Saturday, July 28, 2012

Updates 7/28/12

Hello everyone. 

I will likely not be posting this upcoming Tuesday. I have an early dentist appointment to get several teeth worked on. It's not going to be pleasant. I'm a bit on the terrified side of dentists.

Anyway, we've got two stories coming in from Charles first.

-- The first is about a project called INDECT. INDECT stands for "INtelligent information system supporting observation, searching, and DEteCTion for security of citizens in urban environment." Basically it is a research project from the EU that monitors everything it can, not stopping at the internet. It uses data from social networking sites, street cameras, drones, phone locator systems, facial recognition, and several other sources to autonomously determine if a person is engaging in "abnormal behavior." What do they plan to do about the "abnormal" or "suspicious" behaviors spotted by this project? We don't know yet. To learn more about how this can affect you, and what STOPP INDECT plans to do about it, follow the link.

--  Second, remember when we beat SOPA and PIPA? They're baaaack. Senator Lamar Smith just introduced a bill called the IPAA (Intellectual Property Attache Act). The bill incorporates much of the wording from SOPA and PIPA, and is meant to "promote a level playing field for American innovators abroad and American job creation." GlobalGrind calls that description "deplorable," as the means they plan on using seem to sound nothing like the actual goal. 

-- In China, citizens have had enough of the government ignoring their concerns about pollution and environmental degradation concerning an industrial waste pipeline. The pipeline could potentially poison the coastal waters, which many Chinese citizens use to make a living and simply survive. Finally overwhelmed, over 1000 protesters marched in Qidong, and several broke into a government office, destroying computers and cars, while throwing documents out the windows to the crowds below. At least two police officers were injured when they tried to stop the crowd. They were instead into the angry group and beaten.

-- The US Justice Department and the Seattle PD have reached an agreement on police reform. The reforms are meant to curb excessive force, and the Justice Department threatened to sue the city if they didn't reach an agreement by the 31st. The Justice Department got involved after it determined that one out of every five uses of force by the Seattle PD was unconstitutional. 

-- Good news out of Minnesota today. A woman who went through multiple issues with Bank of America, including a bank error which led to her home being on the auction block in just a few days, has received a mortgage renegotiation from the corporation. Occupy Our Homes MN is thrilled to have helped the woman keep her home, which she has been fighting foreclosure on for over five years.

-- Police in Anaheim are apparently panicking over the unrest occurring in their city. After two fatal (and one nonlethal) police involved shootings just this week, more protests are planned in the city, and Anaheim residents seem to be growing ever more weary of police actions. The Anaheim Police Chief held a closed emergency meeting yesterday morning to discuss ways to quell the uprising, including using outreach through bilingual churches, schools, and businesses. The Anaheim Police will be investigated by two federal agencies, the US Attorney General and the FBI.

-- We certainly didn't see it during the Olympic Opening Ceremony, but a number of cyclists were arrested yesterday as they performed their monthly "Critical Mass" protest ride in London. The cyclists have been served an order to stay away from the Olympic site, and police intervened when they apparently breached the regulations. Police tried to cordon off their route, and arrested those who attempted to pass through.

-- This last story is a short article with a video from Inside Story. It's a discussion panel of a human rights attorney, a journalist who covers many of the events in Anaheim, and Ray Lewis, the retired Police Captain who took part in the Occupy events last year. Their discussion is a simple but not so simple topic. Are police in the US becoming increasingly militarized? How have things changed in the 20 years since Rodney King's beating by police shocked America? 

What I would like to ask--

Why is it that Rodney King's beating so shocked everyone, yet the beatings of protesters today is encouraged by so many? 

Have we become so desensitized and ingrained with politics that we truly believe it is okay to beat someone who has a different idea? 

What is wrong with us?

Maybe one day, I'll understand.


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