Tactical Briefing #7

Hey all you dreamers, redeemers and tone shifters out there,

What will we do if Trump goes all out to steal the election?

The right is full of gusto . . . we on the left are always playing defence. If Trump plays his cynical game to the hilt and really does refuse to leave, then, as in Belarus and many other countries around the world, it will fall on us the people to turn up in massive numbers and set things right.

A million activists descending on Washington for a totally non-violent carnivalesque play-jazz siege on the White House feels like a pretty fine option to keep in mind.

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Adbusters #151

Siege on the White House

Find out more about the #WhiteHouseSiege in this landmark issue . . . and be a part of history.

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The Pulse Newsfeed

Welcome to the Machine

Google "social media is ..." Depending on where you live, your search might return vastly different auto-completed results. Fun. Cool.  A way to connect. A waste of time. Bad for you. A bogeyman. Addictive. Dangerous. Destroying democracy. A cancer.
Social media is ubiquitous. And it is facing mounting scrutiny due to the societal harms — disinformation, electoral manipulation, radicalization — which it not only allows but, by design, encourages. Even Netflix is (perhaps not disinterestedly) sounding the alarm on its big-tech peers with its new documentary, "The Social Dilemma."
In the film, tech-industry insiders and outside observers explain social media's greatest inherent evil — its unparalleled capacity to make people depressed, angry, ignorant, and divided — by manipulating real-world behavior in accordance with profit-driven algorithms.
But more than anything, the film argues, social media is addictive. Prof. Edward Tufte: "There are only two industries that call their customers 'users': illegal drugs and software." And that's not by accident. The more you use, the more money social-media companies make.
But how exactly does something free make money? In the end, something must be sold. And that thing is — you. Your attention, tracked and manipulated by countless engineers and sophisticated A.I., is sold to advertisers to the tune of billions. Today's tech companies are among the biggest, richest, most powerful in history. And yet they are almost entirely unregulated.
Social media companies know how to exploit your weaknesses. And they do it without oversight every day, every hour, every minute, every second. It's not a matter of what's good for you — it's a matter of what's good for stockholders' wallets. And as minds are narrowed to pinpoints, conspiracy theories go mainstream, and vitriol is stirred up online, they are only getting fatter. Welcome, citizens of Dystopia, to the machine.

Netflix via The Independent

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Capsule history of the 21st century

I don't want to get to 2050, when Elon Musk and his libertarian chums are eating dog food on Mars, and then for them to look back on Earth and see that we've lost fifty per cent of our life forms. There's a significant minority - or maybe a majority - of human beings who are biophiliac. They like livings things. - Jonathan Ledgard

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Another Failed State

It was only a matter of time. Graft, corruption, and negligence had left 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate lying unchecked for 6 years in a hangar at Beirut's crowded port. It was a disaster-in-waiting, a genuine time-bomb itching to ignite within lethal distance of both homes and harbour. Lebanese officials knew — from customs authorities to army commanders to the prime minister and the president — and did nothing. Then, one day early in August, the conditions were just right. A blast roughly one tenth as powerful as the atomic explosion in Hiroshima killed at least 190, leaving the country reeling amid the devastation. But even before the explosion, Lebanon was already erupting. Bribery and cronyism had enriched a complacent elite, while immiseration spread due to economic collapse. Resentment had spilled into the streets: widespread protests called for an overhaul of the political class. Judge Ghassan Oueidat, Lebanon's chief public prosecutor: "We failed at running a country." Amid the rubble, can a more just society be built? Or is Lebanon, raised on compromised foundations, doomed to founder? The answer must lie with the People. Otherwise, Lebanon will serve as a dire warning to failing states the world over. Which will be the next to fall?

Link this.

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On Monday, masked men snatched Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova off the streets of Minsk, stuffed her into an unmarked minivan, and drove her to the southern border. After arriving around 4am Tuesday morning, she ripped up her passport; as a result, border guards would not allow her to be sent across into Ukraine. Kolesnikova's kidnapping comes off the back of mass gatherings Sunday, when 100,000 marched through the streets of Minsk to President Lukashenko’s residence. Dressed in the nation's pre–Soviet era colors and waving flowers in the air, protestors have been disputing the legitimacy of last month's election for over four weeks. In place of striking journalists at Belarus' state news network, Putin has sent in personnel from Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT to prop up Lukashenko’s brutal regime. Brussels, London, Washington and Ottawa have made tepid calls for the preservation of democracy. The fate of the country hangs in the balance.

Circulating on social media:

"Footage of an Israeli soldier kneeling, George Floyd–style, on the neck of a Palestenian senior protesting in the West Bank."


#BLM Street

I sensed then, and this belief would grow as the years went on, that the lifeblood of the movement was not going to be the spokesmen – the schooled, sophisticated, savvy upper crust who might be best at speechmaking and press conferences. They would be the leaders, naturally, but it was going to be the tens of thousands of faceless, nameless, anonymous men, women and children – men like my father, women like my mother, children like the boy I had been – who were going to rise like an irresistible army as this movement for civil rights took shape.
John Lewis, from his autobiography, Walking with the Wind

David Graeber,

David Graeber, the anarchist intellectual whose early efforts in Zuccotti Park made Occupy Wall Street an era-defining movement, died Wednesday. He was 59.


#WhiteHouseSiege Tactical Briefing #3

Trump is trying to steal the election . . . it’s got many of us pretty rattled . . . and things could turn very ugly very quickly as November 3rd approaches. Lawyers are already in court, mounting pre-emptive strikes and preparing for the scorched-earth scenarios likely to come.

Meanwhile white supremacists are waiting in the wings, spoiling for a violent showdown.

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#WhiteHouseSiege Tactical Briefing #2

Time is short. Shall we rely on William Barr to interpret the law justly, in the interest of all Americans? On the police or military to drag Trump from the White House when he loses? On the grace and civility of the alt-right hordes and white supremacists? Of course not.

By now it’s clear that Trump and his sycophants will do anything to prevent Joe Biden from taking office, including crippling the Postal Service. There is no limit to their cynicism, no end to their corruption.

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#WhiteHouseSiege Tactical Briefing #1

It’s been nine years since we set off the political earthquake of #OccupyWallStreet, laying siege to NYC’s Zuccotti Park and inspiring thousands of similar protests around the world.

The Occupy anniversary arrives September 17th, 2020. And it may be the perfect day to trigger another global big-bang moment — a massive collective action of the sweetest kind of disobedience.

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Co-opted by Capitalism

Michael Moore's Planet of the Humans

Earth Day’s fiftieth anniversary, which fell on April 22, marked a strange celebration for climate-change deniers. Breitbart News, the notorious mouthpiece of the alt-right, published an article that day under the headline “Michael Moore–backed ‘Planet of the Humans’ Takes Apart the Left’s Green Energy Scams.” The following day James Delingpole, who once wrote in The Telegraph that “it would be nice to think one day that there would be a Climate Nuremberg” for any and all “who talked up the global warming scare,” tweeted that Moore was his “new hero.”

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Far-right media are after us. Here’s what we think of them.

The inevitable has happened: Adbusters has been caught up in the far-right’s hysterical, post-truth fantasia. To understand how the rabid right turns fact into fraud, abandoning even the pretense of truthfulness, read on. You are about to witness an example of how information is forced through the ideological meatgrinder, emerging out the other side as inflammatory delusion.

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Featured in ADBUSTERS #151

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Siege on the White House

Adbusters #149 The Re-enchantment of the Political LeftGet this issue

On September 17th, it will have been nine years since we set off the political earthquake of #OccupyWallStreet. And it may be the perfect day to trigger another global big-bang moment — a massive collective action of the sweetest kind of disobedience.

Over the past nine years, the shadows have only grown longer. Inequality has soared. Not a single Wall Street CEO spent a night in jail after the 2008 financial meltdown. Politicians and corporate criminals continue to savage the public trust with impunity. And all the while, this howling void of a president, his sins too many to name, sits smugly atop a corona death-toll that may surpass two-hundred thousand Americans by Christmas.

So, on September 17th, in the original and enduring spirit of Occupy, thousands will lay siege to the White House. Drawing wind from #MeToo, #BLM, #ExtinctionRebellion, we will once again summon the sweet, revolutionary nonviolence that was our calling card in Zuccotti Park.

Find out more about the #WhiteHouseSiege in this landmark issue . . . and be a part of history. It all happens on September 17th, in Lafayette Square.

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While earlier forms of money consisted of anything from sea shells to sheep, coins made of gold and silver gradually emerged as the most practical means of exchange and for the storing of value.

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Pissing into the ocean.

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It feels wonderful. and, as everyone knows, rapidly dissipates into nothing.

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I'm not against surveillance per se.

People world together

I’m not against surveillance per se. I think it’s a very important technological tool that can help humanity fight against this epidemic, and against future epidemics, and we need to use it. But we need to use it responsibly and carefully, so we don’t end up losing our freedoms in order to get protection from epidemics. There is a huge danger of the rise of totalitarian regimes worse than anything we’ve seen before.

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Dear World Leaders,

People world together

We, the people of Earth are now speaking with one voice. And we demand some systemic changes:

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