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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 72,859

Journal Archives

Why the Smartphone Became the Lightsaber of the Environmental Justice Movement

from YES! Magazine:

Why the Smartphone Became the Lightsaber of the Environmental Justice Movement
From West Virginia to the Gulf Coast, residents of communities facing environmental problems are discovering that visual storytelling brings results. Their number-one tool is the humble smartphone.

by Kristin Moe
posted Jan 24, 2014

[font size="1"]Attendees at 350.org's Global Power Shift summit use their phones to record part of the event. Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood / Project Survival Media.[/font]

A week after the chemical spill that poisoned the drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians on January 9, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced that water was again safe for consumption. The emergency crews packed up, taking their supplies with them. Now, new tests confirm what West Virginians knew all along: their water is far from clean, and the crisis is far from over.

In the absence of government aid, a citizen network has sprung into action, collecting donations, recruiting volunteers, delivering water, and getting the human story of the crisis to an international audience. From the beginning, their smartphones were an essential tool—to coordinate water deliveries, post emergency updates, and also to share photos of neighbors helping one another.

Now, the "WV Clean Water Hub" Facebook page is the best place to go for aid information, more comprehensive even than the website set up by state government to provide information about the emergency. And it was those smartphone snapshots that made the difference, says Joe Solomon, a volunteer in West Virginia who has been working on the digital front of the crisis from the beginning.

"You can't change the world with a statistic," he says, but "photos…may be the secret to just how big the climate movement has grown in the last couple years." ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/why-the-smartphone-became-the-lightsaber-of-the-environmental-justice-movement

David Sirota: Billionaires Attempt To Convince Society That They Are The Good Guys

from In These Times:

Billionaires Attempt To Convince Society That They Are The Good Guys
America’s rich see themselves as victims of Nazi-like persecution.

BY David Sirota

The rich have never been richer and the poor keep getting poorer. The financial Masters of the Universe enjoy indefinite taxpayer-funded bailouts, while the social safety net for the poor is gutted. The ruling class that engineers crushing economic inequality gathers at the World Economic Forum in Davos to pretend to care about said inequality, and then promises no concrete actions to combat the crisis. Many high-income earners pay a lower effective tax rate than low-income earners, and IRS data show that in the last few years the rich have seen a steep decline in the share of taxes they pay.

And if you think there’s a problem with any of this, you’re a Nazi. At least according to the poor, put-upon oligarchs.

The latest fat cat to compare critiques of inequality to violent National Socialism is venture capitalist Tom Perkins—he of the $150 million yacht and the 5,500-square-foot San Francisco penthouse. In a letter to the Wall Street Journal editor, this Silicon Valley billionaire last week bewailed supposed “parallels” between Nazi Germany’s “war on its ‘1 percent,’ namely its Jews” and “the progressive war on the American 1 percent, namely the ‘rich.’” Citing rising angst over inequality, he insisted: “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”

From this skewed perspective, the 85 people who now own as much wealth as 3.5 billion people aren’t the big winners. They are instead a persecuted diaspora being exterminated by Hitler. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/16204/dont_pity_the_billionaire/

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