what would be their takeaways, what would they remember? Our destination was the Grassroots Grow Deep (GGD) - An Indigenous Climate Justice Training, a gathering I was supporting through my job as a campaigner with the global climate organization,

That Time Telco Lobbyists Sent Me All Their Talking Points About Trying To Shift The Blame To Internet Companies

It's not every day that big telco lobbyists email me their internal documents about how they're going to try to shift all the negative press about themselves and try to flip it onto internet companies. But it did happen yesterday. In what was clearly a mistake a top exec at the telco's largest lobbying organization, USTelecom, emailed a 12 page document of talking points yesterday, asking the recipients to "review the document for accuracy and other thoughts" in order to help USTelecom President Jonathan Spalter for when he goes on C-SPAN next week. I found it a bit odd that I would be on the distribution list for such an email -- especially when 13 of the 15 recipients of the email were US Telecom employees. And me. The one other non-US Telecom person works at a firm that provides "subject matter experts" and "in-depth legal analysis."

Most Recent Deaths At East Baton Rouge Jail Could Have Been Avoided

Paul Cleveland once showed up at his niece’s door with a pork roast because he was worried she had run out of groceries. He had an extra mobile home on his property, and would let near-strangers stay there till they got back on their feet. Cleveland was a U.S. Navy veteran—and according to his niece, Sherilyn Sabo, he wasn’t afraid of anybody. But when he called her from inside the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, Cleveland told Sabo he didn’t think he would make it out alive. Cleveland had not been convicted of a crime—he was in jail (Louisiana refers to its local jails as “parish prisons”) because his family was unable to pay his $300,000 bail. When he died of a heart attack in 2014, Cleveland became the jail’s third fatality that year and its 14th since 2012.

‘Victory For All Of Us’: Federal Court Of Appeal Quashes Approval Of $9.3-Billion Oil Pipeline Expansion

As First Nations and environmentalists celebrated Thursday’s Federal Court of Appeal decision to quash approval of the $9.3-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, one thing is clear: More delay and higher costs if the project does go ahead. In a unanimous decision, the court found that Canada had not adequately consulted each of six First Nations that had challenged the project’s approval. The three-judge court, in its 263-page decision written by judge Eleanor Dawson, also found the scope of the National Energy Board’s review “unjustifiably” did not include tanker traffic related to the project, which will have a negative effect on endangered killer whales, also known as orcas. The project has been hugely controversial in British Columbia, particularly in the Lower Mainland, where there have been years of protest, rallies and most recently arrests.

A Labor Day Call To Action

This is a call to establish encampments and coordinate direct actions surrounding the Labor Day weekend at the site of prison labor camps. Inspired by the recent wave of #AbolishICE organizing, prison abolitionists and labor activists have joined forces to call for an escalation of the movement to defend public service unions, stop prison slave labor, and end mass incarceration. As prisoners launch what is anticipated to be the largest national prison strike in U.S. history, between August 21- September 9, we on the outside must also ask ourselves, what are we willing to do and how much are we willing to risk to demonstrate our solidarity to fellow workers? Earlier this year, the Supreme Court announced one of the most devastating blows to union membership in decades.

Help Robie Goins Fight A Pipeline

Brothers Robie and Dwayne Goins of Robeson County are members of the Lumbee Tribe and live in Prospect, NC, a majority Native American community. Dwayne lives adjacent to a site where Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC has announced plans to build a gas metering and regulation station and a 350 ft. microwave tower (to control the station remotely). Prospect, already burdened with two older pipelines and associated gas infrastructure, is now slated to become the 36 inch, 1400psi Atlantic Coast Pipeline's official southern terminus. Robie and Dwayne have filed suit in Robeson County challenging a conditional use permit issued to the company by the county a year ago.

Atlas Network, The Right-Wing Libertarians

The capitalist international exists, it mobilizes the libertarian movement of right-wing, they are known as “libertarians” and it is obviously very well financed. It works through an immense conglomerate of foundations, institutes, NGOs, centers and societies united by undetectable threads, which include the Atlas Economic Research Foundation or the Atlas Network. In the Latin American Forum on Liberty of the Atlas Network, held in May 2017 in the luxurious Brick Hotel in Buenos Aires, in the presence of Argentine President Mauricio Macri and the Peruvian-Spanish writer Mario Vargas Llosa, it was discussed how to defeat socialism at all levels, from the battlefields on the university campuses to the mobilization of a country to embrace the removal of a constitutional government, as in Brazil.

Speaking In Front Of Israel’s Nukes, Netanyahu Says IDF Will Hit Iranian Forces In Syria With “All Its Might”

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – During a ceremony at an Israeli nuclear-weapons development center, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech in which he stated that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would act with “all its might” against Iranian military assets in Syria, and that Israel would oppose Iran’s presence in Syria with the same “determination” it used to push the United States to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Angry French Farmers Sow Chinese-Owned Field In Investor Protest

Mounted on tractors and wielding flares, angry farmers came from all corners of France to say to Chinese investors: get off our land. More than 100 farmers swarmed on a Chinese-owned field in the Indre region of central France on Wednesday, occupying it in protest at what they say is financial speculation. Waving the flag of France's Farmers' Confederation, they filled a seed drill with rye and sprayed grain in a demonstration they said symbolised the need to "take back the land for the farmers". "The land is there to provide for farmers' families and to produce food," said Laurent Pinatel, spokesman for the Farmers' Confederation. "The owners have come here to make a profit, to speculate on agriculture while monopolising the land."

WaPo Uses Photo Of John McCain Next To Nazi To Praise His ‘Human Rights’ Work

The Washington Post (8/27/18) published an op-ed by conservative staff opinion columnist Jennifer Rubin praising the late Sen. John McCain for his supposed commitment to “human rights.” Rubin waxed poetic on the ostensible “lost champion” of human rights, who “model[ed] for others the behavior of a free society.” She declared, quite paradoxically, “With the possible exception of the US military…no group was more indebted to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) than the human rights community.” There was an, er, optical problem, however: For the header image on this column, the Washington Post used a photo of McCain speaking next to the notorious Ukrainian neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok.

National Call-In Day To Support Hunger-Striking Prisoners

Several inmates in the Secure Housing Unit(SHU) at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility are initiating a hunger strike in protest of their already starvation-level meal portions, their lack of access to basic necessities like adequate clothing, and access to commissary items . Food portions are extremely small, imagine a high school lunch tray where the section for your main course isn't even half full. The food they receive is already lacking in nutrition and comes in boxes labelled "not for human consumption." Food services in the IDOC are managed by the private corporation Aramark, and food served to inmates lacks...

FANG Shuts Down ICE, Continues Campaign Of Escalation

Last Monday FANG deployed multiple blockades in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts that shut down all entrances to the Bristol County Jail and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility. At the facility’s main entrance, climbers scaled two 24 foot tripods, while at the second entrance, two people locked into a concrete barricade, with one of them also locking their neck to the gate. The Bristol County Sheriff’s officers responded with violence. They pulled apart and tore down both tripods causing the climbers to fall and slam into the pavement. The sheriffs then used pain compliance on Sherrie, an indigenous woman of color and a co-founder of FANG, in an unsuccessful attempt to get them to release from their lockbox.

International Day Of The Disappeared

This August 30th marks the International Day of the Disappeared, initiated by the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared, FEDEFAM, an organization founded in 1981 at the height of US-backed state terrorism throughout Latin America. On this day, SOA Watch salutes the thousands of families who continue their unwavering search for their disappeared and celebrates the trials that continue to take place in spite of a legacy of terror and impunity that seeks to silence the demands for justice.
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