Unpacking Charlottesville

The violence and terror that resulted from the gathering of hateful white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and white nationalist groups in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend mark a dark time in our country. Racism and hatred have no place in America, so now many are trying to understand how this came about and are asking what can we do about it now? 

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Make America Smart Again emphasizes the importance of educating ourselves on all matters, so that everyone can confidently speak out on what's right and be the change for our future. 

Here are some links and causes to help you get more informed and involved:

READ: Making Sense of Charlottesville: A Reading Guide by NPR

NPR provides a list articles about how the tragedy in Charlottesville unfolded.

WATCH: Charlottesville: Race and Terror by Vice News

Vice News was able to document a scarily close up look at the events that took place in Charlottesville by embedding their reporter among several of the white supremacists participating at the rally.

LISTEN: The Daily - A podcast by the New York Times

This 20-minute weekday podcast provides a breakdown of the major news headlines each day. Recent episodes cover the change of the events that led to the weekend's violence in Charlottesville.

DO: 10 Ways to Fight Hate - An online handbook by Southern Poverty Law Center 

This handbook is a compilation of big and small ideas on how to bring about change in yourself and your community

VOLUNTEER OR DONATE:

Stop Hate Project A group combatting hate crimes and helping to support organizations in need

Southern Poverty Law CenterA civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and standing up for victims of discrimination

How to become a member of the President's Cabinet

President Trump is currently building his Cabinet and the Senate is expected to hold additional confirmation votes on more nominees this week.

Here's a quick refresher from NPR.org on the steps it takes to become a member of the president's Cabinet:

The Cabinet on the United States is comprised of the most senior appointed officers which includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments: the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs. All Cabinet members are nominated by the President and then presented to the Senate for confirmation or rejection by simple majority. 

  1. All Cabinet members are nominated by president or president-elect
  2. Nominees are presented to the Senate for hearings before a relevant Senate committee
  3. If a majority of the committee votes for the nominee, it goes to the Senate floor for a vote by the full body. (A caveat here: the Senate majority leader can bring a nominee to the floor for a full Senate vote even if they do NOT get the approval of the relevant committee. It's rare, but it's happened in the past.)
  4. The nominee is confirmed by full Senate in a floor vote

For more on each of President Trump's nominees and their current status, check out the New York Times' Trump tracker for bios and updates.

Tracking the new president's Agenda

With a new president in the White House, it is now more important than ever to stay engaged with our democracy.

President Trump has already signed a series of executive orders and is taking action on other promises made during his presidential campaign. However, most of these proposals require action by Congress or have other significant obstacles. 

Track each step of Trump's agenda listed below using this handy tool created by the New York Times:

  • Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act
  • Build the border wall and have Mexico pay for it
  • Impose import taxes
  • Approve Keystone XL pipeline
  • Abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Ban foreign aid to groups that give abortion counseling
  • Suspend immigration from specific regions
  • Nominate a Supreme Court justice
  • Cut taxes
  • Invest in American infrastructure

Voices heard worldwide at Women's March

More than 2 million people in all 50 states and seven continents around the world marched in solidarity at the Women's March on January 21. Make America Smart Again joined the march in downtown Los Angeles where over 750,000 people showed up to make their voices heard. The streets were filled with families and friends, including men supporting their daughters, wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters and female friends, who were all protesting peacefully for women's issues, the environment, immigrants' rights, and much more. 

Although the march was hugely successful, people must continue to remain engaged and active. The official Women's March website reads "Thank you to the millions of people around the world who, on Jan. 21, came together to raise our voices. But our march forward does not end here. Now is the time to get our friends, family, and community together and make history."

To keep the momentum going, find out how to join the Women's March campaign here: 10 Actions for the first 100 Days

Make Your Voice Heard at the Women's March on January 21!

On January 21, 2017, the day after the presidential inauguration, over 200,000 people will be gathering for the Women's March in Washington D.C. The event initially started as a spontaneous feminist rallying outcry via social media that quickly went viral and is now expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history.

The official mission and vision from the organizers states: "We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families -- recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country."

The march is open to everyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties, and compassion for our shared humanity. This is an incredible opportunity to unite with your fellow peers and community members and make your voice heard about the issues you care about the most.

If you can't make it to Washington D.C. on January 21, there are over 600 other Women's Marches that have been organized so everyone across the country (and beyond) can join in solidarity. You can find the nearest one in your area HERE. 

You can also download Make America Smart Again's signs to bring to the march or to post on social media HERE.

Most Students Don't Know When News Is Fake

A Stanford study on how teens evaluate information they find online revealed that most students absorb social media news without considering the sources and could not distinguish between an ad labeled "sponsored content" and a real news story on a website.

Although websites are starting to take the steps to prevent the dissemination of fake news, it is still important to teach students proper research skills and instill skepticism in order for them to be savvy about choosing and believing the information they read.

Read more about the study here: 

Most Students Don't Know When News Is Fake, Standford Study Finds by The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 21, 2016

 

 

Critical Thinking + The News

The spread of misinformation to the masses is a major concern. Just because it's on the internet, doesn't necessarily mean it's true.

We wanted to share a few articles about how imperative it is for us all to use critical thinking skills when reading articles online:

Bernie Sanders Could Replace President Trump With Little-Known Loophole (The Huffington Post) 

Facebook Fake-News Writer: 'I Think Donald Trump is in the White House Because of Me' (The Washington Post)

Here's How to Outsmart Fake News in Your Facebook Feed (CNN)

The Huffington Post quoting John Oliver.

The Huffington Post quoting John Oliver.

Win a sold out Idiocracy Print Signed by Shepard Fairey

We are giving you an opportunity to win a previously sold out IDIOCRACY print, signed by Shepard Fairey! Each person who purchases a Make America Smart Again shirt from our partners Obey Clothing now until 11/2/16 at 11:59PM PST will automatically be entered for a chance win one of these prints. The winner will be contacted on 11/3/16. Good luck!

Proceeds from sales will benefit Rock the Vote. Purchase your MASA merch today, wear it proudly, and encourage others to be informed and VOTE!

 

Help spread the Make America Smart Again message in your town!

The election is only a few weeks away, so we need your help to spread our message to the masses!

You can now download our Make America Smart Again stencil and posters to spread the word about the importance of being informed and participating in our democracy by voting in November.

Download the stencil and poster HERE.

***Please be sure to use the stencil and posters with thoughtful discretion...unfortunately, not everyone wants to Make America Smart Again!

***Please be sure to use the stencil and posters with thoughtful discretion...unfortunately, not everyone wants to Make America Smart Again!

LIMITED EDITION IDIOCRACY PRINT AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH MONDOTEES.COM 10/9!

To celebrate the cult film Idiocracy's 10th anniversary, MASA founder Shepard Fairey has designed a poster to encapsulate everything we love and fear about the film. This limited edition poster will go on sale on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 5pm to coincide with the second presidential debate and will be sold exclusively through mondotees.com for only 72 hours.

"The seeds of Make America Smart Again were planted when Amanda and I noticed a legitimate correlation between the movie “Idiocracy” and the real dumbing down of American media we were witnessing even ten years ago.

I’ve always felt that art, entertainment, and humor can be the best delivery vehicles for social commentary, so I love the way humor is used in “Idiocracy” to make the social critique more digestible.The movie is a harsh but necessary indictment of the anti-intellectual culture and politics that seem to become the norm more and more every day. The film is great in a cautionary way and has an enjoyable irony being a somewhat low-brow piece of entertainment about the perils of succumbing to a cultural rejection of anything intellectual or high-brow. In other words, the genius of the film is that it may actually get through to the audience it should reach, rather than just preaching to the intellectual elite.”

-Shepard

Idiocracy. 18 inches by 24 inches. Limited run, numbered and signed by Shepard Fairey. $40 each.

 Sale ends Wednesday, October 12 at 5pm PST

Proceeds benefit League of Women Voters and The Young Literati of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles