OK Go partners with Morton’s Salt charity for Epic Music Video

[OK Go with their latest music video]

These guys ALWAYS deliver the goods when there is a need to express their music in an innovative way. Typically with the use of the latest filming technology and camera work that has set more standards than tapping into them.

As if you needed another reason to watch, this release was created as part of a charity drive from Morton’s Salt, called #WalkHerWalk.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“As part of this campaign, Morton has partnered with organizations including GirlForward, which supports adolescent refugee girls through mentoring and educational programs; and ProjectArt, which offers art classes at public libraries around the nation.”

The video is great on its own, but the cause attached brings it to a whole new level of enjoyment.

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The Corporate Media’s Silence on Standing Rock is About to End

If someone writes a story about the ensuing autocracies occurring in North Dakota, it should elicit feelings of revolution in us all. However, this has not been the case as there has been a concerted effort by the government, and their corporate media cohorts, to protect Big Oil interests. These efforts are now manifesting into civil rights violations of Native Americans and their fellow unarmed Water Protectors. Initially there was silence from cable news, despite there being enough noise to make the President feign interest enough to speak on it. Though, he didn’t really say much of anything. There have been several court challenges and requests to do land surveys before proceeding that were mostly denied to seemingly expedite construction. A treaty for these original Americans to have sovereignty over their land has been changed and ignored so often, they have been all but completely marginalized by the US Government.

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Courtesy of Vice.com

With the hope that we would all be so distracted by the elections, or that the cold Dakota winter would end the fight for them. Depending on the same mother nature they insult with their dirty energy to crush the spirits of the few who would show up to defend their water, the Sioux tribe, and their burial grounds. That there would be enough fear of Trump or Clinton winning to keep any white protestors joining the fight. Surely they are too busy complaining about the Electoral College and the Popular Vote to care. Surely they are too scared of the perceived rise of White-Supremacy that the media is legitimizing (much like they did Trump by spreading their messages en masse) to endure the rubber bullets, chemical warfare, hearing damage, grenade explosions, and hypothermia from water cannons. Surely there would be no hardened activists willing to leave their lives for very long in order to stand up to the fascist government thuggery presently endorsed by Obama’s public silence. One has to wonder what his private position is, but a quick peek at his legacy would make it pretty easy to infer.

Who has the stomach for this fight, especially once winter takes hold? Go ahead; violate and intimidate those unarmed “Hippies” and “Indians” with our military equipment and body armor that U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are envious of. No one would last long enough for us to have to directly deal with this. Wait it out and the pipeline will already be under the Missouri river. It will be too late to do anything about it. Just wait it out…

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“Water Protectors” complete a two-day canoe trip north of Cannon Ball, N.D. | Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

Boy did they ever miscalculate while making their assessment of the situation. The oil police, and their federal and local government supporters, just had their worst nightmare occur. A 21 year-old white woman from New York City, named Sophia Wilansky, may end up losing her arm from a police percussion grenade.

This was one of several grenades that were allegedly thrown into a crowd of unarmed and defenseless people. These grenades come with specific warnings from the manufacturer to not throw them at people. There is a disturbing history of SWAT and other police using these explosives, whether intentionally or not, in an incorrect manner leading to several horrible injuries. The most disturbing of which came when a 1 year-old infant who was sleeping in their crib, had one of these land on their pillow during a “no-knock” drug raid in Georgia on Oct. 7th, 2014. Click on one of the links for more details on this, and other injuries caused by these dangerous, explosive devices.

NBC and ABC are starting to wake up a little. Some of the upset Hillary supporters are starting to notice the importance of this event over their recent election loss. Many people on both sides seem to be waiting for Trump to take office. Never mind that President Obama, a supposed Progressive (but actual Wall Street Corporatist), is in charge now; never mind that he kicked the can down the road so that an even more fascist regime will be all that is left to help people. To help them against the very government forces employed to protect the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at all costs.

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Speaking of the new regime, their leader has millions of his own dollars to lose by intervening. Does Obama expect President-Elect Trump to stand up to the oil executives that fund both major party’s campaigns? The same corporate donors who write their own legislation for lawmakers to get passed or else? Nope. This is exactly what his bosses told him to do. Not to mention the crafty political strategy of attempting to ride out the next few months in order to shift the issue (and later, the blame) to the Republicans, is almost certainly by design.
The good news is that there’s now drone footage of the oil police using cannons to cover Water Protectors in freezing water during a night of mid 20 degree weather. This is being shown on some network news outlets, finally. It’s not just TYT Politics covering the event now. It’s not just H.A. Goodman, Tim Black or Mike Efin Brown talking about it. The atrocities are no longer occurring to ONLY the Native Americans.

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Get ready for the silence to finally break, but be even more ready for the media to start framing the protesters as violent, hired thugs. They are a voice for the elite. There is nothing more elite in the U.S. than Big Oil.

Get ready to donate to hep the Water Protectors. Be especially ready to put your own body on the line, as this fight will likely not remain contained to the flats, hills and buttes of North Dakota. Be ready for more of this as the new regime takes over.

They will be pumping what seem like willfully ignorant statements like, “AllLivesMatter” while police continue to clash with protesters who have been framed by the media as violent rioting anarchists, while simultaneously ridiculing them as spoiled, whiny liberals without jobs.

Get Ready…The lid is about to blow off.

“The doctor just said she may need as many as 20 surgeries over very many months to have any hope of saving her arm and her hand,” Wilansky’s father, Wayne Wilansky, told a group of reporters outside a Minneapolis hospital.

Who is Betsy DeVos besides Trump’s Cabinet pick for Education Secretary?

What you should know about Betsy DeVos…

Who is Betsy DeVos? The above link is to an article produced by Chalkbeat. It is very concise.

What Efin Reality knows:

The DeVos family is like royalty in Michigan. Heavily involved in philanthropy and Republican politics, they also own, or have minority stakes in, many pro sports teams like the Orlando Magic and Chicago Cubs respectively. The majority of their wealth came from Richard DeVos and his co-founding of Amway in 1959.

 

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The DeVos Family, Courtesy of Grand Rapids Press

Jibber Jabber or What HE might say to us now….

The internal wounds go deep for the man who hates those he’s never met If you learn to love all of yourself inside and out, you would find that only hatred perpetrated by others, is left to h…

Source: Jibber Jabber or What HE might say to us now….

Should Anyone Vote for Religious Candidates?

 

Anyone who claims they talk to invisible entities, and that those entities talk back to them and guide them, should be considered dangerous. Many atheists use logic instead. This can limit the excuses you can provide for saying or doing something stupid. You only have yourself to blame. 

I’ll take that kind of accountability in our leadership All-Day over those religious politicians that assure you to listen to the voices that are only in their heads. Or is it worse to follow those that lie about hearing them?

Should we start asking if someone talks to and/or hears their God’s voice or voices when they want to run for office? Not to discriminate or disqualify them, but to allow voters the informed choice to determine if they want someone that hears, or claims to hear voices, to be a representative of them in their government? What do you think?

 

Efin’s Thoughts:

Best not to vote for those types any longer…Someone who is Secular, or even religious but willing to admit they do not speak to a supernatural being, would be a much better leader than otherwise. Self-Accountability is the best way to hold someone to their word, and to more easily determine who is to blame when a mistake is made. If they can simply turn to “Well, it must have been God’s will” or “God works in mysterious ways”, who can be held to account for their actions in office? Especially if the majority of the voters believe that it is possible, even if they can’t themselves, for someone to hear and speak with God. It can easily insulate someone from any accountability…not to mention, that if they are NOT lying about hearing voices and talking to them, they should be in a hospital for evaluation. Certainly not someone you should be voting for to represent you in any position of leadership or government

-Efin

 

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Bernie Sanders For Senate Budget Committee Chair?

Paul Ryan
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, used the threat of the Democrats taking back the Senate by invoking fears of a Senate Budget Committee chaired by the Independent Senator, and Democratic Presidential Candidate from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Watching Mr. Ryan the past few years, he’s had to balance on many different political tightropes. Having to endure President Obama’s State of the Union addresses with unmitigated stoicism, running for Vice President with Mormon and 47% voter resentment candidate, Governor Mitt Romney, keeping his distance from Donald Trump’s worst scandals and gaffes, while insisting he is supporting his party’s choice for President…and kind of pulling it off. He’s done a pretty good job of keeping his clothes clean, while attempting to lead the mess that is the Republican party. Though if you are a Republican, you have to consider whether this is a real threat and if it could even come to fruition. You also have to wonder what Bernie’s role would be if he were selected to be Chair of the Senate Budget Committee. Is it really that simple?

First of all, is Bernie even guaranteed this position? The answer is exactly “No”. Many things would need to happen before the Democrats would be able to be in a position to nominate Committee Chairs to begin with.

  1. They would have to win the Senate majority back from the Republicans
  2. Harry Reid (who went out of his way to help Hillary win Nevada) is retiring and will not seek reelection. So the new, yet to be named, Party Majority Leader would have to appoint Bernie to the position
  3. There is nothing in the Constitution that binds anyone to appoint any particular Senator to the head of anything. Previous to the 1970’s, these positions were assigned using the Seniority Rule where seniority was the determining factor. They were automatically assigned until there was a “revolt” from the younger members that led to both parties being allowed to vote on their committee chairs. Today, seniority remains the general rule for selecting chairs, but there have been many exceptions.
  4. There are no formal rules, so it’s entirely up to the party leadership. These rules can all be changed at the party’s whim and we can do little about it (aside from voting, which is debatable on its effectiveness given the two party duopoly, but that’s for another time)

Let’s assume, for the sake of this article, that the Democrats (despite their best efforts) win the Senate back. The next Senate Pro Tempore selected has always (well, let’s go with “uninterrupted since 1949“) been the most senior member of the Senate for the ruling party. Currently this would be Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.

I know what you’re thinking…”Hey, wouldn’t a Democratic Senator from Vermont be all but compelled to play ball with his cohort from the same state? Wouldn’t he be at risk of angering the Vermont voters he needs for his own reelection?”

You’d think that, but one has to wonder how much fear Leahy has from voter retribution when he already ignored his home state’s overwhelming support for Sanders during the primaries (they voted 86.1% for Bernie), and was one of Hillary’s unwavering pledged Super Delegates from start to finish. However, to the trusting optimist, this is a perfect scenario for Bernie to get exactly what he would be promised.

Side Note: We are unaware of any actual promises to Bernie Sanders from the Hillary campaign. In fact, many of these promises would be considered illegal. Something no Democrat, or Republican would ever do. Try to suspend your beliefs for a few moments regarding this hypothetical, “Paul Ryan Creepy Nightmare Fueled Tragedy” if you can.

So, while Paul Ryan is enjoying this scare tactic to keep his party’s Senate majority, there are no guarantees on who is appointed as a Committee Chair. The Budget Committee is no different. The advantage for Bernie to be elected to this position is that he is the current “Ranking Member” of the committee. This is who the minority party elects to be their leader of the committee. Though as we will discuss, it’s the Committee Chair, and their majority of party representatives, that have the real power in a particular committee or subcommittee.

If everything goes according to Speaker Ryan’s spooky prognostications, Bernie would be in a great position to be a thorn in the side of any tax cuts that are too aggressive or tax hikes that are too extraneous. He would be able to protect a lot of programs and appropriations that exist, however, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities PDF found on their website entitled, “Policy Basics: Introduction to the Federal Budget Process”, there are several ways that any individual in the Senate can raise a budget “point of order” on the floor to block such legislation. In the House, these points of order can be easily defeated by a simple majority, however, in the Senate, they carry much more weight. A budget “point of order” requires 60 Senate votes to override.

By the way, if you are desperate to read this enthralling policy PDF, but are short on time, (or perhaps you recently finished getting your MBA with mountains of debt, thinking one of your newly gained entitlements is to have policy PDF’s summarized for you instead of reading them) go ahead and skip to the Conclusion found at the bottom of the document.

So what power would this role really give to the Independent Senator from Vermont?

What problems could he cause for Republicans?

For Democrats?

For the generations of Americans that are still scared of that historically notorious word known as “SOCIALISM“?

So many directions we could go on the last question, but for those of you already beginning to glaze over reading or hearing about budgets and government procedural talk, we’ll leave that one alone this time.

To begin with, we should go over some of the basic Committee Chair’s privileges and duties.

To briefly summarize, the primary privilege of any Committee Chair is that they get to set the agenda. They also get to set the topics for informative hearings which determines what a good amount of Congressional time is spent on. These Chairs also have certain tools at their disposal to help garner their preferred policy outcomes.

  1. They get a large say on who is on their committee, though not always the final word.
  2. According to Budget.Senate.gov, there are 12 Majority members and 10 Minority members assigned to the Budget Committee. This type of majority allows the party in control of the Senate to get many of their preferred policy outcomes through their various committees and subcommittees, and to a Senate floor vote to pass.
  3. They are entitled to use the “Chairman’s Mark“. Which has best been described as the first draft of legislation introduced by the chairman of a committee that is then debated and amended by committee colleagues. This ability to decide the starting point for all further work on this piece of legislation is an important part of the chair’s power.

These powers do not necessarily allow Bernie to be a “problem” to either party, but he does get to be a gatekeeper of sorts. “Nothing gets past Old Man Bernie”, they’ll say…well except for the key master.

There is a responsibility of the Budget Committee to oversee the House and Senate on budgetary issues, and they work on approving and passing the President’s annual budget, but there are actually some other committees that have more to do with Bernie’s core Presidential platform. Some of the issues that he ran on for President included expanding Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, along with some other so-called “entitlements”.

The Budget Committee is often confused with the Finance Committee and the Appropriations Committee. For example, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid legislation is handled by the Finance Committee. They also deal with tariffs and reciprocal trade agreements like the TPP and NAFTA.

The Appropriations Committee has legislative jurisdiction over appropriations bills, which provide funding for government programs and the discretionary spending legislation. They are among the most powerful of all the committees, largely due to having jurisdiction and control over budgets for the other committees. They vote on all the mandatory and discretionary spending, which encompasses the entire Federal Budget.

So, Bernie’s committee sets out a broad blueprint for the Congress with respect to the total levels of revenues and spending for the government as a whole. These other two committees prepare the legislation that actually enacts specific tax and spending policies. Basically setting and enforcing limits for each department to spend. These limits, like many things, can also be overturned with a vote of 60 Senators.

It goes without saying, Bernie could have had a much easier time working against the bad trade deals and Social Security and Medicare, from the Executive Branch. However, now, he must rely on the word of Hillary Clinton and her Democrat colleagues, (especially if Donald Trump somehow wins a national election without the support of minorities or women) to award him a position of power within their Senate after they no longer need him. He also will have to try to enact his Progressive ideals from a position where his reach and leverage may be limited if he is shut out of all such leadership roles in the Senate by Democrats. On the other hand, if they were to take care of Bernie and place him in the position of Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, he would become an even more powerful Senator than ever before.

This ends up being highly contingent on the Democrats even wanting someone they lamented as not being one of their own, having any power over their policy plans and budget proposals.

I want to know what you think about the following:

  1. Do you think the Democrats will reward Bernie for getting in line behind Hillary with a position like Chairman of the Budget Committee?
  2. Do you think Sen. Patrick Leahy will be willing to take the blame in his state, for his party, if they lock Bernie out?
  3. If Bernie is appointed to Chair, do you think he will be able to better fight Republicans and reign in Corporate Democrats?
  4. Will they be able to keep Bernie away from the Committees that handle Social Security and Trade Deals? Or will his position allow him to influence these issues despite apparent jurisdiction?
  5. Does Bernie have any leverage in his current position and would that be made greater or lessened by promoting him to Chair of the Budget Committee?

Grab some kettle-corn and pay close attention in the coming months. It should be interesting to see how this Sanders political strategy pays off for him.

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