Monday, February 28, 2011

BBC now admits Al Qaeda never existed

Study for a riot

"During 2010, Greece came under the supervision of IMF and EU. The fear of poverty and financial recession has built up a feeling of social unrest. Memories of the Greek riots of 2008, according to the media, have created the expectation in Greece and abroad, of a new, more violent riot.

Influenced by this atmosphere, we created in a deserted ceramics factory in Athens a series of actions during May 2010. At the time we wanted to give form to feelings intuitively provoked by the signs of unrest we received from all around us. We used the objects that were plentifully scattered in the ruins of the factory: red powder, ceramics, wood and ropes. We installed sculptural structures and we recorded, on video, short collision-scenes. Red powder represented the outcome of every human violent act.

The deserted industrial setting was used as a metaphor for the financially devastated country. The multiple-screens structure of the video is a reminder of the surveillance cameras used by the police. The sound was recorded live during each of the actions.

We doubt the efficiency of violent rioting and search for a new way. Essentially we have found nothing yet, however, we enjoy searching."

AUJIK - A Forest Within A Forest

AUJIK is a new age group that shares Shintos belief that everything of nature is animated, even the things that we consider the most artificial and synthetic.

Just as with other forms of animism, AUJIK worships everything that comes out of nature and regard it as spiritual beings, the main difference with AUJIK is that science and technology is considered as sacred as stones and trees.

Melvin Lavell writes in his books Esoteric Perception of Artificial Intelligence and Ghost in the machine of sticks and stones that all sort of communicative technology since the first radio waves posses something metaphysical and spiritual and when it will reach a more sophisticated form more people will discover it and then it will reach a religious status.

The Shinto priest Hideaki spoke about similar things in the 1800:th century after he had seen a Karakuri doll( a clockwork robot made of wood) and claimed that in the future we will create mechanical characters that will become so superior to our own intelligence and ability's that we will subject oneself s as they were goods[sic].

These thought was the fundament for AUJIK's doctrine and then later developed in to something that reminds of theological dualism were the original nature (trees, metals, organism etc)is considered esoteric chaos and the refined nature(computers, robots, DNA-manipulation etc) is considered esoteric order.

The resistance between those has during the years decreased and will one day converge in a pyramid shaped top that will fill the world with clarity and supreme truth.

By creating organic/synthetic artifacts AUJIK believe they will reach this level a lot faster than it is destined.

Mira Calix - Hiccup from the album Skimskitta.
Written and produced by Mira Calix.
©Warp music 2000.

Moloch is a comment to future philosopher Christopher Markovich thoughts about primary nature(forest, plants etc) and secondary nature(computers, machines etc) and the distinction between them.
Markovich claims that the secondary nature will outnumber the primary because the primary's lack of adjustment.
The video features trees that evolved robotic extensions and it is unclear if they have a function or not.

The ABCs of Participatory Economics

From Participatory Economics: A Theoretical Alternative to Capitalism, a review by Geert Dhondt:

Participatory economics envisions a very different economy with new institutional arrangements. Instead of private ownership of capital, there is social ownership of the means of production, which means either there are no owners or everyone owns the means of production, so ownership does not generate income or power differences as it does in capitalism. Allocation has a different set of institutional arrangements; instead of markets, there is a system of democratic or participatory planning. Consumer councils create consumption plans, workplace councils create workplace plans, and facilitation boards (administrative institutions) try to refine the different plans and make them correspond. Everybody participates, everyone helps make decisions. Participatory economics has a few new elements that I will briefly introduce. First, it has democratic workers and consumer councils. Second, it is characterized by the concept of balanced-job complexes. Third, remuneration is determined according to one’s effort as judged by one’s work-mates. And, fourth, participatory planning is the allocation mechanism that replaces central planning and markets.

Workers are organized in workers’ councils. This is the first step in establishing non-hierarchical and dignified work. Every work place is governed by these workers’ councils. Albert and Hahnel recognize that democratic councils by themselves do not promote participation sufficiently because while some work is empowering, some work is not. Disempowered workers would come to the council (or not come) lacking information, skill, and energy to participate in a meaningful manner. To solve this problem, Albert and Hahnel propose balanced job complexes, which I think is their most valuable and original theoretical contribution.

Jobs are a certain combination of tasks, and in our current system, certain jobs are intended to be rote jobs, while others are more rewarding. Jobs are organized in a very hierarchical manner. So if one would create a workplace council in such a place there would be power differences. Take for example a person, who has only been sweeping the floor all day, and another who has been meeting all day, thinking, and making decisions. The latter has much more information than the former. When these two people sit on the council, one will be in a position to participate on a different level, which will create a monopoly of knowledge. Thus, it is necessary to break up jobs so that they are more egalitarian. This is what a balanced job complex is—a restructuring of tasks that need to be performed so that instead of having one person run the place while the other sweeps it, tasks are combined and balanced in such a way that each job is equally rote and rewarding, and each person has a fair share of each sort of task. This concept of the balanced job complex is key to creating a more egalitarian world where people are empowered and have control over their own lives—a society that has neither masters nor slaves.

~ more... ~

From Tute Bianche to the Book Bloc (by Uniriot)

The goal is to reduce the excess that knowledge produces, to force into precincts the possibility, directly implied by the production of knowledge, of autonomy and critics. In Italy, we have given this process the name “downgrading”, to indicate the process by which the forced impoverishment, and the reduction of opportunities with respect to one’s life and work plans are functional to savage and unscrupulous precarization. As if to say that, put in a state of absolute necessity, of utter precarity, young people and students all over Europe may be, in the economic mechanism, prepared and subjected to mechanisms of constant blackmail.What is this if not a modern variant of slavery? The traditional opposition of the Left Party and also of most of the unions is not able to give an answer that is up to this set of problems. When you, when we took the streets this fall, the claims, the desires that we expressed could not have been represented by anyone. This is because in the context of crisis, also the neoliberal revolution has found an easier way, even more in the face of the obvious failure of the reformist hypothesis and of thetraditional neo-Keynesian alternatives. And the news these days is that Obama was forced to launch a very hard financial manoeuvring, "tears and blood”, with huge cuts to public expenditure and to the world of knowledge and education. So when we speak of economic and global crisis, we refer also to a crisis of reformism.

We believe that, within this framework, the reason that has led many students and precarious workers to demonstrate and rebel, is fundamentally a generational problem and crisis. Our generation is the one that is excluded from any form of social contract. It is the 'no future’ generation who, even though having a higher level of education than their parents, is aware that most of them will be poorer and is the one that has being denied the very possibility of imagining and building their future.

In England in the early '600 private property was set up with the first enclosures. Today the new enclosures that are being built with respect to knowledge define a new phase of primitive accumulation and new privatization. In the struggles of recent months, the main objective was, in the first place, to prevent the complete casting off of the public sector. Struggling against the cuts to research and university, as well as you in London against the tripling of tuition fees, means to prevent this public institution from being destroyed. But this struggle doesn’t absolutely allude to a mere defense of the public, because it is state or guaranteed by the state. I believe that when we build opposition and subtraction moments, we are already showing an alternative process: to defend the public means already to directly imagine and be able to build a common into action. To claim the defense of the public does not mean to be satisfied with the existing and with the services that the state can offer, but to have a real chance to build new institutions collectively. Autonomous and common institutions and that produce new rules from the bottom and claiming alternative forms of life (existence).

For this reason, from the Wave to the Book Block, among the fundamental claims of the Italian movement, that respect to new forms of welfare played a key role: claiming forms of guaranteed income for precarious workers and students, opening disputes on mobility, access to culture and social services. For the sake of clarity: in Italy, much less than in other European countries, there are very few forms of direct and indirect support to young people, precarious, and workers in general. With a joke, we can say that, for us, the only form of welfare is the family (if they can afford). But across Europe, more generally, a dismantling of the welfare state, as it is traditionally understood, is happening and it is not replaced by any other alternative form. When we claim income to live, study and work, we do not ask,however, to be assisted and supported by the state, but to be paid economically in an environment where all our activities, throughout our day, are channeled into a mechanism of total production of value. To claim an income means to establish a compensation for a continuous production, which in the state of today capitalism, occurs at all levels: from schools to universities, from the call centers, to care work.

~ more... ~

Bizarre sex sells in weird world of manga

Simon Scott reports for the NZ Herald:

A visit to the Department of Youth Affairs and Public Safety on the 35th floor of Tokyo's towering Metropolitan Government building, where Komiya and his small team of censors get down to the grisly task of comic book censorship, reveals we are talking about a lot more than the width of Wonder Woman's bust.

Spread out over the white Formica table-top are the worst of the worst - a hand-picked selection of the weirdest and most shocking examples of hentai from the country which invented it.

Page upon page of black and white etchings of wide-eyed, young people of indeterminate age drawn in that larger than life Japanese cartoon style, engaged in every kind of sexual act, legal or otherwise.

"Normal sex doesn't sell well," Komiya remarks.

"School sex, tied-up sex, abnormal sex, sells. So this is what they draw.

"Mangaka don't draw this stuff because they want to expose children to sexual perversity, they draw it for one reason: to make money."

Komiya doesn't pull any punches when it comes to talking about what he sees as Japan's mercenary and profit orientated comic book publishing industry.

A battle has broken out between the industry and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government - the Department of Youth Affairs and Public Safety, where Komiya works, is the front line of this war.

In December last year the Metropolitan Government, under the leadership of Tokyo's conservative Governor Shintaro Ishihara, pushed through a by-law that significantly tightens existing restrictions on selling manga with sexual content to young people.

In response 10 Japanese publishing houses, including big-name publisher Kodansha, announced they would boycott the Tokyo International Anime Fair and hold a rival fair called the Anime Contents Expo.

~ more... ~

When Does a Religion Become a Cult?

Mitch Horowitz wrotes for the Wall Street Journal:

...Many academics and observers of cult phenomena, such as psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo of Stanford, agree on four criteria to define a cult. The first is behavior control, i.e., monitoring of where you go and what you do. The second is information control, such as discouraging members from reading criticism of the group. The third is thought control, placing sharp limits on doctrinal questioning. The fourth is emotional control—using humiliation or guilt. Yet at times these traits can also be detected within mainstream faiths. So I would add two more categories: financial control and extreme leadership.

Financial control translates into levying ruinous dues or fees, or effectively hiring members and placing them on stipends or sales quotas. Consider the once-familiar image of Hare Krishna devotees selling books in airports. Or a friend of mine—today a respected officer with a nonprofit organization—who recalls how his departure from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church was complicated by the problem of a massive hole in his résumé, reflecting the years he had financially committed himself to the church.

Problems with extremist leadership can be more difficult to spot. The most tragic cult of the last century was the Rev. Jim Jones's Peoples Temple, which ended with mass murder and suicide in the jungles of Guyana in 1978. Only a few early observers understood Jones as dangerously erratic. Known for his racially diverse San Francisco congregation, Jones was widely feted on the local political scene in the 1970s. He was not some West Coast New Ager gone bad. He emerged instead from the mainstream Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pulpit, which sometimes lent a reassuringly Middle-American tone to his sermons. ...

~ more... ~

Horrific US Medical Experiments Come to Light

Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital.

Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission. The meeting was triggered by the government's apology last fall for federal doctors infecting prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with syphilis 65 years ago.

U.S. officials also acknowledged there had been dozens of similar experiments in the United States - studies that often involved making healthy people sick.

[ ... ]

By the early 1970s, even experiments involving prisoners were considered scandalous. In widely covered congressional hearings in 1973, pharmaceutical industry officials acknowledged they were using prisoners for testing because they were cheaper than chimpanzees.


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