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

Monthly archive: July 2016

All Lives Matter, Really?

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For months, our fair city of Somerville has had a “Black Lives Matter” hanging across the front of city hall. This week, the police union decided to hold a demonstration about it; the union wanted the banner taken down, and replaced with one that said “All lives matter”. It’s not the first time a police union has taken this kind of position, and it got me thinking about the differences between “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter”. Let’s start with “Black Lives Matter”. This statement started out by calling attention to racial inequities in the criminal justice system. Being black increases the chances that you’ll be killed by a police officer[1]. Being black increases the chance that you’ll be incarcerated. Being a black male means there’s a 1 in 3 chance that you’ll go to prison at some point in your life. “Black Lives Matter” speaks directly to these issues. Now, let’s look at “All Lives Matter”. I see three ways to interpret this statement. Universal Inclusion. The universally inclusive interpretation pulls no punches, and we can read the definitions straight out of a dictionary. – All: every, entire, whole, universal – Lives: the third person form of “to live” – Matter: a subject of concern or action In this context, “All Lives Matter” means that every single life is a subject of concern and the statement “Black Lives Matter” is trivially true and inoffensive: all lives matter, and black is merely a subset of all. The same goes for “Latino Lives Matter”, “Queer Lives Matter”, “Asian Live Matter”, “Immigrant Lives Matter”, “Muslim Lives Matter”, “Addicts Lives Matter”, or “Prisoner’s Lives Matter”. Unfortunately, “All Lives Matter” tends to be used as a response (and even as a rebuttal) to the statement “Black Lives Matter”, so the universally inclusive interpretation … Read more

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Pirate Podcasts – Episode 4: The Dark Web and DDoS

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In this panel discussion Paul Paradise and Kendra Moyer talk about the dark web, Tor, gamergate, internet trolls, and the use of distributed denial of service attacks as a way to supress political speech. This panel was recorded during the 2016 convention of the Massachusetts Pirate Party. Listen below, or download your own copy from the Internet Archive.

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Pirate Podcasts – Episode 3: Pirate Organizing

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This podcast was recorded during PirateCon 2016, on June 25th. James O’Keef, Noe Kamelamela, and Aaron James discuss the finer points of politics and organizing. The discussion covers petition gathering strategies, working with volunteers, third parties, building coalitions, marijuana legalization, and the one-party system in Massachusetts. Listen below, or download your own copy from the Internet Archive.

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Meet Pirates at HOPE XI This Weekend

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This weekend is the eleventh bi-annual Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference.  It will be at the Hotel Pennsylvania, 401 Seventh Avenue (15 Penn Plaza) in New York City. We are organizing a Pirate breakfast for Sunday morning at 9am at the Tick Tock Dinner. It is located at The New Yorker Hotel, 481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001 and a five minute walk from the Hotel Pennsylvania.  If you plan to come, either fill out the Facebook event or email us at info@masspirates.org. To get to Tick Tock from the Hotel Pennsylvania, walk down Muhammad Ali Way to 8th Avenue, take a right and walk down 8th Avenue past West 34th Street.  It will be on the left. Also, Restore the Fourth is organizing a HOPE XI meetup starting at 8:15pm on Saturday.  It will be at Stout NYC, 133 W 33rd St, New York, New York 10001. If we come up with other events, we will update this post.  

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Pirate Picnic, Sunday, August 7th

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The annual Pirate Picnic will be Sunday, August 7th, on Georges Island in Boston Harbor. It is our Summer social. It is a potluck and there are grills where we will be. Everyone is welcome to attend. The island is a great place to explore and fun for kids. If you plan to attend, please tell us at our PiratePad as well as what food/drink you plan to bring. We will leave on the noon ferry which departs from Long Wharf in Boston near the New England Aquarium. You can purchase tickets on-line. Hope you can make it and please invite your friends. Directions: Get off the ferry Take the path on the left around the island in a clockwise fashion Go past the anchor on your left and the white tent on the right. We will be around the group of trees on the left side of the path before the road forks. and a map: View Mass Pirates Places of Interest in a larger map Georges Island image used on the front page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Thanks to Haunted North America for making it available.

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Somerville Crytoparty, Wed., 7/27

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The next monthly Parts & Crafts cryptoparty will be Wednesday, July 27th.  It will be from 6-9pm, and will be at 577 Somerville Ave., Somerville.  You are welcome to bring snacks and beverages. If you want to help organize a cryptoparty in your area or just discuss protecting your privacy, sign up for the cryptoparty mailing list.

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Black Lives and the Dangers of Policing

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It’s been a rough two weeks. Alton Sterling was killed by a police officer in Baton Rouge, LA while hustling CDs outside a food mart. Philando Castile was killed by a police officer near St. Paul, MN during a traffic stop. Mass Action Against Police Brutality organized a speak out and march in Roxbury, where hundreds of people came out to show their respects. This was a sad, but moving event. When someone breaks down in front of a crowd, talking about how their brother or son was killed by police, you can’t help but grieve with them. And that’s what we did — we grieved with and tried to support one another. The day after the Roxbury rally, a friend told me she was shaken up by the shootings. She’s an artist, she’s a woman of color, and her car has a broken taillight. “I could be executed for that, just … just like that guy in Minnesota”. It’s hard to hear someone say that, but that is what people of color deal with in the United States. Inequities like these need to be acknowledged. Of course, there were also five police officers killed by a sniper in Dallas, TX, and three more police shootings in Baton Rouge over the weekend. These too, were tragic events. Every police officer death is followed by numerous reminders of the risks they face. I’ll acknowledge that policing can be a difficult job, but I also believe the levels of danger are overstated. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund publishes a list of officer deaths by year, from 1791 to present. Here’s what NLEOMF’s data looks like, during the years 1900–2015: Two things jump out from this statistics: the number of police deaths per year has been declining since the mid 1970s … Read more

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Pirate Podcasts: Episode 2 – What you can do as a town meeting member

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Welcome to episode #2 of the Pirate Podcasts, which was recorded at PirateCon 2016. In this edition, Steve Revilak (Pirate Party Quartermaster and town meeting member in Arlington) talks about town meeting, and how you can make a difference by getting involved in local government. You can listen here, or download your own copy from the Internet Archive.

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Cryptoparties Saturday & Wednesday

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The Somerville Public Library will put on a cryptoparty on Saturday, July 16th from noon to 4:45pm.  It will be at the Somerville Public Library Main Branch at 79 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143.  They will cover protecting your email, browsing the web securely with Tor, as well as chatting securely with OTR on your laptop or mobile phone. Slides: Mailvelope Also, the next monthly Parts & Crafts cryptoparty will be Wednesday, July 27th.  It will be from 6-9pm, and will be at 577 Somerville Ave., Somerville.  You are welcome to bring snacks and beverages. If you want to help organize a cryptoparty in your area or just discuss protecting your privacy, sign up for the cryptoparty mailing list.

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Giving up our rights does not make us safer

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Our hearts go out to the people of Nice after the horrible attack there.  Whether it is Baghdad, Orlando, Dallas or Dhaka, single people and groups will use violence to achieve their aims or just act out in anger and hate.  In our frustration, it is natural to seek means to stop them. For over a decade, the US government has used mass surveillance of the world to try to identify and stop these attacks.  Having spent unknown tens of billions of dollars doing so, they haven’t stopped a single attack. Citizens are hounded and taken to court if the government accidentally gives them an extra welfare payment, but the NSA doesn’t have to account for the billions wasted taking away our right to privacy while failing to stop a single terrorist. We know those in the intelligence community will call for more surveillance and back doors into our phones and computers.  Yet again, we expect them to try to reduce the protections enshrined in the 4th and 5th Amendments aided and abetted by the Democrats and Republicans in Congress. And yet the NSA, GCHQ and their allied intelligence agencies now have so much data, they cannot identify possible threats.  They have made the haystack so big, they will never find the needles in it. Democrats call for denying people their 2nd Amendment rights if they are on the No Fly list.  After Nice, are we going to ban people on the No Fly list from the right to drive trucks or cars?  A No Fly list which is secret and provides no 5th Amendment due process rights? It is time to stop charade that mass surveillance works and that we need to give up more of our rights to protect ourselves.  The 2008 financial crisis and its after effects, … Read more

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