Author Archive | Breshvic

WikiLeaks Spy Files

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via wikileaks.org/the-spyfiles

via Wikileaks Spy Files:

In early September 2014 WikiLeaks released its last batch of leaked Spy Files –  which it had started releasing in 2011. To mark this anniversary, data journalist Alice Corona cleaned and structured the data to build an interactive database combining the three Spy Files releases.

Currently, there are 559 leaked company documents, and 15 location tracking reports from WikiLeaks Counter Intelligence Unit (WLCIU). The 559 files disclose to the public internal documents from more than 100 companies specialized in intelligence and (mass) surveillance technologies.

These technologies are sold both to Western governments and to dictators, and have been used by the Syrian government. The 15 documents from WLCIU reveal the timestamps and locations of 20 members of these companies, whose whereabouts WikiLeaks has decided to track in order to show where the main surveillance contractors are sending its people.

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Propaganda Posters

U.S. Patriotism Poster

U.S. Patriotism Poster

One of my favorite things to collect are old propaganda posters. There’s something both chilling and comforting in the way that the systems of power have so crassly and transparently strived to manipulate us, using incredibly similar techniques for so many generations. And, of course, the illustration work is as fascinating as the history behind it.

Some associates have started a new resource for collecting together these old images, and I hope it will become a more robust database as time goes on. If Disinfonauts are interested, it’s free to edit and easy to upload images and info to propaganda.silk.co. As of writing this, so far there are only categories for US and UK WWII art, so I hope people soon add WWI, the Bolshevik Revolution, Soviet posters and anything else that is historically significant and visually stimulating. It may also become a good forum for discussing what propaganda is and how it works.… Read the rest

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How the Occupy Movement Helps Us Progress

Occupy Wall Street protesters have taken over Zuccotti Park as a base of operations. 17 September 2011 by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

Occupy Wall Street protesters have taken over Zuccotti Park as a base of operations. 17 September 2011 by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

The words ‘Occupy’, and the concept of the 99% and the 1% have become so enmeshed in our daily lives, hardly an American alive can deny their importance. Still, when pundits deign to look back upon the short history of the movement, and recent years’ progressive activism in general, they wonder “what good has it done”, and “where have they gone”, and “why couldn’t they just play by the rules?” The underlying implication is that such protests are somehow outside the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the political landscape, and therefore should be easily forgotten. But their ideas demand the attention of people everywhere, from Gezi Park to Taiwan, from Brazil to Ferguson, and anywhere citizens have been forced to exert their rights by literally occupying their own turf against tyrannical powers.… Read the rest

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Anti-”Redskins” PSA to Air

No word yet on whether the NFL will consider airing the “Proud to Be” spot, (which had been produced and put online in time for Super Bowl XLVIII), but it will play during the NBA finals, as it was deemed a “significant investment” by sponsors from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. The group would not reveal how much it spent for the coveted advertising slot, only that it was necessary to further an important discussion of racism.

via AlterNet:

During this weekend’s highly anticipated NBA final, an ad that the NFL does not want to air will hit the airwaves. It is a powerful and moving plea to change the offensive Washington Redskins name and mascot produced by a group called the National Congress of American Indians.

The ad runs through a list of words that Native Americans actually call themselves: proud, forgotten, Navajo, mother, survivor, Inuit, patriot, underserved . . . and many more.

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America Comes Out With Student Debt

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Picture by flickr user Jagz Mario (CC)

Student debt activist Kyle McCarthy details some of the latest news  and personal stories in the ongoing battle against usurious corporations like Sallie Mae.

via Kyle McCarthy at Armchair Advocates:

For many today, higher education is being pushed further out of reach due to skyrocketing tuition and overwhelming student debt. In fact, from 1978 to 2011, tuition increased more than 900%, 650 points above US inflation.

And as tuition has climbed, so has student debt. Over the past eight years, total educational debt has nearly tripled in size and the average monthly student loan payment is $500. Today, nearly 40 million Americans hold more than $1 Trillion in student loan debt, which is having drastic effects on individual student-borrowers, families, and the American economy. With the increase in borrowing, people have delayed major purchases such as houses and cars. In 2011, first-time home purchases decreased for the first time since 2006, and One Wisconsin Now estimates that the student debt crisis translates into over $6 billion in lost automotive sales each year.

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Art Bell Returns!

Picture: Kelly Murphy for "Dark Matter"

Picture: Kelly Murphy for “Dark Matter”

No, he wasn’t in an underground bunker, and he wasn’t abducted!

Without much fanfare, the godfather of paranormal late night talk radio has returned to the airwaves. This time, beaming from an extraterrestrial satellite orbiting the globe and back into homes, Art Bell has signed a contract with Sirius/XM to bring spookiness back to dark nights huddled around the radio. Still operating from his desert enclave in Pahrump, the grizzled master of ceremonies proves that he’s still got the panache to handle topics scientific and… well, we’ll just say fringe.

His first interview back behind the mic was with Coast-to-Coast veteran and world-renowned physicist Michio Kaku, now famous as a popular science advocate for his work on Explorations in Science, Big Think and countless other outlets. An appropriate choice considering Art’s new show is named Dark Matter, and the CUNY Professor of Theoretical Physics opens our ears and minds to the cosmic, the subatomic, and the quantum in the same way that Art Bell had introduced us to the astral, the demonic, and the ghostly over his career.… Read the rest

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Glitch Art Goes Big

bitmap glitch skull by Flickr user letloosethelambs (CC)

I love outsider art and creative détournement, and so when something as innovative and unsettling as ‘data-moshing‘ and ‘glitch art‘ grew, I took notice. It may have been the inevitable combination of remix culture, hacking/programming, and the new aesthetic, but it definitely makes for some some interestingly (and intentionally) bad art.

Not every artistic endeavor gets recuperated by the mainstream (it sometimes feels as though they are randomly selected), but rather than kvetch about it when they do, it’s interesting to see in what way they are utilized. Glitch art is so jarring, often painful to watch and surely more challenging to create, that I am genuinely surprised that anyone would actually want glitches in their corporate Matrix.

But two pop-culture franchises have utilized it within the last few weeks. The first was the brilliant episode of Adventure Time, “A Glitch is a Glitch“, in which the villainous and buffoonish Ice King shortsightedly releases a virus to corrupt and destroy the entire Land of Ooo.… Read the rest

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3D-Printed Guns Get Better

Flickr user perpetualplum (CC)

As both gun nuts and control nuts violently yell at each other in Washington DC and in the mainstream media, the very-real gradient of rational opinion-holders debate reasonable alternatives. Bans notwithstanding, as low as 6% oppose simple background checks. Inventors are talking about the feasibility of smart gun technology. There’s been talk for ages of numbering bullet casings. Most importantly, we’re actually starting to reevaluate our archaic mental health infrastructure and attitudes toward the nature of killers and perpetrators of gun violence. Plenty of intelligent minds are reminding us that, as with terrorism, your odds of getting gunned down are still pretty low. But best of all, we’re looking at the societal problems on the whole, and smaller DIY solutions.

The rational people, I mean.

There are still those who see any move to regulate any aspect of guns as total despotism. And there are those who think that big, bad (um… inanimate) guns are lurking around every corner, waiting to strike.… Read the rest

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Sate Your Documentary Addiction

I’m overburdened with media! I’ve a pile of books to read, news to collate, new music to parse and podcasts to digest. My Netflix queue overfloweth. And if I ever get time to devour something in my free time, sadly, it usually isn’t the pure escapism of fiction. I think I’ve been reading non-fiction and watching documentaries for so long, my brain is now wired to be impatient with what should be delicious candy.

My problem is that I continue to welcome all recommendations from friends, co-workers, DJs, online sources, journalists and Disinfonauts. But I am thankful that the terse and listographic nature of the internet, as well as the myriad of sources for content organization, have actually streamlined this process. A digital native, I irrationally worry that I’ll be missing some current event or corner of the world’s many subcultures.

I’ll die before I give up on trying to subsume it all into my subconscious!… Read the rest

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Congressmen Say Their Own Personal Debt is OK, but not Government Debt

Flickr user: Images_of_Money (CC)

Ah, “elected” government, where hypocrites are paid to advocate for causes they may or may not even agree with, and legislate rules that they themselves don’t follow. And apropos of budget hysteria and economic terrorism being wrought against popular public programs, the trumped-up fears are not only false (the debt crisis is imaginary, and only 6% of the country is aware that the deficit is actually falling) but it’s no surprise to anyone that the ‘debt-fixing’ warriors don’t have the same view of their own debt as they do of the country’s, or yours.

As Josh Israel of ProPublica points out, fourteen of the most vitriolic enemies of vital programs themselves live with the personal irresponsibility of private debt (to the tune of millions).

These hypocrites include:

  • House Budget Committee Member Tom Rice (R-SC):Wrote: “At a time when hardworking American families are living off of a budget, the federal government should be no different.
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