An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Anonymous’

Is Anonymous as Bad as the Government?

There is a line or reasoning that you see in the comments section of YouTube videos that the group Anonymous puts up.  They are a group who randomly accosts groups of people who they perceive as acting injustly.  To date, their actions seem to be keeping with a good standard, not just striking the defenseless.  They have gone after Scientologists groups whose crimes are no well-documented.  They have gone after this government for disabling internet, something that our own government attacked Egypt for doing.  They have also attacked the government itself, after the failure of SOPA and PIPA to pass did nothing to stop them from getting rid of MegaUpload.

However, many people now seem to be of the mindset that Anonymous is as bad as the government and corporate forces that they attack.  This is an interesting theory, for many reason.  Let’s compare the actions of Anonymous and the government, to see which is the more malicious.

1. The government passed The Patriot Act, which has effectively destroyed the Fourth Amendment, and made the government be able to wire-tap any phone or computer they want, without the user’s permission.
Anonymous has leaked the personal information of people who it views as unjust.  In many instances, this doesn’t seem out of bounds because these people, like the police officers who brutalized Occupy protestors, have done reprehensible things, and seem to not be taken to task for it.

2. The government created a bill that would allow them to censor the internet, but when it didn’t pass, they simply disabled a site anyway.  It is abundantly clear that they didn’t seem to care that this didn’t pass.  They had every intention of acting anyway.
Anonymous has disabled sites, but only after the people have acted in what they perceive as wrong, and their reasons are justified.  They are not destroying countless pieces of information, like the government did when they got rid of MegaUpload.  Gigabytes of data, completely destroyed in a micro-second.  The government and the corporations were only bothered, and for a brief amount of time.

3. The government has put an American citizen (Bradley Manning) in prison, for over a year, without charge or trial.  The trial that they did have was a show-trial, and everybody who cared and saw this knew it.
Anonymous has done nothing of the sort.  They have leaked information, and made a lot of people look really bad, but nobody has gotten hurt from their actions, despite what Fox News will say about how dangerous these people are.

4. The government has an army of people who have been brutally quashing the peaceful protests of people who are trying to exercise their First Amendment rights to have a redress of grievances.  They have put innocent people in the hospital, like the Iraq veteran who they shot in the head with a canister, and who now has problems speaking.
Anonymous has explicitly said that they do not endorse violence.  They have come firmly out and said that all protests should be peaceful, and that violence cannot solve anything.  Disagree with that point, but they have never endorses violent behavior.

5. NDAA is a new bill that has stipulations that allow American citizens to be hauled off to jail, indefinitely, without trial or charge, and also allows them to be tortured.  All they have to be is viewed as “terror suspects.”
Anonymous has never even come close to doing something of that nature.  They are online hackers, not a bureaucracy that will attack and now can indefinitely imprison its citizens, along with torture them.

When you look at the facts, it’s pretty clear.  Anonymous is a group who is acting in the interests of what they believe to be right.  If you believe that they are wrong, that’s fine.  However, to say that their actions are just as bad as the governments and corporate entities that they are fighting is a compete falsehood.

It’s good to argue about the things that matter to people.  Debate means that people are thinking.  But don’t go saying that this group is just as bad as a group that has clearly shown itself to be the more nefarious.

Peace out,

Lefty

Lefty’s Voice: Save the Internet!

There are times in history when a person is required, even if they hate politics, to rise above and beyond the call of duty.  There are times when a person is required to do more than what they had done before.  This is one of those times, because this goes far beyond the world of politics.  It affects the freedoms of each and every one of us!  It affects all of America, and will not only destroy business, but also put our people in bondage.  I am, of course, talking about the Protect IP Act and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).

On the surface, both of these acts sound, honestly, dumb.  Piracy is a good thing.  This has been proven.  Without online piracy, websites like Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes would never have evolved.  Napster opened the floodgates on something that is universal – the pursuit of cheap entertainment.  And it has been good business all over the place.  It did bring down the record companies, but they were monopolizing music.  Piracy has changed the world for the better and for always.

However, it is absolutely clear that this is nothing more than a ploy against the freedoms that people have.  With these new bills, websites that are perfectly legal under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) will face legal threats.  YouTube vloggers and channels that put up clips from the news (which is perfectly within the real of Fair Use) will be the first to be censored.  And to prevent any legal action, websites will deliberately block anything that could be construed as violations.

It also goes further.  If just a few links that infringe on these new rules are posted, an entire website can be blocked.  So those who like watching YouTube, that could be blocked.  Reddit, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, any and all of them can be blocked completely.  To protect themselves, websites will automatically self-censor more, preventing startups from launching.  Websites will no longer be able to count on the DNS (Domain Naming System) for security, which was working just fine before.

And if you are a person who posts your own music, you can be sent to jail!  That’s right, if you aren’t licensed to put your music online, you can be sent to jail as a felon.  So independent musicians who post links on Facebook, you could be sent to jail!  Any non-commercial user can be charged with a felony for posting things online.

Since the day when I was able to pay attention, it was resoundly clear that this government hates the First Amendment.  They hate it.  They hate the people can do what they want and tell the government that they are dead wrong.  They have always hated it.  I wonder very much what the Founding Fathers were thinking when they wrote the Constitution.  They must have either been incredibly ignorant, or incredibly wise.  Because at this very moment, their dream of a free nation is about to die.

It is being supported by everybody.  SOPA has 21 Democratic supporters, 16 Republic supporters, and 1 Independent supporter in the Senate, while the Protect IP Act has 7 Democratic supporters, and 16 Republican Supporters in the House.  These people are totally fine with throwing the First Amendment in the trash.  And the mainstream media isn’t covering this!  I haven’t heard one damn story on MSNBC, CNN, or Fox about this.  Only the independent media is talking about this, and the talk is very small.  It seems like this huge affront to the Constitution might just happen and nobody outside of those who are paying attention will know about it.

Companies like the ones who own Reddit Tumblr, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, and many others are fighting back against this.  There are a number of activist groups.  The YouTuve vlogger community has jumped on the bandwagon, from both sides of the sociological and political fence.  There are multiple links that are aiding in the fight against the destruction of the First Amendment, but we need YOUR help!  We need everybody.  I will provide links to opinions and to ways you can fight back.

Opinions –
My Favorite Vlogger
http://youtu.be/ijqjHo3_H8s
Nostalgia Critic
http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/33243-top-11-reasons-he-wont-review-digimon
Anonyous’ voice
http://youtu.be/HgTO9Eds09Q
Huffington Post article
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-gagnier/sopa-and-protect-ip-what-_b_1099471.html

Ways you can fight back –
Tumblr
http://www.tumblr.com/protect-the-net
Reddit
http://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/me5e9/
A great website
http://americancensorship.org/

The vote has happened, and it has only been to delay.  There is still time to make yourself heard!  We must rise above and beyond the call of duty now, right now!  This is the only chance we are going to get!  I think I’ll end this with a quote,

“The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791–don’t let them die in 2011!”  -TJ Kincaid

Peace out,

Lefty

The Occupy Movement is going to change the world

The protestors in Zucotti park have been kicked out.  Mayor Bloomberg feels no shame for his vaunted championing of Wall Street and the corruption that the banks on it represent.  As he sends the cops to do his dirty work, the protests grow ever bigger.  As Keith Olbermann pointed out in a Special Comment today, Bloomberg is only adding fuel to the fires of change.  Each day, the people are getting more and more aware of the fact that our system is broken, and if it is to be fixed, they have to get involved.

The great movements have been spawned from people like those who began Occupy Wall Street.  The war in Vietnam was ended by the young getting the old to stand up and to say that it was enough.  Walter Cronkite was also a big help, but I won’t stroke the ego of my field of study too much.  The Civil Rights marches were about the young getting the old to stand tall.  And when the system put them down, it has always only made the movement grow.

It would seem reasonable to assume that those in power simply never learn.  One of the basic bits of human psychology is that we will rebel against oppression.  Those who are being tear-gassed in Oakland, and those who are beaten in New York City are drawing more into their fight every day.

The police are not innocent in this.  In fact, their complacent acceptance of the orders they are being given to attack the people who are protesting makes them as much of villains as those who are ruthlessly gutting the middle class, not caring about the lives of the people that they destroy.  They are fighting for the system, ignoring their mandate to protect and serve.  Like Bloomberg and his open servitude of Wall Street, they are criminals who should be standing with the people, not against them.

There was a rather clever poster by one of the Occupiers about the cops – these guys are one pay-cut away from joining us!.  Touche, Occupier!  But what started as an event that was being ignored is being breathed new life into every single day that the cowardly police and the malicious government officials are putting them down.  It is amazing how these people are able to somehow rationalize the actions that they perform.  A vet gets his skull cracked open, it was “necessary.”  Innocent people who have done nothing to harm anybody are being shot by bean bags and rubber bullets, well, it was “within the bounds of authority.”  Well, I must have forgotten the part where attacking the innocent for no reason was a good thing.

But these people shouldn’t be villified, they should be thanked.  Each time they do their villainous deeds, more people are joining the movement.  When Bloomberg makes back-room deals to make sure he can serve three terms as mayor.  When Bloomberg has his people acting like book-burners with the books at the Occupy Wall Street movement.  When Bloomberg is taking away the generator that is giving heat to the protestors, and basically trying to freeze them out.  Whenever Bloomberg, or any of those like him choose to make a stand in defense of a system, using completely unnecessary force to put the people in their place, more come!

So let’s not villify Bloomberg, let’s thank him.  This idiot has made this movement bigger than it ever could have been.  If the media had simply ignored it.  If the media has simply chosen to not pay attention.  If Bloomberg has simply chose to not care, than the fickle and pathetically dim-witted American public would have just forgotten about it by now.

But Bloomberg chose to be stupid.  He chose to do something that was obviously a bad idea, and now, the movement has grown well beyond New York City.  It is going to change the world!  The movement is everywhere.  It is all over America, including here in my home city of Anchorage, Alaska.  It is across the world.  This movement is now so much bigger than the original architects could have possibly imagined.  They couldn’t have comprehended how this movement could have grown so large.

This is exactly what the world needs.  Now, more than ever, things are becoming worse for everybody.  Obama and his cowardice to do any positive change for the better in this country has been bad enough.  His Healthcare Reform bill was a birthday present to the private insurance companies.  Wall Street reform was a birthday present to Wall Street.  Credit Card reform was worth something.  That is the only saving grace of President Obama.  Were it not for the fact that not a single of the front-running candidates of the Republican Party have any credibility whatsoever, he would be in real trouble in 2012.  The fact is that he is a failure, and all of America will reap what he has sown.

In the meantime, this movement, and all the others like it, are what this country needs.  And it is what this world needs.  More and more groups are coming behind it.  Anonymous has pledged their support, and is showing the world the truth about what is happening.  Voices like Keith Olbermann are coming out in support.  The world is changing rapidly.  For good or bad, time will tell.  But one thing is certain, Occupy Wall Street has changed the game, permanently!

Peace out,

Lefty

The Full Footprint of Humanity

When one looks at history, and how far the human race has come from the days when the problems of daily living, such as plowing a field and raising crops, and then one looks at where humanity is now, with our technological world that has connected every corner of this vast sphere, it is easy to see how this generation of youth is now the total amalgamation of human progress, the full footprint of our species.

The bulk of all innovation through the 20th Century was driven by humanity’s urge to make the tedious tasks of everyday living easier.  When electricity was able to be harnessed, the world grew.  The combustion engine made getting around the world no longer a long and laborious task, but now something that can be done within a day.  Bigger, more powerful engines, along with certain kinds of fuel, allowed the human race to be able to reach past the heavens.  It guided the hand of the human race to touch the very stars, and to begin to realize just how much there was that we do not understand.

With the endless expansive growth of technology, there has been a new growth in understanding of the entire universe, and just how small the human race actually is in direct comparison to all the things that exist in the universe.  Truly, when one thinks about just how large the universe is, the idea of our species each having a special place to exist in it is truly misguided.  In direct comparison to the universe, humanity doesn’t take up the most basic of percentage of space.  And now that science and technology has allowed us to escape the basic tedium of everyday life, humanity is starting to grow as a species, looking into the realm of the philosopher, the academic, the scientist.  We are beginning to become more than any previous generation ever believed we could be.

If the Founding Fathers of this nation could see where our species is now.  The globally connected market which, while it has some severe problems right now that need a lot of work, is a truly marvelous innovation.  The United States’ effort to stay out of global affairs during WWI and WWII are now made impossible by this global connection.  Of course, like any system, it is a double-edged sword.  Still, the founders would never have been able to see where our species is.  This is one of the reasons that when people say things like Jesse Ventura said, about how the Constitution should be “written in stone,” they are missing the point that Joe Pesci made in With Honors.

 Our “founding parents” were pompous, white, middle-aged farmers, but they were also great men. Because they knew one thing that all great men should know: that they didn’t know everything. Sure, they’d make mistakes, but they made sure to leave a way to correct them.”

The fact is that those who created this nation did realize that the Constitution needed to be looked at with a grain of salt, and people needed to be more open-minded.  That said, this country is dominated by the idea that those who started it knew exactly the truth about everything, and that the Constitution is a spectacularly perfect document.

But back to the idea of how far our species has come, there is one thing that has truly made this generation the symbol for all future generations – the internet.  Never before has a system of knowledge been given to us like the internet.  This has connected the entire world in a way that nobody of previous generations could have believed.

It used to be that a person could actuall obtain all the knowledge of the world that they lived in.  During the times of cavemen, the caveman or woman could learn about their whole world.  They knew about all the activities they had to do to live, and that was all.  All the knowledge that they were capable of having was there for them.  But now, the very idea that a person can achieve the level of knowledge that is even a fraction of a percentage of what our entire culture, which is now a global culture, has.  Another thing that internet has done is it has created a world without barriers.  There is no nation online.  There is no seperation of barriers there.  It is a place that is an open market for all people.  Truly, the world of the Federation has already been discovered.  In a recent video that Anonymous put out, they talked about this very concept.

Anonymous is simply ideas without origin.  May it be a phrase, a fad, a proverb, the concept of Anonymous has always existed.”

There has never, at any point in human history, been a connected world like this one.  Never has there been a vast labyrinth of interconnectedness that has made the suffering and prosperity come into focus like this generation has.

With the world changing so quickly these days, it is almost a little difficult to comprehend how something like religion, that has more or less been unchanged for the last 2,000 years, been able to continue.  When things that are only a few years old are now considered obsolete, how can something that has completely unchanging doctrine continue?  How can something that has been this same organization since the Dark Ages hardly change at all?  Truly, there almost seems to be an effort to this point.  Religion has always been deemed by the powerful as useful.

But regardless of issues like that, the fact is that this time, this day and age, is the greatest era of all the days of humanity.  The truly wonderful thing is that it is only beginning!  The sun is still just rising on the human race!  Who knows where we will be in 50 or 100 years.  It is almost impossible to wrap one’s mind around the fact that 100 years from now, the interconnectedness that we enjoy now may be viewed as a relic.

Science and technology are evolving at a more rapid rate now than at any other time in history.  It is an incredible time to be alive.  Those who are living with the inventions of this day and age sometimes forget that 100 years ago, or even 30 years ago, this was all the dreams of people who worked in basements.  But the internet has changed everything, for better and for always.  Facebook gave the human race a place to gather.  As Sean Parker said in The Social Network

We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!”

This creation that so many people take for granted, is the one thing that has made an entire generation the full footprint of the human race.  That is our generation.  Our time, is the culmination of all time, and that, I think, it an incredible thing.

Peace out,

Lefty

Occupy Together vs. The Police

There is a rather dark concept that is coming up all over the country.  Here in Alaska, we have had several protests here.  Alas, while unable to make it to the events because of prior engagements, we are paying close attention to the protests here in Anchorage.  There are even protests in our hometown of Wasilla, which is pretty impressive, considering how Wasilla seems to be mostly Tea Party conservatives.  Of course, Alaska hasn’t had the big problems that these movements are having down in the states.

While this movement is becoming the largest global protest that there is, there is one group who are clearly showing where their colors stand – the police.  The law seems to be siding with the corporate elite of this country.  Arrests have been going on ever since the beginning of this endeavor.  Mayor Bloomberg of New York is on a campaign to shut this whole thing down.  It is part of a growing battle between the people who are being oppressed, and their oppressors.

The police clearly are standing with the oppressors.  From the arrests that were made at the beginning, to the fact that the cops who are abusing these people do not suffer any justice.  There was one cop, Anthony Bologna, who pepper sprayed a bunch of protestors.  The video of him doing this went viral, and of course, he is completely innocent.  The punishment that he received was less than a slap on the wrist.  It was a joke.  He loses some vacation days, and some pay.  Well whoop-tee-doo.  He attacks a bunch of defenseless peaceful protestors, along with other cops, and he doesn’t suffer for it.  And he doesn’t feel bad, what’s more.

I did not intend to spray the women…I acted with the best intentions.  I was shell-shocked when the video went viral.  But if I could turn back the clock, I’d do things the same way.”

That is Anthony Bologna in an article he did in The New York Post.  He is guilty as sin of basically macing a bunch of women who were not outside the law, and he doesn’t feel a bit of remorse about it, nor does he feel the hammer of the law.  It is becoming clearer and clearer that the police believe themselves to be above the law.  They believe themselves to be immune from justice.  So far, they seem to be right.  The police are thugs who work for the system, and not only do they work for the system, but they break the law in doing so.

The Fourth Amendment states specifically that people are protected from unlawful searches and seizures.  They are arresting people left and right, often with no charge at all.  There was the man who was approaching the cops, arms in the air, in the universal symbol for coming in peace, and the cops threw him to the ground and arrested him.  Unprovoked, unreasonable, and he suffered for it.

If we don’t have rule of law that curtails arbitrary police power, then our democracy becomes a sham.”

That was from an interview with Dr. Cornel West during an interview on Martin Bashir on MSNBC.  He is absolutely right.  The police more and more are showing that they believe that they can do whatever they want, and they don’t have to suffer for their crimes.

In Utah, there was a group of people who was dancing at a football game.  It was a traditional Maori dance that was done in the postgame.  The police attacked them with pepper spray.  Their reasoning – they were blocking the players for leaving the field.  According to all witnesses to the event, that line of reasoning is false.  These dancers were not a risk, and the cops decided to pepper-spray them, along with several fans in the stands, causing people to run from the place.

And these are just a few examples.  Occupy Wall Street is the example that is getting the most attention right now, but the fact is that the lack of accountability that the police has is something that affects us all.  Eventually, it won’t be just in New York City.  It will be in Anchorage, Wasilla, and other places as well, when the public finally realizes what the right thing is to do.  However, this must continue.

Groups like Anonymous are with Occupy Together, and so are several celebrities.  It is time for us to stand together as a people, and to demand accountability, not just from the financial institution, but also from the people who own them.

Perhaps Anonymous should close this article –

In just a little over a week, Occupy initiatives has sprung up in over 30 cities.  This is now bigger than you and me.  It is a collective 99% that will no longer stand for the corruption, greed, and inequality that is rampant within our governing bodies.”

Peace out,

Lefty

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