FEATURING ZOE DOLAN - The American criminal justice system is supposed to have built-in checks and balances and the idea of due-process and "innocent until proven guilty," are considered sacrosanct and uniquely American. But, in practice, we've all heard of cases where defendants were wrongfully convicted or sentenced to unreasonably long terms because they couldn't afford an expensive lawyer. Now, an attorney who has served as a court-appointed lawyer has had a ring-side seat to how criminal cases play out in our courts and particularly how judges display bias. She has become a whistleblower and just self-published a lengthy piece about her experiences and her analysis of our system. Read Zoe's article 'Judges Run Amok: An Exposé' on Medium HERE. Zoe Dolan, lawyer based in New York and Los Angeles, who focuses on federal criminal defense and representation in cryptocurrency and new technology projects. Her article on Medium is
FEATURING TABITHA FRONK - The little known mental health field of art therapy received a big attention boost earlier this year when Vice President Mike Pence's wife Karen announced her art therapy initiative. Ms. Pence has apparently worked in the field of art therapy for years focusing on veterans and children. And while the leadership of the American Art Therapy Association has been publicly grateful for her promotion of the field, hundreds of art therapists reject Karen Pence's alliance citing her husband's promotion of cruel policies that impact the very people that art therapists treat for trauma such as refugees, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community. For more information visit Art Therapy for Human Rights Facebook Page HERE and Art Therapy for Social Responsibility, HERE. Tabitha Fronk, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Board Certified Registered Art Therapist and Certified Art Therapy Supervisor. She has worked as an art therapist for
FEATURING EDITH MIRANTE - Pope Francis's visit to Myanmar this week has been marked not by what he said but by what he didn't say. The outspoken religious leader has condemned Myanmar's brutal pogrom against the Rohingya Muslim minority in the past saying, "They have been suffering, they are being tortured and killed, simply because they uphold their Muslim faith." But during his highly anticipated visit to Myanmar he did not mention the word 'Rohingya.' Leading up to the Pope's visit the government of Myanmar had been in talks with neighboring Bangladesh where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been fleeing to in order to escape the latest round of systematic violence, rape, and killing by Myanmar soldiers and others. The talks centered around a "repatriation" agreement that would allow the voluntary return of a hundred thousand Rohingya in exchange for Myanmar's immunity from criminal prosecution. Edith Mirante, Director of
FEATURING HELAINE OLEN - Donald Trump won a legal victory on Tuesday when a US District Court judge sided with his administration over who should lead the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is a relatively new agency envisioned by Elizabeth Warren who is now a progressive Democratic Senator in Massachusetts. Outgoing CFPB Director Richard Cordray had named as his Deputy Director Leandra English who as per the agency's rules was meant to take his place. But Mr. Trump quickly moved to install his favorite - White House Budget Director and long-time critic of the CFPB - Mick Mulvaney to the position. And now the courts have sided with him. Conservatives have turned the CFPB into a political football for years denouncing it as anti-business. Trump himself called the agency a "total disaster" and pronounced the court decision as a "big win for the Consumer." Read Helaine's Washington Post
FEATURING TRISIA FARRELLY - Environmental activists the world over are making major headway in banning the use of so-called micro-beads in personal use products because of the plastic pollution of our rivers and oceans. The UK plans to enforce such a ban next year and many corporations are also voluntarily removing the bizarre exfoliant from their products. But now, people are setting their sights on other sources of micro-plastic pollution, namely glitter. If you have kids who like to craft or if you like to add a little bling to your make-up you're going to want to stay tuned in for this next interview. Read the article on the Independent 'Glitter should be banned over environmental impact, scientists warn' HERE. Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer in the Social Anthropology Programme at the School of People, Environment, and Planning at Massey University Manawatu Campus in New Zealand.
FEATURING SUYAPA PORTILLO - Hondurans are anxiously awaiting official results from elections that took place over the weekend and so far former sports reporter and television presented Salvador Nasralla is leading by 5 points over incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández. The electoral tribunal released partial results on Monday leading Mr. Nasralla's coalition, the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, to begin celebrating victory. But President Hernández's party is convinced of its victory once rural votes are counted. Official election results are expected this Thursday. The elections are a test of Hondurans' tolerance for an era marked by corruption, violence, and dictatorship after a 2009 US-backed coup against democratically elected Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya is backing front-runner Nasralla in this election. Follow Suyapa on twitter @SuyapaPV. Suyapa Portillo, Assistant Professor of Chicano/a-Latino/a Transnational Studies at Pitzer College.
FEATURING CHRIS MYERS ASCH - It is ironic that our nation's capital is an exception when it comes to voting rights and elected representatives. It is also ironic that government officials based in Washington DC are largely white while DC itself and especially surrounding neighborhoods and cities are dominated by blacks. There is a rich history around race, colonization, slavery, and freedom in DC and that history has been told in a powerful new book called Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital. Chris Myers Asch, editor of Washington History and teaches history at Colby College. He is the co-author with George Derek Musgrove of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital.
FEATURING ERNESTO FALCON - Just days before Thanksgiving the Federal Communications Commission published its plan to repeal rules protecting so-called "net neutrality." FCC chairman Ajit Pai who was once a lawyer for the telecomm giant Verizon, has championed the rollback writing in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed that net neutrality rules are a, "burdensome regulation," that have, "failed consumers and businesses alike." The 5-person panel will vote on the rule change on December 14 and the decision is expected to be 3-2 in favor of undoing net neutrality. One of the commissioners voting against it is Jessica Rosenworcel who wrote her own op-ed in the LA Times saying, "There is something not right about a few unelected FCC officials making such vast determinations about the future of the internet." On Monday about 200 tech companies including Twitter and Pinterest sent a letter to the FCC urging the agency to preserve net
FEATURING RAMESH SRINIVASAN - Once upon a time, the Internet was heralded as the great equalizer across class, the harbinger of freedom, openness, transparency, and democracy. And during moments like Occupy Wall Street or the Arab Spring revolts, that seemed almost true. But today revelations about pervasive government spying exposed through Edward Snowden's revelations, and election interference by outside actors in the US's 2016 elections, has left many of us with far less confidence about the Internet's ability to make the world better. Although our ever-improving digital technologies were supposed to erase social and economic divides, it seems as though the Internet simply reinforces such divides. Can we strengthen people's power through the Internet, or should we foist our requirements of justice and equality onto the Internet in order to make it work for us? Ramesh Srinivasan, Director of the Digital Cultures Lab and Associate Professor of Information Studies and Design
Long-time television host Charlie Rose has been suspended from his CBS News show this week in the wake of allegations by 8 women who said they had been groped by him, or been subjected to unwanted sexual advances. Meanwhile Democratic Senator Al Franken has been hit with new allegations by a woman who says he groped her in 2010, after he was already an elected official. Glenn Thrush, a prominent New York Times reporter has also been suspended after being accused of sexual misconduct. Rose, Franken, and Thrush join a growing list of prominent men who have been exposed as sexual predators since the revelations around Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein came to light. The Weinstein revelations sparked a massive online social movement under the banner of #MeToo by women who have courageously begun to share the pervasive sexism and assault that they have been subjected to for decades. Many hope