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Shahid Buttar's blog

NSA vs USA

Download the extended dance floor mix from Soundcloud, or open source stems that anyone is welcome to use for remixes.

NSA vs. USA was written to be a teaching tool as much as a dance track. Below are annotated lyrics, with hyperlinks to background news articles and reports you can read to learn more. The first step in helping "build a movement, raising your voice" is to learn history and get informed.

The next is to connect. Raise your voice with me, and please don't hesitate to reach out if you need help or ideas on how to get involved!

Many thanks to everyone involved in helping enable this project, the media outlets that have covered it, and -- most of all -- the millions of Americans who, every day, "build a movement, each raising our voice."

Latest updates & additions

Thanks for stopping by! My latest updates & additions include:

  • Commentary & analysis, including recent 2013-14 articles and more from 2010-11
  • Many (though not yet all) of my print and broadcast media appearances
  • A rack of poems I've written over the past 20 years, as well as videos of various spoken word performances

DJ Sets

Getting my groove on this Ramadan

July 2014 has been an intense month! Before turning 40 earlier this week, I had a chance to make some strides musically, while making waves as an advocate and organizer.

Over the first two weeks of the month, I spun 6 DJ sets (including my first recorded mix, a live set I mixed at Zeba on July 12 for Mischief) at venues including the PEX Summer Music Festival, Zeba, Tattoo Bar, and a friend's back yard for an overnight pool party. My NSA vs USA music video has continued making the rounds and was tweeted by Anonymous. It's been viewed roughly the same number of times as my video for Bumpin in My SUV, but in only 2-3% of the time (2 months vs. 6 years).

Magic hour crossing a lake on a train (August 2012)

The light follows us 
a ribbon of gold 
splitting a wide 
undulating 
blue gray meringue
 
It shifts 
just a bit 
everywhere 
constantly
 

Explaining a surprising victory in Congress

Earlier this week, I joined host Thom Hartmann on The Big Picture to explain a surprising vote in the House of Representatives to defund parts of the NSA's domestic surveillance dragnet.

Last week, I published a blog post about the vote in greater detail, placing it in a political context, and suggesting some remaining pitfalls confronting NSA reform. As I wrote there:

Mass media featuring "NSA vs USA"

Since we released it on June 5, 2014 -- the anniversary of the first Snowden revelations in the Guardian -- the "NSA vs USA" music video has reached thousands of viewers around the world, and drawn the attention of a rack of journalists and bloggers.

Finding People (February 2001)

Sunday morning
on commuter rail
burned out
by a wild
adventurous night

feeling as though
mired in molasses
which has moved
even into my brain

Thanks to everyone involved in NSA vs USA!

"NSA vs USA" was a 6 month labor of love enabled by the participation of over a dozen collaborators and nearly 200 backers on Kickstarter.

Erosion of judicial independence

The sustained and continuing erosion of judicial independence is amonog the most important themes in my written work. Below are a series of articles that explore this disturbing theme in greater detail:

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