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Let’s Party Like it’s 1984: The Ministry of Truth in 2017

Posted in Act Out!, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

War is peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is strength. And we’ve always been at war with Russia. So, while you were celebrating the holidays Barack Obama quietly approved a multimillion-dollar anti-propaganda project that feels a lot like the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s “1984” — with a more covert and far more boring name. Included as part of this year’s National Defense Appropriations Act, aka NDAA, and inspired by the new “Red Scare,” it’s called the Global Engagement Center and it’s this week’s Fucked Fact.

As you may recall from Orwell’s novel, the Ministry of Truth controlled all the media — from journalism to entertainment, ensuring it all conformed to the government’s agenda. America’s new Global Engagement Center is ALSO designed to control the media narrative — at a time when alternative media outlets and journalists known to question the US Empire are being slammed for acting as Russian spies.

Signed into law on December 23rd, the creation of the Global Engagement Center is part of the “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act,” originally introduced as a separate bill in March by Republican Senator Rob Portman, and Democrat Chris Murphy. Luckily for Portman and Murphy, their pet bill made it into the NDAA and into law just before Santa came to town.…

Despite Pervasive Anti-Semitism, Alex Jones’ Infowars Backs Israel Over Obama

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Infowars, an alternative multimedia outlet notorious for peddling hoaxes and anti-Semitic ideas, is now toeing a far-right, extremist line on U.S.-Israel relations.

The site’s shifting political viewpoint is another sign of the transformation that Alex Jones, the site’s founder, has undergone as he’s transitioned from an offbeat talk show host on public access TV to a Washington insider with intimate access to President-elect Donald Trump.

Despite his modest beginnings, Jones has built an expansive and profitable media empire that includes multiple websites, TV and radio programs, documentaries, and lucrative advertising deals that promote products ranging from Infowars-branded male “vitality” supplements to doomsday preparation supplies.…

Creating An LGBTQIA Safe Space In Rural America

Posted in Journalism, and Yes! Magazine

In the heart of rural New England, two queer women built a space for art and community.

Amid the relatively conservative, rural surroundings of Manchester, New Hampshire, The Gal-lery is a sanctuary from judgment and oppression. Located deep inside the twisty hallways of a converted former mill, the space to showcase art isn’t marked by flashy signs or promoted with widespread advertising. It’s a place where LGBTQIA people, and others who are marginalized, can simply exist without having to justify their identities to others.

Catherine Graffam, an intersex, nonbinary transgender woman, cofounded The Gal-lery more than two years ago with Madeline Jones, a queer woman who also sometimes uses nonbinary pronouns, after the pair graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art. The two began hosting events in 2015 and have since built a successful community of regular visitors and friends. About 50 people attended the Nov. 3 opening of “Gals and Pals,” their first gallery show, which also featured nine visiting artists in addition to the works of Graffam and Jones.…

The DEA Isn’t Making CBD Oil Illegal — Yet

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

An administrative change by the Drug Enforcement Administration has left users of CBD oil, a popular tincture derived from agricultural hemp, fearful that they could lose access to this vital health remedy.

CBD oil is currently considered legal in all 50 states, and agricultural hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant from which CBD oil is extracted, is legally grown in many states. While scientific research into its benefits is just beginning, preliminary results show that CBD oil can benefit conditions ranging from epilepsy to chronic pain.

But on Dec. 14, the DEA added a notice to the Federal Register that quietly informed the public that it had established “a new drug code for marihuana extract.” The DEA’s argument is that the agency is entitled to regulate CBD oil because all extracts contain trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis which remains illegal at the federal level.

Establishing this new drug code is, effectively, the first step toward classifying CBD oil alongside cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. This act classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, alongside drugs like heroin which are considered to have no practical medical benefit.

However, legal experts and advocates for hemp doubt that the DEA has the mandate to easily ban CBD oil.…

4Chan’s War On Alternative & LGBTQIA Culture

Posted in Austin, Burning Man, Journalism, and MintPress News

After Donald Trump’s election, 4chan declared war on queer people and the American counterculture.

4chan is a lawless, unmoderated and completely anonymous online forum that frequently serves as a hub of internet troll culture. 4chan helped to spawn the Anonymous movement when some of 4chan’s users launched an organized trolling campaign against the Church of Scientology in 2008. That movement later became known for its hacktivism against the wealthy and powerful during the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in fall of 2011.

In recent years, however, the board, especially a subsection called /pol/ have come to be dominated by a hyper-conservative, white nationalist movement. The users believe, with an almost religious fervor, that their “meme magic” helped to elect Trump. More sober analysts are worried that 4chan and Reddit are helping to radicalize a generation by turning disaffected young white men into dangerous neo-Nazis.

Since November 8, 4chan has been linked to two seemingly disparate, but ultimately interconnected stories.…

A Brief Primer On Texas’ F*CKED Up Politics & Why It Matters To You

Posted in Act Out!, Austin, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

Whenever you talk about terrible things happening in Texas, people start to tune out. You’re thinking, of course it’s fucking awful, it’s Texas. Why don’t we let them secede already?

It’s true, Texas politics seem like what happens when you apply dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” as an instruction manual BUT everything that happens there is a test balloon. The University of Texas at Austin motto is “what starts here changes the world.” And with most states and the U.S. Congress united behind that shit stain Trump, you can bet we’ll all be eating the same shit-filled Texas chili soon enough.

Now, the Texas government is full of low-life scum, but due to the peculiar whims of Texas politics, the Lt. Governor is a scumbag who stands above all the rest. The Lt. Governor is not just president of the state senate, but also sets the agenda for the entire legislative session. The senators and reps have a lot of politics to get through in a short amount of time, because the Texas State legislature only meets for 140 days every other year. Lemme say that again but slower: A hundred and 40 days EVERY OTHER year. The rest of the time, that massive building is just a big pink tourist trap.…

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