I was shocked - truly shocked - in comments the other day, to discover that the M-Pesa monetary system currently overtaking Africa isn't known to everyone here. I had mentioned it, and was asked what it was. I then did a site search, to discover that there have been three(!) references to M-Pesa in the past six months or so; and those of only an inconsequential, drive-by nature. Maybe I don't get how the search function works...
And while bitcoin has more traction, it too suffers from a lack of exposure here on Dkos.
These two, new monetary systems are becoming economically and politically important in the world: and politically important for mostly all the right reasons. Without a basic understanding of what they are, why they exist and how they work, it will become more and more difficult to understand how they impact political activism - and, indeed, to conduct successful activist campaigns at all. Because money is the lifeblood of politics. And while money has generally been used as a tool against the poorest of the world, that can change: it is, in fact, changing. And now, with the introduction of Kipochi - which integrates the two - the network effects are coming like a tidal wave.
Let's start here: do you use Windows? Or an Apple operating system on your computer? You're hosed. The NSA owns you. They own every thought, all your dreams and aspirations. They own your relatives, your friends, every plan you've ever made and how it turned out, every word you've ever written, every dime you've spent. If they want to be inside your computer watching what you do in real time... yeah: they can do that too, if they want to. But maybe posting with a fake user name on a non-threatening site like DKos... maybe you're flying totally under their radar? Mmmph. You are owned.
Do you use Linux? 1000 to 1 you're hosed. It's possible to lock Linux down, but it's very difficult - almost impossible - and intensely geeky (do you speak Snort?). And while locking down Linux against incursions by some of the very best hackers in the world - those friendly folks at NSA - is actually possible (it isn't with Windows or iOS - period), it's constantly in flux. And keeping up is a labor of love - it does take considerable work.
There is a way, though: a way that is possible for we mere mortals. I don't really expect much traction on this - but I feel an obligation to at least make the effort. And if just one person gets it and does it... well, I'm a happy camper.
Does that sound too good to be true? It isn't. Does it sound too complicated (like most email encryption programs) to use? It isn't. Does it sound like vapor-ware, to be released "real soon now"? Nope: you can get it now. It's free (FOSS).
OK; it's in Beta. But it's usable as is. And no, right now it's not going to replace your everyday email. However there are those of us who need to be able to communicate without having our email read, and without having the metadata attached to it added to NSA's databases: metadata like the person it's going to, or what the sender's address is, or the location of either party. There are journalists here on Dkos; activists who are constantly getting hassled by the powers that be; citizens of countries that are even worse than the U.S. about surveillance (Edit: hmmm... let's say countries that have worse ramifications for their surveillance), whose freedom is at risk just posting here.
It's an offshoot of the Bitcoin project (which I have been involved with for over two years now). It's called Bitmessage. And it's pretty cool...
There's a very hot Diary, currently on the Rec List, which discusses a release by Wikileaks of a statement by Edward Snowden.
I'm reasonably certain it was indeed released by Wikileaks.
But was that release written by Snowden? I'm not as sure of that. I thought we were a little less trusting, here on DKos - but nobody appears to have asked the obvious question: was it really written by Snowden? Consider:
So everybody is all 'Yaayyy!', now that KO is going to work for Current TV. Except the point appears to be missed. Here's the point, from the Current TV FAQ:
Why can't I watch full episodes anymore?
Recently Current TV made the decision to remove full episodes from our site and our syndication partners for a variety of reasons. We are a TV network and we are doing everything we can to be successful both on-air and online. As a fan of Current, if you want to help us be more successful in more places, there are a few things you can do. One way you could help is by calling up your cable provider and requesting Current TV, even if we aren't available in your area. Another way is sharing our show clips with your friends, and encouraging them to check us out on TV. In the spirit of full transparency, you should know that In the near term, we don't expect to change our position, but we appreciate your feedback. [emphasis mine]
You say what you like about Rupert Murdoch, but he gets it: 'You want the truth? Screw you - you won't pay for it: but I'll give you lies for free, because I can get other people to pay me for those.'
On January 23rd, this year, Abby Sunderland set sail to break the age record for single-handed circumnavigation of the world in a sailboat. The record she is chasing currently belongs to her brother, Zac. Quite a family. You've probably read about her, and the name might be somewhere in the back of your mind. Pull it up, please.
Early Thursday two of her emergency beacons were triggered, and contact with her boat was lost, far at sea and hundreds of miles from any other person. Ms. Sunderland is quite alone.
This Diary is directed to her parents. I would like them to know that she is in my thoughts, and that whatever may happen - and whatever anybody else might say - I stand with them in their decision to give their daughter the gift of this opportunity.
So Apple won't take cash for an iPad?
Dear Mr. Jobs:
So you're a geek, and you are pretty much the go-to person in your circle of friends and co-workers when it comes to personal computing. Maybe - like me - some of those friends are kind of broke a lot of the time; and again like me (and like most serious geeks), you are a Master Scrounger. And you use that skill to put together a computer every now and then for one of those folks. Personally, I probably put together two or three decent machines a year for people - no charge.
Maybe you don't know much about the science of Climate Change - but like all of us here you'd like to do more to help our beleaguered planet. You can. It's easy. It's very helpful. It's also free. And you really don't need to do anything more than you're doing right now.
Phyllis Korkki has an interesting article in today's (the 21st) print edition of the Times, and last night's internet edition, entitled:
Users Are Tossing Their Landlines Overboard
Still have a landline? You’re showing your age. The young, hip, cool people have cellphones only, and that is bad news for traditional phone providers. In a survey of Internet users, JupiterResearch found that 12 percent "do not subscribe to fixed voice service, and nearly two-thirds of them are ages 18 to 34."
Wow. Way t'nail down the culture, Ms. Korkki... d'you think that might have some impact on political polling? Or maybe not as much as reality? More?
Addison's Diary: Iowa? ...is rife with imprecise information and some really useless bickering. Below the fold I've put a blog post from a Board that should clue everyone in to the magnitude of the situation.
It's devastating. A flood of such magnitude that there are simply no plans for it.
But this is also an incredible opportunity. Please read on...
It smells like... vegetarian lust.
So I open up the City Pages (on the tubz) and am greeted with the saga of one FBI Special Agent Maureen E. Mazzola; doing her personal, oily best to lubricate the wheels of justice in a manner we were all so fond of - back when Director Hoover danced beneath a silver moon in his frillies and mascara.
What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant—someone to show up at "vegan potlucks" throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort’s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division’s website, is to "investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines."
When asked about his 'moderation' of the last Presidential Debate - the infamous Gotcha Debate - George Stephanopoulos quite clearly averred (in an interview with Michael Calderone, here) that:
"We asked tough but appropriate questions," Stephanopoulos told me by phone this afternoon. When I asked whether questions about flag pins or Bosnia are actually relevant to voters, he replied: "Absolutely." "The vote for the president," Stephanopoulos said, "is one of the most personal" decisions that someone makes. "When people make that choice, they take into account how candidates stand on the issues," he said, but also are concerned with "experience, character [and] credibility."
It doesn't matter if we win; those people are shit. How would you like to be a worthless white ni***r?