Thursday, November 23, 2017

If you use it, they will come.

It's time to give Twitter a run for its money.

Facebook isn’t going anywhere, because most everyone you know is on it. What makes all the hipsters want to flee it, is exactly why you need to stay on it: Visibility. For now, at least. But because many people are sick of all the ads and object to being told stage names are not allowed on Facebook, nor any other type of pseudonym (drag queens simply make easy targets), many artists, performers, and activists are staking their claim in a new territory, a new social network that welcomes “secret identities” and promises not to advertise or sell your information: Ello.

It’s clean. It’s hip. It’s interface is simple. It takes the best of Facebook, the best of Twitter, and combines them with the Tumblr-ish-ness of gif support, even for your banner picture, which can be scrolled elegantly up or down like a roller window shade. Also hipper: Round profile pics. As an homage to the new look of social media I have been posting only round pictures to my ello page and crafting only round memes to share. (Follow me @bluelustreak)

So is Ello the savior of our privacy? Probably not. But does it give people a chance to break the monopolistic triumvirate of Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr? Yes. Competition is excellent for innovation, and Pirates despise monopoly.

Part of its current appeal may also be that it is invite only for now, and if you’ve requested an invite directly from Ello, you are probably still waiting. You have to *know* someone who is already in and willing to part with one of their 5 precious invitations for you. How precious? There’s a report of Ello invitations selling on Ebay.

So we have struck our claim in this new territory, and if you have too, or do so in the future, we invite you to follow us there.

Shake things up, make Zuckerberg and the rest *work* for it (always) and join us on this new, hip, and for now fairly quiet frontier known as Ello.

Cheers, mate!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Resist GMOs

(This is a repost from a blog I'm no longer affiliated with. It was written before the DARK Act passed, making the state level legislation it was referencing irrelevant. The points of "Why label?" remain as relevant as ever, though.)

We here at MPP would like to invite you all to join us at a public hearing this coming September 22 before the House Agriculture Committee about Massachusetts’ GMO labeling bill, H. 3242. Support GMO labelling? Great! Come on out!
But if you are one of the people who is on the fence about GMO regulation, or if you are outright pro-GMO, this article is directed toward you.
There is a lot of talk in the media of folks who are anti-GMO being anti-science. The commercial media, which remember, gets millions from Monsanto, DuPont, and Bayer, focuses on the issue of safety concerns as being “backward.” No debate. The scientists who question the safety of GMOs get little airtime, if any. The Pirate argument doesn’t even touch on the matter of food safety. So let’s set that matter aside for now. There are many reasons to label GMOs aside from a safety concern, if any.
Before we get into any points of why label, please remember the stink food producers made when the law required them to merely list ingredients. Remember the stink the meat packing industry made against laws regulating safety of meat production, demands that intensified greatly after the publishing of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”. Power cedes nothing without a demand. With this in mind:
We oppose the privatization of the commons
For the Pirates the issue of GMOs is about privatization. We oppose the privatization of the commons: The water that has been on this planet since before humans existed that falls from the sky, the seeds that invented themselves and therefore should not be able to be patented by any person, human or corporation. The usefulness of information that humans collect depends upon all that has been learned before for context and therefore needs to be free to be used by all humanity.
What makes a seed useful? What is the essence of any seed? Food? Material? Poison? Weed? What makes a seed of use to humanity, THAT has already been produced, by nature. What percentage of an original genome is changed in a GMO? .0099%? Not bits that changes the seed’s essential usefulness, either, the reason we cultivate that seed to begin with, but a bit that ostensibly makes the seed “more useful.” For that infinitesimal change to what nature invented, a patent is granted. Patents are significant because they confer control. They allow companies to sue. People whose crops are contaminated by GMO pollen have two choices: Pay the licensing rights to the contaminator or go to court. Court costs money. Small farmers can’t afford to fight.
The seed companies demand that seeds not be reused. This is a waste. Farmers abhor this practice and will avoid the GMOs for this reason alone. But instead of leaving farmers to choose to use what seeds they want the biotech companies to send “emissaries” out to the farmland to strong arm and threaten the people there with financial ruin, even physical violence.
Known toxins
There is little debate about whether glyphosate is dangerous for human consumption. And it is used in conjunction with GMOs 100% of the time.
Effects on the Environment
Monoculture, a practice employed by many GMO farmers, depletes the soil. Weeds will evolve resistance to Glyphosate when it is used often, necessitating the use of even stronger, more toxic herbicides. The herbicides also wind up in our watersheds, which plenty of people object to, and do not want to support by buying GMO products.
For people who are nodding their heads and looking to avoid GMOs just on these few principles of fair business dealing and environmental protection: The people haven’t the power to ban GMOs outright. Congress is too corrupt, gets too much money from big biotech. We are often told, though, that we always have the right to vote with our pocketbook. We have a right to know if a product we are looking to buy was produced with what we consider unfair business practices. But without consumer labelling we don’t even have this.
This is the Pirate argument: Safe or not to eat is beside our point. It’s a Massachusetts tradition to resist empire, to resist unfair taxes, mark ups, labor practices. The Tea Party tea was perfectly safe to drink yet into the harbor it went. ON PRINCIPLE. On principle we have a right to make a choice to buy locally made pop or Coca Cola, to shop at Market Basket or Walmart, to support politically resistant farmers or corporate compliant farmers. This is reason enough for us to need labels: To make informed choices.
But are GMOs safe to consume?
If they aren’t safe to consume, good luck getting any commercial media to report such findings. The media’s stated goal is profits and not the public interest. We used to have laws enforced about airwave use and public interest, but most of our news comes to us through cables now. And even regarding the airwaves, in the 90’s a Florida Fox affiliate shut down a story on Monsanto, a TRUE story about cancer risk and rBGH, and fired the reporters for refusing to drop the matter. The appeals court sided with the Fox affiliate, and this is where that famous edict “Fox won the right to lie to you, in court!”came from: From Monsanto silencing a news studio. How many news editors and reporters do you think want to risk their livelihoods investigating a company who has already succeeded in shutting down a negative story, costing a Fox affiliate hefty legal fees and two reporters their jobs? Consider that.
Once you do consider the role of the media in these matters, you may consider employing the Precautionary Principle when you shop, which is your right to do. But how difficult is this to do if foods are not labeled? This point touches on the strongly held Pirate belief of a right to transparency for the people from large operators, like governments and corporations.
These are the Pirate Party’s points for being pro-labelling: We oppose GMOs because we oppose patents and the privatization of the commons. We support transparency for governments AND corporations. There is good reason to suspect the press is biased in favor of business over the public interest, and therefore safety has NOT been conclusively established.
But safe or not to eat, you have the right as a concerned consumer to know in what manner your food was produced. And this is why your Massachusetts legislators should vote for labelling. And you need to let them know you want this, because armies of lobbyists have already descended upon the bay state to quash this bill dead. This is why we want to see YOU at this hearing
For more information visit MA Right to Know GMOs.
Lucia Fiero is the former Secretary of the Massachusetts Pirate Party and the former Secretary of the United States Pirate Party. She was forced to resign the party over her feminist views. Tweet her at @Bananaluloop

Friday, May 19, 2017

I dare you to try!

Try to post this link to Facebook, in a status or in a comment:

Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media studies at New York University, pointed out that on Facebook, he could not post directly to this book on Amazon. I Googled the titled and found I had the same problem.

Maybe the problem in the whole Amazon site? I checked. I had no trouble posting a link to this "uncontroversial" book:

or this one:

Go ahead and try it yourself, I'll wait.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Important message from Act-Ma for New England activists

"Act-MA is up to almost 950 subscribers, an increase of 200 since the election.
We have had some complaints that not enough people are listing their events on Act-MA. You can reach these people with your event announcement by simply sending an email to:

As an added bonus several local radio shows monitor Act-MA and broadcast a number of event announcements.
We would especially like to thank Linda Pinkow for regularly promoting Act-MA on her show on "What's Left Radio" Fridays from 6 to 7 PM on WMBR 88.1 FM
For information on her show and others check out.
We would also like to thank Dan "Bagelman" Kontoff for his extraordinary efforts to distribute Act-MA flyers at many recent demonstrations."

-Charlie Welch