Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Zebra 3 Report - REALITY BITES AGAIN
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: An eye opening report by James Howard Kunstler
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT

http://www.dailyreckoning.com/    August 19 2008

 

I was reading on the website (link above) an articel titled :

The Worst is to Come
Ouzilly, France

Here is the eye opening report

 

Today's Guest Essay

The Daily Reckoning PRESENTS: The feeble American response to Russia's assertion of power in the Caucasus of Central Asia was appropriate, since, according to James Howard Kunstler, the United States' claims of influence in that part of the world are laughable. Read on...

REALITY BITES AGAIN
by James Howard Kunstler

The U.S. had taken advantage of temporary confusion in Russia, during the ten-year-long post-Soviet-collapse interval, and set up a client government in Georgia, complete with military advisors, sales of weapons, and even the promise of club membership in the Western alliance known as NATO. These blandishments were all in the service of the Baku-to-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which was designed specifically to drain the oil region around the Caspian Basin with an outlet on the Mediterranean, avoiding unfriendly nations all along the way.

At the time this gambit was first set up, in the early 1990s, there was some notion (or wish, really) among the so-called western powers that the Caspian would provide an end-run around OPEC and the Arabs, as well as the Persians, and deliver all the oil that the US and Europe would ever need - a foolish wish and a dumb gambit, as things have turned out.

For one thing, the latterly explorations of this very old oil region - first opened to drilling in the 19th century - proved somewhat disappointing. U.S. officials had been touting it as like unto "another Saudi Arabia" but the oil actually produced from the new drilling areas of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the other Stans turned out to be preponderantly heavy-and-sour crudes, in smaller quantities than previously dreamed-of, and harder to transport across the extremely challenging terrain to even get to the pipeline head in Baku.

Meanwhile, Russia got its house in order under the non-senile, non-alcoholic Vladimir Putin, and woke up along about 2007 to find itself the leading oil and natural gas producer in the world. Among the various consequences of this was Russia's reemergence as a new kind of world power - an energy resource power, with the energy destiny of Europe pretty much in its hands. Also, meanwhile, the USA had set up other client states in the ring of former Soviet republics along Russia's southern underbelly, complete with U.S. military bases, while fighting active engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, if this wasn't the dumbest, vainest move in modern geopolitical history!

It's one thing that U.S. foreign policy wonks imagined that Russia would remain in a coma forever, but the idea that we could encircle Russia strategically with defensible bases in landlocked mountainous countries halfway around the world...? You have to ask what were they smoking over at the Pentagon and the CIA and the NSC?

So, this asinine policy has now come to grief. Not only does Russia stand to gain control over the Baku-to-Ceyhan pipeline, but we now have every indication that they will bring the states on its southern flank back into an active sphere of influence, and there is really not a damn thing that the U.S. can pretend to do about it.

We could have spent the past ten years getting our own house in order - waking up to the obsolescence of our suburban life-style, scaling back on the Happy Motoring, reconnecting our cities with world-class passenger rail, creating wealth by producing things of value (instead of resorting to financial racketeering), protecting our borders, and taking the necessary measures to defend and update our own industries. Instead, we pissed our time and resources away. Nations do make tragic errors of the collective will. The cluelessness of George Bush is nothing less than a perfect metaphor for the failure of a whole generation. The Boomers will be identified as the generation that wrecked America.

So, as the vacation season winds down, this country greets a new reality. We miscalculated in Western and Central Asia. Russia still "owns" that part of the world. Are we going to extend our current land wars there into the even more distant and landlocked Stan-nations? At some point, as we face financial and military exhaustion, we have to ask ourselves if we can even successfully evacuate our personnel from the far-flung bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

This must be an equally sobering moment for Europe, and an additional reason for the recent plunge in the relative value of the Euro, for Europe is now at the mercy of Russia in terms of staying warm in the winter, running their kitchen stoves, and keeping the lights on. Russia also exerts substantial financial leverage over the U.S. in all the dollars and securitized U.S. debt paper it holds. In effect, Russia can shake the U.S. banking system at will now by threatening to dump its dollar holdings.

The American banking system may not need a shove from Russia to fall on its face. It's effectively dead now, just lurching around zombie-like from one loan "window" to the next pretending to "borrow" capital - while handing over shreds of its moldy clothing as "collateral" to the Federal Reserve. The entire US, beyond the banks, is becoming a land of the walking dead. Business is dying, home-ownership has become a death dance, whole regions are turning into wastelands of "for sale" signs, empty parking lots, vacant buildings, and dashed hopes. And all this beats a path directly to a failure of collective national imagination. We really don't know what's going on.

The fantasy that we can sustain our influence nine thousand miles away, when we can't even get our act together in Ohio is just a dark joke. One might state categorically that it would be a salubrious thing for America to knock off all its vaunted "dreaming" and just wake up.

Until next time,

James Howard Kunstler
for The Daily Reckoning

Editor's Note: In case you couldn't join us at this year's Agora Financial Investment Symposium in Vancouver, you don't have to miss out completely. Listen to Mr. Kunstler, and the rest of the elite group of speakers we had this year, at your leisure...in your living room...in your car on the way to work...on your iPod as you lay out on the beach. We have the full set of speeches from the conference on CD and MP3 - see here:

Don't miss out on the insights from the financial world's best and brightest!

James Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine . In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis.

His latest nonfiction book, The Long Emergency describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.

You can purchase your own copy here:

The Long Emergency

You can get more from James Howard Kunstler - including his artwork, information about his other novels, and his blog - at his website


Posted by Joe Anybody at 3:48 PM PDT
Friday, 15 August 2008
- diary of a translator/lawyer/journalist at GITMO -
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: suicide attempt(s) at Guantanamo
Topic: TORTURE

www.fora.tv

Z3 Readers I copied the following from this link here:

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/94941/suicide_note_from_a_guantanamo_bay_detainee/

Complete video at: fora.tv Lawyer and journalist Mahvish Khan reads a suicide note from a terrorism suspect held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Spurred by the detainment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, American lawyer Khan decided to offer help to the detainees.

Born to Afghan parents, she used her language skills as a translator, and from her time with these detainees she has written a diary that provides insights into the lives and families of those held at Guantanamo.

Mahvish Rukhsana Khan is a recent law school graduate and journalist. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Washington Post, and other media. She is the author of the book, "My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me."

 

Digg!

Tagged as: torture, guantanamo bay, al qaeda, cuba, human rights, gitmo, detainees, detention, suicide, prisoners, waterboarding, terrorists, mahvish rukhsana khan, military tribunals

ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 1:21 PM PDT
Updated: Friday, 15 August 2008 1:27 PM PDT
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Is Joe Anybody runing for President in 2008 ....?
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Grassroots Activists may have good shot at presidency
Topic: POLITICS

The Joe Anybody Phenomenon


What began as a colorful Internet fluke has blossomed into a full-fledged political movement - one that Republicans and Democrats alike are reluctantly having to acknowledge.

http://www.news3online.com/index.php?code=856bv91dr03x5GQ1hK7b

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Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:01 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 18 August 2008 5:01 PM PDT
Dino Rossie World - videotographer roughed up
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: independent media gets fucked over by cops and a politicans
Topic: MEDIA

cameraman hassled and roughed up 

 

 


 

WA-Gov: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 04:45:53 PM PDT

Dino Rossi's world

You'd think by now candidates would have figured out that you prevent having "Macaca Moments" by not showing your true colors in front of video cameras, but some of them are slow learners, I guess. In Washington, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi tried to avoid having the opposition record him by having his goons rough up a cameraman--which was all captured on video. Oops.

Apparently, a "press conference" in Dino Rossi's world is not a public event. He's a mini-Bush in the making, his race fueled by bitterness and sour grapes from his narrow loss in 2004. It's encouraging that the Seattle Times (one of the least confrontational, most milque-toast major dailies in the nation when it comes to covering politics) actually covered this story. Hopefully they'll make a habit of it. Dino Rossi has skated far too long on his nice guy, harmless image.
This article Dino Rossi's world  was found here:

Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:08 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 August 2008 8:18 PM PDT
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Monks - Protest - USA - Chevron - Boycott -
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: Burma and the exploitation by Chevron
Topic: HUMANITY


 

http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/oilchange/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=16174&t=wide.dwt

 Oil Change International Petition  


 

Boycott China Olympics Games

http://www.uscampaignforburma.org/action/action.html

 

 

Chevron's Pipeline

 

Is The Burmese Regimes Lifeline

 

 

By Amy Goodman

October 3, 2007

Courtesy of Alternet

The barbarous military regime depends on revenue from the nation’s gas reserves and partners such as Chevron, a detail ignored by the Bush administration.

The image was stunning: tens of thousands of saffron-robed Buddhist monks marching through the streets of Rangoon [also known as Yangon], protesting the military dictatorship of Burma. The monks marched in front of the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who was seen weeping and praying quietly as they passed. She hadn't been seen for years. The democratically elected leader of Burma, Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since 2003. She is considered the Nelson Mandela of Burma, the Southeast Asian nation renamed Myanmar by the regime.

After almost two weeks of protest, the monks have disappeared. The monasteries have been emptied. One report says thousands of monks are imprisoned in the north of the country.

No one believes that this is the end of the protests, dubbed "The Saffron Revolution." Nor do they believe the official body count of 10 dead. The trickle of video, photos and oral accounts of the violence that leaked out on Burma's cellular phone and Internet lines has been largely stifled by government censorship. Still, gruesome images of murdered monks and other activists and accounts of executions make it out to the global public. At the time of this writing, several unconfirmed accounts of prisoners being burned alive have been posted to Burma-solidarity Web sites.

The Bush administration is making headlines with its strong language against the Burmese regime. President Bush declared increased sanctions in his U.N. General Assembly speech. First lady Laura Bush has come out with perhaps the strongest statements. Explaining that she has a cousin who is a Burma activist, Laura Bush said, "The deplorable acts of violence being perpetrated against Buddhist monks and peaceful Burmese demonstrators shame the military regime."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said, "The United States is determined to keep an international focus on the travesty that is taking place." Keeping an international focus is essential, but should not distract from one of the most powerful supporters of the junta, one that is much closer to home. Rice knows it well: Chevron.

Fueling the military junta that has ruled for decades are Burma's natural gas reserves, controlled by the Burmese regime in partnership with the U.S. multinational oil giant Chevron, the French oil company Total and a Thai oil firm. Offshore natural gas facilities deliver their extracted gas to Thailand through Burma's Yadana pipeline. The pipeline was built with slave labor, forced into servitude by the Burmese military.

The original pipeline partner, Unocal, was sued by EarthRights International for the use of slave labor. As soon as the suit was settled out of court, Chevron bought Unocal.

Chevron's role in propping up the brutal regime in Burma is clear. According to Marco Simons, U.S. legal director at EarthRights International: "Sanctions haven't worked because gas is the lifeline of the regime. Before Yadana went online, Burma's regime was facing severe shortages of currency. It's really Yadana and gas projects that kept the military regime afloat to buy arms and ammunition and pay its soldiers."

The U.S. government has had sanctions in place against Burma since 1997. A loophole exists, though, for companies grandfathered in. Unocal's exemption from the Burma sanctions has been passed on to its new owner, Chevron.

Rice served on the Chevron board of directors for a decade. She even had a Chevron oil tanker named after her. While she served on the board, Chevron was sued for involvement in the killing of nonviolent protesters in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Like the Burmese, Nigerians suffer political repression and pollution where oil and gas are extracted and they live in dire poverty. The protests in Burma were actually triggered by a government-imposed increase in fuel prices.

Human-rights groups around the world have called for a global day of action on Saturday, Oct. 6, in solidarity with the people of Burma. Like the brave activists and citizen journalists sending news and photos out of the country, the organizers of the Oct. 6 protest are using the Internet to pull together what will probably be the largest demonstration ever in support of Burma. Among the demands are calls for companies to stop doing business with Burma's brutal regime.

SEND YOUR MESSAGE HERE 

 

http://www.peacemajority.us/BoycottChevron.htm

 


 

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:26 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 12 August 2008 8:30 PM PDT
Thursday, 7 August 2008
alignment with our authentic self - Ivy Sea Report
Mood:  hug me
Now Playing: Suggesting greater integrity aligning with our authentic nature
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

Greetings! When we're out of alignment with our authentic self, we feel it. We might feel fatigued, or things might seem like a constant struggle. We're 'working it' constantly, pushing the boulder up the hill or trying to swim upstream, against the current.

We feel, in some way, at odds with key things in our lives, whether that's work, our business (if we're self-employed), a relationship, place, or even just stale patterns or routines that have become too small for us. Moving into greater integrity, aligning with our authentic nature and expressing ourselves from there, often has a greater sense of ease and joy.

We feel 'true', and that's fun, it's alive. It's not that challenge disappears, but our relationship to it is different because we're in alignment with ourselves - our true nature and purpose.

The shift from inauthentic to authentic can seem harrowing, as we're asked to move away from things and patterns that are true to us, that aren't aligned with our greatest joy and purposeful expression. That's always tough, letting go, even when we know it's for the best. What is familiar can be comforting even if it's not optimal. Yet we can navigate this journey to authenticity, summoning the courage and grace, inviting assistance from seen and unseen realms, and noticing the emergence of new possibilities and options that make the heart sing.

There are many bits of wisdom that tell us that each being is unique, truly. There is only one of you in all existence, and you will be guided, nudged, and sometimes pushed into expressing that unique you in the world.

Sometimes that which challenges us deeply, along with those soul-nudges that show up as deep heart-yearnings, are invitations to step into our fullness, our authentic selves.

Time to brave those waters and emerge, shining, and expressing 'true you' in your work, your business, your communication, and all areas of your 'one wild and precious life.' Joyful Blessings, Jamie

Walters, Author and Founder,

Ivy Sea


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:18 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 7 August 2008 12:24 PM PDT
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Suicide - All in a days work - when Uncle Sam pays you to kill
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: The Military should be sued!
Topic: WAR


One Soldier's

Suicide:


James Jenkins
*

Marine Corporal James Jenkins, a decorated veteran of the Iraq invasion and the Battle of Najaf, took his life after serving for 22 months. His mother shares his story with ANP a tragedy repeated 15 times a day in the US.

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:09 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 5 August 2008 6:36 PM PDT
Monday, 4 August 2008
Look at his pee pee (hahaha)
Mood:  party time!
Now Playing: TSA in Miami - have cool pee pee / boobie monitor (hehe)
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS

HA  ha  ha

This just keeps getting better

Oh ...heck (dont forget to) catch the ....shhhhhh Terrorists

Miami airport security cameras see through clothing

Travelers, be aware: Your full-blown image — private parts and all — could soon be visible to a security officer, on-screen, at an airport near you.

Miami International Airport is one of a dozen airports nationwide that have begun pilot-testing whole-body imaging machines, which reveal weapons and explosives concealed under layers of clothing.

"It allows us to detect threat objects that are not metallic and that cannot be detected by metal detectors, and items that are sometimes missed even in a physical pat-down, in a nonintrusive manner," said Mark Hatfield, federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration at MIA

As passengers step inside the machine, they extend their arms and legs for several seconds, as millimeter wave technology creates an image. About 25 feet away, in a covered booth, a security officer in radio contact, views the ghostly silhouette -- with the face blurred -- on a screen. The officer determines if a concealed weapon, such as a ceramic knife, or explosive detonation cord, exists, Hatfield said.

''The image projected is more humanoid than human,'' he said. "What's important is providing a clear view of a threat object. And the person going through the machine will never see the operator.''

'RANDOM SELECTION'

So far, the technology has been used for five days at two MIA checkpoints, at Concourses G and J, replacing the machines that emitted puffs of air. At least two more body-imaging machines will be deployed in the next few months, one at J and one at an interim checkpoint at C/D, Hatfield said. Each machine costs $170,000. To date, no explosives have been detected, he said.

At least for now, the TSA is using ''continuous, random selection'' to choose passengers for the machines, and it is optional. Travelers who decline will be physically patted down. All passengers must still go through metal detectors.

''For our travelers, through this airport, this machine adds even an additional layer of security,'' said Miami-Dade Aviation spokesman Marc Henderson.

I found this funny article here

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/45066.html

dont you just love this funny crap we are doing in the name of ...shhhhhhh

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:00 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 4 August 2008 7:01 PM PDT
Brand new Tasers just in time for the St Paul - RNC Convention
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Plan on protesting ? Are you planning on being tasered?
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
News > August 4, 2008

Don’t Tase Me, GOP!

By Jacob Wheeler

taser
'[They have been] taking every opportunity to try and intimidate the people who live here,' says an activist using the name "Diablo Bush," referring to the local police

The St. Paul Police Department is arming itself with Tasers.

Local activists and media say that the department ordered 230 stun guns in late February — adding to the 140 already in its possession — in preparation for protests at the upcoming Republican National Convention (RNC), which St. Paul will host from Sept. 1 to Sept. 4.

Police spokesman Tom Walsh denies any connection between the arrival of the Tasers and the upcoming RNC. “They are not related to the convention in any way,” says Walsh. “A patrol officer suggested months ago that we supply our force with Tasers.”

But some demonstrators are wary of such assurances.

“Our concern is that they’ll have them and that they’ll use them,” says Marie Braun, a member of Women Against Military Madness, which has received a permit to protest in a St. Paul park on Sept. 1. “These are dangerous weapons and people have died as a result of them being used.”

Four years ago at the RNC in New York, the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested thousands of demonstrators, holding many of them in an asbestos-filled pier on the Hudson River until the convention’s conclusion.

And at an impromptu mass march toward Madison Square Ground where President Bush’s re-election fest was being held, an NYPD officer in civilian clothing reportedly provoked a fight by driving a scooter into the crowd.

St. Paul Assistant Police Chief Matt Bostrom told the online newspaper MinnPost.com in December that no St. Paul police officers would infiltrate protest organizations, and the force will dress in regular uniforms — not riot gear — during the convention.

And spokesman Walsh insists that the department will patrol the streets of St. Paul without help from contract cops or the Secret Service, who will operate only inside the Xcel Energy Center where the convention will take place.

Nevertheless, an underground anarchist group that calls itself the “RNC Welcoming Committee” states on its website that “the RNC, local police and federal agents are likely to get violent.”

The group and other activists cite a Critical Mass bike ride last August in neighboring Minneapolis that led to police using Tasers and pepper spray to break up the event and arrest 19 protesters. The gathering coincided with what the Welcoming Committee calls the “pReNC, a weekend of radical organizing in preparation for the RNC.”

During the subsequent trial of one cyclist, Minneapolis police Sgt. David Stichter reportedly testified that the department had created a task force to monitor Critical Mass because it knew RNC protesters would participate in the ride.

“[They have been] taking every opportunity to try and intimidate the people who live here,” says an activist using the name “Diablo Bush,” referring to the local police.

On March 13, the Welcoming Committee’s website began requesting Taser donations. So far it has received none, according to an e-mail message to In These Times from Diablo Bush.

“Any Tasers we do receive would be simply for day-to-day maintenance of public safety,” jokes Diablo, “and are not at all related to the RNC — just like the St. Paul Police Department’s order [of Tasers].”

In May, the Twin Cities’ alternative-weekly, City Pages, reported that University of Minnesota police were working with an FBI special agent to recruit “moles” to attend vegan potlucks, gain the trust of RNC protesters and report back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between federal agencies and local police.

Last summer, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the nearby Ramsey County Sheriff’s office was preparing to construct pens to hold 5,000 arrested protesters — a report Bostrom of the St. Paul police claimed was news to him.

Says Braun of Women Against Military Madness: “We have as much concern about the police as anyone, because when we look at political conventions in the past, it’s often the police that have a history of overreacting.”


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:39 PM PDT
Filters On The Web - How to get around them
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: How to Get Past Internet Filters
Topic: TECHNOLOGY

How to Get Past Filters:

A Guide for Students


It's unfortunate that this guide ever had to be written, that we ever had to use proxies in the first place, that anybody ever thought we weren't smart enough to decide for ourselves what was right and wrong, and that somebody ever thought censorship was a good idea. Unfortunately, the world we currently live in has found it acceptable to censor internet access to kids because we aren't smart or responsible enough to use it. This guide will debunk some popular myths about web filters and show you how to get past them.

I'd like to take some time to quickly destroy some arguments that people use to install filters on internet

1. Filters only block bad sites
This is absolutely not true, and anybody who has ever been behind a filter can tell you that. Filters block thousands and thousands of legitimate, academic sites. While I was at Leelanau, I ran into multiple sites a day that I needed for school, some of which I was able to get unblocked.

2. Filters stop kids from seeing "bad" content
This is also absolutely not true, as anybody under the age of 35 can tell you. Filters are easy to get past and only serve as an inconvenience to people trying to use the internet. Everybody's definition of "bad" is different, so this isn't really a good point to argue on.

3. There are places out there on the internet that tell kids how to do bad things, we have to stop them!
Well, the good thing is that you can't. If you really think it's a good idea to censor the internet, then you should also stick to your word and censor mail, books, and all communications between people. We don't do that because it's incredibly Orwellian and an infringement on numerous human rights. For some reason, people think the internet is an exception. Laws that have tried to implement web filtering on a national scale such as COPA have been shot down by courts as unconstitutional. There might be things on the internet that you find offensive, in fact, there are certainly things you would find offensive. If you see something offensive, you just move on as if you has heard somebody on the street saying offensive things. Chances are if you find something offensive, your kids will find it offensive too. I don't think Nazi hate sites are cool either, but they have their free speech rights. One of the main reason that hate groups are able to flourish is that information is so tightly regulated. If people were able to look at different sources and see the facts, nobody would be duped into those kinds of beliefs.

4. They're my kids, I should be able to control what they see online!
The problem is that your kids are human beings, which means they have human rights. These rights include the right to free speech. If you won't let them see things, they'll go and get those things from friends etc. and friends aren't always the most reliable source of information. If you want your kids to be able to say no to those "bad things" on the internet, the best course of action is to show your kids why those things are bad. If you can't make an argument to prove this, maybe you need to reconsider why you think those things are bad.

5. If we don't censor myspace, my kids will get abducted by pedophiles!
Again, you'd have to censor mail, telephone calls, and conversations if you truly believed that. The internet is a tool, just like the written word or any other tool, and it can be used responsibly or irresponsibly. Kids these days are very aware of the risks of giving out their personally identifiable information thanks to a lot of education on this topic, so there isn't a lot to worry about. Instead of shutting down the site or making your kids turn a blind eye to it, have a conversation with them about how to protect themselves online and why they shouldn't give out their information.

6. Isn't the school required by law to put filters on the internet?
No. There is no law that requires them to do that, although installing them does earn the school some fancy tax breaks. Remember: As Thomas Jefferson said, "Freedom requires eternal vigilance".

7. Isn't it illegal to give out these proxies? Isn't it illegal to bypass filters?
Not unless your hacking into the school mainframe and elevating your user account to administrator. You can do illegal things with proxies (like watching porn before you turn 18 or hacking) but proxies aren't illegal on their own. This is like how you could run over somebody with a car (illegal) or go to the grocery store with your car (not illegal).

8. The blocklists used by filters are reviewed by humans, so they're 100% accurate!
Ok, now think about this. If human beings really added all those sites to the filter then there's no way they could block even half of the "bad" content on the internet. These filters are mainly created by machines which is why you have thousands of false postitives.

9. But kids will use Facebook/Myspace to harass each other! I've seen it happen!
As long as there are stupid people, they will do stupid things. During the middle ages, we probably harassed people with wax tablets. Now we do it online, or in newspapers, or by word of mouth. For one, if they do it online, there's a clear record that they did it and it's easy to get them in trouble. If they whispered it to somebody, there's no way to prove that. So consider internet harassment to be a blessing! In reality though, people can harass others with any tool available at their disposal such as their voice, their writing, their facebook, and even their hand signals. Facebook clearly isn't the culprit here. The culprit is the person doing the harassing!

10. If a filter wrongly blocks something, why don't you just tell the school?
That can sometimes work, as I've gotten dozens of sites unblocked but it's an incredible inconvenience. This the-filter-is-perfect assumption doesn't work and ends up leaving your network admin with a dizzying list of sites to look at and unblock. It's much easier to just use proxies. Doing this also allows the school to build a profile of the sites your looking at (they already do this through logging) and in all reality, 99% of it isn't their business. It only becomes their business when you break the law on their internet connection.

Peacefire, a group that distributes proxies for students, also has a wonderful piece on whey we shouldn't censor kids at school at http://peacefire.org/info/why.shtml

There are three different types of filters that you will encounter called whitelists, blacklists, and keyword filters.

Whitelist filters have a list of sites that the filter provider (school, Fortiguard, etc.) have determined to be "acceptable" for you to view. By design, whitelist filters block the majority of the internet as well as all new sites. The Leelanau School moved from a Blacklist filter to a Whitelist filter in 2007.

Blacklist filters have a list of sites that have been deemed "bad". These, like all filters, also block tons of academic sites. Everything that hasn't been blocked is automatically unblocked.

Keyword filters usually have a blacklist in them, but they operate by inspecting the pages you view for keywords such as proxy, pipe bomb, porn, etc.

As I said earlier, the school uses a whitelist filter which is probably the most restrictive type. As anybody who has spent five minutes on the school internet can tell you, it's almost worthless because of the vast number of sites that it blocks.

Beating the Filter: Web Proxies
This is probably the most common way to beat filters. You visit a site such as http://www.stupidcensorship.com where you type in the name of the site you want to visit such as http://www.myspace.com and then it lets you through. These work by obscuring your traffic (web surfing) so the filter can't see what's going on. The web filter thinks you're just connecting to http://www.stupidcensorship.com instead of http://www.myspace.com. These can get blocked, meaning you have to find new ones all the time, which can be really difficult if all of yours get blocked at once. If you use this method, it's good to have one or two backups in case they block one of yours. I suggest you subscribe to the mailing list at http://www.peacefire.org which will send you new proxies fairly regularly right to your email. http://www.proxy.org also has a fairly exhaustive list of proxies available.

Beating the Filter: Tor
This is the best way to beat filters. Tor is a program that has a huge list of proxies it can send you through. It goes through this list until it finds some that are unblocked, and then it send you through them automatically. Some of these proxies are in other countries so you might end up at the German google, but you'll get used to that fairly quickly. It can also be slow at times, but it works 99% of the time. It can be difficult to set up, so the developers over at OperaTor have made a program that you can put on your flash drive with Tor built in. You can use this on any computer that is behind a filter. An added benefit of Tor is that it encrypts your traffic so your school, work, etc. can't see what you're doing. Just go to http://archetwist.com/en/opera/operator, download the program, install it to your flash drive, and you're done. When a filter is bothering you, plug in your flash drive and run it. Simple!

It's important to remember that using these programs or bypassing the filter is usually a violation of your school's computer use policy. I don't know anybody at Leelanau who has gotten in trouble *specifically and only* for bypassing the filter, but I guess there's a first time for everything. Everybody does it, so they'd have to get everybody in trouble. I did it all the time and nothing ever happened to me so my advice to you is: Don't worry about it!


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:13 PM PDT

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