What do 6 individuals: Robert Iger, Jeffrey Immelt, Phillippe Dauman, Jeffrey Bewkes, Les Moonves and Rupert Murdoch have in common besides the fact that they are all white men?

They control 90% of our media.

In 1983, 90% of our media was controlled by 50 different companies, but over the last 30 years that number has decreased exponentially, so that the images and voices that saturate our every day lives are now controlled by six corporations, which are run by the following six men: Robert Iger is the CEO of Disney, which, among many other properties owns well known properties such as: ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax and Marvel Studios; Jeffrey Immelt is the CEO of General Electric, some of General Electrics well known properties are: Comcast, NBC, Universal Pictures and Focus Features; Phillippe Dauman is the CEO of Viacom, which owns properties such as: MTV, Nick Jr, BET, CMT and Paramount Pictures; Jeffrey Bewkes is the CEO of Time Warner, which owns CNN, HBO, Time, Warner Brothers, and many other notable properties; Les Moonves is the CEO of CBS, which owns Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, NFL.com, Jeopardy and 60 Minutes; Rupert Murdoch is the Executive Chairman of News Corp, which owns FOX, Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. The total revenue for these six corporations in 2010 alone? $275.9 billion.

So what?

Do you ever wonder why even though you turn the channel to watch a different news station because you want to learn about something else that happened in the world that day, you end up hearing about the same event that the channel you switched from was talking about? It’s because 70% of what you watch on TV is controlled by the “Big Six”. If there are a multitude of places to get your news, a local news station, for example, KABC Los Angeles (abc), Newsweek, Time, New York Times, CBS, Fox, CNN, etc., why are they all talking about the same thing? Because they are all run by the Big Six.

If six white men are controlling 90% of our media, you have to ask yourself, how many points of views, interests and opinions are being left out? How are our minds manipulated into being shaped by what the Big Six is, wants, represents? The next time you are listening to a news report on a trial, or watching a television show about a teenager who just realized she is pregnant, think about whose bias may be shaping the discourse.

media infographic

By: Katherine Lynch

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2012/03/26/white-men-rule/

http://www.morriscreative.com/2012/06/6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america/

 
 
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6 Ways to Help Patricia Esparza, A Victim Betrayed by the U.S. “Justice” System

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***Trigger Warning for Sexual Violence***

Paramount to upholding America’s political structure and integrity is our institution of justice, a system given the grand responsibility of meting out punishment, preserving the sanctity of law, and ensuring that people who commit crimes get what they deserve. And evidently, in Dr. Norma Patricia Esparza’s case, wrongly accusing a rape victim of murdering her rapist and threatening her with life in prison without parole or even death. Patricia tells her story here.

At 20 years old Patricia was raped by Gonzalo Ramirez in her dorm room at Pomona College. She reported it to the school’s nurse, but was dismissed outright, receiving no help except a morning-after pill. The combination of suffering sexual abuse at the hands of her father from the age of 5 to 12 and this harrowing trauma gave rise to feelings of humiliation and shame, preventing her from reporting the assault to the police. The culture of blaming and questioning that victims risk facing to receive help from authorities is one major reason why 60% of all rapes go unreported.

With no support forthcoming, Patricia turned to a man she had dated, Gianni Van, and opened up to him about what happened only after he pressured her insistently. He became enraged, believing that she had been dishonored, and decided to pursue Ramirez with assistance from several friends. Patricia tells of that night:

One of them took me away, kidnapping me, while my assailant was physically assaulted. The events of that night have tormented me all my life. They were violent and I was terrified for my life. I felt trapped. I could not run or escape.

Ramirez’s body was later found by the side of a road in Santa Ana. Kody Tran, one of the perpetrators who died last year in a shootout with police, forced Patricia into a sham marriage with Van, making sure that she wouldn’t testify against them in court. She thought that the worst they would do to Ramirez was “rough him up”, and she didn’t even know of his death until months after the murder occurred. Patricia was not a perpetrator in this violent crime. She was, once again, a victim.

Patricia is a professor of psychology and counseling at Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland. She is married to Jorge Mancillas, a successful neurobiologist, and they have a 4-year-old daughter, Arianna.

Patricia with Arianna patricia-with-jorge

She had rebuilt her life after these traumatic events, and so when new evidence had re-opened a case now cold after nearly two decades, she cooperated fully with authorities, helping them to file charges against two of the people involved with the murder. They reassured her that she was “not a target” and she was not the one they were interested in. But everything was destroyed when the court betrayed her, and she suddenly became a perpetrator instead of a victim: she was arrested in October of 2012 at the U.S. border while traveling for work, and charged with the outrageous felon count of special circumstances murder. She was given bail at $300,000, and allowed to freely travel for nearly the next year…a “murderer”, allowed freedom and her passport? Would the DA have mandated this if he truly believed she was guilty?

Patricia is now being wrongfully held captive because she rejected a plea deal to reduce her murder charge to voluntary manslaughter and spend 3 years in prison. “The principle of what they’re asking me is to plead guilty to something that they know I am not responsible for.” (source)

If Patricia is not receiving justice from the U.S. system of legal punishment, but rather suffering injustice at its hands, what does that tell other victims of sexual violence? What does that say about the integrity of the structure America relies upon to separate the guilty from the innocent? Patricia stresses that “the justice system needs to assuage victim’s fears that no one will believe them and that they will be further humiliated,” not perpetuate the rape culture that strengthens those fears. If we cannot trust our criminal justice system to make the correct judgement and protect victims of crime, assault, and terrorization, then the integrity behind its fundamental purpose is severely degraded, if not rendered null.

Here are 6 ways that you can support Patricia in resistance to this injustice:

1. Read more about the case. Several sources to begin with include articles from the Huffington Post, Inside Edition, Today, The Guardian, Pasadena Star News, Bustle, and Professor Heldman’s Blog.

2. Follow her on Twitter at @SetPatriciaFree. Join in the conversation by trending #SetPatriciaFree, #ShameOnOCDA, and #ShameOnDARackauckas.

3. Sign a Change.org petition created by Project HOPE Geneva (an organization committed to supporting survivors of sexual violence) asking OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to drop the charges against her.

4. Contact Rackauckas directly and add your voice in solidarity.

5. Visit the California-based website created to bring awareness to the case and claim justice for her.

6. Tell others about Patricia’s story! The accusation being leveled at her is unacceptable. Any contribution you make matters: her life depends on the ruling of this case. I’ve briefly met Patricia, and found her to be kind, gentle, intelligent and incredibly brave. She’s overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to make a life for herself. Can you imagine how Arianna would feel if her mother was wrongly put to death? We need to help Dr. Esparza claim her right to freedom, and help her family claim their right to a future together.

 

By Cassie Shultz

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Carrots Are Teachers Too

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By Rachel Taylor

School gardens and farm-to-school programs are popping up around the country. Why you ask? Well, it turns out these projects actually have some awesome effects, particularly on kids. Here are a few reasons to fight for farm-to-school and school gardens for every child in America.

1. You Are What You Eat, You Eat What You Grow

Kids who are exposed to gardening and/or farming, either at school or through their communities, tend to have healthier eating habits. Kids participating in farm to school programs have shown an increase from 0.99 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to 1.3 servings. They have also shown increased physical activity and reduced time spent in front of screens (farmtoschool.org). As we all know, old habits die hard, and people are unlikely to radically change their diet or lifestyle when they are older, particularly if it’s all they’ve ever known. Starting young is therefore of the greatest importance. Not only will kids who form these habits early live healthier lives for longer, they are likely to pass those habits on to their children, perpetuating a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

2. Teach Your Parents Well

Kids who participate in school gardens or farm to school programs are likely to bring their eating habits and discoveries home to their parents. If a kid has a meal at school that is delicious, they are likely to ask their parents to make it for them. If they discover the joy of strawberries or snap peas maybe they’ll ask their parents to buy them at the store. Some farm-to-school programs even have workshops for parents. They teach them how to grocery shop, read nutrition labels, and even cook.

3. “Where Does Food Come From?”….”The Store”…

Our modern food system is dominated by fast food, packaged food, food advertisements and pre-made meals. Fewer and fewer people cook nowadays, and this leads to a lot of ignorance about where our food comes from and how it is grown and produced. Most farming operations in the US are highly concentrated and kept out of sight, except for those who work on them. Kids who participate in school gardens or farm to school programs see first hand how food is grown. In school gardens students plant the seeds, water them, watch them grow, and then get to eat the products. They have an awareness of the process of growing food that is becoming rare, especially among low income and urban youth.

4. No Really…Dirt Is Good For You!

School gardens and farm-to-school programs create a unique environment for social interaction and development. Students have an opportunity to interact and learn outside the confines and structure of a classroom. This leads to increased physical activity, increased self-esteem, better behavior and increased academic achievement. Gardening, therefore, is not a distraction from learning but an enhancement of it. Particularly for kids in under-served, urban areas or kids form troubled homes, gardening has been shown to have great therapeutic value, as well as social and educational value.

 

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Let’s Make Black Friday a Day of Resistance: 3 Big Reasons to Protest

(Source: RT America)

Every year, that glorious fourth Thursday of November brings families together at the dinner table to feast. As loved ones gather from far and wide, we wring our hands in anticipation of the great kickoff to the holiday season. Many hands go to work, mashing potatoes, slicing turkey, and crimping perfect edges onto pumpkin pies as we, as a nation, beam and rejoice in our continued colonization humble thankfulness.

Bellies full and bodies running on enough carbs to fuel a semi, we take to department stores with credit cards ready to take on the burden of the holidays and fists ready to take on anyone who gets in the way. This blur of commercialism and forced ignorance to the previous day’s praising of humility and gratitude, we call Black Friday.

Every year, Black Friday brings a third of the nation into the shopping craze, with many praising this pseudo-holiday as not only an essential aspect of the giving season, but one that takes prowess and skill to navigate.

And in reflecting on last Friday’s record-breaking shopping craze, I’m going to ask you to stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop “celebrating” Black Friday, right now (Well I guess technically next year, but you get the point).

Here are 3 big reasons why we should protest Black Friday and turn this holiest-of-all consumer holidays into a day of resistance:

1. It’s Just Immoral

C’mon now.

There is nothing more contradictory than spending an entire day under the guise of being thankful for everything we have and then turning around and literally, not figuratively, literally beating someone up to buy a new flatscreen.

This year, Black Friday instigated shootings in Chicago and Las Vegas, fights in New Jersey, and bomb threats in White Plains, NY. Swaths of violence between shoppers and with the police spread like wildfire across the nation. The media picks up on these stories, typically blowing them out of proportion and seizing on another opportunity to sensationalize violence.

We know the absurdity that comes along with this day. It happens each and every single year. We make it happen.

By choosing to protest this day, we send a message that human life and wellness are more important than iPhones, that gratitude is more essential than a new laptop, and that there are better ways to show our loved ones that we care than showering profits on big business during the holidays.

2. It Kills Small Businesses

Not all businesses benefit from Black Friday. In fact, the vast majority of the $57.4 billion spent this past Friday went to major corporations including Wal-Mart, Macy’s, and Best Buy. This major economic boost, driven by consumer demand for bargain prices, brings in huge profits for some of the world’s most profitable corporations, leaving small businesses unable to compete with plummeting prices.

Many small businesses have begun to fight back through the development of Small Business Saturday. Since 2010, collections of small businesses across the nation stage a smaller scale bargain day to pull in holiday shoppers on the day following Black Friday.

While I do not necessarily support the whole consumer-driven holiday spirit thing, Small Business Saturday presents an opportunity to resist Wall St. and support Main St. If you can’t resist buying on Thanksgiving weekend, at least funnel some resistance into the way that you buy.

By channeling money into small businesses rather than big businesses, we help to maintain the mom and pop shops that define our economy and bring systems of accountability and economic prosperity back to the community level.

3. We Should Be Supporting Workers Instead

This past Friday, organizers associated with Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) staged protests at over 1,500 Wal-Mart locations across the U.S., demanding living wages for, improved treatment of, and accountability to employees of the largest private employer in the world.

On this consumer holiday, OUR Walmart called on the nation to recognize that the way we spend our money matters. Each dollar we spend does not simply result in the consumption of more goods, but is in fact a political act. Each dollar spent lends both economic and political support to the recipient. In this case, each dollar spent at Wal-Mart or any other company that fails to meet the needs of their workers or to respect the needs of their environment, in effect, supports that failure.

As consumers, we wield power in our dollar. This issue is complex and many socioeconomic inequalities and privileges complicate the ability to choose where one spends that dollar, however, each and every consumer maintains the right to demand the best of those who we buy from. In fact, we are the demand.

If we choose to exercise this power differently, if we choose to resist the consumerism of Black Friday, we might have the honor of standing in solidarity with the thousands of Wal-Mart employees and ex-employees who put everything on the line for justice.

Author: Mara Dauber

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5 Reasons to Suspect that the Echo Park Gang Injunction is Merely a Tool for Gentrification

An injunction is essentially a court-ordered set of laws restricting “gang affiliated” persons from engaging in specific activities within a designated “safety zone.” Most commonly, these restrictions include: limiting the minimum distance allowed between “gang affiliated” persons, and extended jail time for petty crimes such as public intoxication.

In September, an injunction was granted for Echo Park in Los Angeles to target 6 gangs. Community members of this neighborhood (one that has lately been hit hard by the effects of gentrification) have had their guard up in recent times and see this injunction as a particular threat to them and suspect it to be a tool for further gentrification.

Here’s the basis for their suspicion:

1. This has happened before.

The City of Los Angeles has historically used injunctions aggressively to make areas nicer for the wealthy, rather than for freeing established communities from the burdens of gang presence. Two examples are the 18th Street Injunction in Pico Union (which was conveniently granted right after the Staples Center was built in the area), and L.A.’s very first injunction in 1987 which took place in a small low-income community located by Culver City and Beverly Hills. Why were these places chosen for injunctions despite the fact that other areas needed them more? This might say something about why this current injunction is placed in Echo Park, an area very in-demand by wealthy newcomers.

2. Timing: Why now?

Going off of my previous point, the designation of gang injunctions seems to coincide more with rising property values than rising crime. The crime rates in Echo Park right now show that the area is much safer than it was 10 or 20 years ago, and and overall crime has dropped since 2011 with violent crimes down 17%, property crimes down 4%, and shootings down 42%. Locals argue that if the city really cared about keeping the community safe, it would have issued the injunction sometime in the 90s. So why is it deciding to do it now? It seems like there may be other motives involved…

3. Injunctions disproportionately affect the working class and people of color.

An important question residents of Echo Park are asking is how the LAPD expects to target only people who are “gang affiliated.” To residents, it seems that any set of vague laws that invasively targets people of a certain race and class will affect the whole community. For example, with increased police presence, street vendors have had to stop business, there is a heightened fear of police and hesitancy to call 911, and youth have had to change the way they dress and how they act as to avoid being profiled. When a whole racial community feels threatened like this, and begins to experience an increase in arrest and incarceration for smaller crimes, it suggests that perhaps moves are being made to clear out that population.

4. Injunctions don’t really make the area safer for the people already living there.

One might drive through a recently gentrified area and say something like “Oh, look how nice! They got a Whole Foods, and taco trucks with English menus, and cool art galleries, this is wonderful!” The thing is, whom is it really wonderful for? For the people who can’t afford $6/lb bell peppers, who would rather not order their tacos in English, and who can’t afford rent in the new “hip” place to live? It’s the same sort of deal with the injunctions. Who really feels safer with more cop cars and helicopters? Undocumented mothers? Day laborers? Youth of color? Who is safer now that the gang activity is pushed outside the safety zone to areas where the working class families will later be forced to move to?

5. “If there were a toolbox of ways the police could fight gangs, an injunction would be the sledgehammer (LA Times).”

Lastly, I would like to say that there are many ways to tackle gang problems and an injunction should be seen as more of a last resort method. Echo Park is an area with a thriving sense of community, a place where the City’s money would be better spent creating alternative pathways for youth, initiating transitional programs for gang members coming home from prison, and funding other programs which would tackle the root of the gang problem. Instead of fueling the school-to-prison cycle of failure for Latin@ youth, instead of selling out a whole neighborhood to the wealthy, the City of L.A. could make real change for the community of Echo Park.

Author: Sofia Polo

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What is the Issue: 2-State Solution. by Ali Goldberg

2statesolution

When you think about violence in today’s world, most people think about the Middle East. Currently, there are negotiations under way between the Israeli and Palestinian government, mediated by United States Secretary of State, John Kerry (The Guardian). Below are the six issues that are being contested.

6 Issues of the 2 State Solution:

1. Settlements

What is a settlement? A settlement is the Jewish civilian communities built on lands occupied by Israel during the 1967 War. The main settlements are in the West Bank.

Why is this an issue? If the West Bank becomes part of Palestine, what happens to the Jewish civilians living there? For a solution to be reached, Palestine has firmly stated that settlements need to stop when Mohammed Shtayyeh chief negotiator in the two-state solution “submitted his resignations in response to ‘increasing settlement building and the absence of any hope of achieving results.’” (Palestinian negotiators abandon Mideast talks to protest Israeli settlements).

*From 2000-2011, the largest settlement in the West Bank, Modi’in Illit has increased in population from 35,660 to 52,060, a 45.9% increase (Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories).

2. Safety and Security

Israel: Israel wants to be certain that if a Palestinian state is created, Israel will have security. According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “…in any peace agreement, the Palestinian area must be demilitarized. No army, no control of air space.” (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, June 14, 2009).

Palestine: Palestinians want to ensure that when they become their own state, that Palestine will be an independent country. They don’t want to be subjugated to military restrictions from the Israelis. Ahmed Qurei stated, “We said that Palestine will be an independent state, with limited militarization but not limited dignity, and it will have sovereignty and full control over its land and air space” (Former Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, June 15, 2008).

3. Borders

What are the proposed borders? Palestine and Israel have proposed to return to the pre-1967 borders, which would give Palestine control of the West Bank.

4. Jerusalem

Why is it a problem? Jerusalem is a holy city for both Jews and Muslims. For Jews, the Western Wall, the last remaining wall of the Holy Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE. For Muslims, the Dome of the Rock is the rock that Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to in heaven. (Why Jerusalem is a Holy City for Muslims)

What is the proposed solution? Dividing Jerusalem into 2 cities with West Jerusalem being controlled by Israel and East Jerusalem being controlled by Palestine.

5. Refugees

What are refugees? The refugees are the Palestinians that are living in Israel.

What is the problem? Palestinians want assurance in their “right to return,” a belief that Palestinians believe is a sacred right asserting that Palestinian refugees have a right of return into Israel.

6. Mutual Recognition

Israel: Israel wants Palestine to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Since Israel’s creation in 1948, Arabs have denied Israel’s right to exist.

Palestine: Palestine wants Israel to recognize their right to exist. By continuously denying peace negotiations, Israel has denied Palestine the right to exist.

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Obamacare Rollout: Is it Fixed?

 

urlObamacare announced a remedy for the healthcare rollout; President Obama stated that his administration would allow health insurers to keep offering plans cancelled under the Affordable Healthcare Act for one year, fixing what he called a “fumbled rollout”

 

He stated that,“The bottom line is insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled into 2014 and Americans whose plans have been cancelled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan.”

In order for them to renew, they “must inform consumers about protections the renewed plans do not include, and notifying customers that they have the option to purchase plans with better coverage with possible tax subsidies on the new marketplace.”

Insurance companies are not required to renew existing plans, but have the option to reach to those who have received the cancellation notices and offer them the option to renew their plans for one year.

However, existing plans cannot be sold to new customers, and the companies renewing plans must inform their consumers about the protections the plans do not include, and inform them that they have the option to purchase plans with better coverage. The President stated:“So, if you received one of these letters, I’d encourage you to take a look at the marketplace, even if the website isn’t working as smoothly as it should be for everybody yet, the plan comparison tool that lets you browse costs for new plans near you is working just fine. This fix won’t solve every problem for every person, but it’s going to help a lot of people.”

This was all a response to the statistic that “the number of people who signed up for health coverage through new state and federal insurance exchanges last month was dwarfed by the number whose policies have been canceled as a result of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.”


What do you think? Is this a step toward the right direction? Or do more measures need to be taken?

 

-Earl Park

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