lobby group

“In 2006, Congress passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a bill conceived of and advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-sponsored conservative think tank and lobbying group that champions pro-"free market” legislation. The new law criminalizes actions aimed at “damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise,” including First Amendment activity such as pickets and boycotts. The legislation was crafted explicitly to empower law enforcement to squelch hitherto legal, above-ground animal rights advocacy, after a group of activists called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty nearly shut down an infamous multinational animal testing corporation through purely legal means. Activists charge SHAC’s target, Huntingdon Life Sciences, with killing hundreds of animals a day through their toxicity testing business, which involves practices such as injecting puppies with pesticides. Undercover footage has shown Huntingdon technicians punching beagle puppies in the face and dissecting a live, conscious monkey. Under the AETA’s predecessor, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, six SHAC activists were convicted as terrorists for posting publicly available information on a website. They were sentenced to a combined 23 years in prison. The new law was created because the animal enterprise lobbies felt that those penalties did not go far enough.

This year, laws were passed in Iowa and Utah that make it a crime to take a job at a factory farm for the purpose of shooting clandestine video footage of animal abuse. As with the AETA, these laws were a direct response to the success of an animal advocacy group using legal means to expose industrial cruelty – in this case an undercover video by Mercy For Animals. The FBI has already recommended prosecuting undercover investigators under the AETA as terrorists.“

Just in case you still believe these people have nothing to hide. 


To my young friends...

…some of whom are LGBTQA, or Muslim, or POC, or immigrants, or disabled, or female and are afraid: We’ve been here before, and it was scary, but it got better, and it will get better again. Please take care of yourselves, because no matter what happens in the next four years, we still need you here. Trust in the system of checks and balances that our government was built on to, at the very least, slow those changes we all fear to a crawl, if not prevent them entirely. Four years will go by faster than you think. Go to those groups that lobby for positive change and ask what you can you do to help. Find someone in a worse situation than yours and help them. Stay safe, take care of yourself, but do not let fear bring you down. Do not meet hate with hate, but instead take a deep breath, remember that you are valuable and loved, and rise above it. Then, in four years, vote again.

PBS Will Likely Survive, But Trump’s Proposal Hits Stations Servicing His Own Rural Supporters the Hardest

Back when Vice President Mike Pence was the governor of Indiana, the D.C.-based lobbying group America’s Public Television Stations named him a “Champion of Public Broadcasting.”

Now they’d probably like their trophy back.

Public broadcasters are preparing for the fight of their lives. Donald Trump’s proposed budget, as feared, completely eliminates funding for public broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities. It’s a part of an unusually cruel proposal that, beyond the arts, also cuts social services like Meals on Wheels.

It’s no surprise that Trump and Republicans are gunning for public broadcasting. Conservatives have targeted the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for decades, even though its annual appropriation is around just $445 million. Its elimination would have virtually no impact on the nation’s deficit, particularly if Donald Trump succeeds in his proposal to increase military spending by $54 billion.

“The Government Accountability Office concluded there is no viable private substitute for the federal funding that ensures universal access to public media’s programming and services,” one CPB source recently told IndieWire. “A 2012 report said that ‘the loss of federal support for public broadcasting risks the collapse of the system itself.‘”

READ MORE: From Lincoln Center to President Trump: Don’t Kill the NEA When the Arts Are a $700-Billion Business

It’s important to distinguish between PBS and the CPB. Founded in 1967 by the Public Broadcasting Act, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a nonprofit organization, funded by the government, to fund programming and also hand out grants to public television and radio stations to help cover some operational costs.

Per its mandate, around 71% of CPB funds from Congress must go to local stations.

That’s the key here, and the irony: It’s smaller broadcasters in rural areas, particularly in red states – where Trump support is the highest – that will be most impacted should funding disappear. Many of those stations could disappear all together. Rural stations don’t generate the kind of fund raising or underwriting that stations in major markets do. Those smaller stations also often have to cover a wider footprint, which means additional engineering costs for multiple transmission and translator facilities.

Rural public broadcasters are already struggling: According to Current, a publication that focuses on public TV and radio, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is estimating that it will have to lay off 20% of its workforce by the end of this month due to state funding cuts.

“Stations in rural parts of the country and in places like Alaska, in particular, the percentage of the station’s budget that is from the federal government represent about 50%,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger told reporters in January. “We work very hard, particularly our stations at the local level, in talking to legislators about the importance of federal funding, because it enables our content to be accessible to everyone in this country, and it particularly is critical in parts of the country where citizens may not have access to information other ways.”

In a recent op-ed for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, University of Texas at Austin journalism senior lecturer Kate Winkler Dawson also argued that the elimination of public broadcasting funds was a public safety issue: “Rural communities are vulnerable without broadcast information. Public stations send out Amber alerts, the system that tracks missing children. They broadcast crucial warnings about severe weather. Many stations in states like South Dakota and Alabama serve as Emergency Alert System hubs, disseminating life-saving information.”

READ MORE: Mitt Romney vs. Snuffleupagus: Republican Presidential Candidate Promises to Cut PBS and NEA Subsidies If Elected

Conservatives often attack PBS and National Public Radio for taking so-called liberal stances, and yet, as Dawson notes, PBS and NPR themselves aren’t funded by the CPB and will survive (albeit, in perhaps smaller form).

Critics of public broadcasting also frequently point out that the rise of cable and streaming media has filled the programming gap, making PBS less essential than it once was. But arts programming remains fleeting in cable, where networks once devoted to such programming (like Bravo) have eventually shifted to more populist fare. Ovation, which is now the leading cable network devoted to the arts, is available in less than 50% of TV households.

And although Big Bird and “Sesame Street” are now funded by HBO, households that don’t subscribe to the premium service must still rely on PBS to watch that show (which appears there months after its HBO run) and other educational kids’ programming. Coincidentally, PBS just recently launched a 24-hour PBS Kids network, which runs as a digital subchannel on many PBS member stations.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, America’s Public Television Stations will now have to lobby Pence and other so-called “champions” of public broadcasting (and past winners of that APTS award) Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo., and the chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee with direct jurisdiction over public broadcasting funding), and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla., the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee with direct jurisdiction over public broadcasting funding).

“Our support on Capitol Hill is strong – and that the American people by overwhelming margins want federal funding for public broadcasting to be maintained or increased,” said APTS president/CEO Patrick Butler. “We are ready to go with a grassroots advocacy and social media campaign to mobilize our millions of supporters nationwide if need be, but we hope the President will be persuaded that public television is a lot more than good television: we teach America’s children, we protect America’s communities, we empower America’s citizens, we celebrate America’s culture, and we preserve America’s national memory.”

To jump in front of the debate, PBS recently released a national bipartisan voter survey of 1001 registered voters, conducted by Republican pollsters American Viewpoint and the Democratic-focused Hart Research Associates, found that 73% opposed eliminating federal funding for public television, while Republican voters were against getting rid of federal funding by a 2 to 1 margin (62% vs. 32%). Also, 66% of Trump voters said they were in favor of “increasing or maintaining federal funding for public TV.”

“We have always had support from both parties in Congress, and will again make clear what the public receives in return for federal funding for public broadcasting,” Kerger said Thursday in a statement. “The cost of public broadcasting is small, only $1.35 per citizen per year, and the benefits are tangible: increasing school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, lifelong learning, public safety communications and civil discourse.”

Next up, the House Committee on Appropriations plans to hold a budget hearing for the CPB on Tuesday, March 28, with CPB president/CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison testifying. You’ll be sure to hear that $1.35-per-citizen figure there.

Said Butler: “That’s a deal this President should love.”

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Kyle was rather lazy, as far as vampires went. He did have his own business, an art dealership, but he usually left that in the hands of his capable employees. He kept to the sidelines, just enjoying the pieces that came and went. Being his own boss meant to go to come and go as he pleases, which came in rather handy when his boyfriend’s friends called, begging him to visit and straighten the man out. Apparently they were ready to throttle him and Kyle would rather do that himself. So he has gotten on his jet and made the journey to where his boy was. It was a win win situation really, he had been missing Louis more than usual. He waited for the boy to more or less, come to him, waiting in the hotel lobby. Spotting the group, he nodded to the men following them before walking in step next to him. “I told you that you were allowed to have fun while you were away darling, but even I’m starting to wonder if you have a drinking problem with as many times as I’ve seen your face coming out of a club.” He said instead of a greeting.

CBI urges ministers to keep UK open for creatives

Britain’s biggest lobbying group the CBI on Wedneday urged ministers to leave the door open for overseas musicians, actors and creatives post-Brexit to protect the UK’s thriving arts scene.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said new migration rules must maintain the “pipeline of talent” supplying theatres and the creative industries.

“Say you’re in a small theatre company in London. Without the right system, you might suddenly need a visa to tour Europe and the additional paperwork could make European venues less likely to support you,” she said.

She also called for a system which recognises that some migrants might not have traditional graduate qualifications.

The creative sector contributes £87 billion to the UK economy every year.

Ruchi Sanghvi (b. 1982) is an Indian engineer, and the first female engineer employed by Facebook. She was one of the primary developers for the Facebook News Feed, and was behind many initiatives and new products released by the social network over time.

She left Facebook in 2011 in order to found her own company, called Cove, which was later sold to Dropbox. She also founded FWD.us, a lobbying group in Silicone Valley concerned with promoting immigration reform and education.

Feminism And Democracy

In high school I heard someone describe democracy as “the government that lets 51% of the population vote to have the other 49% boiled in oil.”

In our democracy, one gender makes up 51% of the population and 53% of voters. That same gender has the largest special-interest group lobby in politics. They get billions of dollars in specific aid that the other gender does not. Laws are written so that it is not a crime for this gender to commit domestic abuse or even rape. They get 63% less prison sentencing, 163% les likely to be convicted, and there are proposals to eliminate their prisons altogether and commute all prison time to house arrest.

I wonder what it feels like to be boiled in oil very, very slowly.


August 18th 1920: 19th Amendment ratified

On this day in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, thus enshrining women’s right to vote. The suffragette campaign stretched back into the nineteenth century, with the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 listing male denial of women’s ‘inalienable right’ to vote as a crime against women. The focus on suffrage was promoted by the actions of feminist leaders like Susan B. Anthony, who was arrested in 1872 for voting in a presidential election. After the setback of the Civil War and the division of the feminist movement over issues of race and Reconstruction, feminist groups lobbied Congress for a constitutional amendment, which was first introduced in 1878 and defeated in 1886. The focus then shifted to state governments, with 22 states adopting female suffrage before 1919, and marches and pickets raising awareness of the cause. The suffragette movement was boosted by the involvement of women in the war effort during the First World War, and a proposed amendment was introduced in 1918, with the support of President Woodrow Wilson. This first attempt failed, but another amendment was eventually passed by Congress in June 1919, and narrowly ratified by the required number of states on August 18th 1920. The Southern states firmly opposed the amendment, and, one state short of ratification, it came down to Tennessee. Harry Burn, a 23-year-old state legislator in Tennessee, was convinced by his mother to break the tie and vote for the amendment, thus securing the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment; Burn declared that “a good boy always does what his mother asks him to do.” In the 1920 election, eight million American women voted for the first time. 

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

95 years ago

Facebook relaxes 'real name' policy in face of protest
Following complaints from civil liberties groups, company promises more awareness of context of real name complaints
By Alex Hern

“Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial “real names” policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide.

The new rules still officially require the use of “authentic names” on the site, something which has previously resulted in criticism from varied groups including the drag community, Native Americans, and trans people. While Facebook does not require the use of “legal names” on the site, it does demand that users identify with the name that other people know them by.

Now, the company is making two major changes to its enforcement of the rule, which it hopes will result in fewer vulnerable individuals caught in the net, while still allowing it to censure users who simply make up a fake name for themselves.

Firstly, the site will now allow users to “provide more information about their circumstances” in order to “give additional details or context on their unique situation”.

According to the company’s VP of Growth, Alex Schultz, this should allow Facebook to accurately assess whether the name supplied fits with the rules. Additionally, he says: “It will help us better understand the reasons why people can’t currently confirm their name, informing potential changes we make in the future.”

Secondly, the company will require that users who flag others for using fake names also provide more context. Falsely flagging profiles for using a fake name has become a popular tool of harassment on the site, since Facebook often suspends profiles which it believes are breaching the real name policy.”

Read the full piece here

Idea: United States Committees of Specialists

1: Congressional bills must pass through a committee of people established in the field(s) the bill concerns. I.e., medical, health insurance, abortion bills must pass a committee of physicians, hospital administrators, etc. Fracking, logging, energy bills must pass a committee of environmentalists and climatologists. Monetary bills must pass a committee of economists. Etc.

2: The committees must work together. E.g., a bill cutting all federal funding to women’s health centers must pass the monetary and medical committees, as would a bill allocating a billion dollars to ankle sprain research. By forcing compromise, neither ludicrous bill would be able to pass.

3: The specialists are elected by established individuals in relevant fields. They are prohibited from campaigning, prohibited to be lobbied, and disqualified if they have ever worked for or been associated with a lobbying corporation or group. They are open every year to a vote of no confidence for ethical violations by either other committee members or the whole voting pool.

4: Think of how many of America’s problems it would solve (even though it most likely wouldn’t happen any time in our lives)


you: colin what was the deal with barney and endless jokes about killing barney in the 90s

me: okay so like… one, barney was real fucking popular. that song seemed to get everywhere. it was a lil annoying. secondly, a lot of people were going through their edgy phase, and not just as a person, but entire massive chunks of media felt a need to try and ‘push the limit’, for a wide variety of reasons, whether to react to certain lobbying groups almost always with ‘family’ in the name, a reaction in general to 80s flavor evangelicism and other things that carried over, yadda yadda, a lot was going on. so something as saccharine and as omnipresent as barney pushed all the wrong buttons of people, young and adult, amateurs and professionals, who were then at the time trying very hard to prove how cool and adult they were. bloody 90s comics, bloody 90s FPSes, bloody everything, they all sort of fed off each other and into each other, so you get things like… fan made Doom WADs explicitly for the purpose of killing barney. elementary school songs about killing barney, riffing off the ‘i love you, you love me’ tune. “barney must die” was basically a meme, and with the internet not as plugged in as it is now, it was something that carted around for years, instead of getting overused and dying within a year or less, like a lot of things do now. though it absolutely showed up in online content at the time as well, right next to memes like “mr. t ate my balls” (a whole other subject). so for a whole bunch of factors coming together at the right time, people just made lots and lots of content in a lot of mediums, all about killing this purple dinosaur, targeted for a kindergarten aged demographic. it was weird, and it was petty.

you: but surely no one did something like, say, dedicate professional video game resources to put a knockoff of barney into their mortal kombat ripoff for DOS


Canadian government pushing First Nations to give up land rights for oil and gas profits

The Harper government is trying to win support for its pipelines and resource agenda by pushing First Nations to sideline their aboriginal rights in exchange for business opportunities, documents reveal.

The news that Canada’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is working to this end by collaborating with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is sparking strong criticism from grassroots Indigenous people.

Funded by the federal government, the Working Group on Natural Resource Development held private meetings in Toronto and Edmonton in the fall of 2014 that were attended by several invited Chiefs and representatives from Enbridge, Syncrude and other oil corporations, as well as mining companies and business lobby groups.

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