Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Yes Men

Steve Lambert writes for BOMB :

The Yes Men are America's foremost impostors. Since the mid-'90s the duo has bluffed their way into corporate conferences and television interviews in the guise of top-level executives. Waltzing though security in thrift–store suits, they restitute the injustices and corruption of corporate and governmental power elites. After they're escorted out, the future they've forecast is injected into the evening news.

Their work as unauthorized spokespeople has found Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum declaring on BBC television—as a Dow Chemical representative—that the chemical manufacturer would dedicate $12 billion in reparations to victims of the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India. In 2006, they arrived in New Orleans as HUD representatives to announce that 5,000 units of affordable public housing slated for demolition would be maintained.

Absurdist mischief-makers or utopian visionaries? A little of both; the Yes Men select their targets because they propagate economic imbalance—or worse—deprive citizens of a voice with corporate smokescreens. Their slant toward collective utopia has dovetailed into and influenced my own art. For the past five years we've been working on parallel paths: turning real situations into temporary utopias. When we found ourselves at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center together in 2007, it didn't take long to hatch a plan. Between February and November of 2008, Bichlbaum and I coordinated the New York Times Special Edition. In November, our mock version of the Times was distributed around the country, announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a maximum wage, a new national public transit system, and 14 more pages of good news. I spoke to Bichlbaum and fellow Yes Man Mike Bonanno as they were preparing for the premiere of their second film, The Yes Men Fix the World, at Sundance.

~ more... ~

Does India's Far Right want a cyberwar?

From Information Warfare Monitor :

Posted by: gregw

Peace activist J. Sri Raman is critical of the BJP's IT Vision Document:

India: After Nuclear War Far Right Wants Cyber War

With elections looming in India, if the government confirms the Tracking GhostNet findings, we can expect this issue to edge up the domestic agenda - that's if India can tear itself away from the IPL!

India: After Nuclear War Far Right Wants Cyber War
Column: J. Sri Raman

After Nuclear War, India's Far Right Wants Cyber War

by J. Sri Raman,
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Less than four months ago, a loud and clear call for a nuclear war emanated from India's far right. From the same quarters comes now the call for preparations for a cyber war.

The nuclear war cry followed the Mumbai terrorist strike of November 2008. The cyber war drumbeat assails our ears on the eve of the crucial general elections the country will witness from April 16 to May 13, 2009.

The strident call of December 11, 2008, was for a South Asian nuclear war with the potential to spread across the world. The campaigners for the cyber war have not Pakistan, but India's northern neighbor, China, mainly in mind,

We took note of the nuclear saber-rattling in these columns earlier ("India's Right Wing Wants Nuclear War," December 18, 2008). The chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteers' Association), patriarch of the "parivar" as the far-right "family" is popularly known, proclaimed nuclear war as the final solution to the problem of terrorism. Kuppahalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan, no less the führer of the far right despite his relatively low profile, thought nothing of this growing into a nuclear Third World War against terrorism. His Nazi-like logic was that such a war of extreme nationalism would cleanse the world as well.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political front of the "parivar" and the main opposition in India's parliament, generally pretends to be more moderate than the RSS on issues of fundamental importance to the far right. The party has to win political allies and cobble up a coalition if it wants power. The BJP, however, kept eloquently silent on Sudarshan's statement.

But it is the BJP, and none of the theoretically non-political members of the "parivar," that has taken the initiative on the cyber war front. The party spells out its policy on the subject in a document, released some days back, titled "BJP"s IT Vision." Calling for "an integrated National Cyber Security Plan, covering all aspects of external defense and internal security," the document also stresses the need for "an independent Digital Security Agency."

This agency, it is declared, will be "responsible for cyber warfare, cyber counter-terrorism and cyber security of national digital assets."

The declaration - particularly of cyber warfare as the primary task of the proposed agency - has provoked derision in some quarters. But it has also caused dismay in others who do not dismiss a far-right statement of this kind as a mere faux pas.

To ordinary observers, the idea of an official agency for the conduct of cyber warfare may seem odd, as such warfare is by definition unlawful. The recognized firms of cyber warfare include - besides cyber espionage, web vandalism, propaganda and paralysis of computer networks - attacks on not only enemy equipment but also infrastructure of public use such as power, water, communication and transport structures and systems. The far right, however, firmly believes that law is what it lays down.

One of the few commentators to have taken note of the document, Binu Karunakaran, writes: "Did they mean to say counter-cyber warfare and suffered a Freudian keyboard slip? No sane country in the world is likely to set up a body for cyber warfare - the unofficial stink job of spy agencies and misguided techno-jihadis." The document itself, however, leaves little doubt that the wording about an agency for cyber warfare was deliberate. Before issuing this call, the BJP emphasizes the need for building both "defensive and offensive capabilities for electronic warfare."

The document does not name the enemy or enemies to be engaged in an electronic war, but states: "Countries with adversarial relations to India are already working on doctrines that aim to cripple our communications and information networks, thereby paralyzing our command and control structures in the event of hostilities. Sadly, this is an area that was ignored by the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) Government (of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) at great peril to India's security concerns."

China as India's cyberspace challenge had, however, been named a year ago. There were reports in April 2008 that several computers in the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi had been hacked and "vital files" lost. Friends of the far right in the establishment were quick to blame the crime on Beijing. But the government, which ignored them initially, officially subsequently absolved China of any role in the suspected sabotage.

High government officials, however, have sounded an alarm about cyber threats to India after the release of the BJP document. On March 26, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar said in New Delhi: "Cyber attacks and cyber terrorism are the new looming threats on the horizon. There could be attacks on critical infrastructure such as telecommunications, power distribution, transportation, financial services, essential public utility services and others." He did not name China as the enemy in this regard, but tied the threats to terrorism.

China, however, was to figure prominently in a series of reports on cyber threats since then. On March 28, an unidentified high military officer was reported to have told well-known daily The Hindustan Times that, according to army intelligence, Beijing was planning an "information war" impliedly as a prelude to a major conflict by 2017.

Then came the sensational world media story about a huge Chinese spy network that had "hacked into classified files in computers in 103 countries and monitored secret correspondence sent by the office of the Dalai Lama." The Tibetan Buddhist leader was given asylum in India in 1859 and has been based in Dharamshala, a Himalayan town in north India, ever since.

Researchers in Britain and Canada were said to have exposed "GhostNet," a network allegedly gathering information from governments and private organizations. The reported finding was that the network had spied on about 1,300 computers belonging to governments in Europe and South Asia. It was supposed to have used software "so advanced it could turn on the camera and audio-recording functions of an infected computer, allowing those watching to see and hear what was happening in a room."

China has scoffed at the allegations. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was quoted as saying in Beijing that the researchers' findings were symptoms of a "Cold War virus" that caused people overseas to "occasionally be overcome by China-threat seizures."

Far less noticed than the findings was a plea from one of the researchers against rushing to conclusions. Ronald J. Deibert of the University of Toronto said: "We're a bit more careful about it, knowing the nuance of what happens in the subterranean realms."

He added: "This could well be the CIA or the Russians. It's a murky realm that we're lifting the lid on." We must wait for further revelations. As for India's far-right warriors, meanwhile, the lid is off their latest march forward: from nuclear madness to cyber militarism.


A freelance journalist and a peace activist in India, J. Sri Raman is the author of "Flashpoint" (Common Courage Press, USA). He is a regular contributor to Truthout.

Black Sabbath - 'War Pigs' (set to political footage)

G20 police assault on man moments before he died

Ian Tomlinson, who died during G20 protests in London, was attacked from behind by a batonwielding police officer. The police afterwards lied and claimed protestors had impeded those trying to provide medical aid to the injured man.

Musical Innerlube:Pink Floyd - 'Comfortably Numb'

Pink Floyd playing Comfortably Numb at Live 8

Hunger striker's anti-big business protest

A Greek entrepreneur protesting against the power of big business has started the fourth week of a hunger strike.
The man says he's prepared to sacrifice himself on behalf of his 200 employees, who lost their jobs because of what he alleges were illegal practices.
From Athens Malcolm Brabant
Theodore Tenezos, hunger striker. @ 24
George Cosmopoulos, Stop Cartel campaign. @100

The children of Marx and aftershave by Lena Valencia

From BOMBLog :

Even your favorite auteurs had to make rent at some point. Check out this delightfully compact commercial for Schick aftershave directed by none other than Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin, then read Lynne Tillman’s interview with Gorin on BOMBsite.

~ Source link ~

Parent Licensing by Pierre Lemieux

In the Winter 1980 issue of Philosophy and Public Affairs, Hugh LaFollette, a philosophy professor at East Tennessee State University, published an article arguing for the need to license parents.[1] The argument is quite straightforward. "We," or "our society," understandably require licensing for automobile operators, physicians, lawyers, pharmacists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, all activities that require a certain competence and are "potentially harmful to others." The two criteria of potential harm and ascertainable competence apply even more to parenting, which is "an activity potentially very harmful to children." Therefore, would-be parents should be forced to demonstrate their competence, obtain a license, and perhaps be trained, before rearing their children, for the same reasons that we strictly regulate the adoption process. "Undoubtedly," LaFollette writes, "one should be wary of unnecessary government intervention in individuals' lives. In this case, though, the intrusion would not often be substantial, and when it is, it would be warranted."

Since it was originally published, this paradigmatic article has been reproduced in more than a dozen books of public policy, ethical philosophy, and "environmental ethics." The proposal has gained disciples in other countries, and these are often more radical than LaFollette himself, who thought that alternative systems could perhaps protect children adequately. "For example," he wrote, "a system of tax incentives for licensed parents, and protective services scrutiny of nonlicensed parents, might adequately protect children." Two Canadian public health specialists argue that "[n]o one should be allowed to raise children until they have finished high school, completed a parenting course, and obtained a licence."[2] A famous British surgeon, Sir Roy Calne, argues that people should have to pass a parenting test and obtain a reproduction license before being allowed to have children.[3]

Note how narrow a conception of rights underlies Prof. LaFollette's argument. Prior restraint of the kind involved in licensing is justified "if the restriction is not terribly onerous and the restricted activity is one which could lead easily to serious harm." In this perspective, only a limited number of real rights exist: rights of free speech (which, coincidentally, apply mainly to intellectuals like LaFollette), religious rights, right to vote, and rights of association. Presumably, individuals will associate to talk and worship, for what else is there to do? Even the enumerated rights can be limited to protect third parties. And "rights" to engage in hazardous activities, like parenting, are conditional on meeting minimal standards. Determination of the nature of harm and the cost of restraint, and definition of real and conditional rights, presumably belong to "society."

Also underlying the proposed scheme is an underestimation of the efficiency of free human interactions, combined with an overblown confidence in political and bureaucratic processes. Statists tend to compare imperfect markets with perfect government. In this perspective, LaFollette would certainly agree with the World Bank researchers who recently wrote: "A priori, parents would ideally always be willing and able to protect children from tobacco themselves. If this happened, there would be little need for government to duplicate such efforts ... Perfect parents, however, are rare."[4]

LaFollette would probably add, in his usual cool way, that the parent licensing system will not be perfect, but just less imperfect than the harmful system of totally private parenting that we now have. This completely neglects the effect of the proposed system on the growth of state power. It is recommended not to laugh at slippery slope arguments when you are actually speeding on a very slippery one.

~ more... ~

Larger than life: Portraying the iconic artist

The City University of New York

Propaganda then and now: What Orwell did and didn't know

The New York Public Library

'The act of penetration is a force of nature that is loaded with meaning and mystery'

From Sex and the Power of Language posted by Wendy Strgar :

Penetration is the word often used to describe the culminating act of sex. It's a word I often use when describing the best use of a good lubricant. But it was just this week after using the word in conjunction with the act that I wondered what I was saying. The verb to penetrate has six different definitions in the dictionary and as in the power of any metaphor, the meaning one attaches to the term may deeply influence our relationship to the act.

A lesbian friend of mine once told me that it is not uncommon for many of her friends to maintain a no penetration relationship, and among my heterosexual friends, it is not a small minority who avoid penetration with their spouses. I never asked them but I wonder if for them, the meaning of penetration feels like this definition of a military force entering into enemy territory or the depth of a projectile into a target. Certainly the idea of women as targets for men is rampant and so the need to protect oneself is also deeply held.

To penetrate also means to have an effect throughout, spread through; permeate, move deeply, or imbue. Applied again as a metaphor for sexuality this penetration is an act that transforms, that has the potential of changing everything. This sexual act can have the force of inspiration, the possibility of being completely saturated with love.

~ more... ~

A New World Order has emerged

George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, José Manuel Barroso, Kevin Rudd, Lou Dobbs, Hillary Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Strobe Talbot

Former C.I.A. agent Chip Tatum on George H. W. Bush & Bill Clinton's cocaine smuggling connection

Advert for Chinese toilet enema

And now for something completely different

Salbuchi: Global financial collapse

An Argentine opinion on the Global Financial Crisis, describing the whole Global Financial System as one vast Ponzi Scheme. Like a pyramid, it has four sides and is a predictable model. The four sides are:
(1) Artificially control the supply of public State-issued Currency,
(2) Artificially impose Banking Money as the primary source of funding in the economy,
(3) Promote doing everything by Debt and
(4) Erect complex channels that allow privatizing profits when the Model is in expansion mode and socialize losses when the model goes into contraction mode.

How will the Global Financial Collapse end? Are we on the way towards global war and world government?

~ Source: Information Clearing House ~


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