Archives for : granville high school

ONE DAY LATER

Twenty-four hours after the presidential debate at Granville High School was hacked by STOP, we still have few answers as to what happened. The two campaigns, and the school itself, released brief and almost identically worded statements that strove to downplay the incident—position it as a mere prank. The candidates, we’re told, were ushered from the building according to basic security protocols, but there was never any real cause for alarm, and they were scheduled to depart in another ten minutes anyway. That’s it, folks, nothing to see here.

Not a word about the content of the video or the rationale for the hacking. No insights to be had in any mainstream media, of course, as they’re all just divisions of major media conglomerates owned by the same billionaires who have a controlling share in every other goddamn thing in this country.

And disturbingly, nothing from Full Court Press—except the tantalizing fact that the hacking video wasn’t prerecorded…it was live.

That, and one final post merely stating her silence is being forced on her—which should send a chill down our collective spine.

Whatever STOP said—or did—apparently so freaked out the ruling class that they have the entire faculty and student body of Granville High on digital lockdown.

So it’s up to us non-mainstream media to try to find the answers. And for my part, I say we can begin by going to Panjea. What’s that, you ask?…Panjea hasn’t said one word about the hacking since their initial, three-line story yesterday?…Exactly my point. The debate was sponsored by Panjea. Angela Lovett’s biggest campaign donor is the CEO of Panjea. And now Panjea seems entirely dedicated to burying this story as quickly and as deeply as possible.

So I can’t help but wonder: was STOP’s target not the candidates themselves…but Panjea?

Let me know your thoughts. I think I’m on to something.

LIVE-BLOGGING THE GRANVILLE HIGH DEBATE

5:01 PM – Bennett Avery of CNN introduces the candidates. There’s the usual smiling and small talk; there’s usually no opportunity to score a point at this stage of the proceedings, but Lovett manages one when she turns and heads to her podium; she takes the opportunity to whip out her phone and send a shout-out to the school over Panjea—complete with a hashtag (#webdeb). As usual her campaign team is killing it with social media.

5:10 PM – First question of the night is on climate change. You can almost see Tooms groan. He basically bunts—spewing out a carefully constructed party-line word salad that hits all the talking points but basically refuses to make any admission that climate change even exists. Lovett, by comparison, grabs the ball and runs with it. A big early lead for the Governor here.

5:26 PM – A series of questions on foreign policy. Neither candidate has a huge amount of experience in foreign affairs, so they’re free to spout all the idealistic blather they want without having to answer much for it. Not that they don’t take some hits: Lovett denounces Tooms as being one of the Senators who voted for various wars and military operations; and he returns the favor, pointing out that she was for years the head of the secret service. But I think most people understand that her tenure was focused primarily on homeland security. On balance, I’d give this one to Lovett.

5:44 PM – A brisk exchange on Internet regulation. Lovett lost serious ground here, as Tooms questioned her commitment to rolling back the surveillance state, while still backing more government regulation of the Internet. Lovett tried to dance her way out of that one, but she’s not nimble enough for the job, and it tripped her up big time. The only bad news for Tooms is that he puffs out his chest and beams a big grin at the audience; gloating over a defeated adversary isn’t exactly presidential. Still, this round’s clearly his.

6:09 PM – A very revealing exchange on nuclear power. You could see that neither Tooms nor Lovett was entirely prepared for this question to come up, which is a pretty alarming indication of how far we’ve degenerated since the 1980s. Since both candidates are basically in bed with the major power companies, both of them spun wildly without either managing to say anything substantial. A draw…and a very pathetic one.

6:17 PM – A question on the national debt. Lovett manages to regain lost ground by hammering home Tooms’ role in the financial crisis, which was basically, letting all the big banks off scot free for their economy-cratering chicanery. The guy’s face is beet red and he even let out a nervous laugh at one point. Advantage Lovett.

6:25 PM – Next question is from Samir Gupta, a kid from Bakersfield…that means Courtney Garcia’s next. Looking forward to seeing whether she takes any of my (admittedly rather pushy) suggestions.

6:27 PM – Wait a minute—thought there was some kind of technical error. But now a new video just came up…Is that someone in a Dramatis Personai mask? Did they just hack in? Is that even possible? I have no idea what’s happening here…

6:29 PM – Whoa. Double-whoa. The debate has been hacked—actually hacked—and by the looks of it, by Dramatis Personai. Same spokesman…same mask. The video of Granville High, and of Tooms and Lovett is just…gone. Trying to listen…

6:31 PM – The masked hacker—who introduced himself STOP—managed to get one line out before his feed was cut, presumably by the network. Still no Granville High; no idea what’s going on there. Lots of scrambling at our local affiliate to fill the blank screen. I’m still scrambling myself, mentally. Did STOP just directly piss off one of the two candidates for most powerful person in the world? I’m kind of excited by this, but also a little wary. Is it too much, too soon?…Or is this kind of sheer nerve the reason some people are hacktivists, while other of us just blog anonymously from our apartments?

6:42 PM – In all the confusion I managed to forget I was DVRing all this. I rewound and transcribed what STOP said: “Will you end the silence of six?”—a phrase that already surfaced in a previous Dramatis Personai video…and whose meaning is still a complete mystery.

Then…black. Is there anyone out there who can tell me exactly what just happened in Granville High? The cable news channels—worthless, as usual—are only reporting what everybody already saw. I’ve checked Google, Panjea…nothing. Granville students—are you there? Courtney Garcia, this is your moment—Full Cort Press’s moment. Talk to us…!

 

———————–

 

Clue 5 : Part 2

img_2

ACTUALLY, IT *IS* A GRAND INQUISITION

Another revelatory post from Full Cort Press, whose high school is hosting the next presidential debate in two weeks. Full Cort (a.k.a. Courtney Garcia), the student whose essay won Granville High the honor of hosting the debate, has been grilled by the advance team of Secret Service agents about her blog activity. At one point they told her not to worry, that “it’s not a Grand Inquisition.”  Which jarred Courtney, because she’d just used that exact phrase in a private Panjea message to a friend. Or should I say a supposedly private message.

I think Courtney’s figuring out what many of us already know: that when a government representative speaks in the negative—“I am not a crook,” “I did not have sex with that woman,” “This isn’t a Grand Inquisition”—it’s only because for them, every day is Opposite Day.

SOMETHING TO LOB AT LOVETT

Just a suggestion for Full Cort Press, a.k.a Courtney Garcia, the teenage blogger who’ll be fielding a question at the presidential debate she personally scored for Granville High this month. As my longtime readers know, I have no favorite in this election—to me, both candidates are fatally compromised, Tooms by his ties to corporate billionaires, Lovett by her past as head of the secret service. But Lovett’s hypocrisy particularly begs for calling out: how does America’s former top spymaster get away with vowing to end surveillance of the American public? And how can she not realize that lofty claim is totally at odds with her support of more government regulation of the Internet? Just asking.

And so, I hope, will Courtney.

FULL CORT PREZ

Full Cort Press—a.k.a. Courtney Garcia, the high-school blogger I’ve linked to in several recent posts—has written an essay that’s won her school, Granville High, hosting rights for a presidential debate on October 22. The essay, which is primarily about the role of social media and increasingly sophisticated tech in American society, is one which Courtney has just had a fast-track education in, and which both candidates, Tooms and Lovett, have addressed. I have to congratulate Courtney on her winning essay, and for having so thorough a grasp of the zeitgeist…but I also have to caution her: the paramilitary aspect to having two nationally prominent politicians descend on her school may be more of an eye-opener about the society we live in, than anything either candidate actually says in the debate. I like this kid’s idealism…and I hope it survives this first scorching encounter with naked power and ambition.

 

——————

Clue 5 : Part 4

img_1

FULL CORT UPDATE: GOLIATH GOES DOWN

I’m delighted to report that in Full Cort Press’ staring contest with Granville High, the good guys have triumphed. Granville blinked, Full Cort is reinstated, and her school-wide Digital Detox idea has even been greenlighted—it’s scheduled for Wednesday.

It’s a small victory on the scale of things; but it’s a reminder of a principle we need to reaffirm every now and then. That old paranoid refrain—“Who watches the watchmen?”—has an answer: we do. They may stalk us and harass us and intrude on our privacy, but we can face them down and hold them to account. We won’t always win…but we’ll never win if we don’t fight.

Let the battle continue.

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, HIGH-SCHOOL STYLE

I’ve got a long list of websites that I check out each week; so it’s taken me a while to cycle back to Full Cort Press, the high-school blogger who recently proposed a school-wide Unplug Day for Granville High. First, the administration rejected her proposal, on the grounds that they already had a “strict no use mobile policy” which made an Unplug Day unnecessary (George Orwell would’ve loved that). Full Cort responded by staging a lunchroom address which was swiftly shut down—triggering a “whisper campaign” that resulted in a mass classroom walkout at 2:30 that afternoon. Full Cort then busted the administration for creepily monitoring her blog—at which point they threatened her with suspension unless she gave it up entirely. The result?…As of this week, Full Cort is suspended indefinitely.

There’s something galvanizing about this story…it’s like a small-scale replay of the past hundred years of Big State vs. Little Guy. Here’s hoping the fascist wannabes at Granville High are the Goliath this time around. But you have to wonder: are they really so tone deaf to human freedom, so ignorant of every mass movement, every culture hero from Gandhi to Lech Welesa…

…Or is this really about something else? Is the fact that Full Cort took aim at Internet addiction the pertinent factor here? Who are our schools really serving: our communities and our kids—or Silicon Valley? Has our school system quietly become a factory to produce high-end consumers of Big Tech and Big Auto and Big Everything Else?

And is Full Cort Press paying the price for having shown us the man behind the curtain? Food for thought.

THE CASE FOR UNPLUGGING

The urge to stay constantly connected has overtaken our culture. People talk about addiction to their phones—but what if it’s more an addiction to consumption? What if spending all day chatting on social media and cruising news sites is no different from compulsive shopping, or bingeing on junk food? And for those of us who consider ourselves digital watchdogs, is our complete immersion in the safeguarding of liberty paradoxically robbing us of real agency in our own lives?

I’m always telling people to wake up and look around them—to see what’s really going on in their own backyards. We can’t change the world by pointing and clicking alone—we need to engage with other people, in real time, in real space. So I’m giving props today to a couple of new movements that are aimed at restoring balance to the postmillennial life. Chief among these is a National Day of Unplugging coming up in March 2015. You can begin “training” for it by hitching onto the Digital Detox movement—which actually hosts retreats, if you’ve never gotten over your grade-school camping days. Or you can host your own, more localized Unplug Day like blogger Full Cort Press is proposing at Granville High School.

Me, I’d go nuts a full day without my phone. And someone’s got to be on deck, in case the Feds choose National Unplugging Day to abolish the Constitution and set up an imperial monarchy or something. But for the rest of you: the choice—as always—is entirely yours.