Monday, October 30, 2006

Brad Will

Tribute by David Rovics

The indymedia journalist Brad Will was shot dead with camera in hand by right-wing thugs in Mexico the other day. The link above leads to a video tribute at democracy Now by fellow activist and musician, David Rovics.


Full Force Gale

Stern Review Report

Complete and unexpurged as yet courtesy of Gordon Brown's treasury website, here is the full Stern Review report. See blog yesterday for what this means.


Web Governance

Main Session Live

Today sees the start of a five-day Internet Governance Forum in Athens. It is as discussion and advisory conference focusing on the public stakeholding of the web and unaligned to political or corporate pusuits. Tune in live at the above link.

As I write, the sessions have started with a look at the role of women using the web around the world.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

The End of Suburbia

No doubt most of you have seen Al Gore's movie, but here's another feature on the future. The programme is aimed at an Amerkian audience but can equally be applied here in Britain and elsewhere. In particular it looks at how the rise of suburbia has created a culture that in almost every way is at war with the very planet we live on.

This is very much a continuation of what I wrote below, but it also supports my contention that we must return to de-centralised and self-sustaining communities if the waste inherant in ytansport and marketing infrastructure is to be adequately addressed.


Stern Warning

Green tax plans to hit drivers and air travellers

Last Thursday I attended the annual Earthwatch debate here in London. Although a great number of the attendees were scientists, the onus was on ways in which we can all change our lifestyles before life on this planet vecomes doomed. I was astonished just how many academic theorists were not actually paying too much attention to their own behaviour, whilst commendably promoting alteratives in their professional doctrine. The buzz behind the scenes was a mixture of fear and exitement - largely due to an impending report by Sir Nicholas Stern which will be published tomorrow.

It will make unpleasant and somewhat urgent reading for the government and its conclusions affect all of us. Indeed, climate change and global warming may have been on the popular agenda for a while now, but we knew about it back in the late 1960s and, as usual, sucessive governments took no heed as they kept us seduced by a consumer economy. Today's papers have revealed some of what we might expect tomorrow - warming us up, no doubt, for what to all extents and purposes will be a declaration of a "State of Emergency". In Britain, but worldwide too.

Sad to say, some of the solutions will be ripe for inclusion in the Blair Party's authoritarian dream. I actually remember early cricicisms of the "green" movement for its alleged "totalitarian" policies. Certainly, saving the planet always involved some harsh measures and legislation for a collective lifestyle change would have been part of the scenario. The new reality is that such legislation will now have to be even more drastic as we catch up with the failure of recent decades.

Like the proposed abuse of ID cards and the attempted establishment of a surveillance state, we must oppose any moves that adversly affect our human freedoms, opinions and self-determination. On the other hand, we must not be so obsessed with the fundamentals that we inadvertently hinder restrictions on social freedom and environmental abuse that are now needed. It is said that no law is worth its salt unless it is to protect indivuduals from endangerment and exploitation by others. By extension, if our living space, in this case Planet Earth, is being endangered and exploited, it is fair to demand society create the laws to prevent it.

It will mean personal compromises and changes, but failure to do so will be handing the fate of our children and future generations to a culture of criminality whose short-term greed is little more than the now not-so-longer-term pursuit of armageddon.

No doubt I'll have more to say when the report becomes public.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Exposing Bush 2

The final part to accompany the clip below. Don't know what the mix is but I detect Jim Morrison & The Doors in there.

Check out "Latest Clicks" and the "Bloglines" link for recent news.

Bombshells Expose Bush

I'm not at all sure what the painted pin-ups really have to do with the message here, but they're dated, they're art and they're relatively harmless. Less harmless is the Bush family and its self-centred corrupt behaviour and behind the images and nice music here there are plenty of facts. This is part one.

Sorry about the absence of this blog for a couple of days. The author is somwhat less than invigourated - blame it on the changing season or something. Here in the UK we switch to official "wintertime" tonight so the hibernation mandate will really kick in.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Leave it to time


A rather offbeat link here since it is a business report, but it has set me thinking. Vietnam;s soaring economy makes it set to become a player on the wortld stage, in much the same way as market forces now drive regimes like China.

Vietnam is no longer "communist" of course. The south, along with its Amerikan puppeteers lost the imperial war, but in the goodness of time things have balanced of their own accord. China on the other hand has adopted the strategy of a market economy as an effective global weapon. But time is changing the balance there too - the demands of those same market forces are leading to a slow reformation of the political regime.

So to Iraq, probably Iran and maybe even ultimately, North Korea. Not to mention a few other remaining "enemies" of capitalism or Amerikan imperial design. War is folly and whoever wins or loses subsequent events tend to follow a path of their own. Iraq is the latest misguided adventure of the Amerikan-driven industrial-military complex which is itself becoming obselete in the face of planetary environmental changes which dictate the end of the exploitation potential of traditional resources. It is another failed enterprise which will particularly damage the reputation of Britain and Amerika for decades to come.

"Cut and run" would now be a very irresponsible thing to do, but a withdrawl from the meddling has finally been deemed essential even by the imperial warrior-caste whose beligerence has created the mess that country finds itself in. It is time for Iraq to pursue its own destiny again and there are plenty of ways the world can continue to help from afar or with the co-operation of neighbouring states. Indeed, the Amerikan-led "alliance" owes it the aid needed to recover from the devastation and destruction it itself has wrought.

Amerika clearly did not learn the lessons of its war in Vietnam. If not for that war, who is to say that the current resurgance would not have occurred of its own accord far sooner? The lesson is not just the futility of violence but also that nations adapt and survive as like the people themselves.

The Soviet Union fell not just because the propaganda and seduction of materialism gained ascendency, but because its government was incapable of finding a strategy that enabled it to play on the same game field. In many ways, the "Cold War" and the detente it brought is sorely missed as a stabilising factor on the world stage. Communism, especially as a tool of totalitarianism, is in decline - but one look at Russia shows how abrupt change from one system to another has not served its people well. We now see a return towards some form of centralised power in that region - it is not ideal but it has popular support for now in a nation desparate for renewed leadership.

Iraq too is desparate for a return to something that resembles its rememberence of normality. That will not be the same as the idealogy of its present occupiers. Yet, like Vietman, left to its own devices it may carve its own destiny in a way that will eventually aloow it to adapt to the world around it.

The so'called Islamist renaissance is but a blip on the radar of time. No nation, no people, can deny the commonality of human progress and interaction indefinately. War-mongering and territorial invasion is simply stalling and impeding the process of the diplomatic "policing" volatile situations require.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Advertising terrorism

Ok - so this is becoming a habit nd why not? Keith Olbermann is rapidly becoming the voice of something almost forgotten - a sensible Amerika.

With the Bush Party using every cheap trick it can find to up the fear agenda in pursuit of ignorant votes,, Olbermann tears apart the partisan advertising for what it is - the propaganda of deceit.

Better still, it looks like CNN may be stirring. The Repulsivans as a correspondant calls them, have been squarking rather loudly about recent lack of censorship in the war coverage from the channel - they don'y like the Amerikan people seeing the reality. Now on the defensive, I imagine CNN will simply up the ante and fight their corner. What one might call a "nothing left to lose" scenario.

I'm beginning to think Amerika is now being better served by its mainstream media than here in Britain. ITN, the independent television news leaders (who also produce our excellent Channel 4 News programmes) have now been denied battlefield warzone access by the British military. The reason? Independent reporting that doesn't subscribe to the propaganda rulebook. Maybe they too will fight back with an increase in lesser-censored stories.

To top it all, the major news item today has received barely any coverage by telvision broadcasters. The departing Blair has left another mark by starting the machinery that will put all UK citizens on the national DNA database whether willingly other otherwise. For links and more comment on all this, click the button for "My Bloglines" at left.

In "Latest Clicks" you'll also find a link to Alex Jones site in the US which additionally reports that DNA scanners are to be introduced to British pubs, with all customers being tagged before entry. It sounds far-fetched but I'm not so sure - it could be implemented and excused under the auspices of controlling "yob" behaviour and such. Particularly pertinent in a week where it's been "revealed" (planted?) that most British adults are scared of teenagers and unwillingly to confront their behaviour. My question would be, if such a scheme were implented tomorrow, just how long before a similar fate awaited us all on a trip to the supermarket? It takes just one such first step to set easily in motion the ones that will logically follow.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Eve Of Destruction

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. But it was the title of this 40 year old song by Barry McGuire. What goes around comes around. Revolution? Nothing has changed. Or something. Enjoy.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bush Administration Insider Says U.S. Government Behind 9/11

Somehow we just can't get away from 911 - the new bodies found showing just how laz the investigation in the aftermath was. So wre those events Bush's equivilent of Hitler's Reichstaf Fire? As the revelations leak out is seems more and more likely.

Dr Morgan Reynolds was a Bush adminstration insider at the time and in this clip tells us his thoughts.

Beginning of the end of America

A while back I posted a clip of Keith Olbermann laying into Bush. As the act which repeals Habeus Corpus amongst other things was finally signed into law last week, he delivered another one. This is it, plus some interesting comments on past presidents.

The Ultimate Dirty Bomb

You may need to bost your sound volume for this one, but it's well worth the effort. The subject is the continued use of Depleted Uranium by the US, Britain and others.

In effect, Depleted Uranium is nuclear waste and can simply be a by-product of nucear power. It can't be got rid off for several billion years and is, of course, radioactive. As the world dances on hot coals at the thought of North Korean getting a bomb, an awful lot of pressure is being mounted on Iran just because it wants its own nuclear power. There is a justification in this, becuase the waste from nuclear power is increasingly used to "tip" conventional weapons, making them into a form of nuclear weapn themselves. They leave a kind of macrocosmic "ground zero" where ever they are deloyed and used in sufficient quantity must qualify as WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) in themselves.

In the aftermath of the first Gulf War, much was made of the "Gulf War Syndrome" experienced by returning soldiers. Naturally the media and government tried o avoid the issue and when addressing it at all cited Iraq's previous and thus assumed use of chemical agents. In hindsite, we now know the the major cause was our own troops being forced to handle our very own "depleted uranium" arsenal.

I've been here before, but in the current mess of Iraq, where civil war rages and those who can afford to are fleeting their own country, the very environment is contaminated. In certain areas, radioactivity pervades the water and food supplies and is, of course, gradually spread by transportation. Whatever the outcome of the violence and the attempted rape of local resources, the land itself will remain contaminated for more years than the human mind can easily imagine. Literally thousands of generations.

Isreal too has used these weapons in the middle east. We are currently using them in Afghanistan. They were even used to some extent in Kosovo and the Balklans. By extension, even though we have not yet dropped nuclear warheads anywhere since Hiroshima, the west has actally commited the worst of drimes - the first use of nuclear weaponary in conflict.

We need to oppose all nuclear technology and the way to do it is outlaw such things from the face of the planet. Out of Earth's orbit too!

One thing we can't continue to do is arrogantly flaunt the weapons and technology in the face of those who so far have neither been inclined or able to exploit them. The threat of such power to enforce subservience will only be met with defiance and defense. It is we who must set the example if we want others to follow.

The worst of dictators and corrupt leaders do not want to detroy themselves. Even where crimes like the intent of genocide exists, few would act to destroy entire future generations. It is contary to the whole human imperative to reproduce and spread. There are those who view suicide as martyrdom, but even martyrdom has a purpose that does not ultimately deny longevity of our race. It would take time, but consensus on nuclear eradication could be possible. It would need commitment and nations acting in parallel. It would also mean the largest arsenals going first.

War-mongering aside, there is also no justification for genrating nuclear power. It is at best a short-term fix to propagate a few extra years of energy wastage at the expense of future generations. Even the greedy corporations make take financial benefit in selling us more than we need to survive will ultimately find their wealth useless when the now futile model of consumerism becomes unsustainable. Again, it is our children who will suffer.

Some of us dread that the only arsenal left for Bush, his corporate masters and his colonial dupes, will be the nuclear one. There are no conventional ground forces left for his planned conquest of Iran and other resource-rich regions. One would like to think he would no be so stupid as to use the final option, but when one considers the "secret" nuclear wars with depleted uranium, one realises how the fine line may now have simply become a matter of degree.

Humankind faces the urgent task of first rescuing and then preserving spaceship Earth. It is after all our only home at present.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Short shrift for Blair Party?

Clare Short resigns from Labour, reports say

Probably the only thing that would tempt me to vote for a version of the British Labour party would have been a scenario where Clare Short had been it's leader. Since her opposition to Blair's Iraq adventure, she has unfortunately been sidelined and this breaking news suggests she will now be leaving the fold. The news is not yet fully confirmed, but it is reported she will still stand for parliament as an independent candidate.

Maybe she should start a new party of her own. She might well recover the traditional voters recently hijacked by the Blairite movement.

Meanwhile in Russia, Putin is busy backtracking on his remarks about being "jealous" of the Israeli president's ability to perform rape! His enviromental authorities are busying themselves in another direction entirely - finding out who allowed the visiting King of Spain to shoot one of their "drunk" bears. Amazing what world leaders think they can get away with.

Political Science Revisited

More fitting here than in the media blog, this is Randy Newman performing "Political Science" back in 1972. 35 years on, Amerika's attitude really hasn't changed that much.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Robbing our fantasies! Corporate interest is bell-bent on commercialising and monitoring our own personal worlds. See below. Graphic courtesy of New York Times.
eTV Picture Post

The buying up of your Second Life

A Virtual World but Real Money

In all the fuss over Google and the takeover of video expression sites like YouTube, the "Second Life" network has been pioneering what may be the real future of internet participation. It's not free, but nor is it expensive, and creative types especially have been adopting this virtual universe of ever-evolving worlds to become part of a vibrant community that truely lives in cyberspace.

The feature link above leads to New York Times with an article on how the forces of rampant capitalism have belately woken up to an offshoot of the web that has until recently escaped the attention of the oversized breed of commercial interests. That looks set to change and it could happen rapidly because such companies have the investment power to exploit the more complex programming skills needed for the network to reach its full potential.

It will be a shame because one of the beauties of wandering around these virtual worls is the ability to experience the contributors' own idea of a utopia or near-perfect world. Few of these landscapes are adorned by the billboards or jukeboxes we associate with stealth attempts to hijack our adventures - rather, they conveys a world of art, crafts and inspirational pursuit. When the high-tech decorators move in with their cosumer gizmos, all this will be lost.

As in the real world, our habitats will slowly become little more than something purchased off the shelf. Originality will be forsaken as we prostitute ourselves to a new virtual "norm".

I'm reminded of a very old "Dr Who" episode I watched as a kid. It involved a kind of "wristwatch" devive that allowed the user to teleport to another location at an instant. The technological equivilent is easily possible in cyberspace. In my "Second Life" I could no doubt purchase one for my arsenal of personal virtual equipment - extending the technology of the search engine to deliver me to a required place instantaneously. Then I realise that the same toy has a tracking device hidden in it and that the corporate empire and their government puppets are monitoring my every move.

There's no longer any hiding place - even in our own fantasies.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Europe Moves To Threaten Internet

Killing the Internet, EU style

An article from Alex Jones, above link, suggests that it may not just be the Bush Regime and Global Megacorps who are trying the interfere with our freedome on the internet. It seems the EU beaurocrats have some tricks of their own ready to go, including preventing us from uploading video without being registered as a TV station.

I bet Bush is jealous he didn't "fink" this one up first!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New world disorder

One of Iggy Pop's best ever songs, "The Passnger", set to images to the new world chaos. Food for thought and nice music to boot. Question is - Are you a passenger on this propaganda-driven road to hell?

Olbermann: Habeus Corpus

A week or so back I posted another clip by Keith Olbermann which was a serious indictment of the Bush regime. This one limits itself to be highly cynical and is reveals the act with which the Ape Emporer managed to suspend Habeus Corpus amongst other things.

This is a couple of weeks old now but I've resurrected it because today Bush actually signed the thing and brought it into law. The actual paw-to-paper bit had been delayed whilst Bush was on the election trail.

A reminder that all my news links and comments are now at "Bloglines" (see link left) which uses RSS technology for rapid scans and posts. "Latest Clicks" also has an automated link listing which is largely compiled as I attend the morning mail and headlines.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Army Chief wants out of Iraq

General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal

This is one of those astonishing turns that even the mainstream media cannot avoid. British readers will already know that the head of the army has delivered the ultimate blow to the Blair Party government by effectively saying that our continued presence in Iraq is creating a greater problem with every passing hour. Whitehall are exhibiting a very uncharacteristic silence - it;s clearly going to take a while to work out a "spin" agenda for this one.

Repeating the obvious here is largely for the benefit of those readers elsewhere. Scanning the Amerikan papers I find little mention of what is clearly a major indictment of our following the Bush Regime's imperial campaign.

So you thought Abu Grahib was bad news? The latest edition of Democracy Now with Amy Goodman concentrates on abuses involving, amongst other things, rape and dogs inside Amerika's own penal institutions. It includes some very unpleasant video footage which can also be found posted separately at their website. See link left.

Prisons are increasingly promoted as a tool by the newly authoritarian state, but the folly of incarcarating those whose "crimes" are not those of endangerment to the greater society has long been in question. The government are not willing to cough up the funding the maintain a remotely humanitarian standard of living for those locked up yet wonder why marginal "offenders" emerge from such places "hardened" to criminal culture itself. With the exception of friends and family, Joe Public doesn't give a damn or pay much attention to the issue - out of sight is out of mind!

When, as now and despite advance warning, the whole system overflows its already stretched capacity, the animation in charge does a Bush-like knee-jerk and proposes to redeploy the overflow in the most inappropriate locations possible. Police cells without long-term welfare provision and abandoned military camps are hardly going to foster a culture of "rehabilitation". They are more likely to incubate a hidden future menace to everyone.

The prison population spans a gamut of different people. There are murderers and child molesters. There are also some who are little more than dissenters, non-conformists or those who contravene the "fake laws" which exist simply to constrain independent behaviour that harms nobody except the individual concered, if even that. Yet, with minor environment differences, they are all subjected to the same machinery if isolation, indifference and neglect.

How long before the likes of the Blair Regime too come to the conclusion that dogs will be cheaper than human guards. How long before they seek to economise still futher by administering even more dangerous pscho-depressant drugs than in use already and cut the food rations to less than those required for full life sustainability. How long indeed until British society has its own legion of "the disappeared"? The engineers of such nightmares step slowly, but ever more methodically.

One is surprised Blair himself has not taken an interest. After all, when the war-crimes and corruption of those entrusted to manage our affairs on our behalf come fully to light, he and his elite conspirators may one day find themselves living in the prison system themselves.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's Not The Painted Smile

Salman Rushdie joins "veil" opposition

Salman Rushdie has angered Islam before - remember the "Satanic Verses" ballyhoo in pre-terror-infected times? Now, rightly in my opinion, he has taken the side of Jack Straw and others, citing the wearing of the veil as the issue it really is - the oppression of women.

The whole concept of head-dressing here is one of enslavement to men's desires and domestic fascism. It has no religious mandate and is a gross distortion of what was an ancient habit practised to protect one's face when travelling in a desert sandstorm. For those newly adopting the habit there can only be two intentions - a statement of "separation" or a device for the "disguise" of identity. It is not, in a million years, a "fashion statement". Indeed, it symbolises a refusal of communication that one associates more with retards like George Bush than civilised society.

This matter goes beyond predjudice against free expression through the use of headgear. I myself used to get flack for wearing my "director's" baseball cap in a corporate environment with the result I deliberately made a habit of it. There used to be opposition to men wearing the turban - let alone the other cultural headwear displayed by Arab (and indeed, African) cultures. Some were "fashion" statements, some were religious imperatives of a dubious nature and most were just cultural tradition. They were not used for disguise, nor were they used for the suppression of another's individuality.

The "hoodie" is commonplace in today's environment, but the expression will probably not last. It may have originated as a method of disguise for street gangs but it really has morphed into fashion statement and will eventually be subjected to changing trends. Nor is it total - in close proximity one can still communicate with the wearer. Indeed, we all wear hoods from time to time to protect us from the weather. For those who make the comparison, it is not remotely the same issue.

Anyone who hides their identity in a way that is designed to preclude personal communication with me is, where I'm concerned, offering me a direct insult. As such, they are not worth my attention. Yet, in an environment where there are those who would deliberately conceal themselves with intent to do me or my fellow persons harm, I am forced to give them my attention - not as individuals, but as a potential social menace. Thus, the issue becomes one of antagonism!

It may sound like an odd counterpoint and maybe it's not my place to comment - I am, after all, a male of the species. But here goes ...

In the women's liberation movement of the late sixties and early seventies it became a statement of freedom from oppression to "burn your bra". Despite the profusion of contemporary "high-tech" support wear and the difficulties of transition that detered those of what I'll dare to describe as of a "heanyweight" physique, the actuality of the rebellion has endured. It is no longer a social obligation to wear what many considered to be more a symbol of male demands than one of necessity.

There is no reason why women who are being forced to adopt the veil cannot take a similar approach to what many "western" women did back then. Throw off the shackles of oppression! The result won't be absolute, but the false imperative can be rendered into history. Best of all, such action would not even result in the temporary outrage of conventionial greater society - it would actually be seen as a positive force toward integration and assimilation. Anything else is actively promoting segregation and isolationism and will only do harm to the standing of the community that subscribe to such a futile cause.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Timely Demise

A quick reminder that tonight sees the assassination of the presently-dented Bush. The event will be broadcast live here in the UK exclusively on the "More 4" television channel. Proceedings begin at around 7pm, British time.


The Propaganda of Silence

A clip from a recent broadcast by Amy Goodman at Demovracy Now looking in depth at the complete mess the Bush Regime has made of Afghanistan.

The Burial of Non-Proliferation

North Korea's first nuclear test

Having spent a few weeks complaining about the plans, the empire now switches tack and complains about the event. Forgive me for saying nothing much seems to have changed.

Thanks to the agression of the likes of Bush and Blair, the rest of the world has realised the need to watch their asses. The idea of non-proliferation of the global stockpile of nuclear weapons has been turned to farce by both the end of cold war detente and the behaviour of Britain and Amerika in renewing, expanding and rebuilding their stocks. No surprise then that vulnerable territories feel compelled to retaliate they announcing publicly their possession of the ultimate tool of warfare. In a vague sense, it is almost an attempt to revive detente itself.

Whether this will temper the rhetoric of empire or compound the intent of the new world warriors remains to be seen. I hate the very idea of nukes but they can't exactly be "un-invented" and promoting the idea of related technology as the "saviour" of our greedy energy requirements sends entirely the wrong message to disenfranchised states eager to compete with the arrogant rich nations who are rapidly becoming their "would-be" masters.

Most of the so-called incentives to stall the development of nuclear technologies have centred on the principle of "don't worry - we'll supply you with what you need". This is, as the potential recipiants know, simply a ploy to "sell" product (probably at inflated prices) and force fiscal enslavement to the empire's corporate agenda.

Until someone takes the lead in eradicating the nuclear threat from the very surface of our planet, it is difficult to see how the new proliferation will end. I'm no friend of North Korea, but at least they have made a statement in denial of the planet's bully-boys.

Obviously everyone's now concerned about Iran - a much larger, resource-rich and influencial land who seem set on taking a similar approach to deter the forces on conquest. During the last week we have witnessed multiple ineffective meetings where the dubiously named "international community" have attempted to reach a resolution on how to manipulate the situation in favour of all the vested interests except those of Iran itself. Little progress has been made and in their obsession with purported "diplomacy", the media machine has paid scant attention the the fact that the amassed naval forces of Amerika (which left the homeland around two weeks ago) are now building up a considerable presence in the Persian Gulf.

These are of course, like the new Bush-named warship we were treated to a few days back, nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed.
Devoid of manpower now undeployed elsewhere and with little more weaponary other than a nuclear arsenal to fall back upon, my greatest fear is that the idiot in charge will perform the most serious crime of all. Reaching for the dreaded "red button".


Sunday, October 08, 2006

It's a "Not-On" for Norton News - UK - Graham Norton's 'loads of drugs' admission

Here in Britain we have a TV personality whose public persona is hard to define. Part camp, part clown, part commentator and quite an effective interviewer. He's embedded in the mainstream, but comes across as an oddity rather than the norm. He's a consumate proffessional and has, as they say, "done the rounds".

I've never seen him ever come close to losing control or in any other way exhibit behaviour that would suggest he is "under the influence" of anything other than the requirements of a TV studio. News that he thoroughly enjoys a myriad of "drug" experiences is to my mind proof that its not the drugs that are the problem - its the personality and environment of the taker.

These revelations by Norton are curious. The BBC haven't so far taken the knee-jerk reaction they usually do and "sacked" him. Indeed, they are defending him on the basis he is an "adult" entertainer. Given his high profile, even I would dispute that one! Cynics say he might even have been trying to break his contract - he's seems to like moving on quite frequently.

No doubt the media will run and run with this one - they love celebrity scandals! Whether Norton keeps his present position and status remains to be seen. In reality, the whole affair is a matter of total inconsequence and, regardless of any other consequences, will have been great PR for Norton himself.

It will be a shame if his employers bow to convention and try to distance themselves from controversy by removing him from the air. They'll probably be doing him a favour and themselves none.


Friday, October 06, 2006

J'Accuse Revisited?

One of the most astonishing, concise, out-spoken and well-produced indictments of the Bush regime to appear in Amerika's mainstream. This is closing comment from Keith Olberman at Coundown on MSNBC and says it all.

Correspondant Dan Frazier says: "This guy has balls. Let's hope some others grow them too!"

Nuff said.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bad Medicine for a Serious Infection

As promised, the full piece written for OpEd last week. Now with my own formatting restored.

The piece below started as a comment at Op Ed News on the article "Pitiful Oz" by Richard Neville. An acquaintance of mine from his days in Britain, I thought Richard's tone less optimistic than usual, but what was intended as a short reply to both the article and Rob Kall's comment suddenly started me off on a whole chain of thought. This is the result.

As America accelerates toward its midterm elections, there are signs that the balance of power may shift away from the Republican Party, even if it amounts to a little more than a re-colouring of the administrative process. The fate of her Emperor himself is still some years away and in the sense that we can see the damage done, some have asked whether change in the American regime will have any profound effect on the behavior of her allies. I don't see any "Yes or "No" answer to this - there will be changes of government elsewhere both before and after the fall of Bush and all will undoubtedly react to the situation as it exists when that time comes. Moreover, I suspect that the future is now dependent on a more massive change to protect "Spaceship Earth" and restore some semblance of harmony to international relations. The long years of the "Cold War" had, in retrospect, a huge moderating influence on global tensions - albeit with moments of tension itself. In its aftermath, opportunists in America, but also elsewhere, have grasped the absence of any mediator to hijack the progress in planetary equilibrium to pursue their own and corporate agendas. Corruption in the institutionalized nature of governments themselves is something that arguably needs to be addressed - worldwide, but especially in nations who increasingly lay false claim to being "democracies".

A radical change in America might well bring a shift in the attitude of her so-called allies, even a few of her supposed "enemies", but cultural and economic dependency as it stands needs to be re-examined from scratch. Re-painting the edifice may have some cosmetic appeal, but it borders on folly if the landscape remains shrouded in darkness. Enlightenment is what we need! Indeed, like America, Britain and Australia in particular need a sea-change in government mindset that will see self-interest in the long-term served better by global harmony and equality rather than the present obsession with short-term opportunism. We elect leaders to be responsible managers of our heritage, well-being and legacy. They are caretakers of society who should be pursuing the local, national and global good. They should not be adopting this role as a profession in itself and they should certainly not be prostituting themselves and those they serve to corporate or military agendas.

History may remember Bush favourably for one thing - in his idiotic and intellectually-challenged approach to world affairs he has made transparent both the imperial design and dictatorial intent that America has been practising since at least the end of WW2. Sure, the mass consumers of energy, consumer trinkets and propaganda may still remain blindly unaware of this reality, but free-thinkers can increasingly see that something has gone seriously wrong with planetary organisation. Even the United Nations has succumbed to maintaining the status quo rather than seeking fairness and justice. Charity has replaced obligation and even that runs in narrow focus if not concealed self-interest. The lessons of history and the science of survival are removed from the lifestyle curriculum, whilst dissent is romanticized and then marketed as a stylistic abstraction.

In a world of automation and information overload, freedom of expression is almost encouraged simply to compound the confusion of an increasingly shallow-headed audience. Behind the scenes, the corporate networks grow and electronic filters monitor every aspect of our lives. The propaganda of fear is employed as a viral addiction, with fundamentalism promoted as the sole cure. Governments, elected or otherwise, are increasingly subservient to the same machinery themselves - although it is remarkable how often they fail to understand the nature of the technologies they are dealing with and its limitations. When even military forces are trained in cyberspace with combat simulations, is it any wonder they come unstuck dealing the the real world? Silicon is not carbon, not yet organic - it is blind to the real-world blood and guts it callously ejaculates from its command structure. The Pentagon has become a hive of robotics, supervised by human retards! Misguided objectives are bad enough, but there is seemingly no memory with which to adequately implement a real life strategy. The very arrogance of the directive is a statement of its inevitable failure.

The depressive state of play is as much at work here in the UK. Whilst we still hold on to the vanity of "the Commonwealth", our own imperial strategies were finally ended with the advent of the Second World War. It took a while, but in the final lead-up to WW2 we refused to appease the forces of fascism. In the sixties, we had more sense than to subscribe to America's pressure on us to engage in the Vietman adventure. Yet now we have a shallow-headed, egotistical preacher at the helm who has been more than happy to lead us into a dark and complex mess woven by commercial forces for whom democracy is the real enemy. One of those forces is of course the almighty Murdock - a rampaging beast of Australian origin who literally controls the greater part of the propaganda machine that the likes of Howard, Bush and Blair hide behind. That we are increasingly tempted to view our plight in nationalistic terms is an illusion - the real problems lie with international movers whose mindset is one of material greed and the denial of humanity's future.

Climate damage and resource shortages are the real threat "terrorising" the globe. No leader or power-broker in the rich part of the world will address this in real terms. Instead they spin the long-term "pussy-footing" to look like concerned commitment and secretly put off the inevitable by continuing campaigns to rape and pillage the third world for whatever is left to be grabbed. "Statesmen" have become an almost obselete breed - they were of a fading tradition that would have employed some degree of moral and ehtical code in their decision making, usually without undue religious bias. "Policicians" thus rule the roost, subserviant to corporate cartels who seem wholly intent on destroying the foundations of natural trade on which they were originally built. Those who attack "western values" have a point - we have become complacent and self-obssesed. That an "opposing fundamentalism" has emerged as a method of the inevitable response is one of the great tragedies of our times. Actions and responses have created a huge polarization where regressive tendencies are the norm on both sides of the proverbial coin. The absolute nature of these doctrines are themselves an impediment to progress - they must all be overcome in order to protect the planet's future.

In the 21st Century, capitalism has outgrown its capacity to recycle itself. It has become a nightmarish machine plunging headlong into its own endgame. The market forces it claims to uphold as its foundation have become devoid of substance and the illusion of a thriving fiscal economy is only sustained by non-recoverable levels of debt and the artificial propping up of the bankrupt dollar. The irony is that so much of this decadent system has itself become dependent on the likes of China and Saudi Arabia who have virtually embraced the model as a weapon of world domination themselves. As the likes of India and other "slave" nations realise the power of our dependency on them, the culture of exploitation may be in for a rude shock. A market-driven ecosystem can possibly survive the end of capitalism, but "profits" and greed need to be replaced by recycling, redistribution and equitable reinvestment. Quality of life needs to replace the motivation for "possession" and entire lifestyles need to change within a single generation.

The tragic games being played by Australia, America and Britain (not to mention many others) will probably, if continued, be lost! It is not a case of whether, but when! It may be a future we ourselves are not around to see, but we owe it to future generations to ease the passage to a very different future. This is the real dilemma with our governments. Some have seized power. Others have been elected, but under a system where every choice on the political menu is what I refer to as "the same pudding with a different sauce". Yet they all have one thing in common - blind belief in in the pre-existing social and economic infrastructure. Sadly, if they cannot see beyond what is now an antiquated reality, they are not fit for purpose.

Tellingly, when Blair addressed his party conference for the final time, he told the faithful they need to keep changing. He also told them not to change in any way that might upset America - because "They don't take lightly to partial commitments - you're either with them or not!" One imagines the same sentiments must be shared by the leaders of puppet states elsewhere. In all likelihood it seems Bush will soon fall under the weight of his own facade and maybe these are the dark hours just before dawn. His downfall cannot come soon enough for some of us - hopefully taking PNAC and the other neocon forces with him. Whether that changes things dramatically for Britain, Australia and others functioning in the shadow of the world's big bully-boy will depend on his successor's willingness to confront the corruption inherant in the status quo. A "different sauce" on the pudding is not enough!

In America, the very electoral process has problems of its own. Electronic voting systems, which could if implemented properly could provide a fast, ever-evolving mechanism for true democracy, have been introduced with major software failings and a built-in bias toward the incumbent administration. Even if this obstacle is overcome, the Democrats are the only party on the menu as an alternative - the question is whether its leadership will be "Neocon Lite" or one prepared to tackle corruption and help carve the brave new world we need. In Britain, there is at least a third party which could make inroads that will affect the balance of power in parliament, if not immediately compete with the two party menu for government itself. Blair's going, but not yet gone and it will be a couple of years here too before we find out whether his party perpetuates its ethical decay to the point of total un-electability. A change would be to the right - even though its doing its best to look like the left. I don't know enough about Australia, but suspect it can be diagnosed with similar symptoms. In all these countries, progressives need to seize the media - not just for the propaganda of counterpoint, but as an educational tool that can warn of the dangers in a way that articulates them for the consumerist masses. Above all, we need to stifle the resurgence in organized religion by whatever creed it goes. Faith is a matter of personal choice and has no place in affairs of state. Nor does spirituality have anything to do with subscription to belief systems engineered by others for their own, usually sinister, reasons.

In the Islamic world and elsewhere there are very different problems and solutions. Yet there are also many similarities. Modernity needs to be encouraged, but presented in such a way as to not imply adherence to "western values". Other parts of the world have their own cultures too and the variety is the spice of humanity. But here again, religion needs to be expelled from affairs of state. Look at Japan - it can live without state religion. Look at China - it can function and thrive without Democracy. It's far from our notion of the ideal, but the corrupted version of "democracy" we are exporting is itself a lie - we don't recognize elected governments unless we like the result! So long as nations work to overcome oppression and slavery, forge fair and equitable societies, it is probably not our place to decree what model it uses to run its affairs. We will trade and we will communicate, but we will not aggressively interfere in another's business or forcibly impose our will upon them. Foreign policy should be about dealing fairly for what we want based on what we can give in return. The "profit" motive cannot be allowed to endure on such a massive global scale - the disparity between winners and losers is, with the possible exception of religion, the very thing that brings us to a state of war.

Even as we hunker down to enjoy the creature comforts we have come to expect in "The West", the evidence of ills that plague the planetary stage are in view in microcosm on our doorsteps. They are symptomatic of the same infection. Greed and the "profit" motive have extended polarization even within the societies of our precious "rich" nations. America has no sense of social equality in it's constitution - "fighting" to survive and better oneself is almost the over-riding absolute in its social infrastructure. It is an aggressive attitude that breeds disregard, if not contempt, of others. It is a deplorable character trait that has also become the predominant cultural export of the last half-century. Britons, Europeans, Australians and plenty more of us have taken to worshipping this false ideal and our own societies have evolved to reflect it. Hence the polarization we see around the planet can also be seen in the poverty of inner cities, failing healthcare for those can't afford it and the violence of those disenfranchised by their inability to "compete" in the cut-throat environment we promote. In times of war, "terrorism" is a norm - it is a method of warfare. Injustice is the cause of the "terror" on our streets in the guise of muggers, joy-riders, knife-wielders and gun-slingers. On the larger stage, injustice is the cause of the "terror" using evermore horrifying methods of attacking the global infrastructure that has created it. The only difference is in the scale. Inequality and injustice has always been with us, but where it emerges it never survives the test of time. How long it endures is another matter - hiding truths and manipulating information can, with cunning management, conceal the reality from view. Even so, an upheaval will come eventually.

We may be fortunate in that the upheavals we see today have been brought to light by very less-than-cunning management. Our saviour comes in the form of someone whose entire live has indeed been a catalogue of failed enterprise. The masquerade is over and the propaganda machine is relying on re-runs. The only audience are those still asleep. Time for the alarm clock I think - but hoping desperately that doesn't come in the form of another "false flag" operation designed to perpetrate the existing mess.

There is a place for America in the world and it would not be fitting that it return to its isolationist past. On the other hand, as a hollow shell of its former promise, there is no place on this planet for either its current administration or a future one that employs mere variations on the same policies. Were America to enter a renaissance period, where true freedom (and the social obligations that brings) to become its hallmark, then I suspect questions about the rest of the world could be answered rhetorically by saying that nations often follow others historically, especially when they set a good example. The recent emergence of new philanthropists is a sign that some are willing to move in the right direction, provided there is no hidden agenda. Or preaching! The alternative is that its so-called allies will indeed change direction of their own accord, actually enforcing a new isolationism on America. It would then have no choice but to opt for self-sustainability - something a continent its size should surely be able to handle.

Bush has sown "the seeds of disruption". The hard work is now in realising it and engaging in a race to find a remedy for the consequences of both his actions and the corruption of purpose his behavior has revealed. If we can bring about a revolution in our perception, build a "fair" global trading system and forsake our demand for wasting resources - well, these menacing times may just prove to be the catalyst needed for a decent future.

I'll end with a quote I've always liked. It's a quote within a quote from one of Frank Herbert's "Dune" sequence novels ...

"Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual."

Should Corporations Control Online Communication

So here I am, part of Google. Elswhere I'm available as part of MySpace, YouTube and others. I actually figure on speading myself thin - keeping all the avenues open and not relying on any one of them in particular.

This video simply considers the nature of the new journalism and whether we should allow corporations to control it.

Dildo Diaries

The ape emporer comes from some place called Texas. As this documentary shows, it is a very weird plave indeed and women in particular have to watch what they say when they're out shopping. A farce by any other name.

For links to other current stories, read my new annotated links blog using the "Bloglines" button at left.

Bush pardons self

This clip from CNN is a couple of days old and, sadly, the legislation has of course been passed thanks to democrat trators. Worth watching if only to witness the mainstream media beginning to kick themselves for not seeing it coming.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Bush Law will live into History

Republican Terror Laws Will Live in History

A fine article at AlterNet's Rights & Liberties portal on the new Amerikan laws. Of particular note is the quote from US Attourney General Albert Gonzales whose latest advice is "Federal Judges should not substitute their personal views for that of the President!"

Hopefully the revocation of these same laws will also someday find its equal mark in history. 'Nuff said!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Empire In Denial

Secret Reports Dispute White House Optimism

A link to a major feature at the Washington Post in which Bob Woodward looks at the disparity between recent official reports and the propaganda spewed by the Bush regime. Woodward was of course involved in exposing the Watergate Scandal of the Nixon Era and his new book, "State Of Denial" is generating great interest. A fine article - read it while you still can.