A little Halloween ditty from Allen Ginsberg, Paul McCartney, and Philip Glass. First published in 1995, and recorded in 1996. Ginsberg died one year later.
‘The Ballad of the Skeletons”
The American political climate from which it arose bears a striking resemblance to the one we’re living in today. “I started it,” Ginsberg told Harvey Kubernik of The Los Angeles Times in 1996, “because of all that inflated bull about the family values, the ‘contract with America,’ Newt Gingrich and all the loudmouth stuff on talk radio, and Rush Limbaugh and all those other guys. It seemed obnoxious and stupid and kind of sub-contradictory, so I figured I’d write a poem to knock it out of the ring.”
🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻 🕸️🎃👻
H A P P Y
Président de la République française.
For the first time, the TIME logo on the magazine’s cover has been replaced with another word: VOTE.
This election we decide if we want to keep the America we believe in and hope for, or the America we have become. Choose wisely. Be the bridge.
As of Saturday, 26,000,000 of us have voted early!
Keep going. We’re doing this.
Matt Rivitz is a founder of Sleeping Giants, a crowd-sourced anti-bigotry and corporate responsibility campaign that started on Twitter as a reaction the intense racism sexism and xenophobia found on Breitbart News on the heels of the 2016 Presidential Election.
The Campaign has exploded, with over a million followers across Twitter and Facebook and Sleeping Giants chapters in 11 other countries and territories including the EU, France, Brazil and Australia, each fight against bigotry and disinformation in media sources in their own countries.
Besides being responsible for now over 4,200 advertiser deciding to leave Breitbart News, Sleeping Giants has also been partially or fully responsible fo the majority of advertisers leaving Bill O’Reilly’s former show on Fox News which resulted in his firing; the departure of dozens of advertisers from Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News after a series of anti-Immigrant and racist segments; the removal of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones across nearly every major social platform from YouTube to Facebook and even the “Sleeping giants Amendment”, signed in law in France requiring transparency in advertising placement. Additionally, Sleeping Giants is a founding member of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, asking for broader responsibility around hate and disinformation on Facebook and Matt personally sits on the Real Facebook Oversite Board, which serves as a check on Facebook’s current oversight boards decisions.
Anonymous until July 17, 2018, Matt’s identity was exposed without his permission by website The Daily Caller, resulting in a coordinated harassment campaign by white supremacists on social media including death threats against his children and wife and staved off a threatened lawsuit by Breitbart News.
Matt continues to lead sleeping Giants as it moves into broader missions around the health of the Internet and social platforms and overall corporate responsibility while continuing his work as a freelance copywriter in advertising.
Just after the 2016 election, an anonymously run Twitter account emerged with a plan to choke off advertising dollars to Breitbart News, the hard-edge, nationalist website closely tied to President Trump’s administration.
The account, named Sleeping Giants, urged people to collect screenshots of ads on Breitbart and then question brands about their support of the site. Sleeping Giants correctly guessed that many companies did not know where their digital ads were running, and advertisers were caught off guard as the account circulated images of blue-chip brands in proximity to headlines like “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
As hundreds of brands blocked their ads from appearing on Breitbart, and the account expanded to put pressure on certain Fox News shows, the people behind Sleeping Giants maintained their anonymity — until this week.
Matt Rivitz, a freelance copywriter in San Francisco who has worked with a range of advertisers, was identified as the account’s creator against his wishes on Monday by The Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion website co-founded by the Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Mr. Rivitz, 45, confirmed the report on Twitter, where Sleeping Giants has more than 160,000 followers. He runs the account with Nandini Jammi, 29, a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant, along with other still anonymous contributors.
“The way it happened sucks, but I’m super proud of this thing and of all the people who worked on it and all the people who followed it,” Mr. Rivitz said in his first interview since his involvement in the account was revealed. “We’re happy that we made advertisers think a little bit and realize what they’re supporting.”
Mr. Rivitz did not expect to rock the ad and media worlds with Sleeping Giants, which he viewed as an apolitical crusade against hate speech. While he is a registered Democrat, he said he had never been politically active outside of attending “maybe two marches pre-election.” Most of his work for advertisers was focused on television commercials and did not involve social media. He wasn’t a particularly active Twitter user.
But Mr. Rivitz said he was struck by what he viewed as “incredibly bigoted and racist and sexist” content on Breitbart News, including in its comment sections, after his first visit to the site in November 2016. The site had gained prominence because of its ties to Stephen K. Bannon, its former chairman, who was Mr. Trump’s chief strategist.
“I was pretty amazed at the stuff they were printing, and my next thought, being in advertising, was, ‘Who is knowingly supporting this stuff?’” he said. “I thought maybe it would be two to three companies, and I quickly realized within a couple hours it was all placed programmatically.”
Mr. Rivitz was referring to the automated systems that place most online ads and tend to target consumers based on who they are, rather than which site they are visiting.
“It didn’t seem like the advertisers would want to be there,” he said. “I just set up this anonymous Twitter handle and set up an anonymous email and just went for it, because I wanted to contact one advertiser — a progressive loan company from San Francisco.” (The company, Social Finance, quickly pulled its ads.)
Brian Glicklich, a spokesman for Breitbart, said, “The specific allegations they make about our content being racist, sexist or bigoted are false.”
Sleeping Giants contributed to a broader industry reckoningaround how the automated placement and scale of online ads could fund toxic content and extremism. It also highlighted the challenges that companies face in controlling where their ads end up.
Early on, it flagged an advertisement from Workable, a start-up that sells recruiting software, above the Breitbart headline “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.” A screenshot made its way to Nikos Moraitakis, Workable’s chief executive, who said he “nearly had a heart attack” when he saw it. The company, which appeared on the site through one of the Google companies that broker web ads, added Breitbart to its “opt out” list.
The account also gained attention when it highlighted the presence of Kellogg’s ads on Breitbart, which resulted in the breakfast cereal company’s blacklisting the site. In response, Breitbart attempted a #DumpKelloggs campaign.
Mr. Rivitz said the idea behind Sleeping Giants was to inform advertisers, rather than to force boycotts. Breitbart News saw the account’s mission differently.
“Sleeping Giants’ political playbook is to attack opposing speech through harassment and false claims to try to drive it out of business,” Mr. Glicklich said. “They and others have failed at this every time it has been attempted. Democracy flourishes from more conversation, not less, which is why Matt Rivitz’s speech suppression through economic force is among the most reviled techniques of coercion.”
Shortly after Mr. Rivitz started the account, it caught the attention of Ms. Jammi, an American who lives in Berlin. She also visited Breitbart after the election and was startled to see ads from major companies there, thanks to her browsing history. Mr. Rivitz contacted Ms. Jammi through Twitter after seeing a post she had written for Medium on how marketers could blacklist Breitbart, and the two joined forces.
Ms. Jammi, who said her previous interest in politics had amounted to nothing more than following the news, discussed anonymity “early and often” with Mr. Rivitz.
“Initially, we were kind of freaked out at the alt-right influence, and, obviously, one of our primary concerns was staying safe,” she said.
Knowledge of their involvement was limited to a tight circle of family and friends. Mr. Rivitz and Ms. Jammi, who have met in person once, said they each spent three to eight hours a day on Sleeping Giants — posting tweets and corresponding with companies and advertisers — while working at their day jobs. They were vague about how many other people help run the account and its Facebook page, citing privacy concerns and threats.
Since Sleeping Giants got its start, a great number of brands have taken steps to make sure that they do not appear on Breitbart. The site had about 649 advertisers on its website last month, showing around 1,902 different display ads, according to data from Moat Pro, a digital ad intelligence product. That was down from 3,300 advertisers and 11,500 display ads in November 2016. (Sleeping Giants’ count of departed advertisers is closer to 4,000.)
As Sleeping Giants expanded, it broadened its mission to making “bigotry and sexism less profitable” over all. In April 2017, it rallied its following to join the widespread pressure on companies that advertised on “The O’Reilly Factor” after The New York Times reported that Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News show’s host, had settled with at least five women who had accused him of harassment. This year, the account added to the pressure on brands whose commercials appeared on “The Ingraham Angle,” the Fox News show hosted by Laura Ingraham, after she ridiculed a student survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.
Critics have accused Sleeping Giants of engaging in a form of censorship, a criticism that Mr. Rivitz rejected.
“There are plenty of conservative- and liberal-leaning news organizations that are doing everything in good faith and are talking about policy without bringing divisiveness and racism into it, and that’s where the break is with some of these websites,” he said.
He added that he had received a barrage of threats and harassment in the wake of the Daily Caller article, which also named his wife and friends.
Ms. Jammi, who was not named by The Daily Caller, said she wasn’t sure what kind of harassment to expect, now that her role had been made public. She added that she hoped the attention would raise scrutiny of the big-tech platforms that kept advertisers in the dark.
“Breitbart is where we started, but ultimately the problem is not Breitbart or The Daily Caller — the problem is the tech companies,” Ms. Jammi said. “I fully support that right for them to write whatever they want. What I have a problem with is Facebook and Twitter monetizing it.”
Mr. Rivitz said the Sleeping Giants community had grown so robust that he felt like an administrator. Still, he said, its mission remains the same.
“People can use their free speech to say whatever they want and print whatever they want, and that’s what makes this country great,” Mr. Rivitz said, “but it doesn’t mean they need to get paid for it, especially by an advertiser who didn’t know they were paying for it.”
As wonderful and idealistic as our younger generation is, it does not vote in large enough numbers. If young people voted at the same rates as older people, they could transform this country.
As DT visited the Supreme Court, crowds waiting to pay their respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg booed him, chanting “vote him out” and “honor her wish.” [NPR]
We will, Ruth. We will.
“Trump on trial.
With Justice Ginsburg presiding.”
Follow the link to learn how to vote in your state.
Healthy Voting helps you find healthy, secure, and safe ways to cast your ballot this year. Healthy voting practices protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the spread of COVID-19.
Your voting options depend on your state as well as deadlines for mail voting, early voting, and voting in-person on Election Day.
This site’s guidance is based on advice from leading public health experts as well as the latest updates to state election law. Healthy Voting focuses on statewide primary and general elections. [You can track your ballot online, too.]
Online Voting Wasn’t Ready for 2020. Don’t Count on It Anytime Soon.
- Rather than immediately trying to confront the difficult problem of end-to-end verifiability of online voting, the industry and researchers may instead focus on first developing and deploying end-to-end verifiable in-person and mail-in voting systems. Microsoft’s ElectionGuard is one such readily available open-source resource for end-to-end verifiable in-person elections. Working to deploy such software, and fielding similar solutions for mail-in ballots, offers a tangible path to improving election security.
“What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it’s grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.” Congressman & Civil Rights Leader – Rep. John Lewis
‘We need to stand together so we can be one.’
Tell them Ruth and Rep. Lewis sent you.
Roe v. Wade.
The right to join a union.
It’s the right inside the wrong.
- September 18: National Black Voter Day
- September 22: National Voter Registration Day
- September 29: First Presidential Debate
- October 5: Voter Education Week
- October 7: Vice Presidential Debate
- October 15: Second Presidential Debate
- October 22: Third Presidential Debate
- October 24: Vote Early Day
- November 3: Election Day
The primaries are over. Conventions went virtual. Ballots are being printed as we speak. Election season is in full swing. This election will be the most consequential of our time, so below you’ll find 10 simple steps and resources to make sure you’re ready to flex your constitutional muscle. And if you can vote early, please do.
National Association of Secretaries of State
When We All Vote
The Washington Post
Power The Polls
We The Action
Time to Vote
‘Imagine if five months ago, Americans not only got a signal from their government that they should wear masks, but even had them handed to them. Incalculable loss — human and economic — could have been avoided.’
[Image: Indivisible Team]
Follow the link to find out how to vote in your state. Easy to use and understand.
Mask usage in the U.S. has landed at 45%.
A screaming, spreading wake-up call
All the biggest threats to America — most of them predicted, if not known, well in advance — are unfolding before our eyes, in real-time, in unmistakable ways, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei writes.
Why it matters: It’s as if God or the galaxy, or whatever you believe in, are screaming for politicians and the public to pop our bubbles and pay attention — and believe our eyes.
Misinformation: Every day brings new stories of other nations manipulating social media — and Americans refusing to believe scientists or experts about factual news, coronavirus prevention, global warming, vaccines and established truth.
Think about the number of educated people in your own life who share fake stories or believe B.S.
Racial reckoning: Protests in America are the biggest since 1968, after literally decades of warnings about needed policing and economic reforms.
Social media has illuminated the injustices, and exacerbated the anger.
Global warming: It’s nearly impossible to find a scientist who doesn’t agree that a warming planet has contributed to the wildfires destroying big slices of California, Oregon and Washington.
“Combined, the states have seen nearly five million acres consumed by fire — a land mass approaching the size of New Jersey,” the N.Y. Times reports.
The record-setting blazes have been “made worse, scientists say, by the climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. Such disasters will only become worse as the planet continues to warm.”
Let this sink in: 18 of the warmest 19 years have occurred since 2001, according to NASA. We just experienced the warmest decade ever. And six of the biggest 20 fires in California historyare burning now.
A fast-rising China: Every year, China grows bigger and more powerful, most recently seizing control of Hong Kong and trying to buy allies at U.S. expense.
Xi Jinping said this week that China’s progress in fighting the virus, including reopening schools, has “fully demonstrated the clear superiority of Communist Party leadership and our socialist system.” (N.Y. Times) This is the message Beijing is spreading to other world leaders and their own people, as China seeks to displace America as the great global power.
The pandemic: Our response, infection rate and death count show in irrefutable terms that America, despite the best universities and innovators, is far from the top in controlling the coronavirus.
What’s next: The good news is that America still produces and attracts many of the world’s brightest minds.
Somehow, these minds need to reclaim a shared definition of truth, and help adapt our biggest institutions to combat fast-growing collisions of politics + technology/science + misinformation.
In Oregon, dozens are reported missing; officials prepare for ‘mass fatality incident’
Dr. Anthony Fauci/CNN & MSNBC:
Dr. Anthony Fauci said it could be the end of 2021 before life gets back to how it was before Covid-19.
“If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to Covid, it’s going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021,” Fauci said Friday.
A vaccine will help, but there are caveats, Fauci said in a series of interviews Friday.
A coronavirus vaccine by Election Day? Probably not. Here’s why
Fauci has said repeatedly that it’s possible at least one of the vaccines being tested could get emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration by the end of this year or early next year. But it won’t be available to everyone immediately.
“By the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccinations, and you get the majority, or more, of the population vaccinated and protected, that’s likely not going to happen to the mid or end of 2021,” he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
One stumbling block — keeping the vaccines cold. Most of the experimental coronavirus vaccines must be kept frozen. Speaking during a Friends of the Global Fight webinar earlier on Friday, Fauci said, “One of the things that’s always an issue is the cold storage issue, and the ‘cold chain’ that is so often required.”
Plus, people are not always doing what they should do to control the spread of the virus, even now, Fauci said.
“When you’re dealing with a situation that requires behavioral change, we in the United States have a significant issue that I’m very disappointed in,” Fauci said during the webinar.
“It was stunning to me … that in some states and cities and counties, you would see television clips of people crowded indoors at bars, which is a superspreading event if you ever saw it.”
Young people may think they are not going to get dangerously ill, and get careless, Fauci said.
“But what they forget is their societal responsibility to not propagate the outbreak because if they get infected, they’re likely going to infect someone else who then might infect someone who really is vulnerable and will have a serious severe consequence.”
After record low flu season in Australia, US hopes for the same
And people are spreading misinformation, making the virus even harder to fight.
Fauci also cautioned that just because coronaviruses are in the spotlight, people should not forget the flu.
“The one thing I’ve learned throughout the years is don’t put anything past the flu — don’t take anything for granted.”
Flu Vaccine Finder
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Your Rights, Your Vote
This November, whether you choose to vote by mail or at your polling place, you have rights when making your voice heard. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you decide
to cast your ballot in person:
To learn more about your rights while traveling, working, protesting, and more, visit aclu.org/kyr.
Me, too. Exhausted.
Everyday endless push notifications reminding us that We the People are getting close to falling off the existential cliff that is our American experiment.
We can’t look away from any of it.
Joe Biden’s campaign and the DNC raised $70 million during the convention.
— 122M people watched, including 35M streams. Another 128M views across Biden/convention social
— 1.1 million people texted 30330
— 700K uniques on IWillVote
We can do this. YOU can do this.
Our latest institution to be attacked and depleted is the United States Postal Service. This one must hold our focus beyond the explosive 24 hour news cycle.
Make a plan. Request an absentee ballot now. And vote early.
Eye On Sun Valley
Voting Options Questioned Due to Post Office Chaos, Pandemic
by Karen Bossick
How to vote?
That’s the all-consuming question with just 77 days left until the 2020 November election.
The U.S. Postal Service has warned that it may not be able to get ballots to election offices in time because of lags in mail delivery. And it’s anyone’s guess at this point whether Wood River Valley residents will be able to vote in-person.
The Blaine County Election Office will begin early voting at the courthouse on Tuesday, Oct. 13, provided the county is not seeing a surge in coronavirus that would cause the office to be closed to the public.
Hailey Postmaster Ken Quigley has been praised by those at Blaine County’s Election Office for going out of his way to gather ballots by hand and deliver them to the Election office as deadlines approach.
This is what it’s going to take as voter suppression continues, all of us to do what we can to protect votes.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has reportedly removed mail processing equipment, eliminated overtime and slowed some mail delivery. DeJoy, who is reported to have financial stakes with competitors of the U.S. Post Office, has been accused of trying to handicap the Post Service to hinder mail-in voting.
The Guardian: DeJoy, conceded on Friday [August 21] he had implemented recent changes that led to mail delays at the USPS but said he would not reverse the decision to remove mail equipment ahead of the election.
DeJoy has moved to the top of the deplorable list, and while the Senate remains silent & Congress cries foul…and does nothing…We the People know what we have to do and encourage everyone in our communities to do:
V O T E
Dayle’s Community Cafe started posting about the post office and the GOP plot to diminish and privatize our sacred institution.
Before they declared their independence, the American colonists decided that they needed a better way to communicate with one another. In the summer of 1775, at the Second Continental Congress, they created the Postal Service and named Benjamin Franklin its first Postmaster General. Where before letters or packages had to be carried between inns and taverns or directly from house to house, now there was a way for Americans to safely, discreetly, and reliably correspond across long distances. After the Revolution, when Congress ratified the Articles of Confederation, legislators included the Post Office in the ninth of those articles, and later enshrined it in the first article of the Constitution.
The Founders saw the Postal Service as an essential vehicle for other rights, especially the freedom of the press: one of the first postal laws set a special discounted rate for newspapers. But they also understood that a national post unifies a nation, allowing its citizens to stay connected and connecting them with their federal government. When Alexis de Tocqueville toured the young country several decades after its founding, he travelled partly by mail coach, noting in “Democracy in America” how “the mail, that great link between minds, today penetrates into the heart of the wilderness.”
Senator Bernie Sanders was talking about re-establishing banking services at the post office to help lower income and Americans and strengthen the middle class. I had hopes about developing community communication centers at post offices, newspapers and local non-profit community radio stations. Instead, now we’re just trying to save the institution.
“Abraham Lincoln was U.S. postmaster and a storekeeper in the original version of this restored building in New Salem, Illinois.” -Historian Michael Beschloss
Senator Sanders: “We have a president who has admitted that he is trying to destroy the Postal Service to prevent people from voting. This election is about whether we retain our democracy. […] I stand with Danny Glover. We will not let Trump destroy a generational source of good, unionized jobs for Black Americans. We will save and expand the U.S. Postal Service—not privatize it.”
The founders were right to realize that the Postal Service isn’t only a way of moving thoughts and goods from every corner of America to any other, but also a way of uniting one of the largest and most diverse nations in the world. At a time when too few things connect us as a country, and too few of us have faith in our public institutions, we can’t afford to lose the one we trust the most. -Casey Cep, May 2020
Author Ari Berman:
USPS ordered to remove 671 mail sorting machines under DeJoy:
59 in Florida
58 in Texas
34 in Ohio
30 in Pennsylvania
26 in Michigan
15 in North Carolina
12 in Virginia
12 in Wisconsin
11 in Georgia
Really, how did we get here?
Maybe, collectively, what we’ve realized is that democracy is fragile and progress is not permanent. And 44 million people can not choose not to vote…like in 2016.
“We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too because we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.”
DNC in the summer of 1960.
From her book The Moral Basis of Democracy [1940/2016]:
“Therefore, as their elders leave the stage, it remains for youth to find a way to face the domestic situation, to meet the conditions which confront their country in its relationship with the other countries of the world” (p. 43).
The democratic theory of government and of life in a democracy opposes one-man rule, and holds to the belief that the individual controls his government through active participation in the process of political democratic government, but bows to the ill of the majority, free expressed” (italics mine) (p.7).
Hillary Clinton won the election by 2,864,974 votes. A handful of Electoral College members voted against the popular vote to put a man, wholly unqualified, into the presidency.
“…it remains for youth to find a way to face” this assault on the majoritive. If you register and VOTE, you will give the democratic process back to the American people.
Please. Vote. And find five friends to register. We need you. This country needs you.
NOVEMBER 3, 2020
“We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too because we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.”
“Mark your calendars. Everything you need to know about mail-in and early in-person voting, including the first day you can cast your ballot in the 2020 election.”
P L A N Y O U R V O T E