Archive for category News

Why SOPA Makes Sense (but not to me)

This is the age of information warfare and digital warfare. After watching a brief video on the internet hacker group Anonymous, I now understand why control over the internet is so important. And it’s not because of some whiny record label companies.

Anonymous, has given the federal government reason to stir. The Occupy movement could be taken down in a matter of days if it was deemed out of control. American opinions however, are not so quelled. This seems to be the focus of Anonymous. The complete naked purpose of a government and it’s people. No guarded opinions, and no carefully crafted words. Just the truth.

Which is scary to me. The whole idea of digital warfare is scary to me. It covers a broad range of tactics, from internet propoganda, to hacking the files of a police department. (Let’s not forget that a U.S. drone was allegedly hijacked by the Iranians.) Anyone could be a target, really. And with so much information and control, rested in the hands of our trusty computers and mobile devices, almost anything is at risk.

But let’s be serious. Anonymous, who is a Homeland Security target, probably isn’t too interested in pulling out the skeletons of your close. In fact, they’re a little more Robin Hood-esque; hacking the files of the rich, and donating money to charity.

This is why it makes sense now. If I were one of the accused 1%, I wouldn’t want my money, credentials, or otherwise private life, available to the other 99%. That is scary. I would grab the internet by the balls, and use whatever digital wizardry hackers use to make sure shit like this doesn’t get out of hand.

Maybe thats not the point. Maybe, I’m off subject. But I feel like these types of groups may be poking the bear. How will it answer?

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The Rev. Would Have Been Booed Too

IT’S SAD TO SAY THAT THE MLK DAY HAS GONE AND PAST, WITH NOTHING MORE THAN AN EXTRA DAY OFF.

But to me, and to many others in my town. It’s not over.

Over the weekend I was asked to cover a story about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event  for my student newspaper the Horizon. Yes, of course, I respect and appreciate the work of the reverend, but I had never engaged in any activity that truly celebrated his work until now.

It has always seemed to me that MLK Day is celebrated just before Black History Month for a convenient reason. Now I just find it a coincidence. Or maybe a conspiracy…

True, he was a hero amongst African-Americans and a figurehead for all minorities. But more importantly, he was a hero amongst all Americans, a figurehead for equality and civil rights. His work not for any race to claim.

I realized this when I found myself downtown in a mid January blizzard, with a couple hundred other Americans in celebration of the reverend and his work. But it was not just a celebration. There was a purpose. The people in the streets were not the same townsfolk that meet for the local Ho-Down. They were demonstrators. They carried signs, they sang, they marched, and they were THERE.

They were not demonstrating racial equality (except for a couple with pickets that said so). They were demonstrating the same thing the people on Wall Street demonstrate today. Financial equality.

I admit, when I showed up to cover the event, my expectations were pretty typical: A sombre black man in a business suit at a podium, reciting, quoting, or otherwise repeating the words of the reverend. People snoring. That sort of thing. But what could you expect? The reverend is celebrated as a leader of racial equality.

He was assassinated before he was able to take part in his Poor Man’s March. The Poor Man’s March was aimed at eliminating poverty in the U.S. and creating financial equality.

And here we are today. In a battle between the extremely wealthy and the people who need showers. Where are our leaders? Our figureheads? What happened to inspiration? Camaraderie?

The reverend’s work and passion could not mean more to Americans now. Not just in eliminating poverty, but in creating peace, brotherhood and justice. One of his most basic principles that must be kept in the back of our minds today as we go about our daily lives:

“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”

Similarly, Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence:

“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e., securing inherent and inalienable rights, with powers derived from the consent of the governed], it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Or simply, don’t let the Man give you the Pickle.

Newt's face says it all

By no means am I pushing Ron Paul politics on anyone – but I find it disturbing that the man was booed off stage at the GOP debate for announcing the use of the “Golden Rule.” In what case are the American people more deserving than another nation’s people? Really. What makes us better?

 These are basic moral principles that are being rejected and neglected. For what?

But, just as Independence Day comes with a bang and sizzles into the horizon, MLK Day passes us with less recognition. It’s not a day for African-American people, and it’s not even a day about celebrating/promoting civil rights. It’s a day about doing something.

(For the record, there is no Ho-Down where I am from. At least that I am aware of.)

 

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Everyone is Gay

I’VE HAD THOSE NIRVANA LYRICS IN MY HEAD FOR A WHILE.

For brevity’s sake, and for clarity (and also becasue it’s 3 a.m.), I’ll get right to it.

I read “Letter From Birmingham Jail” the other day, as part of an English assignment, and also because of MLK day on Monday. Students are usually force fed this kind of stuff in college, especially since it’s practically a  seasonal thing. I found the letter extremely compelling and I urge EVERYONE to take a look at it. It’s written extremely well and defines the struggle for civil rights in America in the 60s.

… I share this becasue of a recent “debate” I took part in, regarding the homosexual community. A bill is on the floor in Seattle right now to approve sam sex marriage. The outcome, I could care less about to be honest (although it is expected to fail just shy of a couple votes). There are plenty of gay people in Seattle who seem perfectly content as things are. The question that arose, is whether the gay rights hold as much weight as black rights? Again, read the letter from MLK, it’s amazing. Do his words still ring true today?

Granted they should be the same thing for all good Americans. But does one outweigh the other? I would like to hear from you.

(Sorry for not posting in so long. School is… school. I’ll make a point of it this weekend!)

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Romney Intercepts al-Qaida; Scores Touchdown

I’ve been watching CNN for the last hour. It’s Monday night. 2:29 am. Weird.

Since the holidays, I sort of fell off the edge of the Earth. I was more involved with gluing the shards of my sanity back together than keeping up with current politics and news developments. Luckily, the cold weather keeps me inside and the new college semester has me wondering: is journalism today really an expression of the first amendment, or is it simply a means to entertain?

I’ll spare you my reflections on the year of 2011, and instead get right to the point: Sports. I spent the 24th of December in southern Humboldt County, CA, watching the Seahawks duke it out with the 49ers. While the game held me on the edge of the seat till the two minute warning, I was disappointed to see the Seahawks lose (again). I had to hold my tongue though; Humboldt county is 49ers turf.

Ka-Kaaaaaaaaw!

I watched as the game came to a close, dully, as ESPN sound effects swooped in. Terry Bradshaw’s idiotic voice echoed throughout my skull. Howie Long’s chiming confirmed that football was done for me this season. There is no time to mourn the loss of your team when ESPN talk show hosts want to flap their gums. It’s time to find something a little more serious to pay attention to, like politics. But who am I kidding? That’s just another sport itself.

At least U.S. politics appears to be a sport. If American’s are capable of love, it’s the love of winning. The world may seem to be at it’s end (beware of Mayan prophecy scams) but the American people still have a lot of fight left. But much news lately has been interesting; especially towards the end of 2011: Iranians hijacked a U.S. drone, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act, and the GOP is left with Mitt Romney as it’s leading Presidential candidate. None of this is exactly good, but hey! At least Kim Jong-Il and Moammar Gaddafi can be marked off the NSA’s assassination list.

“The Occupiers on Wall St. fight the system. Rick Santorum supposedly owns a jarred fetus. Al- Qaida is infiltrating the fragile Libyan government.” These things have little in common except that they are news, and they invoke an emotional response. However, emotional as they may be, you don’t live with Mr. Santorum, and if you live on the West Coast, the Occupiers are as far away as Libya. My point is, none of these things cause that much stir. I find Iranian cyber warfare just as spooky as the next guy, but until an Iranian hacker shuts down all of Comcast, I am content just reading about it.

Politics to me, has become a sport on a grand scale. It has no seasons, but instead must endure the test of war, poverty, stupidity, and general humanity before it can ever be considered a serious business.

My New Year’s Resolution: Give a shit about it.

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Same War Different Bill

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT OUR LIVES, OUR WORLDS, AND FOR A MINUTE, BE HONEST WITH OURSELVES.

How much does media dominate our lives? If your reading this post, it’s safe to say that it plays a significant role in the way you live, dress, eat, and think. Most importantly, how you think. The media – especially the news media – is an all around conflict of ideas, from every angle, that targets the human brain with misinformation.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been delving into the philosophy of that previous statement of information wars. Which is why the other week, when I read an article about the U.S. Senate hearing out a bill that will target Americans with military force, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I wasn’t worried.

According to some U.S. politicians, the world is a place of eternal conflict that we are all a part of. The “battlefield“, as it is described by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), has been in existence since I was in high school. I have, like many of my friends, grown up in this “battlefield.” So when I am told by extremely liberal media sources that the U.S. Constitution is being ripped from the people, that the economic crisis and false flag operations are all signs that the GOVERNMENT is TARGETING YOU, I am not surprised, nor am I scared.

When I was younger I heard some very clear words in George W. Bush’s address on September 20, 2001: “You are either with us or you are with the terrorists.” Those words pierced my brain like a diamond spear, and to this day, I am still unsure how to interpret them. Good ol’ Dubya certainly had a way with speaking people (that even my first journalism instructor would admit to, after he met the man in person). It was a way that made your spine shiver with devotion. But Hitler was also a good speaker. It was that speech, and those words, that made me see  the lines of this “battlefield.” The righteous, the good, the Christian, the American, the white-washed people of fortunate upbringing; and the corrupt, the evil, the Muslim, the terrorists, the gay, the anarchists, the Canadian, and the people of the Third World.

That view is extreme, and obviously the thoughts of someone who hasn’t done enough of their homework to appreciate fully what the former President was saying. But it was also obvious that each person was to participate in this Global War on Terror in some way. There were things that were happening in the U.S. government, that I was just beginning to understand. I knew what the Patriot Act was, and I knew what it meant.

The battlefield is not of guns and roadside bombs, snipers and mortars – at least not yet. It is a battle of information, where news networks, the CIA, NSA, and FBI, instil fear in the people. The so-called “unbiased” news is becoming a burden on people, where the opinions of the individual matter more to those who have the same idea. After all, no major news network will ever change the minds of people on a large scale.

Needless to say, the NDAA passed, 93 – 7. And because history is written by the victor, yes, the world is officially a battlefield (yay!). Acting out against the U.S. will eventually lead to your demise.

People are going to hear what they want to hear. InfoWars has a video about the  NDAA. Those Americans crazy enough to want to fight their own government in an open war (with guns, bombs, snipers and such…) will eat up the doomsday terror tone, load their shotguns, pack their beans, and start siphoning gas from their rich republican-voting neighbor. The same thing happened when Saddam Hussein was hiding his weapons of mass destruction.

My mom (who is a hippy) is constantly lecturing me about the laws of attraction. She tells me, “If you worry so much about something, then you can make it a reality…” or something like that. Assuming she is right, I think the fear of  government tyranny is becoming stronger as more people feed into it (I’m talking to you, Occupy protesters). Fear is the medias sharpest tool, after all. The media shows us civil unrest in American cities, war in Afghanistan, failing economies. With these things, we are scared into hiding under the wing of an institution.

Yes, we are all potential targets for USNORTHCOM now. But did anyone think they could get away with terrorist activities before? (Look at the foiled plots.) I have met government hackers and other Homeland Security agents before. They are always looking for terrorists or information that will lead them to terrorists. I only ask that people rethink their fears. No one has a gun to your head, and until then, viva la liberte.

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NY Times Speaks a Dead Language

DOES ANYONE HAVE A F****** CLUE WHAT LANGUAGE THE MAJOR NEWS OUTLETS ARE SPEAKING?

I consider myself a pretty smart DUDE, therefore I find it appropriate to stay updated with the news. Granted, there’s a lot of it… so you must pick and choose which subjects you stay on top of. Don’t ask me why I would choose politics, or business. I still don’t understand either of them.

God knows I try to understand politics, and more recently, I’ve been trying to grasp the concept of the failing U.S. economy. Shouldn’t everyone? It’s asinine to worry over something you don’t fully understand. A few years ago, recession was a bad word. More recently, the one word everyone is afraid of is collapse. What does that mean? Does that mean another Depression (notice the caps lock)? I’m unsure.

What I do know is that the EU plays a bigger role in the financial crisis than I thought.I turn on the radio in my truck, and it’s NPR. Someone is frantically spelling out doom for Greece and the U.S. economy. What does Greece have to do with the U.S. economy? No clue. This calls for a news paper. And here I am, hoping to make sense of it all; I am too naive. I open a NY Times article. I can now fully appreciate the statement “ignorance is bliss.”

It has had little intrinsic connection to the American stock market in the past, as Mr. Bernstein is quick to acknowledge. But it has been a perversely contrarian signal of late. As the European rescue plan for Greece appeared at times to unravel last week, Greek 10-year notes hit new lows, falling to less than 30 percent of their nominal value — a 70 percent discount. As the price dropped, the American stock market often rose.

The distant pop you just heard was a cluster of neurotransmitters in your brain exploding. I am actually mad that I can’t understand this, or provide anyone with information regarding the crisis facing Greece (or Italy). It has come to the point where reading a biased and misleading article is more appealing (and informative) than anything else.

This brief sentence from an NPR article made the most sense to me:

(The Greeks) see the (poltical) wrangling as a shameful circus while they get poorer and poorer.

 Sounds oddly familiar…

All other news articles may as well be in Sanskrit. Any helpful hints? Books? Articles? Can you just tell me what’s going on? I really hate to say it, but I’m completely baffled by major news sources. I hate to sound like a typical conservative-doucher-conspiracist, but this is obviously a ploy used by the “got-derm” liberal media to confuse simple folk like maself and invoke irrational fear. The less I understand about the news, the more I’m afraid of it; the more news I understand the more afraid I am of everything else.

It’s a lose-lose situation.

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Politics of Confusion

IF THERE IS ANYONE WHO SHOULD KNOW U.S. POLTICS, IT’S ME…

…Although I’m sorry to say, with just a few short weeks left serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, I know practically nothing about current politics. It’s strange to think that someone who is sworn to uphold and defend this country’s constitution would know little about what’s really going on out there. But I don’t think I’m the only one.

I believe a majority of service members wouldn’t have a clue as to what’s really going on, besides the troop withdrawls and where their next deployment may take them. And that goes for many people throughout the U.S. in general; no one really knows what’s happening out there. Even the politicians seem confused. Sure, there is the issue with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the problems we faced with Medicare (or Obamacare, or Medicaid – take your pick), and the ongoing national debt crisis.

Most people who don’t live in a mud hut know about these things. Even better, most people seem to have opinions about these things, and EVERYONE has someone to blame: Liberals, Conservatives, Immigrants, Terrorists, CHINA, the World Bank, the President, Congress, Abraham Lincoln, Billy Mays, Me, You, Whoever.

I’m not complaining though. In fact, I’m okay with it. We don’t live in a state of martial law yet and I still earn money (despite the fact that were in an economic depression). So I’m happy, or at least I’m expected to be – although I did quit my cable service the other month. Everyone around me seems to be okay with these things too. Their cable still works, they’re still able to afford fuel for their gas guzzling trucks, their Facebook profile is still active, and Domino’s still delivers. We are all okay. No one is dying. No one is homeless. No one is hungry. We are complacent, and we’re okay.

I’m only a term soldier, not a proud career veteran, but I’ve learned a few things. One thing that’s really stuck, is that complacency kills. In combat, it literally kills people. But back in the real world (as veterans call it for some strange reason), complacency kills motivation. Not simply the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, but the motivation that makes us ask why? The kind that makes us want to poke our heads out of our warm little nests and grasp with both hands the situation sitting outside our doorsteps. The kind of motivation that makes you want to do something about THIS.

I told the cable company to cancel my service for a couple reasons: 1) I was playing too much Call of Duty and not watching enough T.V. 2) It was outrageously priced, and 3) Everything I saw on T.V. was making me sick. There is no escaping the barrage of political infomercials in between every show you watch these days. Plenty of shows on T.V. are just that: Infomercials! Or rather Infotainment.

Everything on the news channels is bad. I can’t fathom how much debt this countries in, especially right after a U.S. Chinook carrying 30 plus troops is shot out of the sky, or when scores of children died in Africa today and scores more will die tomorrow. I can’t fathom how much debt were in period. What are these numbers that are thrown out there? Billion-dollar bailouts? DOW Jones is up? Good, I guess. We’ve passed our national debt ceiling? So can we still spend money? Apparently so. And how much is it? More than a trillion dollars? Who comes up with these figures?

I’m not a spooked out conspiracy freak barricading myself in my mom’s basement. The facts are out there, and they’re not pretty. What I really want to know is, WHAT IS GOING ON?

If you have any solid information (from a RELIABLE source), please, see my e mail. If you are as clueless as me, feel free to vent your frustration. Next, I will attempt to burry myself under a mound of documents, blogs, and news articles related to current U.S. politics in an attempt to gain enough information for my next blog, or to confuse myself farther down the rabbit hole.

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