An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Internet’

Internet Justice for Trayvon Martin?

Well, the truth may never truly be explained about what happened to Trayvon Martin.  The one piece of evidence that has been determined is that Zimmerman’s story is a complete farce.  This man lied outright about being in danger, and the world knows it.  But he still walks free.  This man is getting away with murder.

Or is he?

Enter the internet.  This lovely domain where all ideas are welcome, and anybody can voice an opinion.  Along with the internet has come a new form of group-mentality.  The mentality is that the group comes to consensus about something, and it spreads.  For things like this, when an injustice is committed, it spreads across the internet, and from there, the bulk of the people are able to get involved.

So what does that mean for Zimmerman?  That means that the internet has crucified this man.  Rightly so.  Regardless of the truth, Zimmerman is a murderer.  He killed this kid, who was screaming, in cold blood.  These are now facts, now that the 911 tapes have been released.  Like wildfire, it spread across the internet, and the entire blogosphere and mediasphere has come alive.

There’s a new saying – what enters the internet is forever.  Sarah Palin, the quitter governor of my state, found this out herself after that Gabby Giffords shooting.  A graphic she had on her Twitter got her the lambasting and ridicule of all reasonable people.  For good reason, it was incredibly inappropriate.  But it’s proof that she is forever tarred and feathered to the public, and she lost any and all remaining credibility.  (what little she had left)

What does this mean for Zimmerman?  It maens that the rest of his life, this is going to follow him around.  In the racist communities of Florida, it probably won’t.  But his face is known, now.  He is a pariah of racism and murder.  He escape justice from the legal system, however, he will never escape the hatred of the internet, and since the internet is so key in our lives, he will never escape hatred.

To go anywhere and receive looks of hatred.  To know that never will you be welcome, truly welcome, anywhere, because the people will know that you are a cold-blooded murderer.  To never have a home that you can truly belong to.  Perhaps that is a greater justice than any jail cell could ever have been for Zimmerman.

Another place this justice goes is toward the cops.  They are complicit in lying for this man.  Their version of events is that George Zimmerman was screaming.  Why?  Was he scared of Skittles?  They are terrifying, I know, but this kid was unarmed.  The screams are from Trayvon.  You know this because the screams suddenly stop after he is shot.

The internet has also shown the pathetic either open racism, or open corruption of the cops.  It’s becoming more and more a trend that America has no love for the police.  Where once the children were told that the officer if their friend, they are now told that the officer is not to be trusted.  For good reason, too.  They officer isn’t to be trusted.  The cops know all of what has happened here, and yet, they have (so far as I know) done nothing.  They have sat back and watched this play out.

But the internet has crucified them too.  It’s almost beautiful how social justice is becoming more powerful than official justice.  You got to jail, so what?  You kill a kid, you’re known forever as a murderer who killed a guy who was trying to bring Skittles home to his brother.  His brother probably got upset that his Skittles were late, not knowing that the man who was going to bring them to him is lying dead in the street.

It’s a beautiful day for online justice.  A beautiful day.  This is something that needs to grow, because if the police won’t do the right thing, and show these people for who they are, we have to.  Now, I am not arguing for vigilante justice.  That won’t get us anywhere.  I am arguing for something worse – social outcast syndrome.  Make them never feel welcome anywhere.  Being alone, now that’s true punishment.  And hopefully, it will last forever.

That’s how we can avenge Trayvon Martin’s death.

Peace out,

Lefty

Homeland Security tasked with watching American Journalists. RIP, Bill of Rights

There is a new initiative that is being taken by Homeland Security.  It is the National Operations Center (NOC) Media Monitoring Initiative.  According to this initiative, Homeland Security will be collecting information about journalists, news anchors, or anybody who –

traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.

This basically says that anybody from Keith Olbermann to a small blogger like myself can be targeted.  They have written that their spying is only what is “public information,” but what really raises eyebrows with that statement is the fact that they seem to want to spy on journalists at all.

There was a time where journalists were the one who were tasked with watching government.  they were the ones who were supposed to keep the government accountable to the people.  But it seems the government doesn’t like that anymore.

Oh who are we kidding.  The government of this country has hated the First Amendment since it was enacted in the Bill of Rights.  They have always wanted to get rid of it.  And now, it is looking like they are going to do just that.  Along with the entire Bill of Rights.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, along with its twin sister, PIPA, the Protect IP Act, are effectively going to kill the internet.  Or if it doesn’t kill it, it will changed it beyond recognition.  While that is going on, the National Defense Authorization Act has made it so that the government can detain America citizens indefinitely without cause or trial.  While these people are imprisoned, they can also be tortured just like the other detainees we have at Gitmo.

There was a question posed on formspring.me –

Will Freedom of Speech eventually be oppressed to the point that it’s extinguished?

The reply to that questions was very good –

You can’t really view it as an on/off switch. It’s a gradient. Right now, we are on the freer end of the spectrum, but heading the wrong way. If we don’t have some seriously culture blowback soon we’re going to be firmly on the bad end of the spectrum. We can’t let SOPA or PIPA pass.

That’s the absolute truth.  We are headed in the wrong direction as a nation when it comes to freedom of speech and other rights.  The worst part is that there is no cultural blowback.  The Occupy movement is showing signs of having gotten people involved, but unless the public starts really getting involved in what is happening, our rights are dead.

There are ugly signs that things are changing for the worse.  The police who are cracking down on the Occupy movements are attacking protestors and specifically focusing on photographers and journalists.  What exactly do they not want people to see?  With place like YouTube showing the ugliness of what is going on, like with the recent video of soldiers peeing on dead Afghanis, it is getting harder and harder for the thugs who make the police forces of this country to get away with what they could before.

Groups like Anonymous are being treated like terrorists by the FBI, but thank goodness that doesn’t give them much pause.  But very quickly, we are learning that the Bill of Rights may have been on the chopping block for a while, but now the executioner is called.

NDAA passed the Senate with only seven people against it.  Seven people stood up for the Bill of Rights.  How many will stand up for the Bill of Rights with SOPA and PIPA?  In an election year, it’s worth mentioning that Obama backed NDAA.  He also said he would be closing Gitmo, but now it appears like he wants to make it a franchise.

The really sad part is that if somebody who doesn’t know what’s going on, or listens to Fox News reads this, they’ll think I’m fear-mongering.  It’s the tragic part when the even-minded liberals are the ones who are talking fear.  And people should be afraid.

Things have been bad for a while, and the greatest tragedy of all is that there no people with pitchforks.  There are no massive riots and massive calls to action to stop what is happening.  The Occupy movement has done quite a bit.  Now we need something more.  There needs to be public action because we are slowly slipping into a very ugly place.  As the question above said, freedom of speech is a gradient, and the gradient is getting darker.  That cannot be allowed to happen.

If it does, though, and SOPA and PIPA pass, and journalists become the first who are attacked, then RIP, Bill of Rights.  You were fun while you lasted.

Peace out,

Lefty

UAA, Bandwidth, and a lack of understanding

Amidst all the controversy that is going on here on campus about the bandwidth that is wrongfully going to be lowered, there is one perspective that is being lost – that piracy is good for business.

When Napster began in 1999, it revolutionized the way that business was done in this country.  All of the media sites like Hulu, Netfli, and iTunes can thank their lucky stars that Napster opened the floodgates.  They brought down the record companies in just two years.  It created a new massive paradigm of online business, and taken away the monopoly that companies had on entertainment.

One of the biggest positive effects that piracy has had has been it’s usefulness as a market tracking device.  Napster was one of the best.  It showed that there was a huge demand for online music.  Rather than being sold plastic CDs for $20, one could simply get the one song that they wanted.  It was a revolutionary idea.  Napster was able to give insight into the music industry that had never existed before then.  Next up, let’s examine the Usenet groups.  These are sites that offer a wide selection of an entertainment product and you pay for use.  Sites like Spotify, MOG, Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes are among these.  Even YouTube owes part of its creation to online piracy.

The model of all these sites is that people pay very little and can get whatever they want.  While many would still opt to get it for free, there are many others who wants to stay within the bounds of what is ethical and pay, but don’t want to pay much.  Piracy created competition that we didn’t see before.

And the greatest success story of all is that piracy can evolve into legitimate business.  YouTube has been proof of that.  Clips, trailers, songs, and other things are being shown on YouTube, and getting royalties on it as well.  The fact is that piracy is something that is good for us, but when you listen to people like Richard Whitney talk about it, it is pure evil.

The University has a responsibility under federal law to be responsive to any reports of copyright violation.  The primary organization involved is the Recording Industry Association of America, RIAA, but individual complaintants (complaintants?) are, there’s a long list of them, that sent us complaints.

There you have it.  The RIAA.  The record companies.  These people still aren’t getting it.  The success of iTunes just hasn’t sunk in with these people.  It is almost pathetic how ill-informed these people are.  However, what is interesting are some of the outright lies that Whitney has told in his statements.

For people that are doing legitimate services, we wanted to make sure that people who are streaming Netflix and Hulu and things of that nature have absolutely no implications for if we were to ratchet back the rates.  And we know, absolutely without a question that Netflix and Hulu will work just fine at 768k…

Oh?  That’s why Netflix says that the minimum speed should be 1.6 Mbps for streaming, while Hulu stands at 1m for streaming.  You gotta love when hypocrisy is exposed by the companies themselves.  For HD quality, on either side, 4 to 5 Mbps.  Oh, and what about if you want 1080 screen on Netflix?  Well, that says that you should have at least 8 Mbps.

So, Whitney is lying to the students, and is trying to say that he has assurances that it will work.  Might want to check your facts, Rich.

Here is the fact – piracy is not bad.  The government needs to get with the program and learn that not only is piracy a good for business, but creates business.  And the University needs to be fair, and not punish all of the students for the few who are breaking an archaic law.

Peace out,

Lefty

The Future of America and the Entire World

There is a concept that was covered rather nicely in the film, The Social Network.  It was how everything that we understand about society and the world is changing.  This change has been brought about by the internet.  Really, the internet has changed everything that we understand about how society works.  How civilizations were ruled is radically changing.  When one looks at Egypt and wonders about how this came about, it was brought about by the new.  It was brought about by a young generation that wants the world to change, and for the better.

Nobody could have predicted what the last 20 years would do to the entire planet.  When the internet started to connect everybody, and access to it was becoming easier and easier to come by, the world saw a sweeping revolution of change.  To quote the character Sean Parker from The Social Network

First we lived in villages, then in cities, and now we will live on the internet!”

This is an apt quote.  The invention of Facebook has revolutionized the entire planet, and every single interaction that happens within it.  The social world that we live in is null and void if you don’t have an internet connection.  If you are unable to get online, you are dead to the world.  Those who make a joke about a person who has a broken computer and therefore feels rather lost are people who are unable to see the writing on the wall – that the internet is our civilization.  As such, because so much of the world is now online, there is a revolution that is beginning to occur – the young are gradually beginning to pose a new direction to society.

As America is gradually losing power, we are beginning to understand that the only way that our nation is going to survive is to rethink our paradigm and to make our nation more active in promoting the things that are able to do the most good.  As such, the typical left and right battles that come up are being decried on both sides because both sides are sick of hearing it.  A new view of society is replacing it – that all groups and grow, and that government power should not be more centralized and authoritative, but rather, as Jeremy Rifkin brings up in an article that was published on The Huffington Post,  distributed and collaborative.

Now, one could look at things like Occupy Wall Street and think that this is a sign of things, but that is just a symptom.  That is just something that rose up because of the fact that the interneat has changed everything forever and for always.  So, what is it a symptom of – how the young are looking at the results of what the authoritative powers like the American government have done and are now attacking this system.  There is a growing number who take the Randian Libertarian model, which is a farce and is ultimately more dangerous, and then there are those who believe that the world’s efforts should first be united by continent, and the by planet.

Rifkin called this “The Third Industrial Revolution.”  As more and more nations that were not in the sphere of power are becoming more active, as more nations are able to have access to energy and more access to other materials, there is a growth that is occuring.  And while things are growing everywhere else, America and other nations of power are on the decline.  America rode the wave after World War II.  We believed that we would be able to make the world whatever we wanted it to be.  It got us out of a Depression.  We believed that everything was going to be great forever.  But history has shown that economic success is never eternal.

So the question comes to – what will America’s involvement, and better yet, what will Alaska’s involvement be?  Well, the goal should be obvious – change the entire system to what works.  A global economic model that actually works.  One of the strangest things about the new GOP paradigm is their belief that we can continually spend and spend and spend, but not have to raise taxes.  They want to funnel money into the military efforts overseas, in a vain attempt to have global power, which is outdated, to be honest, while trying to make their power base at an unsustainable level for the entire country.

America has to change.  Alaska must change with it.  We have to move from an economy based on oil, for starters.  Renewable energy, on a large scale, could be a global effort and provide the entire world with cheap renewable energy.  It would help economies grow.  It would be good for the planetary biosphere.  It is just a good idea.  The next thing is to drastically change global relations by getting rid of the military deterrant that we have, but doesn’t work, and could eventually come back to bite us.  Nukes have to go.  The bases overseas have to go.  All of our military might in the third world has to go.  We have to change the balance of things by not coming into discussions as the superpower who will have a gun to your head, but as a voice that is adding an opinion to the discussion.  That is how it has to work.  The next thing is to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid, and institute universal health care.  America’s health care system is a broken, patch-work system, and while universal health care is by no means perfect, it really is the best option that we have.

Alaska must leave behind the oil-based mentality.  The idea that mining, oil, and our “frontier spirit” is going to save everything is a farce that is almost dangerous, when one examines these issues critically.  Alaska has a vast wealth of renewable sources that we could harness, leaving behind the finite resources such as oil and coal.  With Alaska’s small population, universal health care is almost too practical.  We are unique in that regard.  We have a large population that is spread out.  We can also afford to raise the taxes on all brackets, back to where they were under Clinton.  But most of all, we need to drastically rethink what we want to do.  The Libertarian views of me-me-me is starting to become a bad joke that is told by people who don’t want to face reality.  The Milton Friedman economic model doesn’t work.  It never has.  Clinton said in a recent interview that the Randian model has never worked, never been proven to work.  When Ron Paul runs America into the ground, that will be a sad day.

Really, we have to rethink how we view wealth, our fellow man, and the pursuit of money.  When the need for money is worth more than human life, as was shown by a Ron Paul supporter at the Tea Party debates, that is a model that is doomed to fail.  We have to start thinking about how we want to treat the least among us, and people have to be willing to make sacrifices, and the first who need to are the wealthy.  The real challenge is that we all have to start looking out for each other.  Until we can do that, America, Alaska, and the entire world is doomed to fail.

Peace out,

Lefty

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