Saturday, March 29, 2008

“Let them march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes”

From The trouble with Obillary vs. Hibama :

...Where would the military brass be without their indispensable enemies? Is it too much to imagine that the occupation was designed to cause chaos and civil war, as in divide and conquer? That among the many goals of the Military/Industrial Complex is to "create more terrorists"?

Which brings us around to Obillary vs. Hibama. When one or the other or both of them take office, how will they dash our hopes, as they invariably must, given that they both serve the same group that Bush (and Bill Clinton, etc.) served before them?

Let me make a prediction. There will be a reduction of the 400 percent over-the-top-crazy-war-mongering rhetoric, by say, 35 percent, and everyone will breathe a sigh of relief.

Then around the first hundred days or the next "terrorist attack," whichever comes first, will come the sad news from President Obillary or VP Hibama: "We're really sorry about not having affordable health care for everyone, and the deplorable state of our public education system, and that we are still not using readily available electric cars. But you see, the previous administration has made such a mess of things — the economy, the environment, Iraq — we have enough to do just to keep our heads above water."

Did anyone catch that little moment in the last debate when Senator Obama said that, as president, he would send more troops to Afghanistan? Of course, both he and Hillary are of the conventional opinion that the war in Iraq has distracted from our real war, war "A," the War on Terror, (an abstract noun currently hiding in a cave in Waziristan).

Obama counts among his foreign policy advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski, the man who admitted in the pages of Paris Match to creating the Mujahedeen, the forerunners to Osama's al-Qaida, six months before the Soviet invasion, to provoke the Russians to invade and so "bleed the Bear." Just the man we want guiding the "change" crusade, Barack. Hillary's people are as bad or worse.

And that's the trouble with Obillary vs. Hibama, isn't it? It's the same trouble with Republicrat vs. Demublican, Coke vs. Pepsi, and War "A" vs. War "B" — no matter how they try to dress it up, it's really no choice at all.

I think I'm going to vote this year, though. There's a ballot initiative in the works in New York to hold a new 9/11 Commission, one that's not quite so obviously a white-wash. And I look forward to voting for Ralph Nader, just so I can proudly say I did. And after that? In the great tradition of Henry David Thoreau, war-tax resistance. Because what Gen. Alexander Haig said back in the Reagen years still holds true: "Let them march [or vote] all they want, as long as they pay their taxes . . . " We're starting to catch on again, General.

John Kirby is the director of the movie The American Ruling Class. (theamericanrulingclass.org and bullfrogfilms.com).

Why George W. Bush Should Stand Trial for Capital Crimes

There is probable cause now to try George W. Bush for capital crimes in connection with the US program of torture at Abu Ghraib as well as the war of aggression against Iraq. There is evidence that George W. Bush ordered this program which most certainly resulted in numerous violations of the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles.

(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

-US Codes, TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 118 > § 2441; How Current is This?

Certainly, the Bush regimes has sought to make 'legal' Bush's but only after they had already been committed. The argument that Bush, as 'President', may pardon himself or grant himself retroactive immunity from prosecution is just silly. If that were the case, every President might have tried to get away with it by simply making it all up as one goes along --the very anti-thesis of the 'rule of law', indeed, 'Due Process of Law', guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. If mere Presidents were allowed this kind of power, they might as well rule by decree. As I have pointed out not even European monarchs were permitted to get away with that [See: Why Bush Made Plans to Invade the Netherlands; Bush's Unitary Executive Ends the Rule of Law, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Separation of Powers ].

~ read on... ~

 

Navajo from Big Mountain: US media and politicians orchestrate wars

Bahe Katenay, Navajo from Big Mountain on the Navajo Nation, said the US media created the stories of the so-called Navajo Hopi Land Dispute, which was orchestrated by Peabody Coal and US politicians, the same way the US orchestrates the war in Iraq for its resources.

"There was never a dispute," Katenay said of the so-called Navajo Hopi Land Dispute. He said the lands were long shared by Navajo and Hopi. "The Hopi had their trails through there."

Katenay said the United States media created the stories of the so-called Navajo Hopi Dispute, the same way the US media creates and fuels other disputes and wars.

"One of the examples of this is the Iraq war right now." Katenay said the media claims there is a dispute in Iraq. Those US claims led to the U.S. occupying and dividing the country and the people.

"Over there it is more brutal and more horrific. But it is the same sort of thing they did in Big Mountain and Black Mesa. They divided the two tribes."

Katenay said the Navajo and Hopi tribal governments do not represent their people.
"The tribal governments are basically a board of directors. They are not a sovereign assembly. The Navajo government does not represent the Navajo Nation and the Hopi government does not represent the Hopi Nation," Katenay said in an interview with Longest Walk Talk Radio, www.earthcycles.net/

Katenay, one of the original Long Walkers in 1978, joined the Longest Walk 2 Northern Route in Pueblo and described the orchestrated scenario and the so-called "Navajo Hopi Land Dispute," which grew out of the Indian Land Claims Commission.

Katenay told how a Mormon attorney for Peabody Coal, John Boyden, came to Hopi country and attempted to form a Hopi Tribal Council for the purpose of seizing leases for coal mining.

"It failed each time because the traditional Hopi people were a sovereign people and rejected the Hopi Tribal Council. They still had power in the villages. The traditional people supported the traditional chiefs."

Finally in 1964, Peabody's attorney John Boyden picked Hopi people and formed a Hopi Tribal Council which was recognized by the US government. However, the Hopi Tribal Council was not recognized or given authority by traditional Hopi.

Katenay said federal laws and proceedings complicated the issues for Navajos and Hopis and the BIA played a role. The BIA had its hand in tribal governments and federal laws. Referring to the so-called range war, Katenay said there was no range war and there is no proof that it ever existed. It was a staged scenario which Congressmen fueled.

Among those Arizona Congressmen in the 1970s were Rep. Sam Steiger who introduced the relocation legislation, Barry Goldwater and Morris K. Udall.

"They spearheaded this legislation back then."

Then, other Southwest Congressmen took notice because of plans to seize the Colorado River water and Navajo and Hopi resources. The concocted scenario that there was bloodshed on the Navajo Hopi lands was a means to an end.

Last year, Big Mountain celebrated 30 years of resistance.
 
Listen to the interview, audio file (bahiemp3) at: www.earthcycles.net/
 
Photos of the Longest Walk Northern Route:
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/
 

Vanishing Prayer - Genocide against the Dineh Navajo



US drops charges against 5th marine in Haditha case plea-bargain

From Deutsche Welle :

The United States Marine Corps has dropped all charges against a servicemen facing court-martial over the killing of two dozen unarmed Iraqis in 2005. In a statement, the Marines said that charges against Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum were dismissed in order to pursue the truth behind the so called Haditha incident. Marine prosecutors have been seeking testimony from Tatum against his then squad leader, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich. Wuterich is the most senior of eight Marines charged over the killing of 24 men, women and children at Haditha. Iraqi witnesses say angry Marines massacred unarmed civilians spontaneously after a popular marine was killed by a roadside bomb. Defence attorneys maintain that the civilians were killed during a battle with insurgents. Only three Marines continue to face charges in the case.

Hugo Claus Obituary

 
Hugo Claus, who died on March 19 aged 78, was a versatile and prolific author best known for his sprawling, impressionistic, semi-autobiographical novel The Sorrow of Belgium (1983), in which he threw an unpitying spotlight on bourgeois Flemish society.
 
The novel explored life under the Nazi occupation through the eyes of a teenage boy, and exploded the myth of widespread resistance that provided Belgium with a thin comfort blanket after the war, exposing the extent of collaboration, hypocrisy, religious bigotry and wilful ignorance that had enabled the Nazis to dispose of some 40,000 Belgian Jews with barely a whisper of protest.

Regarded as a landmark of post-war European literature, it won Claus several nominations for the Nobel prize for literature.

During a hugely productive career, Claus published more than 20 novels, more than 60 plays and several thousand poems. His dramatic works - plays, translations and adaptations - made him a major figure in theatre, and he also undertook successful forays into cinema and art.

Although Claus was a dominant figure in Belgian literature, winning numerous awards, his uncompromisingly anti-authoritarian, anarchist views put him at odds with the conservative Catholic mainstream.

He aimed to shock, writing explicitly about incest, homosexuality and masturbation, and featuring nudity on stage. On one occasion a Belgian law court found one of his theatrical productions injurious to public morals and sentenced him to four months in prison. In the 1970s he was briefly married to the young actress Sylvia Kristel, whom he coached for her starring role in the erotic movie Emmanuelle, and with whom he had a son. The relationship ended in 1977, when she left him for the actor Ian McShane.

Claus's death - by voluntary euthanasia after he had developed early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease - was typically controversial, provoking leading Belgian Catholic churchmen to criticise the sympathetic press coverage given to his demise. "I am a person who is unhappy with things as they stand," Claus told an interviewer some years ago. "Each day we should wake up foaming at the mouth because of the injustice of things."...

Polka Band "Sniper Fire" Admits To Feting Hillary (Satire)

Scorched over the past few days by allegations that she embellished a 1996 visit to Bosnia, Hillary Clinton received at least a partial vindication today when it was revealed that Sniper Fire was indeed present at the Bosnia airport when she and her entourage touched down.

The neo-polka sextet Sniper Fire, that is.

"We got a call first thing in the morning. Hurry up, get your instruments, there's going to be a big thing at the airport," recalls Sniper Fire percussionist Ebid Durakovic. "And sure enough, we get down there and it's Mrs. Clinton and her daughter, what's-her-name."

~ more... ~

Mining, Indian leaders disagree on uranium mine effects

From the Tucson Citizen :

Indian leaders, scientists, business interests and the superintendent of the Grand Canyon warned Friday of dire consequences if uranium mining is allowed to proceed near the national park. Mining advocates minimized any likely problems.

At a congressional field hearing held in Flagstaff, proponents of a measure to ban mining around the Grand Canyon said the canyon is a national treasure worthy of protection from the impacts of such activity.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., who chaired the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, has sponsored a bill to ban a million acres near the Grand Canyon from mineral exploration under the 1872 Mining Act.

In advance of the hearing, Grijalva said it would focus on "the need to buffer this icon, the Grand Canyon, from very harmful activity around it."

He said he introduced the legislation because the number of categorical waivers and expedited mining permits has jumped about 10 times in recent years. "That's been the process of the Interior Department, to process mining claims," he said.
For the Forest Service to allow such activity within a few miles of such a revered site as the Grand Canyon is outrageous, the congressman said.
"It is something that we depend on for visitors, for tourism. It's one of the wonders of the world, and here we are as the federal government allowing the distinct possibility of uranium mining around the Grand Canyon," Grijalva added.
Environmental groups sued the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month over its decision granting approval to VANE Minerals Group, a British mining company seeking commercial quantities of uranium ore, to drill at up to 39 sites on the Kaibab National Forest. The Kaibab sandwiches much of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Environmental advocates heavily outweighed mining proponents in the audience of more than 200.
Those testifying in favor of the legislation cited concerns ranging from the potential impact of radiation contamination on the watershed to the legacy and historic impact of past mining, which devastated Indian lands.
Mining proponents sought to assure congressional panelists that uranium mining today is far safer than how it was practiced more a half-century ago.
Kris Hefton, director of VANE Mineral U.S., said the industry needs to be judged on its current performance rather than its history - emphasizing that mining today is much safer and cleaner.
Corbin Newman, regional forester for the U.S. Forest Service, defended his agency's action in giving the go-ahead to explore on the sites. He said the Forest Service had acted in accordance with the law in granting approval.
But when Steve Martin, superintendent of the national park, was questioned whether uranium mining represents a significant threat to the canyon, he replied "Yes."
And asked to measure the risk on a scale of 1 to 10, Martin said, "Ten."
Leaders of the Navajo, Kaibab Paiute, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi tribes testified.
They spoke about the history of uranium mining, the effects on their individual tribes, the mining industry's failure to clean up pollution from its old uranium mining and the inherent cultural importance on the Grand Canyon of its land and water to their people.
Kaibab Paiute chairwoman Ona Segundo said, "They promise the money. It looks good, then they go bankrupt or they leave and we're left with the cleanup."
Officials also noted that the adverse impacts of previous uranium mining have compelled their tribes to ban new uranium mining development on their lands.
Chris Shuey, director of the Southwest Research Information Center in Albuquerque, N.M., said mining brings uranium to the surface and in the process its concentration is increased many times over its natural level.
Shuey said at least five radiological assessments by the National Park Service since the early 1980s at the site of a past mine - the Orphan Mine - have shown gamma radiation levels more than 450 times background levels inside the original fenced area and nearly 150 times normal on adjacent lands that tourists and park employees once routinely walked across on the South Rim foot path.
A three-strand wire fence encloses the much larger and highly contaminated area, he said.

In the News: The Privacy Issue

Badly behaved children as young as five should be recorded on the national DNA database, a police chief said yesterday.
Gary Pugh, forensic science director for the Metropolitan Police, said children should be 'targeted' because future offenders can often be picked out at a young age.
The proposals come as the Government looks to crack down on potential young tearaways, introducing 'baby Asbos' for children as young as ten to stop them going off the rails.
Children's Secretary Ed Balls is to spend £218 million on a scheme targeting children who are considered likely to enter a life of crime.
Up to a thousand of the 'most challenging' children in the UK will be forced to stick to a good behaviour contract or face the threat of a criminal record.
A sophisticated bugging and tracking device has been unearthed in the vehicle of a member of the Dublin 32 County Sovereignty Movement. The device was secreted internally into the dashboard of the vehicle and was equipped with its own self contained power supply. The manner by which the device was installed strongly suggests that those who planted it took considerable time to effect this and was obviously professionally done. The device bears English Manufacturing Labels but as of yet it is uncertain whether it originates from a British, Irish or joint British/Irish intelligence source. Suffice to say that the unearthing of yet another intelligence gathering device clearly illustrates that the war against those who articulate the right of the Irish people to National Sovereignty continues in government(s) circles. The individual 32CSM member involved has sought legal advice on the matter. The 32CSM reiterates our call for all republicans to be diligent in the face of these insidious attempts to undermine the republican struggle. British Parliamentary activity in Ireland takes many forms.
 
Some workers are doing it at Dunkin' Donuts, Hilton hotels, even at Marine Corps bases. Employees at a growing number of businesses around the nation are starting and ending their days by pressing a hand or finger to a scanner that logs the precise time of their arrival and departure - information that is automatically reflected in payroll records. 
Manufacturers say these biometric scanners improve efficiency and streamline payroll operations. Employers big and small buy them with the dual goals of curtailing fraud and automating outdated record keeping systems that rely on paper time sheets. 
The new systems, however, have raised complaints from some workers who see the efforts to track their movements as excessive or even creepy.
The Federal Education Department proposed on Monday new regulations to clarify when universities may release confidential student information and, after the Virginia Tech shootings last year, reassure college officials that they will not face penalties for reporting fears about mentally ill students.
The proposed regulations were prompted by concerns that colleges were overemphasizing the students' privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act to not intercede with young people who appear troubled.
Although the law has always had a health and safety exception that allows releasing confidential information in emergency situations, many college officials have been wary of invoking it, fearful of being found to violate the federal privacy law.
Even though the regulations would provide no major substantive changes, lawyers who specialize in education said they were important to the extent that they stop administrators from invoking the privacy act as an excuse for inaction.
Story of political intrigue the spine of which concerns a young man unexpectedly receiving a technology to eradicate the concept of privacy in our "post 9-11" world and examines just how much privacy we will trade for national security, against a background of competing corporate and political interests.

The main character in Gil's book, Charlie Sanders, finds himself caught in a surveillance experiment whose motives and purposes are unknown. He gets involved with a so called "open source intelligence" system which has the ability to obtain unlimited information from any database anywhere in the world and "speak" to Charlie through an earpiece.

Described as a cross between "Catch-22" and "Three Days of the Condor," this political thriller focuses on realistic technological details and takes the reader on a journey into an uncomfortable future that could easily become a reality.

Such a technology as described in the novel might enable us to surgically remove "bad guys" more quickly however would we know where to stop? Would we unconsciously begin to institute a form of fascism in our own country? Which areas are off-limits? An ensemble cast, representing the whole spectrum of opinions deal with these issues as Charlie is pursued by competing interests, and the technology itself starts making demands.
Global political tensions and actual pertinent technologies are also highlighted. Additional thematic questions are even more controversial: are we entering another dark age in history - of fading empires, religious fanaticism, economic stagnation and a retreat by civilized cultures into a few fortified enclaves?
Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?
Unsettling as that may sound to some, wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they're rolling out services to make it possible.
Sprint Nextel Corp. has signed up hundreds of thousands of customers for a feature that shows them where their friends are with colored marks on a map viewable on their cellphone screens. Now, Verizon Wireless is gearing up to offer such a service in the next several weeks to its 65 million customers, people familiar with it say.
[ ... ]
The wireless industry is cracking open this new market gingerly, mindful that it could face a huge backlash from consumers and regulators if location-tracking were abused by stalkers, sexual predators, advertisers or prosecutors. "When it gets to privacy, that's quite frankly an area where we can't afford to make any mistakes," says Ryan Hughes, a vice president at Verizon Wireless.
Like Sprint Nextel, Verizon Wireless will use a service called Loopt, led by a 22-year-old, Sam Altman, who created the software as an undergraduate at Stanford. Mr. Altman says he is well aware of the dangers of misuse. "It's one of those things, the more you think about it, the more ways you can figure out a creep could abuse it," says Mr. Altman, who, as chief executive of closely held Loopt Inc., in Mountain View, Calif., still carries a messenger bag to meetings. "I think people realize that unlike a telemarketer call, which can be annoying, a location-based service could be an actual physical safety risk."
While none of this discussion has swept into the U.S. media as yet, the implications are clear. In an article in the Globe and Mail this revealing trend was expressed:
"Some other organizations are banning Google's innovative tools outright to avoid the prospect of U.S. spooks combing through their data," Simon Avery wrote. "Security experts say many firms are only just starting to realize the risks they assume by embracing Web-based collaborative tools hosted by a U.S. company, a problem even more acute in Canada where federal privacy rules are at odds with U.S. security measures."
TorrentSpy's closure a win for MPAA; war far from over

Visitors to TorrentSpy are now being greeted with a brief message announcing the BitTorrent tracker's closure effective March 24. The shutdown comes in the wake of a December 2007 court decision that went against TorrentSpy, in which a federal judge awarded the MPAA a default judgment after finding that the site's admins systematically destroyed evidence.

Visitors to TorrentSpy are now being greeted with a brief message announcing the BitTorrent tracker's closure effective March 24. The shutdown comes in the wake of a December 2007 court decision that went against TorrentSpy, in which a federal judge awarded the MPAA a default judgment after finding that the site's admins systematically destroyed evidence.
[ ... ]
Shutting TorrentSpy down and potentially getting a nine-figure judgment against the site's operators (good luck collecting) is a small victory for the MPAA, but the group knows that there's still a long fight ahead. "Look, this is an uphill battle," Malcolm told Ars in an interview earlier this week. "Content providers can't afford to sit by and do nothing. We've seen some successes, but there is lots of work ahead of us."
Indeed there is. Although its admins are under indictment, The Pirate Bay continues to thumb its nose at Big Content, with Peter Sunde telling Ars that Swedish law is on The Pirate Bay's side. Earlier this week, a lawsuit against an Icelandic torrent site was dismissed, and many other torrent sites continue to operate with impunity outside of the US, beyond of the reach of the MPAA's attempts to knock them off the 'Net... so far.
The European Union is contributing 10 million euro (around £8 million) in sponsorship to a project called PrimeLife, which aims to develop open source tools for personal privacy management and protection, and get the community at large to adopt them.

PrimeLife's co-ordinator is IBM's Zurich research laboratory, and it follows on from an earlier EU-backed project into identity management systems, called Prime (Privacy and Identity Management in Europe).
Where Prime was mostly concerned with identity management (see its white paper here), PrimeLife will go beyond that to address privacy management and trust issues across a user's entire lifespan from childhood to old age, said IBM cryptography researcher Jan Camenisch, who is the project's technical leader.
The IAPP Recognizes UK Information Commissioner Richard Thomas With 2008 Privacy Leadership Award

UK Information Commissioner Richard Thomas today received the International Association of Privacy Professionals' 2008 Privacy Leadership Award for his ongoing commitment to raising the public profile of privacy and data protection issues.
Thomas accepted the award at the IAPP's Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., where more than 1,000 global privacy professionals have convened for three days of education, networking and certification. The IAPP is the world's largest association for the privacy profession.
"Commissioner Thomas has demonstrated an enduring commitment to strengthening privacy protections during his tenure," said Sandra R. Hughes, Global Ethics, Compliance and Privacy Executive, The Procter and Gamble Company. "Under his leadership, the ICO has focused on raising public awareness of important privacy issues and strengthening the UK's approach to preventing and addressing misuse of sensitive data and other harmful practices. The Commissioner has diligently worked to further the protection of citizens' rights through public debate, education, regulatory action and enforcement."
Since Thomas was appointed Commissioner in 2002, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has adopted a new approach to its functions, structure and working methods with the overall aim of "strengthening public confidence in data protection by taking a practical, down to earth approach -- simplifying and making it easier for the majority of organisations who seek to handle personal information well, and tougher for the minority who do not." Thomas also has:
--  Established the ICO's position as a strategic regulator, with clear
    priorities for promotional, educational, complaint-handling and enforcement
    responsibilities
   
--  Substantially raised the public profile of privacy issues through
    fulfilment of a targeted communications strategy
   
--  Led two current Parliamentary enquiries and many other ongoing debates
    about the Surveillance Society
   
--  Launched specific initiatives, including the UK Privacy Impact
    Assessment Handbook; Employment and CCTV Codes of Practice; Data Sharing
    Framework Code; and various enforcement actions in the banking, retail, law
    enforcement and public service sectors
   
--  Raised fundamental questions about new proposals, including national
    ID cards, the Children's Database and electronic health records
   
--  Championed new international projects, including Binding Corporate
    Rules and the London Initiative on improving Commissioner effectiveness
   
--  Implemented the UK Freedom of Information Act, with the ICO closing
    over 6,000 cases in the first three years
   
PrivacyFinder aims to help people take an active role in protecting their privacy while searching online, reports the Electronic Freedom Foundation.
PrivacyFinder is a project of the CMU Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory. The website, free to use, boasts a number of features that privacy advocates have publicly advocated as crucial:
It only retains data on user behavior for a week. Data is used to research search engine preferences and use.It clearly displays the privacy policy of the sites users visit, which helps when considering whether to make an e-commerce transaction at that destination, or share personal information with the site for other reasons.
PrivacyFinder has so far found that people intending to make an online purchase are more likely to do so on sites with greater privacy protection. This discovery mirrors findings from a recent study on mobile P2P payments by Javelin Strategy and Research.
PrivacyFinder provides access to both Yahoo and Google.
 
A Paris court ruled on Thursday that a user-generated website had violated a film star's privacy by hosting a link to a report about him, in a potentially landmark ruling for the French Internet.
The court ruled that fuzz.fr made an "editorial" decision to link to a story on a gossip news site about French actor Olivier Martinez and his relationship with singer Kylie Minogue -- and was therefore responsible for its content.

The fuzz.fr website -- taken offline following the lawsuit -- allowed users to post links to their favourite stories elsewhere on the web, with the most popular ones automatically displayed at the top spot.
Its creator Eric Dupin was ordered to pay 1,000 euros (1,600 dollars) in damages to Martinez and 1,500 euros in legal costs.
With the recent controversy over privacy in recent day and in particular Phorm; Jane Horvath, Senior Privacy Counsel, and Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel decided to release a statement on privacy.
Google commented "Because we're strongly committed to protecting your privacy, we want to present our privacy practices in the clearest way possible.

Over the past year, we've been experimenting with video to clarify and illustrate the privacy practices set forth in our Google Privacy Policy.

We've used videos to communicate with you about things like cookies, IP addresses, and logs. (Check out the Google Privacy Channel on YouTube.) And you've told us that the screen shots, whiteboard drawings, and pointers from the engineers and product managers we've captured on video are helping you better understand the fine points of our Privacy Policy.

With that in mind, today we're announcing a revamp of our Privacy Center.

The new Center is a one-stop shop for privacy resources, with various multi-media formats aimed to help you further understand how we store and use data, how to control who you share your data with, and how we protect your privacy.
If it manages to pass into law, the net effect of New York state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky's bill — which mandates that the likes of Yahoo, Google and Microsoft provide the ability to opt out from tracking — is likely to be minimal.

First, as any email marketer can tell you, the difference between opting out and opting in is a couple million subscribers or so.
 
Second, and notwithstanding blogger-supported privacy activism, Web users are remarkably indifferent to privacy concerns. Oh, they say they care, but their actions frequently prove otherwise. Consider the experience of Dave Morgan, formerly executive vice president of global advertising strategy at AOL (which bought Morgan's company TACODA mid-last year):

Early on, when we were first developing behavioral targeting at TACODA, we knew that tracking cookies had the potential to make some folks uncomfortable… We launched an aggressive opt-out program for those who didn't want our cookies on their browsers. Interestingly, over the year, even thought we launched program after higher profile program to promote the opt-out, only a relatively few folks ever chose to do so. While lots of studies claimed folks were deleting cookies that enabled highly targeted advertising, they never did it in sufficient numbers to hurt our business. Why? They liked the ability to customize their portal pages and not have to reenter passwords every time they went to a site that had earlier required registration or a dozen other shortcuts made possible by cookies.

Consumers understand that they have gotten something of a free content lunch for over a decade and have said in lots of studies that they'd rather see ads than pay for online content.

Third, there's a big chunk of our population that has no idea what we're talking about, and which will remain clueless no matter how big you make the opt-out notice. I don't know the exact size of this group, but at a minimum it contains the 24% of users that can't even find Google.

Fourth, in defiance of the slightly hysterical claims by IAB lobbyist Mike Zaneis ("If you take the fuel out of this engine, you begin to see the free services and content dry up"), advertising can't leave the Internet: that's where consumers are.

Fifth, there are benefits to personalization — think Amazon recommendations — that people don't want to lose.

Sixth, the bill wouldn't achieve the objective, which seems to be education. Brodsky says he's got no "philosophical objection to targeting, if it's done with permission." The problem, rather, is that "people right now do not understand what they're actually giving up." But even with opt-out notices, people would have to invest significant time and effort (something they're unlikely to do) to really grasp the implications of online personal data and make an informed decision.

You might guess from the above that I'm opposed to this sort of privacy regulation; you'd be wrong. On the contrary, I'm a staunch right-to-privacy advocate. And Brodsky's hope for "a compromise position that enables many ad practices but enhances consumer protection" is admirable.

What I'd like to see, though, are proposals that incent the right behavior and discourage the wrong behavior. The discussion needs to consider the ability to opt out and the ability to manage personal history and data security standards and the benefits of personalization and behavior tracking. It has to address more than the tech-savvy elite.
 
She's frustrated police can't tell her privately what her son's blood-alcohol readings were the January morning he and two friends died in a high-impact crash with an Ottawa bus.
Instead, her family is left with the ambiguous police statement, "alcohol was a factor,'' released to the public Friday with no indication how much Mark MacDonald really had to drink before getting behind the wheel of his Toyota 4Runner.
Hazel MacDonald is disheartened that Mark's name is being "blackened'' by people who don't know all the facts surrounding the tragic collision.
 
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, put privacy into the spotlight last week when he warned social networkers that everything they post online might be read by friends and relatives, present and future.

Sir Tim's was the latest high- profile warning over invasions of privacy, particularly on the web. As going online has become part of everyday life there has been an associated rise in campaigns and lobbying by "privacy activists", who harry any business they believe is cavalier with personal details.

So far, the two sides have been archenemies. However, as consumer privacy and how to handle it becomes an increasingly hot issue for companies, some are contemplating a truce and inviting activists into the boardroom to advise on strategy.

There is a tradition of non-governmental organisations and the corporate world pooling some of their expertise: Greenpeace has entered alliances with a number of multinationals, for instance.
Simon Davies, of pressure group Privacy International, says: "We have become a bit burned out from constantly fighting. We could do a lot more with that energy."

Microsoft, Facebook and AOL are some of the companies now working with the consultancy arm of Privacy International, 80/20 Thinking, to iron out problems with their data protection policies. For Microsoft, engagement such as this represents a change in attitude. Although the company says it has always been committed to protecting privacy, it has not always been receptive to suggestions by activists.
 
The federal privacy commissioner is investigating whether Brenda Martin's privacy was violated when a government report wound up in the media.
The commissioner's office said Friday it has opened a file, but wouldn't confirm whether anyone has filed a complaint. Liberal MP Dan McTeague, the party's consular affairs critic, has called for the privacy commissioner to look into how The Canadian Press obtained a report detailing consular contacts with Martin.
 
A three-year project to infuse privacy controls into identity technologies and emerging social networking communities is being undertaken by IBM Research with funding help from the European Union.

The intent is to create technology to ensure users can protect their privacy online for their entire lifetime, especially given the rising popularity of social networks and virtual communities.

PrimeLife (Privacy and Identity Management in Europe for Life) is a three-year research project funded by the European Union's Seventh Research Framework Program, one in a series of programs the E.U. has established to provide financial support for research and development across various scientific disciplines.

The group has seeded IBM's Zurich Research Lab with 10 million euros ($15.8 million). The lab is coordinating the research, which involves 14 other partners from various countries, including Brown University in the United States.

IBM Research says it hopes to create a "toolbox" that amounts to an electronic data manager that gives users an overview of which personal data they use when, where, and how. Users would be able to define default privacy settings and preferences for many applications and would receive prompts if applications seek data for any other purpose.

The 'Endangered, Subversive' Postcard

From In our age of privacy the postcard is an endangered, subversive species :

Suggesting that postcards are, in fact, sufficiently alive to be dangerous would be more effective. Floating a rumour that the government wanted to ban them because, say, terrorists were using them in preference to email or mobiles, and low standards in schools meant MI5 couldn't read their handwriting - that would confer upon the postcard the aura of subversion its salvation requires.

It would be wrong to be nostalgic about a golden age of postcards to the extent of scorning their usurpers, the email and the text message. In this country it is the continuously murmuring prose haiku dialogue of the SMS, rather than the email, which has supplanted the ink and paper billets-doux of lovers from the days when the post came and went many times a day; it is the words that matter. The virtue of the postcard is in the medium rather than the message and its peculiarities mean it will endure, however reduced, as long as the world's postal services are prepared to deliver any piece of paper, cloth, card or plastic with a stamp and an address on.

It was an ordinary-extraordinary set of technological feats that enabled me, a couple of weeks ago, to sit in a hotel room in Australia and receive, from my brother in Germany, emailed 3D photographs of his unborn child. I barely begin to understand the science which made this possible, whereas I know, more or less, how a postcard gets delivered. But it still seems a marvel to me that I can sit here at my table, scrawl a message on a bit of card, stick a 34p stamp on it, walk across the road, put the card in a slot, and be fairly sure that tomorrow morning, that same bit of card will be in my parents' house in Dundee.

The same digital technology that threatens to be the postcard's undoing can, of course, be the remaking of it. I like to print out a photograph on an A4 piece of paper, write a letter on the back, then divide it into four postcard-shaped pieces, put an address and stamp on each, and post them to the recipient, who re-assembles the four parts to read the letter and see the picture. It's probably not a technique you'd use to communicate with your bank manager, or anyone short on patience, but it has possibilities. I've found that if you post all four postcards, addressed to the same person, in the same post box, at the same time, the four cards will invariably arrive on different days. Some people would put this down to incompetence on the part of the Royal Mail; I like to attribute it to a romantic postman, entering into the spirit of teasing the recipient, or to a cynical mail sorter, outraged by the pretentiousness of the concept. Either way, it implies dependence on the random, individual human element, so odious to the corporate mind, which is part of the postcard's charm. More than that: it exposes both sender and recipient to the most genuinely subversive and exciting aspect of the postcard, which is that anyone - the postman, the sorter, the recipient's flatmate or partner - can read it. In an age obsessed with privacy, there is nothing more defiantly rebellious than letting strangers read your personal messages.

Champions of the postcard like to stress how good it is to get one, but for me, it is more joy to send than to receive. It's never convenient, quick or easy to send a postcard. All the arcane elements - the card, the stamp, the pen, the address, the message, the postbox - need to be painstakingly brought together. In the email age, successfully sending a postcard gives you a rush of gratification equivalent to lighting a fire by rubbing two sticks together.

Setting out to send a postcard while abroad, in particular, is a journey of cultural discovery to which sitting in your hotel room, tapping on a laptop to justify the amount your hosts have gouged you for a broadband connection, cannot compare. Some years ago an Italian friend in Edinburgh found that, in order for her postcards to reach their intended destination, it was necessary to post them in the tall, red, glossy boxes with narrow slots, and not in the squat, white and black boxes with generous, gaping slots marked "LITTER".

British Telecom and the Mark of the Beast

BT's 'Soul Catcher 2025' Implants

A recent report has revealed that scientists working for British Telecom are currently developing a new microchip that will be ready for use in the year 2025. The microchips future-tech design will mean that, when implanted in the skull just behind the eye, it will be able to record a person's every thought, experience and sensation. Hence its name: Soul Catcher 2025.

"This is the end of death," Dr Chris Winter of British Telecom's Artificial life team claimed. He went on to explain that the implant will enable scientists to record other people's lives and play back their experiences on a computer. "By combining this information with a record of a person's genes," Dr Winter said, "we could recreate a person physically, emotionally and spiritually."

He went on to say: "The implanted chip would be like an aircraft's black box, and would enhance communications beyond current concepts. For example, police would be able to use it to relive an attack, rape or murder, from the victim's viewpoint, to help catch the criminal. I could even play back the smells, sounds and sights of my holiday to my friends."

According to reports in the Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail (July 1996) other more frightening applications of the Soul Catcher implant could include downloading a lifetime's experiences from an older person's brain and transplanting them into a new-born baby. And there are other, even more serious issues involved here, not the least of which are those surrounding the flagrant violation of human rights.

When interviewed, Dr Winter admitted to the profound ethical implications involved in the use of such an implant, but promptly justified this remark by saying that BT needed to remain at the forefront of communications technology, and that this was the reason they had become involved in the Soul Catcher 2025 project.

So be warned… the next time you pay your telephone bill (your personal contribution to BT's £33 billion a year revenue stream) you know exactly how that money is being spent.

Microchipping of the population by the year 2005

Quite by chance, I personally have come upon some staggering information which concerns a woman who, up until six months ago, had been working for the British Government (for obvious reasons her name must be withheld). Since 1976 she was in a covert government project; in 1996 she became aware of the sinister implications surrounding this 'project', and was horrified to such an extent that she immediately quit her £1000 per week job.

According to her testimony, she and others had been working on a microchip which is to be implanted into all Americans and Europeans by no later than 2005. She had been told that the idea was for people to volunteer for this chip because of its 'benefits', which are to be sold to the public via the media over the coming years.

The 'benefits' include a completely cash-free society, as nobody would be able to buy or sell without the implant, so no more cash crimes (only a step on from bio-metric security). This of course means happy banks and credit companies. Also, anybody who committed a burglary, rape, murder, etc., could be traced immediately by pin-pointing their chip to any location at any particular time via satellite technology. According to some, this would result in a crime-free society - children, for example, could always be traced, In the same way as your dog or cat can be now. On the face of it, brilliant!

However, only days later it was reported in the British media that electronic tagging of children in care has now been suggested at government level because "too many are going missing". Then again at the end of November this same idea expanded to include the tagging of all young offenders from the age of 10 upwards. At this rate, a chip implanted in all of us by the 2005 does not seem so unlikely.

Regardless of the so-called 'benefits', however, anybody with any independent brain cells remaining would surely be able to figure out that microchip implants can be made to affect all manner of neuro response mechanisms - evidence has shown that certain implants could even incapacitate the entire nervous system. I can see Orwell smiling now.

************************

For those who have difficulty comprehending the scale of the problem of impending human microchipping the following article appeared in The Daily Telegraph, Jan 28, 1997. It clearly shows how we are gradually being shown various problems and offered solutions, now at a runaway rate as never before, to persuade us of the need for increased personal technology and how the ultimate solution is the chip under the skin - as predicted by such diverse sources as the Book of Revelation, Dannion Brinkley, Dr. Carl Sanders and a host of researchers into the New World Order.

I've got me under my skin

An ever growing bulge in my jacket pocket prompted me recently to count my plastic cards. These ranged from credit and bank cards, to security pass, vending, airline, hotel, insurance, health and retail cards - a surprising 27 in all.

This further motivated me to investigate my cheque books, building society, health care, passport, driving licence, insurance and related documents, which totalled a further 23 items. My mind then turned to addresses: home, office, telephone, e-mail, home page, national insurance, pension, and more came to a further 32 items.

Surely this is wrong and cannot last. Who wants to live this way?

Reflect on the madness of a world awash with 21st century technology embedded in 16th century processes; the inconvenience of the train ticket, coin and rubber-stamp mentality stand out. From passport control at airports to supermarkets, waiting and queuing are now endemic.

Just how much waiting time does a loaf of bread or an apple warrant? What is a reasonable proportion of the total cost? Well, most people get paid more than one apple a minute or pack of sandwiches an hour. On this basis, buying a house or a car is very efficient.

But, drive two hours to the airport, arrive two hours early to check in, fly for nine hours to America, and then spend over an hour waiting to get into the country because someone has to flick through the paper pages of your passport. Having confirmed it is you, your hand-crafted customs and immigration declarations are the final barrier to entry.

Then, travel an hour to a hotel and spend 15 minutes checking in because they too have to get all your card details.

Travel within the EU and the proportion of wasted time is far greater by virtue of the shorter flight times. So - queuing exceeds goods.

Buying everything from socks to petrol, it is the same. Information-processing by humans is the limiting factor. What should we be doing?

A single chip on a smart card can now store all of the above information and much more. Our medical records, insurance, passport, bank details and employment history could be written into one device. Add a short-range wireless transmitter-receiver, and we have a personal transponder - just like an aircraft. We can be identified and information accessed or updated with no physical connection. So in principal, all our problems are over. The world goes at our pace, we are in control.

Of course, there are worries about security. Suppose someone stole your card, or you lost it, or worse still the information on it was stolen electronically. Perhaps a PIN is insufficient protection, and anyway, with this sophistication who wants to keep pushing buttons? Perhaps an electronic signet ring would do the trick. One thing for sure, it could not be more insecure than the paper and plastic systems we use today.

Logically, a better scheme would be a chip implant. Just a small piece of silicon under the skin is all it would take for us to enjoy the freedom of no cards, passports or keys. Put your hand out to the car door, computer terminal, the food you wish to purchase, and you would be instantly recognised and be dealt with efficiently. Think about it: freedom - no more plastic.

Written by Peter Cochrane,

Head of Advanced Applications

and Technology for BT. His home page is here


Are You Ready For Soul Catcher 2025?

A company called British Telecom in England is working on a tiny microchip that can be placed in people's bodies that will put them on permanent record in a master computer. The plan is to implant this chip in the skull just behind the eye, where it can record a person's every thought, experience and sensation.

The name of this chip will be Soul Catcher 2025. That is because the company believes it will be ready for use in the year 2025. Some people believe versions of this chip are already in use, and are being implanted in unwilling subjects.

The Christians will obviously see the chip as the dreaded "mark of the beast" as warned in the strange prophetic Biblical Book of the Revelation.

The warning in Rev. 14:9-10 is severe: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God . . ."

Millions of people, especially the Bible believers, have been programmed by these verses to be on the lookout for something like this in the so-called "end times," and to reject the mark for fear of facing eternal judgment by a vengeful God.

But if you look at this story from the perspective of a Luciferian, that is one who rejects the Bible story as a work of fiction by angels who are working to destroy mankind because we were the genetic creation of Lucifer, then we must have a different viewpoint.

Then, obviously, we ask the question, is the chip going to be a bad thing?

Dr. Chris Winter, from British Telecom's Artificial Life team, said the chip implant will enable scientists to record people's lives and play back their experiences on a computer. "By combining this information with a record of a persons genes," he said "we could recreate a person physically, emotionally and spiritually." He said it could mean that people can use this technology to live forever, by simply moving from one body into another. Or perhaps moving from our body into an artificial robotic body, but retaining the memory of who we are.

"The implanted chip would be like an aircraft's black box," Winter said. He added that it would "enhance communications beyond current concepts. For example, police would be able to use it to relive an attack, rape or murder, from a victims viewpoint." Thus such a chip might put an end to crime.

It would certainly change the way we live, especially if we know that somebody can some day look back at all of our thoughts, experiences and emotions. That could be an uncomfortable concept for anybody with secret perversions and hidden agendas.

Aaron C. Donahue sees positive and negative connotations connected with this chip. He said he believes that because of the looming wars, the destruction of the Earth's ecology, global warming and overpopulation people are going to have to make dramatic changes in the way they live if they hope to survive much longer. And a chip implant will be a critical part of the global program we must accept.

In other words, everybody must give up their freedom and independence, and start accepting a more communistic and controlled form of life. Donahue also believes that a key to our survival will be the formation of a world government.

The microchip will be an extremely important tool for eliminating the volumes of paperwork connected with establishing identities, handling finance, medical records, and a variety of other things involved in daily living, Donahue believes.

The dark side of the chip lies in the more distant future. Once the planet gets too polluted to support life, people will start transferring their memory chips and consciousness into computer matrix systems and placing them in places that will escape destruction by solar flares, volcanic action and other natural disasters. In other words, they think they will be programming themselves to live forever.

What they will be doing, however, is making cyborgs out of themselves.

Aaron has seen the horror of this in remote viewing sessions dealing with a strange red haired woman in a blue dress that revealed herself to him a few years ago. He found out that she no longer existed as a human being, but was a cyborg, communicating to him from some future time.

Her story is told on Aarons web site. He writes:

"Soon after the wars, it will be apparent that we as a species have little time left to develop an alternative to total extinction. A frantic effort will be employed to transfer human consciousness into a computer matrix that will emulate an idealized world with the holographic illusion, programmed sensation and perceived omnipresence.

"Very sophisticated computers or 'pods' will be buried and encased deep within the earth, at first by the Japanese. Other devices that communicate remotely with these computers will be placed within or on the moon of Earth, mars and a large piece of space rock.

"These computers will maintain a form of human consciousness theoretically for an inconceivable amount of time and so long as this remains true, humans who are locked into this system will invariably ask for death. This any many other paradoxical errors could not be factored within any related program prior to the conception of such a device capable of matching the complexity of human consciousness," Donahue writes.

Here is the strange part of this story. He said he has attempted to communicate with the woman in the blue dress, but only receives two basic messages. They are: "let us die," and "2025."

Interesting that the name of the new chip is "Soul Catcher 2025."

CERN slapped with Doomsday Lawsuit

A US District Court in Hawaii has been petitioned to stop the operation of the Cern Large Hadron Collider (LHC) over fears that it might cause the end of the world.

Walter Wagner, a former nuclear safety officer, has filed the suit as he fears that the LHC could create a mini black hole that could swallow the planet.

He also expressed concerns that transmuting matter into so-called strangelets could change all other matter into a similar form.

The claims have been dismissed by physicists at Cern.

~ more... ~

 

''The common denominator of rogue states is that they be small and poor"

From God invented war to teach Americans geography by Peter J. Taylor : 
 
Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the penultimate capitalist restructuring to Empire, is globalized concomitant with the disintegration of the European empires. The final death knell for the US imperialist tendency comes with defeat in Vietnam where the US had taken over France's imperialist legacy. Thus by the time we come to the Gulf war in 1991, the US is leading a global coalition in a conflict of Empire. In these new times, US military power is not an instrument of conquest, it is a guarantor of a new world order, just as the first President Bush told us at the time. With Empire there are no outside enemies, all wars are civil wars, and the USA is perennially "invited" to sort them out. Thus, the USA is privileged in Empire as provider of origins, precursor conditions, and protection. An impressive list but it does not, according to H/N, make Empire American.2. Fortress America in a realist geopolitical world

There are many parallels between the H/N interpretation of "American history in the world" and the traditional exceptionalism that emanates from the US right-wing nationalist position. In the latter, the Founding Fathers set up a new and unique state based upon principles - rights, freedom, justice - that fought for recognition on the world stage through the twentieth century to become the basis for a US-led political order by the end of the century. At this time, with the political triumph came an imposition of a new economic order - the neo-liberalism of the "Washington consensus - creating a new global governance. But in this interpretation the USA is not the most powerful country for nothing; globalization is most certainly American. In other words the "new world order" proclaimed by the first Bush president is profoundly different from Empire: in these arguments similar histories are producing quite different outcomes.

The basic difference is, of course, the status of the state in the contemporary world. Rather than succumbing to networks of transnational processes, traditional political positions do not accept the idea that states and their authority are declining in importance. In realist international relations states remain the building blocks of an international politics in which coercive power (war and threat of war) remains the key to understanding. Thus security is the most important state policy in a dangerous world in which state interests inevitably clash so that conflict is endemic. Security policy can only be war and preparation for war. Boundaries remain important since they define security shells of friends and foes and therefore define the geography of war and peace. In this argument, whatever the technological advances that have enabled the networks of H/N to blossom, they shrink into insignificance when compared to military technological advances that started with the atomic bomb providing the potential to wipe out all life on Earth. This security imperative has been given a tremendous boost by the events of 9/11: the neo-liberal Washington consensus has been replaced by a neo-conservative Pentagon non-consensus for ordering the world.

From this perspective there has been no transition to Empire and the distinction between imperialist and imperial behaviours is nonsensical; both Teddy Roosevelt and George Bush (either one) were acting in the best interests of their country when projecting USA military power. For H/N the establishment of the UN and its practices, for all their failures, represents a route to Empire: an inter-state institution with important trans-state potentials. But from a realist position the UN is an ephemeral organization to be used when useful but ignored when it gets in the way of national interest. For instance, the identification of the (first) Gulf war as a post-imperialist US venture because it was carried out under UN auspices with a large number of allies can be interpreted in a quite conventional way. A comparison between America"s east Asian wars (Korea and Vietnam) and her west Asian wars (Gulf I and Gulf II) is salutary here. In east Asia the first war involved a broad coalition under UN auspices but, a little more than a decade later, the second one did not have UN backing but the US went ahead regardless. Simply replace "east" by "west" and the sentence remains factually correct. This hardly suggests a recent sea-change in international relations. In other words each of these four wars represented challenges to US interests and America responded, taking the UN on board if possible but without this being a necessary priority.

The USA as lone superpower in the realist interpretation creates a quite basic geopolitics post 9/11. Although perpetrated by an infamous network, the US has accentuated its "rogue states" offensive policy and "star wars" defensive policy. Thus foreign states as threats remains the basis of the former with 11 in the "firing line" Afghanistan and Iraq done, Iran, Syria and North Korea under orders, and Burma, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Cuba, and Venezuela firmly in US military sights.

The common denominator of rogue states is that they be small and poor; it is not in US interests to directly confront France, Germany, Russia and China. On the defensive side, a state territorial fortress is being consolidated in Pentagon planning for the development of "super weapons" that will allow rapid response with massive firepower from within US borders to anywhere in the world. This is a 25-year programme: clearly the most powerful state in the world does not believe in an erosion of the importance of its political boundaries in the medium future

Quote of the day

 
"If there are clowns to the left of you and jokers to the right, you're probably stuck in the middle. With me."

The Matrix and Quantum Consciousness

" ... If Humans have a 100 year life span, you would have to grow 5 x 10^7 = 50 million Humans per year in order to maintain a steady population of 5 x 10^9 = 5 billion Humans.

If it takes 10 years to grow a Human until the Brain is Mature, the total number of immature Humans being grown at any particular time would be 500 million.

If each Human has a 10 meter square area, or 100 square meters, the total Farm area would be 10^2 x 5 x 10^8 = 5 x 10^10 square meters, the area of a square about 2 x 10^5 meters on a side.

The Farm would fit in a square about 200 kilometers on a side.

After being grown to have a Mature Brain, each Human is put in a Pod connected to a huge Matrix Network. ... "

 

PARAMOUR - My Life with Timothy Leary by Joanna Harcourt-Smith

 
..."What does woman want?" Tim asked with a soft chuckle.  "It's a question Freud asked, the best question he ever asked, I think, though he wasn't able to answer it.  I see it as a great title for a book I'll write someday.  Perhaps you can write it with me?"
           
"First, I'll get what I want, then I'll write about it," I replied.  I lit a Gitane and placed the pack on the table.  Timothy, who had been smoking Camels, took a Gitane out and lit it as well.
           
"Fair enough.  I know something about how to do that.  The real trick is not giving away too much in the process.  You know . . . settling for a bad tradeoff?  That's where love comes in, the love the alchemists called the universal solvent.  It's the highest biochemical state.  All the other chemicals, the sacramental drugs especially, the psychedelics and neurotransmittors, are just ways of accessing it.  I can tell you're ready for that ultimate state.  There's a way people look when they're ready."
           
I felt awkward using the word "love" with Tommy present, but I wanted to acknowledge what Timothy was saying.  "Love is what it's about, all right," I said weakly, "it must be powerful because it seems to be more forbidden than drugs."...

Eugenics bias of U.S. ruling elites leading to American refugees flooding into Canada

From The Canadian :
 
In September of 2007, the city of Windsor, which borders the United States, officially asked for financial assistance from Ottawa to deal with American refugees flooding into Canada. The U.S. refugee phenomenon was reported in the local daily newspaper, the Windsor Star. LINK This is proving to be the tip of the iceberg, and only the first wave of economic refugees that have been created in the United States.

There are now tent cities which are being built outside most large metropolitan areas, one of the largest of which is in Los Angeles. A report from the BBC highlights the consequence of the U.S. sub-prime meltdown and the fears that the crisis is growing. YouTube LINK

The homelessness situation has grown so rapidly in the United States, that certain cities are issuing colour-coded wristbands – blue for those who can stay, "orange for people who need to provide more documentation, and white for those who must leave."

This is the kind of "human-branding" that was also indeed a precursor to the rise of Adolf Hilter's Nazi Germany. There is a wise saying that, those who are not prepared to "learn the lessons of history", are doomed to repeat it.

The Los Angeles Times has documented an example of this kind of fascistic human branding of American citizens, in Orange County. LINK

Notwithstanding, the constitutional guarantee of freedom of association and freedom of movement, American 'refugees' will no longer be able to stay in one area, meaning that many towns and cities will now have to be prepared to receive migrant refugees displaced by local governments from other districts and States.

Reports suggest that Canadians will also need to be prepared for this influx. A refugee claimant in Canada currently has a period of many, many months in which the applicant is eligible for financial and other support. A failed claimant then also has the right to seek leave to appeal his or her rejection to Federal Court." If the American refugee crisis continues to grow as analysts predict, then the cost to Canadians will be astronomical.

 

Jacques Lacan and the semiotics of the rational and irrational

" ... Lacan refashioned Freudian psychiatry, and suggested that the unconscious was structured like a language, thereby giving a key role to semiotics and dissolving the usual boundaries between the rational and irrational.

Though without foundation, the view supported many aspects of Postmodernism, and is therefore attractive to those fighting repression in western society.

[ ... ]
 
Jacques Lacan (1901-81) tried to give Freud a contemporary intellectual significance, extricating his thought from the gloss of later commentators, and extending it in ways suggested but not achieved by Freud himself. The unconscious was not Freud's great contribution to European thought, but his discovery that the unconscious had a structure. That structure, continued Lacan, is a discourse that operates across the unconscious-conscious divide. Lacan's terminology is fluid, not to say elusive, but he adopts Freud's trinity of id, ego and superego. But Lacan argues that our continual attempt to fashion a stable, ideal ego throughout our adult lives is self-defeating. Certainly we can recognize a 'subject', ourselves, provided we remember that this centre of our being is not a fixed entity, but simply something that mediates our inner discourses. That 'subject' is made and remade in our confrontation with the Other, a concept which in turn shifts with context. The Other is the father within the Oedipal triangle who forbids incest. The Other is ourselves as we accept the restraints of adulthood. And the Other is also that which speaks across the schism we carry within ourselves between the unconscious and conscious — naturally: it is bound up with language itself.

Lacan's theories are difficult to grasp, but extend psychoanalytical thought in several directions. Lacan's unconscious is structured like a language, which gives language a key role in construction our picture of the world, but also allows the unconscious to enter into that understanding and dissolve essential distinctions between fantasy and reality. There are no primordial archetypes (Jung) or entities beyond the reach of language (Freud) or logical-sensorimotor structures (Piaget). As do other psychoanalysts, Lacan sees mental illness as a product of early childhood difficulties (notably imbalance between the Imaginary and the Symbolic) but children progressively gain a self-identity by passing through pre-mirror, mirror and post-mirror stages of development.

More importantly, Lacan's language referred to itself and was to be read by Saussurean semiotics. To the extent that Lacan sees language, and indeed all discourse, as permeated by the unconscious and so lacking in truth or stability, he is a Poststructuralist.

From his first work (De la Psychose Paranoiaque dans ses Rapports avec la Personalité: 1932), Lacan represented psychological illness as something manifested by the whole person rather than as a distinct pathology. Continuing this approach, Lacan adopted a style which resists any neat summary of concepts. His prose may often resemble the speech of his patients: a free association of ideas, meanings that change with context, and an unwillingness to group under broader categories. Lacan's concepts do not condense into doctrines. However confusing, the intention is to draw in and implicate the reader in the suggestions that Lacan is drawing from Freud's work and patient behaviour.

Lacan also had a trinity of his own: the Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic. The Real is the unnamable, the outside of language. The Imaginary is the undifferentiated early state of the child, a fusion of subject and parent, which remains latent in adult life, manifesting when we falsely identify with others. The Symbolic is the demarcated world of the adult with its enforced distinctions and repressions. The unconscious is not simply reflected in the language we use, but is equally controlled by it. Discourse, including social, public language, shapes and enters into the structure of the unconscious, and is inextricably mixed with the unsatisfied sexual desire that emerges disguised in dreams, jokes and art.

[ ... ]

Lacan replaced Freud's postulated oral, anal and genital stages of child development with his own pre-mirror, mirror and post-mirror stages. During its first six months of existence, the child gradually fills the gap between bodily sensations and its perceptions of the outside world with symbols: fantasies with which its consciousness is merged. Then, over the next year or so, the child begins to recognize the outside as an extension or mirror of its own bodily image, absorbing at the same time an awareness of outside language: the meaning of the Other. But in the next, post-mirror stage, when the child begins to speak for itself, these traces of meaning are repressed because they represent something from the child has separated. But desire remains, hedged about by prohibitions and compromises, into adulthood, and provides the Id with its own logic, language and intentionality. From this early stage too comes any neurosis or psychosis that the adult may subsequently suffer from, these resulting from imbalances between the Imaginary, Symbolic and the Real.

Dreams (and by extension the matters that control art and our emotional processes) form a system of signs which we can read as any other text. We analyze them in Saussure's manner with signified and signifier. We use Jacobson's system of metaphor to understand the frequent combination of dream images, and metonymy to characterize displacement, the process by which images shift laterally in their significance. But whereas for Saussure the sign was culturally fixed, bonding signified and signifier, for Lacan the language of the unconscious (dreams, verbal plays and art) lacked any such stability. Language does not mimic the psychic processes of the unconscious, any reference it makes being entirely arbitrary. Language does not represent the exterior world, moreover, though of course we pretend otherwise. Words as patients use them in Freudian analysis take on multiple meanings, reach back to a plurality of determining factors, and are available permanently for new uses. So is language, our everyday social language. We cannot understand it from the outside, in terms other than language. And we cannot insulate it from the discourse of the unconscious. By its very nature, language forms a web of ever-elusive meaning, a free creation which provides no stability, ground or ultimate truth, even for itself.

But that is not unexpected, thought Lacan. We can hear the polyphony of contexts when we listen to poetry, a discourse where the words or signifiers align vertically and horizontally as musical notes along a score. The overlapping and knotting together of its signifiers provides the reader of that text with an enactment of the unconscious. We cannot ultimately separate them, but poetry and the unconscious do support each other. Lacan had many contacts with Surrealism, and perhaps the exhibitionism, circularity and even charlatanry of his writings witness more truth to the unconscious than are to be found in the sober reflections of his contemporaries. ... "

~ link ~

 

An interview/dialogue with Albert Borgmann and N. Katherine Hayles on humans and machines

Question: This email message, like most of the email found in the inbox of your computer's email program, was written and sent by a person, and not by some disembodied intelligent machine. However, these days, it's possible to imagine that this message was machine-generated. In your books, Holding On to Reality and How We Became Posthuman you both discuss how we got to this point. Could you summarize briefly, as a place to begin?

Albert Borgmann: Your scenario shows that today we are dealing with a new kind of information we may call technological information. It was preceded first by natural information—tracks, smoke, fire rings. Such information (it still is all about us) can leave us uncertain as to who the person was that left tracks or built a fire in the distance. Natural information was followed by cultural information, best represented by writing—a story, for instance. Such a story may give us the picture of a fictional person. But here we are actively engaged in bringing the person to life and hardly confused about whether or not there is an actual person...

N. Katherine Hayles: In How We Became Posthuman, I tell three interrelated stories: how information lost its body, that is, how it was conceptualized as an entity that can flow between substrates but is not identical with its material bases; how the cyborg emerged as a technological and cultural construction in the post-World War II period; and the transformation from the human to the posthuman. All three stories are relevant to seeing an email message and not knowing if it was human or machine-generated...

~ more... ~

 

Kansas bookstore burns books (to protest 'society's diminishing support for the printed word')

I had mixed feelings when I learned of a publicity stunt perpetrated by another indie bookstore in Kansas City this weekend. According to CNN, Tom Wayne, the owner of Prospero's Books in Kansas City, organized a bookburning of some of the books that Wayne claims that Prospero can't sell, "in protest of what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word." I have much respect for Prospero's Books, which is the premier used bookstore in Kansas City, known for its support of local authors. I'm reluctant to criticize another independent bookstore in a metropolitan area that is seriously deficient in indie bookstores. Wayne and his partner may be making a valid point about the decline on book reading in the United States, but the national publicity from this stunt not only makes Kansas City look ignorant and backward, but it does a disservice to other independent booksellers in the Kansas City area
 
[ ... ]
 
You can express your opinion to Prospro's (info@prosperosbookstore.com) or you could do something more constructive, like visiting your local indie bookstore this week. Hug the owner if you have to, but more importantly buy a book and give it a place of honor at home.

Please feel free to support the work we are doing at the Crossroads Infoshop & Radical Bookstore. We're always interested in book donations. Hell, tell Propsero's to drop some books off with us. We won't burn them.
 
~ link ~
 

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Psychologists condemn torture

Written by James Thompson - a psychologist and social justice activist in Houston - for People's Weekly World :
 
The American Psychological Association's (APA) Council of Representatives has introduced new wording in a resolution to clarify the ethical responsibilities of psychologists in harsh interrogation techniques, according to the March edition of its publication The National Psychologist. This action was a response to resounding condemnation by APA's members who objected to the participation of psychologists in the Bush administration's open defiance of international law banning torture.

Critics argued that resolutions passed in 2006 and this past summer at the APA convention left loopholes which would permit the participation of psychologists in interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo and other locations around the world.

According to the article, council members "voted overwhelmingly to include wording that emphasizes an 'unequivocal condemnation' of all techniques considered torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners." It pointed out that the new language "absolutely forbids any rationalization such as 'I was just following orders.'"

Danny Wedding, Ph.D., director and professor of psychiatry at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, declared, "It's stronger now because it ties APA's position to a number of international standards, such as the Geneva Accords. It's as unequivocal as we can make it and it should quiet some of the critics of the association."

On Feb. 15, 2008, Alan E. Kazdin, Ph.D., the president of the APA, and Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D., chief executive officer of APA, sent a letter to President George W. Bush urging passage of a bill banning torture and confining interrogation methods to those described in the U.S. Army Field Manual.

The letter in part read:
On behalf of the American Psychological Association, we are writing to call upon you to definitively outlaw waterboarding and several other so-called 'enhanced' interrogation techniques by signing the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (H.R. 2082).

As the world's largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists, APA unequivocally condemns the use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under any and all conditions, including the detention and interrogation of both lawful and unlawful "enemy combatants," as defined by the U.S. Military Commissions Act of 2006. Enactment of H.R. 2082 would be an important step toward ensuring that detainees in the United States and at U.S. facilities abroad will not be subjected to the eight interrogation techniques that are defined as cruel, inhuman or degrading by the Army Field Manual.

This would be an important step forward in protecting the rights of detainees. As psychologists, we believe such "enhanced" interrogation tactics are unethical, ineffective and highly likely to result in inaccurate information. Furthermore, the use of any information obtained through torture or other abusive techniques should not be permitted in any U.S. Court….

The bill was passed by both the House and Senate and differences were resolved and passed by the Senate on 2/13/08 in a vote of 51 to 45. Sen. John McCain voted against the legislation, even though he claims to be a victim of torture. Sens. Obama and Clinton failed to vote on the legislation on this date.

On March 8, as promised, President Bush vetoed the legislation.

On March 11, the House of Representatives attempted to override the veto, but failed. 225 voted to override and 188 voted to sustain the veto. Only three Democrats voted to sustain, whereas 185 Republicans stood with President Bush. 220 Democrats voted to override and they were supported by 5 of their Republican colleagues.

March 11, 2008 will stand as a day of infamy for the U.S. Government in the annals of history.

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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