The Republican Party has been abandoned by Evangelist Franklin Graham following last week’s passage of a budget by the Republican-led Congress. Graham called the budget “wasteful” and criticized continued government funding of Planned Parenthood, which he compared to the Nazis.
“Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps!”Graham wrote. “That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding.”
In previous statements Graham has spoken of not having faith in any of the parties. Rejecting his affiliation with the GOP is a sign of continued discontent with the right and the continuation of a trend among evangelicals supporting non-establishment candidates such as Donald Trump.
Trump has drawn praise from Graham in the past including siding with the GOP frontrunner on issues such as a proposed ban of Muslims in the U.S.
Graham’s criticism of the budget deal centers around the continued funding of Planned Parenthood to the tune of $528 million annually. This accounts for upwards of 40% of the organizations budget and comes mostly by way of Medicaid payments from services rendered to low-income Americans. Planned Parenthood is prohibited from utilizing federal taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.
The defunding of Planned Parenthood has been a long time priority for social conservatives, an effort that was renewed earlier this year after undercover videos were released by an anti-abortion activist.
The videos appeared to show officials at Planned Parenthood negotiating prices of fetal organs for sale to medical researchers, a practice which could be considered illegal and unethical. The organization has since denied all claims it profited from these sales and announced it would no longer carry on the practice.
Following the 2014 midterm elections, the GOP took control of both the House and Senate. Expectations from some in the party were that funding for Planned Parenthood would be eliminated from the 2016 budget. Some social conservatives in the party threatened a government shutdown if action wasn’t taken against the organization.
An event in November when Robert Lewis Dear, a lone gunman who called himself “a warrior for the babies” and shot and killed three at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, changed the dynamic for politicians.
The result was funding of Planned Parenthood at previous levels. Graham, the son of well known evangelist Billy Graham, was among many religious conservatives incensed by the lack of action.
“This is an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent. I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America,” said in a Facebook Post last Monday.
Over the course of Billy Graham’s years in the public eye, he withdrew from politics, claiming it took focus away from his evangelism. His son, however, has been more vocal in offering his take on electoral issues and politicians.
With prayer rallies scheduled in advance of the the Iowa caucus, Graham will likely continue his denunciation of the establishment wing of the Republican Party, emphasizing his desire to “challenge Christians to live out their faith at home, in public and at the ballot box.”
A group of volunteers calling themselves the Camp Alpha Project have been camped around Phoenix, Arizona for the last six weeks. The group says its goal is to “help homeless Veterans and Civilians in Phoenix by utilizing available resources.”
Fox 10 reported last month that Camp Alpha “started in October and keeps growing as it reaches out to get the vets off the streets one step at a time,” and that “the community and other veteran organizations have stepped up and dropped off tents, food, clothing, and supplies.”
Following complaints from neighbors, the city of Phoenix investigated the encampment and is pursuing a solution to relocate the camp. The Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department met with the organizers of Camp Alpha and has told the organizers they cannot stay at their current location.
“Those are complaints. That’s the challenge we’re up against. People in the neighborhood don’t know what we’re all about,” Camp Alpha’s Eric Smaltz told Fox10 in Phoenix. “They just see the encampment growing and wonder what’s going on and they apply a negative connotation to homeless people and encampments.”
12 News in Phoenix reported that city leaders say the “tent city” is violating city code. Aaron Pomrenke, who founded the camp back in October, told 12 News that the city had not communicated anything about a violation. Pomrenke previously told 12 News he started Camp Alpha as a way to give homeless veterans a safe place to sleep while also connecting them with much-needed services.
Moises Gallegos with Phoenix’s Human Services Department told Fox that the city cannot allow the camp to exist because “there are rules that say it’s not okay, it’s not legal. There are many others that would say if we’re going to let this be, why can’t we have tents and camps on every vacant lot, corner, anyplace people would want to do that.”
The city also told 12 News they support Camp Alpha’s goals “but it is an obvious code violation to set up a tent encampment in a vacant lot.” The city says they do not have a building for Camp Alpha but hopes they can “develop a plan for a solution.”
Interestingly enough, in early 2014 Phoenix was declared the first city to “end chronic homelessness among military veterans.” At the time, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton spoke with USA Today and said “the city went from 220 vets on the streets a couple of years ago to virtually none today.”
Despite Phoenix’s declaration of eliminating homelessness among veterans, there remains a multitude of veterans in need of support. Camp Alpha serves as a reminder of the unfortunate reality that the men and women who fight in the United States military often return home battling a number of ailments and are faced with failed bureaucracy and apathy.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) was officially approved by the Senate back in October. Since that time, the bill has languished in committee as lawmakers sought to align the Senate bill with the versions passed by the House of Representatives in April.
CISA is designed to allow private companies to easily share threat intelligence with government agencies. Sharing of intelligence is supposed to be voluntary. Critics of the bill say the provisions will only increase the indiscriminate monitoring of legal activity by giving companies immunity from lawsuits for sharing information with the government.
Before the Senate vote, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment which would require companies to adhere to their own terms of service with customers. However, this amendment failed after only receiving 32 votes. Senator Paul’s presidential campaign website says that the bill “would transform websites into government spies.”
The bill may face a final vote in the House and the Senate as soon as next week. However, there are reports that the cybersecurity bill could be added as a provision to the budget bill which is supposed to keep the federal government running through 2016.
“It’s either this scenario or we wait until early 2016, and chamber members definitely prefer seeing passage sooner rather than later,” said Matthew Eggers, senior director of the National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told USA Today.
Reuters reports that a vote on the budget will happen on Friday before the midnight deadline for funding the federal government. According to Reuters, “lawmakers have been unable to reach agreement on a number of policy ‘riders’ some lawmakers would like to add to the bill.” These “riders” include the CISA provision.
On Wednesday, a coalition of 19 civil liberties groups sent a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders calling for stricter privacy protections and warning that such protections are being “stripped” from the House Homeland Security Committee version of the bill.
“Let me be clear that we do not support any of the three bills and believe that cybersecurity legislation could actually make us more vulnerable to cyber attacks by housing more personal information with government agencies that aren’t good at protecting it,”said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, organizer of the letter. “But, of the three bills, the House Homeland Security Committee’s bill had the strongest privacy protections and was sort of the least terrible.”
Fight for the Future was joined by the American Library Association, Demand Progress, and Free Press Education Fund to FreedomWorks, Campaign for Liberty, and R-Street.
The organizations say that CISA would “reduce privacy protections for Americans’ personal information” and “overexpand the term ‘cyber threat’ to facilitate the prosecution of crimes unrelated to cybersecurity.”
The letter comes one day after The Hill reported on additional changes to the bill. According to the Hill, “it now appears the final language is unlikely to include notable privacy provisions that digital rights and civil liberties groups insist are necessary to reduce the odds the bill enables greater government surveillance.”
The Hill also confirmed that “lawmakers are aiming to vote on the final cyber bill as part of an omnibus budget deal that is expected before the end of the year.”
USA Today reported that House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul “said he would prefer to wait and have a formal conference committee made up of House members and senators negotiate a final bill rather than relying on staff talks to try to speed legislation through Congress in the next few days.”
McCaul told USA Today he warned Republican House leaders that they could lose votes on the 2016 government budget if they attempt to add on CISA without strong privacy protections.
“Number one, it’s not voluntary for their customers, millions and millions of customers,” Senator Ron Wyden, a long-time opponent of CISA told the Daily Dot. “And number two, to get the liability protection, the companies have got to say that they didn’t find anything personal and unrelated in a knowing fashion. And that’s going to be a pretty easy bar because they don’t have to do much to look!”
BIG RAPIDS, Mich., December 2, 2015– Former pastor Keith Wood, 39, was arrested last week for handing out fliers that informed passerby about the practice of jury nullification on the sidewalk in front of the Mecosta County courthouse.
Wood was distributing fliers from the Fully Informed Jury Association.
“I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus said ‘the truth will set you free’ and I want people to know the truth,” said Wood regarding why he decided to hand out the fliers entitled What Rights Do You Have as a Juror That the Judge Won’t Tell You About?
“If you don’t use your rights, you lose them,” Wood said.
While Wood was handing out the fliers, a courthouse employee approached him and told him that the judge wanted to speak with him. Wood asked the employee if he was being detained and before telling the employee that he would rather stay put.
Shortly after the first encounter, a court deputy approached Wood and also told him that the judge wanted to speak with him. The deputy reportedly informed Wood that if he refused to speak with the judge, the Big Rapids police arrive to arrest him.
Wood said that after being threatened with arrest, he went inside where Mecosta County District Court Judge Peter Jaklevic ordered a deputy to “place him in custody for jury tampering.”
Wood was immediately jailed and a $150,000 bond was ordered. After sitting in jail for approximately 12 hours, Wood made bond and was charged with jury tampering, which is a one-year misdemeanor. He was also charged with obstruction of justice, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
“It’s just outrageous,” said Wood’s attorney David Kallman. “The government can’t just come in and step on people’s First Amendment rights.”
According to Kallman, Wood had no case at the court, knew of no cases and no jury had even been seated at the time he was handing out the educational material.
“There was no jury to tamper with,” Kallman pointed out.
Last August, Occupy Denver affiliated jury rights activist Mark Iannicelli was arrested on seven felony counts of jury tampering after he allegedly distributed educational flyers promoting the concept of jury nullification outside of the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver, Colorado. Iannicelli reportedly issued the flyers from a booth with a sign reading “Juror Info.”
The Truth in Media Project is pleased to announce the introduction of Truth In Media decals, now available exclusively to individuals supporting the Global Activist Campaign on Indiegogo.
Supporters pledging $15 or more will receive a set of two Truth in Media decals.
Emmy Award-winning journalist Ben Swann has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to create a groundbreaking new series dedicated to activists and protest movements around the world. On the show, Swann will travel the globe to document stories from individuals and groups working tirelessly to effect change in our world.
Hey guys, I need your help to spread the word about a new show I am creating called Global Activist! Make your mark and help give activists around the globe a voice. Learn more and support the project here: http://bit.ly/1LLEQjO
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, October 28, 2015– The subject of annexation has been hotly debated throughout the country over the past few legislative cycles. In Tennessee, property owners just delivered a major blow to municipal government that sought to assume domain over their property.
The practice, which allows city governments to arbitrarily expand its boundaries to usurp domain over unincorporated communities and towns outside of city limits without so much as a single town hall to inform citizens of what is going to happen to their property, has forced many home and business owners to pay new taxes to a city they never wanted to live in. What’s worse, these property owners often receive no new services that their tax dollars are now being used to pay for even though they are now forced to live ‘within’ city limits. In North Carolina, state law doesn’t even allow for property owners to challenge the annexation of their property in any way.
Tennessee was one of four states- which also include Idaho, Indiana, and North Carolina- that allowed “involuntary annexation,” according to the Foundation for Economic Education.
However, a fight took center stage in Tennessee where state legislators successfully fought off city officials that wanted to reserve the power to annex private property for the purposes of increasing local tax revenue without consent of the property owners. State law now prohibits involuntary annexation.
However, cities tried to ignore the new law. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the city tried to subvert the law and continue annexing property without consent. Citizens for Home Rule, Inc. (CHR) was ecstatic to announce that all 182 annexation lawsuits filed on behalf of its members against the City of Knoxville were resolved in favor of the property owners.
“It is a great day for private property owners’ rights and a great day for liberty in Tennessee,” said John Avery Emison, president of CHR. “We’ve worked against forced annexation for many years and winning all 182 cases in one fell swoop says a lot about the value of persistence.”
The Courts have ruled that all those ordinances are “invalid and void as a matter of law.”
Emison said the court orders were signed over a period of a month or more by the three Knox County Chancellors because all three had a large number of forced annexation cases on the docket including Chancellor John F. Weaver, Chancellor Mike Moyers, Chancellor Clarence E. Pridemore, Jr.
Some of the cases are 15 years old, according to Emison. “Most go back to the abusive annexation policies of Mayor Victor Ashe.” A few of the cases originated during Mayor Bill Haslam’s term of office. “It feels really great for the courts to agree that we were right all along and mayors Ashe and Haslam were wrong all along,” Emison said. The City has agreed to pay the court costs and CHR will get all its filing fees back.
CHR expects to make other announcements in coming weeks about annexation litigation in other cities.
CHR’s next battle will be in support of State Rep. Mike Carter’s “De-Annexation” bill before the Tennessee General Assembly in January, which will allow property owners recourse to take their property back out of city-limits. Emison said he hopes de-annexation will be enacted and it could potentially roll back some of the most abusive and irrational annexations of the past.
“We owe a lot to some very good people in the Legislature”, Emison said. “Without the likes of Rep. Mike Carter and Rep. Andy Holt in the state House, and without Sen. Bo Watson and Sen. Frank Niceley in the state Senate, the law ending Forced Annexation would have never passed.”
Atlanta, GA. – On Friday, October 23, activists will hold a rally for “Truth, Transparency and Freedom” outside of the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.
The event calls for “concerned individuals from all across the nation” to gather outside the CDC Headquarters and “demand truth, transparency and freedom-to-choose which medical procedures are right for themselves and their families.” The event states that the demonstration will be aimed at exposing “the corruption within the CDC’s vaccine division.”
The organizers of the event write, “It has been over a year (August 2014) since a Senior Research Scientist within the CDC has come-forward with allegations of falsified safety data…the very data upon which vaccine public policy is made.”
Truth In Media has followed the story of that research scientist, Dr. William Thompson, since August 2014 when Thompson alleged that a study he worked on “fudged numbers” to lower the number of black children who were adversely affected by a certain type of vaccine. Thompson is a senior scientist at the CDC and has been with the agency since 1998.
A statement was released on August 27, 2014 by Dr. Thompson in response to reports that he and co-authors from a 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics did in fact omit important information from a study on the link between vaccines and autism. Below is an excerpt from Thompson’s statement.
Dr. Thompson was originally not intending to be so forthcoming about his involvement until it was revealed that conversations he had with Dr. Brian Hooker had been recorded. Dr. Thompson’s statement claimed that documents had been handed over to Congressman Bill Posey’s office for review. Posey serves on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
“According to Congressman Posey’s spokesman, George Cecala, ‘I can confirm that we have received a very large number of documents and we are going through those documents now. There are a lot of them, so it will take some time.’ Cecala could not say exactly how many documents are in possession of the Congressman’s staff though sources tell me that as many as 100,000 documents have been handed over.”
There was very little chatter about the CDC whistleblower for quite some time until July 29th, when Congressman Bill Poseytook to the floor of the House to discuss Dr. William Thompson and his documents. The organizers of the rally also mention the recent testimony of Congressman Posey, stating “Posey has urged Congress to investigate these claims and to date, no investigation has begun. Parents demand answers and accountability.” (For the full details on Congressman Posey’s speech and efforts see this report.)
On Saturday, October 24th, the rally will host a speaking event featuring researchers discussing corruption at the CDC and dangers of vaccinations. Dr. Brian Hooker, the doctor who recorded conversations with CDC scientist William Thompson, will be speaking about his efforts to expose fraud at the center.
The organizers of the event also discuss the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 which eliminated any liability for pharmaceutical manufacturers, stating, “the number of recommended childhood vaccines has more than tripled and we have seen a decline in the health and vitality of our children with among the worst infant mortality rate in the developed world.”
Although pharmaceutical manufactures cannot be held liable for problems associated with vaccinations, the U.S. government does have a fund for victims of vaccines. During Congressman Posey’s speech on the House floor he mentioned the controversial Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
“It’s troubling to me that in a recent Senate hearing on childhood vaccinations, it was never mentioned that our government has paid out over 3 Billion Dollars through a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for children who have been injured by vaccinations.”
Funds awarded through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program are first processed through a special vaccine court. In December 2014, Ben Swann examined a report by the Associated Press which revealed that thousands of families with claims with the vaccine court are left to wait for years, sometimes decades before receiving help.
The AP examined hundreds of court decisions, performed more than 100 interviews, and studied a database containing more than 14,500 cases. The database was last updated in January 2013 with the government refusing to release any new updates.
Officially known as the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the so-called vaccine court is a little-known system that is intended to address claims of Americans who believe their children have been harmed by vaccinations. The court is an established part of the federal judiciary system however the authorities over the cases are not called judges but rather “special masters.”
The AP investigation found several issues with the court. These include tens of millions of taxpayer dollars that has been paid to private attorneys who often practice “churning,” a practice described as filing a large number of claims regardless of the quality of the claims. In the private court attorneys are paid out whether or not they succeed in convincing the court. That fact has led to questionable billing practices and an increase in court claims.
The AP report also found that “expert” witnesses for the families and the government often have a lack of credibility or conflicts of interest. The report says that some of the experts are also involved in setting up nonprofits that question vaccine safety. Meanwhile doctors hired by the government to testify in defense of vaccines have ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
For more details on this court please watch Ben Swann’s report on the Vaccine Court and Autism.
In light of recent court precedent that insulates political parties from any form of regulation by the state, the Independent Voter Project (IVP) is challenging the public funding and administration of party central committee elections.
California state law provides that a county registrar shall conduct party central committee elections at the request of any qualified political party (see e.g., California Elections Code sections 7230 and 7425).
However, as the political parties have successfully argued in court, a party’s county central committee does not perform any governmental functions and membership in the committee is not a public office (see, Wilson v. San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee 175 Cal. App. 4th 489, 500 (2009), holding that California Election Code provisions that seek to govern the composition of a party central committee violate the First Amendment rights of political parties and their members).
The California Supreme Court has also held that taxpayer funds shall not be disbursed unless “a direct and substantial public purpose is served and non-state entities are benefited only as an incident to the public purpose.” (California Housing Finance Authority v. Elliot 17 Cal. 3d 575, 583 (1976).)
In light of this precedent, the Independent Voter Project is asking all county registrars to refrain from expending any public resources for the administration of party central committee elections unless each political party requesting such administration first agrees to reimburse taxpayers for the full and fair public costs related thereto.
Members of Peng!, a tactical media group, published a video online earlier this month in which a drone from the group’s anti-spying campaign is seen dropping flyers, calling on agents to quit their jobs, on the National Security Agency’s Dagger Complex facility in Darmstadt, Germany.
The description panel on the above-embedded YouTube video notes, “The Dagger Complex in Darmstadt, Germany acts as a central point of the NSA’s surveillance and espionage activity in Europe. On Friday Intelexit supporters, the initiative helping people break free from the secret services, dropped information flyers to the 1100 employees working there.”
Vice’s Joshua Kopstein wrote, “Dagger Complex has a special significance in surveillance-wary Germany and has long been seen as a slice of the American surveillance state on German soil. The base has been the site of countless protests, including ‘spy spotting’ nature walks organized by activists following the Snowden revelations.”
Peng!’s anti-spying campaign, Intelexit, is an initiative launched by privacy advocates seeking to encourage agents working for the National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters to quit their jobs and become whistleblowers. Prior to launching the aerial flyering campaign, the group also posted a billboard next to Dagger Complex which reportedly says,“Listen to your heart, not to private phone calls.” The group has also placed billboards at NSA’s Fort Meade, Md. facility and at GCHQ’s Cheltenham headquarters in England.
An Intelexit spokesperson who goes by the pseudonym Ariel Fischer said, “We know for a fact that there are many, many people working there who are conflicted, anxious and ultimately completely against what these agencies are doing… We make a clear difference between individuals and the structures they are part of. We want to meet our surveillers eye to eye, and say ‘We can help you.’”
She added, “We have seen a shift in the last years of people leaving, people blowing the whistle, even in the face of great repression and we wanted to support that. If there is a backdoor and people start leaving, and people start talking, and the public starts reacting, they will be forced to change.”
On the topic of innovation in activism, Ben Swann is launching a new show highlighting the oft-overlooked work of activists around the world. Watch the Global Activist trailer in the below-embedded video.
SACRAMENTO, October 5, 2015– On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a controversial bill into law that allows physicians to prescribe lethal doses of life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients. The law is highly controversial. Proponents of such legislation often refer to it as “Right to Die”, or “Death with Dignity“. Meanwhile, opponents of assisted suicide say it is nothing more than legalized murder.
“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown said. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”
Last legislative session, proponents of the practice in Tennessee failed to pass an assisted suicide bill. Terminally ill attorney John Jay Hooker who has only been given months to live spearheaded the effort. Meanwhile, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont already have assisted suicide laws on the books. After two decades of debate, California became the fifth state to allow the practice.
Last year, the legislation was stopped by California lawmakers despite the heavily publicized story of Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old Californian who advocated for the legislation. Maynard left California and went to Oregon in order to have an assisted suicide. In a video recorded days before Maynard was prescribed the life-ending drugs, she told California lawmakers that the terminally ill should not have to “leave their home and community for peace of mind, to escape suffering and to plan for a gentle death.”
The documentary film Imminent Threat is hoping to increase dialogue regarding the impacts of the War on Terror and possibly foster alliances between the Progressive “Left” and Libertarian “Right.”
Imminent Threat examines Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying, the drone war, the war on journalism and other threats to civil liberties. The film also aims to show how these threats to Americans’ rights were started during the Bush administration and expanded by the Democratic establishment under President Obama.
The film was released on September 4th and is directed by Janek Ambros and executive produced by Academy award nominee James Cromwell. Ambros has previously worked on documentaries covering current events, including 2012’s “Closing Bell”, which examined the 2008 financial collapse and bank bailout through the eyes of a Wall Street broker.
Truth In Media’s Derrick Broze caught up with Ambros to discuss his film and what he hopes to achieve.
Broze: What was the biggest challenge to making this film?
Ambros: Logistically, the biggest challenge of the film was getting all the stock footage. I wanted to use archival footage as a creative asset to the film to experiment with fast cutting, mostly influenced by Sergei Eisenstein and Thelma Schoonmaker. From there, I went on to try to break conventions of editing by freeze frames, sped up shots, dropping frames, dissolves, and various editing techniques.
Content wise, the most challenging was creating a more broad approach to the War on Terror. This isn’t necessarily an investigative documentary, but more a macro look at the longest and most ambiguous War on U.S. history and the impact on civil liberties and law. For this reason, structure (similar to structure of a thesis statement or even a narrative screenplay for that matter) was absolutely key and had to convey the overall point of these issues not being left vs right, rather establishment vs non-establishment
Broze: The film looks at a possible alliance between left and right. What were the challenges in approaching that situation?
Ambros: The most challenging was to remain totally neutral in terms of ‘progressives’ and ‘libertarian.’ The film purposely has three interviewees who are unabashed progressives and three libertarians. This, once again, was essential to make the point that these two cohorts can work together because they have so much overlap in terms of civil liberties and foreign policy.
Broze: Many Americans are familiar with the topics in the film, including the failures of the United State’s foreign policy, the impact of the War on Terror, and the Surveillance State revealed by Edward Snowden. However, unlike other nations, we do not see millions Americans marching in the streets calling for reform. Do you think there is apathy towards awareness of the issues raised in your film?
Ambros: The film focuses on legalities rather than morals. It points out that the Bill of Rights is being abused – whether or not the audience cares about that is hard for me determine. However, through the use of archival, music, atmosphere, and tone, the definitely attempts to convey the importance of civil liberties, rule of law, and a more limited foreign policy. Of course, I was not attempting to make propaganda, but this movie definitely has a point of view and I’ll be the first to admit it.
Broze: If there was to be an alliance of activists and citizens on the left and right of the political spectrum, what issues do you think would unite these groups?
Ambros: This is the most important element of the film because this is not talked about much. Other than Ralph Nader’s book, I haven’t seen much on the idea of an alliance between progressives and libertarians on specific issues. The issues they overlap on are civil liberties and limited foreign policy. After that, there is not much they agree on and they’re extreme opposites with economics — one more fearful of government, the other more fearful of corporations.
Broze: Is there hope to reform the growing American police and surveillance states?
Ambros: I think if there are more people willing to put aside differences and focus on specific issues on at a time, then there could be change. But until then, we’ll have the same monotonous argument between the left and right and nothing will ever get done, not just in terms of civil liberties and foreign policy, but in terms of a plan for the U.S. to move forward and
become a genuine leader in the world for peace and prosperity.
Imminent Threat is now available on iTunes and Amazon.
NASHVILLE, September 17, 2015– On Thursday, almost a thousand conservative Christians gathered at the Tennessee state capitol for a rally today that featured many Republican legislators prepared to fight the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage.
At the rally, State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and State Representative Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) announced legislation calling for Tennessee to defend current state law and the constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2006 specifying that only a marriage between a man and a woman can be legally recognized in the state. The “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act” rejects the Obergefell v. Hodges decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June giving same sex couples the fundamental right to marry and calls on the attorney general and reporter to defend any state or local government official from any lawsuit to the contrary.
House Bill 1412 / Senate Bill 1437 also aims to protect court clerks and ministers who have religious objections to marrying same sex couples from prosecution or civil action.
“This decision defies constitutional authority and is one of the most glaring examples of judicial activism in U.S. Supreme Court history,” said Representative Pody. “It not only tramples on state’s rights, but has paved the way for an all-out assault on the religious freedoms of Christians who disagree with it. This bill calls for Tennessee to stand against such unconstitutional action in hopes that other states will stand with us against an out-of-control court legislating from the bench.”
“Natural marriage between one man and one woman as recognized by the people of this state remains the law, regardless of any court decision to the contrary,” said Senator Beavers. “The Obergefell case is clearly and blatantly an overstep of the Supreme Court’s Authority and it is time that states, like Tennessee, stand up against the judicial tyranny of which Thomas Jefferson so eloquently warned. This legislation deems that any court decision purporting to strike down the state’s definitions of natural marriage, including Obergefell v. Hodges, is void in Tennessee.”
“Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, ‘Whenever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force,'” said Beavers.
Beavers’ and Pody’s legislation says, “No state or local agency or official shall give force or effect to any court order that has the effect of violating Tennessee’s laws protecting natural marriage.”
It also says, “No state or local agency or official shall levy upon the property or arrest the person of any government official or individual who does not comply with any unlawful court order regarding natural marriage within Tennessee.”
“Our clerks and Tennessee’s clergy need protection to exercise their religious beliefs,” added Beavers. “This law would help protect them from prosecution or civil actions.”
Tennessee’s marriage protection amendment specifying that only a marriage between a man and woman can be legally recognized in the state was approved by 81 percent of voters.
The General Assembly will take up the bill upon convening the 2016 legislative session in January.
On Saturday, Sept. 19th, activists from around the Cincinnati area will gather for a march for justice with family members of individuals who have been killed at the hands of the police.
The United March for Justice is being organized by the group Awakened Cincinnatians and will have support from the families of Samuel DuBose, Samantha Ramsey, Tamir Rice, and John Crawford III. The peaceful march will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday night in front of the University of Cincinnati Police Department.
“Stand for justice by marching arm in arm with the families of Samuel DuBose, Samantha Ramsey, Tamir Rice and John Crawford III,” Awakened Cincinnatians stated. “Families and friends of the fallen will be traveling from all over the country to participate in this historic event.”
Family members of the deceased are expected to speak before the march begins. The facebook page for the event calls for “indictments not just charges.” The event will begin at the corner of Rice and Valencia streets, the spot where Samuel DuBose was killed two months ago.
In July Truth In Media reported that DuBose, 43, was shot and killed by former officer Ray Tensing, 25, after Tensing pulled DuBose over for driving without a front license plate on July 19. While Tensing claimed that he opened fire because he feared for his life after his hand was caught on DuBose’s vehicle, and DuBose started accelerating, footage from the body camera Tensing was wearing revealed that his hand was placed on the car door and that DuBose’s vehicle only started moving after Tensing shot DuBose in the head.
Two University of Cincinnati police officers, who arrived on the scene when former officer Ray Tensing shot Samuel DuBose during a routine traffic stop, face no charges for supporting Tensing’s false claims of being dragged by DuBose’s vehicle.
Samantha Ramsey was a 19-year-old preschool teacher from Kentucky who was killed on April 26 by sheriff’s deputy Tyler Brockman after he jumped on the hood of her car and fired four times into the vehicle. The deputy avoided charges but is facing a lawsuit by Ramsey’s family who say that the officer is lying about how the events unfolded.
In November 2014, Officer Timothy Loehman shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he was playing in a park. According to the autopsy report, Rice died from a gunshot wound to the torso with “injuries of major vessel, intestines and pelvis.”
According to reports and video surveillance, Rice was playing in the park with a toy airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets. Rice was shot less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside him in the park.
Twenty-two year old John Crawford III was shot by a Beavercreek police officer after being seen holding a BB gun inside the Wal-Mart near Dayton, Ohio. A grand jury would later find the officer innocent of murder.
The United March for Justice is not the first time that Cincinnati activists have rallied diverse groups together to focus on common ground. On August 5th, activists in Ohio with Greene County Black Lives Matter, Anonymous #OpJohnCrawford, Beavercreek CopBlock and Ohio Open Carry marked the one year anniversary of John Crawford III’s death.
Perhaps more activists can learn a lesson from Cincinnati’s efforts to build alliances rather than focus on division. Only by being willing to set aside our dogmas and work together in the interest of Liberty can we begin to repeal the tyranny of government and create a more free world.
Lebanon, New Hampshire- The Lebanon Library Board of Trustees upheld their decision to continue running a Tor node at the Kilton Library at its meeting Tuesday night, and the node was turned back on shortly after the meeting. Controversy surrounding the node and the library’s support of Tor, stemming from an email sent by the Department of Homeland Security to local law enforcement, led to a temporary shutdown of the node.
The board’s decision to ultimately keep the node turned on was made after several area residents expressed their views on the importance of Tor and internet privacy and vocalized praise for the library’s Tor support.
During the board meeting, ACLU of New Hampshire executive director Devon Chaffee explained how Tor is used. The Tor browser “is a piece of software, free and open source, that helps people protect their privacy and anonymity online by obscuring personally identifiable information,” she said. Tor accomplishes this by bouncing traffic off of a network of relay nodes, which was what Kilton was asked to run.
In June, the trustees voted to allow Kilton Library to run one of these nodes. The nodes serve as an important function to allow Tor users to preserve their anonymity. The Kilton Library, with the help of the Library Freedom Project (LFP), became the first public library in the United States to offer a relay node.
Kilton’s running of the node was part of a larger initiative to encourage libraries nationwide to support Tor and relay nodes as a “powerful symbolic gesture demonstrating our commitment to a free internet, but also a practical way to help the Tor network, and an excellent opportunity to help educate our patrons, staff, boards of trustees, and other stakeholders about the importance of Tor.”
Kilton Library was chosen partly because of steps that the library had already made to protect patron privacy. According to LFP, Kilton IT librarian Chuck McAndrew runs the library computers on GNU/Linux distributions. “Most library environments run Microsoft Windows, and we know that Microsoft participated in the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program. By choosing GNU/Linux operating systems and installing some privacy-protecting browser extensions too, Chuck’s helping his staff and patrons opt-out of pervasive government and corporate surveillance.”
Just over a month passed before an agent at the Department of Homeland Security in Boston discovered Kilton Library’s support of Tor. DHS notified the Lebanon Police Department of the project, and a meeting between city officials, the board of library trustees and law enforcement was held to discuss the risks of running a node.
Law enforcement and Lebanon Deputy City Manager Paula Maville made comments regarding the possibility of criminal exploitation of Tor. The library decided to pause the pilot project and hold another meeting to decide whether or not to turn it back on or keep it off.
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, a rally was held outside of Lebanon Public Library where activists held signs cheering Kilton’s support of Tor while rebuking DHS’s involvement. Lynette Johnson, a former librarian, told Truth In Media’s Annabelle Bamforth at the rally that “librarians really think about [protecting patron privacy] almost like a doctor-patient confidentiality.”
Public comment consisted almost entirely of support for Kilton Library’s relay node. The first person to speak, an elderly man named Lloyd, said that he worked for the government in the past and urged that DHS be kept as far away from Tor as possible.
Another man, a resident of Orange, New Hampshire who identified himself as an employee in the information technology field for several years, pointed out that U.S. intelligence agencies have more tools than ever before to gather information and opined that the debate should not be around whether or not the government has a harder time catching criminals, but around whether or not a relay node is a proper library function.
A woman born in Colombia spoke up passionately in support of privacy and freedom of speech, describing her previous job as a social worker in Colombia amidst violent conflict and explaining that she had seen many atrocities. “Freedom of speech isn’t part of their democracy there,” she said.
One after another, area residents shared their thoughts on the importance of internet privacy and why tools such as Tor should be embraced and not subjected to blind fear.
Following public comment, the board acknowledged that Tor could be exploited by criminal operations, but not any more than other online tools. The board made a decision to turn the node back on and maintain their original vote to support Tor by hosting the node.
Following the decision, Bamforth interviewed LFP’s Alison Macrina and Tor Project’s Nima Fatemi- who helped introduce the node to Kilton Library and have provided education about online privacy tools- about the library’s decision.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Macrina said following the meeting. “This is a public referendum about privacy and free speech, and I couldn’t think of a better place to have it happen. There was a reason why we chose Kilton as our pilot project. We knew that New Hampshire, the Live Free Or Die state, was the right place for this. This is the best thing that could have happened. The whole world came out in favor of Kilton doing the right thing, which they’ve just done, and it’s no better demonstrated than by the response of the community which was just overwhelming- I was crying, especially when the woman from Colombia spoke.”
“We actually made a joke, Libe Free or Die,” added Fatemi, a Tor Project member and partner in the LFP’s relay node project. “We’re definitely overwhelmed by the support of the community. It’s unbelievable, I was basically speechless.”
Fatemi noted that “what happened with the police department and DHS was a huge case of miseducation. Part of the reason we picked libraries because libraries are central to the communities. If we help give them enough resources, then they can teach, educate the communities around them- including law enforcement.”
This article has been updated to properly identify that a relay node is running at Kilton, not an exit relay.
Four years ago, Ron Paul filled stadiums with tens of thousands people. His natural heir to those numbers – and in fact, his natural heir – is Rand Paul.
But in this presidential cycle, the huge excited audiences that are filling stadiums for an insurgent, anti-establishment presidential candidate are mostly coming to see Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
As an activist for liberty, I am pained by the failure of the similarly anti-establishment and still-largely-insurgent liberty movement to replicate either Ron Paul’s successes of four years ago, or the successes of its present political opponents – a democratic socialist, Sanders, and an I’m-not-sure-what-to-call-him, Trump. This failure arises from the movement’s consistent blind spot for strategic political communication.
There are many fundamental truths about human psychology and political strategy that the liberty movement has to learn before it can truly succeed. I discuss them at length in my seminars on political persuasion. This article is about only one – the one laid bare by Sanders and Trump – which is broadly captured by a rather nice quote:
“Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.” Jose Ortega y Gasset
The first 5.5 mins of this video simply present facts about some of the more shocking truths about wealth and income distribution – truths that disaffected Americans hear only from the Left. They are facts like…
Today, real median family income is $5000 less than in 1999;
In the last two years, the wealthiest 15 people (that’s not a typo) in this country have seen their wealth increase by more than the total wealth of the bottom 40% of the population;
In the last decade, the typical middle class family has seen its wealth decline by 31%;
In the last three decades, the share of the nation’s wealth owned by the bottom 90% of Americans has fallen from 36% to 23%.
These are statements that both resonate with people’s experiences and are, at first pass at least, outrageous; so they are very powerful and they cause those who hear them and care about them to gravitate to those who share them. But these statements are as true for a libertarian or a conservative as they are for a socialist, and they are felt every bit as much by the voters that libertarians and conservatives need to court as those needed by progressives – because, obviously, we are all fighting for the same voters.
Until people start identifying these facts, which signal concern, about economic justice with the liberty movement, the movement will not gain the popular traction it seeks. Until we start clearly expounding the injustices that are actually felt by millions of people, including the economic ones, those people will simply not believe we are the people with the solutions.
Put another way, if we are not regarded as the people who really understand the problem, then no one will care enough to listen to our solutions. They will not care to listen when we try to explain that most of this injustice arises from cronyism, corporate welfare, the treating of non-persons as persons, and the making of markets less free; they will not listen when we complain that true capitalism – which is voluntary exchanges among individuals for mutual benefit at the expense of no one else – is being used as a cover for state-sponsored financial corporatism.
The essential error exhibited by most liberty activists is the idea that the most important thing in changing people’s political minds is what you say about various issues. It isn’t. More important is what you choose to talk about – the facts and issues you choose to lead with. That’s Ortega y Gasset’s quote above, applied to politics.
To a first approximation, most politics are the politics of identity, which means that either I can broadly imagine what it feels like to be you and to see the world as you see it (I identify with you), or I cannot. If I can, then when I listen to you, I will be subconsciously asking, “can I believe you?”… and if I can, you may persuade me. If, on the other hand, I cannot broadly imagine what it feels like to be you and to see the world as you see it (I do not identify with you), then when I listen to you, I will be subconsciously asking, “must I believe you?”… and I will only be persuaded if I cannot find any fault with your position at all – which is never the case if I didn’t already start by agreeing with you.
This is important because we get people to identify with us – and so open them to persuasion – when we reflect back to them what they are already thinking or feeling.
And the most effective feelings to reflect back in politics – and especially non-mainstream politics – are feelings of injustice that are not being adequately addressed by the political establishment.
Accordingly, Donald Trump speaks bluntly about immigration and immediately connects with a very large minority of voters who have been feeling that there is something essentially both unjust and important about what is happening to the country in this area. Similarly, Bernie Sanders speaks bluntly about economic injustice and immediately connects with a very large minority of voters who have been feeling that there is something essentially both unjust and important about what is happening to the country in this area.
At times of great political disaffection, such as these (with the membership of the Republican and Democratic parties in secular decline and the number of those registering Independent/unaffiliated increasing), speaking stridently about issues that are seemingly impossible for the mainstream to deal with elicits “identification” on another level too: it reflects back to the average voter his disaffection with the political process, itself.
This combined response to injustice and feeling understood is extremely powerful – immediate and visceral. Consider the speed with which both Sanders and Trump have gone from being obscure or entirely absent as politicians, respectively, to near political celebrities. (Obviously, one orders of magnitude more than the other because of the huge difference in media attention that is being paid to both.)
This constant of human nature works across cultures, languages and times.
Look at the rapid rise of the anti-austerity party in Syriza in Greece, or even more interestingly, of the anti-E.U. UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) in the U.K. Both went rapidly from non-existence to a major force in their country’s politics by owning a large issue that offended the human sense of justice of a large minority of people who felt completely unmet on that issue by all of the mainstream parties.
I tested this a year ago on a trip to England, when I asked recent converts to, or sympathizers of UKIP (some from a completely different part of the political spectrum), why they favored UKIP. They usually did not respond that they firmly agreed with UKIP on various issues, or even one. Rather, they said, “they are the only people who are talking about …” In other words, UKIP spoke to these voters because it spoke about a concern they already had but was unacknowledged by the political mainstream. In many cases, UKIP’s voters – like voters of all parties – couldn’t even tell what their party’s policies or solutions were. They knew only what the party cared about, based on the topics that the party chose to talk about. And in the cases of both Syriza and UKIP, the parties were talking about something that didn’t offend any political ideology, but rather, offended a basic human sense of fairness. In Greece, that was the ability of German policy makers to set economic policy in Greece for the benefit of non-Greek financial institutions, and in the UK, it was the ability of foreigners to makes laws for British citizens, on the one hand, and to come to the UK to receive welfare to which they’d never contributed – all exacerbated by the seeming inability of the British people themselves to change either of those things at the ballot box.
This point about “injustice” is especially for the liberty movement. A feeling of injustice that can be effectively tapped into by insurgent or anti-establishment political movements never depends on a political ideology: rather, it precedes ideology. It is, to repeat myself, visceral. Interestingly, experiments show that people will actually pay – i.e. hurt themselves – to rectify clear injustices in their close community, even among strangers, and their tendency to do so is unmediated by any particular belief.
Civil rights is an issue that should be owned by the liberty movement. We should be banging on about the abuse of rights that is endemic in our nation – not because we need to prove ourselves right but because it is outrageous, and we must connect with people’s outrage. And to that point, we need to talk about the problem more than our solution because, still, thanks to our derelict media, most Americans don’t have a clue about the depth of the problem. But when they do find out – hopefully from us – they will be outraged, and they will seek the solution firstly from the people who informed them of the problem.
Economic justice similarly is an issue that should be owned by the liberty movement – and the movement shouldn’t be scared to use that pair of words, either. We should be banging on – like Sanders – about economic injustice – not because we consent to the Left’s definition of the term, but because, when it is caused by state-corporate cronyism, favoritism, corporate welfare, and an unjust monetary system, it is indeed outrageous.
We are fools to allow the average American to hear about the economic unfairnesses in our society only from the Left. If that is from where America hears about those problems, then that is where America will go for their solutions. Similarly, we are fools to allow the average American hear about the problems of unmonitored immigration only from Trump. If he is from whom America hears about the problems, then he is to whom America will go for their solutions.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we accept Sanders’ or Trump’s solutions to either of these problems. It means only that our solution becomes credible to people because we have shown ourselves to be as driven as them by the underlying injustice.
Consider these two statements.
I am a capitalist because I am for freedom, and capitalism is best way of reducing poverty.
I am for reducing poverty and so support the freedom of people to trade for mutual benefit. That, to me, is what capitalism means
Their factual contents are essentially identical. A libertarian could say both of them truthfully.
Yet one is about capitalism; the other is about poverty.
That is a critical point to understand.
Read them again if you have to.
The first statement doesn’t start with the perceived injustice: it only connects with people who are already interested in capitalism – or at least care enough to know what that word even means. In other words, it connects only with those who agree with us. It has no political power.
The second statement starts with the perceived injustice. It connects with anyone who cares about poverty, which includes every progressive you’ll ever meet.
And frankly, good for them.
Because we should be concerned first with poverty and only then with capitalism. Why? Because poverty describes the experience of real people. And capitalism, like the liberty that it both serves and manifests, is ultimately valuable, precisely because of the good it does for people – who are the only true and moral ends of political activity.
With that in mind, here’s a sobering thought.
The liberty movement could do much worse than make a video about economic injustice – whose first five and a half minutes is exactly the same as the video made by Sanders. But ours might be voiced by Rand, who would then go into the real causes of this situation, and an explanation of solutions that don’t just treat the symptoms of the disease, but eliminate those causes at root. We’d be changing nothing in our position or our principles – but we’d be talking about people and fairness, rather than philosophy and, say, regulations.
The choice is always the same: to win supporters or to win arguments.
The liberty movement, rather ironically considering what it stands for, is getting exactly what it is choosing.
A small public library in New Hampshire has recently become the backdrop of a conflict brewing between internet privacy advocates and law enforcement, as city officials and police have taken aim at a project providing privacy-protecting measures to public libraries.
The Kilton Public Library, located in Lebanon, New Hampshire, became the first library in the United States to offer a relay node for Tor, an anonymous internet browsing service.
“The library allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their Internet traffic through the library, thus masking users’ locations,”according to ProPublica.
The Concord Monitor reported that Kilton Library did not offer the Tor browser, but it was “was using a portion of its infrastructure to handle traffic for Tor.”
The introduction of the Tor relay node at Kilton Library, which was announced in late July, was part of a larger initiative launched by the Library Freedom Project (LFP). LFP, based in Boston, advocates for a “privacy-centric paradigm shift in libraries” by working with librarians across the United States and providing them with information about “surveillance threats, privacy rights and responsibilities, and digital tools to stop surveillance.”
One of these digital tools is the relay node, which allows Tor users to preserve their anonymity. LFP is striving to provide relays to libraries nationwide. Currently, there are about 1,000 Tor relay nodes around the world.
LFP’s Alison Macrina visited Kilton Library in the spring and offered a privacy training session. After receiving approval from the library board, she also assisted the library in establishing a Tor relay node.
A little more than a month passed before a special agent within a Department of Homeland Security office in Boston caught wind of LFP’s progress and relayed it to New Hampshire law enforcement. The information was then given to a sergeant at the Lebanon Police Department.
According to ProPublica, DHS spokesman Shawn Neudauer said the DHS agent was offering “visibility/situational awareness” to the proper authorities.
A meeting occured soon after the DHS alert, and police and city officials discussed the possibility that Tor could be abused by criminals.
Lebanon Police Lt. Matthew Isham, expressing worry over Kilton’s new Tor service, said that “for all the good that a Tor may allow as far as speech, there is also the criminal side that would take advantage of that as well,” and “we felt we needed to make the city aware of it.”
Lebanon Deputy City Manager Paula Maville echoed Isham’s concerns and said that Tor’s potential association with criminal operations resulted in “concern from a public relations perspective and we wanted to get those concerns on the table.”
Following the meeting, the library agreed to put Kilton’s the project on hold. “We really weren’t anticipating that there would be any controversy at all,” said Lebanon Public Libraries director Sean Fleming.
“Tor’s hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses. Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they’re in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they’re working with that organization,” explains Tor Project’s overview of the service.
The decision to pause the relay node precedes a scheduled Sept. 15 meeting, where the library board of trustees will vote on whether or not to continue the service. Local activists have organized a rally, scheduled before the meeting, to show support for Kilton Library’s staff and to call attention to the issue of internet privacy and preserving free speech online.
On Saturday, September 19th, former United States Attorney General William Ramsey Clark will speak at the Free & Equal Election Foundation’s United We Stand Festival to honor recently deceased civil rights leader Amelia Boynton Robinson.
Clark is well known for his work as a socially conscious lawyer and activist who served under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson. Following the attacks of 9/11, Clark openly called for the impeachment of George W. Bush, founding the organization “VoteToImpeach”. Throughout Bush’s presidency, Clark attempted to get the U.S. House of Representatives to bring articles of impeachment against Bush. In August 2002, Clark held a press conference demanding that Bush not attack Iraq in pursuit of Saddam Hussein.
Once Bush left office, Clark turned VoteToImpeach into IndictBushNow.org, an effort to hold members of the Bush administration responsible for the launch of the War on Terror. In fact, as recently as June, Clark joined a lawsuit against members of the Bush administration for their role in the invasion of Iraq. The group behind the lawsuit is asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the class action suit on grounds that the U.S.-led war was an illegal act of aggression in violation of international guidelines as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II.
Clark will now be joining the United We Stand festival as the keynote speaker honoring Amelia Boynton Robinson, who was scheduled to speak before she passed away on August 26, 2015.
The former Attorney General was a recipient of the 1992 Gandhi Peace Award, and the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award for his commitment to civil rights.
Originally launched in May 2014, the second annual United We Stand Festival will take place at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles on September 19 from 5-10 pm PST. The 2014 event was seen as a success, bringing together musicians Immortal Technique, Cappadonna & U-God of Wu-Tang Clan; comedian Lee Camp; activists Sean Stone, Jill Stein, Foster Gamble (Thrive), Nick Bernabe (March Against Monsanto), Richard Gage (Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth); journalists Abby Martin, Ben Swann, Amber Lyon, Maytha Alhassen, Luke Rudkowski, Mnar Muhawesh and many more.
The 2015 event will kickoff a series of open presidential debates for 2016 presented by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. The festival will be broadcast worldwide by FreeAndEqual.org.
Free and Equal hopes that the event’s momentum will help inspire people to run for office targeting the Congressional races in 2016. Free & Equal Elections will also launch an open source “Election Assistant” Database. This “Election Assistant” Database will be accessible to all and provide information on every candidate.
The organization aims to bring together a range of speakers on topics including fighting against the Patriot Act, NDAA, NSA, endless warfare, the war on drugs, pollution, election fraud, drones, GMOs, police brutality, and the attack on net neutrality.
“By creating an event that combines the most socially-conscious elements of activism, music, and journalism we are allowing concerned citizens to be a part of a much needed conversation about the failures of our political process and, most importantly, possible solutions,” Free and Equal founder Christina Tobin told Truth In Media. Tobin says she hopes the event can contribute to the broad awakening taking place around the United States.
The UWSF 2015 will feature Ramsey Clark as the keynote speaker, as well as Green Party’s 2012 Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein, Lynne Lyman of Drug Policy Alliance, Professor Griff from Public Enemy; conscious reggae artist Spragga Benz; Alexander McCobin, Co-Founder and President of Students for Liberty; author Daniel Pinchbeck; former Judge and Vice Presidential candidate Jim Gray; and a host of other musicians, artists, activists and thinkers from around the country. (Full Disclosure: I will be speaking at the event as well.)
LOUISVILLE, Ky., September 8, 2015– On Tuesday, a judge announced that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis will be released from jail after being incarcerated for five days for refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples.
The judge who had ordered Davis jailed, David Bunning, stated that he would release her because her office was “fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” In his order,Bunning instructed Davis to not interfere “with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
On Sunday, Davis’ lawyers appealed the contempt of court motion that sent her to jail. Her lawyers said they’d file arguments to back up their appeal on Monday or Tuesday.
The three-page federal appeal, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, claimed that Judge Bunning violated Davis’s right to due process because she had no previous knowledge that she could be sent to jail, as the plaintiffs in the case were seeking only a fine.
Davis, a Democrat, pleaded with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, to step in and free her, but he refused. On Monday, Beshear’s office said he won’t respond, and noted that the conflict was a “matter between her and the courts.”
The judge said he agreed to release Davis because her deputy clerks were issuing licenses. He has instructed her that she is not to interfere with the issuing of marriage licenses.
Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have planned to visit Davis at the jail today.