Nov 2012 23

by Nicole Powers

This year is the 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day, which began in Mexico in 1992. The day of protest was started by Vancouver artist Ted Dave, and was subsequently championed by the Canadian-based anti-consumerist media organization Adbusters. It is now marked annually around the globe, on the day after US Thanksgiving in North America (a Black Friday in more ways than one!) and on the following Saturday internationally.

There are many economic, spiritual, and social reasons why you should participate, but when we spoke to Adbusters co-founder Kalle Lasn recently he focused in on the environmental imperative for taking a stand against the great American tradition of conspicuous consumption.

“If everybody on the planet lived like we do in North America, then we would need five planets. There’s seven billion people on the planet, and at the moment there’s just one billion that are living high on the hog. We’re the five planet lifestyle people,” explains Lasn, who challenges the wisdom of our society’s desire – and economic need – for infinite growth in a world with finite resources in a new book, Meme Wars: The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics. (A longform SG interview will be forthcoming.)

“In a way I think there’s some kind of shaming that has to go on,” Lasn continues. “Buy Nothing Day is the perfect time to ask – How much is enough? How much is enough for me, for my family? How much is enough for my city? How much is enough for this country that I live in? Isn’t there something unethical about me having a five-planet lifestyle, and saying what President Bush said many years ago, that the American way of life is not negotiable. Well, Buy Nothing Day is a day when you wake up to the fact that it is negotiable – and it has to be renegotiated.”

For more on Buy Nothing Day visit:

Nov 2012 21

by Blogbot

[ZCompanyHackingCrew (@Z_H_C_) November 21, 2012]

A group calling itself the Z Company Hacking Crew (@Z_H_C_) have hacked and thoroughly pwned the online persona of Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. The group announced via Twitter that they had defaced Shalom’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts late Wednesday afternoon. Subsequent posts stated they’d also hacked the prominent Israeli politician’s blog, and had gained access to his email and contact list.

The Z Company Hacking Crew’s actions were done in solidarity with #OpIsrael, an online campaign which was launched last week by hactivist collective Anonymous (see story) in response to the Israeli government’s threat to cut off the internet in Gaza. However, when Russia Today (@RT_com) reported news of the Shalom hack, the @Z_H_C_ Twitter account requested that the Russian state-funded news network clarify that it was done by the Z Company Hacking Crew autonomously from Anonymous. In a follow up post the group explained: “ZHC are not Anonymous. We work with Anon on some projects but we are a completely separate team.”

But that’s not all folks! Z Company Hacking Crew have promised to publish an Ezine containing emails and a selection of documents “soon.” The group also cryptically revealed that they’d uncovered evidence that Shalom was in the process of “transferring all his money to UK ‪banks,” hinted that they’d found something of an embarrassing nature in a Picassa photo album, and boasted that they had his private telephone number.

[Screenshot of Silvan Shalom’s hacked Twitter]

[Screenshot of Silvan Shalom’s hacked Facebook]

[Screenshot of Silvan Shalom’s hacked blog]

[Screenshot of Silvan Shalom’s hacked Gmail account]

Nov 2012 20

by Lee Camp

The world needs to switch to renewable energy, but the problem is that it’s not sexy enough. So how to we sex-up green energy? Well, you could strap giant tits to the wind turbines, I suppose. But I have a different idea that should get us all salivating about green energy.


Nov 2012 16

by Dell Cameron

The threat of an all out war between Israel and the Palestinian resistance has increased drastically over the past few days as the Israeli Defense Force began a bombing campaign in Gaza. The Israeli Defense Force has continuously blanketed Gaza City with air strikes from warplanes, drones and gunboats since announcing Operation Pillar of Cloud on Twitter. This marked the first military action ever announced by a government entity via a social networking site.

[@IDFSpokesperson – November 14, 2012]

The tweet was posted shortly after the confirmed kill by Israelis on Wednesday of Ahmed Jabari, Hamas’ military commander. An endless volley of Fajr rockets from within Gaza have been targeting Israeli cities in retaliation. According to Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, the Palestinian resistance rockets have a range of 75km, placing Tel Aviv well within range of their attacks.

A pysops campaign was also started by the Israeli Defense Force, who dropped leaflets early Thursday morning throughout Gaza, warning citizens to stay far away from Hamas forces. Some Gaza residents on Twitter claimed the leaflets warned of an impending ground force attack should Hamas continue to escalate their attacks.

While UN meetings were either canceled or adjourned with no course of action decided, this wasn’t the case with another group. The hacktivist collective Anonymous jumped into action late Wednesday evening under the banner of #OpIsrael – downing Israeli government websites and amassing support on Twitter for those caught in the crossfire in Gaza.

In a press release, which was translated into several languages, Anonymous outlined their position in defense of a free and open internet stating:

“But when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand. As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack learned the hard way – we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch. To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once. Do NOT shut down the Internet into the “Occupied Territories”, and cease and desist from your terror upon the innocent people of Palestine or you will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous. And like all the other evil governments that have faced our rage, you will NOT survive it unscathed.”

Prior to the press release, Anonymous issued an online “care package” which contained a variety of useful materials intended for residents of Gaza. Resources included information on how to access the internet in the event that the Israeli government shuts off, instructions on how to hide data traffic from surveillance, a first aid guide, and meshnet apps to help Palestinian’s access Egyptian cell networks if their service is cut.

Anonymous spent much of Wednesday night locating and utilizing Arabic-speaking volunteers to translate their communiqués, since Google Translate does not function adequately for Arabic. In addition to the Arabic translations, as of Thursday afternoon, Anonymous Twitter accounts were also seeking assistance from Hebrew speakers, claiming they intended to provide the same technical support to victims of Palestinian attacks in Tel Aviv. A short statement by Anonymous in a separate press release stated:

“Anonymous does not support violence by the IDF or by Palestinian Resistance/Hamas. Our concern is for the children of Israel and Palestinian Territories”.

Additionally, hundreds of users reportedly congregated in IRC chat rooms Thursday to carry out denial of service attacks on a variety of targets. The Israeli Defense Force website was downed several times throughout the day, though not for very long. One Anonymous user claimed that up to 40 sites had been targeted. Other websites, such as – an Israeli security training company – were hacked and defaced with the Fawkesian symbols and suited imagery commonly used by the collective.

It is unclear what overall impact Anonymous will have in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but a number of mainstream news outlets including, and The Huffington Post have already begun reporting on the collective’s action. Meanwhile, the IDF’s public relations and social media charm offensive has been countered by Anonymous and supporters of the #GazaUnderAttack hashtag. If bombing continues in Gaza, internet and phone services are likely to go offline. If that happens, as with the Arab Spring, Anonymous may once again receive credit for restoring communications to a population whose global access is being intentionally suppressed by a military force.

**UPDATE – 4PM PST, NOVEMBER 17, 2012**


Nov 2012 15

by Nicole Powers

Occupy Wall Street offshoot StrikeDebt, a collective which aims to help free the masses from the bondage of debt, officially kicks off its Rolling Jubilee with a telethon tonight which will be webcast live from NYC’s Le Poisson Rouge at 8 PM EST. The fundraising event will feature a slew of progressively-minded celebs including comedienne Janeane Garofalo and Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead.

The Rolling Jubilee, which takes its name from the multi-faith tradition in ancient civilizations whereby slaves would be freed and debt forgiven, is essentially a people’s bailout. Working with industry experts, StrikeDebt aims to buy debt on the open market for cents on the dollar and then forgive it.

Within days of setting up PayPal and WePay accounts, StrikeDebt’s initial goal of raising $50,000 was exceeded. So far over 5,000 individuals have donated a collective total of over $200,000 – which is enough to forgive in excess of $4 million in debt.

Since 62% of all bankruptcies are caused by health issues, medical debt is at the top of StrikeDebt’s shopping list. Indeed, this morning the group announced via Twitter that they had purchased their first $100,000 of medical debut.

Because companies that own bad debt sell it for a fraction of its face value, for every $10 donation StrikeDebt gets they estimate they will be able to erase approximately $200-worth of debt.

Support the People’s Bailout and help StrikeDebt erase millions of dollars worth of misery by donating via WePay at

The 501(c) non-profit organization promises 100% of the money raised will go to the process of buying and abolishing debt, and that in the interests of transparency, a full accounting of funds received and spent will be reported on their website.

Watch tonight’s Rolling Jubilee Telethon via the embed below and follow @StrikeDebt for updates.

Watch live streaming video from lepoissonrouge at
Nov 2012 15

by Lee Camp

Okay, I’ll be honest. The Trans-Pacific Partnership sounds boring. It sounds really boring. I’m talking, really, REALLY boring. Like painting your grass so that you can watch the grass grow and the paint dry at the same time –– THAT kind of boring! But I will make it very NOT boring. And it will affect your life. So those are two reasons to not find it boring.


Nov 2012 13

by Sandor Stern

Regarding Your Lexicon…

I love words –– not simply because they have been the primary source of income throughout my career but when chosen well, I love the sound in my ear and the arrangement of letters on my page. I love them for context and intention. They are the primary source of primate communication. That is why I am so puzzled by your lexicon that twists and turns established meanings into contexts and intentions that are far removed from origins.

Let us look at some together.

DONATION – a gift usually to a charitable cause. We also give donations to non-charitable causes like political parties. People give $5, $100, $1,000 in support of the shared political viewpoint they hope will win the election. But what about gifts of millions of dollars? Are they gifts or investments? When the oil billionaire Koch brothers give tens of millions of dollars towards the election of an administration that favors more oil drilling in the USA, is that a donation or an investment? When casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson makes a multimillion dollar gift to elect an administration friendly to his casino interests in the USA and off shore, is that a donation or an investment? On the flip side, when trade unions offer millions of dollars to their political allies is that donation or investment? Aren’t the unions wanting an administration that favors the workers? Yes, the aim is the same for billionaires and unions; elect an administration that will further their interests.

But the purpose is so very different.

The billionaires act to increase their personal wealth; the unions act to directly improve the wages and working conditions for millions of citizens in their organizations and indirectly improve those conditions for nonunion workers by raising the bottom line. As I’ve written in an earlier blog –– what’s better for the economy, a billionaire buying one Bentley or 99 workers each buying Fords?

When individuals like Bill Maher (and there were many of them) give a million dollars to an administration –– is that an investment? How? What does he gain? He is offering money to an administration that seeks to increase his personal income tax. He is actually donating against his own best interests. He is donating for what he perceives is the good of the country. That for me is the established meaning of the word –– donation.

JOB CREATORS – self explanatory, right? The idea behind this shibboleth is that businessmen create jobs and that if the government increases their personal income tax they will have less money for job creation. Let’s be factual –– businessmen do not create jobs. Business, not men, creates jobs; and business is driven by a demand for goods and services. What sane businessman would hire workers if his business did not require it to meet product or service demands? The past five years have revealed the fallacy of the job creator label. The demand for goods and services has been poor and in order to create profits the “job creators” have been cutting back on expenses through hiring non-union workers while avoiding overtime pay, pension and health benefits by assuring their employees work less than 40 hour weeks. That reduction in payroll effectively takes spending money out of workers’ hands and reduces the demand for goods and services: a Pyrrhic Victory in the end. These are your so-called “job creators.”

On the flip side, the rant that “government does not create jobs” echoes from the far right. In fact, government is less dependent than the private sector in the demand for goods and services for job creation. Aside from the millions of workers in municipal, county, state and federal jobs, how about those jobs that government directs towards private enterprise? How about those companies that supply the armed forces? How about those companies that are hired to build roads, bridges, subways? Do you think that The Army Corp of Engineers has its own manpower to fix the structural disaster of Hurricane Sandy? Do you take your own trash to the city dump? Do you wash the street outside your house or investigate the burglary that stripped your home of valuables or the fire that destroyed it?

ENTITLEMENT – the dictionary meaning is “to furnish with proper grounds for seeking or claiming something.” It’s that simple –– “proper grounds.” Somehow you have twisted the meaning of the word so it has a connotation of getting something for nothing. And now both Social Security and Medicare are derisively viewed that way. Folks, this is not charity or welfare. “Proper grounds” involves citizens paying for these government administered plans through a lifetime of hard work. Those payments entitle you to reap the promised benefits. If you pay for auto insurance and crash your car, are you not entitled to have the insurance pay the cost of repair? If you pay for life insurance, is your beneficiary not entitled to collect? How about your payments for health insurance or house insurance? How about your payments towards your personal pension? All of these plans entitle you to the benefits offered. If you don’t pay a Social Security payroll tax of 6.2% (4.2% last year thanks to Obama’s tax cut) to match your employer’s contribution of another 6.2%, you will not receive Social Security benefits. If you do not pay a Medicare payroll tax of 1.45%, you will not receive Part A Medicare benefits unless you pay a premium of over $450 a month. And if you want to add Medicare Part B to your coverage, you will pay a monthly premium of $100 to $250 depending on income. These are the “proper grounds” for entitlement and there is nothing demeaning about it.

WELFARE – the dictionary meaning is “concern with the improvement of disadvantaged social groups.” Medicaid is one example of a helping hand from the government dispensing your tax dollars. But before you start screaming for the demise of Medicaid look at the requirements needed to receive that money. Your maximum monthly income cannot exceed $500 and your total assets excluding home, car and personal possessions cannot exceed $2000. Do you know anyone who earns $500 a month and owns a home and a car? I don’t think so.

On the other hand, you don’t scream about another helping hand the government dispenses. How about billions of dollars in “welfare funds” to oil companies like Chevron and Shell and agriculture corporations like Monsanto that earn billions in profits every year? Those welfare funds were originally intended to help small oil companies and farmers with the costs of oil drilling and produce competition. Now that money goes to the major corporations that lobby successfully to keep the welfare funds pouring into their coffers. So are these the “disadvantaged social groups” your party favors? That’s a far cry from a helping hand to a person with a monthly income of $500.

BIG GOVERNMENT – we know “big” and we know “government” but what exactly is “big government”? What exactly warrants your derisive hostility? Is it the size –– as in the number of people employed? Is it the intrusiveness –– as in regulations?

If size is your issue -–– the claim that federal employment has grown over the past years is not true. According to statistics from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management federal employment has actually declined by 2 million since the 1960’s. With regard to your cry to reduce it even more better be careful what you wish. People without jobs are people without spending money. Not only will the demand for goods and services drop but the cost to the government in unemployment benefits and various welfare benefits will rise while government takes a hit from a reduced base of personal income taxes. That is a lose-lose situation.

As for government intrusiveness –– you need to explain to me why a government is bad because it regulates banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies, drug companies, food suppliers –– and any other business that directly affects the well-being of every citizen. And please explain to me why your fury over the intrusion of federal regulations does not extend to your desire for government intrusion in your bedroom (contraception, abortion, same sex marriage) and the workplace (gender equality with equal pay for equal work).

Just asking.

Your inquisitive friend,


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