Monthly Archives: January 2014

Call to protest Caleb Hannan

I am putting out a call to action for a nonviolent protests in response to the suicide of a trans woman brought about by the bullying Caleb Hannan engaged in with his article outing her as transgender. I would like this protest to take place at his home, time yet to be determined. His address is below.

 

1076 Jackson St Denver, CO

In accordance with the federal appeals court ruling stating bloggers have the same first amendment rights as journalists i am exposing a danger to the transgender community to the public.

He is a public figure whos actions may have lead to the death of a transgender woman, this is leveraging institutional power against the oppressed, this is unacceptable, and we have the right to have our voices heard.

 

 

UPDATE: It appears Caleb Hannan has been previously sued for defamation and invasion of privacy, and false light, unknown if this has gone to court or what the verdict is, but this does seem to indicate a pattern of unethical behavior.

Prometheus , re-weaving the mythos.

Mythologies shape how humanity sees itself and the world around us, they are symbols that can empower or oppress, can drive people to love or to hate, to work for peace or war. In this spirit i am reweaving the mythos of Prometheus, to empower transgender women. These mythos are stories meant to convey messages of empowerment. I do not take them as literal truth, but as social constructs that do have real power, and we can build our own constructs and breathe new life into them.

 

So here is the new mythos of Prometheus

 

Trans women are the Daughters of Prometheus,  Prometheus being one of the only true advocates for humanity, stole fire from the gods to give to the human race, Prometheus also gave the civilizing arts to us. Science. This explains why so many trans women are in IT and other science related fields.

Trans women tend to be polymaths, creators of new ideas and technologies, seekers of knowledge. We work toward the benefit of all humanity, we steal the fire of the gods to light the darkness and guide humanity into the light.

 

And like Prometheus we are punished for this, jealous and petty gods seek to bind us and torment us with Force and Violence, tools of Zeus.

HRT is also known to harm the liver, a reflection of the torment Zeus inflicted upon Prometheus.

A transgender woman stole knowledge (fire) from nearly all powerful men (gods), and gave it to all of humanity (Chelsea Manning) and for this she is tormented.

We defy the system by our very existence and we endure though punishment, just like Prometheus.

Prometheus loved humanity more then the Olympians, who had banished most of her family to Tartarus. So when Zeus decreed that humanity must present a portion of each animal they scarified to the gods, Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. She created two piles, one with the bones wrapped in juicy fat, the other with the good meat hidden in the hide. She then bade Zeus to pick. Zeus picked the bones. Since he had given his word, Zeus had to accept this pile as his share for future sacrifices. In his anger over the trick, he took fire away from humanity. However, Prometheus lit a torch from the sun and brought it back again to the human race, Zeus was enraged that humans again had fire. He decided to inflict a terrible punishment on both humanity and Prometheus.

After Prometheus’ theft of fire, Zeus sent Pandora in retaliation. Despite Prometheus’ warning, Epimetheus accepted this “gift” from the gods

Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus, but Pandora’s beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay.

Eventually, Pandora’s curiosity about the jar she was forbidden to open became intolerable to her.

She opened the jar and out flew all manner of evils, sorrows, plagues, and misfortunes.

However, the bottom of the jar held one good thing – hope.

 

Prometheus saw that evil had been unleashed into the world, so she created us to light the way out of the darkness.

See what they didn’t tell you, is that Prometheus took the jar from Pandora, the one with Hope in it

And she mixed the Hope with leftover clay from creating humans, and ground the clay to dust, then blew the dust into chosen humans

And these chosen humans, empowered with Hope and the breath of a Titan are transgender women

Transgender women were breathed life into twice, once like every other human, and the second time by Prometheus breathing the power into us

That moment when “you just knew” was the Second Breath.

When Hope entered your lungs filling you with the power to reshape the clay of your body. The blood and breath of a Titan flows through you.

Zeus was angry at Prometheus for three things: being tricked by the sacrifices, stealing fire for man, and refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus’s children would dethrone him. Zeus had his servants, Force and Violence, seize Prometheus, and thus Force and Violence are used against us. And thus they are the tools of Zeus. We do not need such tools, we have the power of Prometheus, the fire of the gods, the civilizing arts. The power to reshape the clay of the human body and the endurance breathed into us by a Titan.

We are the avatars of Prometheus, the carriers of the light of Hope. Its also been said that many transgender women are also autistic, new developments in research show that autism is actually an increased sense of empathy toward all things combined with an intensified view of the world, this is Prometheus’s love of the human race shining through.

It also tends to explain why so many trans women love spicy food, we feel kinship with fire. The fire stolen from the gods, it also explains our anger, that fire burns inside of us.

 

Whenever you feel beat down, whenever you feel like you can endure no more, remember the power of Hope and the breath of a Titan flow through you always. You are the light leading humanity out of the darkness.

 

 

Proper use of anger as an activism tool and application of triage

Within social justice circles, we have all learned about tone policing and how it is often used to silence the voices of the oppressed, but we dont often hear about the legitimate instances where anger leads to actions that cross the moral event horizon into problematic behavior, in the name of social justice.

 

Anger is a powerful and useful emotion to spread a message for sure but what most people do not realize is that anger alone can blind you and become toxic, anger must be tempered with discipline, love, and compassion. Remember the people you are talking to are human beings as well. They bleed, they feel pain, they have their own pain and burdens also, while not the same as yours and mine and perhaps not to  the level we experience as oppressed people.

To effectively use anger you have to have the self control to restrain your *behavior* and prevent it from harming others. Policing your *emotions* is wrong, and silencing but your *behavior* is fair game if it becomes problematic, harmful, or toxic. Bad behavior is bad behavior.

Do you see the differences here?

The reality is its very hard to have the level of discipline required to use this tool, but that does not mean we should throw it away, we just need to incorporate new tools to help balance it and make it useful without doing harm.

Here are some practical suggestions based on my personal experience, if anyone else has some of their own let me know in the comments and ill add them to the list.

When you see something online that makes you angry that you feel you should call out, take 5-10 minutes to step away and focus on something that calms you down, i personally like to listen to some music, or vent to a friend in private about how this made me feel, i get out the raw anger of it before i try to write , sometimes i fail at this but i do try.

Once you have dealt with the raw anger , whats left over what i call “refined anger” .

Use this refined anger as a iron rod in your spine, to keep you motivated, but don’t let it take you over and consume you.

Balance it with compassion, balance it with self control.

This also doesn’t mean that sometimes you cant stick it to a well deserving bigot, but there is a time and a place for that kind of stuff. Save that shit for the people in power, the ones who make policy, the ones who run the companies who exploit human beings and steal resources for greedy capitalist gain.

Remember principle 3? Part of that is triage. Just like an emergency room setting you should prioritize harms and threats. This doesn’t forgive or excuse other harms, it just acknowledges the reality that we might have to get to them later and focus on saving human lives.

See this? This is a good example, while not complete of the concept i am trying to point out. it attempts to prioritize saving human lives over say putting a woman on the face of a banknote, while both are issues, one is clearly a higher priority. Human lives are unique and unrepeatable and are priceless. Banknotes are things, inanimate objects. Replaceable. Besides what good does it do to put a womans face on one when so many women do not have enough money to provide for themselves?

And im not saying these other problems should not be addressed, they should, after we stop the death and exploitation of human beings that fuel the system of oppression we live in.

Im also not saying we cant express our anger at microagressions or things of that nature, we absolutely have a right to talk about what hurts us. Im speaking specifically about activism actions.

Triage is a real thing and its time we started applying it.

 

Do not let the big names distract you with activism actions that are low priority. This is how they make their names and money all while doing very little to challenge the status quo. its a distraction meant to sink your time momentum and energy into while yielding little real results, like a lighting rod it deflects the full force of your effort away from your true targets.

Its just yet another system of control.

Activism as approved by the establishment is not activism.

 

 

 

 

 

Book publishing and the intersection between marginalized narratives.

Lately i have been thinking about how marginalized narratives are published in the industry of paper bound books, and ive come to the conclusion that the concept that it must be written to “certain standards” is just really saying that “you must have xyz education levels to have a voice”. Publishers use the excuse that if the book is not “well written” then it is not worth publishing, failing to take into account the effects of marginalization on availability of education and access to knowledge and tools.

There are powerful stories not being told because the people who need to tell them may not be able to write at the level of quality that publishers insist on, and editors are failing to assist these people and thus creating a defacto ban on the stories of the most oppressed.

Access to knowledge is a privilege, high understanding of the English language is a privilege, the ability to read and write is a privilege. Access to the internet is a privilege. Until they are rights afforded to all we have a duty to use those tools to assist those who do not have them and who want to be heard.

The ability to publish your life experiences, world views, opinions, ect should be a right afforded to all human beings.

Editors should assist people with accessibility issues and enable them to have a voice. We should have a wide range and a diverse ecosystem of perspectives and world views.

And if a book that is written to show people your life experiences is written we as readers should understand to focus on the reality of that persons situation, if its poorly written there is a reason why and *that itself* is a valid part of the narrative as its a marker of how their life went.

We who have the privilege of proficient English reading and writing skills should check this and listen to the true meaning of their words as opposed to nitpicking the quality, unless the author themselves requests such a criticism.

One last infosec rant.

I generally have refrained from discussing information security for the most part for multiple personal reasons. However a thought chain has entered my head that i just have to discuss, this doesn’t mean i am going back into infosec, just one last rant about it left in me i suppose.

The problem with information security in my view is a bit complex.

 

First we have the absurd idea that end users who don’t do all the “just the right things” deserve to be compromised and exploited, if you subscribe to say, the full disclosure mailing list you see this attitude of victim blaming is dominant, and almost any attempt to place the burden on the attackers is met with extreme hostility.

The problem with this is two fold.

1. Victim blaming is wrong, why this is true should be clear.

2. Everything is already compromised. No exceptions, it does not matter what you do, if someone wants in they will find a way. This sounded like tinfoil talk years ago and i was accused of being paranoid many times for this, but the Snowden leaks have proven this as reality. Everything is compromised by design or by flaw.

If we want our information to not be used to harm us, we must start by dismantling the national security agency in its entirety, destroy every server farm and datacenter and make those assholes get real jobs. Then we must teach people to not abuse each other over the internet. This is a real issue that must be addressed by education, all too often people have the attitude of interactions on the internet not being real, or just a game. People forget there are other human beings on the other end of the screen. Educating people on not acting in harmful ways is effective in many situations so i don’t see why it cant be used here.

Then we have to destroy the information security industry who profits from arming criminals with exploits in the name of “full disclosure”.

Basically if you don’t buy their product or apply their patch they have an army of angry kids standing by to punish you for this, then they punish those kids or suck them into the information security complex.

You heard me right, the information security industry is blackmailing you and you dont even know it.

Where do you think those kids get the tools and exploits that they use to hack you? Most of the tools used are open source and available to the public, the rest are very easy to acquire. The exploits themselves are released to the public on a regular basis with the logic that
if they did not then companies would not patch their systems and then people simply wouldn’t know they were owned. But, you are already owned. You always have been, they sold you the illusion of safety from the army of script kiddies they created.
Most virus and malware code has not changed much in the past..10-20 years, its all the same stuff. All they do is adjust the methods of masking it from an antivirus and this is simple to do. (google “crypters” for more info)

Now this does not mean we should not take precautions or not look for red flags, but we should focus with the majority of our energy the idea of prevention through education. Anti malware systems should come with the operating system by default. Operating systems should be designed to be secure as possible out of the box.

Put the burden on the software writers, not the end users. Put the burden on the people causing harm, not those they harm. Put the burden on the people arming ignorant or desperate kids with cyberweapons.

Laws need to change also in regards to how we deal with these kids, because most of them are kids. We need to teach our children empathy, and teach them not to do evil online. And parents need to observe their kids online activities. A computer is not a babysitter.

We also need to hold the information security community as well as the operating system developers and hardware manufactures responsible for their cooperation with government agencies who want to reduce our security.

They had a moral duty to disobey the law and inform the public and they didn’t because they don’t actually care about your security they care about profits. these people should be held accountable and all profits made by this stripped.

I also believe we should have an international ban on government used cyberweapons and cyberwarfare with full government transparency and accountability in this area.