Political Category Archive

How Sarkozy won

With apologies to all my french friends. ;)

French version of "Who wants to be a millionaire".
What gravitates around Earth? a) the moon b) the sun c) Mars d) Venus
He goes to the pubic vote, which comes back 42% the moon and 56% for the sun!
Now, either they are stupid, or they are real jerks who really want to see this guy humiliated thoroughly. ;)

How no one in the audience flipped out, I don't know.

The party's over...

Absolutely most see.

"Robert Newman gets to grips with the wars and politics of the last hundred years - but rather than adhering to the history we were fed at ... all » school, the places oil centre stage as the cause of all commotion."

45 minutes well spent.

What a coup

The *official* website for last week's Thai military coup d'état:
"The Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy"
via GVO of course, from a feed we prepped for Reuters while we were doing the Turner event... ;)

"UK and US companies sold mobile phone tapping equipment to Vietnam"

Reporters sans frontières - Vietnam:

Reporters Without Borders has learned that a British company, Silver Bullet, and a US company, Verint Systems (a subsidiary of Comverse Technology), sold equipment for intercepting mobile phone calls to the Vietnamese intelligence services. The source of this information, the UK-based Jane’s Defence Weekly, said a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries acted as intermediary in some of the sales.

“We are appalled to learn that our phone calls with Vietnamese cyber-dissidents have been monitored with equipment provided by European and US companies,” the press freedom organisation said. “Coming a year after it emerged that Yahoo! cooperates with the Chinese police, this new case reinforces our conviction that telecommunications companies must be forced to respect certain rules of ethical conduct. In particular, they should be banned from selling surveillance equipment to repressive governments.”

The sales were revealed by Robert Karniol in an article headlined “Vietnamese army enhances mobile phone monitoring” in the 31 October 2005 issue of Jane’s Defence Weekly (JDW). He said the London-based Silver Bullet had recently sold two P-GSM stations (portable mobile phone listening devices - see image) to Vietnam for $250,000 each. Elta (a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries) and Aikap Group, another Israeli company, acted as intermediaries in this transaction.

The JDW article said the equipment sold by Silver Bullet complemented similar equipment provided to Vietnam in 2002 by the US-based company Verint Systems. Verint is a subsidiary of Comserve Technology, a telecommunications company quoted on the Nasdaq exchange whose former boss, Kobi Alexander, is wanted by the FBI for securities fraud and is a fugitive from justice.

Reporters Without Borders tried to contact Silver Bullet and Verint Systems yesterday, but nobody in either company was available to comment on the JDW article. The organisation found information about the P-GSM interception system on the Silver Bullet site yesterday, but the site was down this morning.

The JDW article was picked up yesterday in the newsletter published by an organisation that defends the rights of Vietnam’s Montagnard people.

"George Galloway Savages SKY NEWS"

George Galloway on Sky
(SKY is apparently the british equivalent of Fox News, both Rupert Murdoch properties. Rupert also owns MySpace now. Beware, the brainwash machine expanded by a couple million more brains... very narrow brains mind you... ;)

Erasure of memory, loss of history, point of view with interests-backed agenda. Manipulation of medium and message, hence what most people today call reality, long ago ceased being an art and is now a fully mechanized business operation.

Matt Jones has a great little doodle in the banner of his weblog which depicts Umberto Eco saying "Lying about the future makes history*", which is certainly true. The reverse is true as well though: lying about history makes the future.

*Though the actual quote is "Lying about the future produces history."

Voting with money

Zephyr got in touch with me today to ask about helping out with some UI for an organization she's now involved in. Poking around their site, I found this screencast showing how to use a site called "opensecrets.org" to find out who has been making what kinds of contributions and to whom, in U.S. election campaigns.

While not surprising, the information it presents is eye opening. Just click through the "Sector" overviews and marvel at the divisions of who donates to whom, when.

That said, the data is there; it is publicly available. It could however use some massaging and some highlighting and some contextualizing and pre-chewing for a wider audience (make it something someone can broadcast, not something some small group of people have to look up if the thought of doing so strikes them.)

Please do check it out.

It starts at the edges...

Excuse me but what the fuck is Canada doing deporting Costa Ricans seeking to live in Canada? Why are we rejecting refugee claims *at all*, and then throwing entire families into jail to await deportation?

I have zero tolerance for protectionism and conservatism. Zero.

When's the next election? Can we bootstrap that like we did the last one? I promise I'll be around for it this time...

"Shattering the China Dream"

Rebecca lobs a grenade at the feet of visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao in the form of a Washington Post OpEd:

Free Hao WuAnother victim of Chinese state kidnapping -- with whom I am personally connected -- is Wu Hao, an independent filmmaker, blogger and U.S. permanent resident. It is unclear why state agents abducted him on Feb. 22, but his friends think it may be related to his work on a documentary about China's underground Christians. He continues to be held -- this is the 58th day of his detention -- despite the fact that Chinese law limits the maximum detention without charge to 37 days

With Chinese President Hu Jintao in the United States this week, Americans have an opportunity to assess his regime. What is this country to think? On the one hand his government has raised the living standards of millions of its citizens with economic reform and international trade. On the other hand his underlings trample shamelessly on his people's basic human rights.

As the article mentions, Wu Hao is one of our Regional Editors at Global Voices. His abduction came very soon after he started with us.

The cold whiff of secret police state activities arrests one's breath. The stink stains.

Don't do evil

Oops, seems in their fervor, the community has forgotten to define *what is evil*.

Last year Google hired the bipartisan lobbying firm Podesta Mattoon, whose lobbyists include Daniel Mattoon, a Republican and longtime friend of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Lauren Maddox, a former top aide to Newt Gingrich.

Now it has also brought in the DCI Group, which has strong ties to presidential adviser Karl Rove. Its Senior Vice President Stuart Roy is a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, The New York Times reports.

Yes, Google as an entity must do what it must do in order to not only survive but to grow as big and as fast as possible within the frameworks of its socio-economic-political environment.

When nature allows something to grow larger than its environment normally allows, we call it an anomaly, a grotesque freak. We observe it with morbid fascination, and are not surprised when it inevitably collapses and dies.

Conversely, we have the bizarre fascination and compulsion to grow our own systems to such gargantuan proportions, totally warping all sense of reality and sustainability. One day one of these experiments will take us with it when it goes down.

It's happened before you know. Many many times.

David Suzuki

I've been meaning to write about David Suzuki for a long time, and haven't yet mainly because I have not done what I told myself I'd do first: actually get acquainted with "his stuff", knowing it would affect my life pretty profoundly, beyond the effect of watching "The Nature of Things" growing up.

Go on, go on, read up.

Anyways, I have yet to dive in, but I came across this article in the Harvard Gazette: Suzuki's passionate plea for change, talking about his acceptance speech for an award he just won:

The human footprint on the Earth is very different from what might have been surmised when modern humans first emerged on the African savanna 150,000 years ago, Suzuki suggested, as not-very-impressive creatures who walked upright and didn't have much hair.

"If any human being in those early days had said, 'Ha! Piece of cake, we're going to take over this whole savanna, we're going to take over this planet,' we would have laughed him into a cave and said, 'Don't listen to him, he's nuts.'" (this is classic Suzuki stuff! I can *hear* him saying it, grinning on CBC on Sunday evening.)


For more than two decades, Suzuki noted, scientists have been warning about impending global environmental crisis. In 1992, a group of leading scientists of the world, including half the world's living Nobel laureates, issued a warning to humanity: "'Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about,'" he quoted from their statement. "No more than one or a few decades remain ... . A great change in our stewardship of the Earth and of life upon it is required."

"The media response was terrifying," Suzuki said, pausing for effect: "There was none."


In addition to the news media, Suzuki also blasted conventional economics as "not a science but a set of values posing as a science," which tends to dismiss concerns like the ozone layer and underground aquifers as mere "externalities."

But, he emphasized, "There is no environment out there. We are the Earth."


"the Earth is our mother; not poetically, not metaphorically, but literally."

So with that, my friends, I tell you this: I've been working with a lot of human rights and freedom of speech people lately and it's time I also dive into the sustainable development and environmentalist camps.

Get me my hippie spray. ;p

Orwell's "Notes on nationalism"

Don't have the time to expound on this seminal text more profoundly at the moment but wanted to point it out.

First a salient quote:

Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder and harder to discover what is actually happening. There can often be a genuine doubt about the most enormous events. For example, it is impossible to calculate within millions, perhaps even tens of millions, the number of deaths caused by the present war. The calamities that are constantly being reported--battles, massacres, famines, revolutions--tend to inspire in the average person a feeling of unreality. One has no way of verifying the facts, one is not even fully certain that they have happened, and one is always presented with totally different interpretations from different sources. What were the rights and wrongs of the Warsaw rising of August 1944? Is it true about the German gas ovens in Poland? Who was really to blame for the Bengal famine? Probably the truth is discoverable, but the facts will be so dishonestly set forth in almost any newspaper that the ordinary reader can be forgiven either for swallowing lies or failing to form an opinion. The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied. Moreover, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to FEEL that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him. All nationalist controversy is at the debating-society level. It is always entirely inconclusive, since each contestant invariably believes himself to have won the victory. Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connection with the physical world.

Now this was written somewhere near the end of World War II, and as such is very dated, not only in it's use of examples but in it's language and structure of classification of things. Orwell seemingly used, though with disclaimers right from the start, the word "nationalism" to encompass the sea of all -isms, despite diving into a few of the more fashionable ones from his time. All of which is perfectly acceptable and reasonable but reading it today it begs updating, not just historically but semantically as well.

That said, please take the 20 minutes to read it, suspending for the duration any hang ups on historical frameworks, localized criticisms (he's on about British intelligensia of the time which really is just a micro-representation of society of any time and place, always affected by environment and circumstance of course)... and yeah... read it with, for lack of a better term, "the timeless eye".

And then ask yourself: "What is acceptable to me? And why?"

"America's Online Censors"

Rebecca does an absolutely great job of summing up many of the issues and thoughts and results of the U.S. Congressional hearings held last week concerning U.S. technology companies and their roles in Internet censorship regimes around the world.

We must not allow American companies to deprive Zhao and his generation of their right to shape their country's political future. But we must do it in a way that shows we respect the rights of the Chinese people--and the rights of every human being on the planet--as much as we respect our own.

Open borders?

Consider this:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said the Bush administration should put on hold a deal to stop state-controlled Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates from managing sea ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

Now, aside from this being offensive to Arabs and Muslims due to inferred ties to "terrorist" and all that, isn't it the epitome of ironic? Of absurdity even?

While millions of travelers, individuals who for the most part could possibly do limited real damage , are hassled daily in airport "security" checks with metal detectors, pat-downs, removal of clothing and shoes, chemical swabs and even interrogation... the folks higher up are about to hand over 6 whole ports to a nation that they themselves have identified, albeit with lots of ring-around-the-posey language and actions, as "the enemy".

There are no words that can explain this. An attempt on my part was left in Haitham's comment stream:

the offensive nature of the debate aside for a moment, the true absurdity lies within the contrast of all this with the Department for Homeland Security, at who’s behest little old ladies are patted down, passed though metal detectors and who knows what else just to get into the country, meanwhile, their bosses are selling off major parts of the country’s economic infrastructure to foreign nations (regardless of diplomatic relations and status of regard for those nations, to put it nicely.

It is absurd. With one hand they are stoking the fires of xenophobic nationalism, and with the other they are selling the farm to their competitors. Nothing good can come of this. At least in the short term. In the long run it will all level out of course. In historic perspective, America is due for a civilization-wide collapse anyways.

Local Government Organizations (LGOs)

ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiative) - Local Governments for Sustainability

We provide technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Our basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.

UCLG - United Cities and Local Governments

United Cities and Local Governments is a new world organisation dedicated to promoting the values, objectives and interests of cities and local governments across the globe. It is the largest local government organisation in the world, with a diverse membership that includes both individual cities and national associations of local governments.

United Cities and Local Governments is the global voice of cities and the main local government partner of the United Nations. It promotes the policies and experiences of local governments in key areas such as poverty, sustainable development and social inclusion.

Urban Ecology Center

The goal of the Urban Ecology Centre is to build and share expertise concerning the most viable approaches to sustainable urban development and how they may best be implemented in our neighbourhoods and city.


Long story but yesterday over lunch with my new good friends John and Colin, I committed to building this side-by-side comparison of Google China and Google in Chinese for the OpenNet Initiative.

The reason for doing this is explained thusly:

On January 25 2006, Google launched Google.cn, a self-censored Chinese-language search service, a policy shift which follows Yahoo! and Microsoft's recent decisions to provide censored internet services in compliance with Chinese state censorship policies. Google informs its users when their search results have been filtered (to date, Microsoft and Yahoo!'s Chinese search services do not), and provides users with a link to the unfiltered Google.com home page.


Well, no election for me...

Canada's upcoming federal election is this coming monday. By the time the polls open I'll be sitting on the tarmac on my way to Cambridge for 3 days.

"But you could have voted in advance!" Yup, had I know i was going to be out of the country. This trip was planned and booked on Wednesday, the day after the deadline for any sort of advance voting.

So I entrust our country to you fine people. Please don't make me come home to a right-handed majority! ;)

freedom vs. liberty

Dictionary definitions of these two terms, just to make something clear:

the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint : we do have some freedom of choice | he talks of revoking some of the freedoms. See note at liberty .
• absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government : he was a champion of Irish freedom.
• the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved : the shark thrashed its way to freedom.
• the state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily : the shorts have a side split for freedom of movement.
• ( freedom from) the state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing) : government policies to achieve freedom from want.
• the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
• unrestricted use of something : the dog is happy having the freedom of the house when we are out.

1 the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views : compulsory retirement would interfere with individual liberty.
• (usu. liberties) an instance of this; a right or privilege, esp. a statutory one : the Bill of Rights was intended to secure basic civil liberties.
• the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved : people who have lost property or liberty without due process.
2 the power or scope to act as one pleases : individuals should enjoy the liberty to pursue their own interests and preferences.
• Philosophy a person's freedom from control by fate or necessity.

freedom, independence, liberty
The Fourth of July is the day on which Americans commemorate their nation's independence, a word that implies the ability to stand alone, without being sustained by anything else.
While independence is usually associated with countries or nations, freedom and liberty more often apply to people. But unlike freedom, which implies an absence of restraint or compulsion (: the freedom to speak openly), liberty implies the power to choose among alternatives rather than merely being unrestrained ( | the liberty to select their own form of government). Freedom can also apply to many different types of oppressive influences ( | freedom from interruption; freedom to leave the room at any time), while liberty often connotes deliverance or release ( | he gave the slaves their liberty).

Notice how the two definitions are very different except for in one instance; both include "the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved". Somewhere along the line, this convergence of definition allowed for a flip in the popular culture to occur, where simplistic freedom replaced the far more sinewed--and thus complicated--liberty in the public discourse. This is a tragedy.

Freedom and liberty are NOT the same thing. Freedom is devoid of responsibility ("nothing left to lose"?) and awareness for it's environment, people and society included...

"My freedom ends where yours begins"

This maxim speaks directly of the true nature of what it means to live in a group (which connotes a society, which connotes all sorts of things like laws and politics.) If "freedom ends", then it is not by definition freedom, for freedom has no limits. If I accept that there is a self and an other, and that we have met, then it is with liberty that we must live together. I am free to kill you, but living in a group it goes further than mere freedom, for I have the liberty to choose to do so and suffer the responsibility such an act entails.


"Have the courage to change what you cannot accept,
the strength to accept what you cannot change,
and the wisdom to know one from the other."

I've long admired this proverb but it never quite sat well with me. I know why now. Or rather I always sensed why, but now I can explain it.

True wisdom lies in accepting all, including what may seem unacceptable.

The trick lies not in the acceptance, but what you do with what you have accepted. To not accept is to reject, and when you reject something, you are finished with it; you no longer have any possibility to do anything with it, be that change it or place it on the back shelves of your consciousness.

When the world presents you with a gift, you accept it. Now you can choose to do many things. If it is repulsive to you, have the courage to change it, or the strength to hide it away and bear the weight of doing so. If you cannot change it yourself and you feel you must, have the temerity and drive to recruit others to help you.

Equally important is, if the gift is joyous, have the generosity to share it others. :)

This has been on my mind for a very long time. Very often when speaking of buddhism and zen with people, their perception of these philosophies is that they are dismissive and lead to complacency because of their focus on accepting the world as it is. This is very far from the truth however. One cannot truly appreciate anything without accepting it when it appears before us. Accepting something affords us to chance to inspect it and to know it more deeply.

I accept that there are atrocities in the world. So far I have shouldered the burden of merely carrying this knowledge along with me, all the while being mindful of it, watching it, learning it, and my relationship with it. All of this is by no means an excuse for inaction--another misunderstood concept of zen and buddhism; action and inaction. I accept also my actions/inactions but know that they will eventually move into directed action.

The lesson here is that acceptance is not a destination, it is a starting point. Once you have accepted something, you must choose what to do with it and how you will live the relationship with what you have accepted.

Two disturbing

Mark Federman recently posted two rather disturbing entries.

And How is One Certified as Sane?

Although this story is a year old, one of our students brought it to my attention last evening. According to the British Medical Journal (and numerous other sources), Bush plans to screen whole US population for mental illness

Whew, good thing they didn't actually try that. But the fact that someone over there seems to have even thought of it...

and Fallujah - The Hidden Massacre:

The weapon in question, apparently called MK77, is the replacement for napalm that caused so much horrific death and destruction in Vietnam, and was subsequently banned by the United Nations. However, a weapon with precisely the same grotesque and deadly effects, under a different name, is being used by the very country that is loudly decrying WMDs.

MK77 apparently contains "whiskey pete," the military slang for white phosphorus. According to two soldiers who participated in these missions, and now (after being discharged) have supplied information to the RAI producers, white phosphorus incendiary bombs explode on impact and spread a gaseous cloud for 150 metres in all directions. Wherever the gas touches skin, the skin burns immediately. White phosphorus gas actually burns the skin to the bone beneath clothing, leaving grotesque corpses with apparently undamaged clothing. Gas masks are of no use, since the gas melts the rubber, and the skin underneath. If you inhale the gas, "it will blister your throat and lungs, and you will suffocate, and then burn from the inside out."

Nasty. Revolting.

On the upside, Mark also reports:

Over the next few years, I am embarking on a serious (as in PhD-serious) study of the emergence of a new corporate form that is consistent with the 21st century, as opposed to being grounded in the 19th century and the Industrial Age.

I look forward to hearing the results of this study (or follow along on it's progress?)! It's sure to be highly interesting.

Expression Under Repression

Rebecca and Ethan and a few other of the Global Voices Online team were WSIS in Tunisia this week and today gave a workshop presentation on "Expression Under Repression", despite technically having been canceled "by the authorities".

Very exciting, awesome job gang, bravo!
Ethan and Rebecca (and John and many others I'm sure) have some interesting reports from WSIS.

Lord of War

Lord Of War Poster 0905

Ok, first of all, it IS a Hollywood movie, which means it is replete and chock full of everything a Hollywood movie needs: clichés, one liners, understated deadpan melodrama; the works. Second, Nicholas Cage gives a great rendition of Nicholas Cage as an international arms dealer.

That said, go see it.

I didn't say much above cause I was sorta speechless. Essentially, it's a wake up call to a ot of people. There were a handful of scenes that literally caused the audience to recoil in horror; not out of goriness, but a sense of "this is real... frightfully real".

Walking out of the cinema I thought how important it would be to harvest this recoil and sense of disgust of the audience into some sort of positive action they could engage in, but nothing came to mind. (long day... heh...)

Well it seems someone is doing something. Amnesty International USA has some materials in place and a campaign. Though I am reminded of part of the proposal that Michael and I submitted to Witness.org (they went with a direct email marketing solution provider.. go figure) wherein we - well, really, it was Michael - pleads such organizations should use the webtools we see today (RSS, etc) to allow us to really get involved. Keep us up to date with developments, hook us up with regional meeting info, etc...

Anyways, how lucky... how damned damned damned lucky I am to not know war; to not fear a bullet striking me, or a machete hacking my flesh.

Safe travels gaucho

So, Steven's probably sitting on the tarmac at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport right now, beginning a 2 month trip to Cuba and, I suspect, to the core of himself.

No, he's not going to go sit on the beach. He's brought with him his bicycle, his Powerbook, his dSLR... and all his knowledge and experience in IT, networking, web communication. Not to mention a desire to do some good.

Over dimsum yesterday, I asked Steven exactly what his plan is. At least, where is going to start, what's he going to do.

Well, first he's meeting with a leading cuban paediatrician in hopes to have cuban participation in mother-child.org, an international research networking project Steven undertook for the Pasteur Institute.

He's also going to go visit the Linux user group at the Universidad de La Habana. They have an Ubuntu-based Linux distro, which apparently comes bundled with pre-configured Jabber client and RSS aggregator. I have a feeling he'll be dropping some of his ace WiFi-fu on them, having established his own community WiFi network in his hometown.

And then he's off to cycle all over the island, staying with families in their homes along the way. Apparently Cuba is extremely well suited to such cycling trips, with excellent roads and government subsidized rooming houses all over.

I made him promise to blog and photolog as much as he possibly can.

Bonne route mon ami. Be safe.

"We're not afraid!"


Police guard a cul-de-sac on Scotia Road in Streatham, south London, Saturday July 23, 2005. Residents described Saturday how police raided a house in the street earlier in the afternoon. One neighbour, who only wanted to be named as Marcia, said several police vans had stormed into the area before armed officers rushed to the address and ordered residents to get inside their houses. She said: 'They had already sealed it off and then the officers with guns came along telling us: 'Get inside or you will be arrested.' (AP Photo/PA, Lindsey Parnaby)

The man shot and killed on a subway car by London police in front of horrified commuters had nothing to do with this month's bombings on the city's transit system, police said Saturday in expressing their regrets. They identified the man as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian citizen.

FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DISINFORMATION pulled the trigger five times into an innocent man.

If you weren't afraid before, be at least very concerned now. And not about "terrorists".

"We're not afraid! We're not afrai... Oy! You! C'm'ere! I said c'm'ere! Hey! HEY! ..."

*bang bang bang bang bang*

"He.. he.. was carrying a gun, I swear! I'm sure I saw a bomb in his jacket! No really!"

Fear wreaks havoc on the mind.

Caption of above photo:

Police guard a cul-de-sac on Scotia Road in Streatham, south London, Saturday July 23, 2005. Residents described Saturday how police raided a house in the street earlier in the afternoon. One neighbour, who only wanted to be named as Marcia, said several police vans had stormed into the area before armed officers rushed to the address and ordered residents to get inside their houses. She said: 'They had already sealed it off and then the officers with guns came along telling us: 'Get inside or you will be arrested.' (AP Photo/PA, Lindsey Parnaby)

Bad. So bad.


Damn... I'm on the verge of popping a reblog feed of Andrew's blog in my sidebar...

The Karl Rove situation is a litmus test for just how far the Bush administration is willing to go to cling to power and lie to the American people, and just how Bushwhipped the mainstream media has become. Bush should have already been impeached over the Downing Street Memo. If he attempts to gloss over this with self-righteous rhetoric, y’all need to take to the streets.
You should read the whole thing.

Equally stinging is Steven's remix of the US Department of State's "Consular Information Sheet" on Cuba.

Zingers, gentlemen, zingers!

Fair and balanced?

I'd like to point out that, assuming that the terrorist attacks in London were perpetrated by Al-Quaeda / Muslim "extremists" - Der Spiegel and BBC Monitoring have reported a claim of responsibility by "Secret Organization - AlQuaeda in Europe" as an act of retribution for UK involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq - having various western "leaders" condem the attacks as barbaric and inhuman is pretty poor sportsmanship, if not outright "whiny little spoiled baby-ish".

What do you think the majority of civilian Afghan and Irqi casualties and their surviving relatives think of what the UK did to them? That's right, barbaric and inhuman. Which it is. Both situations are. Once you accept THAT, then you start frantically trying to stop it.

"You're killing me, stop!!"
"NO! You're killing ME! YOU stop!"
"NO, YOU!"

My sympathies to all involved and affected. All of this is going to get much much worse before it gets any better, and it won't be in any of our lifetimes. :(

Can hate be good?

"Hate something, change something."

That's what was on the mind of Honda engineers when they supposedly made a better diesel engine. Interesting. I think it is an all-out race to not only find any and all alternatives for fossil fuels, but also try to clean up as much as possible the existing processes of them.

via Stevey

Well said.

Andrew continues to make me cheer with his canadian political commentary. His take on bill C-38, "C-38 is a uniter, not a divider", is well worth a read. (Bill C-38 is same-sex marriage legislation that just got passed in Canada.)

I especially like the zinger of a conclusion:

Tell me this: is Quebec's cultural distinction better protected when flanked by the US and a separate Conservative Canada, or when it's playing a major role in making Canada a just society that protects minority rights and upholds real freedoms?


Oh and Steven shares this little gem. :)

UNESCO slaps U.S. & WTO's wrist, fighting to preserve cultural exception

This is a few days old, but I didn't see it anywhere else. (Found in Sylvain's del.icio.us stream)
French article and it's Google MangleTranslation.

I'll try to un-mangle the more salient parts:

After two weeks of negotiations, involving 500 experts from 130 countries and coming at the end of two years of often difficult deliberations, the ad hoc intergovernmental committee formed by UNESCO unanimously adopted, with the exception of the U.S.A. and Israel, the final text of "a convention for the protection of the diversity of cultural content and artistic expression".

This means a few things, if I understand correctly:

1- Cultural and artistic "products" would be hands-off for any WTO laws/resolutions
2- Governments are thus free to circumvent traditional "free-market rules" in order to protect their culture(s). Essentially it is permission for protectionist market tactics; in this case a good thing (as opposed to political protectionism of culture).
3- America's extreme anger at this (almost assured) adoption stems from the fact that they want nothing more than to export their cultural products as far and wide as possible, and the seemingly rock solid belief that a free-market economy can do no wrong.

The sad thing in all this is the necessity to view cultural production as an industry, and it's fruits as products. The line between art and entertainment is so incredibly blurred...

Some more points:

Culture is valued as a means of exchange, development and social cohesion. "Cultural diversity is an essential resource of a society's cultural capital, as biodiversity is crucial natural capital [of an ecosystem]". States are implored to favor, "by a multiplicity of means", the diversity of "the cultures of social groups and societies."

The Americans were generally unhappy with the participation of the Europeans, denying them recognition of any competence in cultural matters (!!!). [Keep in mind there were 500 representatives from 130 countries from around the world. China, Brazil, Mexico and India in particular were also very outspoken and in opposition to the U.S.'s position.]
The U.S. is categorically denying rumors that they are threatening to pull the plug on UNESCO financing in retribution for this, what they consider a slap in the face.

Just don't call it Brussel sprouts!

"Economic democracy" is a powerful concept in all kinds of ways both in its ambiguity as well as its linkages. There's a lot that goes with it practically and theoretically--and it should become a very familiar concept to the broader public and as part of the mainstream political discussion... it doesn't have to be framed in a purist way --which has been done by the utopians and marginal advocates for the approach--but as a continuoum--that begins with a little bit of democracy (active and honest consultation with the workforce) all the way to the full program--cooperatives and a fully integrated economic and political system...

The maxim "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" has a more positive cousin it seems: "if your kids don't want to eat their Brussel sprouts, call them little green leafy potatoes"... ;)

Tasty Brussel sprouts from Marx's garden! yay! Sounds ok to me.

WSIS, censorship & RSF

Michael is in Winnipeg participating in a UNESCO sponsored conference in preparation for it's presence at the WSIS summit in Tunisia in the fall.

This is serious, big boys stuff. ;)

He just reported something VERY disturbing:

The Tunisian ambassador to Canada has been here the whole conference (and some other guy from the Tunisian gov.) and he was a member of the welcoming commitee. The thing is - the internet in Tunisia is censored, so that Tunisians can't even visit the websites of the groups that will be at the conference. There's this human rights guy from tunisia and he keeps on bringing it up, and then the Minister get's all huffy and has to go and clear his government from blame.

This strikes me as not just ironic, but plainly idiotic.

Reporters Without Borders puts it thusly:

"President Ben Ali believes that the fact the UN agreed to hold a summit on the Internet in his country means the international community approves of his policy in this field," the organisation said. "We believe that, on the contrary, the Internet model advocated by Tunisia, combining censorship and crackdown, should be condemned by countries that care about freedom of expression".

No kidding.
/me is holding tongue... biting it even...

Poking around the Reporters Without Borders webiste I notice they have nominated a couple of weblog journailsts I know (even one who's site I built) for "freedom of expression blog" awards:
Dan Gillmor (Americas), Ethan Zuckermann (International), Rebecca McKinnon's "NKZone" (Asia), Hossein Derakhshan (Iran).

Great, congrats. Now, can we do something about the WSIS telling a president that it's ok to crackdown and censor access to information?

From WSIS's Declaration of Principles:

1. We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

4. We reaffirm, as an essential foundation of the Information Society, and as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organization. It is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits the Information Society offers.

Gott es wullen, das gibt's ja doch neht! So ein verdamtes Bloedzihn.

Say it ain't so, Joe, please, say it ain't so...


U.S. Senator Evan Bayh is a heartland Democrat with a proven and broad appeal, and a history of advancing progressive values in a heavily Republican state. First elected Governor at the age of 32 – the youngest in the nation – Bayh was reelected to the senate in November 2004 with the highest percentage of support in recent history, and outperformed President Bush in Indiana in the 2004 election. Since his election to the Senate in 1998, Bayh has developed a reputation as a common sense pragmatist, focusing on innovative solutions to help America tackle our challenges at home and defeat our enemies abroad.

Taken from Mr. Bayh's FLICKR account.

I feel so dirty now. How about you?


The original.
The remix.

Cringe cringe cringe.

Politically correct in Quebec

(or "baladi-balado")

Ok some background. I live in Quebec, a predominantly francophone ("french speaking") province ("state") of Canada. The francophones here are ridiculously anxious about protecting "their culture" (while they love nothing more than buying american products and seeing their sons and daughters listen to american hip hop and heavay métale). Anyways, in an effort to "protect our language", some of our hard earned tax dollars are poured into an organisation called "L'Office de la Langue Française" ("The Office of the french language"). Never mind that the French, from France, laugh spuriously at us for this, and the anglophones refer to them as "The Language Police".

A-Ny-Ways. I must say I am impressed with how on the ball these bureaucrats are. They aren't sitting around on my 50% income tax and 15% sales tax! No sir-ee-bob!

Friends, I give you the official, politically correct translation for french Quebec... of PODCASTING:

Vous avez entendu parler du podcasting? Sans doute, si vous possédez déjà un baladeur iPod. L'Office québécois de la langue française vient tout juste, en cette fin d’octobre 2004, de proposer les termes, encore tout chauds, baladodiffusion et baladiffusion pour nommer en français cette nouvelle réalité.

La baladodiffusion est un mode de diffusion d'émissions de radio Internet qui permet à l’abonné aux fils d'information RSS (la version Internet du fil de presse utilisé dans le monde des médias) de télécharger automatiquement sur son ordinateur, à l'aide de logiciels spécialisés, les émissions de radio qu’il a préalablement sélectionnées, et par la suite de les transférer sur un baladeur numérique à disque dur afin de les écouter en différé.

Le terme anglais podcasting est un mot-valise qui a été formé à partir des syllabes finales des mots iPod (nom commercial d'un modèle de baladeur numérique à disque dur de la société Apple) et broadcasting. Les termes baladodiffusion et baladiffusion sont aussi des mots-valises; ils sont issus de la contraction de baladeur (en référence au iPod) et de radiodiffusion. Dans le cas de baladodiffusion, on a ajouté la lettre de transition o entre les deux formants. Ces termes ont été créés sur le modèle de radiodiffusion, télédiffusion et webdiffusion.

Sadly you need to read french to get the hilarity of this. However, as I said, this is impressive, if not for their choice of translation, but for the fact that they cranked this out back in October 2004, they actually explain what it is, complete with an analogy of RSS as being the Internet version of news feeds, and also displaying their pride in "naming in french this new reality".

Aaron suggests, and I agree, we should petition to have the word changed to "Pataticasting". This would make it truly quebecois.
("Patate" is joual/slang for potato.)

The King of Yet-Also

Momus gives us this fantastic essay about Michael Jackson:
Nota: This is not about your or my or anyone's morals.

One of the reasons the Michael Jackson trial is so unfortunate is that the world of Either-Or will pass judgment on a creature of Yet-Also. The world of clear, unambiguous categories will pass judgment on someone who flies Peter-Pan-like over the binaries that confine and define the rest of us.


Consider all the extraordinary ways in which Michael Jackson is Yet-Also. He's black yet also white. He's adult yet also a child. He's male yet also female. He's gay yet also straight. He has children, yet he's also never fucked their mothers. He's wearing a mask, yet he's also showing his real self. He's walking yet also sliding. He's guilty yet also innocent. He's American yet also global. He's sexual yet also sexless. He's immensely rich yet also bankrupt. He's Judy Garland yet also Andy Warhol. He's real yet also synthetic. He's crazy yet also sane, human yet also robot, from the present yet also from the future. He declares his songs heavensent, and yet he also constructs them himself. He's the luckiest man in the world yet the unluckiest. His work is play. He's bad, yet also good. He's blessed yet also cursed. He's alive, but only in theory.

Do try to read the whole thing. I'd reprint it here but am weary of such things. Go go... it's a Peter Pan story!

Just how blinding is greed?

It's incredible how every day, they seem to push the gap between the rich and the poor ever wider open...

AlterNet: Open Fire On U.S. Consumers

So what does the bill do? It makes it harder for average people to file for bankruptcy protection; it makes it easier for landlords to evict a bankrupt tenant; it endangers child support payments by giving a wider array of creditors a shot at post-bankruptcy income; it allows millionaires to shield an unlimited amount of value in homes and asset protection trusts; it makes it more difficult for small businesses to reorganize, while opening new loopholes for the Enrons of the world; it allows creditors to provide misleading information; and it does nothing to reign in lending abuses that frequently turn manageable debt into unmanageable crises. Even in failure, ordinary Americans do not get a level playing field.

And how shamelessly corporation-states are getting involved in the only most financially self-serving aspects of government...

Who Wrote Illinois SB1700??? The Quest for the Guilty Party Continues...

I've been tracking down the actual authors of SB1700 and have now received independent confirmation from several sources that this state law wasn't written by a legislator at all. It now appears that SBC lobbyists are directly responsible for the language of the law -- in other words, this law appears to have been written, word-for-word by the major telecom industry that it's supposed to regulate. If this proves to be true (and I'm still looking for confirmation on the individual names and affiliations of the law's authors), it would represent an incredibly cynical machination on the part of the telecom incumbents and any legislator who supports this bill.

(Thx Steven for the links)

Non-Disclosure Agreement

After not even hearing the words for well over 3 years, today I was faced with no less than two prospective NDA's to sign. I haven't yet.

Reading over the one I did get sent to me, I am struck by how... inhuman... it is. Essentially, the NDA says "We, Corporation X, are interested in shoving some data into your CPU and RAM, but by no means may you add this data to your memory, at least not for five years."

In other words, in exchange for the chance to make some money, I relinquish my "self" and serve as a dummy processor.

This makes me uneasy in the extreme. The cost of doing business is relinquishment of self.
I left the corporate world over this. I think I may turn down two very lucrative contracts over it as well.

Canadian public geo-data copyrighted and sold by the government

Some cool folks, working on a cool project, are looking for some reliable geo-data for Canada. Place names and GPS coordinates, mostly. So I turn to Natural Resources Canada of course, the governmental body that has this stuff.

The first shocker is that they want $100 for the text file "product" we could use. Ok, I figure, theoretically my taxes cover their activities in this field but hey, $100 is not so bad for the level of apparent quality of the data.

But oh my... the terms of sale are outrageous:

1. The End-User acknowledges that the Data is protected under the Copyright Act of Canada.
Why? This should really be public domain. We paid for it already, and it is meant to serve us.
2. The Data is licensed, not sold, to the End-User for use subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement. The End-User owns the disk(s) or tape(s) on which the Data is recorded, but Canada retains all ownership interests in the Data.
Same as above. Why is it "theirs"? Isn't the Canadian government, essentially, "us"?
3. The End-User shall use the Data only on a single computer. The End-User must obtain a supplementary licence from Canada before using the Data in connection with systems, multiple central processing units, computer networks, or emulations on a mainframe or minicomputer.
Uh, hello 1973? The age of the standalone computer is looong gone.
4. The End-User may make one (1) copy of the Data for the purpose of backup only, which copy may not be used except in the event that the primary copy is damaged, destroyed or lost. The End-User shall reproduce on the backup copy the copyright notice appearing on the disk(s) or tape(s) on which the Data is recorded.
Gee, thanks for caring.
5. Except as provided in Article 4 above, the End-User shall not duplicate or reproduce the Data, in whole or in part, in any form or format whatsoever without the prior written consent of Canada.
Yeah right. Copy, paste. Try to stop us.
6. The End-User shall not sell, loan, lease, distribute, transfer or sublicense the Data or otherwise assign any rights under this Agreement to any third party without the prior written consent of Canada.
The fact that they are charging for this stuff makes this understandable... but that self same fact is itself not. In other words, I don't see why, or how, they can charge for this data AND hold us to these terms. Is National Resources Canada a business? If it is, why is it a governmental agency? What am I missing here?
7. If the End-User wishes to make any other copies of the Data for internal use, written authorization for such copies must be obtained from Canada prior to any copies being made and a royalty fee will be charged for each additional copy of the Data made by the End-User.
Yes big brother...
8. The Data is provided on an "as is" basis and Canada makes no guarantees, representations or warranties respecting the Data, either expressed or implied, arising by law or otherwise, including but not limited to, effectiveness, completeness, accuracy or fitness for a particular purpose.
Hah. After all that, and a hundred bucks, you don't take any responsibility for the quality of the data. C'mon get serious.

I dunno. Smacks me as wrong.


Discovered amongst the tracks of the recently mentioned Blogothèque compilations (go go go grab it!!! Junkie Brewster's rendition of "Like a prayer" alone is worth the download!) is a gem called "We shall overcome".

Here is the video version.

Gustav, who finds herself in Vienna, Austria [ ‚ô•!!! ] put out an album called "Rettet die Wale", a tongue in cheek play on translation, the way I love'em, meaning "Save the election"... Wale is german for election... Save the whale... save the election.. get it? get it? hah! Brilliant.

Great song. Listen to the lyrics closely.

Gratuitous political statements of the day

In the spirit of Turkey Day, here is "A thanksgiving Prayer" by William S. Burroughs

Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shit out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin' lawmen,
feelin' their notches.

For decent church-goin' women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for "Kill a Queer for
Christ" stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody's allowed to mind their
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories-- all right let's see
your arms!

You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.

And more generally, the words of Howard Beale ("Network", written by Paddy Chayefsky)

Get Mad

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

We know things are bad -- worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone."

Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot -- I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. (shouting) You've got to say, "I'm a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!" So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad! ... You've got to say, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

The Tube

You people and sixty-two million other Americans are listening to me right now. Because less than three percent of you people read books. Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers. Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break Presidents, Popes, Prime Ministers. This tube is the most awesome, god-damned force in the whole godless world. And woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people and that's why woe is us that Edward George Ruddy died. Because this company is now in the hands of CCA, the Communication Corporation of America. There's a new chairman of the board, a man called Frank Hackett sitting in Mr. Ruddy's office on the 20th floor. And when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome, god-damned propaganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what s--t will be peddled for truth on this network.

So, you listen to me! Listen to me! Television is not the truth. Television is a god-damned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, story tellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business. So if you want the truth, go to your God, go to your gurus, go to yourselves because that's the only place you're ever gonna find any real truth. But man, you're never gonna get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear. We like like hell! We'll tell you that Kojack always gets the killer, and nobody ever gets cancer in Archie Bunker's house. And no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry. Just look at your watch - at the end of the hour, he's gonna win. We'll tell you any s--t you want to hear. We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds - we're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube.

This is mass madness. You maniacs. In God's name, you people are the real thing. We are the illusion. So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence I am speaking to you now. Turn them off!

It's up to you

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even tacitly take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop, and you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.
- Mario Savio

Steinski - Mass Media - Television, It's up to you - Culture Remix
(temporary, 4.6M MP3)

Better late than never, DJ Shadow puts in a political effort.
"Would you buy a war fromt his man?" (temporary, 9.9M MP3)

The US becomes 'situated'

Absolutely brilliant article by Nick Currie (Momus) regarding the U.S. after the Bush re-election: The US becomes 'situated'.

A postmodern national identity happens when you see yourself as The Other. Before it saw itself as The Other, the US saw itself as The Universal. The Universal is invisible, the Other is visible. The Universal claims to be impartial, the Other admits its self-interest. The Universal is adult, the Other is childish. The Universal is level-headed, the Other impetuous, prone to tantrums and whining.

There are SO many good bits in here, I didn't know what to quote. Read it read it!

I call this 'moronic authenticity', because after decades or centuries attempting to embody mature, universal values (what else is the US constitution than a document of the liberal enlightenment, an attempt to assert universal human rights?) the US has decided to become a pastiche of something very local, limited and specific. And so cowboys and capitalists and every-man-for-himself gets paraded. But it's 'fake folk', and it's moronic. Bush can't even remember what people in Texas are supposed to say. When he reaches for a proverb, he peters out half way through. His American authenticity is as fake as a theme restaurant out on the highway.

Yes! Yes! One more:

Being 'The Other' is great for tourism. Ah, exotic America, so American! As a tourist destination, you can be as folksy as you like and as fake as you like, and families come back next year to the theme park. But being The Other is rotten for imperialism. When you run an empire you have to pose as a benign universal and paternalistic force, otherwise everybody will fight you and tell you to go home. You will have no legitimacy. This is what we're seeing now in Iraq. The Americans really thought they would have legitimacy in Iraq. They don't. As a result everything is going pear-shaped. It's not military force that allows empires to be maintained, it's legitimacy -- people's sense that you might really have their best interests at heart, and that your civilisation is an exportable model for everyone. The US used to seem like that, but it no longer does. Moronic authenticity and fake folk may be a great basis for tourism, but they're useless when it comes to running an empire.


There are two kinds of republicans

Every single american who voted republican yesterday falls into one of two categories:

Those who know exactly what is going on and support it, vociferously.
Those who haven't got a clue, are picking their bellybuttons and do as they are told.

I truly do not know which is more frightening.

Further, it's as if the democratic party doesn't even exist. It barely even matters. What we see is the two classic codependents of any young fundamentalist right-wing society; the few supremely rich upper-class misanthropists and the many lower-class poor, exploited brainwash victims who supply them with funding (acceleration) and bodies (momentum). The intellectual class, the "liberals", have been marginalized, ridiculed and now finally, shoved out.

The American Dream, turned Nightmare.

There are SO many ways this can turn. Change will come from inside or outside, and it will come. Any american who doesn't see that is deeply deluded, i.e. a republican of lower class.

Bigger than... Jebus!

I wasn't going to say anything about all this, but I just saw something that made my jaw drop...

Picture 1-1

Not the numbers or stats or anything like that... look closely... juuuust beneath the face-off box... First line after it.

"Election Night Blog"

Mind blowing, I say.

What Barry Says

I don't care who barry is, this is RIGHT ON the money:
What Barry Says

An un-apologetic criticism of US foreign policy and The Project for the New American Century. Animation follows the dialogue, giving visual poignancy and weight to Barry's words. The propoganda-esque style of the motion graphics further re-inforces the message. Is this a conspiracy theory? Far from it.

Here are places to download it (24 Meg QT .mov):

Watch it now. Show it to everyone you know!

[Thx Leonard!]

Creative Commons Activists and Activism

I'm thinking that one of the things the folks at Creative Commons haven't done yet (perhaps it is in planning or discussion?), is provide a way for people who are so inclined, and so disposed, to "spread the word".

Activists, evangelists, et al. The so-called grass-roots.

While the Creative Commons website provides loads of information about CC (animations, cartoons, explanations of licenses etc ... all VERY well done!), I can't seem to find a resources center and a community support network for people to get really involved beyond choosing a license and applying it to their work - provided they get it and they actually produce stuff.

There are loads of people who don't read weblogs, or WIRED magazine, who not only don't know that they as creatives have options, but also don't fully realize the cultural lock-down they are living in. Ignorance of rights and responsibilities is the death knell for freedom, choice, democracy...

So, an example: the previously mentioned POP Montreal Festival starting this week. A music festival promoting mostly independent musicians trying to get exposure and "make it". They get more established acts to come and play and hook them up with smaller bands as openers to give them exposure. That's the basic idea, as I understand it.

Now, say I wanted to promote Creative Commons at these events. I am not a musician, but I know some people involved in the POP Montreal organization who would probably be interested in all this stuff. Where do I get materials I can show them? Materials I can print up and distribute, or a clear, concise statement of purpose, for this context, I can yell in someone's ear over a rock song as they stand in front of me and I hand them a flyer/sticker/whatever? A package I can hand to each of the bands performing at the festival, to get them thinking about all this?

I am looking at the Dean techy diaspora, busy at work creating community building tools such as CivicSpace. Take a look at this: "SpreadFirefox". A grass roots, organized effort to Spread the Word about Firefox (the popular-but-not-popular-enough-yet Mozilla based web browser).

This effort needs to be waged on many fronts, right? Not just the artists themselves, not just politicians (who don't act so quick as when they have a fire under their ass), not just the all-to-rare leaders of industry who get it... but the people, hitherto known as the consumers, as well.

I think this needs to be talked about...

Center cut

Jim Moore's Journal: Addiction to the Center

Friend Jim makes a dire observation:

This reminds me of the alcoholic wag who said, "I have lost my wife and family, my job, my health--and my memory is getting poor.  Of course I drink!  What the hell would you do?"

Here is the same line from the DLC:  "The Democratic Party has lost the Senate, the House, and the Presidency.  People see us as unprincipled and without vision.  Of course we need to run like Republicans!  What the hell would you do?"

There is a rather precise definition of addiction, in cybernetic terms:

  1. A signal indicates that a problem has been encountered that requires the system to make a change in its behavior.  For example, losing one's health might be a signal to an alcoholic to stop drinking and seek recovery with the support of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  2. The operator of the system turns off the signal, or turns off awareness of the signal.  This action is generally called a "palliative"--i.e., it makes you feel better, but does not cure the true problem.  In the case of the alcoholic, further drinking turns off anxiety, guilt, shame, depression--at least temporarily.
  3. Because the underlying problem  has not been addressed, the condition of the system continues to decline.
  4. [Return to #1, and loop the program again.]


Most Americans are tired of right and left--tired, frankly of Republicans as well as Democrats.  Look, please, at the polls on non-voting and the expansion in numbers of independent voters. Most Americans would like a  newspectrum entirely, a new perspective.  Americans would--I believe--reward a party that creatively reframed our fundamental challenges.


A Democratic victory, however wide [or narrow -ed.], will not be a victory of ideas, but of tactics.  It will not have advanced political thought in our country, it will have further demeaned it.

We will not be on the road to recovery, we will be one loop deeper into addiction.  And as a nation, the process of this campaign is likely to leave us more misinformed, less effectively led, and more turned off.


Unfortunately Democrats may have a hell of a hangover from the campaign--having spent millions of dollars promoting a Republican point of view.

Remind me to rant about the Center... and how this election is not about progress or any such thing. It's about slamming the brakes. Not just on the hawks, the Reps et al, but the whole damn thing.

Oh god, no

This makes me so incredibly, furiously ill.

Why, oh why oh why oh why oh why does the human so single-mindedly seek to destroy his own humanity?
Eloquence eludes me. I just want to yell... Gah! You stupid fucking bastards. Wake the fuck up. Damnit. Damnit damnit damnit.

This poor girl, so full of life, so full of thirst for experience and joy. Snuffed out, her death precipitated by that self same flame that made her live; the catalyst in the environment she sadly found herself.

(To be clear, this is not, in my view, an islamic issue: it is human. This kind of madness has happened and continues to happen under every system we have ever conceived for ourselves.)

I'm going to go lie down and cry for there is nothing else to do. Sadly.

Do not go gentle into that good night
- Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Mourrir pour des idées
-Georges Brassens

Mourrir pour des idées, l'idée est excellente.
Moi j'ai faillit mourrir de ne l'avoir pas eu.
Car tous ceux qui l'avaient, multitude accablante,
En hurlant à la mort, me sont tombés dessus.

Ils ont su me convaincre, et ma muse insolente
Abjurant ses erreurs, se ralie à leur foi.
Avec un supson de réserve toutefois :

Mourront pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente.
D'accord, mais de mort lente.

Jugeant qu'il n'y a pas péril en la demeure,
Allons vers l'autre monde en flanant en chemin.
Car, à forcer l'allure, il arrive qu'on meurre
Pour des idées n'ayant plus court le lendemain.

Hors s'il est une chose amère, désolante
En rendant l'√¢me à dieu, c'est bien de constater
Qu'on a fait fausse route, qu'on s'est trompé d'idée.

Mourront pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente.
D'accord, mais de mort lente.

Les singes en bouche d'or qui prèchent le martir
Le plus souvent, d'ailleur, d'attardent ici bas.
Mourrir pour des idées, c'est le cas de le dire :
C'est leur raison de vivre, ils ne s'en privent pas.

Dans presque tous les camps, on en vois qui supplantent
Bient√¥t Mathusalem dans la longévité.
J'en conclus qu'ils doivent se dire en apparté :

Mourront pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente.
D'accord, mais de mort lente.

Des idée réclamant le fameux sacrifice.
Les sectes de tous poils en offrent des séquelles.
Et la question se pose aux victimes novices :
Mourrir pour des idées, c'est bien beau mais lesquelles ?

Et comme toutes sont entre elles ressemblantes,
Quand il les vois venir avec leurs gros drapeaux
Le sage en hésitant, tourne autour du tombeau.

Mourront pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente.
D'accord, mais de mort lente.

Encore s'il suffisait de quelques écatombes
Pour qu'enfin tout changeat, qu'enfin tout s'arrangeat.
Depuis tant de grands soirs que tant de têtes tombent,
Au paradis sur terre, on y serait déja.

Mais l'age d'or sans cesse est remis aux calendes.
Les dieux ont toujours soif, n'en ont jamais assez
Et c'est la mort, la mort, toujours recommencée.

Mourront pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente.
D'accord, mais de mort lente.

Oh vous les boute-feux, oh vous les bons appotres,
Mourrez donc les premiers, nous vous cédons le pas.
Mais de grace, morbleu, laissez vivre les autres,
La vie est à peu près leur seul luxe ici bas.

Car enfin la camarde est assez vigilante,
Elle n'a pas besoin qu'on lui tienne la faux.
Plus de danse maccabre autour des echafauds.

Mourront pour des idées, d'accord, mais de mort lente.
D'accord, mais de mort lente.

Suspect Device


Inflammable material is planted in my head
It's a suspect device that's left 2000 dead
Their solutions are our problems
They put up the wall
On each side time and prime us
And make sure we get fuck all
They play their games of power
They mark and cut the pack
They deal us to the bottom
But what do they put back?

Don't believe them
Don't believe them
Don't be bitten twice
You gotta suss, suss, suss, suss, suss out
Suss suspect device

They take away our freedom
In the name of liberty
Why don't they all just clear off
Why won't they let us be
They make us feel indebted
For saving us from hell
And then they put us through it
It's time the bastards fell


Don't believe them
Don't believe them
Question everything you're told
Just take a look around you
At the bitterness and spite
Why can't we take over and try to put it right


We're a suspect device if we do what we're told
But a suspect device can score an own goal
I'm a suspect device the Army can't defuse
You're a suspect device they know they can't refuse
We're gonna blow up in their face

(More links, per line, to come. any suggestions?)

The poets

Armed with poetry
poets lurk
streets and shoes
skirts and sun
poets lurk
armed with poetry

with lyre and
poets yell into a
sea of heads
bobing across
below the
shadow of the
all seeing buildings

armed with poems poets lurk
inside large rooms
conventions and stalk
armed with poems
words as pierceing
bits of glass
upon the skin
of knowing

that poets are armed with words...

Found in the comments of another blog. If someone knows the original author, I'd love to know.

"UN travel documents for a stateless person"

Bloomberg: Bobby Fischer wants to give up his US citizenship

Onetime world chess champion Bobby Fischer has submitted to the U.S. embassy in Tokyo a letter of intent to renounce his U.S. citizenship, said John Bosnitch, the head of the Free Bobby Fischer Committee.

Bosnitch said he handed the three-page, handwritten letter to an embassy guard and asked it be delivered "urgently'' to a consular officer, he said in a telephone interview.

"I believe this renunciation has full validity under the law,'' Bosnitch quoted Fischer as writing in the letter.

"Bobby Fischer is sick and tired of how he has been treated by the U.S. for the past 12 years,'' Bosnitch said. "The letter is a statement of renunciation of U.S. citizen ship by Bobby Fischer, and he issues that statement unilaterally.''

Fischer's attorney Masako Suzuki today filed suit against Tokyo immigration officials seeking to overturn cancellation of his permission to land in Japan and a deportation order, Bosnitch said.

The support committee is seeking to have Fischer recognized as a "stateless person'' and an international refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and obtain UN travel documents for him, Bosnitch said.

Wait a second... one can DO this? I mean, the "Stateless Person" and UN travel documents part?! Do you have to be a refugee or politically persecuted?! What if I just don't want any citizenship?!

Where do i sign?!
(Not that being Canadian is bad, far from it... just.. curious I guess... ;)

A failure of will

Sudan: The Passion of the Present: A failure of will

Forces from across the world are poised to help the people of Darfur, but no nation has the will to move forward.

We are in a tragic and signal moment, a catalytic moment, where the world sees the need, has the means, and yet continues to experience a failure of will. Giving the Sudanese government 30 more days--and then asking Kofi Annan for a report to the UN Security Council--assures 30 more days of death and destruction. Given the nature of the genocidal process being carried out in Sudan--engineered, intentional famine and epidemic disease--30 more days translates into months of additonal famine, and hundreds of thousands of additional lives lost.

Now it is the public's turn. It is our turn. The time is now for our action. We must ask our leaders to act now, not in 30 days.

Anybody have any information about what Canada is doing about this, if anything?

Google News Search: Canada Darfur. Good start.

The precedent is set, the case law is clear. Round up the perpetrators and prosecute.


To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.
if certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.

- Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, U.S. Prosecutor, Nuremburg 1945-6 WWII Nazi War Criminal Trials.

See also:
Attorney General Ramsey Clark to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: U.S. War of Aggression

Children at Abu Ghraib

This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow: July 04, 2004 - July 10, 2004 Archives

Three days ago, a German TV newsmagazine called Report Mainz broadcast an eight-minute segment reporting that the International Red Cross found at least 107 children in coaliton-administered detention centers in Iraq


Meanwhile, there's not a damn thing -- I mean, not a single word I can find -- about this yet in the U.S. media, but it's starting to pick up speed on the rest of our tiny planet, so far showing up in Der Spiegel (roughly Germany's equivalent to Time), an Australian ABC Radio report, and TV2 and NRK television in Norway, where the story might even lead to a change in Norway's participation in the U.S.-led coalition.

the fan is on.
the shit is in the hands of the thrower.
he's winding up...
wait for it...

Thx Steve.

Amendment X

The U.S. Constitution

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Where there's smoke

A quick note on Michael Moore/Fahrenheit 9/11...

Yes, it is propaganda (not a dirty word, remember... propaganda is not always a synonym for "lies"...), yes he may present things out of context sometimes, yes he's making alot of noise...

But where there is smoke, there is fire. You may not see the fire, heck you may even want to argue what fire is... but there it is...

I don't need much context to scratch my head in wonder when presented with scenes and quotes like:

"Some call you the elite, i call you my base." - GWB

"I call on all nations to fight these murderous terrorists... Thank you... Now watch this drive (golfing...)" -GWB

"Let the eeeeeaaaagle sooooaaaar..." -J.Aschcroft

"If I had GWB in front of me right now, I'd ask for his resignation" - Soldier in Iraq

When informed of terrorist attack on his nation, for 7 minutes he sat happily immobile.
(Here the context paints him as an idiot puppet of his handlers. Give me another valid explanation.)

Etc, etc, etc...

It is VERY easy to distort "facts", but a distorted fact requires an originating fact and here we have legitimate video footage. It may be a collage, but it certainly is NOT fabricated. Smoke requires fire.

You may not agree with Mr. Moore's message or delivery, but go see this movie, and then look at the current administration through the same critical lens you viewed it through.

Furthermore, if everything were "ok", do you think so many people would be up in arms about it?

Corruption, culture and democracy

"I think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people if it is well administered; and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupt as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other..."

"Benjamin Franklin to the delegates of the Constitutional Convention, prior to the final vote

v. cor·rupt·ed, cor·rupt·ing, cor·rupts
v. tr.
  1. To destroy or subvert the honesty or integrity of.
  2. To ruin morally; pervert.
  3. To taint; contaminate.
  4. To cause to become rotten; spoil.
  5. To change the original form of (a text, for example).

I like to think that what Franklin meant by "when the people shall become so corrupt" is not, by our modern usage of the word "corrupt", that everyone is "on the take", but rather that the very fabric of society, culture, is undermined, weakened.


  1. Possessing, displaying, or based on reliable information: informed sources; an informed opinion.
  2. Knowledgeable; educated: the informed consumer.

    1. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
    2. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
    3. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.
    4. The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.
  1. Intellectual and artistic activity and the works produced by it.
    1. Development of the intellect through training or education.
    2. Enlightenment resulting from such training or education.
  2. A high degree of taste and refinement formed by aesthetic and intellectual training.
  3. Special training and development: voice culture for singers and actors.
  4. The cultivation of soil; tillage.
  5. The breeding of animals or growing of plants, especially to produce improved stock.
  6. Biology.
    1. The growing of microorganisms, tissue cells, or other living matter in a specially prepared nutrient medium.
    2. Such a growth or colony, as of bacteria.

An "informed culture" is a strong culture; aware of it's history, building on it's ancestors' knowledge and experience, with no room or time to entertain the frivolities of superficiality and repetition. A weakened, un- or under-informed culture is prone to disease; corruption. The uninformed, bewildered, follow any trend or seeming novelty the wind blows their way. And what happens when one has such a situation, where there are a few informed and many uninformed? You guessed it: the informed have control of the uninformed.

How does one weaken a culture? As with so many things in history, we cannot point the finger to any one player. Rather, a long chain of developments - technological, economic, political - have brought us here. A good starting point is the arrival of mass-production... and plastics. Without wanting to recount the wonderful explanations of the threads of events that James Burke gave us in his books, articles and BBC Television series, "Connections", suffice it to say that with mass production, we get mass consumerism: in the extreme, the annihilation of the individual.

So begins the corruption of the people. With a view to fiscal growth, and with the power to mass produce any desire at the snap of a finger, one creates a marketing machine which, combined with policy changes which, amongst many other things, slash education funding and restrict rights on knowledge (ahem, intellectual property), the stage is set. The culture is weakened, and progress slowed.

Is this not what we are witnessing today? Mass marketing culture, the frightening stance of the domestic and foreign policies of "America", the aberration that is copyright? These are intricately related, woven together so finely, with a myriad other threads and patterns, as to be almost imperceptible.

In this weakened culture, one cannot help but to find ourselves in a bewildering vortex of confusion, unsure of anything, questioning and counter-questioning any number of trivialities simply because the majority can see only the superficialities fed to them.

Myself included, then, with my limited and superficial knowledge and views, find precious few moments where I can even begin to believe I see something in the haze. My eyes are straining... and what they do see makes me uneasy.

The separation of people and state

Escapable Logic

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.
                                – Dwight Eisenhower

Gulag in America

From What is The Message? (McLuhan Program at UofT Weblog)

The Reversal of America. In a democratic country that values the rule of law, that has a constitution with enshrined "God-given" rights to due process of law and public trials, an innocent man, wrongly incarcerated and abused, should not fear what the government would do to him if called to testify in a court of law. So-called war or no war, this is a shameful situation.

Discussing this story of one Purna Raj Bajracharya, an innocent tourist locked up and fundamentally mistreated.

Am I indulging in hyperbole when I describe Mr. Bajracharya's ordeal worthy of comparison to the Soviet-style gulag? Judge for yourself:

He had spent almost three months in a 6-by-9-foot cell kept lighted 24 hours a day. The unit of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where he was kept has become notorious for the abuses documented there by the Justice Department's own inspector general, who found a pattern of physical and mental mistreatment of post-9/11 detainees. Videotapes showed officers slamming detainees into walls, mocking them during unnecessary strip-searches, and secretly taping their conversations with lawyers.

Every day, worse.

This is getting medieval

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: Condom Wars

Lethal new regulations from President Bush's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, quietly issued with no fanfare last week, complete the right-wing Republicans' goal of gutting HIV-prevention education in the United States. In place of effective, disease-preventing safe-sex education, little will soon remain except failed programs that denounce condom use, while teaching abstinence as the only way to prevent the spread of AIDS. And those abstinence-only programs, researchers say, actually increase the risk of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Few things surprise me anymore. Except for examples of such extreme stupidity as this. I should thank the current U.S. administration for consistently re-invigorating my sense of awe...

Oh, Canada

Mark Federman over at the McLuhan Program says this about the upcoming Canadian elections.

I've been meaning to write about the imminent Canadian election, scheduled for June 28, because the message of the discourse has been bothering me tremendously of late. If the news media and polls are to be believed, Canadians are apparently a churlish lot, and are either incredibly selfish, or collectively suffering from mass Alzheimer's Disease.

Part of the democratic calculus of any election revolves around whether the incumbent party and leader "deserves" to have another term. The relative deservedness of office for any sitting Prime Minister should logically focus on the results of the prior mandate: Is the country better off, in general? Are we collectively farther up the economic scale compared to conditions of the last election? Are we healthier, caring for our disadvantaged better, setting a good example for the world, enriching our lives, creating a legacy of which to be proud? There is no government, past or future, that has ever been, or will ever be, able to claim complete and absolute success on any of these criteria. But what the electorate should be judging is the trend. This is the essence of deservedness.

Read the whole thing if you have a minute. I am unable to comment really since I am not really following this at the moment... - I know! I know! Shame on me. I'll get to it. - but Mark as always speaks da trooph. IMHO.

(Forgive the clichéd title. It was too easy.)

Fahrenheit 9/11 trailer online

The trailer for Michael Moore's new film, the Cannes Palme D'Or winning Fahrenheit 9/11, just went live online. Check it out.

On elections

Now, lemme get this straight...

"On Sunday, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin called general elections for June 28, 2004."

One month.

On Politics

'In our time the destiny of man presents its meanings in
political terms' - Thomas Mann

HOW can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!

-William Butler Yeats

The F-word in school

No, not *that* f-word...

The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Editorials: Hard lessons from poetry class: Speech is free unless it's critical

A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being "un-American" because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its "No child left behind" education policy.

The girl's mother, also a teacher, was ordered by the principal to destroy the child's poetry. The mother refused and may lose her job.

Bill Nevins was suspended for not censoring the poetry of his students. Remember, there is no obscenity to be found in any of the poetry. He was later fired by the principal.

There is something obscene in all this, though. Need I point it out?

Ok. "Military liaison"?

An economy of caring

Friend Jim Moore is doing all he can to garner attention, raise awareness and just get people to care about a situation of genocide and other nastyness happening in Sudan at the moment.

Much of his efforts are focused on getting the blogosphere to CARE and visit and link to and subscribe to Sudan: The Passion Of The Present Blog.

Jim wrote me a few days ago to say hi, and also to see if I had any thoughts on helping getting the word out. I was immediately reminded of two things: a conversation between Jim and Joi that I was privileged enough to sit in on in which they discussed how hard it seems to be to get people to care about things outside of their own immediate spheres, and the concept of "The Attention Economy".

The information is all there, available to any one of us. The "Attention Economy" is, loosely, about getting enough attention to the information that matters or is of value. Weblogs seem to do this quite well. But there is another threshold: caring. Once one's attention is grabbed, for example the news of genocide somewhere in the world, there is a gap between intellectually "getting it" and viscerally "feeling it".

I think, in the information overflow of today, we've definitely turned on some sort of desensitization mechanism. A major part of that mechanism is a belief, and therefore actualization, of helplessness. "Yeah but what can I possibly do?"

Weblogging's power of growing attention is definitely one, albeit small perhaps, "thing I can do", which creates a sense of caring in the individual. And when many people exchange, share, spread that caring, we create an "Economy of Caring".

Enough caring always results in some kind of action. Call it emotional payoff.

Reading the graph

BBC graph of US public opinion re: iraq war
over at Jim Moore's . I read it like this:

The more information leaks out of Iraq, the less enthusiastic the American public is about the whole thing. (There is hope afterall!)

And, look at what was needed for the switch to happen! Unofficial, unsanctioned photos and video being leaked. A few drops of "truth"...

I also read the red line as being the rightist propaganda machine desperately trying to keep a grip on the minds of Americans, fighting hand nail and tooth as the sheer weight of reality pulls down on it.

Shams always collapse. Why despots never learn this lesson is a mystery to me, and a miracle, our ace in the hole...

Glad I'm not american

I wasn't going to comment about the hostage takings starting up in Iraq, but this Globe & Mail homepage shot makes it quite clear. The japanese and the canadian hostages stand a good chance of going home. The american doesn't. I hope you sleep well, Mr. Dick Cheney.

While I'm at it...
Yankee, go the fuck home. It is utterly irrelevant what you think is right or wrong. They do not want you in their land. Whether you liberated or invaded them is a moot point. They WILL kill you and yours. You have two choices: get the hell out once and for all, or annihilate the entire region. Otherwise, settle in for a long, bloody (and I mean that literally) time. Nobody wins in this and you know it, I know you do.

Koizumi-san, how did that feel? You scared shitless yet? You are ready to betray your people any more? Did you watch what happened in Spain last month? Pull the SDF out, please.

Thank god, praise allah, etc etc that Chretien had to the good sense to tell Bush et al to take a hike.

Soli, I hope your buddy gets home safe.

Absurdity and that "F" word i keep using...

From the Interesting People mailing list:

Recent comments about how we live in dangerous and
chilling times (after 9/11) should be seen in perspective
to 1968, when:

- 25000 American soldiers had been killed in 3 years of the
Vietnam War.

- The leading proponents for change (Martin Luther
King and Robert F. Kennedy) were assassinated.

- The Soviet Union was considered a nuclear threat
that could wipe out the United States in a day.

- Protesters against the war in Chicago during the
Democratic National Convention were stopped with
police-state tactics.

I have posted rare video tape footage of CBS News
on April 4, the day Martin Luther King was assassinated,
and ABC News coverage of the Democratic National
Convention from Aug 28, 1968, the night of the largest
riots, the fight over the Vietnam War plank (whether to
change Democratic party plank to allow Vietnam the
right to determine its own government and stop bombing
the north) and Vice Presidents Humphrey's nomination.


I like especially the sequence of five videos covering a "debate" between the intellectual heavy weights of the left and the right of the time, Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. It only goes to prove how the right is of animalistic tendency, even in it's higher brain functions.


One night about a week before leaving for the ETech Conference/Digital Democracy Teach-In, and just after having spent some time hanging out with the very cool Dean For America gang, I caught "Field of Dreams" playing on late-night television.

I always liked that movie. Really. Somewhere deep in my subconscious it always struck a chord. "If you build it, they will come, Ray."

Seeing it again, I was reminded of another fantastic quote, delivered by James Earl Jones at the very end of the movie.

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray.

People will most definitely come

- Terrence Mann - "Field of Dreams"

This story is not about baseball, Ray. It is about the soul of America, and democracy.

Build it, Ray.

Equal schmequel

Equal footing of social standing on a level playing field is a pipe dream; one that if you smoke too much from will blind you to the malcreants who will take advantage of your torpor to hoist themselves above you.

This applies equally to the current debacle about the "A-list bloggers" as to the state of "democracy" in the world at large, and everything in between.

The ones "on the top" stand on our shoulders. When they forget that, it is our task to shake them down.