Don’t Mourn, Organize!

I am as sad today as I have ever been about the state of our nation.  But luckily for me I am a student of history, and I recall the dying words of Joe Hill, an organizer from the early 20th century:

 “Don’t mourn, organize!”

Let his words carry you forward as we send these cretins packing.

Mobilized is a site dedicated to building the foundation for a better society.  One that is more fair to all life, human and otherwise.  And so we have made efforts to avoid politics and focus on offering solutions here.  Yet to build a proper foundation, one must always clear away obstacles and level the ground.  It’s sadly the case in the United States of America, and many other countries, that the ground is littered with pebbles, stones, and giant chunks of granite.  So it falls to me to take a moment to get out a backhoe, and work to remove the obstacles.  Which is why I am today taking on the bums who seek to destroy citizens rights to Privacy and Bodily Autonomy.
We saw them pervert the legal process to take away women’s rights and we know from their own words that they intend to do far more harm to the public.  Those goals, if enacted, would also prevent Mobilized from achieving any of its’ goals.  That’s why, with apologies, I am making this essay very, very partisan and nakedly political.

A couple of points to ponder –
  • I note that on Friday evening, I took lots of video footage of the protest rallies that erupted after Roe v. Wade was overturned unjustly.  One reel is simply 8 minutes of protestors marching.  At about 50 people for every 10 seconds, that rate indicates  thousands were in attendance.  There was, as well, a totally different rally at the Federal Courthouse… and one that had spontaneously closed Market St. before all 3 groups converged around 7pm.
  • I mention the crowd size to note – – that’s far larger than the size of the crowd that attacked the Capitol on 1-6-21 yet  not one personal went to jail yesterday. Non-violent civil disobedience works.
  • In contrast, some hate-filled bigot ran his monster truck into the protestors in Iowa yesterday.  The Christo-Fascists resort to violence as their first choice nowadays.  There is no need to stoop to their level.
So, reader, you are not alone.  Once again, America is under threat from Theocratic wannabe dictators, and once again we shall defeat them.
What to do?  Well the most obvious thing is to utterly defeat the GOP in the Senate and in the House.  Every one of us should be taking every extra bit of time and/or money we have and putting it towards that goal.  But that’s just one option.  Here I am compiling some stuff I wrote earlier:
FLOOD. THE. ZONE.
  • Biden can act, now: Send federalized government doctors to all 50 states to solely perform abortions.  Setup free clinics on Federal Lands in each Gilead-State.  Let the GQP howl and piss and tie the bastards up forcing them to file endless lawsuits.
  • The Congress can act, now: Pass the 49-years late codification of RvW into law.  At a minimum put these f**kers on record, force them to vote publicly.  End the filibuster and pass it anyhow.  Also pass Universal Healthcare, so that women could actually afford to have kids and not even need abortions.
  •  The DC administration can act, now: 38 states have ratified the ERA, it is a goddamn constitutional amendment already.  It solely needs the bureaucrats to do the final steps to make it a law.  The Congress has no role in that, cannot oppose it in any way because their role has been done for years.  The states finished ratifying it 2+ years ago, so the only hurdle remaining is recording it into the record.  Once complete, the entire argument of SCOTUS vanishes.
  •  States can act too: California Governor Newsom isn’t the only sane governor.  Expect more to step up to make access become easier.
  •  Pack the courts.  Add 8 more justices, for a total of 17: 13 to match the existing Judicial Districts, and 4 At-Large.  Fight tooth and nail to get them installed, don’t settle for anything less than 13 total.  We have for the entirety of our Republic had courts packed with right-wing reactionaries who only on occasion did the right thing by the public.  Enough of that, it’s time for a court that is not in thrall to the rich and powerful.  Our Democratic Experiment demands it.
  •  “Two can play at this game.”  If the government is going to deny the right of Privacy to 1/2 the population, it’s time for the other half to know how that feels.  Mandatory vasectomies for any male under 30 years old.  Viagra is banned, even by prescription, unless under direct visual in person supervision of a doctor.  The user is not allowed to choose the doctor.

 

 

It may be too pessimistic to call this week’s events the last hurrah for democracy or the idea of self-governance.  But it is surely the Democratic Party’s last chance to do something or face oblivion.  We have waited 50 years for them to be anything other than milquetoast water carriers for the rich and powerful.  They have talked a good game but have not delivered since the New Deal 8 decades ago.  So yes, this next year is make or break for them. It’s time to accomplish the reversal of this intrusion into the privacy of hundreds of millions of citizens – – and doing so will be the bare minimum required to protect the Republic.

We know from the history of Weimar Germany and other places that this nascent Theocratic power grab can evolve rapidly into full-on Fascism, and so it’s easy to feel like this is America’s last chance to stop them.  All I can do is point out that most likely it’s not. Several times before, we faced this threat and defeated it… starting with those hate-filled goons with belt buckles on their hats who infected the soil of Plymouth Rock centuries ago.  The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution repudiated their delusions, just as all of England and Europe had done when they booted them in the first place.  The fact that 6 partisan hacks on the SCOTUS share those delusions is unfortunate, but it’s not one that cannot be overcome.  In very short order, we may well be exiling these Neo-Pilgrim goons too.

Now I’m passing the pen over to a dear friend, who can put this moment in a deeper context.  They are a lesbian who has been involved in this fight since the early 1980’s. “…let’s be clear, the white European heteronormative patriarchy is just doing what they do best…making their issues the problem of the oppressed.  Like racism, which they’ve made the problem of POCs, women having unregulated pleasure is a man’s problem and we should be targeting their reproductive “rights”.  But as someone who has never fit in for any number of reasons, I know for every one of them, there’s two of me and if you’re lucky, you can survive together while just being careful – of where you go and what you reveal.  Privacy is not a right, it’s a craft.” – anonymous commenter

So, it’s time to get in the streets, to gum up the works, and to force change via non-violent civil disobedience.  I’ve already begun, you know, because I went down to the demonstration, to get my fair share of abuse….

 

Roses.

America loves to think of itself as a rose, in bloom.  We trumpet our freedoms and strength as if they are bright red petals on a summer day.  It’s a damn shame though, that for most of the world, for 6 or 7 decades now, they look at us… and they only see the thorny stem.

It was merely August, 7 months ago, that I decried the pointless and fruitless war in Afghanistan.  It wasn’t ever necessary, was doomed to failure, and represented a complete failure by our leaders to learn any lessons from history.

I am a pacifist.  War is not the answer, and we’ve had 15,000 years to figure that out.  Over and over again old grudges birthed new conflicts.  So I decry this stupid war as well, the one Putin has started because he has nearly completed looting his home nation of Russia and now needs new lands to loot.  It is a pattern seen over and over again, so the fact that he is the most successful mob boss in the history of the world should not blind us to the fact he is also just another tinpot dictator flailing about in an effort to preserve his gains.

Those are points 1 and 2: war is bad, and this bum is pretty run of the mill.  Point 3 is less obvious, but the Ambassador from Kenya made it very well in his speech the other day: nurturing grudges from the past does no good, it’s better to look ahead and build a better future.  This is something that is still possible, even though it seems unlikely with tanks rolling into Ukraine.

Point 4: it’s shockingly hypocritical how we have chosen to ignore so many other conflicts because this one feels ‘closer to home’ for our politicians.  Syria has been mired in a water war for 8 years at least, too bad for them.  Yemen has been trying to throw off the yoke of their Saudi neighbors, but gosh darn it Mohammed Bone Saw is our ally; so you Yemeni’s get to die.  Gosh darn it.  But oh look, Europe has gotten it’s feathers ruffled because 20 years ago a bunch of venal politicians lied to each other and now tempers have flared about it.

Point 5: We must go back to my very first statement: learning from history is a MUST.  We failed to do so in our last 4 wars – – and pretty thoroughly lost them all.  We failed to do so at the beginning of WWII, when we chose to let Spain fall to the Fascists, namely to some guy named Franco.

Not all of us, natch.  Many Americans rightly saw the looming threat, and formed the Lincoln Brigade.  They fought and bled and died alongside the Republicans in Spain.  They lost, but they were on the right side of history.  And so it is with point #5… we need to be on the right side of history here.

For 9 decades, since fall of 1945, the entire planet has lived under the shadow of the mushroom cloud.  It has, to put it mildly, clouded our judgment.  Most folk have pretended since 1991 that the cloud had lifted, but of course nothing at all had changed.  And so now two very large armies are skirmishing in the winter mud outside of Kiev, and mothers across the planet are wondering how they will be able to shelter their children if fallout comes their way.

It’s unfortunate that the Russian people are going to be victimized just as the Ukraine’s people are.  They didn’t want war.  But they are trapped under his murderous sway, just as with Stalin and Lenin before him.

Pete Seeger told us that even pacifists should defend their home if it was invaded.  For years I wrestled with that, I told myself that pacifism means nothing if it is not absolute.  Fact is Seeger was right.  And Putin isn’t just invading Ukraine.  He is laying the groundwork for another time of soviet-style darkness for the whole world.

The rose that America deems itself to be cannot fail this time to prevent the rise of Putin-style Fascism.  It galls me to say it, but this time we must set aside points 1 through 4 because #5 outweighs them all.  This war was preventable, yet it is here, now.  We made a deal with Ukraine when they gave up their nukes, we promised to protect them.  Before all that we founded the United Nations and wrote the UN charter, which specifically demands action in defense of basic democracy and human rights.  For these reasons, and for the ideals that we clung to as we defeated Hitler, this madman must be stopped.  Don’t let Putin’s paid lackeys Carlson and Trump pull the wool over your eyes.  After all, they have labored for ages to undermine the ideals of freedom and democracy.

So it comes to this: it’s time for the thorns.

I’m appalled at myself to be calling for war.  So be it, the time for diplomacy came and went, regardless of how I felt about it.

I am a pacifist, though I never have been much of one.  My hope now is that the Allies act swiftly, and fully.  Don’t ‘half-ass’ it like we did in Viet nam, Iraq, etc.  Make a plan and commit to it.  Make plans not just for the battles but also for their aftermath.  And do it now.  There should not need to be a Lincoln Brigade stood up this time, governments should take the initiative.

The lessons of the Nuremberg trials were stark, and clear, and demanded that we never forget why that war was fought.  Once again a madman seeks to enslave the world, starting with his next door neighbor.  This time we need to rise against the threat, early enough to prevent a global catastrophe.


This version of “Morning Dew” features the song’s author, Bonnie Dobson.  It also has a calmness to it that I appreciate, as an older dude.  Of course it’s the most famous anti-nuke song of all time, it has been covered by just about everybody.  I first heard it done by Blackfoot, their version is a barn-burner.  Nazareth, too, tore the walls down with their cover.  But I’m old.  And tired, and this version sums it up best.  No war, no nukes.  The endgame is too horrifying to contemplate.


 

“Rather than form nations that looked ever backward into history with a dangerous nostalgia, we chose to look forward to a greatness none of our many nations and peoples had ever known,” Kimani said.

https://www.npr.org/2022/02/22/1082334172/kenya-security-council-russia?

 

https://truthout.org/articles/chomsky-outdated-us-cold-war-policy-worsens-ongoing-russia-ukraine-conflict/

 

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/02/ukraine-russia-invasion-putin-kyiv-interview.html

 

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/christopherm51/ukraine-bomb-shelters-russia-attack-kyiv

 

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/44296/what-putins-options-in-ukraine-really-look-like

 

“People who place themselves in the camp of Vladimir Putin are not patriots, they aren’t America First, they aren’t Christians, and they aren’t pro-life.

They’re also not people who get to drape themselves in the flag, or invoke allegiance to this nation, or feign offense at kneeling football players, or spout some red, white, and blue nationalistic nonsense—because they never cared about any of it.” – John Pavlovitz

https://johnpavlovitz.com/2022/02/23/when-americans-support-murderous-foreign-dictators/?

Table Stakes (And the Big Picture)

The Big Picture:  So many obstacles exist to true progress that most days many activists I know want to bang their head against a wall, or give up, or worse.  But it’s not so bad as all that, and in fact we have some advantages that were not even options for change-makers of generations ago.  Let’s begin by running some ‘cocktail napkin’ numbers, to make sense of the last few months in politics.

  • There are at least 330 million Americans right now.  Of those, ⅔ were able to vote in 2020.  That’s @218 million potential voters.
  • We had @144 million actual voters in the 2020 fall election.
  • Of those voters, @72 million chose Trump.
  • So here’s the real math: 2/3 of the total population of America can vote.  Of those, only 2/3 did vote in 2020.  Of those, 1/2 voted for Trump.  So that’s actually only about 20% of the whole who support him and his nefarious views.  That makes our job far easier – there are not nearly as many ‘hearts and minds’ we need to reach in this nation, as it may appear on the surface. 

For the Record: As noted in previous essays, there are always obstacles, and there are never enough dedicated folks, seemingly, to get the job done.  Yet over and over throughout the last 15,000 years, change has come to societies and the long arc has actually been in a direction of more justice, more fairness, and less oppression.  So clearly we simply need to keep on doing our work, and fret less about the long term.

Our mass media has done a bang-up job of making nearly everyone feel isolated, powerless, and flawed.  These are of course lies, and you should go right ahead and ignore the mass media.  The problems we face are merely the ‘table stakes’, and we can surely play our hand into a winning one.  We surely do NOT have to overcome half of the entire population wanting to calcify society as it was in the 1950’s.  Far from it.  But don’t take it from me, let’s go to one of our great recent philosophers…

What they’re saying: “One of the basic ideas of our culture is that people are fundamentally no good, that people are greedy, cruel, and vicious to the core: That is our nature, so get used to if, folks.  Get as much as you can, then get really good locks for your doors.  

I want to change that basic attitude.  Not only is the world a sacred place, but we belong in it.  We’re not alien monsters here.  We should stop perceiving ourselves in that way and begin to reevaluate our place in the greater community.  The view of this culture is that we are vicious beings, but still infinitely better than every other creature on this planet.  They are worthless beings we can kill off at will. 

I’m proposing that we all belong to a community of life.  We are no better or worse than other creatures.  We have to begin to think of ourselves as members of the world community, rather than as rulers of the planet.” – Daniel Quinn, interviewed by W. Bradford Swift in The Sun Magazine, December 1997 

Next steps: There is a shift coming.  I once thought it would be in a far distant future, but now I see that folks are agitating for it in nearly every city on the planet.  Reactionary leaders, cowed by fear and distaste for sharing their imaginary power, are doing rather a lot to crush / co-opt / belittle these forces.  That’s a pity but also should be encouraging to you – the fact that they can no longer ignore these efforts is in itself a telling victory for the progressives.  The shift can happen soon, within a generation or less, if we press our advantage. 

 


Go deeper: links and sources

Elsewhere on this site, I have posted many book reviews and other links, naturally I encourage you to study them in your free time.  

I do get a bit of heat since most of those recommendations are from the 20th century.  Well in fact I do keep current, it’s merely that I’m trying to work in order, and there is much to share.  However, this book is allowed to jump the line: Soft Landing, by Don Shepherd.  (2020, published by SaveTheWorld, Inc.)

Soft Landing lays out 3 major ways we can tell when the shift will have truly occurred – If we have succeeded in providing for the basic needs of every person on the planet, if we have stopped cutting down our forests and destroying the planet’s ecosystems, and if we have reversed our polluting ways.  In clear and amiable ways, he goes into some detail for doing so.  As well, (much ignored but crucial to overcoming our obstacles), the last ⅓ of the book goes into the current mess of our planet-wide financial system, and how we can ‘un-rig’ it in a reasonable time frame.  I do believe it is as if this fellow read his Quinn, Derrick Jensen and his Naomi Klein texts, and tried mightily to synthesize a readable and accessible version that won’t scare away the curious and the motivated-but-uneducated.  In that, I feel he has succeeded.  

And if you will indulge me, here’s another from that distant time of 2001… After Dachau by Daniel Quinn, (Context Books).  Since I quoted him above, it seems okay to mention one of his fiction tales.  In it, we see how life would be if society had indeed calcified in about 1956, and also no other cultures were allowed to exist.  Spoiler alert – it’s not pretty.  Also, it doesn’t get to be the last word.  As he always did in his fiction and non fiction works, the seeds of hope sprouted against the greatest odds.  We too, are about to see those seeds sprouting.  

Finally, we go out on a high note: the incomparable singer John McCutcheon and his story song “Well may the world go.”  Enjoy.  

“It’s not about eliminating anyone, it’s about welcoming people in!”

 

Pop Culture

It is not much of a confession to admit I am a huge Sci-Fi nerd, always have been.  A date once compared my apartment to a bookstore; that was not said charitably.  Don’t care.  I read Sci Fi and similar books because at bottom of it all, they are really not about science.  They are Anthropology, they are really Sociology.  They cover the biggest question of all: What If?

What if we built our society this way?  What if we didn’t make X mistake?  So many possibilities, all worked out for the reader.  

Many days it can feel like the whole dang planet has taken crazy pills; is determined to only create a dystopia worse than what Orwell predicted.  But I am comforted, because I know that we do still have so many other possibilities. We have a vast array of choices, and are smart enough to make them in time.  

Let’s take a glance at some relevant Pop Culture and Sci Fi media.  No way, no how is this list complete; or even comprehensive.  But it may offer you some solace and perspective; will certainly offer you some fun.  That’s in short supply these days.


We start with BSG, the TV show that inspired this post.  Battlestar Galactica has everything!  There is a plague, a rigged election, a villain who thinks that *they* are the victim, questionable tactics justified by larger goals, a wily opponent weaker than they appear… so many parallels to our modern situation.  Those who liked it in 2004 should re-watch it. 

The show’s ending was even more controversial than last summer’s Game of Thrones finale.  I argue that those who hated it should re-evaluate it, in light of how prescient it was about current events.  Every single episode is a meditation on Integrity and Honor; something I completely missed when it was first broadcast. We see, from several angles, what happens when ‘doing the right thing’ can lead to compromising one’s morals. Also, how those poor choices can be a path that leads People far astray from their goals. Luckily since it’s just fiction, nobody had to die for real to work out these big ideas and questions. 

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/sep/04/battlestar-galactica-all-hail-a-cult-classic-of-21st-century-tv

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“Hindsight is 20/20; 2020 is hindquarters.”  Most of the US west coast, and especially here in the SF Bay Area, has been blanketed by smoke for weeks.  And this is the 4th year in a row we have been beset by large fires.  Which makes the setting of Blade Runner 2049 about 21 years early, IMHO.  At least, we can say that based on how the movie looked.  I don’t actually know that last year we had any attack ships on fire near the Shoulder of Orion; but maybe I just wasn’t paying attention to current events.  

https://news.avclub.com/people-are-coping-with-the-nightmare-of-the-west-coasts-1845011980


 


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“Everyone was so shocked and panicky.  No one knew what was ahead.” – Dorothea Lange  

She was likely the greatest photographer working during the Depression, and we are lucky that most of her work survives to this day.  It can teach so much; could not be more relevant to the present crisis.

https://dorothealange.museumca.org/section/depression/

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The Avengers.  Always, always, I have to point that we are not the endgame!  It’s a catchy idea, a fun movie premise.  But history tells us otherwise (and I’ll detail all that in a future post).  OTOH, pop culture has surfaced some relevant Memes lately, so I’m including it in our list.

https://boingboing.net/2020/08/30/colberts-spot-on-america.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/investor/2020/09/03/the-crash-of-2020-into-the-end-game/#e603334715d4

…and while I will promote a Marvel story, I’m also obliged to remind folks how evil Disney is…  https://youtu.be/k3ynRXi7N7I 

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2020 would not be complete without a nod to The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.  Because it should be obvious that turning our great land into the theocratic dystopia of Gideon is a major priority for most of the Henchmen around Donald and his scary wife.  

Meh…  red is not my color.

*

https://www.cracked.com/pictofacts-1828-dr.-seuss-anti-fascist-cartoons/

*

Earth Abides is a 1949 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by American writer George R. Stewart. It tells the story of the fall of civilization from deadly disease and its rebirth. The story was set in the United States in the 1940s in Berkeley, California and told by a character, Isherwood Williams, who emerges from isolation in the mountains to find almost everyone dead.”

The Fifth Sacred Thing is a 1990’s-era novel by the writer Starhawk.  Set largely in San Francisco after the fall of the US Government, it shows both dystopic and utopic possibilities and compares them against our actual reality.  There is intrigue, folks living in peace without cops or even much of a government, a barren Los Angeles wasteland (of course), and lots and lots of bees.  

Let us not forget the PERN series of novels, by Anne McCafferey.  I mentioned in an earlier post about how these are about a plucky teen saving the world from a horrible virus, using Dragons.  Timely stuff.  But it bears mention that their entire society is run by the musicians.  They are the leaders and decision-makers because they are seen as the most wise.  An entire planet, a space-faring society, led by artists.  How about that??!

A Door into Ocean, by Joan Slonczewski, is my favorite Sci Fi novel; by a large margin.  It is nothing less than “Quakers In Space”.  That is: there are super militaries, there are wondrous technologies, far away places…. all the things that Sci Fi trades in, but instead of the same-old same-old shoot ‘em up battles, the reader gets to see how it would play out if implacable foes go right up to the brink of disaster, and then work it out instead.  AND THAT CHOICE IS EVEN MORE SATISFYING AND FUN THAN BLOWING EVERYTHING ALL TO HELL.  No small feat of storytelling, let me tell you.  (It’s also the sci fi novel that James Cameron stole the most from; for his silly Avatar movie, but that’s a tale for another day).

These ‘alt-future’ tales collectively bring us to Costner-damus, of course.  That is, we in 2020 see the actor Kevin Costner now as some kind of modern Nostradamus soothsayer.  His films, Waterworld and The Postman, were reviled and mocked in their own time.  But look at either one’s synopsis today, and you can easily see that he read the tea leaves accurately.  A mailman helps restore faith in the US government?  A good swimmer saves humanity after global warming nearly drowns everybody?  Get outta town, Costner-damus!  He was spot on, dude.

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https://boingboing.net/2020/08/26/a-disaster-bingo-card-for-the.html

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Of course, we have to wrap this essay up with Star Trek.  In all its forms, the franchise has become so large that it’s almost a parody of itself.  There are in fact at least 2 excellent parodies: Galaxy Quest and The Orville.  But for the moment, please put all that baggage aside.  The core idea of the Star Trek franchise is simple and optimistic: We Can Do It.  We can overcome our biases, our fears, and our hatreds.  People criticize the show because it’s a “post-scarcity society”; therefore we could never be like them.  But that only shows their ignorance – we have been a “post-scarcity society” as a planet since at least 1970!  We simply mis-allocate resources, hoard them, and force people to suffer due to unfounded fears and greed.  But there’s no need to do that anymore.  We Can Do It.

https://www.cracked.com/article_28489_E28098star-trekE28099-warned-us-that-2020s-would-suck.html


“You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown– only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.” – Captain Kirk

 

 

How can Nelson Mandela Inspire Real Leadership?

“Character is measured by facing up to difficult situations and a hero was a man who would not break down even under the most trying circumstances.” –Nelson Mandela

Produced and Directed by Danny Schechter, Executive Producer, Rory O’Connor

Imagine what’s possible when we work together instead of  competing with each other.


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An Internet Bill of Rights?

The Facebook data scandal. Allegations of Russian “bots” meddling in American elections. Claims of political bias on our digital platforms. Internet-connected devices secretly tracking the most intimate moments of our lives and selling our data to unscrupulous third parties.

Over 90 percent of American adults believe that consumers have lost control of how our personal information is used and gathered.  (And in today’s era of hyper-polarization, getting 90+ percent of Americans to agree on anything is nothing short of a miracle!)

We cannot preserve the good things about the internet if all the bad things are left unchecked.

By Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO of Chargebacks911

The warning signs are unmistakable: The status quo of the Internet Age is unsustainable and increasingly dangerous. The United States of America is in desperate need of bold, new legislative solutions.

The crux of the problem is that America’s internet laws are absurdly outdated. Laughably outdated! My specialty is chargeback fraud. I’m the owner, cofounder and COO of an ecommerce company that manages and protects billions of digital transactions annually. The law governing chargebacks was enacted in 1974 — nearly 45 years ago!

We’re trying to protect online retail in 2018 with a statute that predates the existence of the World Wide Web!

Each year, outdated internet laws cost us billions of dollars — Lloyd’s of London estimates the cost of cyberattacks at $400 billion annually), and the problem is rapidly growing: Juniper research predicted that the cost of data breaches will rise to over $2 trillion by 2019. When the growth of fraud outpaces the growth of ecommerce, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Left unchecked, the cost of fraud, theft and data breaches could trigger an ecommerce Armageddon. But even beyond the economic cost, outdated internet laws have also undermined our privacy, sowed confusion and eroded public trust.

I’m not an anti-tech Luddite. I owe my professional livelihood to the Internet; technology has been very good to me. Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen Silicon Valley startups dramatically improve our lives and spur groundbreaking, jaw-dropping innovation — but then again, I’ve also seen fraudsters, hackers and Big Brother entities brazenly exploit the gaps in our digital laws.

The inescapable truth is, we cannot preserve the good things about the internet if all the bad things continue to go unchecked.

The internet is fully integrated into our lives: We walk around all day with our smartwatches and smartphones. We share WiFi networks. Our families are all on Facebook, uploading photos and private conversations. Smart-speakers are listening to everything we say — in our bedrooms as well as our kitchens and family rooms. Whenever we’re online, we’re leaving behind an invisible trail of digital fingerprints.

But does the data belong to us? To corporate America? Or to Big Brother? These are some of the privacy concerns that must be addressed. To protect Americans, I propose “The Bill of Rights for the Internet Age”:

The Bill of Rights for the Internet Age: Protecting the Rights of American Citizens

1. Keeping your “browsing history” private: Except in cases of fraud or potential criminal activity, all third parties must receive a citizen’s consent before they track and/or share their “internet history” with others.

2. Full disclosure when being monitored, and the right to opt out: Except in cases of fraud or potential criminal activity, third parties that track or monitor the Internet usage of citizens must, at the citizen’s request, promptly provide a full record of such data; and the right to have the data deleted.

4. Ownership of your personal, digital content: All personal photos, images, videos, writings and recordings that a citizen creates and then uploads to a social media platform, interactive website or digital “cloud” will remain the Intellectual and/or Personal Property of the citizen. Unauthorized reproduction of their Intellectual and/or Personal Property will be prohibited.

5. Notification of injurious data breaches: Citizens must be notified about personally injurious security breaches.

6. Fair play on social media platforms and/or internet providers: Social media platforms and internet providers must be transparent with their rules and regulations. Censoring political opinions and/or political content must not be done arbitrarily or capriciously. Whenever possible, political content generated and promoted by foreign countries should be labeled as such.

7. Protecting children on social media: Social media platforms must enable parents and guardians to monitor the social media activities of their children. Parents and guardians must have the right to adjust settings and remove undesirable content on their child’s account.

8. Protection from “unfunded government mandates” on data-mining:Whenever the government requires businesses to track and collect the personal data of citizens, reasonable precautions must be enacted to protect the data. Business must have the right to petition the government for additional assistance.

9. Keeping your health and fitness data private: Personal data about your health, DNA (genetic), daily activity level and individual fitness, including the data collected by smartphones, smartwatches and wearable tech may not be disclosed without a citizen’s expressed consent.

10. Safeguarding email and text communications: Except in cases of fraud or potential criminal activity, a citizen’s personal email account and personal text messages will be afforded the same legal protections as “snail mail” (traditional mail).

It’s my hope that “The Bill of Rights for the Internet Age” will spark public debate, raise awareness and, ultimately, result in a better online experience for all Americans.

Tech isn’t inherently good or evil; it’s simply a tool. Our job is to use it wisely and to be far more vigilant when it comes to our data, privacy and personal freedoms. In the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” That was true in the 1700s; it’s just as true in 2018.

"The Bill of Rights for the Internet Age” is an important first step of a very long journey. And since we’re still in the embryonic stage of the Internet Revolution, this just might be the most consequential journey of our generation.

Source: Entrepreneur

Media Literacy and The Free Press: Why we need to come together

A Call to Action: Robert McChesney: As media continues to spin out of control, there are only a handful of multi-national corporations and advertising agencies controlling over 90% of the news and information we receive.  The Opportunity in the Madness When we Get our Act Together and Build together. It’s easier than you think.

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Ooops…A Brief Moment of Truth

Being semi-retired, as I am, allows me certain indulgences that are not afforded most of the voting public. I am able to maintain a fairly constant vigil on the constant and repetitive drumbeat of the news, searching for a glimmer of hope that this scourge to our national intelligence, “The Oval Orifice,” Donald Trump, will soon end his lunatic reign.

By Mike Caporale

 

Being semi-retired, as I am, allows me certain indulgences that are not afforded most of the voting public. I am able to maintain a fairly constant vigil on the constant and repetitive drumbeat of the news, searching for a glimmer of hope that this scourge to our national intelligence, “The Oval Orifice,” Donald Trump, will soon end his lunatic reign.

As anyone who watches cable news knows, every story is repeated over and over, analyzed and reanalyzed by multiple panels all expounding the same conclusions. But every now and then, new information surfaces that takes a mindful wakefulness to recognize its fleeting appearance. Gotcha!

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Why become a Collaborator on Mobilized? 

Media has a tremendous influence on us all.  Just take a look at the past 18 months of media cycles enabling constant conflict and turmoil.  We also believe that media can enable better. We are here to build better together.  Please join us on Mobilized!

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Such was the case the other day as Alisyn Camerota once again interviewed Dan Stein (often referred to as a “nativist bigot”) representing the Federation for American Integration Reform, FAIR. Suddenly, there it was, the threat and the fear revealed for the first time.  In that brief moment, the opportunity was lost for follow up, as Alisyn remained focused on her line of questioning and moved past the nugget that Dan Stein had laid at her feet, “The Democratic Party now relies on immigration for its future electoral support.”  To put it plainly, the GOP believes that immigration reform will determine whether it can maintain its current political stranglehold.  As always, it’s not about you and me.  It’s about them.  This was a lost opportunity that should be further explored.  It boldly colors the battle lines of GOP immigration reform with intentions of strictly partisan self service. Immigration reform like Gerrymandering, policy and law, are often just a means to stay in office under the control of the ruling party.

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