Posts Tagged ‘Rick Falkvinge’

Rogues, renegades, and rebels

April 27, 2012

Recently someone suggested doing a column about the Pirate Party inGermanyand some online fact checking provided some material that hasn’t been widely reported in the American media but it also produced some confusion because some of the facts published online provide different pictures of what is happening.  The file sharing community inSwedenhas spawned a political party thanks to the efforts of Rick Falkvinge and that in turn has resulted in a similar phenomenon inGermanywhere the Pirate Party is gaining popularity.  This new party could be forth biggest inGermanywith 8% of the voters joining or it could be the third biggest political party inGermanywith 13% of the voters.  You choose.  The Pirate Party has grown bigger than the Green party inGermanyor it may be just behind them in the rankings.

The fact that researching the story online does not provide a clear picture with exact numbers and percentages, in turn, provides an opportunity to write a future column on the possibility that the Internets is having a negative effect on the art of journalism because citizen journalists, who are supposed to augment and supplement the diminishing paid staff at various news organizations, can’t access the hard facts necessary to provide accurate journalism and that is very troubling because reliable, quality journalism is necessary to inform voters in a democracy (as the Founding Fathers intended). 

Earlier this week, the English language version web site for the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Martin Delius, who was described as the Pirate Party floor leader in the Berlin City Parliament, boasted that his party’s growth rate was surpassing the rate of expansion achieved by the Nazis in the early Thirties.  Whoops!  Not a good example of political bragging in that Country.  The offender quickly issued an apology. 

The Pirate Party was spawned inSwedenby a group of music fans who wanted to share information and files.  The Pirates’ Bay web site was their common meeting ground and provided the name for the political movement.  The party’s focus has expanded and is described online now as being concerned with government transparency, information availability, and (conversely) user privacy for computer users.

Could the Pirate Party find some potential for expansion into the contemporary political scene in theUnited States?  Some of the main concerns of the Occupy Wall Street movement and those of the Germany Pirate Party seem to form a cusp area for the two groups and since one of the main (conservative) criticisms of the OWS movement is that they don’t have a clear cut political agenda, forming a political coalition using both groups to appeal to America’s youth vote, might happen with the same suddenness that is being achieved by the phenomenon in Germany.

Obviously such a development is too much of a radical departure from the conservatives’ philosophy of “politics as usual,” so seeing any impartial or favorable sounding news reports about the German Pirate Party on Fox Nation News, seems quite unlikely.  Although the basic “Screw your Rules” philosophy might appeal to conservative business executives wishing to circumvent the stifling aspects of government regulations.

Speaking of bypassing government rules as it applies to deficiencies in the art of Journalism, how much coverage have you encountered in American media about new worries that have been added to the list of woes for Rupert Murdoch and his son James?

Ostensibly in the United States the two political parties rarely agree on anything, but they do seem to be in agreement about making it virtually impossible for rebels, renegades and rogues to form a third political party. 

Some cynical pundits may suggest that the Republicans and Democrats in the United States are playing a political variation of the “good cop – bad cop” strategy for managing  the citizens for the one percenters and thus a third party would only complicate the process and therefore such an innovation becomes unnecessary and undesirable in the opinion of most one percenters.

It would be very unpatriotic to believe that the “good cop – bad cop” political atmosphere in the United States is anything less than idyllic but a niche group that might see things that way might be attracted to the Pirate Party.

The Internet presents the people known as corporations with access to all the consumer/computer user data to expedite the manipulation and exploitation of the suckers – strike that word and change it to customers – possible; also, they do not want to miss the opportunity to include extra hidden charges for intellectual property rights (passing those hidden addition monies along to the artists who should get the fees is an entirely different matter) along to their customers.  Therefore it seems that the people we know as corporations and the members of the Pirate Party have a cobra vs. mongoose type relationship.

The Pirate Party politicians will appeal to the natural inclination for a new generation of young people to become rebels and innovators by invoking a very popular cultural image that has also provided a very lucrative genre toHollywood.  If it seems like there is a new Pirate movie every Friday, it won’t be any surprise to learn that “The Pirates!  Band of Misfits” opens today.

Here is a short test to give the readers of this column a chance to see if their thinking has been molded by society or if they have the large canon of knowledge needed to sidestep any efforts to be fooled by conceptual shorthand propaganda. 

Can you name any Pirate ship captains who were women?  If you didn’t quickly rattle off several names; then you have been outwitted by marketing image molding and should consider taking the time to locate and read a copy of “She Captains” by Joan Druett. 

Robert Newton was the greatest movie pirate of all time for his portrayal of Long John Silver in “Treasure Island.”  He subsequently again played the same role for a move titled “Long John Silver,” and also for a TV series titled “Long John Silver.”  Most of that material is available online perhaps even at Pirates’ Bay?

September 19 is “Talk like a Pirate Day.”

Is radio Caroline on satellite radio?

[Note from the WLJ Photo Editor:  We took photos (heavy handed symbolism alert!) of two “polar bears” contending with melting blocks of ice at the Earth Day event at City Hall in San Francisco last Sunday and since we mentioned the Green Party in this column and since we don’t have to do extensive computer work to get permission to use one of the images with this column; we’ll go with what we got.]

Speaking of faux journalism, did any of the stories you encountered about the Secret Service imbroglio include the fact that prostitution is legal in Chili?  Does that fact change the validity of the tone of the moral indignation in the commentary on the story?

Will the Republicans, who are totally outraged by the (alleged) lapse of morality by the secret service agents, call for any investigations into the possibility that any Americans (military or “diplomats”) visited The White Rose or <I>Le Rendezvous des Amis</I> (Googling tip for amateur fact finders:  “Vientiane by night”), while in Vientiane Laos (if indeed that city did actually exist) back during the era when Richard Nixon was commander-in-chief during the Vietnam War?  Wouldn’t that be a similar chance to root out moral turpitude?  Perhaps the American government employees who hung out at the Purple Porpoise bar were not held to the same standards as are the agents in the Secret Service?  Perhaps Republican and Democratic Presidents are held to different levels of accountability for the actions of their hired hands?

Speaking of scoops, we have noticed a possible trend spotting story for the Fashion Desk developing inSan Francisco.  We have seen what seems to be high heeled hiking boots (is a high heeled hiking boot an oxymoron?).  Perhaps they are high heeled Ugg boots fromAustralia?

Robert Louis Stevenson, in “Treasure Island,” provided this closing quote:  “Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted mostly.”

Now the disk jockey will play the Pogues “Dirty Old Town,” Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Honky Tonk Stuff,” and a bootleg (i.e. pirated) copy of the Rolling Stones’ “Cops and Robbers.”  We have to go prepare for May Day on the Golden GateBridge(which is celebrating its 75th birthday on the Memorial Day weekend.)  Have a “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum” type week.