My Last HOPE

HOPE, Hackers of Planet Earth, had always been a conference I couldn’t wait to attend. After I left the Army in 2007, I finally got a chance, and I’ve been going back ever since. It is held every other summer in Manhattan. This year will likely be my last in attendance. I still like some of the folks, and I love New York in general, but I have my reasons.

Chelsea Manning
Giving this ass a platform was not a good idea. I couldn’t give a shit about her being trans. Adrian Lamo died a few months ago, and the autopsy has not been released yet. Not to suggest that there was anything nefarious, but he was very young still. Manning had come out to Lamo with all of the treasonous shit she was doing, and Lamo had to turn her in for his own protection. I cannot fault him for that.

At HOPE a few years ago, I spent a bit of time ripping down signs calling for Lamo to die. I should have probably called it quits then because of the tolerance of death threats, but I went again anyway. Manning should have never made it out of training for stabbing another trainee. In addition, Manning attacked a female NCO and had rank reduced from specialist to private first class. This is why you remember the news referring to Chelsea as Private Manning, not Specialist Manning. Manning was getting kicked out, and responded with nothing but malice. She is no hero or whistle blower.

Antifa
HOPE’s coordinators decided to give Antifa space this year. Signs were around of one stick figure shooting another in the head with the caption to kill capitalism. Antifa calls for violence, tends to have violent (aren’t all commies) communist goals, and really don’t care about anyone’s freedoms or rights to property. Capitalism has only lifted a billion people out of abject poverty in the last century while communism has led to the murder of 110 million innocent people.. Che Guevarra, famous commie out of Cuba during its revolution was known to murder gays for being gay, and he is a symbol of hope for these misguided, ignorant oxygen thieves who call themselves Antifa.

I don’t understand how HOPE’s coordinators could give them a platform. Free speech is about the government not denying someone their free speech. It doesn’t mean private organizations must provide them with a platform any more than any alt-right group. Then again, those who align with Antifa think anyone who doesn’t is obviously alt-right.

Session Topics
In general, we seem to be lurching more and more into purely political sessions and less about hacking and technology in general. Unfortunately, most of those in attendance seem to advocate for violence—one got into trouble for stealing a MAGA hat from some other ass clown—and slavery. If you lay claim to anyone’s labor or the fruit thereof, you advocate for slavery. Wake up.

I’m ok with information being free to an extent, but some hackers believe that all information should be open, while at the same time we have a good movement discussing out to regain your privacy rights. Well, pick a side. You can’t claim privacy for everything unless it is something you want from someone else. Far too many of the people in attendance were of this mindset that they are entitled to the secrets of other people/businesses. You aren’t entitled to jack shit if you and the other party haven’t voluntarily entered into an agreement with someone for it.

The Venue
I think all of the attendees have a love-hate relationship with the Hotel Pennsylvania. It has one of the best locations in all of NYC. It also has some of the worst rooms, elevator situations, and reputations. It isn’t bad. Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t a hostel. It has, however, aged considerably without necessary renovations to combat smells and safety issues. This time around, I stayed at Eurostars Wall Street, a $20 cab ride away. The rooms were WAY nicer, and I paid less.  Shout out to Booking.com that beat Hotels.com and others with the price. My accommodations were obviously better, but that didn’t do anything to ease the elevator to the basement and top floors the way we had to do it. I know I’m bigger than most guys, and I don’t expect a recliner everywhere I go, but sitting in the conference halls was not easy, and I’m skinny compared to some of the folks in attendance.

So all of that said, I have a hard time justifying the costs of a trip to NYC for the same thing in two years. I wish I didn’t feel this way. It still has people I’d call friends in attendance. I didn’t bring up these feelings much while I was there. I didn’t want to get into political stuff with them while I was there. It would have been nice if everyone’s politics had been checked at the door.

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