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Neutral-i-kitty and a Big Cable boss with the FCC as the referee.
On Jan. 26 the FCC held an open commission meeting—this is when they vote on rules once a month. While the FCC voted to legally re-define broadband as 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps instead of the pitiful 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps we’ve been receiving (expect faster internet in the near future,YAY!), net neutrality advocates held a Battle Royale between Net Neutral-i-kitty and a Big Cable boss.

And the awesomeness ensued:

This political theater brings some levity to what is a very serious and pressing concern. We are in a good position to protect an open internet where the free flow of information, communication, and knowledge won’t be throttled. While we haven’t seen the details—which will determine the strength of the rules—sources indicated the FCC will do the right thing and use Title II authority. Given this, we wanted to remind the FCC we are still watching and waiting for their rules. Hopefully, this won’t turn out to be a cat fight with the FCC in the coming weeks. Meow!

H/T to the staff at Free Press and Consumers Union for pulling this together.

Please, help us protect all that we’ve built with this amazing campaign. Call your members of Congress today urging them to "Let the FCC do its job" to create net neutrality rules and protect an open internet.

Can't call? Sign and send a petition to your member of Congress: Don't kill net neutrality.

More pictures below the fold.

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With exactly one month until a final vote on net neutrality at the FCC, net neutrality advocates are encouraging internet users, content creators, and major websites to join in the next phase of the campaign to save the internet—from the folks who brought about the Internet Slowdown in September, we now have the “Internet Countdown.”  

The Internet Countdown is a month-long push to remind the FCC that the upcoming vote on net neutrality is one of the most important votes the FCC will ever take. Further, we will be counting down the days and minutes until the vote happens with all eyes on the FCC.

Evan Greer, one of the driving forces of this action reminds us how important this issue is:

“We are closer than ever to winning real net neutrality protections that will keep the Web open for generations to come, and the Internet is literally counting down the seconds,” said Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer, “We call on Internet users, cat video posters, music bloggers, youtube karaoke stars, and major websites to unite for one more epic push to make sure that the FCC does the right thing and that corrupt members of Congress can’t derail the process.”
Please, if you have a website, consider posting the widget made by our partners at Fight for The Future, Demand Progress, and the team. If you don’t have a website, consider changing your profile pictures on other social media sites to reflect your support. Or, if the widget isn’t right for you, create your own image to stand in solidarity with net neutrality supporters.

On the day of the Internet Slowdown more than 40,000 websites participated in online protests resulting in more than 700,000 comments submitted to the FCC along with hundreds of thousands of calls to Congress on that day. Today, Daily Kos is credited as the first site to join the Internet Countdown.

For us at Daily Kos and the ten million visitors of the site, this vote means everything:

“Strong net neutrality protections are essential to the survival of Daily Kos and all independent media outlets. Without net neutrality, ISPs would be free to stifle or elevate voices based on their own corporate interests,” said Rachel Colyer, Senior Campaign Director at Daily Kos.”This is why we are part of the Internet Countdown—the FCC must do the right thing. We encourage our community to participate in the Democratic process by showing solidarity for strong net neutrality rules written at the FCC and based on Title II authority”
Over the next month, we hope to meet and beat those numbers. Right now, the action you take through the widget is to call Congress with a simple message, “Congress should let the FCC do their job to enact real, strong net neutrality rules.” The FCC is the expert agency in telecommunications policy and enforcement, Republicans in Congress should not interfere with their upcoming decision.

Please click here to embed the widget.

And, take action through Daily Kos so we can continue to build momentum. Click here to view the widget live on our site and send an email to your members of Congress urging them to “Let the FCC do its job.”

Angelo Cabrera graduating from Baruch College.
Angelo Cabrera on graduation day at Baruch College.

America’s immigration system is severely broken. The story of Angelo Cabrera is exactly what is wrong with our system and a perfect illustration of why we need immigration reform.

In the 24 years Angelo Cabrera lived in New York State as an undocumented person, he earned two university degrees and worked tirelessly in the community. Cabrera founded a social services organization-the Mexican-American Students Alliance (MASA)-which promotes education and civic engagement projects in New York.

Through MASA, Angelo worked with the USA Census 2010 project to promote trust in the American census among Mexican American communities by developing a social marketing outreach strategy based on three principles -- “Trust”, “Support” and “Cultural Sensitivity.”

All of his civic engagement earned him numerous commendations from New York elected officials, including the Speaker of the New York City Council, a New York State Senator and Assembly person, in addition to the New York State Attorney General.

Last year, Angelo was offered a position at Baruch College as the community and social services specialist, but before he could accept the job, he needed to fix his immigration status. Mr. Cabrera, wanting to do the right thing, returned to Mexico last year to try to legalize his status.

Now, Angelo Cabrera is stuck in Mexico—the Customs and Border Protection Admissibility Review Office  denied his petition to return to the US. Given his resume, commendations, and letters of support, his lawyers and supporters were shocked at the denial.

And in a cruel twist of fate, under President Obama’s immigration initiatives, had he stayed, he would have been allowed to remain and work legally in the US.  

Mr. Cabrera is a shining example of the American dream and the important role immigrants play in making this country a better place. His story is exactly why our system is broken and needs reform.

There is hope—USCIS can reconsider his case. It takes a request from a high level member of the government—New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand could ask USCIS to reconsider his case. Hopefully, Mr. Cabrera will be allowed back in the U.S. so he can take his position at Baruch College and continue his work serving New York.

Please, sign the petition asking Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to request that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reconsider the case of Angelo Cabrera.

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Yes on prop 47
Call me a dreamer, go ahead and tell me why I’m wrong, but I think that Proposition 47 on the ballot in California on Tuesday, Nov. 4, could be the first step in breaking America’s prison industrial complex and the school-to-prison pipeline.

“Yes” on Prop 47, officially named The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014, will change sentencing for some low-level, nonviolent crimes including simple drug possession, petty theft (under $950), and would allow persons currently incarcerated for such offense to apply for resentences.

The financial savings—projected in the hundreds of millions—from reducing prison populations would be diverted into mental health and drug treatment programs, K–12 schools, and to crime victims.

Passing this initiative and proving this model successful could be a first step to reforming our prisons, investing in education to prevent incarceration, and strengthening our mental health and substance abuse programs.

Showing that this is a successful model could push other states to follow suite, which could reduce our nation’s incarceration addiction.  America accounts for 5% of the world population yet we have 25% of the worlds prisoners.

The War on Drugs, while not the only factor, has added to an increase in our prison populations from 1980-2008. Since 1980, the rate of incarcerated people in America quadrupled to over 2.3 million people.  This increase disproportionately affects people of color. In 2008, 58% of prisoners were black or Hispanic, despite being only about 23% of the total population.

Rather than spend money on mass incarceration, this proposal will reinvest the savings in education, which will provide youth with an opportunity for a better future and can keep young adults out of jail. Providing better opportunities and reducing incarceration for petty crimes will go a long way towards breaking the school-to-prison pipeline and will provide a brighter future for youth who won't have felony convictions, which often prevent good workforce opportunities.

Reinvesting and strengthening our mental health and substance abuse problems invests in people, not prisoners. Often these programs are more successful at rehabilitation than incarceration.

Less than 14% of victims of violent crimes receive support from victim services agencies. Reinvesting in victim services can go a long way in helping crime victims heal, particularly those who cannot afford counseling services on their own.

If “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014” passes and becomes successful, our country may have a path to addressing systemic racism, over-incarceration, and provide a better education to those youth who need it the most.  We would have a successful model to take to other states around the country.

Passing Prop 47 reinvests in people and begins to deconstruct some of the worst systems we’ve created in America.

If you are in California, please go vote “Yes” on Prop 47. Not just for California, but for the country.

Justice for John Crawford rally via Ohio Student Association
Justice for John Crawford, Ohio Student Association
On Monday, in Ferguson and St. Louis, MO, organizers staged sit-ins and shut down three area Walmarts to show solidarity with the activists fighting for justice for John Crawford.

The Ohio Student Association is working to highlight the injustice that ended John Crawford’s life at the hands of law enforcement.

Police fatally wounded John Crawford after responding to a 911 call claiming Crawford was “waving a gun at customers.” Crawford had picked up a toy BB gun from inside the store which sold the gun, in an open carry state. He was then gunned down by police.

Surveillance footage shows that Crawford was not waiving the gun as the witness, Ronald Ritchie, has originally claimed. Ritchie later recanted the statement he made on the 911 call--the statement which ultimately contributed to Crawford’s death.

On Saturday, October 18 at noon, the OSA will be holding a major action in honor of John Crawford at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. Please join the movement to continue to fight for justice and highlight the need for a shift in policing policies around the country. Additionally, the organization is working towards a massive early voting effort on Oct. 25. All of this just a few weeks after OSA successfully occupied the Beavercreek Police Department for days, until the BPD would address their concerns.

On Tuesday evening, organizers from the Ohio Student Association and others held a conference call to outline the goals and demands of their Justice for John Crawford campaign moving forward.

In their continuing work to stop the criminalization of young people of color, Mike Brown and John Crawford are only two of the victims in a long list of youth OSA is seeking justice for.

The goals and demands of OSA are to address both systematic over-criminalization and serve justice for the murder of John Crawford.  On a large scale, OSA wants a fundamental shift in the relationship of power between police, youth, and communities of color. In Ohio, they want to see an overhaul of shoot-first policing and are demanding a statewide database to track police brutality.

In Beavercreek, they want the police department to fire Officer Sean Williams, who killed Crawford. Crawford is the second person to die at the hands of Officer Williams in four years.

In addition, OSA is calling for criminal charges to be filed against Ronald Ritchie for his 911 call. The call he placed, and later changed to match with surveillance footage, contributed to Crawford’s death because Ritchie’s call gave police officer Sean Williams the impression Crawford was dangerous.

We need a shift in the policing policies in this country. The War on Drugs and the War on Terror have helped shape a police culture that is at war with Americans on American soil. Further, both wars target people of color by using prejudicial stereotypes. The police have been armed to go to war and the legal system has fallen short in holding them accountable for taking lives.

John Crawford was a victim of excessive policing and shoot-first policies. It's so fucking upsetting to think that if Crawford had been a white man holding a gun, in a store that sells guns, in an open carry state, he would probably be alive today.

It's time for everyone to stand together and change this system. I fear the police because of my own experiences with overzealous officers operating outside of the law. I can't imagine how that fear feels when you are on a list of acceptable targets.

Please join the movement for justice--stand with OSA at the Ohio Statehouse October 18 and raise your voices to the systems of power that must change.

Tweets to STLPD about their unwillingness to protect and serve.
On Saturday night in St. Louis, MO, a few blocks from where Vonderrit Myers, Jr. had been fatally shot Wednesday night and where protestors clashed with police on Thursday night, I had my own encounter with St. Louis’ finest. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t impressed.

As our car approached the exit to S. Grand Blvd we noticed the police presence on the overpass, you could see flashing lights, vehicles and police everywhere—missing from the scene was an evidence of protestors.

We parked and started out on foot, walking on the sidewalk of the overpass surrounded by a few dozen police in vests and helmets standing around talking to each other.

After we passed through the crowd, we began to have a conversation with another pedestrian on the sidewalk. Our group stopped to chat and soon after a woman limped by.

The woman, slightly older, had a limp, I believe, due to a physical disability.  She passed and said hello in a voice that also indicated some form of disability.  As she passed us, she began to walk in the street.

Then, she began flagging down cars, stepping in front of them, talking to them through the windows and wandering around in the middle of an intersection.

At this point I thought maybe one of the officers up the block should probably go check on her.

I walked back and approached the officers—speaking loudly to get their attention before approaching them because we’ve seen how well they treat protestors.

I explained the situation to a small gathering of the officers and I asked them to go check on the woman.

The officers said they would try to send a car, if one was available, to check on the woman but that they could not.

They were less than two blocks from a woman who could’ve used their help. Instead, they decided to remain on the bridge because they anticipated that protestors MAY show up.

Shortly after, the group I was with walked back towards the bridge to get to our car. This time they stopped us and said we couldn't pass, even though we'd passed that way about 10 minutes before. Instead, they made us cross the street and told us that the bridge is now closed to pedestrian traffic and that we would not be allowed to cross again.

This must be the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s version of protect and serve--ignore the woman and hassle the protestors.

Please sign the petition to stand in solidarity with the citizens of Ferguson as we call for nine national reforms to transform nationwide policing practices.

On Friday, a few hundred protestors rallied in fifty-degree weather and drizzling rain to march through downtown St. Louis, gathering in front of Buzz Westfall Justice Center. This building contains the offices of the St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney, Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis County Jail, and additional court facilities.

Many people and journalists have questioned McCulloch’s ability to be impartial in cases involving police officers given that McCulloch’s father was a police officer killed in the line of duty at the hands of a black man.  In 23 years, McCulloch has never indicted a police officer.

And, because of one woman’s tweet claiming she had been in contact with a member of the Grand Jury, which is illegal, there is an investigation about possible jury tampering.

It’s obvious why protestors marched for blocks around the city, chanting and carrying signs, eventually ending back in front of the Justice Center housing McCulloch’s offices. There is a rising call for Gov. Jay Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor to the Mike Brown case and remove McCulloch from this case.

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Panoramic of Ferguson October--thousands of protestors Sat. Oct 11.
Here is an image I took today. Not sure what others are reporting, but I'd say 3,000 easy, if not between 4,000-5,000.

More coming later, it's been an amazing weekend of protests. Let's be clear—These are peaceful protests with large numbers of people, don't let the MSM tell you otherwise.

A girl holds a sign during a peaceful demonstration, as communities react to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 14, 2014. Missouri's governor Jay Nixon moved on Thursday to calm days of racially charged protests over the police sho
Protestors in Ferguson
Ferguson has our attention. The fight for justice for Michael Brown is one of the recent tragedies to highlight the systematic targeting and oppression of people of color who are faced with hyper criminalization and police harassment on a daily basis. The subsequent reaction of the police force has forced the nation to realize the harsh, brutal reality of militarizing our police and enabling them with weapons of excessive force.

The loud call coming out of Ferguson, Missouri has become a national rally to action.

Those in the Ferguson community are working to address these systemic problems and force our nation to seek justice for Michael Brown, while representing countless other victims. We need to support their work in the ways that will best serve their needs.

There are a number of ways to support the movement growing from Ferguson, here are a list of resources and requests from organizers, organizations, and media on the ground:

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FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel.
In the ongoing campaign to strengthen the FCC’s current net neutrality proposal, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn met on Thursday in Philadelphia with net neutrality supporters to hear the rising call from the public—an urge for large, open field hearings on the proposed net neutrality rules.

Our partners at Free Press delivered more than 100,000 people along with a letter on behalf of the Writer’s Guild of America East and the Manhattan Neighborhood Network.

If we had public field hearings, members of the FCC could meet with the public to address concerns over the FCC’s current net “neutrality” proposal—which still leaves room for telecom providers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Cox to carve the internet into fast and slow lanes.  

As of now, there are no plans for such events. While Chairman Wheeler and the other commissioners have speaking engagements and travel plans on the books, these are generally small or invite-only events, which do not focus on the net neutrality proposal.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

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Net neutrality protestors on July 23, 2014 in Silicon Valley to tell President Obama: Don't kill the internet
Wednesday, July 23, marked a coordinated day of on-the-ground action on net neutrality, directed at President Obama as he attended high-dollar fundraisers in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.  The message at both events, was clear—President Obama: Don’t kill the internet.

In Silicon Valley—the center of the tech industry—Obama attended a $10,000 a plate fundraiser, where he was greeted by more than 100 activists from netroots organizations including: Daily Kos, MoveOn, Free Press, CREDO, Color of Change, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Common Cause, SumOfUs, Media Alliance, Progressives United, ACLU, Code Pink and the Greenlining Institute.

Gathered outside the security lines around the venue, on a route heavily traveled by professionals in the tech industry, activists chanted, "Barack Obama, yes you can, Stop Tom Wheeler’s stupid plan!"  This direct action drew attention to President Obama’s hands-off approach to protecting the open internet.

Later that afternoon, in Los Angeles, Obama was greeted by a similar scene of 150 activists outside the home of television producer Shonda Rhimes—creator of the hit show Scandal, and strong net neutrality supporter.

The take-away from these actions is this: Online activists are willing to go off-line to make their position clear. We need strong net neutrality rules which protect the internet as a public utility—free from corporate schemes to extract more money by creating fast and slow lanes on a tiered internet.

Because of the recent deadline for the first-round of public comments on Chairman Wheeler’s proposed rules to divide the internet, much of the attention has been focused on the FCC and their role in net neutrality.

But make no mistake, Obama has accountability on this issue because he appointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to this position. Tom Wheeler is a former Telecom Lobbyist, Venture Capitalist, Entrepreneur, and was an Obama Fundraiser/Bundler in both 2008 and 2012.

The internet brought President Obama into power—his campaign harnessed the power of the internet to organize people, power and money. Now, that very same level playing field he used to win could cease to exist and become a place where only corporate backed voices will be able to fully access the power of the internet.

Obama has pledged to protect an open internet and support net neutrality, yet, he is sitting idle while his appointee moves forward with a plan that would destroy the internet as we know it. This proposal will create a tiered internet with an uneven playing field where corporations who can pay-to-play will drown out independent sites, like Daily Kos.

Here at Daily Kos we’ve already sent President Obama over 97,000 direct emails—not including those from our partners and allies—and he’s not listening. It’s time to ramp up the pressure, both online and off.  

Please, take a moment of your time to send President Obama a message urging him intervene. Demand he keep his promise to protect an open internet with real net neutrality—by classifying the internet as a public utility.

P.S. Thanks to all of the Daily Kos community members who attended. Please share your stories and experiences with us.  

Image of Charles and David Koch with logos of their most common and popular brands-ZEE, Georgia-Pacific, Sparkle, Invista, Harmon Recycling, Flint Hills Resources, Soft & Gentle, Brawny, Stainmaster, Angel Soft, Quilted Northern, Lycra, Mardi Gras, Dixie,
Sign the pledge: Don't buy Koch products

Koch industries and its subsidiaries are expansive—their holdings include everything from gas stations to pipelines, paper products for everyday use, greeting cards, chemicals used to make materials, and the fabric that makes your clothing.

With an interest in almost everything and status as the number two privately held company in the country–behind Cargill—Koch industries is a behemoth that is hard to avoid.

But knowledge is power and your dollar is your vote. We can become informed purchasers and refuse to support their political agenda by refusing to purchase their wares.

The internet is a wonderful place, full of handy resources. Start by memorizing and avoiding the brand logos listed, which are commonly found throughout our daily lives. Download the Buycott app on your phone and use it while you shop. Buycott has an interesting connection to the netroots you can read about here.

Do some research. Visit Koch industries, Invista, and Georgia-Pacific to see their broad range of products for home, business, construction, clothing manufacturing, farming materials, and chemical additives. They are into almost everything—including fiber optics!

If you are in charge of ordering office supplies for your business, construction materials for your job site, or products for events, catering, or restaurants—avoid buying from Georgia-Pacific and its smaller subsidiaries.

Use your purchasing power to stop adding to the Koch empire, avoid the following products as much as you can. Please sign the pledge to not buy commonly available Koch products.

List of familiar Koch products and brands:
-American Greetings** (took heavy Koch investment, upwards of $200 million)*UPDATE: MARCH 2015: American Greetings has contacted us to let us know they are no longer traded on NYSE, nor do they have any investment from Koch Ind.
-Angel Soft
-Angel Soft Ultra
-Brawny paper towels
-Dixie products
-Insulair cups
-Mardis Gras napkins
-Perfect Touch cups, paper products
-Quilted Northern
-Sparkle paper towels
-Vanity Fair napkins & paper towels
-Zee Napkins

-Georgia-Pacific Office products
-Spectrum paper
-Georgia-Pacific's enMotion paper towel dispenser
-Georgia-Pacific's engineered lumber

-INVISTA’s PET polymer is used in oxygen-sensitive packaging for food and beverages.
-ADI-PURE® Adipic Acid
-ANTRON® Carpet Fiber
-C12™ Intermediates
-COOLMAX® Fabric
-CORDURA® Fabric
-DACRON® Fiberfill
-DYTEK® Idea Intermediates
-FLEXISOLV® Solvent Solutions
-LYCRA® Fiber
-LYCRA HyFit® Fiber
-OXYCLEAR® Barrier Resin
-SENZAA™ Additive
-SUPPLEX® Fabric
-TACTEL® Fiber
-TECGEN® Garments
-TERATE® Polyols
-TERATHANE® Polyether Glycol
-TERRIN™ Polyols
-TORZEN® PA66 Resin

Koch Fertilizer Company's AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabilizer fertilizer products are used around the world to improve nitrogen efficiency and enhance crop productions.

If you use building materials, be sure to check out the extensive list of Georgia-Pacific building products—including their product app.  

*Disclaimer: The list is a work in progress, we are striving to keep it updated and accurate, please post corrections or additions with citations in the comments.

**Disclaimer: Note that some of these products are made in union facilities by union members. We are working to determine which those are, so you can make your best informed decisions.*

Please sign the pledge to not buy commonly available Koch products.

H/T to users kathybbb, ATexican, PeteInTX, BDA in VA, Melanie in IA, TheNewDeal00, Truth Told Here, workinguy, and geebeebee who've all posted similar information.

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