The Party of Open: Open Government, Open Culture, Open Innovation & People First

Monthly archive: September 2015

Celebrate Wikileaks’ 9th Birthday this Sunday

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Wikileaks is turning 9! Help us celebrate with cake and by singing Happy Birthday to You, now liberated from the shackles of copyright. Wikileaks was founded on October 4th, 2006. For the last two years we have celebrated its birthday and all of the secrets it has helped reveal. This year we will do it again. This Sunday at 1pm, join us in Davis Sq., Somerville. We will meet in the park next to JP Licks (4 College Ave) and across Holland/Elm Street from the Somerville Theater. Davis Sq. is on the MBTA Red Line and street parking is free. We will eat cake and sing Happy Birthday To You, now free from Warner/Chappell’s copyright. Tell us if you are coming so we know how big a cake to get. Please support Wikileaks as well. See you Sunday!

published under Main Topic, Out And About, Transparency | Comments Off on Celebrate Wikileaks’ 9th Birthday this Sunday

A Freedom Rally Thank-You

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Freedom Rally is always a festive event and this year was no exception. We had a great time, and we’d like to thank everyone who helped out. In particular, we’d like to show our appreciation for The 15 people who came to our tent and tabled during the weekend; The 93 people who signed MassCann’s petition to “permit the cultivation, distribution, possession, or use of marijuana by persons of age 21 and older” (aka ballot petition B); The 66 people who signed the PassMassAmendment’s petition: “Corporations are not people” and “Money is not speech” (aka ballot petition R); The 21 people who signed our own petition opposing H.2487 and H.2606, extending “Hollywood tax credit” subsidies to video game production companies; The 10 people who registered to vote; and Everyone who signed up for our mailing list, and/or volunteered to help out at future Mass Pirates events. Thank you all, we couldn’t do it without you!

published under Civil Liberties, Main Topic, Out And About | Comments Off on A Freedom Rally Thank-You

38 Studios documents show why should not subsidize video game companies

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The recent unsealing of court documents concerning Rhode Island’s loan guarantee of Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, remind us how much we need to oppose H.2487 and H.2606. Rhode Island lost $75 million in that deal. H.2487 and H.2606 are before the Massachusetts legislature now. They would provide tax credits to Massachusetts video game companies as high as to 25% of their operating costs. Our own calculations indicate that Massachusetts could be giving away $50 million every year in tax payer money to video games companies. Over ten years, the cost would be at least half a billion dollars. What government services will we need to cut over the next ten years to balance this $500 million dollar subsidy? Under H.2487, video game companies must incur a minimum of $50,000 in qualified expenses during a consecutive twelve-month qualification period. An entrepreneur working part-time in her garage is unlikely to take advantage of this tax credit. Rather, large established game companies will benefit the most from it further increasing Massachusetts’ already high income inequality. Rhode Island lost $75 million backing video game developer 38 Studios. If H.2487 passes, Massachusetts tax payers could lose that amount every year and a half. Massachusetts has a vibrant software industry that has fostered hundreds of companies. This industry was built without the benefit of tax credits from Massachusetts tax payers. The video game industry does not need special treatment and it certainly doesn’t need to be subsidized $500 million over the next ten years. H.2487 and H.2606 are before the Joint Committee on Revenue. If they cannot get out of committee, they are dead. Contact Senate Committee Chair Michael J. Rodrigues and House Committee Chair Jay R. Kaufman and urge them to oppose this bill today. Their contact info is below. Thanks! Michael … Read more

published under Corporate Welfare, Main Topic | Comments Off on 38 Studios documents show why should not subsidize video game companies

Freedom Rally, This Weekend

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We’re there every year because it’s a great time and a good opportunity to meet activists (aka future pirates!) We will be tabling at the 26th Freedom Rally this weekend. It will be on Boston Common.  Saturday is from noon to 8pm, Sunday from noon to 6pm. This is our sixth year at Freedom Rally and fifth year tabling at it. We hope you will help us make it a success. We are in the area marked by the X in the map below. It is right next to one of the entrances to the underground garage and on the path to Park Street. Or you can use this Google Map: View Mass Pirates Events in a larger map We encourage you to dress in your favorite pirate gear, be loud and show your support for the Internet, civil liberties and everyone’s privacy. Please, invite your friends and family and help us find more Pirates to join us! What is the Freedom Rally? An opportunity for activists interested in ending the war on drugs and extending civil liberties to meet other like-minded individuals. You can also attend interesting lectures and presentations given by vendors and activists. This is an opportunity for us specifically to meet more people at our table and tell them about the Pirate Party. We can share ongoing revelations about the US government’s mass. surveillance, in the name of “homeland security” and what citizens can do to stay connected and anonymous, since these post 9/11 powers have been used mostly to spy on drug enthusiasts, not on terrorists. We teach folks about how the internet and social media make excellent tools for getting out the word about the safety and efficacy of cannabis, since the commercial media has shown us they are dead set against legalization. We teach … Read more

published under Main Topic, Out And About | Comments Off on Freedom Rally, This Weekend

Support H.3242: Label GMOs

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On Tuesday, in addition to testifying against subsidizing video game companies, I also gave the following testimony to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture at the State House. The hearing was very well attended with at least one hundred people testifying, only three of which were against labeling GMOs. Thanks to Lucia Fiero for the text that I copied from and to Massachusetts Right to Know for organizing a great rally and turnout. Thank you Chairs and Committee members for allowing me to speak today. I am James O’Keefe, Captain of the Massachusetts Pirate Party. Just as citizens benefit when government is transparent, so too people benefit when they know what is in their foods and can make informed choices about what they eat. Safe or not to eat is beside the point. It is a Massachusetts tradition to resist empire, to resist unfair taxes, mark ups, and unfair labor practices by employers. The tea thrown into Boston Harbor during the Tea Party 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 soda or Coca Cola, to shop at local farm stands, Massachusetts-based supermarkets or Walmart, to support local farmers or corporate compliant farmers. This is reason enough for us to need label on GMOs: To make informed choices. We urge you to support H.3242.

published under Main Topic, Transparency | 1 Comment

Round table discussion with Cory Doctorow, 10/13

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On Tuesday, October 13th, Cory Doctorow will be participating in a round table discussion: “The Remote-Controlled Society”. It is sponsored by Suffolk University and the Ford Hall Forum. It will be at the C. Walsh Theatre, Suffolk University, 55 Temple Street, Boston, starts at 6:30pm and ends as 8:00 pm. Cory Doctorow will be signing copies of his latest books after the round table. We are proud to have helped make this event possible and hope you will be able to join us there! “No Matter Who’s Winning the War on General Purpose Computing, You’re Losing If cyberwar were a hockey game, it’d be the end of the first period and the score would be tied 500-500. All offense, no defense. Meanwhile, a horrible convergence has occurred as everyone from car manufacturers to insulin pump makers have adopted the inkjet printer business model, insisting that only their authorized partners can make consumables, software and replacement parts — with the side-effect of making it a felony to report showstopper, potentially fatal bugs in technology that we live and die by. And then there’s the FBI and the UK’s David Cameron, who’ve joined in with the NSA and GCHQ in insisting that everyone must be vulnerable to Chinese spies and identity thieves and pervert voyeurs so that the spy agencies will always be able to spy on everyone and everything, everywhere. It’s been fifteen years since the copyright wars kicked off, and we’re still treating the Internet as a glorified video-on-demand service — when we’re not treating it as a more perfect pornography distribution system, or a jihadi recruitment tool. It’s all of those — and more. Because it’s the nervous system of the 21st century. We’ve got to stop treating it like a political football.” -Cory Doctorow, September 2015

published under Economy, Main Topic, Privacy, Security | Comments Off on Round table discussion with Cory Doctorow, 10/13

Oppose H.2487: No subsidies for video game companies

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Today, I will give the following testimony to the Joint Committee on Revenue at the State House in Hearing Room A-1. Thanks to everyone who reviewed my testimony and offered suggestions and advice. Thank you to the Chairmen and Joint Committee on Revenue for allowing me to speak today. I am James O’Keefe, Captain of the Massachusetts Pirate Party. Throughout the world, whether in Sweden, Russia, Brazil, or Massachusetts, the Pirate Party stands for transparency and against sweetheart deals for corporations. For far too many years, Massachusetts has used tax credits to subsidize Hollywood film making. Subsidies that harmed Massachusetts tax payers to the tune of nearly $80 million in 2012. (1) On average, these tax credits cost tax payers $118,000 per net new Massachusetts job created during the period 2006-2012. (2) This subsidy is not one that Massachusetts film and tv workers reap. In 2013, film and video camera operators received an average yearly salary of $48,000. Film and video editors were paid $52,000 on average. (3) These tax credits don’t help our workers. They only fatten the profits of Hollywood. H.2487 and H.2606 would expand these tax credits to video game production companies. As with the film tax credit, video game companies must incur a minimum of $50,000 in qualified expenses during a consecutive twelve-month qualification period. An entrepreneur working part-time in her garage is unlikely to take advantage of this tax credit. Instead large, established game companies will benefit the most from it further increasing inequality in Massachusetts. While the cost of the film tax credit has fluctuated over the years, the cost of a video game tax credit is likely to be more constant owing to the nature of software development. Supporters assert that 2,000 Massachusetts workers are in this industry (4). If the total cost … Read more

published under Issues, Main Topic | 1 Comment

Congratulations to the Kilton Public Library

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Congratulations to the Kilton Public Library for voting to restart their Tor node! The Lebanon, New Hampshire library started a Tor node in July as a pilot project by the Library Freedom Project to bring Tor nodes to public libraries. Recently they took down the Tor exit node after a visit by local police notified by the Department of Homeland Security. We are proud of them for sending a clear message to DHS that they will not tolerate censorship.  A big thanks also to the Library Freedom Project, Alison Macrina, Nima Fatemi, the Massachusetts ACLU, EFF and other supporters of freedom. A reminder that we offer our skills to help any library in Massachusetts setup a Tor relay or exit node and teach library staff and patrons how to install and use Tor. Librarians are welcome to contact us at Anyone interested in helping can also email us.

published under Censorship, Civil Liberties, Privacy | Comments Off on Congratulations to the Kilton Public Library

Now is the time to make your voice heard about GMO labeling.

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First the Pirates brought you the why, now we bring you the how, as in how to act on this important issue. September 22 will the only public hearing for GMO labeling in Mass. during 2015 or 2016 and is a critical time to show how much support there is for transparency in food labeling. Yes, Sept. 22 is the beginning of Yom Kippur. Unfortunately we weren’t able to pick the date! In light of this, the committee has offered to allow those who need to get home before sundown the chance to speak before others at the hearing. If this applies to you make sure to let them know! Keep in mind also that if you cannot make the hearing for any reason you can also make your voice heard by submitting written testimony. What you need to know to participate: What: Public hearing on GMO Labeling Bill H.3242 When: September 22, 2015 at 1pm: Meet up at 11:30 am with Press Event and GMO-Free ice cream (provided by Ben & Jerry’s! But only till 12:20 pm on the Common! at Noon) Where: Massachusetts State House, Boston, but meet first outside Park St. T Station on the Boston Common 11:30am with a Press Event at the nearby Brewer Fountain at Noon) What to expect: MA Right to Know GMOs offers this handy guide. Other things you can do to help: Share this Facebook event, or share this link on social media or by email. Ask your state legislator (most of whom have cosponsored the bill!) to submit their own testimony in support. They can encourage the committee to move the bill to the floor for a full vote ASAP! Print and post the poster and fliers around town! We look forward to seeing you there!

published under Main Topic | Comments Off on Now is the time to make your voice heard about GMO labeling.

Video of Rick Falkvinge’s PirateCon 2015 talk is available

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Rick Falkvinge gave PirateCon 2015’s closing talk on Pirate Strategy. The video is available: We are looking for people to help format, clean up and titles the the like to the videos we took of the talk. The raw video files are on MEGA. Please contact if you want to help with a talk. The talk details are listed at our 2015 conference page.

published under Elections, Issues, Main Topic, Organizing | Comments Off on Video of Rick Falkvinge’s PirateCon 2015 talk is available
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