Snowden Warns Targeting of Greenwald and Assange Shows Governments ‘Ready to Stop the Presses—If They Can’

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer : commondreams – excerpt

“The most essential journalism of every era,” says the NSA whistleblower, “is precisely that which a government attempts to silence.”

In an op-ed published Sunday night by the Washington Post, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden connected Brazilian federal prosecutors’ recent decision to file charges against American investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald to the U.S. government’s efforts to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Snowden, board of directors president at Freedom of the Press Foundation, is among those who have spoken out since Greenwald was charged with cybercrime on Jan. 21. Reporters and human rights advocates have denounced the prosecution as “a straightforward attempt to intimidate and retaliate against Greenwald and The Intercept for their critical reporting” on officials in Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.

Greenwald, who is also on Freedom of the Press Foundation’s board, is one of the journalists to whom Snowden leaked classified materials in 2013.… (more)

‘Shameful. Disgusting. Disgraceful.’: Outrage After Supreme Court Allows Trump’s Public Charge Rule to Take Effect

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer : commondreams – excerpt

“The Trump administration’s policy could quite literally kill people by making them too afraid to seek life-saving medical care, and the Supreme Court seems to agree such a cruel system is acceptable.”…

Outrage erupted Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration’s so-called public charge rule—a policy its critics call “a racist wealth test”— to stand…

The vote (pdf) was 5-4, with all five conservatives in the majority, to grant the administration’s request for the rule to be implemented even as it faces challenges in lower courts…

“The rule also allows immigrants to be declared a ‘public charge’ and denied green cards even if they are employed,” The Hill noted.

A federal judge in October issued an injunction blocking the rule from going into effect and called it “repugnant to the American Dream.” The Trump administration asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the injunction but was rebuffed. The administration then took its effort to the high court, resulting in Monday’s ruling. The ruling does not apply to Illinois, which is covered by a separate injunction.

The immigration rights attorneys fighting the policy remained undeterred in their effort…(more)

Edwardian Ball welcomes guests of all stripes

By Robert Sokol : sfexaminer – excerpt

At 20 years, epoch bash is wild, warm and welcoming

In 1865, Lewis Carroll wrote “Curiouser and curiouser!” for his heroine in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” It’s an apt sentiment for anyone considering attending the Edwardian Ball, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.

Founded by the music ensemble Rosin Coven and currently co-presented by Shannon and Mike Gaines of Vau de Vire Society and Justin Katz of PARADOX Media, the first ball took place at the Cat Club on Folsom Street. It envisioned a whimsical intersection of the extravagant style of the Edwardian era (1901-10) named for the then-reigning British monarch, and Edward Gorey (1925-2000), a writer and artist specializing in darkly humorous work…

The cultural slideshow that assembles when considering the Edwardian Ball today is massive. It’s Cirque du Soleil meets “Beetlejuice,” and the dearly departed Thrillpeddlers and Teatro ZinZanni and Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge.” … (more)

The apparel is spectacular, leading to some of the year’s most adventurous jobs for costume designers. Tom would love the gender-bending gothic splendor of leathers and feathers lace and lipstick. Makeup and hair are topped only by the hats that were worn in this idyllic world of innocent fantasies and fetishes that ended with the shot that started WWI. It feels good to relive those trivial moments of joy during this most difficult of times. I am honored to say I know some of the producers and players and welcome the illusions they spin.

2020 and Florida’s Supreme Court Just Ruled in Favor of a Poll Tax

by Eoin Higgins, staff writer : commondreams – excerpt
“Florida cannot violate the U.S. Constitution’s protections. The right to vote cannot be contingent on the ability to pay.”

Florida’s state Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of denying convicted felons the right to vote if they do not pay fines and fees associated with their incarceration, a decision that was immediately assailed by rights activists as an unconstitutional and immoral poll tax.

In a statement condemning the ruling (pdf), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the ruling “does not—indeed, cannot—alter what the U.S. Constitution requires.”…(more)

In other news, the Governor or Florida just purchased a large swath of land in the Everglades to protect it from oil exploration.

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Agreement for Acquisition of 20,000 Acres of Critical Everglades Wetlands

This purchase would be the largest wetland acquisition in a decade and will permanently save the land from oil drilling Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reached an agreement with Kanter Real Estate LLC., that will allow for the purchase of 20,000 acres of…(more)

SOS San Francisco: A Case Study for Collective Visual Brainstorming

By Sharon Stone : creativepro – excerpt


Final design the creative team arrived at to explain artist displacement.

When a massive San Francisco real estate boom threatened to wipe out established communities and businesses, a group of local artists decided to fight back. Here’s their story.

This article details the creative process used to develop the graphics for SOS San Francisco, a group of creatives and community leaders resisting cultural displacement in the city of SanFrancisco. The ideas and methods can be applied to all sorts of other projects with a diverse range of participants, applications, and output requirements…

The Inspiration: Pushing Back Against the Excesses of a Development Boom

Time and time again, San Francisco’s residents have been displaced by wealthy speculators. In its earliest days, the Missions and the Gold Rush all but destroyed of the native peoples of the Bay. Displacements continued with the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, the clearing of vibrant African American districts shortly after the war, and then in an ongoing series of “Tech Bubbles” that systematically forced out more and more people who lived and worked in the city…(more)

This issue is not limited to one city or one state. Developers are pushing for dense development everywhere. This is a refresher course in how professional designers work to develop a successful campaign that communicates to the public through images. This artists activist group won a ballot initiative to protect artists and other small industrial spaces in SF.using techniques that are used by professional marketing organizations.

Abandoned stores, empty homes: why San Francisco’s economic boom looks like a crisis

By Adrian Daub : theguardian – excerpt

As the city experiences a new wave of gentrification, businesses are shuttering – and nothing is replacing them

At the beginning of this decade, one beloved block in San Francisco had a taqueria, a flower shop and a bookstore. Sparky’s diner, a favorite final hangout for night owls, queer teens and the blackout drunk, was open round the clock.

Today, this block of Church Street just south of Market has the kind of abandoned storefronts that are usually a shorthand for declining mill towns, not centers of the tech future. But all those closed shops are emblematic of today’s San Francisco, where even in upscale areas, the city’s economic boom can look surprisingly like an economic crisis.

What this represents is a strange, second-wave gentrification, in which an influx of well-heeled residents means not Blue Bottle coffee shops and Kinfolk-inspired interior design stores, but emptiness…

Our usual ideas about gentrification suggest neighborhood standbys get replaced by fancy boutiques. Instead, after Sparky’s came nothing…

Meanwhile, most of the residents in the lofty towers above are probably ordering their necessaries from Amazon Prime and their food from the delivery service Caviar. (Or no one is living in the condos at all: a recent report found there are roughly 38,000 empty homes in San Francisco – three to five times the city’s number of homeless people.)…

America faces an epic choice…

… in the coming year, and the results will define the country for a generation. These are perilous times. Over the last three years, much of what the Guardian holds dear has been threatened – democracy, civility, truth. This US administration is establishing new norms of behaviour. Anger and cruelty disfigure public discourse and lying is commonplace. Truth is being chased away. But with your help we can continue to put it center stage. It will be a defining year and we’re asking for your help as we prepare for 2020.…(more)

Residents an Afterthought in Public Housing Privatization Coverage

By Teddy Ostrow : fair – excerpt

When governments propose multi-billion-dollar programs, one would hope media coverage would center first and foremost the human beings most directly affected by them—especially when those programs affect the lives of some of the most marginalized people in society. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to fill the $31.8 billion five-year funding gap for repairs and replacements of thousands of deteriorating public housing apartments in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the US’s largest provider of public housing, is a perfect test case.

The 10-year plan called NYCHA 2.0 will pay for 75 percent of NYCHA’s renovations by handing over the management of 62,000 of NYCHA’s 175,000+ apartments (more than a third of the stock) to private developers; selling NYCHA air rights to private developers; and facilitating “infills,” mostly huge apartment buildings with 70 percent market-rate apartments, to be built on open space in housing developments by—you guessed it—private developers.

Several alarm bells should have rung when this was announced last November. After all, converting public housing apartments into quasi-private Section 8 housing, selling air rights and inserting private developments into public housing projects sounds a lot like privatization—a direct attack on the public nature of public housing… (more)

Some time ago we figured out that the military industrial complex has morphed into a number of other government subsidized industries that turn public property over to private enterprise. Watch what happens to the public/private entities that are springing up all over the country. Given the choice, who makes a better business partner than a government entity? You get all that taxpayer support and free legal assistance when you need to bend the law to take out a competitor.