Manipulation Through Nationalism

by bicyclemark 1 Comment

Watching video of last week’s Iowa Caucuses on the Uptake, it left me severely disturbed to watch as people stand in a room and yell at each other about which candidate is best. They scream and shout and hardly anyone listens and they spout rhetoric that anyone could have heard from the candidate themselves over the past year. They use adjectives to praise a candidate who they think they know, “honest”, “determined”, “strong”, “experienced”… naturally it is the same list people have been using since the feudal days when the king and queen were the most suited to lead us thanks to their nobility and wisdom.

Meanwhile I gather what information I can on the situation in Kenya, where people are also dedicated to their candidate. Questionable election results, a familiar theme throughout the planet, lead to supporters of the opposition taking to the streets. Police are dispatched with little concern for the safety or rights of citizens , demonstrators are shot and killed. Elsewhere one group that supports one candidate targets the other group that supports the other candidate, they attack with weapons and whatever they can get their hands on. They’re convinced that their guy should have won; they believe so strongly in a person they think they know, they’re willing to kill or be killed for him.

Famous and Infamous people have said, throughout history, that nationalism is one of the most dangerous forces on earth. With the power to make people hate each other, convinced that their cause, their flag, their candidate.. is the answer. And when he or she occasionally gets power and then does nothing, they find another to support, re-directing their blind loyalty.. or maybe they stick with their incompetent leader no matter how bad it gets… as if they are required to by some natural law.

Whether they are yelling at each other in a room in Iowa, torturing people in Guantanamo, beating and burning each other alive in Kenya, or rigging election results in Georgia to help a western-friendly oil man stay president, it is all a very cruel and dangerous game. Cruel because those in power use people… they use people’s lives.. people are expendable to them. Dangerous because beyond the yelling comes hatred. After the hatred can come violence. And from violence comes more violence that can and will tear countries, regions, and the world apart. All in the name of what people like to call democracy…. all in the name of some candidate who swears he or she can fix all that is wrong with the society we live in, and the lives so many people feel trapped in.

bm199 What these Elections Will Do To France

by bicyclemark

Media coverage of the French elections has spiraled into the typical who looks tougher who will lose reporting, as is the norm for mainstream media today. But there are real policies that will harm or help real people throughout and France, depending on the outcome. In this podcast, with the help of Chris of Americablog and Jessica in London, we will identify what changes will come and what it means for French, as well as the effect on Europe.

I recommend Chris’s latest post on round 1 election results
Also Mentioned: Opendemocracy.net

We Discuss:
-The top issues that will HAVE to change regardless of who’s elected
-The economy and jobs
-The 35 hour work week
-The green movement, or lack there of
-The Health system
-Transport
-Selling “American Style” to the French
-Racism as an election tool
-Europe Union issues

 

Privacy, Voting Computers, and Insanity

by bicyclemark

They actually didn’t cover the insanity part, but that just comes automatic.

I’ve never seen so many laptops in my life.

As one strolls the outside-conference environment, you may encounter the many different collectives of the Chaos Communication Congress. In this corner, with laptop and internet cable strewn everywhere, it’s the mesh network kids. Over there, below the wikimedia banner, a bunch of people are allegedly working for wikipedia. (maybe they can un-ban me, those bastards) Down the hall, its the Deck phone guys who do cool shit with phones. I can’t even get into the lockpickers, lego-robotics, RFID mapping, and solar robot creating corners. It’s all just too much. I get tired very quickly as the senses are overloaded with this creative energy that bursts from every corner.

If you come to a hacker conference.. one thing not to forget.. which I just happen to have… ethernet cable. Its important. Take that bit of wisdom with you, free-o-charge.

Smoking Lounge.. pretonight.

As the evening wound down, after a whole day of god knows what, I found myself in this room, (photo taken yesterday, tonight it was bustling with people), sitting next to Rop who just slammed home a presentation on the Dutch voting computer battle (which I covered in my podcast way back when), drinking ze beers with Catarina.. who taught me all kinds of hacker history and general communication factoids this evening. She also awarded me with a rare PRess Pass… yehaw.

All this is my excuse for not doing a podcast or a vlog tonight. Too much to tell.. too much to do.. and the night is almost over… so I’ll get on it tomorrow, at some point.

I’ve said it alot lately, but this conference is one of those things in life.. not to be missed and not likely to be forgotten.

bm168 Verona Italy and Voter Turnouts

by bicyclemark

Not the usual podjournalism as I’m on the road. This time coming to you from the riverside in Verona, Italy. The sun is setting and I talk about a little history of the city and I get into voter turnout numbers following yesterday’s Dutch elections.
Next Stop: Ljubjana, Slovenia. But first, a few hours in Venice with Madge Weinstein.

The Voter Turnout Surveys That I Sort of Refer To
dutch Elections