Here are the key senators that could swing the vote either way.
A couple of weeks ago, the Senate tried to sneak a rider onto a spending bill that would give the FBI sweeping new surveillance authority, including warrantless access to browsing history (obtained from ISPs). This measure failed by one vote after thousands of people called their senators using a phone tool we set up at www.decidethefuture.org and 1-919-FREEDOM.
Now, Republican leadership is planning to re-introduce the measure (McCain Amendment 4787) and do a re-vote this week. Even though we won the first time, the razor-thin margin means this upcoming vote could really go either way. It all boils down to a few key senators who are undecided or likely to change their minds. Here’s what we know so far:
Today, Nancy Hollander, lead attorney on Chelsea Manning’s defense team, released the following update about recent reports that Chelsea Manning was hospitalized on July 5:
“The prison has notified us that Chelsea was hospitalized and remains under a doctor’s care. At this time, her doctors are recommending against a call and we are respecting those recommendations but are in close touch with the facility and will continue to monitor her condition and hope to connect with her soon. To protect her privacy, that is all we can say at the moment. Please continue to send Chelsea your good thoughts and messages of support.”
Today, an unnamed official at the Army revealed unverified information relating to Chelsea Manning’s confidential medical status to the media and Nancy Hollander, lead attorney on her defense team, released the following statement:
“We’re shocked and outraged that an official at Leavenworth contacted the press with private confidential medical information about Chelsea Manning yet no one at the Army has given a shred of information to her legal team.
“I had a privileged call scheduled with Chelsea at 2pm Leavenworth time yesterday, after the Army has now said she was hospitalized, but the Army gave the excuse—which I now believe to be an outright lie—that the call could not be connected although my team was waiting by the phone.
“Despite the fact that they have reached out to the media, and that any other prison will connect an emergency call, the Army has told her lawyers that the earliest time that they will accommodate a call between her lawyers and Chelsea is Friday morning. We call on the Army to immediately connect Chelsea Manning to her lawyers and friends who care deeply about her well-being and are profoundly distressed by the complete lack of official communication about Chelsea’s current situation.”
Fight for the Future is a digital rights group that has been supporting Chelsea Manning while in prison. This press release was posted with the approval of her attorneys.
Opponents of anti-democratic trade deal unveil new dates for celebrity concert tour. Diverse lineups vary per city & include Tom Morello, Evangeline Lilly, Jolie Holland, Las Cafeteras, Anti-Flag, & Flobots
Internationally acclaimed hip-hop artist Talib Kweli will perform with a full live band at a free concert at Showbox SoDo in Seattle on August 19th to raise awareness about the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, an anti-democratic “trade” deal that was negotiated in secret with hundreds of corporate advisors. The event is part of the Rock Against the TPPtour, a series of concerts, protests, and teach-ins organized by digital rights group Fight for the Future and Firebrand Records, the new activist record label from Tom Morello and Ryan Harvey. Today, the tour’s organizers also unveiled additional dates on July 30 in San Diego, CA, and August 20 in Portland, OR. The San Diego date features Jolie Holland and rising East LA Chicano band Las Cafeteras. Golden Globe nominated actress Evangeline Lilly(Lost, The Hobbit, Ant-Man) will act as an emcee at all of the events announced so far.
The Rock Against the TPP tour kicks off in Denver on July 23 at an event featuring legendary guitarist Tom Morello(Prophets of Rage, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), popular punk band Anti-Flag (who are also performing at the Seattle and Portland stops.), Denver-based hip-hop outfit Flobots, and buzzworthy bi-lingual rockers Downtown Boys. Activists, musicians, and celebrities are coming together to sound the alarm about the toxic deal, which has little to do with trade, but would provide multinational corporations with new rights and powers that threaten good paying jobs, Internet freedom, the environment, access to medicine, and food safety.
The West Coast tour stops will also feature renowned rock cellist Bonfire Madigan(Kill Rockstars, K Records), Firebrand Records artist bell’s roar, Puerto Rican vocalist Taina Asili, and Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer, the tour’s lead organizer.
“Working people everywhere have had enough,” said Tom Morello, “The TPP is nothing short of a corporate takeover of our democracy. That’s why people are rising up to stop it. Corporate lobbyists want to sneak the TPP through Congress quietly; that means it’s time for us to get loud.”
“This fight against the TPP is not about right and left, it’s about right and wrong,” said Evangeline Lilly, “Whatever you’re passionate about, whether it’s human rights, internet freedom, climate change, or food safety, the TPP is a bad deal for humanity, and a threat to the future of democracy. The more people learn about the TPP, the less they like it. It’s our responsibility to sound the alarm, before it’s too late.”
The Rock Against the TPP Tour is being organized byFight for the Future, the viral Internet freedom group best known for organizing the largest online protests in history against online censorship and in favor of free speech and privacy. Firebrand Records, the new social justice infused record label co-founded by Tom Morello and Ryan Harvey, is acting as the tour’s artistic partner. The roadshow is sponsored and co-organized by a diverse coalition of groups fighting against the corporate power grab that is the TPP, including Citizens Trade Campaign, Communications Workers of America, CREDO, Demand Progress, the International Labor Rights Forum, Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, and the Teamsters.
“The TPP is not a trade deal, it’s a corporate coup––an attack on the future of democracy and free speech,” said Evan Greer, “people from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly oppose it, and we’re going to fight not only to stop the TPP, but to make sure that decisions that affect all of us are never made behind closed doors in the future.”
Additional Rock Against the TPP tour dates and participants will be announced in the coming weeks.
About Talib Kweli: Brooklyn-based MC Talib Kweli earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. After nearly 20 years of releasing mesmerizing music, Talib Kweli stands as one of the world’s most talented and most accomplished Hip Hop artists. Whether working with Mos Def as one-half of Black Star, partnering with producer Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal, releasing landmark solo material or collaborating with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Just Blaze, J Dilla, or Madlib, Kweli commands attention by delivering top-tier lyricism, crafting captivating stories and showing the ability to rhyme over virtually any type of instrumental. In 2011, Kweli founded Javotti Media, which is self-defined as “a platform for independent thinkers and doers.” Kweli has set out to make Javotti Media (which released his 2011 album, Gutter Rainbows, and is named after his paternal grandmother) into a media powerhouse that releases music, films and books.
About Tom Morello: Incendiary rock guitarist and acoustic troubadour Tom Morello, known for his innovative guitar solos and thunderous chords, is a groundbreaking artist whether in his solo career or as an original member of the rock bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, two acts responsible for multiple Grammy Awards and a combined 30 million albums sold worldwide. He’s released four solo albums as The Nightwatchman and formed the band Street Sweeper Social Club with Boots Riley of The Coup in 2009. Morello has also been recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the “100 Greatest Guitar Players of All-Time (#26).” Morello has produced or collaborated with artists of diverse genres including WuTang Clan, Johnny Cash, Tool, John Fogerty, Anti-Flag, Public Enemy, Joe Strummer, Crystal Method, Calle 13, Dave Mathews Band, Johnny Cash, Linkin Park, Travis Barker and Pete Seeger. In addition, he joined Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band for their 2014 world tour in support of Springsteen’s studio album High Hopes (Columbia Records) on which Morello is featured on eight tracks. Most recently, Morello has joined forces with fellow Rage Against The Machine bandmates Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk, as well as Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord to form the band Prophets of Rage. The group came together as a politically charged response to 2016’s tumultuous election year and after three sold-out club shows announced the launch of a 35-city trek across North America this summer.
About Evangeline Lilly: Evangeline Lilly is an actress best known for her role as Kate Austen in LOST and films including The Hurt Locker, Real Steel, The Hobbit and Ant-Man. Evangeline is also a cross-genre writer, who writes for multiple demographics, and is a published author of her children’s book series, The Squickerwonkers. With a background in International Relations and Political Science, Evangeline has long held a passion for social justice and is a strong advocate for Fight for the Future - and for democracy.
About Anti-Flag (performing an acoustic set): After more than 20 years writing smash hits about smashing the state, ANTI-FLAG has cemented themselves as the premiere political punk band around with an unparalleled ability to write high-energy, riffy, fist-pumping, sing-along anthems that never lose sight of the band’s anti-war, anti-imperialism, pro human rights ethos. Equal parts circle pit and picket line, their blistering and earnest live show brings a sense of community to the stage that unites people of all backgrounds and struggles.
About the Flobots: Denver, Colorado’s revolutionary hip-hop act Flobots bring it on real with their signature anthems dedicated to creating a better world. Since forming in 2005, Flobots have released three full length albums, toured throughout the US and Europe, and appeared on late night programs including The Tonight Show and Late Night. Flobots are internationally known for their 2008 platinum single “Handlebars” and widely recognized for using their music as an inspiration for social change.
About Downtown Boys: Downtown Boys are a bilingual political sax punk party from Providence, Rhode Island in the northeast United States. Rolling Stone called them “America’s Most Exciting Punk Band” and NME has declared them a Band to Watch in 2016. They write songs about smashing the prison-industrial complex, racism, queerphobia, capitalism, fascism, boredom, and all things people tell us that try to close our minds, eyes, and hearts. The band is known for their live performances, which are equal parts punk show, political rally, and religious revival. Frontwoman Victoria Ruiz delivers moving speeches between songs, working the crowd into an angry but hopeful frenzy. The songs themselves are delivered with an earnestness, fun, and intensity that’s stunned audiences on their tours throughout North America.
About Fight for the Future: Fight for the Future is a non-profit with more than 1 million members dedicated to defending and expanding the Internet’s transformative power for good. They’re best known for their vibrant, viral campaigns, and for organizing the largest online protests in history against SOPA, for net neutrality, and against mass surveillance. Last year, the group drove tens of thousands of phone calls and emails to Congress opposing the TPP through its StopFastTrack.com coalition page. They also made headlines for flying a 30 foot blimp opposing the TPP over Senator Ron Wyden’s town hall meetings in Oregon. Fight for the Future conceived of the Rock Against the TPP effort, and are leading the organizing of the tour, with support from a wide range of public interest groups, labor unions, and grassroots volunteers.
About Firebrand Records: Firebrand is a bold new project from Ryan Harvey (Riot-Folk) and Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Prophets of Rage) dedicated to the global release and distribution of radical, socially conscious music. In recent years, people around the world have surprised each other with their courage, strength, and willingness to stand against injustice, militarism, and corruption. And where there has been protest, there has been music. Born from these times, Firebrand gives a platform for such voices. We know that music alone does not change the world, but we recognize that it is an integral part of the movements that do.
More than 7,000 websites protest with a slow loading icon made from Europe’s flag, to demand that European Union regulator BEREC get serious about net neutrality. “EU Slowdown” protest runs until July 18th consultation deadline.
On Tuesday June 28th, more than 7,000 websites are joining the “EU Slowdown” to protest loopholes in Europe’s new net neutrality guidelines. These loopholes would let European ISPs sell Internet “fast lanes” to large companies while putting startups and smaller sites in a “slow lane”.
To protest EU rules that would let ISPs slow down websites for profit, these sites are running a spinning “slow loading” version of Europe’s logo, linking to a form where people can submit comments to BEREC, Europe’s regulator. (In the US and India, millions of public comments were instrumental in winning net-neutrality victories.) The “EU Slowdown” protest will continue until the comment deadline, 2pm CEST on July 18th.
The “EU Slowdown” is being organized by Fight for the Future alongside other members of the SaveTheInternet.eu coalition. Fight for the Future played a critical role in organizing the grassroots activism that helped win net neutrality in the US, including Occupy the FCC, Call the FCC, and the Internet Slowdown, a massive online protest in which over 40,000 sites drove over 760,000 comments to the US Federal Communications Commission in one day.
Many of the thousands of sites that are participating are members of the Internet Defense League, a coalition of sites formed after the global protests to stop SOPA that stand at the ready to defend the open Internet against critical threats. Now, this global coalition has less than 20 days to drive a massive number of public comments to EU regulators.
“In the US and India, unprecedented coalitions of activists and small startups came together to win net neutrality,” said Fight for the Future co-founder Holmes Wilson, “Now it’s Europe’s turn to win. Everything is on the line right now, and we have just weeks to make sure regulators don’t sell out Internet users to please the big ISPs.”
“If European regulators don’t close these loopholes, telecom giants will be able to roll out paid fastlanes across Europe,” said Fight for the Future co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng, referring to loopholes in traffic management and specialized services that allow such practices in the current draft guidelines, “European users will suffer the most—as sites they love are forced to pay for special treatment—but the impact on the open Internet will be felt globally, as telecom giants conspire with tech giants to silence competing voices.”