Friday, February 10, 2017

FOIA


FOIA aka The Freedom of Information Act is a 1966 LBJ signed amendment that's more important than ever in the Age of Trump given where this administration is going regarding the environment, education and all things related to corporate power and the 1st Amendment. To whit

In the United States, the government is supposed to work for the people. It is, after all, in the people's name – and with their dollars – that everything is carried out, from tanks being transferred from military zones to American towns, to prisons being left to profit from mass incarceration, to soldiers being given secret, experimental treatments in an attempt to make them telepathically communicate. Since 1967, citizens have been allowed to request documentation of any government actions, thanks to a collection of laws known generally as the Freedom of Information Act. And since 2010, MuckRock, a Boston-based nonprofit, has been helping people to file FOIA requests.

"FOIA is this very old concept where essentially, anything that the government does, a citizen has a right to be aware of – and to be able to judge it based on their own volition," explains JPat Brown, 30, an executive editor at MuckRock who has worked with them for about three years, and has assisted their expansion from a FOIA-filing service to a daily publishing outlet. Brown's particular focus is on FOIA files related to the FBI, which contain data on everyone from Abbie Hoffman to Ray Bradbury to the Insane Clown Posse. But MuckRock has content covering way more than that, like the Trump Administration, the struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and even a special project to find out about the secretive undertakings of PayPal’s Peter Thiel, who financially backed the successful effort to bring down Gawker.

The Rolling Stone piece is a great start point to learn more about the rather questionable history of the government by the government itself. Far more valuable then the stream of pundits us rubes have to endure on network nooze 24/7. :)

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