Category Archives: Community

Chris Hedges on the pathology of the elite


In this two-part series from The Real News Network, Paul Jay interviews veteran journalist Chris Hedges, who has reported for many of America’s elite newspapers, most recently as the Mideast Bureau Chief of the New York Times.

In this discussion, Jay and Hedges focus on the elite and their capture and corruption of power.

From The Real News Network:

The Pathology of the Rich – Chris Hedges on Reality Asserts Itself, part 1

From the transcript:

PAUL JAY: This is a piece you wrote called “Let’s Get This Class War Started”, which I guess is a play on Pink’s song, is it? “Let’s Get This Party Started”. The quote is: “The inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic rulers is one of our gravest faults.” What are you talking about?

HEDGES: Because we don’t understand the pathology of the rich. We’ve been saturated with cultural images and a kind of cultural deification of wealth and those who have wealth. We are being—you know, they present people of immense wealth as somehow leaders—oracles, even. And we don’t grasp internally what it is an oligarchic class is finally about or how venal and morally bankrupt they are.

We need to recover the language of class warfare and grasp what is happening to us, and we need to shatter this self-delusion that somehow if, as Obama says, we work hard enough and study hard enough, we can be one of them. The fact is, the people who created the economic mess that we’re in were the best-educated people in the country—Larry Summers, a former president of Harvard, and others. The issue is not education. The issue is greed.

And I, unfortunately, had the experience of being shipped off to a private boarding school at the age of ten as a scholarship student and live—I was one of 16 kids on scholarship, and I lived among the super-rich and I watched them. And I think much of my hatred of authority and my repugnance for the ruling elite comes from having been among them for so long.

Credibility of the Ruling Elite is Being Shredded – Chris Hedges on Reality Asserts Itself, part 2

From the transcript:

JAY: So you wrote a column in Truthdig. The title of it is “Our Invisible Revolution”, and you quote, to start with, Alexander Berkman: “Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?”

And let me add to that. We’ve had these enormous revelations recently, WikiLeaks and Snowden, and Hammond’s leaks of the Stratfor files. And it should, one would think–and enough of this has gotten into the mainstream media, you know, enough of the revelations, that you would have had, you’d think, a fundamental shaking of masses of people’s belief in the American narrative. But not so much. Like, we’ve not really seen a change in the political landscape at the mass scale that one might have thought.

HEDGES: Well, this was what Berkman–this essay is called “The Idea Is the Thing”–is playing out, that as long as the ideas that sustain the power elite have currency or relevancy, the institutions that hold up that system of power are unassailable. Once those ideas are utterly discredited, those institutions collapse.

And Berkman draws the analogy of heating water on a kettle, that you can’t make a revolution, you can’t decide that next Monday is the revolution. Revolutions are organic. And they take place through this change within the culture whereby the ideas that sustain a particular ruling class are so thoroughly discredited that the ruling class is finally only able to sustain itself through the use of force and violence, that it’s kind of–it resorts to the most naked forms of repression to hold on to power, which, as you can see with the rise of the security and surveillance state, we are moving towards.

And so what you have in a pre-revolutionary society, which I think we’re in, is a kind of invisible revolution, whereby the state, the ideology of the state, in this case capitalism, the fiction of American democracy, larger and larger numbers of people–and I think we are also seeing this across the political spectrum–wake up and understand the hollowness of the language that’s used to describe their own economic, political, and social reality.

What’s important is that in this process you need to present an alternative vision, an alternative language, so that people can orient themselves toward something. Otherwise, any kind of eruption is nihilistic. Without that kind of vision, ultimately it doesn’t represent any kind of a threat to the ruling elite, because it doesn’t drive towards something. And I think that, you know, opinion polls point this out in terms of, like, the approval rating of Congress, which is below 10 percent, the utter disgust at the inability of the centers of power to respond to the most basic concerns and needs of the citizenry. All of that is there.

Voices From Robben Island: Mandela’s prison


A 1994 documentary for BBC by the Schadeberg Movie Company, the film features Nelson Mandela and other South African revolutionaries imprisoned in the infamous Robben Island prison by the apartheid regime.

Mandela was imprisoned there from 1964 to 1982.

The prison finally closed in 1996, and today serves as a museum.

Via Journeyman Pictures:

Voices From Robben Island

Program notes:

Voices from Robben Island: A definitive documentary on what many consider to be the most infamous island of the 20th century.

For downloads and more information visit: http://www.journeyman.tv/?lid=56141 – private

Jurgen Schadeberg and the BBC teamed up to create this definitive documentary on possibly the most infamous island in 20th Century world history. In an age in which the freedom of the individual has arisen this island has become symbolic of the many fights that have taken, and continue to take place.

This film looks at the Island’s 400-year history through the eyes of people incarcerated there. From those lepers and lunatics that were first locked up in the 17th century to their most infamous inmates Mandela, Sisulu, Mbeki, Kathrada, Mlangeni — the freedom fighters against Apartheid South Africa.

‘Voices of Robben Island’ reveals the great courage of some of its prisoners through the personal accounts of individuals such as Nelson Mandela and Mbeki. The result is not simply a moving character led film, but a piece of history in itself.

Midnight in Berkeley with the fog rolling in


From the Berkeley Hills via the webcam at the Lawrence Hall of Science:

BLOG Fog

Student homelessness, a growing reality


Under a neoliberal political regime, America’s public schools are suffering, with a majority of students in many schools coming from families living in poverty.

In this segment from The Real News Network, producer Jessica Desvarieux talks to two people who know a lot about poverty in schools, focusing on the growing numbers of children who have no homes at all.

From the transcript:

There are now 1.2 million homeless students in the United States. That’s an increase of 10 percent from last year, according to the National Center for Homeless Education, and that’s up 72 percent from the start of the recession in 2008. Some states, like North Carolina, have been particularly hit hard.

Joining us to discuss child homelessness in North Carolina are Annabelle Suddreth and Tazra Mitchell. Annabelle is the executive director of A Child’s Place, a nonprofit organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, that works to erase the impact of homelessness on children and their education. And Tazra Mitchell is joining us from North Carolina as well. She joined the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center in August 2011 serving as a public policy analyst whose policy interests include fiscal policy.

From The Real News Network:

U.S. Student Homelessness Up 10% Since Last Year

Highest increases of homeless children seen in states like North Carolina where austerity policies predominate

From the transcript:

MITCHELL: Our legislative session began in January. And within the first two weeks they passed a radical restructuring of our unemployment insurance system that really helps folks make make ends meet as they struggle to find work, find a job, and gain a foothold on the economic ladder. So any child [incompr.] any child who lives in a household with an unemployed parent, they’ll suffer as a result of this restructuring, because it drastically reduced benefits. And as a result [incompr.] more than $700 million from the federal government in benefits that could go to the long-term unemployed in North Carolina.

They also, like you said, passed a series of tax cuts that on average will shift taxes away from higher-income people towards low-income people. Part of that tax plan was not destroying the state’s earned income tax credit, which is really one of the state’s most powerful antipoverty tools in the state. It goes to families who work but who earn low wages. And it really helps parents avoid raising their children in poverty.

They also eliminated the child care independent tax credit.

Really, the tax plan that they passed gives a huge windfall to the wealthy and profitable businesses at the expense of lower-income and moderate-income people. It also drains available revenues that the state can use to invest in programs that help children. As such, they passed a budget right after this tax plan that really puts North Carolina on a path to mediocrity. We just don’t think that it will move the state in the right direction.

Evening in Berkeley: After the rain, winds


From The View, the online camera of the Lawrence Hall of Science in the Berkeley Hills overlooking San Francisco Bay:

BLOG LHS

Contrasting videos: Compassion vs sociopathy


First up, a video from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the lethal nature of poverty in America:

Dying Young

Program note:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on aging, held a hearing to discuss the extraordinary disparities in life expectancy that exist between regions of the United States and even neighborhoods within cities.

From his website:

Sanders said that a recurring theme from witnesses was that “poverty in America is in fact very expensive.”  He added, “If people don’t have access to health care, if they don’t have access to education, if they don’t have access to jobs and affordable housing then we end up paying not only in terms of human suffering and the shortening of life expectancy but in actual dollars.”

He cited a report by the Institute of Medicine that found Americans have shorter life expectancies than people in 16 other high-income countries. Another study ranked life expectancy in the U.S. 40th for males and 39th for females across 187 countries in 2010. The disparity between the U.S. and other nations occurs despite the fact that Americans spend more on health care than any other country in the world, Sanders noted.

While overall U.S. life expectancy is inching up, the gains are less than in other countries and vary widely depending on income, gender, race and education. Those without a high school degree in the U.S. live shorter lives and experience poorer health than those with higher levels of education.

For women in the United States there is a 12-year gap in life expectancy between wealthy Marin County, Calif., where the average person lives to be 85 years old, and Perry County, Ky., with an average life expectancy of 73 years.

American men live the longest in Fairfax County, Va. Life expectancy for men in the wealthy Washington, D.C. suburbs is 82 years compared to 64 for men in McDowell County, W. Va., just 350 miles away.

Nationwide, the poor have higher rates of many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and disability, according to Dr. Steven Woolf, director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The lower people’s income, the earlier they die and the sicker they live,” he said.  “Neighborhoods in Boston and Baltimore have a lower life expectancy than Ethiopia and Sudan. Azerbajian has a higher life expectancy than areas of Chicago.”

By way of contrast, consider this gem from Fox & Friends, and that 70′s porn star clone and Ayn Rand groupie John Stossel, via Think Progress:

Fox News warns against giving money to the poor

From Think Progress:

Donning a fake beard, Stossel sat on a New York City sidewalk with a cardboard sign asking people for help. “I just begged for an hour but I did well,” he said. “If I did this for an eight-hour day I would’ve made 90 bucks. Twenty-three thou for a year. Tax-free.”

Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who recently purchased a $4 million home in Greenwich, gasped in horror at the prospect of poor people earning $23,000 a year. Some people asking for money “are actually scammers,” Hasselbeck warned, seemingly unaware of the irony that the only panhandling “scammer” Fox News identified was Stossel.

Because he was able to successfully convince good-hearted pedestrians that he was poor, Stossel went on to chastise people who gave the homeless money because, in his view, “most are not…for real.”

He implored viewers to stop giving money to poor people because if you do, “you’re an enabler.”

Read the rest.

Occupy Madison: Building homes for the homeless


First Occupy Wall Street buys up medical debt to relieve the burden pon folks who were afflicted by poverty and ill health, and now Occupy Madison builds homes for the homeless.

A heartening report from RT:

Occupy Madison builds ‘tiny home’ for homeless

Program notes:

A group in Madison, Wisc. is taking an innovative approach to helping the homeless. Occupy Madison, an offshoot of the Occupy Movement, has built its first “tiny home” as part of their initiative called, “OM Build.” They hope the house will become part of a cooperative village of eco-friendly homes. The tiny home is less than 100 square feet, and is built largely with recycled materials. RT’s Sam Sacks talks with Occupy Madison organizer Luca Clemente about how OMB Build helps the homeless in more ways than just providing them shelter.

Chart of the day: Growth patterns of U.S. cities


From Urban America: U.S. Cities in the Global Economy [PDF], a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, an illuminating chart contrasting population growth/decline with per capita GDP share. Click on the image to enlarge:

BLOG cities

Fukushima: An angry, sorrowful, toxic legacy


AT 27:49, this ABC Australia documentary via Journeyman Pictures provides a penetrating look at the impacts of the 3/11 disaster and its radioactive legacy.

Reporter Mark Willacy asks many of the right questions, and the answers he receives reveal the dual realty in which survivors live each day, haunted by a profound sense of loss mirrored against an deep and justifiable anxiety about the future ahead.

Radiating the People: Fukushima’s Cancer Legacy

Program notes:

It’s what post-Fukushima Japan fears the most; cancer. Amid allegations of government secrecy, worrying new claims say a cancer cluster has developed around the radiation zone and that the victims are children.

In a private children’s hospital well away from the no-go zone, parents are holding on tight to their little sons and daughters hoping doctors won’t find what they’re looking for. Thyroid cancer. Tests commissioned by the local authorities have discerned an alarming spike here. Experts are reluctant to draw a definitive link with Fukushima, but they’re concerned. “I care because I went to Chernobyl and I saw each child there, so I know the pain they went through”, says Dr Akira Sugenoya, a former thyroid surgeon. What terrifies parents most is a government they feel they can’t trust. It’s created a culture of fear; one which has led a number of women post-Fukushima to have abortions because they were worried about birth defects. “The doctors in Fukushima say that it shouldn’t be coming out so soon, so it can’t be related to the nuclear accident. But that’s very unscientific, and it’s not a reason we can accept”, Dr Sugenoya insists. “It was disclosed that the Fukushima health investigation committee was having several secret meetings. I feel the response has been unthinkable for a democratic nation”, Dr Minoru Kamata from the Japan Chernobyl Foundation says.

ABC Australia

Chart of the day II: Transatlantic bugging foes


From a Transatlantic Trends poll from The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Transatlantic Majorities Oppose Domestic Surveillance [PDF]:

BLOG Spook survey

Chart of the day II: America’s 11 hidden nations


From Tufts Magazine, accompanying a piece by author and Maine journalist Colin Woodward drawn from research for his 2011 book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America:

020Tufts_fal2013

Chart of the day: Chineses gov’t revenues


From The Economist:

Live chart: China’s revenue

Program note:

China’s regional and municipal governments spend more than they collect. For more video content from The Economist visit our website.

Postal sellouts: Losing the U.S., British commons


Two videos of note, taking on the neoliberal push to deprive the citizens of the great public commons built up over generations.

The first video, from The Real News Network, focuses on the privatization of the Royal Mail.

Jessica Desvarieux interviews Professor Emeritus John Weeks of the University of London, author of the forthcoming book, The Economics of the 1%: How mainstream economics serves the rich, obscures reality and distorts policy.

From The Real News Network:

UK’s Royal Mail Privatized and Sold to Investors

From the transcript:

The postal service in Britain has, ever since the end of World War II, played a very major role social role. Small communities have post offices. We have a cottage in a village of 500 people. It has a post office. Another village next to us, a post office closed a few years ago because of budget cuts.

Now, to that post office elderly people can go and collect their pensions. They can actually collect it in cash, rather like collecting your Social Security in cash. They don’t have to have bank accounts. If they want a bank account, they can have it through the Postal Service. They don’t have to pay the fees that you would in a normal bank. And it has always been completely safe, because the government guaranteed money that was deposited in the postal service bank.

In addition, the post office would usually be in a shop, and the people that ran it would live in the community. And so they would know people coming in and out. So it played quite an important function. Several years ago, an elderly woman in a village here was ill, and the postmistress noticed that she hadn’t been coming in for several days and called the emergency services. So that’s not an unusual function for the post office to play.

Okay. So one of the big losers will be all the people who use the post office as a source of their, you might say, link to the wider community, because it will become more commercial. In fact, many of the local post offices will become de facto in private hands. That is, not only will they be a privatization process which has occurred in which shares are sold out, but the premises will be owned privately and the functions will be owned by a rather large company, which will then hire the postmaster, the postmistress to run the activity. So to a certain extent this privatization is an extension of what has occurred before.

So the first thing is that a very large number of people in Britain will have worse local services. And this applies to cities, too. There are–it’s quite common where we lived in London. There is a post office within walking distance. And most people have a post office within walking distance. I think almost certainly with the privatization there will be fewer post offices. This will be downsized. And it’s also a place, I should add–not our local post office, but in London, where you can use a computer–if you don’t own the computer, you can go along and use the computer in the post office. Or you can have your photograph taken to get a passport. A whole range of things. There will be fewer of them. It will mean that either you’ll have to have an automobile or you will have to travel by public transport, rather long distances, in order to access these same services.

Our second video comes from Next News Network via WHDT, a Florida-based broadcaster and focuses on the sale of U.S. post offices by a real estate corporation owned by the spouse of California’s plutocratic Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

It’s overly loud, but it covers the basics — and includes a focus on the sale of the main post office ruight here in Berkeley.

From WHDT:

Dianne Feinstein to make 1 BILLION DOLLARS off US Postal properties

From the program notes:

The company that was awarded the contract to sell all of the postal properties is CB Richard Ellis, the world’s largest commercial real estate firm. The chairman of CBRE is a man by the name of Richard Blum, doesn’t ring a bell? He just happens to be Dianne Feinstein’s husband. OK Let me just list a few of CBRE’s highlights with the US Postal Service Properties:

1) CBRE appears to have repeatedly violated its contractual duty to sell postal properties at or above fair market value resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars. For example in Seattle CBRE sold a post office building in 2011 for 8 million dollars, it was assessed for 16 million. Another layer.

2) In a series of apparently non-arms length transactions CBRE negotiated the sale of postal properties around the country to its own clients and business partners. Google the Boston Seaport deals and see if that doesn’t turn your stomach. Another layer.

3) CBRE has been paid commissions up to 6% for representing both the seller and the buyer in many of the negotiations. This raising questions to whether CBRE was doing it’s best to obtain the highest price possible for the postal service or their clients. another stinky layer.

New media meets old: Greenwald v. Keller


From CNN Internacional, we bring you two interesting conversations about the nature and role of the journalist featuring archetypes of the old and new media news media.

In the first, CNN’s David Folkenflik talks with Bill Keller, who for the last 29 years has drawn a paycheck from the New York Times — about as old school a medium as there is — currently as an op-ed columnist and before that,  executive editor.  As might be expected, Keller advocates for the sober “impartial approach,” while ceding a role to form of advocacy journalism Greenwald practices.

From CNN Internacional:

Keller v Greenwald: Bill’s take

Program note:

NYT columnist Bill Keller tells David Folkenflik about his conversation with Glenn Greenwald on the future of news.

The second segment features Glenn Greenwald, a muckraker extraordinaire who has — with the leads and documents provided by Edward Snowden — changed the consciousness of the world more dramatically than anyone else practicing the art today. He makes a particularly telling point, too: Keller’s own paper effectively advocated for the Bush administrations war on Iraq.

Keller v Greenwald: Glenn’s take

Program note:

Glenn Greenwald tells David Folkenflik about his conversation with NYT columnist Bill Keller on the future of news.

The CNN videos are an extension of a 27 October New York Times op-ed dialogue between Keller and Greenwald.

Occupation Nation: A rabble-rousing video


A good old-fashioned rabble-rousin’ radical remix from the folks at Leftist Videos:

Occupation Nation “An Occupy Wall Street Documentary” (FULL)

Program notes:

An hour-long movie of remixed shorts that explore the philosophical roots of the recent movement of the 99%. As zombie banksters threaten to consume all that’s left of our spectacular society, B Media’s fifth video variety show showcases the mycelia network of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Deeply rooted in historical and international precedents that have the potential to turn toxic assets and discarded derivatives into new communities where shared vision and collective decision making empowers us all.

The film calls on our collective conscience to remember the Oaxacan teacher strikes and the Bonus Army, and it explores this new technological globalrevolution by riffing on the work of video ninjas everywhere. Darryl Mitchell and David Graeber’s dialectics break down the bricks of Wall Street, PeeWee Herman interviews Emma Goldman about the black bloc, Mr. Bean gets peppersprayed, and Obama is mic-checked in his Disney World as the police protect the smart ALEC’s running the show.

Special halftime appearance by Clint Eastwood, and Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.

Quote of the day: Europe’s perennial scapegoats


Journalist Ian Birrell, writing in an essay in The Independent headlined “The grim history of the Roma is no fairy tale”:

Europe’s 10 million Roma are still victims of abuse, prejudice and poverty. I was shocked to discover the hatred towards them in Hungary; they are unable to get jobs, segregated, and their children classified as mentally handicapped to keep them out of mainstream schools. The governing party blames them for crime while honouring a leader who deported families to Auschwitz, and vigilante groups terrorise their villages and firebomb their homes. One gang was jailed two months ago for a 14-month murder spree; a child of five was among the dead.

There are similar stories across the Continent, forcing fearful families to the fringes of society.

In Italy, where mobs attacked their camps five years ago and the prime minister responded in the most racist manner by ordering the fingerprinting of all 150,000 Roma, acid was thrown at a mother and her child earlier this month. In the Czech Republic, human-rights groups demanded action to protect Roma from violence and intimidation after riots this summer. In Slovakia, they are being segregated behind imposing walls, a disturbing echo of dismal recent history.

In France, politicians on right and left have scapegoated Roma amid recent economic woes. One prominent figure ridiculously claimed a community of 15,000 people was responsible for one in 10 crimes in a country of 65 million, while the hardline interior minister’s poll ratings rose after calls for them to leave and forced evictions. The hapless president, meanwhile, tied himself in knots over the expulsion of a teenage Roma girl that led his popularity to plunge further.

Stop Watching Us!: Major rally Saturday in D.C.


From their website:

A Rally Against Mass Surveillance

The NSA is spying on everyone’s personal communications. It’s operating without any meaningful oversight.

On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act, we’re holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. We’ll be handing more than a half-million petitions to Congress to remind them that they work for us — and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer.

A stellar group of whistleblowers, activists, researchers and others from both sides of the political spectrum will be speaking at this historic event. The list includes:

  • Congressman Justin Amash
  • Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich
  • Bruce Schneier, internationally renowned security technologist
  • Former senior NSA executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake
  • Indie pop senation YACHT
  • Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
  • Lt. Dan Choi, LGBT advocate and U.S. veteran
  • Laura Murphy, ACLU
  • Rainey Reitman, EFF
  • Craig Aaron, Free Press
  • Social critic Naomi Wolf
  • Kymone Freeman, Director of the National Black LUV Fest
  • Khaliah Barnes, EPIC
  • Shahid Buttar, Bill of Rights Defense Committee
  • Malachi Byrd, DC Youth Poetry Slam Team
  • Wafa Ben Hassine, writer and human rights advocate
  • NOT4PROPHET, Hip Hop MC and community organizer
  • Black Alley, DC-based soul-garage band

Location:
Marchers will gather in front of Union Station at 11:30 a.m. by the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain in Columbus Circle. Shortly after noon we’ll march to the National Mall at 3rd Street and Madison Dr. NW, in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, where there will be a stage set up for our rally speakers, musicians, and performers.

And here’s a star-studded video supporting the movement:

Stop Watching Us: The Video

Program notes:

StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. Join the movement at https://rally.stopwatching.us - private. This video harnesses the voices of celebrities, activists, legal experts, and other prominent figures in speaking out against mass surveillance by the NSA. Please share widely to help us spread the message that we will not stand for the dragnet surveillance of our communications.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a nonprofit civil liberties law and advocacy center that has been fighting the NSA’s unconstitutional spying for years. Learn more at https://eff.org - private.

A Swiss realization for a Buckminster Fuller dream?


R. Buckminster Fuller was one of the most remarkable people we ever met during a journalistic that gave us encounters with a multitude of remarkable people. It was also our privilege to document his basic ideas in the first published under our own name [we had ghosted others].

One of Fuller’s core ideas was the notion of the bare maximum as a basic ruight of all humanity. If the most calories a maximally physically energetic person needed to maintain healthy life was X calories, then all humans would have the right to that many calories. And so on with all that needed to sustain a vigorous, active fulfilling life.

Swiss artist Enno Schmidt has come to a very similar conclusion, and he and a colleague amassed the 100,000 signatures needed for a Swiss national referendum that would create a guaranteed annual basic income [Grundeinkommen] of 2,500 Swiss francs, or $2771.93 at current exchange rates.

He explains the concept in an interview with Jessica Desvarieux of The Real News Network.

Exclusive: The Activist Behind Switzerland’s Referendum for Guaranteed Income

From the transcript:

. . .it was Daniel and me–who thought, what will be the most necessary film and that what we really want to do? And we decided, yeah, the best thing is people has money enough to do what they really want to be creative, to develop what they can do for other people or need for theirself. And so we start this thing, basic income.

And basic income means enough money to live without need. And in Switzerland it’s only a number to say 2,500 francs. I don’t know how many it is in the States. It’s not to be rich. It’s simply to say, today we are rich enough and there are goods enough that we can say everybody needs an income to live. And why shall we–why have we to bound it to conditions?

And it’s an idea, for example, of the ’60s in the United States. Milton Friedman tried such things. It was a negative income tax, called so.

And we can say it’s a moment in the world, it’s a new century, a new vision, a social vision to say, set the people free by living, and then they do their things. And they are paid for their work, but the basic has to be sure for everybody.

And so we go with this in Switzerland. And the thing in Switzerland is that you have this direct democracy. And that means you can go with such wishes, such an idea. What really changed many things and let you look to all this facts new and to–yeah, it’s a bit of philosophical thing, but it’s a moral thing. It’s to acknowledge where we are now. And you can do this in Switzerland by such an initiative.

His page on the movement’s website [in German] is here. We note that one of the links is titled Jeder ein König That translates to “Everyone a king,” and bears a strong similarity to the catchphrase of Huey Long, the subject of yesterday’s video post. “Every man a king, but no one wears a crown,” declared Long.

Long even wrote a song about it:

An absolute must-watch: A spooky animation


A succint explanation of why the NSA’s panoptic purview really, really matters.

From The Guardian’s YouTube channel:

The NSA files: how they affect you – video animation

Program note:

NSA files and GCHQ revelations have sparked huge debate about surveillance and spying around the world. With all the talk of Prism, Tempora and encryption, it can seem quite a technical topic to some but this really isn’t just a story for geeks. Here’s why

The NSA in a nutshell: How THEY track YOU


We bring you a new crowd-funded video, produced and narrated by actress Evangeline Lilly detailing the basics of National Security Agency surveillance of all of us who conntect to each other by phone or Internet.

Catalyst for the video in the StopWatchingUs rally scheduled for Washington, D.C on 26 October. More here.

How the Government Tracks You: NSA Surveillance

Program notes:

Don’t just watch it, DO SOMETHING: http://TheNSAvideo.com

The U.S. Government has turned the Internet into something it was never intended to be: a system for spying on us in our most private moments. Out of control government surveillance is a dangerous form of censorship. Don’t be intimidated. Share this video.

Narrated by Evangeline Lilly

Brought to you by Fight for the Future and Demand Progress.

Produced by Mata Wata — http://matawata.com

Executive Producer: Evangeline Lilly — http://evangelinelilly.com

Here’s more information on the rally itself:

STOP WATCHING US RALLY
AGAINST MASS SURVEILLANCE

Sat, October 26th in Washington, DC

http://Rally.StopWatching.us

Right now the NSA is spying on everyone’s personal communications, and they’re operating without any meaningful oversight. Since the Snowden leaks started, more than 571,000 people from all walks of life have signed the StopWatching.us petition telling the U.S. Congress that we want them to rein in the NSA.

On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the US Patriot Act, we’re taking the next step and holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. We’ll be handing the half-million petitions to Congress to remind them that they work for us — and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer.

Who we are

StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. We came together in June 2013 to demand the U.S. Congress investigate the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs. Go here to read our letter to U.S. Congress demanding accountability and reform.

https://rally.stopwatching.us/