On May 27 this year, almost two million people in 436 cities across the world marched against what they believe is ‘corporate greed’ and an attack on human health. Increasing information about the adverse effects of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has left people appalled and outraged, however, it has had no effect on the growth and profits of the companies that are manufacturing these products.
In order to remind the world of this indifference and insensitivity of corporations towards the health and well being of innocent people, a video revolt has been organized. According tomonsantovideorevolt.com, ‘In an effort to generate even more awareness across the globe, the largest players in the natural health field are coming together to push this Monsanto Video Revolt into hyper space. Together, they are joining forces and asking YOU to help even further on July 24th, 2013, in the Monsanto Video Revolt.’
The website has also described the three basic steps involved for people who wish to join the revolt:
Step 1 – Create a video of any length detailing why you stand against Monsanto and GMOs at large. The video can be as long as you want – it’s your choice.
Following are two videos that have been posted as part of the protest:
And this is an animated video explaining GMO and its effects on health in a very interesting way. Have a look:
Do you have a video planned for the protest? Do share it with us.
“We have great data protection laws in Germany but if Facebook is based in Ireland, then Irish law applies”
Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday the ongoing Snowden controversy made clear that EU members should force US companies to explain what happens to user data when it leaves European computer servers
The Government faces pressure from Germany this week to improve oversight of how Irish-based companies like Google and Facebook process data they collect on European users.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday the ongoing Snowden controversy made clear that EU members should force US companies to explain what happens to user data when it leaves European computer servers. She has ordered her interior and justice ministers to adopt a “strict position” on data protection in Brussels talks on Thursday and Friday of this week and to end a stand-off over new common EU data protection rules.
“We have great data protection laws in Germany but if Facebook is based in Ireland, then Irish law applies,” said Dr Merkel on public television last night. “We wish that companies make clear to us in Europe to whom they give their data. This will have to be part of a [European] data protection directive.”
This turns the spotlight on the Portlaoise-based Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) which has front-line responsibility for policing whether companies based in Ireland adhere to EU data protection rules.
In recent years the DPC has been flooded with complaints from citizens around Europe that Facebook and other technology companies are collating information in violation of EU law.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Social Justice, in cooperation with the National Security Agency, is proud to announce its new program, the Proletarian Review of Information in Social Media (PRISM).
Developed by the State in its efforts to centralize the management of citizen data and collectivize all individual information into an easy-to-access and record format, PRISM now downloads and sorts all citizen electronic communication from a variety of sources, including (but not limited to) Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple iCloud.
On behalf of the workers and peasants of the USSA, PRISM collects data on potential counter-revolutionary activities while the reactionaries are still typing! This information can then be used by State security officials to not only identify potential saboteurs and terrorists, but also identify their nefarious plans and prevent them from undermining the safety and security of USSA citizens.
As we all know, suspicion of non-conformism and potential unauthorized activity is sufficient grounds for the searching of electronic devices in our Socialist Democracy.
However, PRISM allows the State to move beyond such primitive concepts as ‘probable cause’ or ‘hunches,’ and removes all doubt about what each citizen is thinking and doing.
Comrades, imagine what good the State can do for the Masses with such intimate and detailed information! Let us ponder how our social services can be better tailored to suit the needs of each citizen, so that social programs will fit each person like a hand in a glove!
PRISM is an efficient means of data collection, developed by the diligent work of Socialist labor. Under the visionary leadership of Comrade Party Chairman and Future President Barack Barackovich Obama, the loyal Party members in the State’s internet industries have produced for us not only wonderful gifts such as Facebook and the iPhone, but also the means by which everything we share with our friends through these platforms is also shared with our Motherland.
PRISM helps us share with the Motherland! Agitate for universal data sharing, and open your heart to the world!
Faithfully submitted to the Collective of the People’s Cube,
Dialectical Progressivism Translator
A group of Irish online publishers say draft European laws could force users to register just to see the homepage of a website.
WEB USERS could be forced to register with a website just to see its homepage, if the current draft of an EU regulation on online data is not changed before becoming law.
That’s according to a group of small and medium-sized Irish digital advertising firms, which says a new data protection regulation being put together in Brussels could make it virtually impossible to show content to casual users.
IAB Ireland, a trade association for the online advertisers, says the current draft of the laws would mean websites could only show content to users who explicitly approve the submission of some of their personal data.
It also extends the definition of ‘personal data’ to include non-personal details like an internet user’s IP address and the cookies stored by their browser.
IAB Ireland’s member firms say the rules could mean the end of an era where users can “serendipitously” discover new websites – as they would have to explicitly approve the submission of their personal data simply to see its homepage.
The group said it was important to realise that the laws would be coming in the form of a European regulation – meaning it would automatically become law in each EU member state, and was not subject to national amendment or discretion.
While this has advantages – making sure that online publishers only have to deal with one set of rules, instead of complying with dozens of separate legal systems – it also requires the unanimous approval of all EU member states, and the European Commission and Parliament, to be changed.
Once the laws were in, therefore, it was almost impossible for individual countries to engineer a change – meaning it was vital that the final regulation be workable and fully thought through.
‘Large parts of the web could disappear’
Eamonn Fallon, chief executive of Distilled Media whose sites include TheJournal.ie, said large parts of the web could “disappear behind login walls” if the regulation was not amended before being brought into law.
He added that users would also have to explicitly agree to send their IP address to different sites, whose content might all appear on one page.
So, for example, a website featuring ads controlled by Google would be asked whether they wanted to give Google their IP address, simply in exchange for allowing the ads to appear on the page. Similarly, Facebook users could be asked to explicitly send their IP address to Facebook just so a ‘Like’ button could appear.
Fallon said that if information like a user’s IP address was considered ‘personal’, “the only way companies like ours can legally run web analytics and third party adservers would be to force all our users to login.”
Digitize director John Patten added it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible, to gather explicit consent on the websites on which ad networks, or site analytics companies, operate.”
This was because the companies delivering ads to users, or compiling readership figures on behalf of a web publisher, “do not have have a direct relationship with the users from whom they would need to obtain explicit consent.”
The group says the regulation’s whole purpose – to try and minimise the data that websites can collect about users – would be totally undermined if it forced websites to actively seek more information from users before allowing them to view content.
Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly, who attended an IAB media event this morning, is the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the data protection updates. Kelly says he has tabled a number of amendments to the draft regulations, to try and address the concerns of the SMEs.
“We are working hard at an EU level to ensure that the Regulation balances strong protection for consumer rights with the opportunity to facilitate SMEs in Ireland and across Europe to prosper in the digital economy,” he said.
Own Our Oil is an Irish group of citizens with no political affiliation, who are deeply concerned that deals cut between previous Irish governments and oil and gas exploration companies are depriving people of Ireland of what is rightfully theirs.
Our mission is to change the terms relating to licensing and oversight of Ireland’s offshore and onshore oil & gas. We need (your help) to act now and we need you to be the driving force to bring about change urgently.
Amongst the posts on Chris Nosworthy’s Facebook page were details of an afternoon stroll through the park, a happy birthday message to a man called Nigel and a YouTube video of a dog walking on its back legs.
Mr Nosworthy defended the contents of his Facebook page and strongly refuted claims the he is ‘non-racist’.
“My friends, family and the people who know me will tell you I’m a total racist,” he insisted.
“I’m also pretty sure that dinosaurs were wiped out by Jews,” he added.
UKIP Facebook page
A UKIP spokesperson revealed that a full investigation would be carried out and action would be taken “if necessary”.
“It might just be that Chris has been a bit naïve and made an error of judgement.
“We also shouldn’t rule out the possibility that his account was hacked by leftist flag-burning gays from the BBC.
“He’s already been for a precautionary AIDS test.”
This post is written with someone in mind. Someone to whom I owe more, far more than I could ever put into words here.
I’ve mentioned her before in my blog, but her name was Karen. She was a colleague and a friend. Gentle, compassionate and clever, Karen had just qualified as a doctor. I can’t do justice to her personality here, but she was the type of person you’d want by your bedside in a time of illness and injury. She was gentle and softly spoken, but projected an air of quiet confidence and empathy that you knew would make her an excellent physician. Karen was one week away from her formal graduation after six years of hard graft when she was brutally murdered by her partner, seven years ago next month. She was 23.
I was away when I saw the news report, and remember feeling shocked that it had happened somewhere I knew well, but it didn’t occur to me that it could have been someone I knew. It wasn’t until later that day when I’d arrived home that the phone rang, and instantly, before I answered, I knew what I was about to hear.
I’d met Karen’s partner a handful of times. Each time, it had struck me what an odd combination they were. I’d heard her justifying what seemed to me like his bad behaviour more than once, and it had arisen in conversation among friends. He seemed selfish, lazy, arrogant. Everything she wasn’t. He appeared possessive, and when she spoke of him, she somehow seemed nervous. She made excuses for him. We saw less of her socially. In hindsight, the warning signs were there.
But we never expected things to end up like they did.
Seven years on, I still feel angry. So angry with him, for doing what he did, to her family and friends. For thinking he could prevent her from living the life she wanted.
I feel sad. Because undoubtedly, the world lost a truly wonderful person, and the medical profession was deprived of someone who would have epitomised everything that is good about medical care. Her family and friends have been deprived of a loving, caring daughter and pal. She lost her chance to make the world a better place, which is all she wanted to do. (Though I’d argue that in her short time, she did just that.)
And I feel guilty, even now. For not doing more. Even though we weren’t particularly close, I knew she was in an unhealthy relationship. And I didn’t make an effort. To stay in touch. To talk to her. I’m not alone in this guilt. But who, in their right minds, could ever have contemplated the outcome?
Violence towards women is in the news every day. Every single day.
Recent statistics, particular pertaining to Ireland, are scarce, but research indicates that one in five women in Ireland, who have been in a relationship, have been abused by either a current or former partner. One in five. Picture yourself, with four of your friends. Statistically, that’s one of you. Globally, the primary cause of death among women aged 15-44 was male violence. That’s stark.
So many things contribute to the culture of violence against women. Far more than I could squeeze into one blog post, but allow me to touch on some of them below.
Victim-blaming. It’s amazing how often we hear about the amount of alcohol that might have been consumed by the victim, how well she knew her attacker, what she might have been wearing. The ONLY person that bears responsibility for a violent attack is the attacker. No-one else. Ever. This can’t be said often enough.
Focus on the victim – especially if the victim is physically attractive. Reeva Steenkamp, anyone? We need start focusing on the perpetrators of crimes, and condemning their despicable actions, in the strongest possible way.
Public forgiveness of male instigators – Stan Collymore, Chris Brown are two prize examples. How these two have wormed their way back into public affection is beyond me, but there they are, being rewarded with media roles and record company support. As what they did can be forgotten, like it had only temporary consequences. It didn’t.
Jokes about domestic violence. “You can beat your wife, but you can’t beat the craic” – REALLY? Langauge and discourse is so very important. Jokes about domestic violence are everywhere, yet many of us are nervous about calling them out, for fear of being labelled dry. I can’t take a joke? Yeah, cos getting your face smashed in is just priceless.
Social media responsibility – or lack of: Sites like Facebook also deem it acceptable to allow pages glorifying and joking about domestic violence, as detailed here (Warning – graphic images) under the guise of freedom of speech. Incidentally, Facebook also removed Jane Ruffino’s excellent post about domestic violence, stating that it contravened their terms of service. Go figure. An excellent campaign is that currently underway by Women, Action & the Media pointing out to advertisers that their ads are appearing on such pages and calling on them to pull ads until Facebook revises its policies and guidelines. It’s working.
Consequences. Sentencing for sexual crimes in Ireland is nothing short of a disgrace, with no fewer than three cases in the last few months of attackers escaping prison sentences if they paid a financial penalty. See HERE, HERE and HERE for examples. I can’t articulate how angry I am about this, and about the message it sends to both attackers and victims. The legal position, where the onus of proof is on the victim, and they, not the perpetrator are cross-examined, is a huge deterrent to prosecuting perpetrators.
Like many other injustices, every single one of us has the power to make change. How?
By calling out unacceptable behaviour, be that a tasteless joke, or a sexist remark or misogynistic comment. Language is so powerful. It’s not acceptable.
By looking out for your friends. If you suspect something’s not right, keep an eye. Be there. You don’t need to interfere, but let her know you’re there. Don’t judge. You might lose patience with someone who’s constantly justifying bad behaviour, but you never know when she might need a friend who won’t judge her. Be there.
By not being afraid to intervene and call the police when you hear your neighbour screaming because her partner is beating her. It IS your business.
It’s also important to note that violence against men, perpetrated by women is an issue that is very real, and is rarely ever acknowledged or addressed with any degree of seriousness. It should be.
Noting that psychological abuse can also be extremely damaging, and can happen along with, or without physical violence. It erodes self-esteem and the scars, just because they’re internal, are no less deep.
What happened to Karen taught me two things. Look out for your friends, and look out for yourself. I’d really like to think that what happened has made me more alert and aware of my friends and their situations, and I fervently hope that if any of them felt they needed to talk, they know they could turn to me. I really, really hope so. And when I found myself in a situation a while back that saw a partner I adored starting to become both obsessive and possessive – checking my messages, monitoring my online activity, questioning me about who I was talking to and spending time with, I knew, despite how I felt about him that I had to get out. I’m not for a second suggesting it would have had a similar outcome, nor that he was ever capable of being violent, but his behaviour scared me. Maybe I panicked, but I caught a glimpse of the life that potentially lay ahead, and I fled.
Violence against women doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to any of us, regardless of age, wealth, class, outlook. Karen was beaten and murdered seven years ago next month. In her own home, where she should have been safe. Since she died, over 70 other women have been murdered in Ireland – roughly half of those at the hands of their partners.
If you’re reading this, and you need help, it’s there. People care. Check out Women’s Aid, and know that it doesn’t have to be like this. If you’re reading this and don’t need help, be vigilant. And know that even you, through your words and actions can make an impact, good or bad.
Surreal Collages Redefine Ordinary Objects in a Funny Way
I had to go to Spain to get the true grasp of Occupy’s potential for galvanizing action!
My contact, we’ll call him “Vlad,” is an expatriate of Brooklyn now living in Madrid with his wife, Nikki, and their very young daughter. An activist long pre-Zuccotti, but a major Occupier there, he is now part of a web of ingenious tech experts who are collectively serving as a Communication Nexus for the upcoming, world-wide Monsanto protest to take place May 25.
Monsanto is just the tip of the spear and the present focus of outrage over corporation ownership of the most essential of human needs — their food. Monsanto is the “poster child” in the way that it has demonstrated unwelcome international as well as local sway over governments that are supposed to protect its citizens.
This, fueled by recent revelations of beyond-cozy relationships between this poster child for a “biotech corporatocracy” and the U.S. federal government has caught the attention — and ire — of activists everywhere. It is the Monsanto Protection Act rider slipped into law which launched what will become known as the March Against Monsanto.
What started between six weeks and two months ago on Facebook as a “good idea,” Vlad reports, has coalesced into a one-day protest that will simultaneously span six continents, 36 countries, all 50 states in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia, and take place in at least 350 cities. All of this is reported on daily and hourly in some 250 (at last count) Facebook pages and scores of websites tasked with coordinating as many as four hundred thousand of marchers.
This is where Occupy, uniquely proven as a non-hierarchical and self-coordinated system, comes in to serve as “Command Un-Central” to link these disparate groups and individuals and to help direct information flow.
“Any kind of centralization is a weakness. If all this information had to be aggregated and dispensed by one person or one location, it would assuredly fail,” Vlad asserts as one of a loosely-affiliated covey of some 200 tech-savvy volunteers.
Will this be picked up by mainstream media — or go unnoticed?
Occupiers see MSM and its influence or effect on either Occupy or this day of action to be minimal. As Vlad describes it, “At first in Zuccotti Park they tried to ignore us. That was a mistake, because it gave us an opportunity to define ourselves rather than be defined.” The march against Monsanto “will be a strengthening of that self-definition.”
Whatever is said or written about the May 25 event through corporate-controlled media — positive or negative — will be offset or corrected by citizen journalists who are putting their own “feet on the street” to document what really happens and not just what is being reported on.
In short, an exponentially-growing population of citizens will have access to facts and field reports and not just carefully edited talking points intersticed between commercials.
“This will give us — again — the opportunity to occupy public space and discuss our (collective) future,” Vlad declares. “Just Google Monsanto Strike May 25,” he directs, and then provides two of his own key sites to visit: http://www.MonsantoMarch.org which provides a map — a sea of red and blue dots — signifying participating cities, and FB site (MarchAgainstMonsanto) which claims over 81,000 members and provides a spreadsheet of local and international events.
Whither goest thou, Occupy?
One of the many charges leveled against the Occupy movement was that it lacked a central theme or “demand.” Given the number of wrongs that Occupiers have railed against over time, this is an understandable but irrelevant question. Occupy questions it all: fracking, women’s rights, workers rights, indigenous issues, immigration, free speech, corporate personhood, Hurricane Sandy, banking evils, and on and on.
What will be demonstrated in at least this one occasion is that Occupy is non pareil in its ability to awaken, inform and inspire the citizenry to mobilize anywhere and everywhere against specific illegal — even immoral — corporate and governmental actions. Monsanto is the flashpoint.
It is this March Against Monsanto action which will confirm Occupy’s political and social relevance beyond Zuccotti Park. On this one day, especially, it intends to be a very, very large and powerful megaphone likely to answer the questions about Monsanto voiced by a blogger:
Why do they need to be protected from the law? Why are they putting themselves above the law? And who are these politicians that are willing to just do what they are told to do because of the money they are receiving from these huge companies?
I suspect that a number of my readers may show and be seen as part of that answer.
Been to Occupy Wall Street?
If you’ve been to an Occupy Wall Street event anywhere in the country, we’d like to hear from you. Send OfftheBus your photos, links to videos or first-hand accounts of what you’ve seen for possible inclusion in The Huffington Posts’s coverage.
PARIS – These are not the sorts of “islands” where you’d plan your next tropical vacation. Located in vast areas of the world’s Oceans, by some accounts comprising an area twice as big as Texas, they are home to neither human nor animal life.
Instead these islands are instead simply monstrious spirals of trash.
And now, reports La Stampa, to bring attention to this epic example of man-made pollution, the United Nations’ cultural and science agency UNESCO will designate the conglomerations of rubbish a veritable territory of its own. On April 11, the world will welcome a new “State” to be named Garbage Patch.
[Clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Facebook]
Garbage Patch comprises of five areas of man-made rubbish in the seas: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Indian Ocean. The largest, discovered in 2009, is called the Great Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex. Marine currents brings the rubbish together, swirling to the surface. The garbage gets broken down, thanks to photodegradation, into smaller and smaller pieces that are consumed by marine life, reentering the food chain.
Spain-based Italian architect Maria Cristina Finucci, has led the effort to get the UNESCO, state designation. The official Facebook page declares that Garbage Patch will be a federal state with a population of 36,939 — tons of garbage. The nation’s flag will be blue, like the oceans it pollutes.
“I found out about the tragic islands made of plastic, but they were treated lightly by the scientific community,” says Finucci. “There were no photos and images are necessary to gauge the problem.”
Finucci believes that in creating a state, people will become more aware. “The only things that we can do now is to stop them from getting bigger,” she told La Stampa.
[Bottle Caps via Garbage Patch State’s Facebook]
The initiative coincides with 2013 being declared the year of water. There’s a website for the Garbage Patch, run by students at prestigious Venetian University Ca’ Foscari, which aims explain the floating islands through fantastical characters similar to those of Greek mythology. There will also be postcards: “Greetings from the Garbage State” on a deckchair and umbrella.
The inauguration ceremony won’t take place on any of the islands itself, but at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris with a performance meant to recreate the islands: bottle caps on the floor, plastic bags everywhere, and even the sound of waves playing in the background.