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G_j's Journal
G_j's Journal
February 14, 2012

Latin Jazz Musicians Lead Protest Against Grammy’s for Cutting 31 Musical Categories from Awards


Latin Jazz Musicians Lead Protest Against Grammy’s for Cutting 31 Musical Categories from Awards Show

Dozens of musicians demonstrated outside the Grammy Awards on Sunday protesting the Recording Academy’s decision to eliminate dozens of ethnic music award categories, including Hawaiian, Haitian, Cajun, Latin jazz, contemporary blues and regional Mexican. Some protesters see racial bias in the revisions, others see them as harmful to low-budget indie labels. Last August, four Latin jazz artists filed a lawsuit with the New York Supreme Court claiming that the dropping of such categories had adversely affected their careers. They also said the academy was violating its "contractual obligations" to its 21,000 members. We speak to Oscar Hernández, founder of the Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, and Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org, which helped organize the protest and petition signed by more than 20,000. "[The Grammys have] given me the credibility that I need to go forward to do what I do, to do the music that I love, and gave me the stamp of credibility across many boundaries," Hernández said. "I’ve traveled all over the world playing my music. And it’s an important part of what we do, for sure." [includes rush transcript]

February 14, 2012

54 MORE Reasons to Hate The Grammy Awards


54 MORE Reasons to Hate The Grammy Awards
Posted by Easy Ed on February 10, 2012 at 7:30am

Here is the list of those artists who have never taken home one of their silly pieces of plastic:

1. The Doors

2. Queen

3. Jimi Hendrix

4. Led Zeppelin*

5. The Who

6. Tupac Shakur

7. Snoop Dogg

8. Bjork

9. Chuck Berry

10. The Grateful Dead

11. Diana Ross

12. Nas

13. The Beach Boys

14. Bob Marley

15. Janis Joplin

16. Buddy Holly

17. Notorious B.I.G.

18. (Eric B. &) Rakim

19. Rush

20. Run D.M.C.

21. Guns n' Roses

22. Boston

23. Sam Cooke

24. Talking Heads

25. The Ramones

26. The Everly Brothers

27. Patti Smith

28. Public Enemy

29. Sly & the Family Stone

30. The Sex Pistols

31. Parliament &/or Funkadelic

32. The O'Jays

33. Creedence Clearwater Revival

34. The Stooges

35. Motley Crue

36. Kiss

37. Deep Purple

38. Journey

39. Jackson Browne

40. The Pretenders

41.Toby Keith

42. New Order

43. Depeche Mode

44. Tiesto

45. The Kinks

46. Morrissey

47. The Smiths

48. ABBA

49. Dusty Springfield

50. Teddy Pendergrass

51. Oasis

52. Curtis Mayfield

53. The Byrds

54. ZZ Top

February 14, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Six Principles and Steps to Nonviolent Social Change


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Six Principles and Steps to Nonviolent Social Change

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was embraced by Americans during the late 1950s and early 1960s because he spoke about the importance of a loving, nonviolent society at a time when social and racial conflict was escalating out of control.

Today, as far as we have come, we still see signs of unhealthy conflict in our communities. Perhaps it is time to revisit and embrace the nonviolent principles in which King believed. These principles are based on his interpretation of Christian doctrine, as well as the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi.

Principle 1: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

Principle 2: Nonviolence means seeking friendship and understanding among those who are different from you.

Principle 3: Nonviolence defeats injustice, not people.

Principle 4: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform people and societies.

Principle 5: Nonviolence chooses loving solutions, not hateful ones.

Principle 6: Nonviolence means the entire universe embraces justice.

In addition to the six principles, Dr. King developed a six-step process to help people bring about social change in a nonviolent way.

Step 1: Gather Information

Learn all you can about the problems you see in your community through the media, social and civic organizations, and by talking to the people involved.

Step 2: Educate Others

Armed with your new knowledge, it is your duty to help those around you, such as your neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers, better understand the problems facing society. Build a team of people devoted to finding solutions. Be sure to include those who will be directly affected by your work.

Step 3: Remain Committed

Accept that you will face many obstacles and challenges as you and your team try to change society. Agree to encourage and inspire one another along the journey.

Step 4: Peacefully Negotiate

Talk with both sides. go to the people in your community who are in trouble and who are deeply hurt by society’s ills. Also go to those people who are contributing to the breakdown of a peaceful society. Use humor, intelligence and grace to lead to solutions that benefit the greater good.

Step 5: Take Action Peacefully

This step is often used when negotiation fails to produce results, or when people need to draw broader attention to a problem. it can include tactics such as peaceful demonstrations, letter-writing and petition campaign.

Step 6: Reconcile

Keep all actions and negotiations peaceful and constructive. Agree to disagree with some people and with some groups as you work to improve society. Show all involved the benefits of changing, not what they will give up by changing.

Over the years, the King Center has developed training materials to assist people in the application of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principles of nonviolence. By adopting these principles, Intellectual Properties Management, Inc., manager for the King Estate, hopes people will be inspired to keep the dream alive: The dream that all people are created equal.

February 13, 2012

Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements, (Alliance of Community Trainers)


Open Letter to the Occupy Movement: Why We Need Agreements

This entry was posted by sa2011er on Tuesday, 8 November, 2011
From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT

The Occupy movement has had enormous successes in the short time since September when activists took over a square near Wall Street. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of active participants, spawned occupations in cities and towns all over North America, changed the national dialogue and garnered enormous public support. It’s even, on occasion, gotten good press!

Now we are wrestling with the question that arises again and again in movements for social justice—how to struggle. Do we embrace nonviolence, or a ‘diversity of tactics?’ If we are a nonviolent movement, how do we define nonviolence? Is breaking a window violent?

We write as a trainers’ collective with decades of experience, from the anti-Vietnam protests of the sixties through the strictly nonviolent antinuclear blockades of the seventies, in feminist, environmental and anti-intervention movements and the global justice mobilizations of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. We embrace many labels, including feminist, anti-racist, eco-feminist and anarchist. We have many times stood shoulder to shoulder with black blocs in the face of the riot cops, and we’ve been tear-gassed, stun-gunned, pepper sprayed, clubbed, and arrested,

While we’ve participated in many actions organized with a diversity of tactics, we do not believe that framework is workable for the Occupy Movement. Setting aside questions of morality or definitions of ‘violence’ and ‘nonviolence’ – for no two people define ‘violence’ in the same way – we ask the question:

What framework can we organize in that will build on our strengths, allow us to grow, embrace a wide diversity of participants, and make a powerful impact on the world?

‘Diversity of tactics’ becomes an easy way to avoid wrestling with questions of strategy and accountability. It lets us off the hook from doing the hard work of debating our positions and coming to agreements about how we want to act together. It becomes a code for ‘anything goes,’ and makes it impossible for our movements to hold anyone accountable for their actions.

The Occupy movement includes people from a broad diversity of backgrounds, life experiences and political philosophies. Some of us want to reform the system and some of us want to tear it down and replace it with something better. Our one great point of agreement is our call for transparency and accountability. We stand against the corrupt institutions that broker power behind closed doors. We call to account the financial manipulators that have bilked billions out of the poor and the middle classes.

Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent. Some tactics are incompatible with those goals, even if in other situations they might be useful, honorable or appropriate. We can’t be transparent behind masks. We can’t be accountable for actions we run away from. We can’t maintain the security culture necessary for planning and carrying out attacks on property and also maintain the openness that can continue to invite in a true diversity of new people. We can’t make alliances with groups from impacted communities, such as immigrants, if we can’t make agreements about what tactics we will employ in any given action.

The framework that might best serve the Occupy movement is one of strategic nonviolent direct action. Within that framework, Occupy groups would make clear agreements about which tactics to use for a given action. This frame is strategic—it makes no moral judgments about whether or not violence is ever appropriate, it does not demand we commit ourselves to a lifetime of Gandhian pacifism, but it says, ‘This is how we agree to act together at this time.’ It is active, not passive. It seeks to create a dilemma for the opposition, and to dramatize the difference between our values and theirs.

Strategic nonviolent direct action has powerful advantages:

We make agreements about what types of action we will take, and hold one another accountable for keeping them. Making agreements is empowering. If I know what to expect in an action, I can make a choice about whether or not to participate. While we can never know nor control how the police will react, we can make choices about what types of action we stand behind personally and are willing to answer for. We don’t place unwilling people in the position of being held responsible for acts they did not commit and do not support.

In the process of coming to agreements, we listen to each other’s differing viewpoints. We don’t avoid disagreements within our group, but learn to debate freely, passionately, and respectfully.

We organize openly, without fear, because we stand behind our actions. We may break laws in service to the higher laws of conscience. We don’t seek punishment nor admit the right of the system to punish us, but we face the potential consequences for our actions with courage and pride.

Because we organize openly, we can invite new people into our movement and it can continue to grow. As soon as we institute a security culture in the midst of a mass movement, the movement begins to close in upon itself and to shrink.

Holding to a framework of nonviolent direct action does not make us ‘safe.’ We can’t control what the police do and they need no direct provocation to attack us. But it does let us make clear decisions about what kinds of actions we put ourselves at risk for.

Nonviolent direct action creates dilemmas for the opposition, and clearly dramatizes the difference between the corrupt values of the system and the values we stand for. Their institutions enshrine greed while we give away food, offer shelter, treat each person with generosity. They silence dissent while we value every voice. They employ violence to maintain their system while we counter it with the sheer courage of our presence.

Lack of agreements privileges the young over the old, the loud voices over the soft, the fast over the slow, the able-bodied over those with disabilities, the citizen over the immigrant, white folks over people of color, those who can do damage and flee the scene over those who are left to face the consequences.

Lack of agreements and lack of accountability leaves us wide open to provocateurs and agents. Not everyone who wears a mask or breaks a window is a provocateur. Many people clearly believe that property damage is a strong way to challenge the system. And masks have an honorable history from the anti-fascist movement in Germany and the Zapatista movement in Mexico, who said “We wear our masks to be seen.”

But a mask and a lack of clear expectations create a perfect opening for those who do not have the best interests of the movement at heart, for agents and provocateurs who can never be held to account. As well, the fear of provocateurs itself sows suspicion and undercuts our ability to openly organize and grow.

A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action makes it easy to reject provocation. We know what we’ve agreed to—and anyone urging other courses of action can be reminded of those agreements or rejected.

We hold one another accountable not by force or control, ours or the systems, but by the power of our united opinion and our willingness to stand behind, speak for, and act to defend our agreements.

A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action agreements allows us to continue to invite in new people, and to let them make clear choices about what kinds of tactics and actions they are asked to support.

There’s plenty of room in this struggle for a diversity of movements and a diversity of organizing and actions. Some may choose strict Gandhian nonviolence, others may choose fight-back resistance. But for the Occupy movement, strategic nonviolent direct action is a framework that will allow us to grow in diversity and power.

From the Alliance of Community Trainers, ACT

Lisa Fithian
Lauren Ross (or Juniper)

February 11, 2012

Occupy protestors kicked out of CPAC

February 10, 2012

Occupy protestors kicked out of CPAC
By Leigh Ann Caldwell

WASHINGTON -- During Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's much-anticipated speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), "Occupy" protestors conducted a silent protest that erupted into a chanting match between protestors and conservative conference attendees.

In an overflow room next door to the main ballroom broadcasting Romney's speech, about two dozen protestors stood in front of the monitors attempting to block the view, according to two conference attendees in the room.

Two college students from New Jersey, Matt Bowe and Kevin Spiley, gave Hotsheet the play-by-play.

"They weren't tall enough to block the screen, but it was still annoying," Spiley said.

The crowd started to yell at the protestors, who covered their mouths with tape and wore shirts that read, "If money is speech, poverty is silence." Bowe said people started to shout the protestors down by saying, "'You smell, get a job' -- you know, the usual stuff."


February 10, 2012

This Weekend: #OccupyCPAC in DC, Occupy Town Squares in NYC, Resist Repression in SF


This Weekend: #OccupyCPAC in DC, Occupy Town Squares in NYC, Resist Repression in SF
Posted 2 hours ago on Feb. 10, 2012, 10:24 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Today (Feb. 10th, 2012) in Washington, DC: Occupy CPAC!
12noon and 5pm at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2600 Woodley Rd. at Connecticut Ave. N.W - metro: Woodley Park

All this weekend, the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is happening in Washington, DC. The event - deemed the "summit of the 1%" - features a range of powerful conservative groups and politicians like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Scott Walker, and more. The one thing they share in common: Their pockets are lined with corporate money and all of their agendas disproportionately benefit the 1% at the direct expense of the rest of us.

Labor groups like the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Labor Council and local progressive organizations like the Washington Peace Center are organizing a variety of actions today. The AFL-CIO has promised "giant puppets, inflatables, chants, songs and of course tents to Occupy CPAC." Occupy DC and supporters plan to be out in full force, as well - demonstrating their commitment to the struggle for economic justice following their recent removal from their homes at McPherson Square. Follow #OccupyCPAC on Twitter.

February 10, 2012

City of Chicago Settles Class Action Suit Over 2003 Iraq War Protest Arrests


City Settles Class Action Suit Over 2003 Iraq War Protest Arrests

Attorneys for the City of Chicago told federal judges they reached a settlement in the class action lawsuit brought by more than 800 people arrested after protesters took Lake Shore Drive in a 2003 march against the Iraq War. The Chicago Tribune reports those arrested, charged and detained will potentially receive up to $15,000 and people arrested but not charged would receive $8,750. People held on the street for over 90 minutes will receive $500. In total, the lawsuit will cost the city $6.2 million, not including legal fees.

Towards the end of the march, when the majority of demonstrators exited Lake Shore Drive after a long standoff with police, some 800 people were kettled at Chicago and Michigan Avenues. Most of the arrested just wanted to head home, and some arrestees weren’t even part of the protest, but instead were passersby and onlookers. Federal appellate Justice Richard Posner ruled last year the arrests were unjustified and noted that all of the charges were later dismissed in court.

The National Lawyers Guild, in conjunction with the People’s Law Office, worked on the case for nine years. The People’s Law Office said in a statement:

“Based on our collective experience litigating police misconduct cases for decades, we feel very positive about this settlement and about the amount of compensation for each sub-class member. We also believe that such a significant settlement will send an unequivocal message to the City of Chicago and its Police Department that they must respect your right to demonstrate.”

The settlement isn’t only a victory for the participants in the class action suit, it also affects future demonstrations. According to the People’s Law Office, the court opinion holds that the City cannot arrest peaceful demonstrators without warning, solely because they do not have a permit, and will apply to future demonstrations.

February 10, 2012

Occupy Arrestees Win Their Right to Full Trials—Even Though They May Not Need It


February 9th, 2012 By HANNAH HOFFMAN

Occupy Arrestees Win Their Right to Full Trials—Even Though They May Not Need It

The estimated 160 people arrested during Occupy Portland protests in the past five months have won the right to jury trials—a legal victory that advocates say will force prosecutors to mount a case in every arrest.

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Albrecht ruled Wednesday that for certain misdemeanors charges—class A and B—defendants have the right to a trial, even though prosecutors have reduced many charges to violations.

Bear Wilner-Nugent, a member of the National Lawyers Guild, who's representing Occupier Keller Henry, tells WW that many people arrested in the protests want a trial because they believe they have a constitutional right to a full airing of the charges against them.

He says that he believes the DA's office has been trying to avoid trials when it reduced many charges to violations, the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket. Violations result in a fine and no probation or jail time.

February 10, 2012

Does the fed. gov. have something to hide from the Supreme Court about its "alien return policy"?

From the NLG: Does the federal government have something to hide from the Supreme Court about its "alien return policy"? The Guild's National Immigration Project thinks so, and a district judge agrees.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Solicitor General May Have Misled on Immigration

MANHATTAN (CN) - The U.S. Office of the Solicitor General may have misled the Supreme Court about resources the government provides wrongly deported immigrants who win their appeals, a federal judge ruled, ordering the disclosure of redacted emails.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff opened his blistering 20-page order with a quotation he attributed to late 19th century political commentator Peter Finley Dunne.
"'Trust everybody, but cut the cards,' as the old saying goes," the order states. "When the Solicitor General of the United States makes a representation to the Supreme Court, trustworthiness is presumed. Here, however, plaintiffs seek to determine whether one such representation was accurate or whether, as it seems, the Government's lawyers were engaged in a bit of a shuffle."
In 2009, the Office of the Solicitor General told the high court in a brief that by "policy and practice, the government accords aliens who were removed pending judicial review but then prevailed before the courts effective relief by, inter alia, facilitating the aliens' return to the United States by parole under § U.S.C. 1182(d) (5) if necessary, and according them the status they had at the time of removal."
The Supreme Court relied on that assurance, made without citation, to hold that deportation did not qualify as "irreparable harm" in the case of Nken v. Holder.


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