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Greetings fellow human beings of the planet Earth.

Long time no update, I know. There are times in life when things just aren’t going the way we know they should and something eventually has to be done about it. I’m at one of those very crossroads as I type this. My current living situation has become unsustainable and therefore I have focused much of my free time into how to correct this, and I now have a solution. It’s not the sexiest possible solution that I could come up with, but it will serve its purpose of getting me back on track which is all that matters. I will essentially be living out of a suitcase for the next 3-4 months in a mad dash to save up money to buy a house of my own, which is something I should have done long ago had not the crashing of the economy not happened which kept me unemployed for nearly 4 years. There is no time like the present, as they say.

Moving on…

This is something that I debated discussing here, and after reading a recent issue of X-Men I decided that this is something I need to speak out to everyone about. The potential consequences for saying nothing are far too great. A great deal of information has been dragged kicking and screaming into the light of the public eye over the past several years, much of it starting with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Aaron Swartz, Edward Snowden, and many others have released information to the citizens of this nation that show how our government is being bought, sold, and increasingly anti-constitutional. Since the introduction of the Patriot Act our government has granted itself more powers and signed into law more bills that directly violate, or have the potential to violate, the very constitutional rights they swore to uphold upon oath of office.

However when those blatant violations are exposed, especially if they were meant to be secret, the government spares no expense in trying to damn and silence the whistle-blowers who exposed them and their wrongdoings rather than take the corrective actions they know that the American people expect and demand them to make. Now we have laws being proposed that would effectively remove all protections for these people and further increase and expand the improper behaviors well beyond our own borders. But WHY? Please read this next panel from Uncanny X-Men #008 where Magneto makes a very close to home statement.

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Those are very chilling and real-world words from a simple comic book. While ‘We The People’ are not mutant super heroes (maybe one day) the actions of our government are certainly cause for great concern as it seems the government is more interested in granting itself powers over the people than it is doing the job of serving the people which they were put there for in the first place. Let’s take a trip down the timeline starting with Occupy Wall Street to see how this process has progressed (keep in mind many of the programs I will mention have been in place much longer than any of us have realized).

The Beginning (or so we thought)

In my eyes this all started when Wall Street bankrupted itself, and then came crawling to the American people to bail them out. The American people said no, however the federal government said yes and thus Wall Street was bailed out in severe protest. After the bailouts, Wall Street used the money to make themselves solvent, then refusing to pay back the bailouts, and finally crashing the economy on a global scale that we are still reeling from to this very day. The Occupy Wall Street movement, largely backed by Global Revolution and Anonymous, set out to once and for all bring awareness to corruption of our government via the greed of Wall Street. At first, the Wall Street elite treated it as a passing fad or parade of hippies as they threw fancy dress parties and drank champagne on balconies in full view of the protesters and the rest of the world, cracking wise and pouring their drinks on the crowd.

However Occupy Wall Street wasn’t going anywhere. This is when we saw the true nature of our current political system shift into full gear. The Occupy Wall Street message was spreading like wildfire and eventually spawned into a massive nationwide (and eventually world wide) movement to end financial corruption in our Democracy. Those with massive wealth saw that their greed was beginning to back fire on them, and the people were starting to stand up and speak out against the crimes they committed and the economic damage they were (and are still) causing. They obviously could not let this continue, as they were already outnumbered. Enter the ‘Department of Homeland Security’. Having injected itself into every state and federal law enforcement agency they sprang to action at the behest of their wealthy masters to quell the outrage, by force, and that’s exactly what they did.

Report after report, video after video, picture after bloody picture, peacefully protesting American citizens were kettled, punched, beaten with batons, maced, and eventually arrested by the hundreds. However none of this made its way to the media, the very organizations whose job it was to report on state and federal goings-ons and especially exposing wrong-doing, for the same reasons public servants who swore an oath to serve and protect the people were now serving and protecting the minority wealth-mongers. They are bought, lock, stock, and barrel. Media blackouts of the movement, protests, and the blatant crimes being committed  against American citizens exercising their rights would continue, however social media proved to be stronger than mainstream media so coverage and evidence piled up online sometimes choking entire websites offline depending on how severe the report was. The rate of police militarization and brutality has only increased since.

Fast forward one year later.

The Occupy movement fractures apart, losing focus on the root of all other problems and instead focuses its attention in every possible direction that it can be applied. LGBT rights, women’s rights, anti-war, pro-environment, politics, religion, homelessness, racial issues, you name it, there was an Occupy for it. This pleased the 1% greatly as the focus was off of them, and we would later find out that none of this was an accident. It would later be revealed how local law enforcement agencies, working directly with DHS, had used undercover officers to infiltrate Occupy camps and instigate opposition among the protesters to divide and conquer. Even more disturbing information would come out later showing how the federal government had singled out Occupy protesters to be put under surveillance, illegally, and even targeted for assassination by snipers in some states. The government even went so far as to officially ‘label’ the Occupy movement as a “government opposition group” which would allow them to use excessive and lethal force through provisions of the Patriot Act and laws that were spawned by the Patriot Act, which is anything but patriotic.

While all of this is going on there are the cases of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Anonymous all of whom are hell bent on releasing information about illegal activities being carried out by the federal government and funded by Wall Street who reaps the ill-gotten rewards. The government begins it’s crackdown on whistle-blowers and journalists, and the most sensitive information has not even been released yet. Julian Assange is forced into exile to avoid extradition to the US where he would most certainly never see a trial, or his next birthday if the current political conglomerate has its way. Bradley Manning is placed into military custody for his leaks of murders committed at the hands of US armed forces, and subsequently put in solitary confinement exclusively until his trial. Anonymous members are raided and arrested the world over for breaching networks and releasing information showing just how deep the governments fingers are in the American pie. All people exposing crimes committed by the US government in the name of the American people.

Fast forward to now.

Then came Edward Snowden who not only blew the whistle but blew the doors off the NSA’s unconstitutional and illegal domestic/foreign spying programs, to which outrage has been sparked not just among the American people but across the globe. While Edward gave us only the tip of the iceberg, it was all that was needed to start uncovering the rest of what lay underneath the surface. Since Snowden’s revelations it’s been uncovered that the governments actions go further than anyone wanted to imagine. Every phone record and phone call, text message, everything everyone does on the internet, location tracking, the list is still growing as we dig deeper into these programs. This brings us back to the question, “Why?”

So why does the government feel the need to spy on every citizen, know every phone call, every location, everything you do on the Internet, everything the people you know do, and all the people that they know, and so on and so forth? I know there are those of you out there saying right now, “If you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t care if the government is spying on you.” and you couldn’t be more self-delusional in my opinion. Beyond being an artist I’m a technologist, I know exactly what data collection is for, and it’s not for no reason.

The government is tracking and collecting all of this data to use it, and that is where you should start getting very concerned. You say you’re not doing anything wrong, that doesn’t mean the government can’t pass a law that makes something you do or own in particular illegal, and without the support of the American people. They do it all the time. Law makers spend their days drafting, voting on, and passing laws that make specific actions or items illegal. Right now the NSA is running programs that collect vast amounts of private and personal data about every person in this country. If that data is so irrelevant, then why are they collecting it? If no one is doing anything wrong or illegal, then why do they need to know everything we do and say?

Read it again,

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Sorry for the long rant, but I hope it has put some things in perspective for you about where we are as a country, as a people, as a species. I hope this will spur some of you to take action, to stand up and speak out against what we all know is wrong and should be stopped. Most of all I hope this will spark conversation and action among the hopelessly apathetic among us who by inaction are as guilty as those who perpetuate these abuses and violations. If we do not stand united, we WILL fall divided. That goes for all of humanity, not just Americans.

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Let that sink in good and hard.

I still have some prints left over from the art show, contact me if you’re interested in any of them. Here is what’s left, get ’em while they’re available!

From left to right:

1. Amazing Spider-Man (SOLD OUT)
2. Wonder Woman/Justice League (5 left)
3. Wolverine/Rogue (5 left)
4. Uncle Fawkes (4 left)
5. Anonymous: Internet Police (3 left)

prints

Yours truly will be on hand displaying original artworks for all to enjoy. Come out, look take a look, rx and be sure to stop by and say hi!

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