VICE Magazine: Who stole the four hour workday

 VICE Magazine: Who stole the four hour workday

In the 1930s, unions were already looking ahead to the reduction in time spent working per week. Less hours means: Less Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, families with children who raise themselves and more jobs to go around.

European countries such as economic power Germany works 300 hours less per year than American counterparts. National productivity in our country is already three times, per worker, than it was in the 1960s. With automation and computers going the ‘heavy lifting ‘ for most of us already, it’s it really that outlandish? The 12 hour work week once was standard, then 10, and 8 as the depression hit… We’re losing ground.

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Aaron Swartz, Dead at 26. fightforthefuture.org e-mail (Copy)

fightforthefuture.org
Don’t mess with the internet

From: Holmes Wilson, Fight for the Future (info@fightforthefuture.org)

Sent:    Thu 1/17/13 10:45 PM

Dear Christopher,

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the win against SOPA, and instead this week has been crushingly sad.  Aaron Swartz was a friend, and we went to his funeral Tuesday.

Aaron was behind so much of the amazing activism you see on the web.  He helped Lessig start Creative Commons and helped get Reddit off the ground.  With David Segal he founded Demand Progress.  He gave us tons of advice and encouragement on Fight for the Future and even swooped in to fix our website at a crucial moment in the first SOPA protest (it was amazing to watch him work).

The tool that delivers your letters to Congress when you take action on our sites?  He built that.  Probably in a day or two.

It’s fun and comforting to be in awe of him.  But all that “boy genius” stuff is not the important part.  The thing that distinguished Aaron more than his intelligence was that he was political and effective.  He didn’t use his ability to make apps– he used it to right wrongs.  But he didn’t let the deep corruption in his Chomsky books turn him into a helpless cataloguer of the world’s sins and scams.  He worked backwards to some steps he thought might–just maybe–make things better.  Part of my horror at losing him is how clutch he was to have on our side.  He was so powerful, versatile, and independent.  If this was chess, they took our queen.

But that’s the one way he can be replaced.  Not as a friend.  And probably not by any single person on this planet.  But by a network of people infected with his brazen courage.

I remember Aaron saying that one of the best things Fight for the Future could do– beyond stopping or even passing any piece of legislation– would be to encourage activists and geeks to think bigger and bolder.  In a world where any one of us can build things or say things that mobilize millions, handfuls of people can do so much.  So it matters what you think.  It matters what your dreams are.   And it makes a difference when you step up.

Seriously, this is 2013.  Kickstarter exists.  Bitcoin exists!  Half the planet will soon have the Internet in their pockets, and most of them aren’t very happy with their governments or employers.  That’s a lot to work with.   So try something! 🙂  In this email, there’s no simple link to an action you can take; it’s on you to make a plan.  But once you do, post it to #ForAaron … we’d like to read it.

Aaron had so many friends and allies, and all of them want to make some lasting change in his memory, both to advance the causes he worked for and fix the unjust system that lead to his death.  These include:

  • Fixing the CFAA, the law used to prosecute Aaron that makes harmless “terms of service” violations felonies
  • Requiring open access to *all* research that receives public funding
  • Building ever greater archives of open data
  • Creating consequences for prosecutors who bring disproportionate cases against the innocent or harmless

We’ll be helping on all of these fronts, personally or as FFTF.  As Massachusetts natives, we’ll work to end the political careers of the prosecutors here who targeted Aaron.

Finally, if you do anything right now, learn about depression.  Tiffiniy and I agree 100% with Aaron’s family and closest friends that the actions of federal prosecutors and MIT were what killed him.   But there’s more to it than that, and we can’t shake the feeling that our community’s responses to depression are failing brilliant people like Aaron.  Anyone who dreams big is going to encounter extreme stress.  Anyone who works independently, driven by their own values and goals is especially vulnerable to spirals of guilt, frustration and depression when they hit a wall or push past their limits.  The private, quiet lives that fuel our focus when we’re happy become hellish traps when depression starts.  All of us someday will lose a parent, a partner, a sibling, or someone close to us.   If it hasn’t happened to you, it will– and it can throw you, hard.  So get help, don’t be afraid to rely on others (including doctors or therapists) and when it hits your friends, go above and beyond for them.  If you have a project you’d like to pursue to address mental health issues at scale, using the Internet, be in touch– we’d love to help in some way.

With sadness, and love,

Holmes Wilson

Fight for the Future

P.S. We’ll be launching something in the morning.  Apologies in advance for the frequent emails.

The Drug War’s Effect On Bodies And Minds

The Drug War’s Effect On Bodies And Minds. – DISINFORMATION.COM

The Drug War’s Effect On Bodies And Minds

Posted by JacobSloan onMarch 7, 2012

brokenglassfaceVia Brooklyn Rail, Jason Flores-Williams, a defense lawyer whose father spent sixteen years in prison on drug charges, on the influence of the War on Drugs on how we think:

There are two kinds of power and the drug war’s got them both in spades. The first is we’ll-kick-your-ass power. If you don’t go along with our vision of things, then we’re going to throw you in jail and try to ruin you. It’s the kind of power we think of when we think of China, except that when it comes to the prison-industrial complex we’re actually more repressive than they are.

The second power is foundational to all other forms of power: the power to make people doubt and dislike themselves. All we have to do is look in the mirror to know that the drug war has been an absurdity. Have you ever used drugs? Are you a felon who deserves to go to state prison for it? Are you an enemy of the state? That time last year that you and your husband dropped the kids off for the night at your brother’s house, then smoked weed to have sex in the privacy of your own bedroom—you do realize that makes you a bad person, yes? A good parent would right now call the cops. You should testify against each other. In fact, you and your husband should proceed immediately to the police station and turn yourselves in. And that time last May when your best friend from college came into town and you went out together to that bar that you’ve always wanted to check out and did some blow in the bathroom. Have you reported yourself to the D.E.A.? You unpatriotic scumbag. Or the shrooms you took that Fourth of July at your friend’s pool party—have you cooperated with state and federal authorities, given over the names and addresses of everyone who was there that night? We need you to name names. You must name names. Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?

We let ourselves be criminalized. Forced into the shadows. Made to feel like bad people for relaxing on a Friday night after working 75-hour weeks for the last month and a half. You shouldn’t have been over at your friend’s smoking a joint, talking about what the government needs to do—you should have been back home alone watching TV. We need you isolated. Under control. You don’t know what’s best for you. We know what’s best for you. We are better than you. And everyone on our side, all the people we’ve bought off and put on the payroll, are better than you, too. You just don’t get it: We control the idea of America.

American citizens are being beaten down and oppressed every day because every soul incarcerated means cash money to law enforcement. And more important, the war is a constant reminder that the U.S. government can jail your body and try to own your soul.

I don’t want to sully an article of this calber, but speaking generally America isn’t even remotely in this war.  In fact it has been some time since anyone that isn’t an overbearing sociopath has thought 2 times on the issue to the negative of the current failed (since the 70’s) policy/ policies that we call the rule of law… with a wink, nod, and payment made to South American and Central Asian violent gangs who we probably started or support the fight they do against someone we don’t support for a reason that no one that isn’t on the UNODCP or DEA, INTERPOL, BATFE, or inteligence community INC payment plan could give a half of a shit and 3 drops of piss about.

That’s why Americans sit in jail in the HIGHEST NUMBERS [per capita] in the WORLD (China’s not even close) and you may say: “well those countries just shoot people rather than jail them… guess what ass, we do too.  DEA kicks in the wrong door… bam, your amendment rights are getting on his boot, and what was your floor… before your untimley departure from spaceship earth. Sorry to get all graphic,but this is all too real and it’s time to STOP THE MADNESS! Please do SOMETHING!.

Best post of 2012… I’ll give it deeper thought, maybe reply with my spin. Thanks

Doctor Quack

When I turned twenty, I was under the impression that life was going to be a party for the next ten years. I was sorely mistaken. You see… I was warned about a couple things: my metabolism will decrease, I’ll get fatter, academic work will get harder, I’ll have to pay taxes; but there are a lot of things no one warned me about.

So I have written this list, projecting my personal experiences onto my fellow twenty-something friends and colleagues who are themselves possibly struggling with the same things I struggle with in this deeply confusing decade we call our twenties.

1. Twenties are the new teens.

People in their thirties often tell me that the thirties are the new twenties, so what does that make us? Well, unfortunately, as if we didn’t already suffer enough in the confusing and disorienting teenage years, we have to do it all…

View original post 2,949 more words

Why Legalizing Drugs — All of Them — Is the Only Forward Path For Black America

Posted by Easy Rider onJanuary 4, 2011
Prohibition EndsInteresting article from John McWhorter in the New Republic:

This should change, as I have argued frequently over the past year (listen to part of a speech I did on this here). Of the countless reasons why this revival of this Prohibition that looks so quaint in Boardwalk Empire should be erased with all deliberate speed, one is that with no War on Drugs there would be, within one generation, no “black problem” in the United States. Poverty in general, yes. An education problem in general — probably. But the idea that black America had a particular crisis would rapidly become history, requiring explanation to young people. The end of the War on Drugs is, in fact, what all people genuinely concerned with black uplift should be focused on, which is why I am devoting my last TNR post of 2010 to the issue. The black malaise in the U.S. is currently like a card house; the Drug War is a single card which, if pulled out, would collapse the whole thing.

That is neither an exaggeration nor an oversimplification. It comes down to this: If there were no way to sell drugs on the street at a markup, then young black men who drift into this route would instead have to get legal work. They would. Those insisting that they would not have about as much faith in human persistence and ingenuity as those who thought women past their five-year welfare cap would wind up freezing on sidewalk grates.

There would be a new black community in which all able-bodied men had legal work even in less well-off communities — i.e. what even poor black America was like before the ’70s; this is no fantasy. Those who say that this could only happen with low-skill factory jobs available a bus ride away from all black neighborhoods would be, again, wrong. That explanation for black poverty is full of holes. Too many people of all colors of modest education manage to get by without taking a time machine to the 1940s, and after the War on Drugs black men would be no exception.

Read More in the New Republic

All Drugs Have Been Legal in Portugal Since 2001: Did Decriminalization Work?

Posted by ralphonSeptember 30, 2010
Interesting article in TIME from last year. Maia Szalavitz writes:

Pop quiz: Which European country has the most liberal drug laws? (Hint: It’s not the Netherlands.)

Although its capital is notorious among stoners and college kids for marijuana haze–filled “coffee shops,” Holland has never actually legalized cannabis — the Dutch simply don’t enforce their laws against the shops. The correct answer is Portugal, which in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

At the recommendation of a national commission charged with addressing Portugal’s drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of therapy. The argument was that the fear of prison drives addicts underground and that incarceration is more expensive than treatment — so why not give drug addicts health services instead? Under Portugal’s new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail.

The question is, does the new policy work? At the time, critics in the poor, socially conservative and largely Catholic nation said decriminalizing drug possession would open the country to “drug tourists” and exacerbate Portugal’s drug problem; the country had some of the highest levels of hard-drug use in Europe. But the recently released results of a report commissioned by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, suggest otherwise.

Read more in TIME

DISINFO.COM

Civil Liberties–CointelPro… The USA PatriotAct… and You?

The FBI is interested in you. Do you know what democracy looks like? Then you might be a threat. Thought Crime is real crime in AmeRikkka. CrimeThInc Now!

The (new and improved) American Way TM

The New York Times picked up on these ‘criminals’ as well.

For Anarchist, Details of Life as F.B.I. Target

Caleb Bryant Miller for The New York Times

For at least three years, counterterrorism agents monitored the comings and goings at Scott Crow’s home in Austin, Tex.

By COLIN MOYNIHAN and SCOTT SHANE
Published: May 28, 2011

AUSTIN, Tex. — A fat sheaf of F.B.I. reports meticulously details the surveillance that counterterrorism agents directed at the one-story house in East Austin. For at least three years, they traced the license plates of cars parked out front, recorded the comings and goings of residents and guests and, in one case, speculated about a suspicious flat object spread out across the driveway.

That’s right “Texas Al-Quesada” … or wtf ever they thought… it continues…

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Civil Liberties–CointelPro… The USA PatriotAct… and You?

The World States the obvious… and America doesn’t care… still. (The Drug War Cease Fire)

June 2, 2011

Calling drug war failure, global group says end it

U.S. dismisses call for legalization, regulation
Ken Ellingwood
Tribune Washington bureau

Proposal may cut crack sentences

WASHINGTON – Thousands of federal prisoners could be released beginning later this year to correct wide disparities in sentences between crack and cocaine offenders under a proposal that won the key support of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Inmates serving lengthy terms for crack cocaine offenses could have an average of three years shaved off their sentences.

While more than 12,000 federal prisoners – nearly 6 percent of the inmates in the vastly overcrowded U.S. prison system – could be affected, Holder recommended that only 5,500 should be released because the others’ crimes involved weapons or they have long criminal histories.

The proposal is intended to remedy a historic legacy of the war on drugs that meted out vastly greater sentences for crack cocaine users, who are mostly black, than powdered cocaine users, often white and sometimes affluent.

Tribune Washington bureau

MEXICO CITY – Calling the global war on drugs a costly failure, a group of high-profile world leaders is urging the Obama administration and other governments to end “the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.”

A report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, recommends that governments try new ways of legalizing and regulating drugs, especially marijuana, as a way to deny profits to drug cartels.

The recommendation was dismissed by the Obama administration and the government of Mexico, allied in a violent 4 1/2-year-old crackdown on cartels that has led to the deaths of more than 38,000 people in Mexico.

“The U.S. needs to open a debate,” former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, a member of the panel, said by telephone from New York, where the report is scheduled to be released today. “When you have 40 years of a policy that is not bringing results, you have to ask if it’s time to change it.”

Mexican President Felipe Calderon, a conservative, has made the battle against drug cartels a centerpiece of his administration. Though the growing death toll has stirred widespread public dismay in Mexico, Calderon shows no sign of turning back before his six-year term ends next year. A poll on security matters released Wed
nesday found broad public opposition in Mexico to legalizing drug sales.

The U.S. government has backed the Mexican crackdown with law enforcement equipment, training and encouraging words from President Barack Obama.

“Making drugs more available, as this report suggests, will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe,” said Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Although the Obama administration has emphasized a “public health” approach to drug policy, officials have taken a hard line against legalization.

“Legalizing dangerous drugs would be a profound mistake, leading to more use, and more harmful consequences,” drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said this year.

Administration officials dispute the idea that nothing can be done to reduce U.S. drug demand. A spokesman for the White House drug agency said consumption peaked in 1979, when surveys showed that 14 percent of respondents had used illegal drugs in the previous month. Now that figure has dropped to 7 percent.

The new report said the world’s approach to limiting drugs, crafted 50 years ago when the United Nations adopted its “Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs,” has failed to cut the supply or use of drugs. The report, citing figures from the world body, said global marijuana consumption rose more than 8 percent and cocaine use 27 percent between 1998 and 2008.

The group cited a U.N. estimate that 250 million people worldwide use illegal drugs, concluding, “We simply cannot treat them all as criminals.”

More treatment options for addicts are needed, the report said. And it argued that arresting and incarcerating “tens of millions” of drug-producing farmers, couriers and street dealers have not answered economic needs that push many people into the trade.

The group’s members include former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, the writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, and Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group.

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