Thursday, July 14, 2011

The poetry of burning Roman candles

From the loins of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics:

Andy Clausen - Neal Cassady was a man 


Crazy Wisdom by Kate Linhardt

Crazy Wisdom Pt. 1 from Kate Linhardt on Vimeo.




Anne Waldman / projection / Did DiE

Anne Waldman / projection / Did DiE from tomato22 / DREAMin PICTURES on Vimeo.



William S. Burroughs on Dreams (EKF) 


Fearful Symmetry


tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - School of Disembodied Poetics 


Greek stolen lives & dreams Revolution

WHO, WHAT, WHY: Spanish R-Evolution

Shift Against War Spending a Sign of People Power

By Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe, Huffington Post


Here's some good news for your Monday morning: your agitation against profligate war spending is bearing fruit in Washington, DC. Public pressure, generated in part by the Rethink Afghanistancommunity, our allies and supporters, has put defense spending front-and-center in the budget debate, with representatives from both sides of the aisle now pushing for cuts. This once unthinkable shift is a good sign that people power in the U.S. can still challenge the dominance of the military-industrial-congressional complex.

A June 24th National Journal article focusing on the dying cult of counterinsurgency shows how political pressure from the people is forcing a rethink of hyper-expensive military undertakings, emphasis ours:

"As the 2012 presidential campaign gets under way and the political debate centers on the debt ceiling and the deficit, the mounting cost of the war has eclipsed the casualty rate as Topic A. A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows that nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed 'a great deal' to the nation's debt--more than, say, increased domestic spending or the tax cuts enacted over the past decade. The public is clearly growing disenchanted with [counterinsurgency's] expense and incremental progress. Even traditionally hawkish Republicans, particularly in the House, have begun to balk."

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Greece, Gaza and the Grand Drama

From Kathy Kelly's report for CounterPunch:

Greek activists who assemble every night in Athens' Syntagma Square have constructed an inspiring, effective means for developing free speech and determined, risk-taking action in a setting that has evolved to emphasize simplicity, sharing of resources and a clear preference for service rather than dominance. 

I leave Greece tonight with sincere regret that I didn't spend more time learning from these sturdy activists.

[ ... ]

A grand drama is unfolding here in Greece, in Egypt, in Gaza, and throughout the world, which may end in sorrow or in jubilation largely depending on whether people of the United States are watching, and themselves getting ready to take the stage.

'UK cops bribed by Murdoch empire, too corrupt to probe scandal'


The British Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for an investigation into allegations that victims of 9/11 were targeted by reporters. It's the latest twist to the phone hacking crisis that's engulfed Rupert Murdoch's media empire as the scandal goes global. It's claimed that journalists tried to bribe New York police officers for access to victims' voicemail. U.S. senators are also now calling for their own investigation into News Corp. Meanwhile, the British Parliament has scheduled a vote calling on the media mogul to drop his buyout plans for the country's largest cable TV broadcaster, BskyB. To discuss this story RT talks to Tony Gosling, a UK-based investigative journalist.

The Yes Men Fix The World


THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD is a screwball true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world's most outrageous pranks.

This peer-to-peer special edition features never before seen footage of the Yes Men imitating the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has been released under a free-to-share license.

Climate Change and Confirmation Bias

Ronald Bailey reports for Reason.com
 
The more scientifically literate you are, the more certain you are that climate change is either a catastrophe or a hoax, according to a new study [PDF] from the Yale Cultural Cognition Project.

Many science writers and policy wonks nurse the fond hope that fierce disagreement about issues like climate change is simply the result of a scientifically illiterate American public. If this “public irrationality thesis” were correct, the authors of the Yale study write, “then skepticism about climate change could be traced to poor public comprehension about science” and the solution would be more science education. In fact, their findings suggest more education is unlikely to help build consensus; it may even intensify the debate.

Led by Yale University law professor Dan Kahan, the Cultural Cognition Project has been researching how cultural and ideological commitments shape science policy discourse in the United States. To probe the public’s views on climate change, the Yale researchers conducted a survey of 1,500 Americans in which they asked questions designed to uncover their cultural values, their level of scientific literacy, and what they thought about the risks of climate change.

The group uses a theory of cultural commitments devised by University of California, Berkeley, political scientist Aaron Wildavsky that “holds that individuals can be expected to form perceptions of risk that reflect and reinforce values that they share with others.” The Wildavskyan schema situates Americans’ cultural values on two scales, one that ranges from Individualist to Communitarian and another that goes from Hierarchy to Egalitarian. In general, Hierarchical folks prefer a social order where people have clearly defined roles and lines of authority. Egalitarians want to reduce racial, gender, and income inequalities. Individualists expect people to succeed or fail on their own, while Communitarians believe that society is obligated to take care of everyone.

The researchers report that people whose values are located in Individualist/Hierarchy spaces “can be expected to be skeptical of claims of environmental and technological risks. Such people, according to the theory, intuitively perceive that widespread acceptance of such claims would license restrictions on commerce and industry, forms of behavior that Hierarchical/Individualists value.” On the other hand Egalitarian/Communitarians “tend to be morally suspicious of commerce and industry, which they see as the source of unjust disparities in wealth and power. They therefore find it congenial, the theory posits, to see those forms of behavior as dangerous and thus worthy of restriction.” On this view, then, Egalitarian/Communitarians would be more worried about climate change risks than would be Hierarchical/Individualists.

Pakistan - Chemical being used in drone attacks: Ajmal Khan

Senior Vice President of Pakistan Muslim League(Q) Ajmal Khan Wazir on Wednesday said that lethal chemicals were being used in drone attacks resulting in outbreak of different diseases in Waziristan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).Addressing a press conference at National Press Club, flanked by local leadership of PML-Q from Waziristan, he said it was sheer violation of human rights as well as international laws and conventions, adding that the drone attacks also undermining country’s sovereignty. 

He called upon the Pakistan government, USA, United Nations and international community to play their due role in bringing an end to the drone attacks inside Pakistan.

Ajmal Wazir said that during the last 24 hours more than four drone attacks were reported from North and South Waziristan and other areas of FATA but neither the government nor the political parties said a word to condemn these attacks.


China's newest campaign of repression

From First, They Came for the Lawyers by Jerome A. Cohen

It's open season on lawyers in China today. To be sure, not on most of the almost 200,000 who foster economic development and international business, but on those unwise enough to become involved in human rights, criminal justice, and controversial public-interest cases. For them, law has become an increasingly hazardous profession. They risk informal warnings, 24/7 monitoring, interference with client and law firm relations, loss of their right to practice, hooded abductions, beatings, torture, "thought reform," coerced "confessions" and "guarantees," criminal prosecution, imprisonment, and incommunicado incarceration at home both before and after imprisonment.

Gao Zhisheng, once praised by the government as one of China's outstanding lawyers, suffered all of the above and more, including an alleged assassination attempt, after he began handling sensitive cases. Incredibly, he remained unbowed even after emerging in March 2010 from a mysterious yearlong extrajudicial detention. So, a few weeks later, the authorities "disappeared" him for the second time. Nothing has been heard from him since.

The families of Chinese lawyers often suffer along with them. Spouses are harassed and restricted in their movements; children are humiliated and denied educational opportunities. To end their nightmare, Gao's wife and children secretly fled to the United States. More sinister threats against families seem to have recently silenced some formerly outspoken rights defenders. Although no statistics are available and many incidents go unreported, the current campaign has directly interfered with at least several hundred lawyers, and thousands of their colleagues have felt the fear and been inhibited.

Agribusiness, Biotechnology and War

ByBrian Tokar, New Compass


Most of the chemical “tools” taken for granted by modern agribusiness are products of warfare. Is this merely an indirect consequence of the tragic history of the 20th century, or does it suggest that the currently dismal state of our soils, fresh water supplies and rural economies is an outgrowth of agribusiness’ emergence from wartime in some important ways?

Virtually all of the leading companies that brought us chemical fertilizers and pesticides made their greatest fortunes during wartime. How can this help us understand the ever-deteriorating quality of mass produced food? And what does it tell us about the new technologies of genetic manipulation that every one of these companies posits as the centerpiece of the current generation of crop “improvement” technologies?

In 1998, as debates were heating up across Europe around the unlabeled imports of genetically engineered soybeans and corn from the United States, the editors of The Economist magazine in London published an impassioned defense of the biotech agenda in agriculture. “Agriculture,” The Economist editors wrote, “is war by other means.” Indeed, from its origins, chemical agriculture has been a form of warfare—it is a war against the soil, against our reserves of fresh water, and against all the microbes and insects that are necessary for the growing of healthy food. Since the earliest origins of modern industrial agriculture, agribusiness has been at war against all life on earth, including ourselves. An examination of the origins of today’s agrochemical technologies—and the companies that first advanced them—can reveal a great deal about where we may be heading.

During World War I, two German scientists named Haber and Bosch discovered an efficient means for the large-scale chemical synthesis of ammonia and its various nitrate derivatives. The BASF company—now the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of agricultural chemicals—commercialized this process in 1913, and their products played a central role in the orgy of mass destruction that soon followed. Huge excesses of nitrogenous compounds that accumulated during World War I provided the basis for the beginnings of the mass production of synthetic nitrate fertilizers. DuPont—now the sole owner of the world’s largest seed company, Pioneer HiBred—was the largest manufacturer of gunpowder in the U.S. during the early 19th century and the first World War. Monsanto increased its profits 100 fold during the World War, from $80,000 to well over $9 million per year, supplying the chemical precursors for high explosives such as TNT.

Italy's 2400 tons of gold: Real target of 'IMF terrorists'?

China Says It Closed 1.4 Million Websites In 2010

By Bill Chappel, NPR


The Internet, as you may have noticed, just seems to keep on growing. But not in China — in fact, Chinese officials said that the country had 41 percent fewer sites at the end of 2010 than existed one year earlier — mostly the result of government restrictions.

Worldwide, there were a reported 255 million websites at the end of 2010. That number, drawn from research conducted by Royal Pingdom, reflects a yearly gain of 21.4 million sites.

As the BBC reports, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences isn't alarmed by the fact that China closed down 1.3 million websites in 2010. In fact, the trend "means our content is getting stronger, while our supervision is getting more strict and more regulated," said researcher Liu Ruisheng. He also maintained that Chinese Internet users enjoy freedom of speech.

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Hitler’s Talking Dogs

From the Op-Ed by Maureen Dowd, NYT

A new book, “Amazing Dogs,” by Dr. Jan Bondeson, a senior lecturer at Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales, reveals that Hitler supported a German school that tried to teach large, muscular mastiffs to “talk” to humans. This story set off a panting spate of “Heel Hitler,” “Furred Reich,” “Wooffan SS” and “Arf Wiedersehen” headlines in British tabloids and plenty of claims that Hitler was “barking mad.”

[ ... ]

The latest wacky Hitler story comes from the British author Graeme Donald. He says that, while researching a military book, he stumbled across a story that Hitler and Heinrich Himmler were so worried about German soldiers’ getting sexual diseases from French hookers that they cooked up a plan for soldiers to carry small blow-up blond, blue-eyed dolls called “gynoids” in their backpacks to use as sex “comforters.”

ANONYMOUS it's our time now

The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers


The Last Days of Lehman Brothers is a British television film.
The drama was inspired by the real events that occurred over the weekend leading up to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on 15 September 2008. Investment bank Lehman Brothers is in trouble after a turbulent six months and the leaders of the three biggest investment banks on Wall Street met at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. American Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson declares that the company is not too big to fail and that there will be no bailout using public money.

Damn It Feels Good to be Banker - A Wall Street Musical

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

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