Well, I wasn't talking about the environment, but probably true, yes, although, if you think about it, the less inequality there is around the world, the more we might see less competition and a more caring attitude, overall.
You bring up a most crucial point here, Builder...as I believe terminology is the critical factor in whether we can compel the populace to recognize anarchy as a viable and peaceful system of 'governing by the people'.
The term 'anarchy' has deliberately been and continues to be so erroneously characterized by Machiavellian tactics and propagated by the .01% owned media, that it is no longer possible to use as the peaceful and lawful descriptor that it originally was, imo.
Don't you just love it when the word anarchy comes up in MSM news, and the 'reporter', feigning exasperation, comes back with, "What, do you mean...lawlessness???" Lol!!
The oligarchs had to eradicate the word anarchy and the possibility of such a system from ever capturing the imagination of the populace. How could they possibly want it to be properly understood? Would the elite of any time period ever have said, "Oh sure, good and honourable people...go ahead, set up a system where you take care of yourselves and each other...and, oh, by the way, strip us 'ruling elite' of our enormous power and wealth...we won't mind." Uh...yeah.
I have seen arguments by purists, that we need to re-teach the people what the term 'anarchy', as well as socialism and communism truly mean. I vehemently disagree. Quite frankly, we don't have the time it would take to teach the populace that they've been duped and anarchy is a good thing. 99% of The 99% are 'apolitical' and have no desire to learn such things. It would take years to dislodge in the minds of the masses, the enormous damage done. Especially as we would be fighting against a continuous onslaught of demonizing anarchy from the current MSM. So, I can totally agree with "terms like anarchy, and participatory democracy, may be too much for the average person to take on board." In my view, the word anarchy would simply be another divisive tool, used by the oligarchy against a busy and uninformed populace, resulting in being at each other's throats.
Yeah, the MSM and celebrity superficiality is beyond me. I can't tell you how happy I am that I don't know the celebrities and pop culture of the day. Visiting my celebrity adoring relatives can be a challenge, though. Like you, when tragedy strikes and the headlines sensationalize individual cases, my mind goes to the lives of the 500,000 babes who died in Iraq and the countless millions who live and die in senseless wars and inexplicable exploitation. What can we do for them...but persevere, and expose the injustices. There are some precious people and threads on this forum that do just that...and I am so grateful.
"How else could we vocalize our raison d'etre, without scaring off most of our population?" Well, isn't that the question of the century!
I think, that if humanity is ever to embrace 'governing by the people', it is time to break free of the anarchy and other terminology of the past, and all its obscured dogma, propaganda, infiltration, abuse and obfuscation... entirely.
If we want out of the antiquated and stagnant status quo to bring humanity to a higher level of justice and equality...let's use a fresh new term. Whatever we come up with, the term should be friendly and warm...it should be 'forward thinking'...and no abstract words that the majority of people can't or don't want to understand.
So, let's "keep it simple, stupid." No, not you Builder, lol!! I just mean there is an exponentially higher chance of success if the general public can, not only, easily interpret the goal, but, actually get excited and earnestly want to take part in. The term should describe simplistically, exactly what it espouses, in such a way that it cannot easily be hijacked and deliberately twisted for purposes of vilifying by the .01%, tyrannical governments or media.
Hey, I know...a "People's Society!" Simple, to the point, difficult to misinterpret, forward thinking, friendly. Perfect! Well, that's my contribution anyway, lol!
Under a new term, we can then converge the wisest qualities from anarchy, socialism, libertarian-socialism, communism, democracy, etc.
OWS' one demand, in my very humble opinion, should be to develop a "People's Society"...governed 'By the People, For the People.' Everything else we want for humanity, like...the end of exploitation, living wages, money out of politics, an end to hegemony, etc., all fall safely under that banner. When we're in, and the so called leaders and .01% are out, we'll fairly vote on all the rest...and make sure there is dignity for all.
It's time we take our future back, take care of ourselves and each other, and embrace a truly new way of humanity.
No - as it would not stop the toxic rape of the planet by the corp(se)oRATions.
A global minimum wage would do that, it would help to eliminate labor competition among nations.
We hear crying all the time that globalization is the cause of so many of our problems, well, here is one way to help solve that. A global minimum wage.
We hear crying all the time that globalization is the cause of so many of our problems, well, here is one way to help solve that. A global minimum wage.
Coupled with a global defanging of corp(se)oRATions and all similar constructs of other countries.
From the heartfelt gawker piece: "In America, we accept the minimum wage as a given. It enjoys broad support. It is the realization of an ideal: that there is a point at which low pay becomes a moral outrage. (Where that point is, of course, is up for continuous debate.) Do not mistake the minimum wage for some sort of consensus of nonpartisan economists; it is a moral statement by our society. A statement of our belief that the economically powerful should not have a free hand to exploit the powerless.
Yet we are all hypocrites. We protect ourselves with a minimum wage, while at the same time enjoying the low consumer prices that come with ultra-low wages being paid to workers abroad. "
This, of course, can be fixed. We can care for all people, all over the globe, and throw our nationalism aside. A global minimum wage is one be one great place to start!
Day before national protests, President Obama throws support to increase the minimum wage:
I'll take this glimmer of hope. $10.10 an hours sure beats the paltry $7.25 that millions of people are living on.
Even better. Although - one hundredth still seems like too much.
Right. And, let's face it, the Walton's bottom line is no concern of ours.
Oh, really good point. LOL. How about .01%?
I think people are starting to get these ideas. Thanks for all you do here, Odin. Can't think of any good reason why you were downvoted for saying what you said, but, hey, we keep going no matter what and I appreciate your tenacity.
If you can identify a conspiracy theory in the article, feel free to point it out or else claiming it to be mumbo jumbo is itself just fantasy land mumbo jumbo.
Why the World Should Care About Honduras' Recent Election
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 11:37 By Mark Weisbrot, The Guardian | Op-Ed
Election results are often contested, and that is one reason why governments sometimes invite official observer missions from inter-governmental bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS) or European Union (EU). But there are times and places when these outside organizations don't provide much in the way of independent observation.
On Sunday, 24 November, Hondurans went to the polls to choose a new president, congress, and mayors. There were a lot of concerns about whether a free and fair election was possible in the climate of intimidation and violence (pdf) that prevailed in the country. As I noted before the vote, members of both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate had, in the prior six months, written to US Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing their concerns.
Their worst fears proved justified. During the weekend of the election, three Libre party activists were murdered. This has received little attention from the media, but imagine if 120 Democratic party organizers (scaling up for the population of the US) were assassinated in the course of a US presidential election – a fourth Libre party activist was murdered on 30 November. Libre is the party formed by Hondurans who opposed the 2009 military coup that ousted the democratically-elected, left-of-center President Mel Zelaya. Their presidential candidate was Xiomara Castro, who is married to Zelaya.
Both letters also expressed concern about the electoral process, and here, too, the result was beyond their worst scenarios. According to the official results, Xiomara Castro received 28.8% of the vote, behind the ruling National Party's 36.8%. Another newly formed opposition party, the Anti-Corruption party headed by Salvador Nasralla, received 13.5% in the official tally.
Reports of fraud, vote-buying, the buying of polling-place party representatives by the National Party, and other irregularities came from observers during the day of the election and following. Of course, these things happen in many elections, especially in poor countries, so it is generally a judgment call for election monitors to determine if the election is "good enough" to warrant approval, or whether it should be rejected. But there are two very big things that stand out in this election that raise serious doubts about the legitimacy of the vote count.
First is the compilation of votes by the Libre party, released on Friday. The parties are able to do their own vote count after the election because their observers receive copies of the tally sheets, which they sign, at the polling centers. The Libre party was able to salvage 14,593 of the 16,135 tally sheets (some Libre observers were reportedly tricked or intimidated into turning their copies over to the electoral authorities). They compared these tally sheets to the official results posted on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) web site, and found enormous discrepancies: for example, an 82,301 overcount for the National Party, and a 55,720 undercount for the Libre party. This by itself is more than 4.6% of the total vote, well over half of the National Party's lead in the official tally.
Hopefully the Libre party will post its tally sheets online so that these counts can be verified. If true, these discrepancies are so large that, by themselves, they would mandate the recount that the Libre party is demanding, if not a new election altogether.
The second big thing in this election has been the defection of a delegate from the official EU observer mission, Leo Gabriel of Austria. In a press interview with Brazil's Opera Mundi, Gabriel explained why he breached protocol and denounced the EU's preliminary report:
I can attest to countless inconsistencies in the electoral process. There were people who could not vote because they showed up as being dead, and there were dead people who voted … the hidden alliance between the small parties and the National Party led to the buying and selling of votes and [electoral worker] credentials … During the transmission of the results there was no possibility to find out where the tallies were being sent and we received reliable information that at least 20% of "the original tally sheets were being diverted to an illegal server.
He also noted that the majority of his fellow EU observers disagreed with the mission's report, but were overruled by the team leaders.
Gabriel concludes that although "EU missions have played a relevant role and have appropriately dealt with lack of transparency in electoral processes", this was not the case in this election, where "political, economic, commercial, and even partisan interests prevailed".
The most important partisan interest is that of Washington, which put $11m into the election and wanted to legitimize the rule of its ally, the National Party, just as it did in the more blatantly illegitimate election four years ago following the US-backed military coup.
The OAS has similarly abandoned its duty of neutrality in elections in Haiti: it changed its 2000 report on presidential elections to support US efforts at "regime change", and in 2011, took the unprecedented step of reversing an actual election result, without so much as even a recount – again in line with Washington's electoral choices.
But the battle over this election is not over yet. Thousands of Hondurans have taken to the streets, despite increasing repression and militarization of the country. The response of the international media and observer missions will be relevant: will they investigate to see if the charges of electoral fraud are true? Or will they simply watch as the National Party government consolidates itself with repression and support for the results from the US and its allies?
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.
Pension Theft: Class War Goes to the Next Stage
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:30 By Dean Baker, Truthout | Opinion
In the past two days we've seen a federal judge rule that Detroit can go bankrupt, putting its workers' pensions in jeopardy, and we have seen Illinois' Legislature vote for substantial cuts in its retirees' pensions. Undoubtedly these two actions are just the tip of the iceberg. We have opened up a new sport for America's elite: pension theft.
The specifics of the situations are very different, but the outcome is the same. Public employees who spent decades working for the government are not going to get the pensions that were part of their pay package. In both cases we have governments claiming poverty, and therefore the workers are just out of luck.
Before getting to the specifics of these cases, it is worth dealing with a couple of points. First, there has been a huge media campaign to trumpet the generosity of public-sector pensions. The Washington Post once ran a major front-page article on public pensions in which its poster child was a former official in a small California city who was getting a pension of more than $500,000 a year.
Of course this sounds horrible, and it is. The official had been the city manager and had assigned himself several other top jobs, all of which came with generous pensions. He also was under indictment.
This is not close to the typical pension in California or anywhere else. In the case of Detroit, the typical pension is a bit more than $18,000 a year. In Illinois it's around $33,000 a year. It's important to note that most Illinois workers do not get Social Security, so this is their whole retirement income.
The other item generally missing from the coverage is that these pensions are part of workers' pay. Controlling for education and experience, public-sector pay is somewhat lower than the pay of private-sector workers. The more generous pension and health care benefits that most public-sector workers enjoy are offsetting lower wages.
The pensions are not gifts bestowed by the government on workers; they are part of workers' pay. When the city of Detroit or state of Illinois cut workers' pensions, they are in effect saying that they are not going to pay workers for the work they did.
Turning to the specifics, there is no doubt that Detroit is in bad financial shape. Part of this can be attributed to mismanagement and corruption. However, by far the biggest factor is the decline in the auto industry, which was the driving force of the city's economy.
This decline has far more to do with national economic policy than any decisions made by the city government. It also didn't help matters that the state of Michigan made it very easy to escape the problems of the city by stepping over the city line into the suburbs, which many of its middle-class residents did.
Detroit workers might be forgiven if they thought they could count on getting the pensions for which they worked. After all, the Michigan Constitution prohibits the state from cutting pensions. And the city of Detroit is a creation of the state of Michigan, which might have led them to believe that the Michigan Constitution also applied to Detroit. However, a federal judge just ruled otherwise. Now Detroit's workers face the prospect of a bankruptcy judge taking large chunks out of their pensions.
The story of Illinois pensions should be at least as infuriating. Unlike Detroit, the economy in Illinois is reasonably healthy. News reports often tout its unfunded liability of $100 billion without pointing out that this is an obligation that needs to be met over the next 30 years. During this period, Illinois' economy will exceed $18 trillion in output, putting the liability at roughly 0.6 percent of the state's future income. That is hardly trivial, but neither is it an unbearable burden.
The disturbing aspect about the Illinois situation is that the underfunding of the pension was a deliberate choice. For years the governor and Legislature approved budgets that did not make the required contribution to the pensions. (The city of Chicago, under Mayor Richard M. Daley, did the same thing.) This was a deliberate shafting of workers in which most of the state's leading political figures acquiesced.
Among those who deserve special vilification in this story are the bond-rating agencies (yes, the folks who rated all those subprime mortgage-backed securities as Aaa). During the years of the stock bubble in the 1990s, they analyzed pension funds using the assumption that the bubble would persist indefinitely. This meant that state and local governments had to make little or no contribution to their pensions.
Unfortunately, it was a habit that stuck. Even after the bubble burst, they continued to contribute little or nothing to their pensions.
So now Illinois, Chicago and several other state and local governments have badly under-funded pensions. It would seem that they would have an obligation to raise the revenue needed to pay workers, after all this money they are owed.
But in 21st century America, contracts and the rule of law apparently don't mean anything, at least not if the people at the other end are ordinary workers. So, rather than inconvenience all those rich folks at the Chicago Board of Trade or other highly successful businesses with a larger tax bill, the plan is to stiff the firefighters, the schoolteachers, and the people who collected garbage for 30 years.
It may turn out to be the case that the rich and powerful can just rewrite the rules as they go along. But at least the people should know that theft is now in style when it's their property at stake.
What the Media Isn't Telling You About Detroit's Bankruptcy
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:01 By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed
By now you've probably heard the news: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is now free to rob Detroit workers of their hard-earned pensions.
On Tuesday morning, Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that because federal law trumps state law, Michigan's constitutional protections for public employee pensions don't apply in federal court.
It's pretty much official now: Detroit is going bankrupt.
The death of a great American city is one of the biggest - if not the biggest - news story of the week. But the mainstream media has yet to tell the real story behind the Motor City's decline.
Bankruptcy law is a complicated topic, so it'd be one thing if the major networks avoided all the nitty-gritty details of the past few months' legal battles. But they haven't. In fact, that's all the mainstream media has focused on. They've made it seem like Detroit's troubles magically began back in July when the city's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr first filed bankruptcy papers.
And while those legal battles are interesting in their own right, they're really only part of a much bigger story: the destruction of Detroit by America's bankster-billionaire class.
The media isn't telling that story. And it needs to be heard.
At one point in time, Detroit was ground-zero for the American dream. The Motor City really was the Motor City. It was the fifth biggest metropolitan area in the country and its economy was booming as a result of the success of the big three automakers: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.
The car industry's unionized workforce took home good middle-class salaries, in turn bolstering the city's tax revenues.
But over the past 30-plus years Detroit has been hit hard by the three-headed monster of the new American fire economy: free trade, union-busting, and bankster-run Ponzi schemes.
From the Washington administration to the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s, our trade system was based around a system of protectionist tariffs that encouraged doing business in American and discouraged doing business abroad.
But towards the end of the 20th century, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers began to embrace a new form of free-market extremism: free trade. Free trade opened up the economy to foreign competition and outsourced jobs once done by American workers to workers overseas.
Detroit was hit especially hard as foreign car companies like Toyota took advantage of lax trade policies to sell their products to American consumers. This decimated Detroit's industrial core. The Motor City's manufacturing workforce stood at 200,000 in 1950. Today, it's 20,000.
But any possibility that those foreign companies would help provide new jobs to Detroit's now unemployed autoworkers was stopped dead in its tracks by right-to-work-for-less states in the South using their anti-worker laws to attract foreign manufacturers like Volkswagen and Toyota.
And with its jobs gone and poverty rampant, Detroit, like so many other deindustrializing cities across America, then became the target for banksters looking to make a quick buck with rip-off mortgage schemes. As a result, the financial crisis hit the Motor City especially hard.
But to make matters worse, after evicting thousands of Detroiters from their homes, the big banks didn't bother going through with the normal foreclosure process. Instead, they left the houses abandoned in an attempt to avoid paying taxes on them. Their scheme worked: Detroit's army of abandoned houses costs the city millions every year in unpaid taxes.
The Motor City, once ground zero for the American dream, is now ground zero for the worst policies of the post-Reagan economy. Its industrial heart has been shredded in the name of free trade. Its workforce has been decimated by glorified union-busting schemes. And in the final insult to injury, its impoverished population has been ripped off by predator banksters.
Of course, you can't expect the media to focus on that, right?
With so much money to be made, it's far easier to focus on the short term and blame greedy retirees, who, by the way, have been doing their part to fund pension plans while the state government has avoided living up to its end of the bargain.
But if we really want to save the rest of the country from devastation, we need to take a good hard look at the lesson of Detroit.
Because if we continue on the path we've been on for the past 30 years, Detroit's decline won't be just a sad story, it will be America's story.
This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.
Conspiracy theory mumbo jumbo!
There are so many real problems that we need to deal with, come back with us to the real world. Fantasy land is for kids.
The 'Axis of Evil,' Revisited
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 10:44 By Noam Chomsky, Truthout | Op-Ed
An interim agreement on Iran's nuclear policies that will provide a six-month period for substantive negotiations was announced on Nov. 24.
Michael Gordon, a reporter for The New York Times, wrote, "It was the first time in nearly a decade, American officials said, that an international agreement had been reached to halt much of Iran's nuclear program and roll some elements of it back."
The United States moved at once to impose severe penalties on a Swiss firm that had violated U.S.-imposed sanctions. "The timing of the announcement seemed to be partly intended to send a signal that the Obama administration still considers Iran subject to economic isolation," Rick Gladstone explained in The Times.
The "landmark accord" indeed includes significant Iranian concessions - though nothing comparable from the United States, which merely agreed to temporarily limit its punishment of Iran.
It's easy to imagine possible U.S. concessions. To mention just one: The United States is the only country directly violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (and more severely, the United Nations Charter) by maintaining its threat of force against Iran. The United States could also insist that its Israeli client refrain from this severe violation of international law - which is just one of many.
In mainstream discourse, it is considered natural that Iran alone should make concessions. After all, the United States is the White Knight, leading the international community in its efforts to contain Iran - which is held to be the gravest threat to world peace - and to compel it to refrain from its aggression, terror and other crimes.
There is a different perspective, little heard, though it might be worth at least a mention. It begins by rejecting the American assertion that the accord breaks 10 years of unwillingness on Iran's part to address this alleged nuclear threat.
Ten years ago Iran offered to resolve its differences with the United States over nuclear programs, along with all other issues. The Bush administration rejected the offer angrily and reprimanded the Swiss diplomat who conveyed it.
The European Union and Iran then sought an arrangement under which Iran would suspend uranium enrichment while the EU would provide assurances that the U.S. would not attack. As Selig Harrison reported in the Financial Times, "the EU, held back by the U.S. ... refused to discuss security issues," and the effort died.
In 2010, Iran accepted a proposal by Turkey and Brazil to ship its enriched uranium to Turkey for storage. In return, the West would provide isotopes for Iran's medical research reactors. President Obama furiously denounced Brazil and Turkey for breaking ranks, and quickly imposed harsher sanctions. Irritated, Brazil released a letter from Obama in which he had proposed this arrangement, presumably assuming that Iran would reject it. The incident quickly disappeared from view.
Also in 2010, the NPT members called for an international conference to carry forward a long-standing Arab initiative to establish a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the region, to be held in Helsinki in December 2012. Israel refused to attend. Iran agreed to do so, unconditionally.
The U.S. then announced that the conference was canceled, reiterating Israel's objections. The Arab states, the European Parliament and Russia called for a rapid reconvening of the conference, while the U.N. General Assembly voted 174-6 to call on Israel to join the NPT and open its facilities to inspection. Voting "no" were the United States, Israel, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau - a result that suggests another possible U.S. concession today.
Such isolation of the United States in the international arena is quite normal, on a wide range of issues.
In contrast, the non-aligned movement (most of the world), at its meeting last year in Tehran, once again vigorously supported Iran's right, as a signer of the NPT, to enrich uranium. The U.S. rejects that argument, claiming that the right is conditional on a clean bill of health from inspectors, but there is no such wording in the treaty.
A large majority of Arabs support Iran's right to pursue its nuclear program. Arabs are hostile to Iran, but overwhelmingly regard the United States and Israel as the primary threats they face, as Shibley Telhami reported again in his recent comprehensive review of Arab opinion.
"Western officials appear flummoxed" by Iran's refusal to abandon the right to enrich uranium, Frank Rose observes in The New York Times, offering a psychological explanation. Others come to mind if we step slightly out of the box.
The United States can be held to lead the international community only if that community is defined as the U.S. and whoever happens to go along with it, often through intimidation, as is sometimes tacitly conceded.
Critics of the new accord, as David E. Sanger and Jodi Rudoren report in The New York Times, warn that "wily middlemen, Chinese eager for energy sources and Europeans looking for a way back to the old days, when Iran was a major source of trade, will see their chance to leap the barriers." In short, they currently accept American orders only because of fear. And in fact China, India and many others have sought their own ways to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The alternative perspective challenges the rest of the standard U.S. version. It does not overlook the fact that for 60 years, without a break, the United States has been torturing Iranians. That punishment began in 1953 with the CIA-run coup that overthrew Iran's parliamentary government and installed the Shah, a tyrant who regularly compiled one of the worst human rights records in the world as an American ally.
When the Shah was himself overthrown in 1979, the U.S. turned at once to supporting Saddam Hussein's murderous invasion of Iran, finally joining directly by reflagging Iraq ally Kuwait's ships so that they could break an Iranian blockade. In 1988 a U.S. naval vessel also shot down an Iranian airliner in commercial airspace, killing 290 people, then received presidential honors upon returning home.
After Iran was forced to capitulate, the United States renewed its support for its friend Saddam, even inviting Iraqi nuclear engineers to the U.S. for advanced training in weapons production. The Clinton administration then imposed sanctions on Iran, which have become much harsher in recent years.
There are in fact two rogue states operating in the region, resorting to aggression and terror and violating international law at will: the United States and its Israeli client. Iran has indeed carried out an act of aggression: conquering three Arab islands under the U.S.-backed Shah. But any terror credibly attributed to Iran pales in comparison with that of the rogue states.
It is understandable that those rogue states should strenuously object to a deterrent in the region, and should lead a campaign to free themselves from any such constraints.
Just how far will the lesser rogue state go to eliminate the feared deterrent on the pretext of an "existential threat"? Some fear that it will go very far. Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations warns in Foreign Policy that Israel might resort to nuclear war. Foreign policy analyst Zbigniew Brzezinski urges Washington to make it clear to Israel that the U.S. Air Force will stop them if they try to bomb.
Which of these conflicting perspectives is closer to reality? To answer the question is more than just a useful exercise. Significant global consequences turn on the answer.
© 2012 Noam Chomsky
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate
US Government Has Secret Kill Switch for Communications
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 11:29 By Kevin Mathews, Care2 | Report
Someday, your cell phone and internet may suddenly go out, but it will have nothing to do with failing to pay your bills. Unbeknownst to most Americans, the President has the authority to shut down everyone’s internet and phone service in one fell swoop, reports Mother Jones.
Though it seems sinister, the government assures us that this “kill switch” capability is for our own protection. Developed during the George W. Bush administration, the plan is that the executive branch can turn off communication technology in the event of a mass emergency or terrorist attack.
Fortunately, one group is demanding a more thorough explanation. Wanting the government’s plan to be public knowledge, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) used the Freedom of Information Act to request documents pertaining to the kill switch. A high-ranking judge agreed that the organization’s request was valid and required that the Department of Homeland Security release pertinent documents this month. Courts subsequently extended the release date to January 13, giving the DHS more time to find a way around having to divulge anything.
EPIC hopes that the government will be forced to answer key questions about this emergency protocol like precisely how the technologies will be turned on and off, the potential duration of these outages and whether the DHS can use the kill switch at its own discretion without the president’s approval.
The government’s best argument for shutting down cell service is that cell phones can be used to remotely set off bombs, so disabling these phones is important for safety. However, the case is less clear for the internet. “I find it hard to imagine why an internet kill switch would ever be a good idea, short of some science fiction scenario wherein the network comes alive a la Terminator/Skynet,” said Harold Feld, a technology advocacy expert. “At this point, so much of our critical infrastructure runs on the internet that a ‘kill switch’ would do more harm than anything short of a nuclear strike. It would be like cutting off our own head to escape someone pulling our hair.”
What the government’s plan seemingly fails to take into account is that communication is essential, particularly in emergency situations. People not only are inclined to get in touch with loved ones, but also need the devices to learn the extent of the threat/how to protect themselves. Is the potential of inconveniencing the state’s enemies worth the lives that could have otherwise been spared had the public been able to access critical information?
In many ways, disabling communication technology is actually about the First Amendment. Just look at other countries that have triggered the kill switch on the internet. Syria eliminated the internet when its people rose up against its government. Egyptian leaders similarly blocked most internet and cellphone reception during the country’s protests against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Still, let’s not “other” the problem entirely. San Francisco is guilty of similar tactics. When a protest was planned after a BART police officer shot a homeless man, officials shut down all wireless service around the time of the rally to stop participants from effectively organizing and assembling.
Instead of seeing examples of how shutting down technology “protected” the people, recent history shows how governments can abuse the capability in order to suppress its people. Blocking communication is more likely a ploy for keeping citizens in line and uninformed. The free exchange of information is an essential part of transparency and safeguarding our liberties.
Hopefully, the Department of Homeland Security will be made to disclose its full intentions with the kill switch without all of the usual classified redactions.
''What is a kill switch ?''
The US Government’s Secret Plan to Shut Off Cellphones and the Internet, Explained :
SOLIDARITY @ JEREMY HAMMOND
fiat lux ...
Please tell us more about medical in Australia.
And with all this cost, quality of med care decreasing---------
See also: http://t.co/FJCqmbxWjG