Florida is one of a number of states that have implemented some major changes to its voting laws. The changes have an especially big impact on Latinos, Black, young voters, as well as women. Supporters of the changes--which are nothing more than thinly veiled voter suppression laws--dictate how groups register to vote, who is eligible, and when folks can vote.
We don't agree with these changes, and we're working hard to reverse them. Until then, however, all Floridians need to understand what is necessary to register to vote for the upcoming general election. We teamed up with our friends at Cuéntame to help you understand those changes and to arm you with what you need to know.
Latino organizations are revving up for the 2012 election by using the language of young Hispanics to speak to them and get them to register to vote — social media.
Partnerships and alliances have been formed amongst established Latino organizations like Voto Latino,The National Council of La Raza, and others, which are using Youtube, Facebook,Twitter and the online space to bring their message to a voting bloc that will only be able flex its considerable political muscle if it actually shows up on election day.
“When you look at 2008 registration data, the least registration was 18 to 24-year-old Latinos,” says Dan McSwain, vice president of digital campaigns for Voto Latino, adding that it was true whether you looked at age, educational attainment, race or geography. “It’s shocking. It shows traditional efforts have been falling short.”
One of the innovative online efforts is a new Youtube campaign forged through a partnership between NCLR and Cuéntame, which is a social community 80,000 Facebook fans strong. The first video provides a rapid-fire montage of Latinos breaking down the process of registering to vote in Florida and explains the acceptable photo ID at polling places and where they can be obtained.
Social media has changed innumerable contemporary landscapes, including the arena of arts and culture. Creatives are bypassing the traditional power structures and looking for new ways to get their content out—whether in the fields of painting or filmmaking. Blazing the trail with novel approaches to distribution, filmmaker Robert Greenwaldhas forged a new model for a mashup of documentary filmmaking and political activism.
His new film, The Koch Brothers Exposed, examines the pervasive influence of David and Charles Koch on the American fabric of life. It covers areas as diverse as their impact on community school boards, colleges, the environment, voting rights, and think tanks. Greenwald began the film before the Occupy Wall Street movement exploded. He was eight months into conducting his own research and filming when he saw how the 1 percent was using their financial resources to promulgate their specific ideologies and economic interests.
The film supplies a familial back story on the Kochs, who Greenwald pegs as “the poster boys for the top 1 percent—using their money and their power to fuel the growing inequity in America.”
The brothers inherited their wealth from their father Fred. The elder Koch made money on oil in the USSR in the 1930s, when he was brought in by Stalin to build pipelines. He leveraged that money to develop an oil business in the United States. Fred became active in the support of right wing causes, most prominently The John Birch Society.
Greenwald chooses his interviewees with an eye to getting insights into separate pieces of a puzzle. His outlined goal is to create a full picture of what he qualifies as the “Koch echo chamber.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talks about how the Kochs are spreading “disinformation” about the need to raise the Social security retirement age to 70 via pundits from sources such as the Cato Institute—which has received 13.6 million dollars in support from the Kochs. Sanders believes that the Kochs are working to dismember government, and points to Americans for Prosperity (with chapters in thirty-four states) as a “boots on the ground” front group for the Koch agenda. This assertion leads into the segment that illustrates the Kochs' drive to dismantle public education through an infiltration of school boards from the state to local level.
Greenwald shows the fight that took place in 2009 in Wake County, North Carolina, when Americans for Prosperity helped to fund the two school board candidates who were behind the agenda to essentially “resegregate” Wake County. The methodology was to change the protocol of how students were assigned to schools. (The defeated candidates noted wryly, “We went to a gun fight with knives.”) Two years later, after the NAACP filed a complaint, the Koch-backed board members were ousted.
Katrina vanden Heuvel speaks to the issue of Koch money at the level of higher education. She notes that the Koch Family Foundations has given over 14.39 million dollars to colleges and universities in the United States, including MIT and Dartmouth. She states, “They are buying up departments and ideology…and the minds of the next generation.” With financial agreements at over 150 schools, 100,000 students are affected. vanden Heuvel maintains that grants have stipulations and strings attached, including hiring professors that disseminate the Kochian point of view.
In the arena of the environment, the Koch Brothers have earned the distinction as one of the top ten polluters in the nation. They have donated over $500,000 to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in efforts to gut environmental regulations. Van Jones is on hand to observe, “They gotta do whatever they can to protect their profits.” That includes polluting a community in Crossett, Arkansas, where clusters of people have died from cancer.
La batalla para deslindar el tema migratorio de intereses corporativos en la construcción de cárceles para inmigrantes en Estados Unidos apenas empieza, anunciaron representantes de organizaciones en defensa de los derechos de los inmigrantes, luego de que elServicio Inmigración y Control de Aduanas(ICE) anunció la cancelación de una prisión de este tipo en el sur de Florida.
“Este centro de detención para inmigrantes siempre fue un proyecto errado e innecesario desde cualquier punto de vista. El sur de la Florida no quería ver más familias de inmigrantes separadas por el aumento de las detenciones y las deportaciones; los residentes de Broward no querían una prisión gigante cerca de sus casas” dijo María Rodríguez, directora ejecutiva de la Coalición de Inmigrantes de Florida, organización que encabezó la campaña CCA Go Away.
La prisión que se esperaba edificar en Southwest Ranches sería construida por la empresa Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), considerada la compañía constructora de prisiones más grande del país. Estaba previsto que el reclusiorio albergara 1,500 camas en 500,000 pies cuadrados.
La Coalición de Inmigrantes de la Florida anunció que este año ha sido decisivo en su lucha contra la privatización de prisiones, luego que en abril elcondado de Valdostaen Georgia archivó un proyecto de construccón de una prisión y esta misma semana enCrete, Illinois,se votó en contra de la edificación de otra prisión de este tipo. Ambos proyectos eran de la empresa CCA.
Robert Greenwald goes on Ed Schultz's radio show to discuss how the Koch brothers are using their billions to buy the 2012 election and how the right-wing thinks we should go into Syria and "kill ourselves to greater security."
My guest today is Robert Greenwald, founder and president of Brave New Films and president of Brave New Foundation . Welcome back to OpEdNews, Robert. After a more traditional career in Hollywood, your agenda changed. In recent years, you've taken on the war in Iraq, Rupert Murdoch, Wal-Mart, the 2000 presidential election, our health care system and the attack on our civil liberties. Your latest target is a biggie, too: David and Charles Koch. Why them?
When we began our Koch investigation, the brothers were not widely known. Jane Mayer and Addie Stan had done some excellent reporting but we felt that there was a very important story here about billionaires using money and influence to attempt to buy democracy. The Kochs also lend themselves to what we do, video narratives. What they do, how they do it, and who they do it to were elements of our research and now are the cornerstone of the Koch Brothers Exposed film.
Or, stated another way, ideology and greed have consequences, we set out to show that to people.
Is it a chicken and egg thing, Robert? What came first? The system that allows wealthy individuals to throw their weight around disproportionately or the individuals that would bend that system to benefit themselves and their cronies? Are the Kochs guilty of nothing more than being opportunists on a grand scale?
The system and the individuals work hand in hand. The individuals with money/power and access are consistently using this for greater power/money/wealth.
The Kochs are willing to use hundreds of millions to attempt to buy democracy on a grand scale. The use of their enormous resources are driving our country towards greater and greater economic and power inequity. It is important we use all the tools at our disposable to investigate and expose. And most important to take action...
You say: "The Kochs are willing to use hundreds of millions to attempt to buy democracy on a grand scale." That's a very broad statement, Robert. Can you give our readers some backup to this claim?
Should military contractors who engage in torture abroad be immune from prosecution? Should they receive the same protections as the government and therefore, have their wartime activities be beyond review of the courts? Well that's what two corporate defendants have been arguing, but a federal appeals court has decided that lawsuits against them can be revived, and not dismissed on those grounds. Derrick Crowe, Political Director at Brave New Foundation discusses.
The guest panel on "The Young Turks" discuss with Cuentame's Axel Caballero the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and why the role of domestic workers in the American households should be valued.