Posts tagged: Civil Liberties
24-year-old Portland anarchist Leah-Lynn Plante was imprisoned for refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury. Like two other Northwest activists incarcerated earlier this year, Plante had not been charged or convicted with a crime but was nonetheless jailed for her silence.
Plante’s support network announced Friday that she was released from federal prison a couple of days ago after spending a week in solitary confinement. The announcement says that information is scarce and that Plante, having believed she would face 18 months behind bars, is too traumatized to speak to the media.
Gawker unmasked Violentacrez, a Creepshots moderator who also started or moderated various other, shall we say “distasteful” subreddits.
The Guardian reports:
A Moscow appeals court has released one of the jailed members of anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot, but ordered two others to serve the remainder of their two-year jail term in a Russian prison colony.
Yekaterina Samutsevich, the oldest of the three women at 30, walked free into the arms of her father, after serving six months in a pre-trial detention centre after being found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in August.
A panel of three judges accepted the argument of Samutsevich’s new lawyer that she had not participated fully in the group’s February performance of an anti-Putin “punk prayer” in a Moscow cathedral. Samutsevich had been kicked out of the cathedral shortly after entering, meaning she did not engage in the “aggressive movements” that had offended Russia’s Orthodox believers, she argued.
(via Meredith Yayanos)
The AP ran a story recently on the use of drones on U.S. soil by civilians. I’m interested in the examples Republicans Rand Paul and Austin Scott give for curbing the use of drones in the U.S.:
“I just don’t like the concept of drones flying over barbecues in New York to see whether you have a Big Gulp in your backyard or whether you are separating out your recyclables according to the city mandates,” Paul said in an interview, referring to a New York City ban on supersized soft drinks.
He acknowledged that was an “extreme example,” but he added: “They might just say we’d be safer from muggings if we had constant surveillance crisscrossing the street all the time. But then the question becomes, ‘What about jaywalking? What about eating too many donuts? What about putting mayonnaise on your hamburger?’ Where does it stop?” […]
Discussion of the issue has been colored by exaggerated drone tales spread largely by conservative media and bloggers.
Scott said he was prompted to introduce his bill in part by news reports that the Environmental Protection Agency has been using drones to spy on cattle ranchers in Nebraska. The agency has indeed been searching for illegal dumping of waste into streams, but it is doing it with piloted planes.
On the one hand, maybe I should welcome whatever it takes to get conservatives concerned about civil liberties. But I worry about this sort of nanny state fear mongering, especially since it seems to obscure some of the more serious issues regarding policing and invasion of privacy by private corporations - not to mention the questionable use of weaponized drones by the military in the first place.
For the last two years, ProPublica and PBS “Frontline,” in concert with other news organizations, have looked in-depth at death investigation in America, finding a pervasive lack of national standards that begins in the autopsy room and ends in court.
Expert witnesses routinely sway trial verdicts with testimony about fingerprints, ballistics, hair and fiber analysis and more, but there are no national standards to measure their competency or ensure that what they say is valid. A landmark 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences called this lack of standards one of the most pressing problems facing the criminal justice system.
Over the last two decades, ACFEI has emerged as one of the largest forensic credentialing organizations in the country.
Among its members are top names in science and law, from Henry Lee, the renowned criminalist, to John Douglas, the former FBI profiler and bestselling author. Dr. Cyril Wecht, a prominent forensic pathologist and frequent TV commentator on high-profile crimes, chairs the group’s executive advisory board.
But ACFEI also has given its stamp of approval to far less celebrated characters. It welcomed Seymour Schlager, whose credentials were mailed to the prison where he was incarcerated for attempted murder. Zoe D. Katz – the name of a house cat enrolled by her owner in 2002 to show how easy it was to become certified by ACFEI — was issued credentials, too. More recently, Dr. Steven Hayne, a Mississippi pathologist whose testimony helped to convict two innocent men of murder, has used his ACFEI credential to bolster his status as an expert witness.
Remember as you read this that people are being put to death, or put in prison for decades, because of the testimony of forensic experts.
This post rounds up a lot of past coverage of Hayne and the situation in Mississippi.
Combine bad forensics with the psychology of false confessions and what do you get? A recipe for sending innocent people to prison.
You once tweeted that ‘the term censorship has become meaningless’. Why? And what does it mean exactly?
I have? Half of my tweets are not meant to be serious. But, sure, I do find that a lot of debates about censorship – and especially Internet censorship – operate in very binary terms – i.e. people just look at whether a given site is blocked or not. This may have worked ten years ago but now we have much more sophisticated methods of control, ranging from cyber-attacks (which knock out a site for a short period – but the timing might be crucial) to self-policing by Internet companies to massive trolling. We need to find ways to conceptually allow for those new methods of control as well. […]
Did the ‘Arab Spring’ and Occupy movements lower your skepticism about ‘hashtag activism’?
I’ve never used the term “hashtag activism” but the short answer is “no”. Furthermore, I’m not sure that my position here adds up to “skepticism”; as I state in the book and in the afterword, I have no problem acknowledging that Twitter and Facebook can be great for spreading information and mobilizing people. My concerns – and these are purely normative concerns – are that these tools may also be giving some budding social movements false hopes of being able to transcend the ugliness of political life and simply fight the man from within their Facebook profiles. The less it happens, the better – I’m not arguing that this is an inherent feature of all campaigns that take place online, only that this is one possible outcome and that participants (and especially policymakers who may be thinking of how to invest their money and attention) need to be aware of this possible outcome.
Morozov’s TED talk How the Net aids dictatorships
Susan Wright writes science fiction novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture. New York City is her home, where she lives with her husband Kelly Beaton. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1986, Susan moved to Manhattan to get her masters in Art History from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Susan is currently the Spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a national organization committed to protecting freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults.
TiamatsVision- For those unfamiliar with you and your work, tell us a bit about yourself.
Susan Wright- I’ve written over 25 novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture. Right after I got my masters in art history from New York University, instead of becoming a professor as I had intended, I started writing. I was lucky enough to get an agent and in 1994, I published my first Star Trek novel, “Sins of Commission”. I wrote 9 Star Trek novels in all, and I have a new story in the Mirror Universe Shards and Shadows anthology coming out in January, 2009 called “Bitter Fruit”.
I’m also the spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. I talk to the media about BDSM, swinging and polyamory to debunk stereotypes and defend our communities’ right to hold events. NCSF is a great organization, the only one devoted to helping people in need. The website is www.ncsfreedom.org
TiamatsVision- You recently released a book called “A Pound of Flesh” which is a sequel to “To Serve and Submit” . What is this series about and what was your inspiration in writing it?
Susan Wright- These two books are about pleasure training houses in the 11th century - Viking sex! In “To Serve and Submit” , Marja is a submissive heroine who learns through her battles to save her homeland how to use her true nature to become a powerful woman. She falls in love with her master, Lexander. I got the idea from artifacts found in Newfoundland of Viking settlements, and I imagined what would that society be like if it had flourished. I knew the first “new world” settlement would include Native Americans as well as Vikings. Marja’s mother is a Skraeling and her father is Nordic so she straddles those worlds.
In “A Pound of Flesh” , Marja travels to Europe to save the slaves from the pleasure houses, but she has to fight Lexander, her former master and lover, to do it. I loved writing the BDSM scenes in this book because I think it makes the sex more creative - they aren’t the typical love scene. I have much more ability to move the story along during these scenes because the interactions are more intense.
TiamatsVision- Did you have to do any special research for this series?
Susan Wright- LOL! I found the leather community in New York City in 1991 and have been thoroughly involved ever since. So the BDSM is a completely natural expression for me.
For the Viking and real-world building, yes I did a tremendous amount of research. I also benefited because I studied art history for 7 years with an emphasis on the Middle Ages so I have a strong grounding in medieval societies.
TiamatsVision- Are there any future books planned for this series?
Susan Wright- Yes, but my editor left Roc and the future of this series is in doubt. At some point, however, I will return to Marja and Lexander’s story. They will go to Tantalis to deal directly with Lexander’s people who are enslaving poor misfortunates into their pleasure houses.
TiamatsVision- What got you interested in writing, and who are some of your favorite authors?
Susan Wright- When I was a young teen, I loved Heinlein novels. They were dated, but nothing could beat his story-telling. I was a passionate reader and that was always the most important thing“‘a story that could take me away and show me things I’d never imagined. Now I read mostly science fiction and urban fantasy. Also lots of 19th century novels, any I can get my hands on, so Trollope with his copious output is a favorite of mine.
I got a computer when I was getting my masters, and that’s when I became a writer. I’m big on editing over and over, putting together a story and layering in details, so I need a computer to create the way I want to. The words poured out of me. I couldn’t stop myself from being a writer, despite the hardship that it’s caused in my life. But being able to write full time, and create the books I want to, is worth everything I had to give up.
TiamatsVision- You’ve written the Dark Passionsbooks for the Star Trek series and a book on Area 51, “ UFO Headquarters: Investigations on Current Extraterrestrial Activity in Area 51” . What else have you written and what are you currently working on?
Susan Wright- My first science fiction trilogy is called Slave Trade. The first novel, “Slave Trade“ , is available on a brand new cooperative of over 20 published authors - www.bookviewcafe.com. I’m really excited about this project. A bunch of us authors got together to create a fun website where we give away electronic versions of our out-of-print and unpublished work. I’m posting a free chapter of “Slave Trade” every Tuesday - you can read the chapters online that I’ve already posted, or download it. If you can’t wait each week to read it, you can download the entire novel for $4.99.
Currently I’m working on “Confessions of a Demon” and the sequel, “Demon Revelation” . They’re urban fantasies set in New York City, featuring a possessed human heroine, Allay. Demons are emotional vampires, living off the feelings of others. Allay has to survive in the midst of an ancient demon war without becoming anyone’s pawn. “Confessions of a Demon” will be published in October 2009.
TiamatsVision- How did you get involved in writing the Dark Passionsbooks for the Star Trek series?
Susan Wright- My editor, John Ordover, came to me with the idea of writing a set of mirror universe novels featuring the “bad girls” of Star Trek. That was the working title but Paramount nixed it, unfortunately. They feature Seven of Nine and Kira Nerys as lesbian lovers, with Deanna Troi thrown into the mix as well. They’re my best-selling Star Trek novels, which makes sense, don’t you think?
TiamatsVision- What inspired you to write a book about Area 51 and tape an interview with UFO hunters? Is this something you’ve always had an interest in?
Susan Wright- I wanted to find out the truth about UFOs. So what better way than to write a book about it? I sold it to St. Martin’s Press so I could live while I was doing all of the research. Since Area 51 was getting headlines in the mid-90s, I focused on that. It’s not far from where my parents live, and I’ve always been curious about the adjacent Nevada Test Site where the nuclear bomb tests were held in the 50s and 60s. This fall, ten years later, I got a call from the History Channel’s UFO Hunters who were doing an Area 51 episode. I got to go back to the border of Area 51 where we saw a Pave Hawk rise up from a gully and fly right over the top of us, like it came up from the depths of the earth! It was really exciting to get to tell what happened. The episode is supposed to air early in 2009.
TiamatsVision- What is the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), and how did it get started?
Susan Wright- I started NCSF in 1997 while I was working on an ad hoc project for the National Organization for Women to overturn their anti-SM policy. It took three years, but we did it! While I was educating NOW about BDSM, I kept getting emails from women who were being discriminated against or losing their child custody during divorce battles because of their BDSM. So I went to 5 of the biggest educational and social groups and asked them to join a “coalition” for sexual freedom. We had the educational and social aspect down, but we needed an advocacy group to fight the stereotypes and stigma of alternative sexual expression. Now we have 55 Coalition Partners and almost a 100 Supporting Members (groups, businesses and events who support NCSF).
NCSF has lots of different projects - our Incident Response helps people in need, along with the Media Outreach Project. We also have an Educational Outreach Project that gives workshops on how to produce events and protect yourself. We also have a new project - the DSM Revision Project that is working to educate the American Psychiatric Association about the harm the current diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) are doing to BDSM practitioners and cross-dressers. There’s a petition calling for the APA to adhere to scientific research when revising the DSM. You can find that on the front page: www.ncsfreedom.org.
TiamatsVision- As Media Spokesperson for NCSF, what’s involved in getting the word out about your organization?
Susan Wright- I do a lot of interviews to influence the coverage of alternative sexuality. It’s having an effect - the term “consenting adults” has permeated the media and public consciousness. The vast majority of Americans agree that as long as it involves consenting adults, it’s nobody else’s business. That’s a welcome but very slow change that religious conservatives are trying to stop. There are groups that are dedicated to stopping gay rights and they dislike BDSM even more, so they attack our events.
TiamatsVision- What are some of your successful and more difficult cases?
Susan Wright- We have lots of successes! We help 600 people, groups, events, businesses and clubs every year. You can read the articles under NCSF in the News going back 8 years that reads like our greatest hits. We successfully defended Jack McGeorge, a UN weapons inspector who went to look for weapons in Iraq, when the media tried to discredit him because of his association with NCSF and BDSM. We successfully defended 5 major conferences in the Midwest in 2002 when Concerned Women for America spread lies that blood would flow in the hallways. We fought back Missouri State Senator John Louden when he tried to outlaw BDSM and BDSM conferences in that state. Last year we defended Kink.com when they were attacked for buying the SF Armory building, and we supported Folsom Street Fair when the Catholic League called for a boycott against Miller brewing for sponsoring the Fair because of their poster featuring Leatherfolk in a faux-Last Supper tableau.
TiamatsVision- What is a Kink-aware Professional, and what exactly do they do?
Susan Wright- NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals project is a free referral list of doctors, therapists and lawyers who are “kink aware” meaning they understand the special needs of kinky people. They have placed their names and information on this list, arranged by state and city, so people can find them. It really helps to have a therapist or doctor who understands about BDSM so you don’t waste time trying to explain everything. There’s still an appalling amount of discrimination by professionals, so most people don’t want to out themselves to their doctors. Also if you’re in trouble, you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars an hour explaining to your attorney the difference between SM vs. abuse. Kink Aware lawyers tend to be very helpful to those in the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities who are in trouble. It’s an invaluable resource.
TiamatsVision- If people want to purchase your books or find out more information about the NCSF, where do they go?
Susan Wright- You can go to my website - www.susanwright.info It has a link to Book View CafÃ© where “Slave Trade” is being offered in free chapter downloads. Also there’s a link to NCSF, and a link to my blog on Live Journal. There’s also links from my books so you can buy them if you want to. Or send me a question. I love to talk to readers.
This article was original written for Key 64’s Guns, Dope, and Fucking in the Streets PDF zine. I have no idea when the zine will see the light of day, so I’m running this here now.
If you have a fixed idea of what a “typical gun owner” looks like, the coffee table book Armed America may surprise you. If your main exposure to “gun culture” is the mainstream media, or magazines like the American Rifleman or Guns and Ammo, you could be forgiven for thinking all gun owners are rural, middle aged white men who dress in cammo and are desperately worried about protecting the families from gun toting “urban youth.” Armed America, a collection of photographs of gun owners by Kyle Cassidy, includes Montana survivalists and young urban black men, but also tattooed punk rockers, single moms, and American families who couldn’t look any more normal without being creepy.
It turns out, in the United States anyway, the typical gun owner could be just about anyone. According to the introduction of Armed America, 39% of the US population owns guns. Chances are, even if you did have a stereotype in mind for the “typical gun owner,” you actually know a few people who don’t fit the stereotype. Guess what? Those people aren’t the exception: they’re the rule.
So with such a large and diverse range of people owning guns, why is the gun culture - the magazines, shooting clubs, lobbying organizations, etc. - seemingly so homogeneous? Partially because most people who happen to own guns don’t make a lifestyle of it. Partially because some gun owners are quiet about it because they belong to communities that frown on firearms. Cassidy told ESPN.com “There was a guy in California I really wanted to photograph. He eventually declined. He said, ‘It’s like you’re asking me to pose with my pornography collection.’ It was something he just didn’t want to be known as owning.”
And partially because the established gun culture’s authoritarian and socially conservative agenda alienates many unapologetic gun owners. There are many proud gun owners interested in fighting for the 2nd amendment, promoting individual gun ownership, reading about guns, and socializing with other gun owners. Ostracized by the established gun culture, they are creating their own.
Take the Pink Pistols, for example. According to their web site they were established in 2000 to sponsor shooting courses for sexual minorities, and help them get concealed carry licenses. There are now 45 Pink Pistols chapters in the US (and one in Canada), and each group sponsors monthly shooting outings.
They even gained a bit of notoriety with a bizarre mention on Fox News. On the June 21, 2007 episode of the O’Reilly Factor, “gang expert” Rod Wheeler warns viewers of the “Pink Pistol-Packing Group” - a dangerous lesbian gang active all over the country. In an article on their web site, the Southern Poverty Law Center note that while Wheeler claims there are over 150 active lesbian gangs in the DC area alone, other crime experts say there are only 150 to 175 gangs TOTAL in the entire DC area. According to SPLC, Wheeler now claims he wasn’t referring to the law abiding, gun advocacy group known as the Pink Pistols, but to some other group using the same name (that no other law enforcement agency in the US seems to have ever heard of).
The alternative gun culture now has their own voice, a zine called The American Gun Culture Report. AGCR provides an alternative to culturally conservative, authoritarian gun magazines. In the introduction to the first issue, AGCR editor Ross Eliot writes “Supporters of censorship, unaccountable court systems, secret prison camps and torture have claimed gun rights as their private issue far too long. It’s time to take it away from them.” AGCR publishes views from the likes of socialists, libertarians, pagans, and queers - anyone alienated by the mainstream gun press.
The pages of AGCR feature articles on “unexpected gun owners” such as Eleanor Roosevelt, analysis of the political positions espoused by the mainstream gun press, accounts of discrimination at shooting clubs, impassioned defenses of gun ownership, and much more. Eliot, who describes himself as a “non-doctrinal socialist,” says he publishes many things he does not agree with. “I’m not the best writer or editor,” Eliot says, “But I’m putting together a magazine I want to read, which is why I’m not pushing a specific social agenda.”
The zine was conceived one day in mid-2005 when Eliot was reading an issue of Guns and Ammo in the break room of the factory he works in. He says the magazine was “pissing him off” and he decided it was time for an alternative. He’d never made a zine before, but “There was this huge void not being filled, so I figured I might as well fill it.” Ross published the first issue in 2006 and the second in 2007. Both are available from zine and book stores across the US, or from their web site.
Eliot bought his first gun, a Mossberg 12 gauge shot gun, in late 2004 because “I was feeling more and more socially irresponsible for not having a gun.” The Rwandan Genocide changed how he viewed social violence, he says. “It was the most effective genocide in recorded history, about a million people were killed in three months. There have been have been much larger genocides, but this happened with unprecedented speed, and it was done with machetes. One person with a gun could have made a difference.”
Surprisingly, Eliot has received no negative responses to the zine from the left, even though he distributes it at anti-war protests. “The only negative response is from the mainstream gun press and their audiences.”
Eliot says he hasn’t really considered writing for the mainstream gun press, citing the plight of writers like
Dean Spier Dean Speir who were blacklisted from the mainstream gun press after criticizing major advertisers. Instead, he’d rather grow AGCR to the point where it can compete with mainstream gun magazines.
Update/Correction 9/28/09: Dean Speir commented below correcting both the misspelling of his name and my description of him as “blacklisted.” The error is my own, and not Eliot’s. Speir writes:
It’s important to note that calling my absence from the “gunzines” a “blacklisting” isn’t really accurate.
I spent the better part of three years trying to get a gunzine byline, and discovered it was pretty much a closed shop.
Then I got my foot in the clubhouse, and everyone wanted whatever I could provide.
But once “inside,” it became apparent that, like the special interest ‘zines which appeal to the automotive, boating and photography hobby-ists, there was precious little critical writing being done.
And after 12-13 years of trying to get something other than “puffery” in the “mainstream gun press,” and with the advent of the Internet as a more direct conduit for free expression, I retired, bloody but unbowed.
Is there one published who wouldn’t touch my byline with a 12-foot Chechnyan? Absolutely! Harris (Combat Handguns) in NYC.
But I still get inquiries from other Editors wondering if I’m working on anything that might interest their readers.
For the past nine-plus years, whatever fit that category, is self-published at http://www.thegunzone.com, free of advertiser interference and nervous editorial oversight.
And competing with, or ignoring, the mainstream may be their only choice. The Pink Pistols actively try to build bridges with the established gun culture. The August 2001 issue of Guns and Ammo featured a short article about the Pink Pistols and concluded “Once again, maybe we need to shrug off the things that don’t affect shooting and gun rights and step up to the firing line with our fellow shooters.” Nearly seven years later, that hasn’t happened yet. Not that it matters much for the Pink Pistols or the American Gun Culture Report. They’ve proven they need no acceptance or approval from the mainstream to build successful communities.
‘By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy - indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self satisfaction’- William Osler (Canadian Physician, 1849-1919)
“It may well be that our means are fairly limited and our possibilities restricted when it comes to applying pressure on our government. But is this a reason to do nothing? Despair is nor an answer. Neither is resignation. Resignation only leads to indifference, which is not merely a sin but a punishment”- Elie Weisel
“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all-the apathy of human beings.”- Helen Keller
“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”- Plato
“The biggest conspiracy has always been the fact that there is no conspiracy. Nobody’s out to get you. Nobody gives a shit whether you live or die. There, you feel better now?” -Dennis Miller
“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment”- Robert M. Huchins
“Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don’t know and I don’t care”- Jimmy Buffet
(I originally wrote this to take a look at the apathy prevalent in our society today without intending to look at this as a ‘generational thing’ because it generalizes entire groups of unique individuals, but I discovered that in order to talk about the current situation it was necessary to go back in time and look at the sociological trends that got us here.)
Recently someone sent me a link to the famous article written by Tom Wolfe, ‘The ?Me’ Decade and the Third Awakening’. When it first came out it in the mid-seventies it caused quite a stir. So much so that it became the label for an entire group of young people growing up at that time. ‘The Me Decade’ or ‘The Me Generation’ went on to become the ‘Baby Boomers’ new title. ‘See me, feel me, touch me, heal me.’ Analyze me, listen to me, and talk to me, me…me!! After reading through the article, it occurred to me that Voltaire was right. ‘Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’. The more that things change, the more they stay the same.
Some friends and I were talking over dinner when their 20 year old son commented on the attitude of some of his generation. He said that his peers are (and I quote) ‘very spoiled, selfish, and unrealistic about work and life in general. They tend to be self-indulgent, messy, and wait for others to take care of things. Some want a good paying job without having to be too inventive or work too hard for it, and many are foolish about handling money. Immediate self-gratification is expected and pursued. There is a tendency to blame others for things and many have to be rescued from their own lack of experience or incompetence.’
The youth of ANY generation has some of these qualities, so what’s different?
Much of the ‘Me Generation’ were the product of hard working parents who grew up during the Great Depression, and who fought and lived through WWI and WWII. Scarcity was the norm, and family and community were of priority. The future rebels of the 60’s grew up hearing about war and the enormous struggle to make ends meet in the quest for the ‘American Dream’. The anti-war protests, civil rights movement, sexual liberation, and other movements of the 60’s and 70’s, were led by a youth whose idealism and vision led them to believe that united together they could ‘change the world’. In essence this was correct. Many things did change, and some issues we’re still fighting for today.
The idealism and self-exploration of the sixties eventually morphed into the self-indulgent, narcissism of the 70’s and 80’s. Out of the communal focus of free love and equal rights for everyone, a scream for individuality and uniqueness emerged. New religious movements and psychotherapy became common place, and intense self-examination and hedonism became acceptable and encouraged. The mottos ‘Do Your Own Thing’, and ‘Do What Thou Wilt’ eventually morphed into disco glitter and glam, metal, punk and goth and ‘whatever turns you on’. ‘You create your own reality, baby. Go and get it!’
The advance in technology in the 90’s created a time of opportunity and optimism. With the ‘dot-com boom’, company mergers and spinoffs, and a fairly decent job market, the growth and expansion seemed limitless. Then suddenly, along with the event of 9/11, the ‘opportunities’ came to a screeching halt. The dot-coms went bust. Corrupt accounting practices were uncovered in large established companies. Many good paying jobs were outsourced or eliminated completely, and rampant corruption was found in the justice department, the political arena, business, financial, and housing markets, which left us little reason to hold on to such positivism.
In today’s social climate much of the idealism and self-indulgence of the past has now turned into apathy. The predominant attitude of today is filled with apathy, victimization, and what I call ‘I.D.G.A.D’ (‘I Don’t Give A Damn’ or I.D.G.A.S: ‘I Don’t Give A Shit’, if you prefer). And this isn’t limited only to the youth. Many adults fit this same profile.
What the HELL happened?!
For many people computers, video games, television, and cell phones take up most of their time and serve as a distraction to what is really going on around them. The rising cost of living and the dwindling of job opportunities have some people working two or three jobs just to pay the bills. Our Bill of Rights are being slowly stripped away by our government, ‘Big Brother’ is watching, and some people are so stressed out that they’re taking pills supplied by Big Pharma to put them deeper into zombie mode.
Take action and try to change things?
Who has the time, energy or motivation?
Lawsuits won by Big Business (which are intimately connected to our politicians and everything else) leave shareholders, disgruntled employees, and potential whistleblowers asking ‘why bother?!’
Information, communication and entertainment are an instant click away. The desire for attention and our ‘15 minutes of fame’ are satiated though social networking sites, forums and blogs. The disconnection and isolation the instant world has brought leave many people yearning for community. Which ironically leaves some people all alone with their computers and gadgets trying to ‘connect’; searching for some sort of validity through their virtual worlds.
In spite of the fact that technology has been used mainly as a tool for the expression and exploitation of ‘self’, there has also been an increase in people using it for creating a force to combat the corruption that attempts to blind, silence, and control us. With our rights to protest being threatened (and in some cases protesters themselves being labeled as ‘terrorists’), it’s time to ‘wake up’ and take back the power that we have to make a difference. To take control of our anger and what we’re doing in the virtual world and manifest it onto the physical. Can’t find the time? Take some time off from your networking sites, games, texting and T.V, etc. and get out there. Don’t like this message?
“A woman has been jailed in Malaysia for joining a “tea-pot worshipping” cult. Kamariah Ali, a 57 year old former teacher, was arrested in 2005 when the government of the Muslim majority country demolished the two storey high sacred tea pot of the Sky Kingdom cult.
For the sect, which emphasised ecumenical dialogue between religions, the tea pot symbolized the purity of water and “love pouring from heaven”. But in Malaysia, despite constitutional guarantees of freedom of worship, born Muslims such as Mrs Ali are forbidden from converting to other religions.”
Update: The post is gone, but Here’s a very similar article on the same story