Archive for September 28th, 2011

Winona LaDuke on Redemption

Winona LaDuke on Redemption

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Posted 26 September 2011, by Sacred Land Film Project, Vimeo, vimeo.com

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Winona LaDuke on Redemption from Sacred Land Film Project on Vimeo.

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Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe activist) speaks on the process of apology, redemption and healing; through the story of the Pawnee tribe and their return home to their native land in Nebraska.

This interview bite was conducted as part of our Sacred Land Film Project series, featuring indigenous communities fighting to save their sacred sites.

Learn more at sacredland.org

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http://vimeo.com/29633865

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A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Eleven)

A Message From Occupied Wall Street (Day Eleven)

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Posted 27 September 2011, by , Occupy Wall Street, occupywallst.org

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This is the eleventh communiqué from the 99 percent. We are occupying Wall Street. We will not be moved.

On September 27th, 2011, many friends participated in our democratic process.

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We are seeing change in our world, block by block – city by city.

Join our conversation.

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https://occupywallst.org/article/day-eleven/

Occupy Wall Street: Nine Conversations and a Protest Song

 

Occupy Wall Street: Nine Conversations and a Protest Song

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Posted27 September 2011, byEdward Champion, Reluctant Habits, edrants.com

 

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Please visit the original site to listen to multiple audio tracks (the conversations and the song) associated with this article

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On Tuesday afternoon, I discovered this report from NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos. NPR hadn’t aired a single story in relation to the Occupy Wall Street riots, which I had reported about on Sunday in relation to the pepper spraying incident. I decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and attend the protests myself. What follows are nine conversations I had with various individuals at the protests.

Douglas: “I’m here because I’m American. I was born here in New York. I was born here in Manhattan.”

Jeff and Miike came from Colorado.

Miike: “We came on Sunday specifically for this. And we decided we wanted to come down for the week also.”
Jeff: “We had already planned a trip to New York. And then they were talking about it on the radio station that I listen to in Denver. And they were saying there’s a total media blackout on this whole thing. And so I said I’m going to go down there. I called them up and said I’m going to go down there.”

Dorjee: “I hope it brings it down completely and we get a completely new system of human respect with viable resources and fair trade, instead of I lend you. You, you need a thousand dollars. Okay, I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you pay me back $1,000 plus $200.”

Me to Dorjee: “Be careful with that fist. Because you’re trying to be peaceful, right?”

Marvin was holding a sign that read JESUS IS NOT FOR CORPORATE GREED. What will the protest actually do?

Marvin: “It will make people more aware that we live in a capitalist system where more people are living in poverty than ever. And the most ironic part of it is that it’s a capitalist system, but we live off the Communists. We have to borrow money from Communists to even exist.”

Mary was a tourist who had stopped by Liberty Square on the last day of her vacation.

Mary: “I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier. Now it has. I started following it on Twitter. And then I thought I’d come down and see what was happening.”

Ed and Robin came to the protests all the way from West Virginia.

Robin: “The corporations have done a great job in dividing people, separating people into issues. People are coming together here and realizing that we have much more in common with each other than we do with the people who are trying to sell us on what a good way of life is here.”

Ed and Robin were also kind enough to perform their song “Let ‘Em Eat Cake” for me. Here is Uncle Eddie & Robin’s website.

Roman carried a sign calling for President Paris Hilton and had some unusual ideas about making sex appeal a more predominant characteristic than others.

Roman: “I’m an aspiring, you know, Paris Hilton. I want to just be able to live and party. I live with my parents right now but we don’t have much money. And I think that if Paris Hilton becomes President, you know, she can help everybody just party.”

Brian worked very close to Liberty Square. He was checking out the protests on his lunch break.

Brian: “This is funny anyway. [indicating sign] I mean, who hasn’t tried to go to school looking for a job when they first get out of school. I mean, that’s what we all do. It’s hard to find a job. But, like anything, you continue to look and try until you find one and do what most of us have done.”

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Please note that an earlier version of this story misidentified the “Steven Levy” as “Wired senior writer Steven Levy.” Reluctant Habits expresses its apologies to Wired‘s Steven Levy and greatly regrets the error.]

As I was circling Liberty Square and talking with many people about what it meant to protest, I observed an older man berating a young man going by the name of Matt. It was the only contentious banter I had observed in what was otherwise a peaceful gathering — complete with donated food, plentiful signs laid along the ground, activists singing protest songs on banjos and guitars, and even a library established in close proximity to the main dais.

I was curious about what had caused this older man to lose his gasket. Because while I had talked with people who did not approve of the protest (including some cops who declined to go on the record, but all NYPD officers I observed were calm and professional), the older man was the only one prepared to go ballistic. This being a public space, I naturally began recording audio and approached the shrieking man, hoping that I might use this moment to generate a civil discussion. But the man, who identified himself as “Steven Levy” (not to be confused with the Wired senior writer) wasn’t especially interested in explaining to me why he was upset at Matt.

“He and I were just talking with another woman,” explained Matt after the exchange. “And I think they’re more on the liberal interventionist side of the economic policies — at least in terms of their opinions. And I was like saying, ‘Look, I’m personally against Keynesianism. Because I think Keynes is all about government spending. And I don’t believe government is a good allocator of spending.’”

This position apparently infuriated Levy. When I approached Levy and Matt, Matt was explaining to Levy that the two of them were on the same side. Levy responded, “You don’t read well.”

I decided to intervene. I merely wanted to know what Matt was misrepresenting. The results can be listened to below:

Please visit the original site to listen to multiple audio tracks (the conversations and the song) associated with this article

About Edward Champion

Edward Champion is the Managing Editor of Reluctant Habits.

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http://www.edrants.com/occupy-wall-street-nine-conversations-and-a-protest-song/

US’ polling machines for 2012 allow remote hacking

 

US’ polling machines for 2012 allow remote hacking

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Posted 28 September 2011, by Staff, GMA News (GMA Network), gmanews.tv

 

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Many of the electronic voting machines that about a third of American voters will use in the 2012 polls may be hacked remotely, a laboratory has shown.

Experts at the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois said the hack could change voting results without leaving a trace.

“We believe these man-in-the-middle attacks are potentially possible on a wide variety of electronic voting machines. We think we can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine,” said Roger Johnston, leader of the assessment team, in an interview published on the Salon magazine website.

“This is a national security issue. It should really be handled by the Department of Homeland Security,” he added.

The Salon article said that the Diebold voting machines can be hacked with just $10.50 in parts and eighth-grade science education.

Argonne Lab, run by the Department of Energy, has the mission of conducting scientific research to meet national needs.

The Diebold Accuvote voting system used in the study was loaned to the lab’s scientists by VelvetRevolution.us, which received the machine from a former Diebold contractor.

According to the Argonne team, e-voting system hacks such as Princeton’s demonstration of a viral cyber attack on a Diebold touch-screen system – which relied on cyber attacks to change the results of elections – will require more coding skills and knowledge of the voting system software.

In contrast, the Argonne team’s attack allegedly required no modification, reprogramming, or even knowledge of the voting machine’s proprietary source code.

Demonstration, proof of concept

The team demonstrated in a video that inserting an inexpensive electronic device into the voting machine can offer a “bad guy” virtually complete control over the machine.

A cheap remote control unit can enable access to the voting machine from up to half a mile away.

“The cost of the attack that you’re going to see was $10.50 in retail quantities,” said Warner.

He said an RF [radio frequency] remote control to stop and start the attacks will cost an extra $15.

A video prepared by the team shows three different types of attack, each showing how the intrusion developed by the team allows them to take complete control of the Diebold touch-screen voting machine.

They were able to demonstrate a similar attack on a DRE system made by Sequoia Voting Systems as well.

Under the setup, the intruder would allow the voter to make his or her selections. But when the voter actually attempts to push the “Vote Now” button, which records the voter’s final selections to the system’s memory card, Warner said a bad guy “will simply intercept that attempt … change a few of the votes,” and the changed votes would then be registered in the machine.

“In order to do this, we blank the screen temporarily so that the voter doesn’t see that there’s some revoting going on prior to the final registration of the votes,” he said.

Such an attack would allow manipulation would occur after the voter has approved as “correct” the on-screen summaries of his or her intended selections.

Johnston said the machines could also be tampered with during so-called voting machine “sleepovers” when e-voting systems are kept by poll workers at their houses days and weeks prior to the election or at other times when the systems are unguarded.

But he said the more realistic way to insert these alien electronics is to do it while the voting machines are waiting in the polling place a week or two prior to the election.

“Often the polling places are in elementary schools or a church basement or some place that doesn’t really have a great deal of security. Or the voting machines can be tampered while they’re in transit to the polling place. Or while they’re in storage in the warehouse between elections,” Johnston said.

He noted that the Argonne team had no owner’s manual or circuit diagrams for either the Diebold or Sequoia voting systems they were able to access in these attacks.

Election security procedures

Also, the team members criticized election security procedures, which rarely if ever include physical inspection of the machines, especially their internal electronics.

But even if such inspections were carried out, the Argonne scientists said their attack leaves behind no physical or programming evidence if properly executed.

“The really nice thing about this attack, the man-in-the-middle, is that there’s no soldering or destruction of the circuit board of any kind. You can remove this attack and leave no forensic evidence that we’ve been there,” Warner said.

Gaining access

Gaining access to the inside of the Diebold touch-screen is as simple as picking the lock, or using a standard hotel minibar key, the team noted.

It pointed out the machines use the same easily copied key, available at most office supply stores.

“I think our main message is, let’s not get overly transfixed on the cyber,” team leader Johnston says. Since he believes they “can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine,” he recommends a number of improvements for future e-voting systems.

“The machines themselves need to be designed better, with the idea that people may be trying to get into them. If you’re just thinking about the fact that someone can try to get in, you can design the seals better, for example,” he added.

He also warned against using a standard blank key for every machine.

“Spend an extra four bucks and get a better lock. You don’t have to have state of the art security, but you can do some things where it takes at least a little bit of skill to get in,” he said.

New findings

The Vulnerability Assessment Team’s new findings raised concerns about e-voting vulnerabilities issued by other computer scientists and security experts.

While the use of touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems such as those Argonne showed to be vulnerable to manipulation has declined, similar systems may be used by a “significant part” of the electorate on Election Day in 2012, the Salon article said.

It cited Sean Flaherty, a policy analyst for e-voting watchdog group VerifiedVoting.org, as saying that “about one-third of registered voters live where the only way to vote on Election Day is to use a DRE.”

Flaherty said almost all voters in states like Georgia, Maryland, Utah and Nevada, and the majority of voters in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas, will vote on DREs on Election Day in 2012.

He added voters in major municipalities such as Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and Pittsburgh will also line up in next year’s election to use DREs of the type hacked by the Argonne National Lab.

‘Security by obscurity’

While voting machine companies and election officials have sought to protect source code and the memory cards that store ballot programming and election results for each machine, critics like California Secretary of State Debra Bowen have pointed out that attempts at “security by obscurity” largely ignore the most immediate threat.

Such threats come from election insiders who have regular access to the e-voting systems, as well as those who may gain physical access to machines that were not designed with security safeguards in mind.

“This is a fundamentally very powerful attack and we believe that voting officials should become aware of this and stop focusing strictly on cyber (attacks),” said Warner.

He added there’s a very large physical protection component of the voting machine that needs to be addressed. — TJD, GMA News

 

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http://www.gmanews.tv/story/233629/technology/us-polling-machines-for-2012-allow-remote-hacking

EcoSikh presents on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at SAFAR Conference, Toronto

 

EcoSikh presents on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at SAFAR Conference, Toronto

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Posted 26 September 2011, by Staff, EcoSikh, ecosikh.org

 

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EcoSikh has been invited to make a presentation on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at a key academic conference on Sikhism and Gender at the University of Toronto on October 1, 2011.

The SAFAR: Our Journeys conference will feature over 30 speakers including Sikh feminist scholars, theologians and leaders, including keynote speaker Nikky-Guninder Kaur author of The Birth of the Khalsa: A Feminist Re-Memory of Sikh Identity.

Bandana Kaur of EcoSikh will be presenting a paper on Sikh women and biodiversity conservation in Punjab, the birthplace of the Sikh religion.

In her paper, titled “Women Farmers of Punjab: Forgotten Voices from the Plains”, Bandana will examine the Green Revolution from the perspective of Sikh women living in the Malwa region of Punjab, an area recognized for the challenges posed to the farming community. Her paper examines the historical relationship between women and agricultural biodiversity in Punjab, and contemporary efforts by rural Sikh women to revive agricultural biodiversity today.

“Sikh women engaged in agricultural biodiversity conservation can help inform a new approach to agricultural development in Punjab that recognizes complex and interrelated systems in: the content and diversity of what is produced, the inputs both human and technical used to produce these goods, and the knowledge systems upon which choices are based.”

A special issue of the academic journal Sikh Feminist Review will be devoted to the conference proceedings. This public record of Sikh feminist research will serve as one of the first accessible domains to privilege Sikh feminist scholarship.

 

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http://www.ecosikh.org/ecosikh-presents-on-sikh-women-and-biodiversity-at-safar-conference-toronto/

Saudi Women Granted Right To Vote (And Save Planet)

 

Saudi Women Granted Right To Vote (And Save Planet)

Why women’s right to vote is important not only for gender equality but for the planet

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Posted 26 September 2011, by Arwa Aburawa, Green Prophet, greenprophet.com

 

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It been a political roller-coaster of a year for the Middle East and it doesn’t look set to stop just yet. Yesterday, an event many thought would never happen in their lifetime finally happened- Saudi women were granted the right to vote. Not only did this de-bunk claims made by ‘Ethical Oil’ that Canadian tar sands were better than Saudi oil due to the latter’s gender bias but it also meant that women in the country were strengthening their ability to fight climate change and better resist the devastating impact it could have on them.

It is widely accepted that women will be worst affected by climate change and troubling phenomenons such as land grabs due to gender inequality which means they are less equipped to secure their own protection. For example, in the case of land grabs a recent report by Oxfam highlights their particular vulnerability as they lack the same land rights as most men and so they are more likely to be mistreated. Consequently, the recent move in Saudi to grant women an equal voice in the political sphere by 2015 is an important step to achieving gender equality which is vital if women are to tackle the impacts of climate change.

Saudi Women Gain Green Political Voice

Not that Saudi women weren’t working to tackle environmental problems facing the country prior to the vote. I spoke to the pioneering green women-led Saudi intiative Naqa’a around a year ago and they showed great concern about the need to stop climate change and deal with environmental issues in Saudi such as water shortages and wastefulness.

Although a women-led group, they also highlighted the fact that the need to protect the environment was a duty required of every Muslim – man and woman. However, the right to vote means that eco-friendly women in the country now have a stronger voice and will be able to express their views at the polls and at government policy level.

Building on protests demanding women’s right to drive in Saudi, it finally looks like the establishment (who are probably keen to avoid full-scale protests such as those in Syria and in Bahrain by pushing through these much-needed reforms) are paying attention to their citizens and their demands for change.

Clear Restrictions Which Need Challenging

Even so, there are some clear limitations to the recent news. For one, the law won’t take effect till another four years and some have criticized the overall democratic nature of governance in Saudi stating that the vote doesn’t really have an influence on the way the country is run. What’s more, women still cannot drive or travel abroad alone so there is still some way to go for gender and political equality.

Despite these restriction, it is encouraging to hear that women in Saudi have been granted the right to vote and stand for elections. It’s a step in the right direction and these are really exciting time we are living through at the moment in the Middle East – let’s hope that they will be just as green.

: Image via en_el_houston/flickr.

For more on Saudi and the environment see:

King Abdullah Gives Saudi Women Right To Vote

Interview With Naqa’a: Saudi Women Fight For Environment

Saudi Spring For Women Drivers In Saudi Begins Now!

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http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/09/saudi-women-vote-save-planet/