Monday, January 9, 2012

German Hackers Are Building a DIY Space Program to Put Their Own Uncensored Internet into Space

Clay Dillow reports in Popular Science:

There’s more than one way to stick it to The Man. There’s civil disobedience, subversive propaganda, political art, outright violent revolt--each possessing its own degree of difficulty and consequence. In a decidedly 21st-century twist, team of German hackers bent on fighting the powers that be has chosen a rather ambitious means of taking the power back: building a hacker-owned and -operated space program, complete with a constellation of communications satellites beaming uncensored Internet to users on the ground.

The Hackerspace Global Grid was borne out of a call to action at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, where hackers of all stripes gather to mull the issues of the day as they relate to their craft. Hacker activist Nick Farr--motivated by legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S.--called on the community to contribute to a project that would remove the power of censorship from governments and corporations by creating an uncensored Internet in the free frontier of space.

Of course, building both a space program capable of placing satellites in orbit and a terrestrial network of tracking stations is easier said than done. Then again, it’s easier now than it’s ever been. Space--and even low earth orbit--has long been the dominion of state entities with the resources and large-scale organizations capable of very big undertakings.

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Video Game Depicts Occupy Wall Street Types as Terrorists

A snippet of the upcoming game “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: The Patriots,” which won’t hit stores until 2013, was played over the weekend during the Spike TV Video Game Awards. The game casts the players as anti-terrorism agents squaring off against a group which believes the government and corporations are corrupt and must be taken down.

And if that means hurling an evil banker out the window, so be it.

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The Unlikely Occupation: Occupy Wall Street and the birth of a movement


On September 17, 2011 an unlikely bunch of activists marched onto the international stage with the audacious aim to occupy the center of American finance. They drew their inspiration from the Arab Spring and similar movements in Europe. Few believed they would occupy Wall St. for more than a few minutes. This film is tells the story of the 2 month occupation that followed and the movement that promises to change America forever.

Wikileaks Top Secret Mobile Information Collection Unit


Wikileaks truck maiden voyage on March 19, 2011 in Washington DC.

Artist: Clark Stoeckley
Speaker: Daniel Ellsberg
Music: DJ Shadow "Giving up the Ghost"
Videography: David Gladden and John Penley

Why Washington Wants ‘Finito’ with Putin

From The Shady National Endowment for Democracy &The Prime Agenda of ‘Whoever’ is Next US President by F. William Engdahl posted on BFP:

Washington clearly wants ‘finito’ with Russia’s Putin as in basta! Or as they said in Egypt last spring, Kefaya–enough! Hillary Clinton and friends have apparently decided Russia’s prospective next president, Vladimir Putin, is a major obstacle to their plans. Few however understand why. Russia today, in tandem with China and to a significant degree Iran, form the spine, however shaky, of the only effective global axis of resistance to a world dominated by one sole superpower.

On December 8 several days after election results for Russia’s parliamentary elections were announced, showing a sharp drop in popularity for Prime Minister Putin’s United Russia party, Putin accused the United States and specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of fuelling the Russian opposition protesters and their election protests. Putin stated, “The (US) Secretary of State was quick to evaluate the elections, saying that they are unfair and unjust even before she received materials from the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (the OSCE international election monitors-w.e.) observers.”[1]Link

Putin went on to claim that Clinton’s premature comments were the necessary signal to the waiting opposition groups that the US Government would back their protests. Clinton’s comments, the seasoned Russian intelligence pro stated, became a “signal for our activists who began active work with the US Department of State.” [2]

Major western media chose either to downplay the Putin statement or to focus almost entirely on the claims of an emerging Russian opposition movement. A little research shows that, if anything, Putin was downplaying the degree of brazen US Government interference into the political processes of his country. In this case the country is not Tunisia or Yemen or even Egypt. It is the world’s second nuclear superpower, even if it might still be an economic lesser power. Hillary is playing with thermonuclear fire.

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Ai Weiwei, Without Fear or Favor

BBC documentary:

How the People Got Their Groove Back: What a Bunch of Farmers Can Teach a Bunch of Occupiers About How to Keep on Going

By Ashley Sanders, War Is A Crime.org

Not so long ago, Americans witnessed the beginning of a mass democratic uprising. Thousands of average people, disgusted by greedy elites and corporate control of government, launched a movement that spread to almost every state in the nation. They did it to reject debt. They did it to fight foreclosures. They did it to topple a world where the 1 percent determined life for the other 99. And they did all of it against incredible odds, with a self-respect that stymied critics.

The year? 1877. The people? Dirt-poor farmers who would come to be known as Populists.

Now it's 2011, and the People are stirring again. It's been over two months since a few hundred dreamers pitched their tents in Zuccotti Park and stayed.

These people weren’t Populists, but they had the same complaints. They couldn't make rent. They had no future. They lived in a nation with one price for the rich and another for the poor. And they knew that whatever anyone said that they didn’t have real democracy.

Okay, and so what? What do a bunch of century-dead farmers have to do with the Occupy movement? Well, quite a lot, actually.

You see, the Populists came within an inch of changing the entire corporate-capitalist system. They wanted a totally new world, and they had a plan to get it. But as you may have noticed, they didn’t. And now here we are, one hundred years later, occupying parks where fields once stood. We’re at a crucial phase in our movement, standing just now with the great Everything around us—everything to win or everything to lose. It’s our choice. And that’s good, because the choices we make next will echo, not just for scholars and bored kids in history class, but in the lives we do or don’t get to have. The good news is this: the Populists traveled in wagons and left us their wheels. We don’t have to reinvent them. We’re going in a new direction, but I have a feeling they can help us get there.

Occupy has done a lot of things right, and even more things beautifully. But strategy has not been our forte. That was okay at first, even good. We didn’t have one demand, because we wanted it all. So we let our anger grow, and our imagination with it. We were not partisan or monogamous to one creed. That ranging anger got 35,000 people on the Brooklyn Bridge after the Wall Street eviction, and hell if I’m not saying hallelujah. But winter is settling now, and cops are on the march. Each week we face new eviction orders, and wonder how to occupy limbo.

It’s time for a plan, then, some idea for going forward. This plan should in no way replace the rhizomatic-glorious, joyful-rip-roarious verve of the movement so far. It can occur in tandem. But we need a blueprint for the future, because strategy is the road resistance walks to freedom.

In that spirit, I sat down a few years ago and devoted myself to studying social movements of the past. I wanted to see what I could learn from them—where they went wrong, where they went right. I didn't trust this exercise to random musings. No, like a good Type A kid, I made butcher paper lists of past movement features and mapped them onto current ones. I asked: What is the revolt of the guard for the climate movement? What’s the modern anti-corporate equivalent of the Boston Tea Party?

As I read, I learned a lot about the phases movements go through as they form, what common features they share, and what often breaks them apart.

I could name these phases myself, but it’s already been done. And no one has named them better than historian Lawrence Goodwyn, a thinking human if there ever was one and a student of the Populist movement.

Goodwyn said that successful movements go through four stages:

1) First, the movement forms. This happens when people acknowledge oppression and defy it. They create physical and psychic spaces where they can cast off conventional modes of deferment, reject resignation and start acting with radical self-respect. This self-respect involves speaking with the tongue of truth, in the language of radical experience. Millions of people acting with self-respect become a body collective self-confidence, reordering what is politically possible.

2) Second, the movement recruits. It finds a way to attract masses of people while sharing its message of resistance. Radical recruitment is done systematically and strategically, and recruiters attract people in two ways: they promise tangible relief and provide a motive and blueprint for action.

3) Third, the movement educates. It articulates the ideology of the movement. It offers an analysis of power that liberates folks from past thinking patterns, renames what is possible, and unveils a plan to make the possible plausible. It names both the enemy in power and how to get power back. It’s a murder mystery: It gives folks a suspect, a motive, and a scheme for restoring justice.

4) Fourth, the movement politicizes. The movement politicizes when its alternative solutions run up against the powers that be. It admits that power must change for change to work, and it ousts old regimes through direct confrontations with power. Having created alternative economies, practices and paradigms, it creates an alternative political structure—laws, government, and process—to protect its brave new world.

Occupy Wall Street is by and large in phase one. Fair enough; it’s been only two months. Building a movement took the Populists ten or twenty years, so we could easily rest easily. But for most people I know, there is a deep, darkening sense that we do not have that kind of time. We’ve got to change it all, and we’ve got to do it before the ice caps melt, before that python, global finance, dies and squeezes its victims one last and lethal time. We are on the edge of history. We are urgency embodied.

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Satire: Democracy’s Most Unexpected Enemy

Nick Meador writes on his blog:

A 2009 study found that people tend to interpret ambiguous political satire according to their own views and self-image. This has enormous implications for satirical programs mocking democratic behavior, produced by media conglomerates that support Internet censorship. (The following is an essay that I was not able to place with a magazine, but still wanted to share with the world. Feel free to re-post on your blog or website, in accordance with the Creative Commons license. Just give me credit and link back here.)

“The revolutionaries of any decade will become the reactionaries of the next decade, if they do not change their nervous system, because the world around them is changing. He or she who stands still in a moving, racing, accelerating age, moves backwards relatively speaking.” – Robert Anton Wilson, Prometheus Rising (1)

On Thursday, December 1, 2011, Stephen Colbert addressed the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill currently under consideration in U.S. Congress, on his late-night political satire program The Colbert Report (pronounced “Cole-bare Ree-pore”). Fight for the Future, a group coordinating the push against SOPA and Protect-IP (a similar bill being considered; the “IP” stands for “intellectual property”), says that such a bill would allow the government to shut down websites for any copyright infringement, while making it a felony to stream copyrighted content without permission. (2) According to PCWorld, the government could also restrict access to foreign sites with the help of Internet service providers (ISPs), or block advertising and payment services from working with the sites. (3) The result, as anyone with a cursory understanding of the issue can predict, would be a drastic reduction our free speech rights and possible damage to the DNS system upon which the Internet depends.

Some critics of the proposed bills regard this Colbert episode as important national coverage. After all, if SOPA passes, it would possibly be the worst change at the federal level – by which I mean, bringing the worst consequences for our democracy, our culture, and our individual lives – since the 2010 Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate and union spending in political campaigns under the guise of “free speech.” (4) What those critics do not realize is that a large portion of Colbert’s audience probably missed the point about the proposed intellectual property bills.

A 2009 study from Ohio State University evaluated the way that political beliefs affect a viewer’s perception of both humor and the host’s intentions in The Colbert Report. The peer-reviewed journal article by LaMarre, et al, called “The Irony of Satire: Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report,” says that “conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements.” (5) However, according to the authors, self-identified “conservatives” and “liberals” (measured on a seven-point range) both found Colbert equally funny.

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David Korten: Capitalism's Threat to Democracy


What if we had to make a choice between two quintessential American beliefs: Capitalism and Democracy?

In this frank interview with noted author, and visionary David Korten, he minces no words about the dangers our current capitalist system poses to democracy, and how Wall Street undermines the well-being of society, and threatens civilization itself. The creation of real wealth, Korten argues, by satisfying true human needs, strengthens individuals, promotes the well-being of local communities, and protects the environment, the foundation of all living things.


In part 2, David Korten, noted author, and co-founder of Yes! magazine shares his views on the importance of building local, community-based economies, in which sustainable agriculture has an increasingly, important role to play.

Mark Kingwell - What Are You Skating Towards? - Democracy and Empathy

I can't skate very well, at least by Canadian standards, so I think I'm more groping and staggering towards something this coming year. It is the relationship between democracy and empathy -- the idea, actually at least as old as Adam Smith, that we can't feel an obligation to another unless and until we see that person as vulnerable, as open to ourselves to pain and suffering. This seeing in turn requires a special capacity of the mind: moral imagination.

Philosophers have long believed that cultivating the moral imagination is best done through instruction and argument, but I wonder. My own personal experience suggests that narrative fiction, in all its forms (novels, plays, films, even good television) is where this actually happens -- where we take up the position of another and, as it were, share in that person's 'lover's argument with the world', to quote Robert Frost's epitaph.

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A global alliance for immediate alteration is on the rise, join in to save and change the planet: Occupy/TTS/DRY/PAN global coordination platforms!

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BRITAIN’S LEGAL BULLIES OF THE YEAR - ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS 2011

Winner: Labour-run South Tyneside council, which admitted spending well over £100,000 trying to discover the identity of an anonymous blogger, “Mr Monkey”, who had embarrassed senior council figures – though the true bill is thought to be much higher.

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Una rata en mi cocina (Rat in my kitchen - UB40) GLOBAL REVOLUTION

Art is . . . THE PERMANENT REVOLUTION

Trailer

Ever since the invention of the woodcut in the 1400s, artists have never stopped cutting, etching and drawing their responses to events--and they have often been punished for it. In THE PERMANENT REVOLUTION, three contemporary artists and a master printer join the tradition of printmakers who have depicted the human condition. Featured among the more than 300 works shown are those by Rembrandt, Goya, Daumier, Kollwitz, Dix, Masereel, Grosz and Picasso. While their stirring graphics sweep by, the making of an etching, a woodcut and a lithograph unfolds before our eyes as the living artists join in social protest.

Wolves: A virtual exhibition, documenting Egypt's present

Mohamed Abla’s artwork commenting on December's violent attacks on peaceful protesters hits Facebook in an online exhibition.

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See also:

Mindblowing Art from the Occupy Movement

Arab artists fear new barriers

Egypt’s Revolutionary Arts

A system’s crisis of governability, a revolution’s opening

“It is not just the West’s material primacy that is at stake today but also the allure of its version of modernity.

“Unless liberal democracies can restore their political and economic solvency, the politics, as well as the geopolitics, of the twenty-first century may well be up for grabs.”


This revealing essay just appeared in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs (Jan/Feb 2012).


The ruling classes can see and prepare for major escalating “threats.” And we can learn from their predictions. Consider this post “reconnaissance on the enemy.”


This “crisis of governability” is deeply rooted in the very structure of worldwide production — and it frames the official politics of this system. Think through this coming election in this framework. Think through stage two of the occupations. Think through our regroupment of serious revolutionaries. The momentary and superficial is illusion, these are the deep movements marking the future of the system and its choices (and in a certain real sense the future of the people and their choices).


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Linguists name 'occupy' as 2011's word of the year

By Stephanie Gallman, CNN

The linguists have spoken and they have decided -- "Occupy" is 2011's word of the year.


Members of the American Dialect Society came out in record numbers to vote Friday night at the organization's annual conference, held this year in Portland, Oregon.


"Occupy" won a runoff vote by a whopping majority, earning more votes than "FOMO" (an acronym for "Fear of Missing Out," describing anxiety over being inundated by the information on social media) and "the 99%," (those held to be at a financial or political disadvantage to the top moneymakers, the one-percenters).


Occupy joins previous year's winners, "app," "tweet," and "bailout."


"It's a very old word, but over the course of just a few months it took on another life and moved in new and unexpected directions, thanks to a national and global movement," Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee for the American Dialect Society, said in a statement.


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Secret justice: How Cameron and Clegg vowed to hand back our liberties but are instead planning illiberal changes to justice system

David Rose reports for the Daily Mail:

What a difference 19 months makes. Speaking in the sun-lit Downing Street gardens as he launched the Coalition back in May 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron promised it would be ‘committed to civil liberties and curbing the power of the state’.

Nick Clegg added that after years of Labour authoritarianism, theirs would be a government ‘that hands you back your liberties’.

Now, however, almost unnoticed, this same Government is planning to enact highly illiberal changes to the justice system.

If, as Mr Cameron intends, they become law later this year, the consequences will be an unprecedented growth of secret hearings in both civil court cases and inquests; to deny ordinary citizens the ancient Common Law right to challenge evidence against them; and to make it far more difficult to call wrongdoing by government agencies to account.

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