Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Blockbusters! – RNC! & coming soon… DNC!

Live from Cleveland! Reality Television has hit new highs with the Republican Party’s Smash Summer Hit… the Republican National Convention 2016! This summer blockbuster has it all… Drama… comedy… scandal… intrigue… Headlining this all-star cast is non-other than Reality TV superstar Donald J Trump. Hot off of shows like “the Apprentice” …Trump brings a certain "Cult of Personality" authenticity to this otherwise zany comedic mini-series!

Although this amazing mini-series is targeting a conservative audience, this is entertainment for the entire family. Tune in while you can… the show airs from July 18th until July 21st. It is not clear if there will be any reruns after the networks are through with it!

Coming Soon! Not to be outdone… and broadcast live from Philadelphia… stay tuned for this summer’s second mega-hit mini-series… the Democratic National Convention 2016! If the previews are accurate, the DNC will prove to be every bit as riveting as this week’s RNC!

Show airs July 25th through July 28th… don’t miss it!

In the interest of a fair and balanced campaign coverage… we present as a public service… our own candidate for President of these United States… NOBODY!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Social Media & the rise of imminent violence

In the Spring of 2011, the world caught its first glimpse of the rising power of social media. During what had been called the “Arab Spring” by the traditional press, a combination of mobile phones & devices and those new-fangled “social apps” such as Facebook & Twitter… abruptly rearranged the nature of networked social change and social justice movements. Previously, this level of social connectivity had only been hinted at. As Tunisia and Egypt and the rest lit up politically, as well as technologically, social optimists around the planet held their collective breath for the revolution to come.

Years have passed since those early, inspirational days. Alas, the Arab Spring did not definitively prove to be as democratically fruitful as many had hoped. As is the way of the world, political realities are more complex, convoluted and occluded as to provide a clearly defined path to social justice. Social media continues to be a transformative power to the people. It levels the playing field that was once dominated by major networks and the “Madmen” of Madison Avenue… what we have labeled: Babylon Bandwidth.

Social media is potentially a liberating and democratizing media outlet, as exemplified by the rise of citizen journalism (aka: public, participatory, guerrilla or street journalism). You can bet that the recent focus on police shootings of our citizenry would not have seen the light of day without social media. A smart phone in the hands of a concerned citizen is a powerful thing. A smart phone and a live-stream account, takes this power to whole new level (god bless you, Diamond Reynolds).

Again, the “ways of the world” manifest as dichotomy. With the light… comes the shadow. Even as social media has made these powerful technologies available to the masses, it has become evident that these tools can be used for dark purposes. Author of:  Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization …John Robb, recently posted an alarming, trending reality in social media. In that post, he pointed out how quickly social media broadcasting has become central to social violence. Robb suggests that through our use of social media…

"We are more vulnerable to emotional manipulation than ever before.  Our use of social media has changed us… we are constantly on the hunt for pics, news, stories, and videos that grab our attention and titillate us.  Once we find them, we are then quick to share them with others.
Few things provoke outrage faster than violence and injustice.   It is proving particularly effective when the videos arrive raw and unedited from an individual rather than from the media.  These personal broadcasts have an authenticity, a vulnerability, and an immediacy to them that greatly amplifies their emotional impact.  This makes them more effective at triggering violence than any sterile broadcast from a traditional media outlet.

We've been conditioned to record our experiences using social media.   Naturally, we are seeing the same thing with violence. Recording violence and showing it to the world, raw and unedited, can be used to "elevate the act" and memorialize it.

 NOTE:   ISIS recently stumbled onto this as a way to motivate people to engage in terrorism.  In these cases, the attackers used social media to turn their bloody attacks into both performance art and solemn ceremony.  It gave it meaning. We'll see more of that in the future."

-John Robb

The rise of what Robb has called: Social Violence Networking has the potential to trigger the imminence of violence. The highly suggestive nature of social media increases both the likelihood and the intensity of social violence, via the copycat effect.

 We must all be vigilant in what information we allow into our consciousness. The manipulation of our thoughts and emotions (read: mind control) is a very real threat. There are more nefarious players out there than the Madmen of the advertizing world. Being “of this world” …living in this dualistic, materialistic reality… requires conscious choice. We must choose the light or the shadow. Knowing that dark forces utilize social media only makes our power of discernment all the more important. 

Being aware of such manipulation is half the battle. Energetically, the future of the earth and her myriad earthlings is determined by a balancing of dark and light. Those of the dark utilize fear and hatred. Those of the light utilize love and kindness. The true battle against the hidden hand is being waged covertly... within each human heart. A favorable outcome shall be determined by those among us who proceed from a place of Love and Kindness… are you kind?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pirate Utopias Revisited

THE SEA-ROVERS AND CORSAIRS of the 18th century created an "information network" that spanned the globe: primitive and devoted primarily to grim business, the net nevertheless functioned admirably. Scattered throughout the net were islands, remote hideouts where ships could be watered and provisioned, booty traded for luxuries and necessities. Some of these islands supported "intentional communities," whole mini-societies living consciously outside the law and determined to keep it up, even if only for a short but merry life.

Some years ago I looked through a lot of secondary material on piracy hoping to find a study of these enclaves--but it appeared as if no historian has yet found them worthy of analysis. (William Burroughs has mentioned the subject, as did the late British anarchist Larry Law--but no systematic research has been carried out.) I retreated to primary sources and constructed my own theory, some aspects of which will be discussed in this essay. I called the settlements "Pirate Utopias."

Recently Bruce Sterling, one of the leading exponents of Cyberpunk science fiction, published a near-future romance based on the assumption that the decay of political systems will lead to a decentralized proliferation of experiments in living: giant worker-owned corporations, independent enclaves devoted to "data piracy," Green-Social-Democrat enclaves, Zerowork enclaves, anarchist liberated zones, etc. The information economy which supports this diversity is called the Net; the enclaves (and the book's title) are Islands in the Net.

The medieval Assassins founded a "State" which consisted of a network of remote mountain valleys and castles, separated by thousands of miles, strategically invulnerable to invasion, connected by the information flow of secret agents, at war with all governments, and devoted only to knowledge. Modern technology, culminating in the spy satellite, makes this kind of autonomy a romantic dream. No more pirate islands! In the future the same technology-- freed from all political control--could make possible an entire world of autonomous zones. But for now, the concept remains precisely science fiction--pure speculation.

Are we who live in the present doomed never to experience autonomy, never to stand for one moment on a bit of land ruled only by freedom? Are we reduced either to nostalgia for the past or nostalgia for the future? Must we wait until the entire world is freed of political control before even one of us can claim to know freedom? Logic and emotion unite to condemn such a supposition. Reason demands that one cannot struggle for what one does not know, and the heart revolts at a universe so cruel as to visit such injustices on our generation alone of humankind.

To say that "I will not be free till all humans (or all sentient creatures) are free" is simply to cave in to a kind of nirvana-stupor, to abdicate our humanity, to define ourselves as losers.

I believe that by extrapolating from past and future stories about "islands in the net" we may collect evidence to suggest that a certain kind of "free enclave" is not only possible in our time but also existent. All my research and speculation has crystallized around the concept of the TEMPORARY AUTONOMOUS ZONE (hereafter abbreviated TAZ). Despite its synthesizing force for my own thinking, however, I don't intend the TAZ to be taken as more than an essay ("attempt"), a suggestion, almost a poetic fancy. Despite the occasional Ranterish enthusiasm of my language I am not trying to construct political dogma. In fact, I have deliberately refrained from defining the TAZ--I circle around the subject, firing off exploratory beams. In the end, the TAZ is almost self-explanatory. If the phrase became current it would be understood without difficulty...understood in action.