Russell Brand: why voting is not working and why he’s calling for change

 

 

While most actors avoid telling their own opinions and just comply with the rules of their movie companies, Russell Brand tells it how it is. Whether you love or hate him or whether you don’t really care about him as an actor or comedian, his opinions are not something we should ignore.

This actor is widely known for his Hollywood movies, however his behaviour is not very Hollywood like. In an interview with Jeremy Paxman from BBC show, Newsnight, Russell has expressed his opinion on voting, corporations and on what people should do to change the current disastrous economical and political situation.

First of all, Russell has recognised that voting never helped countries, because well, maybe because politicians did what they wanted anyway, no matter what the population has decided.  If we changed our leaders, why did our situation not improve? Maybe, because all politicians are in the same pot and they just pretend to be against each other to make us falsely believe that we are in a true democracy? Talking about voting, Russell said:

 

“I don’t think it’s working very well Jeremy, given that the planet is  being destroyed, given that there is economic disparity of a huge degree.

 

I’m not voting out of apathy, but I’m not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery  and deceit of the political class that is being going on from generation now.”

“I don’t think it works”

“ The apathy doesn’t come from us the people, the apathy comes from the politicians. They are only interested in serving the needs of the corporations.”

 

We might think, is he right or is he telling lies? How do we know that politicians are serving the needs of corporations?  Well, if we do a bit of research we find out that in USA, a former Monsanto lawyer (Clarence Thomas) is now a supreme court Judge and the US Secretary of Agriculture (Anne Veneman) was also in the Board of Directors of Monsanto’s corporation, both pushing biotechnology agriculture ( that has been forbidden in other countries).

However, these are not the only issues that Russell brought in discussion.

 

“ The planet is being destroyed, we are creating an underclass, we are exploiting poor people all over the world and there are genuinely legitimate problems that people are not being addressed by our political class.”

We might think how could these things happen in highly developed countries, how could there be such a big difference in wealth between rich and poor? And who and what causes it?

“I think there is a huge disparity between rich and poor, where 300 Americans have the same amount of wealth as their 85 million poorest Americans, where there is an exploited under served underclass being continually ignored, where welfare is slashed”

 

But, finally, discussing it will not bring anyone anywhere, unless someone brings out a solution. Russell Brands’s idea calls for a big change.

 

“ I’m calling for change. I’m calling for genuinely alternatives.”

“We know voting will make no difference”.

“A socialist egalitarian system based on the massive distribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations and massive responsibility for energy companies and any company exploiting the environment.I think the very concept of profit should be hugely reduced. Profit is a filthy word because everywhere there is profit there is deficit”

While media is feeding us all the time with reality TV, celebrity useless news and superficial information, they forget to mention the protests around the world, the protests against Monsanto, the latest large protests against fracking in UK, Poland and Romania. Few celebrities mention what real people want and need. However, luckily, we have the internet to express ourselves, to use it as a tool in spreading our opinions, to make changes and to spread the truth.

 

This movement is already occurring, it’s happening everywhere,”. “We’re in a time when communication is instantaneous and there are communities all over the world. The Occupy movement made a difference even if in that it only introduced into the popular public lexicon the idea of the 1 percent versus the 99 percent. People for the first time in a generation are aware of massive corporate and economic exploitation. These things are not nonsense and these are subjects that are not being addressed.”

In conclusion, we all can do something to make our future better, to be more conscious.

“Aren’t you bored? And you’ve been talking year after year, listening to their lies, their nonsense […]but the problems continue? Why are we going to continue to contribute to this facade?”

 

You can watch the full interview here

 

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Thousands of Romanians take the streets to demonstrate against the exploitation of Rosia Montana. National televisions are silent.

08.09.2013. European Union. Romania.

A democratic country that claims to be free. A country where you can vote, you can speak freely without censorship or discrimination. A country where you can travel without restrictions.

However, what happened in the last week shows what democracy means lately. Corporations that take over the land, force people to move, lose their jobs, pollute their environment, poison their bodies. More than that, they buy the silence of local media.

A country that more than twenty years ago fought for freedom, found itself fighting again for freedom.

What is this about?

Thousands of people gathered to demonstrate in 8 cities  against the exploitation of Rosia Montana by Rosia Montana Gold Corporations ( Gabriel Resources, a Canadian company is the biggest stakeholder) because the company wants to exploit the area to dig for gold. The project will involve

  • forcefully taking owned land from the local people in order to exploit the area
  • destroying four mountains
  • a cyanide lake will be formed in the area. The water will obviously infiltrate in the land, polluting the environment, infiltrating in the water and thus affecting local people’s health.

The movement for saving this area has been taking place for 15 years already but recently it has grown in popularity. National televisions have been showing adverts that encourage the exploitation of this area ( adverts paid obviously by the Canadian company) and the same televisions have ignored the demonstrations that have taken over Romania. It is believed politicians have been bought as they have been trying to push laws for the exploitation of Rosia Montana.

However, people are not discouraged. Thanks to social media, the movement is spreading. More than that, despite local media’s silence, international media has reported on the case and named the movement the ” Romanian autumn”.

If you want to help sign here to convince the Romanian Environment ministry to cancel this project.

Why is Miley Cyrus more important, for CNN, than Syrian conflicts?

 

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We wonder sometimes why certain news that have no importance in our lives, end up on the front page of the newspapers and why vital news is ignored or put on the last page and given little detail.

I often used to consider journalists a sort of heroes, because some of them risked their lives to get into dangerous areas and investigate stories to let us know the truth. They were a combination of intelligence and courage. Which is quite rare. I believe not by mistake Superman’s real life job was in the journalism field. We all believe that there is a small Superman in every journalist.

However, in recent years, media have let us down. And I believe, we realised this because of the media citizen, because of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites where the normal every day citizen posted real news, photos and videos that contradicted the official traditional news or that were completely ignored by the media.

On 26 August, 2013 I  read on the Onion website (which I am aware that is a satire news website) an article from a CNN editor( see the article here). It was not actually written by the CNN editor, but it was attributed to her. Nevertheless, what the article states could be attributed to all media today.

In the article the editor explained why such a serious news website put Miley Cyrus’s shocking performance( dancing half naked on the stage while doing some sexual moves) at the VMA’s on its front cover and serious news such as the Syrian conflicts were cast aside.

It’s all about the money, money,money

The conclusion is, as one famous song states” it’s all about the money, money, money”.  Miley Cyrus’s article attracted a huge number of viewers. More than the Syrian conflicts articles and more than the Egypt unrest.

But to get even a bigger number of viewers, the editor chose to put the video from the performance ( which again brought more money due to the advertisements added to the video) and more pictures so they will make you spend more time on the page. Because you see, if we stay more on the page, the website will be able to get even more money from the advertisers and attract bigger companies to advert and again…bring more money.

Then, you wonder if CNN does this type of things, what to expect from not so pretentious news websites? Will news be believable anymore if the purpose is to bring them money? Is this journalism anymore or is it just business? Where is the ethics?

There is still hope in the non journalists

With all this media business going on I think there is still hope and that is because of  the media citizen that does not care about the money, but about the truth. The blogger, the twitterer, any person that comments and wakes people up about what really happens in the world, any activist and campaigner that does not lose hope- these people are our hope.

 

 

 

Twitter, celebrities, lies and the truth

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Free twitter badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you watch TV and commercials are coming on, you probably change the channel, go to the fridge or find something else to do. Because you know their purpose, it is clear as the sky can be.

You are not fooled and you know what’s going on.

But what about when you go online? Can you recognize all the adverts? Sure, you can. How about the hidden adverts? Can you recognise those?

If you are not sure, just think about the last time when you read a celebrity tweet or Facebook post and they mentioned how much they liked some food they ate at a restaurant or how much they loved their new shoes that they purchased in a certain store. Sure, it made you want to go there and buy that whatever thing because the product suddenly looked better because that celebrity tried it.

But you would think , aren’t celebrities allowed to tweet about things they like and what they don’t like? Of course, they are, just like any other person. And sometimes they probably do.

But the truth is…

The majority of celebrity tweets that mention a product (even if it seems innocent and it does not look like advertisement at all) are actually paid.

Some get paid ( according to socialmediatoday.com and wetpaint.com ) as much as

13,000 dollars per tweet (Kim Khardashian)

 3,250 dollars ( Mike Tyson)

 3,500 dollars (Lindsay Lohan)

975 dollars (Lisa Rinna)

There are also moments when celebrities are not paid, but instead get a free pack of goodies and they tweet about it. While celebrities get plenty of freebies and tweet about it or wear it, the companies earn a lot of profit from almost free advetisment ( because a freebie might cost them about 2,000 dollars comparing to a TV commercial that would cost 2.5 million dollars per minute during the Superbowl or 1 million dollar in air time).

So, should I hate these people?

This does not mean that you should start on hating your beloved singers, actors, actresses or other celebrities. However, you should be careful in following their words or recommendations. When purchasing a product, I believe it’s best to make a wise, informed decision, whether you buy a car or a piece of gum.

Turkey protests- tweeting through the violence

For the last few days Turkey was the scene of violent clashes between protesters and authorities. In the first days of protests the traditional media was silent and people outside Turkey did not know much about what was going on. Except if you were quite active on Facebook and Twitter. However after a few days due to intense social media activity, the news spread fast. Still, some of the traditional media did not report anything or just reported what the officials say. Pictures did emerge. But some of the information that was transmitted through the media conflicted with what people on the streets of Turkey reported on social media.

This is how the story happened.

On Friday morning, clashes began between a few peaceful protesters and the police. The protesters were demonstrating against the destruction of the last park of Istanbul to make way for the building of a mall. From these clashes, the demonstrations spread across the country and took a more political turn, the protesters beginning to demonstrate against an authoritarian government.

The response from the police was pretty violent compared to the peaceful protests. As pictures emerged, it was revealed that police was firing with expired gas and used water cannons. Over 900 people got arrested, several got injured and two reported dead (according to english.ruvru.ru). Apparently Turkish media was ignoring the protests, as Twitter user Michael Calderone twitted:

“CNN International covers the Gezi protests while CNN Turkey shows cooking shows.”

Twitter and Facebook was otherwise full with reports from protesters who noticed that their media were ignoring them and were asking people from around the world to contact the big media corporations in order to report their story. 

Turkish protesters appealed to social media users to bring attention to media all over the world

 

Today it seem the things calmed down and BBC reported that police have withdrawn from the Taksim square, the main area of the protests. Twitter users around the world have showed support for the Turkish protesters by posting pictures of people holding papers that said ” Turkey you are not alone”.

People unite against corporations- a small step for activists, a big step for mankind

Yesterday, 25.05.2013 an international march against Monsanto corporation took place.

Traditional media was silent and even reporting superficial weekend news, news that just fill in the space, the type of “ monkey plays the banjo” news. However, social media was full with Monsanto news, people were sharing pictures, video and information about the march and Monsanto. From Twitter we found out that in over 400 cities around the world people were marching peacefully in the streets. You could say that good things are under way, people start to be aware of what is happening around them and they start to take action.

Now if you don’t know much about Monsanto, you can Google it, however there is a lot of information out there that might confuse you.

On one hand Monsanto claims that they revolutionise agriculture by inventing all types of hybrid seeds that will bring you faster and richer crops, they will give you special chemicals to kill the bad seeds that affect your cultures.

On the other hand, if you look into their history you find out that they have been involved in:

– quite a few lawsuits, involving especially independent farmers, for claiming for seed patent violations,

-they’ve been involved in lawsuits regarding polluting the environment and affecting people’s health (Alabama, 2003, Wales, UK, 2011),

-with bribing government officials in relation to genetically modified cotton ( Indonesia 2005).

Monsanto was also involved in several lawsuits in Argentina, Brazil, China, Haiti and India ( where crop failure brought farmers suicides) and has been reported to have several connections to officials in governments.

If the international marching will bring changes internationally is unknown, however one good thing will bring and that is awareness.

Don’t worry be happy…about the news

Whenever the evening news comes, as a viewer you start to get the impression that the whole world is in crisis: crimes of all sorts, corrupt politicians, pollution, you start to get the impression that life really is not worth living or that the end is near.
But is it all bad news? One can wonder if only bad things happen in the world. Some good things might happen, too.  You don’t just go outside and everything starts to fall apart. You can see good things happening around you every day, so why don’t they end up in the news?
Maybe because what attracts people to watch the news is the sensationalism- crimes, celebrity, outrages behaviour. Is it our fault, though? According to this article, negative news can lead to depression and you can’t really escape from it, even if you ignore them, because now it’s following you even in the social media.
However, there is still hope if you don’t want to avoid getting depressed about the world today. There are websites that specialize only on the good side of things. Here are some of them:

In English

http://positivenews.org.uk/

http://www.dailygood.org/

 

Arabic

http://www.alejabiya.net/

 

German

http://www.gute-nachrichten.com.de/

 

Spanish

http://noticiaspositivas.org/

 

Italian

http://www.buonenotizie.it/

 

Romanian

http://stiripozitive.eu/

 

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