Posts Tagged ‘current events’

eanda logo

 

By @anarchyroll

With legislative gridlock being the norm in America nowadays, the courts are being left to decide political issues more and more. Partisan gerrymandering however is an issue that has been destined to be decided by the Supreme Court for decades.

Perhaps that is why the Republican Party has spent generations putting time, money, and resources into getting conservative leaning judges into as many judicial openings as possible at the local, state, and federal level.

A case like partisan gerrymandering is where the states meet the feds, where the courts meet the congresses. It appears very dry and boring on the surface but has all the makings of an Oscar nominated political thriller. The Supreme Court hears many cases but this case could be the most important not just of the year, but of the decade and the century. How? Ramifications.

The ramifications of a SCOTUS ruling on partisan gerrymandering has the potential to effect literally every election in the country that comes after. From national, to state, to local. From voting for president to voting on referendums. The way that voting districts are drawn up impacts every kind of election that takes place in America.

img_0019-1

Technology has changed the art of drawing up political districts into a science. Computer programs can set in place political districts that will lean towards one political party for decades to come. This has nothing to do with right versus left and everything to do with right versus wrong. It is one thing to be a liberal city in a conservative county or a conservative county in a liberal state. It is quite another to have voting districts carved up so that only one party has a pragmatic chance of winning elections and ballot measures. Thanks to modern technology being applied to centuries old rules, regulations, and practices that is now a reality.

Voting districts being drawn up with algorithmic precision has the potential to make election results permanent. Tipping the scale to the political party who gets to draw them in the favor from the war time paradigm of to the victor goes the spoils. Ronald Regan once called this practice “antidemocratic and un-American”. But as we have seen over and over again the modern day Republican party only likes name dropping Regan and talking the talk rather than walking the walk on how Regan served.

Permanent political power is literally the opposite of what America was founded on. Political affiliation doesn’t matter. No political party in America should ever be allowed to make their reign of power in a democratic government a permanent one. If the founding fathers wanted this, they never would have left England.

It is easy to beat up on the Republican party these days considering the state of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. But political gerrymandering is not more or less wrong because the Republican party is at the heart of this case. The Democratic party in Illinois has been doing this for generations. Being liberal or conservative, Republican or Democratic has nothing to do with the fact that gerrymandering on technological steroids is an affront to democracy in America.

The Supreme Court won’t be able to banish partisan gerrymandering, that’s not what the case they’re hearing is about. It is about setting a new standard and precedent for an age old practice that thanks to modern technology has been abused by those in power to maintain it. That seems to be going around these days like the flu.

by @anarchyroll

Life is shades of gray. Black and white, right and wrong seems to increasingly be in the eye of the beholder. Edward Snowden to say the least is a controversial figure. A hero to some, a traitor to others? Did he break numerous laws? Yes. Did he do the American public a great service? Yes.

Privacy is a unique topic of discussion. It is a special issue in that the vast majority of people regardless of political affiliation, gender, race, or religion believe we as humans are entitled to our privacy. From the strictest catholic straight white man to the most flamboyant, liberal, multi racial, transgender. If we didn’t value privacy, there would be no suburbs, there would be no houses, there would be no doors.

The first world may have given up its privacy unknowingly/ignorantly as it embraced smartphones and free internet services over the past decade. When Edward Snowden helped reveal to America and the world the scale of privacy invasion being purposefully deployed by the US government on its citizens, the outrage was split evenly.

One part anger at the government for abuse of power, one part at Snowden for breaking the law and potentially endangering military operation(s), and one part anger at ourselves for being willfully blind to what we as a society didn’t want to think about or acknowledge…that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The free services that seemed too good to be true, were. We have been paying for Facebook, Google, Spotify and the like with our personal data and privacy.

It is human nature to direct and reflect self-hatred outward. That is what Edward Snowden‘s critics are doing. They are angry that he let the world know that which we wish we didn’t. That we are being watched.

That is what he blew the whistle about. That is why he is in exile in Russia. That is why the newspapers that he leaked his information to are swimming in Pulitzer Prizes. Because he removed all shadow of doubt that the government is indeed watching us. They’re watching us, listening to us, tracking us, and there is nothing we can do to stop them. Just typing that out makes me angry. Reading it probably makes you angry or apathetic, both are natural.

It’s natural to point the finger and blame a person. It’s natural to label one person as an enemy.

Snowden is not the enemy. Trying to profit from the information would have made him the enemy. Staying silent, blind, deaf, and dumb would have made him the enemy. But rather than stay comfortable, he took the road less traveled by. He faced the fear of being classified an enemy of the US government. But whistleblowers are not the enemy of the people. They are some of our greatest allies. Snowden is an ally of freedom, an ally of privacy, an ally of innate human rights. Snowden shouldn’t need a pardon but whistleblower protections have failed him. He did the right thing for the public, let’s do the right thing for him, and push for a pardon so he can come home.

sportsroll

By @anarchyroll

Michael Jordan has ended his silence and neutrality on social issues in America. 

As someone raised in the Chicago area, Michael Jordan is on his own level of the iconosphere. He is beyond the words hero and role model. He is the unquestioned, undisputed Greatest Of All Time at his profession. To have been privileged enough to see a part of his career are memories I can’t forget even if I want to.

Another thing I can’t forget about Jordan even if I want to (besides Space Jam) is the fact that he never took a stand on any social issue during his playing career. Race, religion, economic inequality, gender pay gap, abortion, immigration. You name it, MJ was neutral or silent about it.

To take a stand on a social or political issue means you upset and/or alienate potential customers. In addition to being the greatest basketball player of all time, Jordan is also the greatest product spokesman of all time. His list of endorsements is lengthy and legendary. Jordan didn’t just make money with his endorsements, he made companies and changed culture with his endorsements.

That is why fellow NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Jordan chose “commerce over conscious” with his silence on any and all social issues during Air Jordan’s run of greatness in the 1980s and 90s.

Better late than never is a term served well in this case. There has been a lot of inequality and death in the African-American community since Jordans playing career. 2016 seems destined to go down as either a tipping point or a boiling point of race relations in America. Jordan breaking his silence with words and cold hard cash to raise both awareness and tangible prospects for progress are as welcome as they are overdue.

Michael Jordan has a net worth of $1.14 billion. Out of that billion, he has donated $2 million, split evenly between the NAACP and a community policing organization. A token gesture is better than no gesture. When it comes to race relations between African-American communities and the police, it’s all hands on deck and help will be taken anywhere it can be received.

Rapper and former Bernie Sanders campaign representative Killer Mike recently challenged Jordan to do something beyond a token gesture.

Dear MJ #23, on the behalf of black people and cops (I have loved ones who are both) thanks for the million dollars to the NAACP & Police Orgs. Now we wud like to Challenge you to send the profits of this Olympic Jordan Drop Into a Black Financial Institution. We know that with your example other Players will follow. I'm sure Jim Brown, Kareem & Bill Russell will agree. Love ya man. U truly were/are the greatest. *********************************** Black People and Allies of black people instead of buying this or any shoe. (1) Start an account with a black bank or credit union. (2) Save 400 bucks and get a secured credit card (#citzenstrustbank has a good one). (3). Charge these or any shoe, pay your bill on time building your credit. This way u r fresh as u wanna be, saving your actual cash and building your credit score. That way these shoes are a tool for your empowerment and not something that chains you into poverty. ************************************* I hope MJ and Us, Do The Right Thing!

A post shared by Killer Mike (@killermike) on

 

How can $2 million be a token gesture? How can the most famous athlete in the world breaking three decades of silence and neutrality be a token gesture?

Are there not already African-American athletes donating money? Have prominent celebrities not already spoken out to draw attention and press to this issue? Is it not clear that there exists a very big problem with race relations in America?

$2 million or .2% of Jordan’s net worth is a good start, but is only a good start. If it is not the beginning of a plan or process than it is like shooting a heat seeking missile into the sun. It is a month later and this story is all but forgotten. Which is fine, the story can be lost in the shuffle, but Jordan’s tangible impact shouldn’t be. Diverting income from his already flushed coffers into black financial institutions for the long haul is how Jordan shows his actions are meant for serious impact rather than news cycle fodder.

df_1

By @anarchyroll

What is journalism? What does it mean to be a journalist in 2016?

What is journalism in the era of media conglomeration? Has media conglomeration turned journalism as it was known in the 20th century into public relations for the 1%?

Is journalism;

  • What we see on local evening news? Sensationalized reporting of gun violence amongst those on the low-end of the economic ladder between sports, traffic, and weather.
  • What we read in newspapers and magazines between the advertisements, crossword
  • What we see on national news and cable news? Human interest pieces, celebrity gossip, and opinions given about politics, sports, and Hollywood all looped and edited to elicit emotion rather than thought or discourse.

Is journalism meant to report facts and information that affects large numbers of people based on the political, economic, and/or environmental the information will impact? Or is it just people writing/broadcasting what newspaper owners and trending topics dictate?

Journalism is about facts and information. It’s about exposing injustice to the public. It is about shining the light of truth into the dark corners of conspiracy and deceit.

Just because a small group of billionaires has bought all major news outlets (media conglomeration), doesn’t mean they have bought the facts and information that qualifies as news. Just because political parties receive large donations and cater to these media conglomerates, doesn’t mean they are immune from the facts and information they wish to keep secret from being reported to the public.

As was shown in the DNC Leaks, MSNBC was in direct contact with the Democratic National Committee about what to say and what not to say about Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. If MSNBC is a news station, and they are conspiring to turn the news into specifically crafted public relations, do they not deserve to have this conspiracy reported on? Is that not a news story?

When the news is owned by the people the news used to report on, so they don’t get reported on anymore, then the nature of gathering facts and information as well as reporting them must change. If the 1% would divest all holdings in all news reporting outlets, and all journalism was once again independently financed, what purpose would Wikileaks serve?

In a post print media conglomerate landscape, hactivism has evolved into journalism.

How much content have credible news outlets turned the DNC Leaks into? How many articles, pictures, videos, sound bites, polls, tweets, vines, snaps, and stories have been created because of what Wikileaks has done? The only ones who seem to think it’s wrong, are the people who have been exposed and their allies.

Mainstream media using the information provided by Wikileaks makes them complacent which makes what Wikileaks does with their hacking no longer any different from what a beat reporter did with their pen, paper, and access to newswires in the 20th century. Ten years ago Wikileaks may have been an underground, illegal, immoral, criminal, hacking networks of deviants, anarchists, and outsiders. In 2016, they are just another credible source alongside the Associated Press and Reuters. In 2016, Wikileaks is journalism.

When was the last time something new was classified as a utility?

The internet being officially classified as a utility isn’t just another part of a disposable  news cycle. This is more than a current event. This is a piece of bonafied technological and human history.

The internet being classified in the same context as water, electrcity, gasoline, and the telephone is historic. Why? Because it changes many aspects of life for many many people forever. The direction the internet moves in, changes after this event. How? Because so many more people will have access to the internet. Regulation placed upon the price gouging Internet Service Providers will only help the have nots gain consistent access to the information super highway.

When things get bigger, they don’t stay the same. Evolution is inevitable just as change is the only constant.

Comcast, AT &T, Verizon and any/all ISPs have made their intentions clear with what they intend to do with the internet of the future, by the way they treat the technology AND the people dependent on the technology in the present. They want to tier and cap service while bleeding their dependent customer base for every nickel and dime they can. They have been doing this, are doing this, and will continue to do this until somebody stops them.

We have reached a tipping point where only an entity as big as the federal government can tell the ISPs that enough is enough, they’ve gone too far, it is time for regulation of pricing practices to democratize the technology for the masses  The masses need to internet not for the luxury of binge watching shows to waste their lives, but for the basics required in the 21st century to live their lives.


If people want to live and thrive in the modern world, internet use is required
. It’s no longer a consumer-good-luxury-item. That which was once done on paper is now done online. Applying for a job is done online. A job is needed to pay the bills, which is also done online. After one gets a job and pays their bills, if they have something left over and want to buy anything, researching that product or service is done online. Either purchasing the product or service or finding directions to a physical location to go do are both done online.

At one point in human history, consistent access to drinking water was a luxury. But then the standard of living evolved just as the human race did. Electricity and gasoline instead of fire? A thought inconceivable as a witch’s magic at one point in our past. But we raised the bar. Shelter capable of protecting people all but only the most extreme elements of nature was once thought to be reserved for large stone castles.

Body language to spoken word to written hyrogliphs to the printing press to the telegraph to the telephone to the fax machine to the world wide web and now the smartphone. Technology once thought to be science fiction dreams of the future are now everyday essentials. Humans have come from using rocks and sticks to make fire to harnessing super computers in the palm of our hand utilizing satellites from space on a second to second basis.

This wonderful technology has given human beings great power to influence ourselves and the world at large. With this great power comes great responsibility. Part of that responsibility is sharing the power with the masses. Access to this power is no longer a luxurious leg up on the competition but has evolved into the minimum requirement to get in the game.

This issue is destined for a decision from the Supreme Court. There is too much money at stake for district courts. The internet touches too many lives for appellete courts. History beckons that the Supreme Court of the United States decide the law of the land on the issue of internet access as a necessary utility or a luxury consumer good.

eanda logoajclogo2

by @anarchyroll
7/14/2014

Wages have not kept up with inflation or the consumer price index for over thirty years. That is what is meant when you hear people talk about wage stagnation.

As long as wages remain stagnant compared to how much stuff costs there will never be a fully robust economic recovery.

Wage stagnation is why there is currently an all time record high of income inequality in America.

This is why you don’t need a degree in economics to understand why all debates over economic issues in America are made to seem overly complicated on purpose. Because if people were paid more for their time and effort, they could buy more things. But wouldn’t those things then be more expensive? Yes, but people would be making more money. It would be a cycle, kind of like the cycle our economy is on now but less vicious and soul crushing for the generationally poor.

You’ve heard about class warfare between the 1% of earners who possess more wealth than the other 99% of earners in the country, right? That is the heart of the Occupy Wall Street movements and protests. Why is there such a gap in income equality? Why is there class warfare? Why is there a sentiment that the “game” that is the US economy is rigged and the American Dream is dead? The underlying cause/answer is wage stagnation.

Wage stagnation is not an accident, it has been done very much on purpose for almost half a century. The haves don’t want to pay the have-nots an honest salary for their honest work and have been allowed to get away with it. The 1% could make the choice to pay their workers more. But other than it being the right thing to do, why? After all, paying the masses a living wage would mean less one-percenters could afford private yachts, jets, and islands.

Wage stagnation is tied directly to the rise in consumer debt (people use credit to pay for necessities they don’t have the money to have because they don’t get paid enough), student loan debt (parents and students need to take loans because they don’t get paid enough to pay for college tuition), and mortgage debt (not being paid enough to afford a home). Being able to afford a home is the center piece of the American Dream. To afford property, not simply to achieve financial prosperity as many would have you believe.

Until wage stagnation is addressed and done away with, very little else matters in terms of turning around America’s economy for 99% of the population. To deny this is to deny reality, or be apart of the minority of the population that is benefiting from the system as it is currently constructed. There is no gray area or in between.

A living wage is the only humane solution to this problem. But traditionally, humanity and the American economy don’t always go hand in hand. The fierce resistance to paying a living wage in America is only the most recent example.

by @anarchyroll
3/13/2014

The situation in the Ukraine has been getting a lot of press, and justifiably so. A potential hot war involving Russia has implications as far reaching as it gets in the political and violence realm. While the situation in the Ukraine has been deteriorating since December, another situation involving civil unrest and government instability has been brewing in Venezuela. In February, the unrest boiled over.

Political unrest in Venezuela has been going on for some time. The unrest that has been boiling over in the streets of Caracus has been brewing for over a decade while now Hugo Chàvez was still alive. Chàvez’s successor, current President Nicholàs Madura won a very close, very disputed election in the spring of last year. He came into office during an economic depression in which food, milk, and other essentials such as toilet paper are in short supply across the entire country.

The situation has boiled over in the last several months. According to Al Jazeera a female student claimed was sexually assaulted, causing a wave of protests to begin. Why? Rape is bad, but protests of sexual assault don’t usually lead to violent protests that put a government on the brink of collapse. According to The New Republic, the university had been asking the government for better security for over a year to combat rampant crime in the area.

In the eyes of the majority of the people of Venezuela, the government is unable to provide them with food, water, shelter, employment, or safety. The sexual assault at ULA’s Táchira in San Cristóbal sent the boiling water frothing over the edge.

February 4th is when the protests started. February 13th is when they turned violent. How? Why? By whom? Has been disputed in so many conflicting reports I honestly can’t say. From what I’ve gathered by the data I’ve read, it would seem that the protesters pushed a little too hard, and the police/military used deadly force to push back. The human condition always wins out no matter how civil we think we are.

Since the protests turned violent a month ago 50 people have died. Madura has ordered all US diplomats out of the country claiming the US is involved in a conspiracy against his Socialist Party along with the far right party members of Venezuela. The leader of the protest movement Leopoldo Lopez turned himself into police. The charges against him have been reduced from terrorism to arson but President Madura continues to call the college aged protestors terrorists. Bashir Al-Assad of Syria says the same thing of the protesting civilians of his country where his military has killed 100,000 civilians in the past three years.

In Venezuela; the economic depression continues, the political unrest continues, the protests continue, the violence continues. There is no end in sight, there are no simple answers. Surprised? Well, welcome to Post 2008 1st World Earth.

by @anarchyroll
1/21/2014

Contrary to what FOX News would have you believe, the ACLU is not a terrorist organization.

American Civil Liberties Union…those four words, to me, couldn’t scream democracy more if Uncle Sam was eating a deep fried Twinkie, while driving a Hummer, and taking an IG selfie while making a duckface with the toaster filter all at the same time.

The ACLU is your friend, whether you care or not, whether you want to help them or not. They are the ones, playing within the system to change the system, and make it work for the people, by the people.

It should come as no surprise then, that they’re no fans of the NSA bulk surveillance program that was created in the dark, in secret, and exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden this past summer.  Both Congress and President Obama have said the public debate Snowden started is a good thing for democracy, yet he is still a wanted fugitive, go figure.

The NSA has been using Freedom of Information requests to try and shed more light into the dark and shady world of the NSA’s metadata dragnet.  Surprise, surprise the government is just flat out refusing to grant the ACLU access to various documents. I thought this was America.

Snowden and the ACLU aren’t looking to put soldiers in danger or expose mission critical information that will aide or abed real, actual terrorists who wish to do real, actual harm to innocent civilians on American soil.

Snowden and the ACLU are simply looking to put all of the cards on the table for the American people to decide for themselves.  It is the same thinking behind listing ingredients in food.  We (the country) just want to know what we’re putting into our body (government policy) to make sure it isn’t going to harm us (evaporate our personal privacy).

Allergies, fitness goals, overall health dictate a person must know what their food is made of. Where did it come from? Is it organic? Is it processed? How much salt? How much sugar? What is polymethylsiloxane? These are things that we NEED to know for our own health and peace of mind.

The same goes for what exactly, specifically is the NSA doing with their $1.1 trillion (that’s trillion with a t) budget. How much info are they storing? How often? For how long? From what sources? Are they authorized? Is it legal? By whom? This is not the Soviet Union or Red China. We the people get a say, and at the least have the right to know. If it is important to know if our food has gluten, it is important to know if we are giving up our personal privacy in the name of national security.

by @anarchyroll

I first started paying attention to the civil war in Syria when the body count was 3,000. Back then it wasn’t yet a civil war, there was no Free Syrian Army to begin with, so it hadn’t yet splintered off into seven separate factions. I had heard that essentially the Syrian people were trying to do what the people of Egypt did during the Arab Spring of 2011. The difference in this case was, the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad ordered his military to open fire and execute all of the protesting civilians. I noticed each day the body count went up by the hundreds, not by the dozens. I noticed when the body count exceeded that of 9/11/01.

I never stopped paying attention to Syria, anyone who frequents my Twitter account would certainly agree with me. The sheer numbers of dead, wounded, and refugees has never ceased to boggle my mind. What happened in Libya and Egypt definitely led to me focusing even more on Syria. I think, without judgment, those two had the opposite effect on most people. I understand completely the fatigue of the American public after over a full decade of seeing wars in the Middle East. Afghanistan and Iraq, each day a new bombing, another dozen or more dead, more money spent (or missing) abroad, more fear mongering at home. I empathize rather than demonize the public who just seem to not care about Syria, after all there is no oil there.

The American public’s desire to not care about Syria was only aided by the fact that the main stream media didn’t focus on the country’s civil war, despite the staggering body count, until after the sarin gas attack last month. If you get your news from the internet, then you can’t not know about Syria for at least a full year. Even the websites of NBC, CBS, FOX News, and CNN have had regular stories about the conflict, the television stations they are subsidiaries of however, did not. If you get your news from newspapers or magazines, you’ve known about Syria since maybe the beginning of this year. TIME magazine, the New York Times, and Chicago Tribune have all had front page stories on Syria that I have seen with my own eyes.

Now, in September of 2013 only the young and the ignorant don’t know about the situation in Syria. It is the lead story online, in print, and on television. Local news, national news, cable news are all leading with Syria. I am happy that the light is finally getting shined on this very bleak and black news story. The death and destruction match any conflict in recent memory. Syria’s civil war is not an indie band that  just got signed to a major label, I’m not proud that I was calling for US intervention before it was cool. But I am a supporter of US intervention.

I was not a supporter of Operation Desert Storm or it’s much less successful sequel. I was a supporter of  intervention in Kosovo. I was not a supporter of invading Afghanistan after 9/11 since it was not a country that attacked the United States. I was a supporter of the small scale, special operation, tactical assassination of Osama bin Laden which I believe should be the blueprint for all of the military presence of the United States in the Middle East for the last decade should have been. I was not a supporter of our involvement in Libya. I am a supporter of the intervention in Syria.

I wish I had a year and a half backlog of blogs and articles to show the consistency of my stance on this issue, but I don’t. I wish all of my writings on the topic would give me some credibility with anyone who reads this article, but I don’t. I haven’t been writing for anything other than academic purposes for the last two years. Syria is a major factor in changing that. I thought the United States military should have intervened over a year ago. We have after all, along with the United Nations, been arming the rebels. That is going half pregnant, either we support the rebels or we don’t. Since Obama has proven to be just as much a supporter of the Military Industrial Complex as his predecessors, then let’s put that machine to use when literally hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are being slaughtered.

I long for the day we as a country are officially isolationist, with an eye on the military operations of other countries akin to what is happening in outer space. The money we need to pump into our schools, bridges, roads, and social safety net programs is being spent on a rubber stamped military industrial complex budget every year. I will be the first to say spend that money at home and not abroad. I’d love to have an embassy in every country and not a military base. Until that day comes, and by day I mean peaceful upheaval of basically everyone in power in national office, America is the World Police. If we are going to play World Police so we can control the price of oil, then we can play world police for thousands of innocent civilians being slaughtered every day.

What should be and what is, believe it or not aren’t always the same thing. I think it is the right thing to do to get the chemical weapons from being used against civilians, and we should do something to help all of the refugees. I’ll have much more to write on Syria, so I won’t write a novel’s worth of material in this one post. I am happy to be in a position where I both want to and can go on writing for a long period of time. It was a long trip to get to this point. I needed to reignite the fire within me that had dimmed to a searing hot coal. I needed flames, the situations involving Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden applied the gasoline after Syria stoked the ambers…