...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors




welcome to hell:

No one can say whether giraffes and lions experience moral qualms in the same way people do because no one has been inside a giraffe's head, but it is known that animals can sacrifice their own interests:
One experiment found that if each time a rat is given food, its neighbor receives an electric shock, the first rat will eventually forgo eating.
What the new research is showing is that morality has biological roots -- such as the reward center in the brain that lit up in Grafman's experiment -- that have been around for a very long time.
Vedantam/Washington Post 28.May.07
"One experiment found". There's these things, called experiments? They just go around in the world, finding things? And then they tell us what they find so we can get smarter and do stuff with it. So the experiment did that to the rat and then told us that the rat stopped eating, eventually. So now we know that.
Thanks, experiment!
It's not like there were people doing that to the rat. Because then they'd be sort of less moral wouldn't they? Because not only would it be that they didn't stop eating they'd be the ones who kept doing it.
Because you can't even see that is why this is hell.

Freedom and democracy are not compatible with private ownership of the public airwaves.


"It is more than a right -- it is an absolute necessity which affects every facet of their well-being,"
The Inuit people of Canada and Alaska are launching a human rights case against the Bush administration claiming they face extinction because of global warming.

as the twig is bent so grows the tree:

Education has also proved an excellent investment, and we now know that the most cost-effective way to keep children in school isn't to ban child labor, to pass laws requiring school attendance, or even to build schools. Rather, it's to bribe parents with cash grants for keeping kids in school.
William Kristol
review of Poor People by William T. Vollmann
This famous document, The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) (readily available on the internet), was signed by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Dan Quayle, Jeb Bush, Francis Fukuyama, William Bennett, Midge Decter and Norman Podhoretz. William Kristol (as the son of Gertrude Himmelfarb and Irving Kristol, virtual neo-con royalty), was the chairman of the project.
New Humanist 24.May.05

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
American households spend about $2 billion for 80 million pounds of pesticide-active ingredient each year

The Rachel Carson Bridge

oh my goodness! how did this happen:

A Gallup poll last year showed almost half of Americans believe that humans did not evolve but were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years.
Three of 10 Republican presidential candidates said in a recent debate that they did not believe in evolution.
reuters/yahoo 26.May.07
The default assumption is the growth of ignorance about evolution and the lack of growth of non-ignorance or knowing about evolution is somehow separate entirely from the primary source of all knowledge of any kind in most American homes. We're three generations deep into being raised by television and there is no accountability no responsibility not the slightest trace of even a single thread of acknowledgment that the men who run that enterprise that the shifting anonymous crew of men who have run that enterprise all these years have created this circumstance these circumstances.
Television has no responsibilities because it is not a "thing". It has to be one in order to bear responsibility for what it does. And it isn't so it doesn't.
The fundamentalists are to blame for their own bizarre ideas and that in turn has no connection at all to the mobilized armies of giant SUV's burning down the highways everywhere. Because the people in the SUV's aren't in the main fundamentalists.
Though most of them don't "believe" in "evolution".
Or you could look at the obvious similarity between mindless pursuit of self-gratification and mindless acceptance of codified ignorance in the real workings of the world. Where self-gratification will obviously lead eventually, where mindless acceptance of ignorance will obviously lead eventually. How close they are. Slaves of appetite or slaves of helplessness but slaves either way no matter. Domesticated.
You could look at how much energy is freely given to the hidden purveyors of whatever it is both of these ignorant populations desire so badly.
Personal energies money psychic-electricity whatever it is that museum spent something close to 30 million dollars bringing itself into being and the disheartening fact of its presence in the teeming wilderness of this desperate moment is effectively increasing the polarity. Success if the desired effect is the estrangement of decent people from each other through that polarization. And a disturbingly metastisizing body of evidence that this world is or may now nearly be owned by evil outright.


Young women tricked into coming to England, often by boyfriends, are being sold off in auctions at airport coffee shops as soon as they arrive
Sex slavery widespread in England

so we can feel what it's like:

After a series of telephone conversations with Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann in recent days, the Chancellor requested assistance from the Foreign Office and the Home Office. He asked that pressure be brought to bear on the Portuguese authorities to allow more information about the inquiry to be made public.
It also emerged yesterday that The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall had been following the case 'closely and with deep concern'.
Gerry, wearing yellow and green ribbons on his wrist to accompany those his wife has tied to her hair for more than three weeks, said: 'My waking thought is that the phone by the bedside has not rung.'
de beer/Observer 27.May.07
A modern-day slavery is flourishing in Britain, and we just avert our eyes
We are dehumanising half a million irregular migrants - an army of cheap labour on which our lifestyles depend.
Madeleine Bunting/Guardian 18.Dec.06
Modern slavery exists in the UK in various forms. All exhibit the common elements of the exploitative relationship which have always constituted slavery: severe economic exploitation; the absence of a framework of human rights; and control of one person over another by the prospect or reality of violence. Coercion distinguishes slavery from poor working conditions.
Modern slavery in the United Kingdom
Joseph Rowntree Foundation


some history:

Antonio: Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul, producing holy witness,
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
The Merchant of Venice Act I. Scene III
William Shakespeare
The Moro Crater massacre is a name given to the final phase of the First Battle of Bud Dajo, a military engagement of the Philippine-American War which took place March 10, 1906, on the isle of Jolo in the southern Philippines. Forces of the U.S. Army under the command of Major General Leonard Wood, a naval detachment comprising 540 soldiers, along with a detachment of native constabulary, armed with artillery and small firearms, attacked a village hidden in the crater of the dormant volcano Bud Dajo. No American soldiers were killed, though sixteen were wounded; more than 600 mostly unarmed Muslim Moro villagers (including many women and children) were killed, but none wounded.
Jose Carlos Mariategui La Chira
Julio Antonio Mella was born Nicanor McPartland in Havana in 1903. [4]. His father was Nicanor Mella Brea (1851-1929), a tailor and son of one of the heroes of the Dominican Republican war of independence, Ramón Matías Mella Castillo. Mella's mother was an Irish woman named Cecilia McPartland...
Mella assassinated in the company of Tina Modotti
The Mexican government tried to implicate Modotti in the murder, even releasing nude photographs of her by Edward Weston to try and generate public opinion against her. Muralist Diego Rivera played a very active role in defending her and exposing the Mexican government's crude attempt to frame her
Woman of Tehuantepec
Tina Modotti
George Eastman House
Comitato Tina Modotti
Olga Benario
Dr. [Charles]Drew created protocols and procedures for the collection, testing, and shipping of blood to England. Total collections came to almost 15,000 people donating blood, and over 5,600 gallons of blood plasma. However, due to racial tensions during the 1940's in America, there was a great deal of controversy involving whether or not to use black peoples' blood plasma or to limit it to white donors. Furthermore, when the project was turned over to the government in early 1941, the military announced its policy of segregation, and would not mix blood from blacks and whites, leading to segregated donation centers. Despite all his work on the project, and despite the fact that he was the driving force behind its procedures and policies, they refused to offer him leadership of the new project, over objection from Dr. Scudder and others, instead suggesting he be 'assistant director' While no clear record exists of what Dr. Drew's thoughts were, it is known he left his position there to accept the Chair of Surgery at Howard University that same year.
Dan Anthony Mitrione (in sp.)
Orlando Bosch Avila
Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles
Eduardo Galeano Memory of Fire


REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: I want to make sure I'm being clear about this. I’m saying that it's not necessary to have a bill, that the process depends on legislation to keep the war going. But there's money in the pipeline right now to bring the troops home. We simply should tell the President we're not going to fund the war, period. We don't need legislation to do that. And the idea that somehow we need to fund the war to help the troops, again, it's an absurd thought, and we need to start to reorient ourselves to getting out of Iraq. This administration isn't going to do that, and frankly, the Democratic Congress is failing the American people at this moment.


as we meet the terror and violence of the world:

President Bush Discusses Freedom in Iraq and Middle East
Remarks by the President at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy
United States Chamber of Commerce
Washington, D.C November 2003
The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region.
"The roots of our democracy can be traced to England, and to its Parliament"
"We've witnessed, in little over a generation, the swiftest advance of freedom in the 2,500 year story of democracy"
"It is no accident that the rise of so many democracies took place in a time when the world's most influential nation was itself a democracy."
"Our commitment to democracy is tested in countries like Cuba and Burma and North Korea and Zimbabwe"
"Our commitment to democracy is tested in China."
"Our commitment to democracy is also tested in the Middle East, which is my focus today, and must be a focus of American policy for decades to come. In many nations of the Middle East -- countries of great strategic importance -- democracy has not yet taken root."
"As men and women are showing, from Bangladesh to Botswana, to Mongolia, it is the practice of democracy that makes a nation ready for democracy, and every nation can start on this path."
"In Iran, the demand for democracy is strong and broad"
"For the Palestinian people, the only path to independence and dignity and progress is the path of democracy"
"The great and proud nation of Egypt has shown the way toward peace in the Middle East, and now should show the way toward democracy in the Middle East."
"Afghanistan faces continuing economic and security challenges -- it will face those challenges as a free and stable democracy." (Applause.)
"In Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council are also working together to build a democracy -- and after three decades of tyranny, this work is not easy."

"Securing democracy in Iraq is the work of many hands."
[Gr.,=rule of the people], term originating in ancient Greece to designate a government where the people share in directing the activities of the state, as distinct from governments controlled by a single class, select group, or autocrat. The definition of democracy has been expanded, however, to describe a philosophy that insists on the right and the capacity of a people, acting either directly or through representatives, to control their institutions for their own purposes.
34% said they favored the war in Iraq, 65% opposed, and 1% was undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 3%
Bush could double force by Christmas
The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.

gear up children:

The "dropping knowledge summer camp" will focus on the pressing questions at the summit, and will provide multimedia coverage from several creative and artistic angles. A diverse and international team of one hundred professional and amateur filmmakers, photographers, bloggers, designers and programmers will be there to capture sights and sounds around the summit.
For up-to-date, unique and independent views of the G8 Summit, we invite you to visit between May 22 and June 10. New content will be uploaded several times each day.
The website is also open to anyone who wants to upload related images and films, thereby adding even more perspectives of the events in and around Heiligendamm. The website also provides a calendar of important events, as well as a map showing the locations events and activities.
All content will be published under a Creative Commons License, and can be freely distributed.
dropping knowledge

news items just possibly connected in more ways than meets the eye or ear:

- - -
U.S., allies to complain to ElBaradei on Iran
The United States and some European allies plan to complain to the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog about his proposal for
Iran to retain some nuclear enrichment activities, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that envoys from the United States and from France, Germany and Britain -- the so-called EU3 -- were expected to visit International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammed ElBaradei this week and tell him their concern as major powers seek to persuade Tehran to end uranium enrichment.
Reuters 22.May.07
- - -
Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq
Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.
Simon Tisdall/Guardian 22.May.07
- - -
That trail of crumbs through the woods that led to the witch's house wasn't a trail as it was being made, just hope and some good long-range thinking on the part of some scared kids.
Talking about "European" allies or "France" or "Germany" as though they were anything like the relatively sensible Old World nations that opposed the invasion of Iraq by whoever's now trying to finger the big American energy purse for Phase 2 of God's Chosen People's Drive Toward A Mighty New Empire is bogus in so many ways. France and Germany are being "led" by people hand-picked to deliver the yes vote that was denied the US in March 03.
Sarkozy and Merkel are Blair without the cocaine and rockstar confidants, their support of Bush and his masters is why they're there in the first place.



Gaza and the conflict

two Palestinian views
two Israeli views

the show, tentatively titled Kid Nation, will observe 40 children from eight to 16 without parental supervision.
He is very gratified that the system has worked

currently erupted!


consequential force:

Wishes He Had Beaten Her More


Three Israelis and two international solidarity activists were arrested today at a non-violent action in Daharia, removing an Israeli roadblock. The roadblock has been installed since late 2000. It prevents the 90,000 Palestinians in Dhahariya and neighboring villages from accessing Route 60, the main road into Hebron. This forces them to take a longer alternative route, turning what would be a 20-minute journey into an hour and a half. The nearest hospital to Dharirya is in Hebron, so this roadblock added more than an hour onto the journey time for an ambulance, effectively cutting off the village from emergency medical care.
On May 10, protesters dismantled a temporary roadblock in the Hebron Hills, close to the town of Dahariyah. In response to this non-violent action, armed Israeli soldiers violently attacked Israeli protesters. The military police criminal investigations division has launched an investigation into the incident. Video of the attack can be seen here.
ScoopNZ 18.May.07


Where is Japan heading?
Momus will straighten things out

but...but that would mean we're not safe:

16 reasons the 2004 US presidential election smells
10) Florida computer programmer Clinton Curtis (a life-long registered Republican) must be lying when he said in a sworn affidavit that his employers at Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) and Tom Feeney (general counsel and lobbyist for YEI, GOP state legislator and Jeb Bush's 1994 running mate for Florida Lt. Governor) asked him in 2000 to create a computer program to undetectably alter vote totals. Curtis, under the initial impression that he was creating this software in order to forestall possible fraud, handed over the program to his employer Mrs. Li Woan Yang, and was told: "You don't understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in south Florida." (Boldface in original).
No Paper Trail Left Behind: the Theft of the 2004 Presidential Election
Dennis Loo/Project Censored
via NowPublic

Meanwhile, back in the jungle:

Peru's oil chief has provoked a storm of controversy with plans to contact some of the world's last uncontacted Indian tribes to 'consult' them about potential oil exploration on their land. Any forcible contact threatens them with extinction.
"We don't know the uncontacted tribes' position. Nobody has consulted them and with this investigation we are going to find out what they think," said Daniel Saba, chairman of Perupetro, the government body responsible for granting oil licences to companies.
In equally controversial comments recently, Mr Saba said he doubted whether the uncontacted Indians even exist. In fact, at least 15 such tribes are known to survive.
Mr Saba's comments come after US oil firm Barrett Resources admitted its workers are likely to meet uncontacted Indians if it is allowed by the Ministry of Mines and Energy to develop its oil find in Peru's northern Amazon. The Ministry's decision is expected imminently.
"During seismic activities...workers will probably meet these uncontacted peoples," Barrett said.
Survival International/ScoopNZ 018.May.07


people hid inside and tried to barricade the door, but fled as the gorilla punched through the glass and ran in.



When law-enforcement agencies arrested 10 animal rights activists and environmental radicals 18 months ago, it was a major breakthrough in the fight against what officials call "ecoterrorism."
Now, with all defendants having pleaded guilty because of the weight of the evidence against them, including an informant who wore a recording device, prosecutors are seeking "terrorism enhancements" to their sentences.
CSM/Yahoo 18.May.07


I don't know about God, but neither Christopher Hitchens nor Michael Kinsley would seem to have a scrap of greatness pertaining:

...among writers about politics, the surprise technique usually means starting left and turning right. Trouble is, you do this once and what's your next party trick?
Christopher Hitchens had seemed to be solving this problem by turning his conversion into an ideological "Dance of the Seven Veils." Long ago he came out against abortion. Interesting! Then he discovered and made quite a kosher meal of the fact that his mother, deceased, was Jewish, which under Jewish law meant he himself was Jewish. Interesting!! (He was notorious at the time for his anti-Zionist sympathies.)
The book is full of logical flourishes and conundrums, many of them entertaining to the nonbeliever. How could Christ have died for our sins, when supposedly he also did not die at all? Did the Jews not know that murder and adultery were wrong before they received the Ten Commandments, and if they did know, why was this such a wonderful gift? On a more somber note, how can the "argument from design" (that only some kind of "intelligence" could have designed anything as perfect as a human being) be reconciled with the religious practice of female genital mutilation, which posits that women, at least, as nature creates them, are not so perfect after all? Whether sallies like these give pause to the believer is a question I can't answer.
Hitchens thinks a sustained argument shouldn’t even be necessary and yet wouldn't be sufficient. To him, it's blindingly obvious: the great religions all began at a time when we knew a tiny fraction of what we know today about the origins of Earth and human life. It's understandable that early humans would develop stories about gods or God to salve their ignorance. But people today have no such excuse. If they continue to believe in the unbelievable, or say they do, they are morons or lunatics or liars. "The human wish to credit good things as miraculous and to charge bad things to another account is apparently universal," he remarks, unsympathetically.
Religious leaders from all the major faiths, who disagree on some of the most fundamental questions, managed to put aside their differences to agree that Rushdie had it coming. (Elsewhere, Hitchens notes tartly that if any one of the major faiths is true, then the others must be false in important respects — an obvious point often forgotten in the warm haze of ecumenism.)
Michael Kinsley/NYTimes 13.May.07
on Christopher Hitchens' book God Is Not Great
The last quoted segment is most egregious, taking seriously an idiotic argument, then making one, that because some vocal claim to religious superiority is obviously false, then all are, ipso facto. Hitchens, and Kinsley with him, could take his hand out of his pants long enough to open the window and look outside. It's a big world. Not everything that fools believe is false. Many assholes believe the sun is 93 million miles from the earth. Good honest people, many of them, do as well. They take it on faith, and have no way of checking.
Obviously any religion that says it's the only true way of believing is going to be in conflict with any other making the same claim. This being the source of Hitchens' and Kinsley's problem to begin with.
The first quoted segment solves an abiding mystery - how Hitchens went from eloquent defender of the oppressed and disenfranchised to grovelling toad without any overtly readable sign of change. Kinsley dressing this up in neocon clothing is, in the strictest sense, fabulous.
In the second segment - setting aside the Christian Resurrection, which is traditionally presented as precisely what Hitchens objects to it as, a mystery - we're given the unimaginative cartoon of the early pre-Canaan Jews wandering around with an intact set of moral codes, as every other human society must have always done by the light of Hitchens, and suddenly there's the superfluous obviousness of the Ten Commandments dropped down on everybody's head. If it was me instead of K&H, I'd have probably tried to work the golden calf in there somehow, but for men with their kinds of income that amounts to blasphemy.
On a way more somber note, the empathetic knee-jerk response toward "female genital mutilation" would be a lot stronger if it didn't leave the question of ritual male genital mutilation hanging. Men aren't perfect as born either? Or maybe it's not mutilation after all but a natural event aided by sharp knives? There is that business though, in the Old Testament-
Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son-in-law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.
Every once in a while lately scientific proof of AIDS/HIV being thwarted by men in Africa having their penises mutilated is offered up as purely scientific information with no religious bias whatsoever, though it's pretty obvious that if this was a lock the AIDS/HIV infection rates among uncircumcised gay men should be a lot lower in the US and Europe than among their cut brothers, and that wouldn't be too difficult to demonstrate.
Quoted segment three has this treat:
"...people today have no such excuse. If they continue to believe in the unbelievable, or say they do, they are morons or lunatics or liars."
This is true enough it could be a kind of formula. Anyone who believes in the unbelievable is a moron a lunatic or a liar. That judgment can only be passed by those who've risen from the swamp, though. Like doctors today who find the orthodox medical belief in "dyscrasia"or "miasma" as causes of disease held by their counterparts in the early 19th century, laughable, pathetic, tragic. Yet there it is. The Semmelweiss Reflex isn't something that can be displaced by the truth. Because it's about the resistance to truth by the entrenched and defensive.
To him, it's blindingly obvious: the great religions all began at a time when we knew a tiny fraction of what we know today about the origins of Earth and human life. It's understandable that early humans would develop stories about gods or God to salve their ignorance.
That "early humans" were "salving their ignorance". Maybe. Or maybe they were just trying to survive. Maybe things that helped them survive were held onto. Maybe there's a lot more going on here than what we can see. And maybe we need more guidance than our appetites and arrogance alone can provide.
Which is pretty much what Kinsley/Hitchens are saying was why early humans began investing in belief - salve, guidance, help, refuge. Which should have answered that question, facetious as it was before it was asked. Only maybe there's still a lot of human ignorance around, all sparkly with intricate bits of particulate knowledge set like diamonds against the black velvet of our unknowing.
Maybe the reason we evolved and adapted to "spiritual" or "religious" ideas about the world in the first place is still here, still with us.
If it was a mistake to have done that then then Hitchens and Kinsley and their snotty brothers-in-arms need to come out and say it, that it was a mistake from the beginning. But they can't because they owe their lives to that "mistake". They owe everything they have to it, and they know it.
So what they want is to throw out the parts that get in the way of their aggrandizements, and keep the justifying and the protecting, the mechanical functions of morality that make their relatively comfortable lives possible, without the burdens of responsibility and the demands for self-sacrifice that are at the heart of the religious experience of life.

"They took away my innocence, constricted my vision, brainwashed me into seeing things differently."
"Naked Truths" is not a book for the faint of heart

"get up and get back to the back of the bus"

There is raunchy music and ads that are not appropriate in the public sphere and dress that is not appropriate. The religious public has been tolerant...

showdown on the Baltic Sea
the aging media buccaneer's quest for journalistic respectability
the people who work here, who go home every day. Who have families to take care of, who are living week to week. Who need this in order to live, who deserve this
an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland felled annually.



Fear has always been the basis for our humanity and our intelligence.
We evolved in places whose remnants today we call the wilderness. And I think that no species can persist without sustaining the conditions of its genesis.

key feature:

In an election restricted to French voters aged 18 to 59, Mme Royal would have won handsomely.

To remember who you are:

"the most dangerous situation arising from climate change facing any country in the world right now."
For millennia, Aborigines have known that subtle changes to plants and animals provide clues about the weather. Aboriginal weathermen claim that their predictions are 90 percent accurate and as reliable as the evening television forecasts watched by millions of Australians.
The bureau's meteorologists have been tapping the expertise of Aborigines in the tropical north of Australia since 2003. But this is the first time they have drawn on the knowledge of indigenous people in the more populated southeast of the country.
"It's about reading the landscape and the environment through the activities of plants and animals," says Mr. Clark, a member of the Djabwurrung tribe.
"It used to be essential for survival; nowadays it's important for the proper management of the land. Environmental signs can tell us if summer will start early or late, and whether it will be shorter or longer than normal," he says.

Christian Science Monitor/yahoo 09.May.07
from Richard S. Dunn: Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713:
The excited author told how some of the colonists hid in caves, some lashed themselves to tree trunks, some climbed into hammocks suspended between two trees where they swung to and fro “like a Bell when it is rung.” The force of the wind tossed men into the air “as if they were no more but rags, clouts, or feathers.” The pamphlet was illustrated by a crude woodcut showing a coal-black Carib Indian pointing to strange circles around the moon (the sign that a hurricane was coming)….This particular storm sank five ships and killed seventy-five men; damage would have been worse except that the Caribs warned the English to batten down their hatches. Even so, the Caribs were to blame. If barbarous and sinful Indians had not lived on St. Christopher, God would not have punished the island.
at gall and gumption 10.May.07


What a victory, what inspiration. The masterly election of Nicolas Sarkozy is one of those that will leave a lasting impact on the country’s history. It was an exceptionally vigorous and competitive campaign, with an immense turnout…and a result not achieved against the left since General de Gaulle
Get ready.

Miss D travels to Britain

a marked man, in a sense, in America ever since

the fake dressing for which he longs


What Laura moves toward is that nimbus of the even less-than-Stasi monitors our lives carry now. It's trying to humanize itself, that thing that's watching all the time whatever you do. The movie's an apologia for all the spiritual paraplegics who’ve snitched off their more able cousins for a place at the table and a prosthetic engagement with a common denominator their treachery brings closer and closer to where they are.

at barista


the walls have ears:

Von Donnersmarck spent four years researching the film, and knows as well as anyone that there is no case of a Stasi man trying to save victims. He has said: "I didn't want to tell a true story as much as explore how someone might have behaved. The film is more of a basic expression of belief in humanity than an account of what actually happened."
Review of The Lives of Others
Anna Funder/Guardian 05.May.07
the walls have eyes:
HAYDEN: But by and large, the community as a whole, CIA in particular, has benefited from the resources that the American people - acting through the Congress and the president - the resources the American people have given us since 9/11. Right now, my biggest challenge is absorbing the growth we've had inside the agency and putting these new resources to work in an efficient and effective way. And it's - sure, it has something to do with the money, but it really has to do with people. Let me give you a sense of scale here, Brian. And I have to talk around it a little bit, because the numbers are classified. But let me give you a sense. One-seventh of the Central Intelligence Agency has been hired in the last 12 months. One-fifth of our analysts have been hired in the last 12 months. Fifty percent of the agency has been hired since 9/11. I mean, that's tremendous growth. It's a tremendous opportunity.

LAMB: What's the age of those people?

HAYDEN: Actually, the average age of the agency is coming down somewhat, because of this influx of new people. But you have to understand, new to CIA doesn't always mean young. We are very happy with a number of folks we're getting after military service or after a stint in the military, or after they've actually done some other things in life. In terms of that indicator, of these cohorts who are coming into us now, this is the richest gathering of life experience that we've had in entering cohorts in the history of the agency. So we're not just getting the 22-, 23-year-old graduate from universities. We're also getting people who have been around a bit.

LAMB: Are you getting more HUMINT?

HAYDEN: Yes, we are.
Transcript of Interview of CIA Director Michael V. Hayden by C-SPAN's Brian Lamb
Cryptome 21.Apr.07
link xymphora
the walls are alive:

So one thing The Lives of Others could be seen as is an apologia for the passive chair-bound filtering minds that process and flag the unimaginably wide data-streams of this modern world's camera- and microphone-saturated set. The nice guy at the other end of the surveillance feed. The well-intentioned just-happened-to-land-the-job guy-next-door who's listening to your cousin score some weed on his cell phone.
And if you don't think there's a shadow army of those dweeby little runts valiant soldiers in the War On Terror working the panoptic scene, you're living in the irrecoverable past.

"We were shaking up big forces," said Castulo Benavides
as dangerous as tobacco and, in terms of world health, far more important


In the cartoon of 4/26, Bananabelle is reassured of human stupidity.
Click on the fragment

In the cartoon of 4/27, we burn food for fuel

In the cartoon of 4/30, Kranti talks crazy


This is hard:

This is very hard:
You can be very critical about what President Bush does and says and stands for, and still see considerable merit in the walls that are finally being erected in Baghdad.
Amitai Etzioni/Huffington 02.May.07
Mr. Etzioni is an Israeli-American sociologist, famous for his work on socioeconomics and communitarianism. He fled to Palestine from Nazi Germany in the 1930's.
There is a very large wall in Palestine, erected by the Israelis. It is a source of some contention for those whose lives and livelihoods have been damaged and/or destroyed by it. Mr. Etzioni mentions it almost in passing after citing the far less-well known "Green Line" of 1963 that separated Turks from Greek Cypriots in Nicosia; citing the Berlin Wall; citing the walls that led directly according to Mr. Etzion to peace in northern Ireland through the segregation of Catholics and Protestants in Belfast. The article's ostensibly about the walls in Baghdad, but really it's about something else, that's not supposed to be said clearly and directly.
He's flirting with some kind of accuracy when he says the Palestinian apartheid wall does "cut some Arab villages into halves" and "intrudes into land considered as belonging to a future Palestinian state." Though it's a delusional, or delusion-inducing stance overall. What Israel's doing to the Palestinians is sadistic and immoral, and the only possible justification for it is the genetic and spiritual superiority of the Jewish people, which is a claim some people will find debatable. The harm to Palestinians by the apartheid wall is far outweighed by the gained safety and security of Israelis, according to Etzioni, though that suffering is undeserved and greatly underreported. The money quote would be maybe:
" one can deny that these barriers play a major role in reducing terrorist attacks on civilians in Israel proper and thus also the retaliatory measures that Israel launches in return."
That's pretty much the psychotic's rationale, the kind of denialist horseshit the nervous accused might be expected to come up with. Watered-down a little it's the garden-variety sadist's justification for his gratuitous cruelty. Etzioni gets a prominent and amplified lectern from which to deliver this irrational goop, the Palestinians get to ask politely for Israel to please stop killing them and taking their land, and have no voice in America media with which to do even that.
Which brings us to the larger, more difficult task.

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