At "Share the Safety," you can buy one of three Smith & Wesson guns, and the good folks at the NRA will send another one just like it to a lucky person in a low income, inner-city neighborhood, "law-abiding urbanites who will for the first time be able to defend themselves against those who prey on the urban poor." It's just like Tom's shoes! Read the rest
"Quick question," I asked the newly-minted University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld during his job talk. "Are you a performance artist?" As I watched Harreld's lackluster presentation
-- filled with the kind of empty business jargon often used by prankster-activists The Yes Men
, who had just visited campus -- I wondered if it could possibly be real, if it was a put-on.
A law enforcement official says he sent the infamous elevator video of football player Ray Rice delivering a knockout punch to his fiancee's face back in April. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has previously insisted that no one in the NFL was aware of the video until TMZ posted it on Monday.
Two get to the bottom of things commissioner Goodell has hired two of his most ardent yes-men cronies to conduct an "independent" investigation into its handling of the Rice case.
The probe will be overseen by owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, two of Goodell's strongest supporters. Both are members of key NFL committees and have closely advised Goodell throughout his tenure.
Former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III will lead the probe.
The law firm where Mueller is now a partner, WilmerHale, has connections to the NFL. The firm has represented Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, and several former members of the firm have taken positions with NFL teams.
The forthcoming probe will surely uncover an appropriately disposal "rogue actor" amongst the NFL's low-level staff to blame. Read the rest
Watch comedian Sam Hyde take the piss out of TED talks at Drexel University's TEDxDrexelU. From Philadelphia Magazine:
The event concluded with Sam Hyde, billed as a “video documentary filmmaker and journalist from Brooklyn” who “recently returned from Mogadishu, the most dangerous city on earth, where he shadowed the heroic al-Mahamud women on their quest to clean up their streets and restore humanity to their war-torn country.” TEDx organizer Dhairya Pujara introduced Hyde’s presentation, titled “2070 Paradigm Shift.”
Hyde, 28, is not a journalist; he’s a member of the Massachusetts-based comedy troupe Million Dollar Extreme, which employs a type of shock-value comedy along the lines of a more goalless version of Yes Men sabotage.
"TEDx Drexel Got Pranked This Weekend" (Thanks, Debbie Hampton!) Read the rest
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Maira Sutton has a long, engrossing account of the popular protest at the Dallas session of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secretive treaty negotiation that includes a set of copyright rules that leave SOPA and ACTA in the dust. TPP's organizers -- especially in the USA -- have been hostile to any public participation or transparency. They even ordered a hotel to cancel the reservation made by activists who wanted to host their own parallel information session and then lied about it. Undaunted, activists, civil society groups, copyfighters, and other interested parties continue to dog TPP's heels. The Dallas meeting saw the notorious Yes Men "Corporate Power Tool" award ceremony. Even better, the hotel's bathrooms had their toilet paper replaced with TPP TP, custom-printed rolls that explained the problems with TPP.
Read the rest
Since the official planned event was scarcely sufficient to make a significant impact, Public Knowledge and American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property co-hosted a side event for negotiators to learn about the threats of harsh copyright enforcement. The panel included EFF’s International IP Director, Gwen Hinze, who spoke about the unbalanced outcomes non-U.S. Internet users and innovators would face if the current version of the IP chapter were passed. While the event was well-attended, civil society were ultimately forced to bear all the costs to put on this event.
Last week, 32 legal scholars sent a letter to the office of the USTR demanding transparency in the process. Including the release of the text and demand for real participation from civil society, they demanded the immediate release of “reports on US positions and proposals on intellectual property matters that are currently given only to Industry Trade Advisory Committee members under confidentiality agreements.” This is key because there is nothing that could justify the withholding of such reports that simply outline the U.S.
US Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk was in Dallas to kick off a corporate power-event to drum up support for the foundering, secretive Transpacific Partnership, a secret treaty that builds on the work of ACTA to establishing punishing copyright laws that include mandatory surveillance and censorship. The Yes Men crashed the gala, taking the podium to present Kirk with a "Corporate Power Tool Award," which he tried to accept, but his minders from the Secret Service wouldn't let him.
Read the rest
The first action began when a smartly-dressed man approached the podium immediately after the gala's keynote speech by Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative and former mayor of Dallas. The man (local puppeteer David Goodwin) introduced himself as "Git Haversall," president of the "Texas Corporate Power Partnership," and announced he was giving Kirk and other U.S. trade negotiators the "2012 Corporate Power Tool Award," which "Haversall's" partner held aloft.
The crowd of negotiators and corporate representatives applauded, and "Haversall" continued: "I'd like to personally thank the negotiators for their relentless efforts. The TPP agreement is shaping up to be a fantastic way for us to maximize profits, regardless of what the public of this nation—or any other nation—thinks is right."
At that point, the host of the reception took the microphone back and announced that the evening's formal programming had concluded. But Mr. Haversall confidently re-took the microphone and warmly invited Kirk to accept the award.
Kirk moved towards the stage, but federal agents blocked his path to protect him from further embarrassment. At that point, a dozen well-dressed "delegates" (local activists, some from Occupy Dallas) broke into ecstatic dance and chanted "TPP!
Emmanuel Goldstein writes, "The coordinators of this year's Hackers On Planet Earth conference in New York have joined forces with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and have designated April as the month where 10 percent of all ticket sales will be donated to EFF. The net would be a much more dangerous place without the EFF being around to help fight the many battles currently taking place. This is a way to help them out and be part of a really cool conference at the same time."
H.O.P.E. stands for Hackers On Planet Earth, one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world. HOPE Number Nine will be taking place on July 13, 14, and 15, 2012 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. If you haven't been before, this is the year to attend. For every ticket purchased in the month of April, conference organizers 2600: The Hacker Quarterly are donating 10% of the proceeds to EFF--so buy your tickets today!
For three full days and nights you can explore hackerspace villages, film festivals, art installations, vintage computers, electronic workshops, savor the country's biggest supply of Club-Mate, and attend the host of provocative talks that HOPE has become well-known for offering. Join thousands of hackers to hear this year's keynote on hacking corporations by famous troublemakers and EFF clients The Yes Men, as well as these exciting talks from EFF staffers...
Buy Your HOPE 9 Tickets in April and 10% of Proceeds Go to EFF (Thanks, Emmanuel! Read the rest
2600 Magazine's Emmanuel Goldstein writes, "One of the keynote addresses at this year's HOPE conference (July 13-15, NYC) will be given by The Yes Men. They're a natural fit at the biennial hacker conference which will be featuring highly technical along with socially relevant talks. The Yes Men have done a great deal to challenge the system and publicize injustice through the art of social engineering over the years, fooling the mass media into believing they represented the World Trade Organization, Dow Chemical, and the United States Chamber of Commerce, and more. Their words at HOPE ought to give a lot of people ideas on how they might be able to change the world."
THE YES MEN TO KEYNOTE AT HOPE NUMBER NINE
(Image: "The Yes Men" as Exxon Mobil executives, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from itzafineday's photostream) Read the rest
The Guardian profiles the Deterritorial Support Group, a secretive guerrilla humour protest group whose goals include "full communism, with lulz as a transitional demand." They're an interesting blend of radical politics, po-faced irony, sectarian haters, and media pranksters -- The Yes Men by way of the Weather Underground.
Another striking thing, given their leftist politics, is their refusal to reject the trappings of consumer capitalism. "You can't be a communist in a capitalist world," says Pablo. They shop at Tesco, they happily admit. "That's what DSG is about aesthetically as well, which is being based in your everyday life. Most people like shopping at Tesco." Same with Ikea, says Nick, pointing to a description of DSG's aesthetics as "Ikea anarchism". "I'm happy with 'Ikea anarchism', because they give reasonably good design, on the cheap, to a lot of people, and it's very popular. It's better than the alternative, which is handmade anarchism."
"Be the change you want to see in the world", goes the hippy motto. It chimes with Louise Mensch's and Theresa May's criticisms of Occupy St Paul's protesters: how can occupiers call for the end of capitalism, yet still buy coffee from Starbucks? Pablo grins. "What's really interesting about those glib rightwing reactions is, if that's really the best argument you've got, then there is no real defence.
"Four or five years ago their argument would have been: 'Capitalism has given you everything you ever needed.' Now it's: 'You're drinking coffee.' Capitalism is a relationship caused by wage labour, and you can eat as much organic food as you want, but you're not changing those fundamental relationships."
Meet the 'Ikea anarchists' Read the rest
"Captain Salas graduated from the Air Force Academy and spent seven years in active duty from 1964 to 1971. He also held positions at Martin Marietta and Rockwell and spent 21 years at the FAA."
Caleb alerted me to the news that the "National Press Club hosted some retired military/FAA people who calmly stated that a UFO shut down their missile silo and they were told never to talk about it. Documents were declassified later. Other similar events turn out to be documented. The news was covered by Current's Intel Hub
and The Telegraph UK story"
UPDATE: This following was emailed to me by a "long-time Boing Boing reader and current employee of the National Press Club" who wishes to remain anonymous:
Read the rest
Just wanted to clarify a couple things about this UFO event you posted on:
These guys just rented a room at the Press Club for their own purposes. Anyone can do this, and they frequently do -- everything from press conferences to bar mitzvahs to television shows to elaborate pranks by The Yes Men have been held here in recent months. The UFO guys just attach our name to their event in an effort to give themselves some credibility. The Disclosure Project (for instance) continues to call the event they held here in 2001 a "Press Club Event," which it was not.
The Club's position on these things is related to its position on the First Amendment: Basically, that people can come here and say whatever they want, but the Club doesn't endorse (or condemn) them.
The Open Video Conference in New York City is a two-day powwow for open web geeks, independent filmmakers, and everyone else.
This year's OVC takes place October 1-2 2010. With 60+ sessions on open source, HTML5, and participatory culture, the conference is bigger and better than before. Keynote speakers include Susan Crawford, a former Obama advisor and advocate for net neutrality; Damian Kulash, the outspoken lead of the rock band OK Go; and the Yes Men, the culture jamming activists who impersonate business executives.
OVC is about open video technology, but also grapples with larger questions. With so much free stuff out there, how are artists going to get paid? Who knows what you watch? Smart people from EFF, Creative Commons, the Harvard Berkman Center, Burning Man, Google, and Mozilla weigh in.
Boing Boing readers get a discount--register with promo code BOING20 and get your badge for only $60 bucks!
Open Video Conference 2010
(Disclosure: I am proud to serve as a volunteer director of the nonprofit Participatory Culture Foundation, which puts on the Open Video Conference) Read the rest
Prankster activists The Yes Men are sick of having the videos depicting their shenanigans taken down through copyright complaints, so they've put the latest video, a full-length doc called The Yes Men Fix the World up as a torrent file through VODO, resistant to censorship and easy to get.
VODO's sixth release is the special Peer-To-Peer Edition of the multi-award-winning The Yes Men Fix The World. This edition, made exclusively for VODO, includes exclusive controversial footage of the Yes Men impersonating the United States Chamber of Commerce. The Yes Men are being sued over this action, and see P2P as the best and only way this material will get seen. They're calling for it to be copied as far and wide as possible...
"We have been impersonating people in power in to make political points for over a decade. The Yes Men Fix the World is our second feature film. It's won a bucket of awards and accolades, but we're still broke. We are hoping that people who share it will donate some money so that we can do even more outrageous actions."
The Yes Men Fix The World -- Peer-to-Peer Edition
Yes Men pwn Chamber of Commerce over climate change legislation ...
US Chamber of Commerce suing the Yes Men
EFF to represent Yes Men in Chamber of Commerce lawsuit
tv Update: OFFWORLD, YES MEN, and THIS IS THE FIRST ...
Yes Men crash oil expo, propose turning corpses into fuel - Boing ...
Yes Men prank the Man in New Orleans
Chamber of Commerces tries to Ralph Lauren the Yes Men Read the rest
Zoran sez, "Earlier this week (12th Dec), a massive, peaceful protest of 100,000 people -- the largest demonstration for climate justice in world history -- was met with a heavy-handed response by the Danish police. Thousands of riot police swarmed the march route, blocked off streets surrounding large groups of protestors, and arrested almost 1,000 people. Arrestees were cuffed and forced to sit in rows for hours, as the temperatures dipped below freezing; numerous people urinated on themselves after being denied use of toilets."
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Of course, these protests are being motivated by frustration at the incredibly weak results of the COP-15 negotiations. Last week, a closed-room group of delegates from Global North countries shocked Global South delegates and climate justice activists by pushing for a secretly-negotiated "deal" that would allow global temperatures to be allowed to rise by another 2 degrees Celsius - over the vehement protests of delegates from Africa and small island countries, argue that any increase larger than 1 degree will devastate and - in some instances - literally flood them. Then, in the past two days, the negotiations on a deal on REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) - which are being touted as the "success" of Copenhagen - have degenerated into an incredibly weak potential deal, in which immediate targets for deforestation limits would be dropped and no financial commitments from Global North countries would be made. These failings on the part of negotiators from the Global North have been met with protests - both planned and spontaneous - by youth activists as well as delegates from the Global South.
A huge amount of email from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit was hacked and released onto the web, causing much rejoicing from the climate change denialists. They read through the corpus of email and found that the scientists working on climate change often have substantive disagreements with one another, which they debate vigorously in email, and cited this as evidence of a conspiracy to cover up dissent and present a scientific consensus on climate change.
Futurismic's Tom Marcinko does a great job of putting this in context, rounding up several links to other good commentators around the web. In a nutshell: science is about the advancement of competing theories and the evaluation of these theories in light of evidence. The East Anglia Climate Research Unit's scientists disagreed in some particulars, and used peer-review to resolve them (and continue to do so). No one is paying them to cover up evidence that climate change isn't real or isn't caused by humans -- but they are conducting science the way that scientists do.
Smart enough to hack, not sophisticated enough to appreciate the daily give-and-take of how science works-is that how we nonscientists are going to approach critical issues? Maybe we can do better than that.
Those hacked climate e-mails: Good scientists, poor conspirators
BBC's snappy answers to climate-change denial - Boing Boing
Understanding the economics of climate change mitigation - Boing Boing
Freakonomics Sequel Gets Climate Change Wrong - Boing Boing
James Lovelock and climate change - Boing Boing
US Chamber of Commerce suing the Yes Men - Boing Boing
Debunking the climate-change denialists' talking-points - Boing Boing
Engineering approach to global climate change - Boing Boing
Climate change denialists winning the race for "Best Science Blog ... Read the rest
Rebecca from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez, "More news about the Yes Men and the Chamber of Commerce. BoingBoing reported on the lawsuit the Chamber filed over the activists' political criticism of the Chamber's stance on climate change and the Chamber's DMCA takedown attempt. Now it's official: EFF and Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, will defend the Yes Men and other activists involved in the action. As EFF Senior Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry says: "The action was a brilliant piece of political theater, but it had a serious purpose: calling attention to the Chamber's political activities. This is core political speech, protected by the First Amendment." Next step in the case -- a response to the Chamber's complaint is due later this month in the U.S. District Court for District of Columbia."
Read the rest
"The action was a brilliant piece of political theater, but it had a serious purpose: calling attention to the Chamber's political activities," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "This is core political speech, protected by the First Amendment. We're very pleased that Davis Wright Tremaine -- with its long, successful history of protecting free speech rights of Americans -- has joined us in helping these activists battle a transparent attempt at censorship."
"U.S. courts have recognized that political parody lies at the heart of the First Amendment," said Davis Wright Tremaine LLP partner Bruce Johnson. "Even if the party parodied refuses to giggle--or even panics and sues--free speech will ultimately triumph. We look forward to a prompt dismissal of this case and a reaffirmation of the rights of all Americans to poke fun at the pompous and powerful."
The Chamber has pulled out all the stops in its effort to silence the activists.