You are browsing the archive for 2017 December 25.

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Why Do Companies Like Dove Keep Missing the Mark on Culturally Insensitive Ads?

December 25, 2017 in Blogs

By Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez, AlterNet

The lack of diversity in the advertising industry makes responsible content difficult to achieve.


In early October, when Dove released an ad that was at the very least culturally insensitive, outrage from white people and people of color alike ensued. The ad showed women from a variety of ethnicities changing clothes to represent getting clean with Dove body wash. But the depiction of a black model removing her shirt seemingly equated becoming clean with becoming white. It’s unclear what Dove hoped to accomplish with this ad, but the flood of responses led to a public apology and removal of the ad.

This is not the first time in recent history that Dove, along with other large-scale agencies for beauty products and other commodities, has released ads that insulted or downright ostracized black women or communities of color.

A few months ago, Shea Moisture, which provides products tailored to black skin and hair, released an ad that caused backlash. The advertisement, which featured all-white or very light-skinned, loose-haired black women, alienated the company's target customers. Shea Moisture gained its widespread success by providing affordable products for black women who have coarse and kinky natural hair. It didn’t take long for the criticism and product boycotts to trigger an apology from Shea Moisture, but for many, their loyalty to the brand was severed.

Earlier in 2017, Pepsi made a mockery of police and community relations after releasing an ad that made agreement between the opposed views seem as simple as sharing a soda. The oversimplification of the Black Lives Matter movement left many infuriated. 

And more recently, in late October, Santher, a Brazilian toilet paper company took the racist-ad cake for using the slogan “Black is Beautiful,” a phrase that became popular in the late ’60s to early ’70s to celebrate black empowerment in the face of European beauty standards. But Santher used the phrase to market the debut of its new black toilet paper. For many, this message literally represented wiping one’s backside with black empowerment and beauty.

2017 isn’t the first year we have …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Paul Krugman: GOP Tax Scam Will Benefit Mar-a-Lago, Not America

December 25, 2017 in Blogs

By Ilana Novick, AlterNet

If wages rise, even by pennies, it won't be for years and years.


A Republican-controlled Congress gave Americans the worst Christmas gift of all this year, in the form of a historically unpopular tax bill that will enrich the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the poor. It's an extreme version of the same old trickle-down economics the GOP has been peddling since Reagan, repackaged for our Trumpian times. Just in case anyone was hoping for an economic Christmas miracle, namely that trickle-down economics would magically start working as promised, Paul Krugman has a rude awakening for you. As he writes in his Christmas Eve column, “It’s nonsense, of course.”

Republicans, he continues, are trying to sell this pile of lies with an additional one, that “the corporate tax cut that is the main item in the tax bill is really for the benefit of workers. They will be aided in this claim by some recent corporate announcements of bonuses or wage hikes that they attribute to the tax cut.” Remember Carrier, Krugman asks? It's that same scam all over again: “make a Trump-friendly splash by declaring that he persuaded you to save jobs, then lay off lots of workers after the cameras have moved on.” 

That, however, is just the beginning of a larger structural problem: “[E]ven if you believe economic analyses that suggest corporate tax cuts are good for wages, it shouldn’t happen right away. Any trickle-down should come about because the tax cuts lead to higher investment, which leads over time to a larger capital stock – and it’s the increase in the capital stock, which may take many years, that leads to the wage rise.”

Sure the labor market is tight, and Krugman admits that in the short term, “lots of companies are raising wages at least a bit in the face of tight labor markets; pretending that it’s because of the tax cut is a cheap way to curry favor with an administration that has no hesitation about using regulatory and antitrust decisions to reward friends and punish enemies.” 

Krugman indulges in some economic wonkery with …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sally Yates Has a Christmas Warning for Trump: Look Out for Ghosts at Mar-a-Lago

December 25, 2017 in Blogs

By Ilana Novick, AlterNet

The former acting attorney general will not stand for the president's attacks on the FBI.


Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates has shown great discipline as a Twitter user. She has only tweeted a total of 14 times since starting an account in June. So when Yates takes time out of her busy Christmas schedule of spending time with family and fending off rumors of running for office, the rest of us better listen. She did just that on Christmas Eve, when in response to Donald Trump's tweeted insults at FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, she wrote the following: 

It was the culmination of days of attacks against the FBI, and McCabe in particular, as he's been a target of Trump's congressional cronies. His wife ran for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015, and in the process, as the Hill reports, she received hundreds of thousands of donations from a political action committee with ties to the Clintons. McCabe was also involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. As with anything Hillary Clinton-related, Trump just can't let it go, especially not on Twitter.

Still, Yates wasn't about to sit back quietly while the president attacks a federal agency. In a nod to the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol,” she suggests that Trump is Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, and learns the true meaning of the holiday. No disrespect to Yates or Dickens, but Trump seems highly unlikely to have the same awakening. 

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Source: ALTERNET

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What Happened to Protest Art?

December 25, 2017 in Economics

By Marcia Christoff-Kurapovna

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By: Marcia Christoff-Kurapovna

In September 1975, The Grateful Dead released what was to become its highest chart-topping album for the next twelve years, Blues for Allah. In an interview at the time, the group’s lyricist, Robert Hunter, described the album’s title song as “a requiem for King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, a progressive, democratically-inclined ruler (and incidentally a fan of the Grateful Dead) whose assassination in 1975 shocked us personally.” Hunter went on to note proudly that the lyrics of the album, inspired as it was as much by Bach as by Eastern influences, were printed in Arabic on the back of album.

This remarkable, trance-like title track referenced Biblical prophecy, Ozymanides, and A Thousand and One Nights. But most of all, it brought attention to the death of one of the Middle East’s then-universally acknowledged enlightened rulers who disdained excess displays of wealth and who opened the first schools for female students in the country. The construction of this vast, progressive-rock tone-poem is a straight line of discursive guitar themes later superimposed by poignant, haunting vocals. It includes two sections, ‘Sand Castles and Glass Camels’ and ‘Unusual Occurrences in the Desert’, in which powerful political statements were woven into the artistry. “What good is spilling blood?/It will not change a thing”, observes one line; another is a plea for a resolution of Muslim/Jewish conflict: “Let us meet as Friends/the Flower of Islam/the Fruit of Abraham”. Prophesizing the geopolitics of the region, the song grimly warns: ‘The ships of state sail on mirage/and drown in sand.”

Such compelling protest art could have been written today in view of the interminable geopolitical situation in the Mideast. Yet, it hasn’t been, and it won’t be. We are bereft of any near equivalent; the integrating instinct of music, politics and passion nowhere present, nowhere promoted. Certainly, there is no shortage of ‘unusual occurrences in the desert’— or anywhere else for that matter — to inspire truly creative works of radical brilliance. Yet none of that kind of meaningful protest that defined the eras of the late sixties and the entirety of the seventies is to be found in our current rock/popular music groups. Why? How have we missed this? Where were the songs to protest the 2003 invasion of Iraq? Where are the poignant ballads against the spread of terror or the failures of the so-called ‘War on Terror’? The sixteen-year occupation of …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Safety Warnings for Cellphones? It's Now Mandatory in California

December 25, 2017 in Blogs

By Sabine El Gemayel, AlterNet

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A filmmaker and mother of three worries about the health consequences of wireless technology.


After moving to Los Angeles in the mid-'90s from the Middle East and Canada, I immediately began to see a startling trend. The number of cellphones I saw people using began to grow at breakneck speed especially in a booming city like Los Angeles, with Hollywood, real estate, sports marketing, shopping and high-end businesses everywhere.

In less than a generation, cellphones and the internet have revolutionized virtually every aspect of our lives, transforming how we work, socialize and communicate. But what are the health consequences of this invisible convenience?

As a mother of teenagers, I am concerned with the shadowy side of wireless technology, and its impact on our children. I am troubled by the increased health risks and how it is sociologically impacting children’s development and behavior. As a citizen and consumer, I am disturbed by the business ethics behind the wireless revolution and its ubiquitous use in schools, at work and at home.

This month the California Department of Health boldly announced new safety guidelines for the use of cellphones after multiple studies rightly showed the health effects of the radiation they emit along with increased problems of concentration. Every state needs to immediately do the same. The facts are indisputable and the wireless companies can’t hide the truth anymore. It eventually will catch up with them like it did with the tobacco industry or pesticides.   

I love technology and the many conveniences it has offered us, yet I believe that increased transparency is vital, including pre-market testing, post-market monitoring and revised policies and regulations. 

When I first became aware of the invisible dangers of wireless radiation from cellphones and other wireless devices, I knew that as a filmmaker, I had to …read more

Source: ALTERNET