Beloved Virginia farm takes heat for standing up against white supremacy

Years ago, I used to party with some folks from Centerville, Virgina's Cox Farms, a well-known and well-loved family farm, produce market, and host of an amazing annual Fall Festival. I found them a bright, creative, and fun-loving gaggle of humans who were extremely passionate about food production and building community around food. There was always a sense of mirth and mischief about them, too. Back in the 80s, their T-shirts and bumper stickers read: "You can't lick Cox for fresh produce" and (IIRC) featured a cartoon of a picker holding a basket full of phallic-looking vegetables. They've also displayed messages like: "Dad loves Cox, too!" (for Father's Day) and "We're so excited, we wet our plants!"

No stranger to the negative reaction of their provocative signage, the Cox farmers have created a new round of controversy with their latest series of signs taking a stand against white supremacy and Islamophobia. The response they posted on Facebook is wonderful. It's astonishing that speaking out against white supremacy would be a controversial position, but hey, not here in The Upside Down. Here is their response to the naysayers in the community:

Our little roadside signs have power. Most of the time, they let folks know that our hanging baskets are on sale, that today’s sweet corn is the best ever, that Santa will be at the market this weekend, or that the Fall Festival will be closed due to rain. During the off-season, sometimes we utilize them differently. Sometimes, we try to offer a smile on a daily commute.
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EFF and ACLU sue Trump administration over warrantless border device searches

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties just filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of 11 travellers whose devices were searched at the US border; they assert that warrantless device searches violate the constitutional restriction on searches without probable cause. Read the rest

As anti-Semitic bomb threats continue, ADL office evacuated in San Francisco

The terror attacks against Jewish folks in America continue. No one seems to care.

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Google X engineer writes a bot that turns Trump's tweets into money for Planned Parenthood

Max Braun is the software lead for robotics at Google X. In his spare time he's written a bot that buys and shorts stocks based on Trump's tweets about publicly traded companies. The gains go to the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Resources Defense Council, and Planned Parenthood.

From his Medium post:

What if you wrote some code that constantly monitors Trump’s feed and analyzes each tweet for mentions of publicly traded companies? Then, you’d immediately trade the affected stocks based on the detected sentiment: buy if positive and short if negative. The whole thing could be 100% automated.

I just finished writing a bot which does exactly that. For your convenience, it also tweets out a summary as @Trump2Cash each time it springs into action.

Overall, the algorithm seems to succeed more often than not: The simulated fund has an annualized return of about 59% since inception. There are limits to the simulation and the underlying data, so take it all with a grain of salt.

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It takes 3.5% of a population engaged in sustained nonviolent resistance to topple brutal dictatorships

Erica Chenoweth, co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, says "nonviolent resistance has actually been the quickest, least costly, and safest way to struggle" effectively against dictatorships.

From The Guardian:

In the US on Tuesday, dozens of lawmakers have said they will boycott confirmation votes for Trump nominees. Numerous police departments countrywide have announced that they will not comply with unethical federal policies (particularly regarding deportations). And the federal government employs more than 3 million civil servants – people on whose continued support the US government relies to implement its policies. Many such civil servants have already begun important conversations about how to dissent from within the administration. They, too, provide an important check on power.

The Women’s March on Washington and its affiliated marches – which may have been the largest single-day demonstration in US history – show a population eager and willing to show up to defend their rights.

Of course, nonviolent resistance often evokes brutality by the government, especially as campaigns escalate their demands and use more disruptive techniques. But historical data shows that when campaigns are able to prepare, train, and remain resilient, they often succeed regardless of whether the government uses violence against them.

By Jonathan McIntosh - Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link Read the rest

20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency

Timothy Snyder is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University and author of Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. He wrote a 20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.

5. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.

By Unknown - Item from Record Group 208: Records of the Office of War Information, 1926 - 1951This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 535790. Read the rest