Sunday, 31 October 2010

Trick or Treat 2


Trick or Treat?

Just sayin'

(Thanx Stan!)

REpost: The Angry Brigade - Communiques & Chronology


The eight libertarian militants on trial in the Old Bailey in 1972 who were chosen by the British State to be the `conspirators' of the Angry Brigade, found themselves facing not only the class enemy with all its instruments of repression, but also the obtusity and incomprehension — when not condemnation — of the organised left.
Described as `mad', `terrorists', `adventurists', or at best authors of `gestures of a worrying desperation', the Angry Brigade were condemned without any attempt to analyse their actions or to understand what they signified in the general context of the class struggle in course. The means used to justify this were simple: by defining the actions of the Angry Brigade as `terrorist', and equating this with `individualist', the movement organisations — whose tendency is to see the relationship between individual and mass as something in contrast — neatly excluded them from their concerns. Strangely enough this attitude was not limited to the broad left but was also prevalent within the anarchist movement, where still today there is a tendency to ignore the role of the individual within the mass, and the role of the specific group within the mass movement. When the question is raised, it is usually in the form of an absolute condemnation. For example, in an article entitled `Terrorism' (sic) we read: “If a few people take it upon themselves to engage in `Armed Struggle', this spells out for us, besides the usual public hostility, police harassment, arrests and defence campaigns, the loss of all our political lessons, gains and strengths.” (Class War)
The problems encountered by the comrades of the Angry Brigade were similar to those of other groups active at the time who had refused the limits of struggle delineated by the State — the so-called limits of legality, beyond which the repressive mechanism is is unleashed — and taken as their points of reference the level of mass struggle. This decision was in defiance of the State's definition of the struggle's confines. It also defied the limits imposed by the official workers' movement and the extraparliamentary organisations, including the anarchist movement. The Symbionese Liberation Army in the US, the RAF in Germany, the first of the Red Brigades in Italy, were all isolated by the `revolutionary' organisations, condemned as agitators, provocateurs, individualist terrorists threatening the growth of the mass movement.
On the attitude to the SLA, Martin Sostre was to write in America: “The denunciation of the SLA by the movement press is indistinguishable from that of the ruling class. Each left organisation seems to be competing with the others for their legitimacy by denouncing the SLA...Conspicuously absent from the denunciations is any discussion of the role of armed struggle. Revolutionary violence is seen as something repulsive that should be shunned. The left movement press would have one believe that to overthrow the criminal ruling class we have merely to organise mass movements, demonstrations of protest and repeat revolutionary slogans.”
One such paper in this country — the Trotskyist Red Mole — distinguished itself by calling for solidarity with the comrades accused in the Angry Brigade trial. With the following reservation — “It is no use the organised left criticising the politics of the Angry Brigade, unless we also recognise why a lot of potentially very good comrades reject the various leninist organisations, and indeed resort to bomb-throwing — until you are caught — by itself an easy option that does not deal with the problem of helping to change the political understanding of millions of people.” Understandable enough in view of the Leninist programme. But from the anarchist perspective? We read on the front page of a fairly recent issue of Freedom, “Even the bombing campaign carried out by the Angry Brigade which was technically brilliant...achieved absolutely nothing because, in direct contradiction with their spoken ideals, they were trying to act as an elite vanguard leaving ordinary people as passive spectators of their actions. Far from this resulting in an `awakening' of the masses' it resulted in a fear of anarchism and anarchist ideas which has significantly contributed to our current impotence.”
As we can see, the old preoccupation persists: that of protecting the movement (especially the anarchist one) from the `adventurists'.
In fact the movement of the exploited is not and never has been one monolithic mass, all acting together with the same level of awareness. The struggle against capital has from the beginning been characterised by a dichotomy between the official workers' movement on the one hand, with its various organisations — parties, unions, etc, channelling dissent into a manageable form of quantitive mediation with the bosses. And on the other hand, the often less visible movement of `uncontrollables' who emerge from time to time in explicit organisational forms, but who often remain anonymous, responding at individual level by sabotage, expropriation, attacks on property, etc, in the irrecuperable logic of insurrection. There is no distinct or fixed dividing line between the two movements. They often affect each other, the surge from the base obliging the big official organisations to take a certain direction, or the inverse, where the latter put a brake on autonomous struggles. Many of those who make up the mass of union membership, are also extremely active in extra-union (and by definition extra-legal) forms of struggle. Each side, however, has its own heritage: on the one a heritage of deals and sell-outs, the great victories that are real defeats on the workers' backs; on the other, a heritage of direct action, riots, organised insurrections or individual actions which all together form part of the future society we all desire, and without which it would be nothing but a utopian dream.
A brief look at the development of the struggle in this country shows this duality quite clearly. The organised anti-capitalist movement as we know it today began to take shape at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Unlike the other European capitalist countries developing at the same time, there was only a minor communist influence both at organisational and ideological level. Traditional British anti-intellectualism and `common sense' were perhaps fundamental to a more pragmatic form of organisation which took the form of trades unions. These unions were from the start reformist, although at times, through pressure from the base, some knew insurrectional moments. The changes the unions proposed were however usually intended to come about using non-violent methods within the constitutional limits.
The most numerically significant of the early workers' movements was the Chartist one, which began around 1838. Recognised as the first modern mass movement, the first Chartist petition had one and a quarter million signatures. This is clearly not a qualitative assessment of active adherents. Even this movement was marked by two opposing currents: on the one hand those preaching non-violence and the constitutional road to universal suffrage as a solution; on the other, those who spoke of ~and carried out) rebellion and armed direct action. These were the so- called `moral force' and the `physical force'. They were linked to the division between the tradesmen and unskilled workers and were never never reconciled, possibly accounting for the short duration of the movement.
During and immediately preceding this period there also existed forms of autonomous revolt, such as that of the many artisans in the textile industry who, under threat of losing their jobs or of being reduced to non-specialised labourers, organised in armed groups. The most significant of these insurrectional movements was that known as Luddism, which took place between 1810-1820. During this period an immense amount of property was destroyed, including vast numbers of textile frames redesigned to produce inferior, shoddy goods. The Luddites, taking the name of Ned Ludd who had taken a sledge hammer to the frames at hand, organised themselves locally and even federally with great coordination, and in spite of vast deployments of soldiers especially in West Riding and Yorkshire where the movement was strongest, generalised insurrection was approached on more than one occasion. As John Zerzan [1] points out, this was not the despairing outburst of workers having no other outlet, as a long tradition of unionism was in existence among textile workers and others prior to and during the Luddite uprisings.
In the early 1830's it was the turn of agricultural workers become casual labourers to organise in the `army' of Captain Swing, a mythical figure adopted as a symbol of the farmworkers who burned ricks and barns, threatening their oppressors — farmers, vicars, justices of the peace alike — with the same fate. Where the Luddites were extremely organised, the Swing men lacked secrecy. Nineteen of them were hanged (sixteen for arson), 644 jailed, and 481 deported to Australia.
Along with the inevitable development in the forces of repression in the form of police and army, we see the development of the unions as an attempt to instill order from within the work situation itself. By their division by trades, and by specialised and non-specialised workers, they had the effect not only of controlling but also of fragmenting the struggle and diffusing it along these artificial divisions. By 1910 there were over 50 unions in the engineering industry alone. The revolutionary movement that subsequently developed began partly as a destruction of the old forms of organisation.
Three important movements developed. The evolutionary syndicalist movement under the French influence; the industrial syndicalists (IWW) from America, and the shop stewards movement, which was particularly active in the Clydeside in Scotland. They struggled for the control of industry by the workers and against the failure of the orthodox trade unions and left parliamentarianism to get any improvement in working conditions. But these movements, although strong at local level, and capable of organising important strikes and revolts, never went beyond the limits of the engineering and transport industries and the mines.
The war years saw a pact between trade unions and the government. Both combined to forcibly instill a sense of patriotism in the workers to prepare them for the great massacre that was to come. Strikes became illegal as a result of this deal, showing clearly how the borderline between legality and illegality is a malleable instrument in the hands of power. Not all went willingly to the slaughter, and the many desertions and mutinies which were savagely put down are still part of the proletariat's unwritten history.
The Communist Party, formed in 1920 during the post war depression, was authoritarian and centralised. Although the party never gained the support that its continental counterparts did, it nevertheless carried out its role of policing the struggles in course. For example it entered the struggles of the unemployed who were organised in local groups expropriating food, squatting, etc, and channelled them into reformist demands on the State and large demonstrations such as the Jarrow hunger marches.
The General Strike was emblematic of the contrast between the mass of workers and the unions and parties who claimed to represent them.
However, with the recovery and development of heavy industry, the main energies of the exploited were concentrated at the workplace, the only place they now found themselves together. The shop stewards' movement was revived in the fifties and sixties in the so-called boom years. But, although nearer to the base of the workers, it broke up the area of struggle even further than the already single trades orientated unions. The growing division of labour caused increasing divisions in struggle, with the result that solidarity between the various sectors was limited, even between workers in the same factory.
While the unions were working to develop industry along with the bosses, the base were developing different, uncontrollable forms of struggle such as go-slows, wildcat strikes, sit-ins, etc. For example, of the 421 strikes in the docks at the beginning of the sixties, 410 were unofficial. These same workers had already experienced troops being moved into the docks by a Labour government, and TGWU officials giving evidence against their own members ten years before.
Acceleration in automation, work pace, and alienation, especially in the fast developing car industry, created struggles which went against the union/ management work ethic. Against bargaining and negotiation, car workers and dockers in particular were carrying out sabotage on the assembly lines, wildcat strikes and occupations. At times they succeeded in pushing their `defence' organisations into situations of attack and across the frontiers of sectionalism and trades differences into which they had been conscripted. But the economism of the unions was one of capital's strongest arms. At a time when industrial riots and even insurrections were spreading all over Europe, each starting from a minority with its own objectives and spreading to other categories of workers in the same industry, then beyond, using pickets, workers' committees, assemblies, etc, the unions were the only organs capable of negotiating with the management and getting workers to return to work under great slogans of unity.
This dualism in the workers' movement between elements of the base struggling directly and spontaneously within a precise economic situation, and the representatives of the national politics of the official workers' movement always ready to put a brake on and formalise struggles (e.g. boycotts, strikes and even `working to rule'), turning them into instruments of negotiation with the industries, has always existed. But not all the actions of the base can be instrumentalised, and the thrust towards illegality can never be fully stifled. At times it might seem so. But even during the relative `lulls', there exists a perpetual movement of absenteeists, expropriators, and saboteurs. This movement from below, which emerged in force at the end of the sixties, dispelled the myth of the passive, stable English working class, just as the image of the traditional worker changed with the increase in the number of women and immigrant workers in productive work and the rapidly expanding service industries.
At the same time a new movement was growing in the schools and colleges. One of the main points of reference for this movement was the Vietnam war. In every college and university various groups were struggling for political space. For a period there was an attempt to form a unified students movement, the Revolutionary Students Federation. The most significant groups were of a Trotskyist tendency, Maoism having little influence in this country. But the sterile politics of the straight left (Trotskyists and other Leninists) could not contain the new anti-authoritarian movement that was beginning to develop.
The politics of everyday life — organising around one's own oppression, trying to overcome the division between workers and students, between men and women, forming groups around precise problems as opposed to under political banners — was in full development. A vast movement of claimants, squatters, feminists, etc, emerged expressing not the Right to Work but the Refusal of Work, not employing the waiting tactics of unionist education but taking, Here and Now, what was being refused, and refusing what was being offered. A critique of the nuclear family as a firm bastion of capitalist power led to many experiences of communal living. This movement in all its complexity, not so much a students movement, but a widespread one comprising of young workers, students and unemployed, could be called the libertarian movement of the time.
This movement was comprised of autonomous groups acting outside the stagnant atmosphere of the traditional anarchist movement with its own microscopic power centres which, as Bakunin so astutely pointed out, are just as nefarious as any other power structure. A parallel can therefore be drawn between the dichotomy within the workers movement, and that which exists within the anarchist movement. On the one hand there are the comrades who hold positions of power, not carrying out any precise activity to contribute to the revolutionary consciousness of the mass, but who spend their time presiding over meetings and conferences aimed at influencing younger comrades through the incantation of abstract principles. These principles are upheld as the only true tenets of anarchism, and are adhered to by those who, either by laziness or weakness, accept them acritically. The manifestations of these islands of power usually take the form of publications that are long standing and repetitive. They have the external semblance of an `open forum' for the use of the movement as a whole, but the basic ideology — that of conservation and stasis — is filtered through from behind the flurry of `helpers' carrying out the task of `filling' and physically producing the publication. These publications are the first to condemn autonomous actions that take their points of reference from the illegal movement of the exploited. They are the first to denounce them, accusing them of bringing police repression down on the anarchist movement. In their reveries they have forgotten that repression always exists, and that only in its most sophisticated form creates the peaceful graveyard of acquiescence, where only ghosts are allowed to tread. Many of the most forceful of recent social rebellions have been fired and spread by the popular response to police repression.
The traditional anarchist movement finds itself threatened therefore by the other movement of anarchists, the autonomous groups and individuals who base their actions on a critical appraisal of past methods and up to date theory and analysis. They too use the traditional instruments of leaflets, newspapers and other publications, but use them as tools of revolutionary critique and information, trying always to go towards the mass struggle and contribute to it personally and methodologically. It is quite coherent — and necessary if they are to be active participants in the struggle — that they also apply the instruments of direct action and armed struggle. These groups refuse the logic of the power centre and `voluntary helpers'. Each individual is responsible for his or her action which is based on decisions reached through the endless task of acquiring information and understanding. Some of this can also be gained from
the older or more experienced comrades in the group, but never as something to be revered and passed down acritically. Just as there are no immovable boundaries between the two workers' movements, nor are there within the two anarchist movements. Nor is there a fixed boundary between the latter anarchist movement and the insurrectionalist workers' movement. When the struggle heightens these movements come close together and intermingle, the anarchists however always with the aim of pushing the struggle to a revolutionary conclusion and offering libertarian methods to prevent its being taken over by authoritarian structures. The other, traditional, anarchist movement has shown all too often in the past its willingness to form alliances with structures of the official workers' movement.
Given the situation at the end of the sixties and beginning of the seventies, with its wave of industrial unrest at the level of the base, the students' struggles in the universities, the struggles of the unemployed, women and so on, the Angry Brigade emerge both as a product of this reality, and as revolutionary subjects acting within it. To reject them as some form of social deviance is to close one's eyes to the reality of the struggle at that time. The fact that their actions deliberately took place in the field of illegality, soliciting others to do the same, does not in any way disqualify them from what was in its very essence an illegal movement. It is possible to see this even in the context of the bombings alone that took place in these years (although by doing so we do not intend to reduce the vast and varied instruments of illegality to that of the bomb): Major Yallop, head of the Laboratories at Woolwich Arsenal, main witness for the prosecution in the trial of the supposed Angry Brigade, was forced to admit that in addition to the 25 bombings between 1968 and mid 1971 attributed to them, another 1,075 had come through his laboratory.
Looking at the bombings claimed by the Angry Brigade, we see that they focus on two areas of struggle that were highly sensitive at the time. The first was the struggle in industry: the bombing of the Dept. of Employment and Productivity on the day of a large demonstration against the Industrial Relations Bill; the bombing of Carr's house on the day of an even larger demonstration; the bombing of William Batty's home during a Ford strike at Dagenham; the bombing of John Davies', Minister of Trade and Industry, during the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders crisis; the bombing of Bryant's home during a strike at one of his building works. To complement these attacks, there were the bombs aimed directly at the repressive apparatus of the State at a time when repression was increasing heavily in response to the upsurge in all areas of struggle. The bombing of the home of Commissioner Waldron, head of Scotland Yard. The bombing of the police computer at Tintagel House; the home of Attorney General Peter Rawlinson, and, finally, that of a Territorial Army Recruitment Centre just after internment was introduced in Northern Ireland fall into this category. The bombing of the high street boutique, Biba's and that of the BBC van the night before the Miss World contest was an attempt to push further in the direction of destroying the stereotyping and alienation of the spectacle of consumerism and role playing. “Sit in the drugstore, look distant, empty, bored, drinking some tasteless coffee? or perhaps BLOW IT UP OR BURN IT DOWN.” (Communique 8)
By their actions the Angry Brigade also became a part of that spectacle, but a part that took form in order to contribute to its destruction. Their actions as presented here find a place therefore not as some old commodity to be taken out and dusted, then put back on the shelf like a relic that belongs to the past. The work they carried out — and which five libertarians paid for in heavy prison sentences — is a contribution to the ongoing struggle which is changing form as the strategies of capital change in order for it to restructure and preserve itself. A critical evaluation of the Angry Brigade must therefore take place elsewhere than on the sterile pages of this pamphlet. It must take place in the active considerations of a movement that has a task to fulfil, and that does not take heed of the condemnation and defamation by those whose ultimate aim is to protect themselves. Many problems are raised by a rereading of the actions and experiences of the Angry Brigade — clandestinity or not, symbolic action or direct attack, anonymous actions or the use of communiques to be transmitted by the media — to name but a few. The pages that follow help to highlight these questions, whose solution will only be found in the concrete field of the struggle.
Jean Weir

Angry Brigade Communiques

First Communique

We expect the news of the machine-gunning of the Spanish Embassy in London on Thursday night [2] to be suppressed by the bourgeois Press... It's the third time over the last month that the system has dropped the mask of the so-called `freedom of information' and tried to hide the fact of its vulnerability.
`They' know the truth behind the BBC [3] the day before the Miss World farce; `they' know the truth behind the destruction of property of High Court judges; `they' know the truth behind the four Barclays Banks which were either burned or badly destroyed; `they' also know that active opposition to their system is spreading.
The Angry Brigade doesn't claim responsibility for everything. We can make ourselves heard in one way or another. We machine-gunned the Spanish Embassy last night in solidarity with our Basque brothers and sisters. We were careful not to hit the pigs guarding the building as representatives of British capital in fascist Spain. If Britain co-operates with France over this `legal' Iynching by shutting the truth away, we will take more careful aim next time.
Communique, The Angry Brigade

Communique 1

Fascism & oppression
will be smashed
Embassies (Spanish Embassy machine gunned Thursday)
High Pigs
Communique 1
The Angry Brigade

Communique 2

Min. E. & Prod.
Communique 2
The Angry Brigade [4]

Communique 3

(Only extracts of Communique 3 are available from l.T. 94 and l.T. 95) [5]
The statement claims the bombing of the Department of Employment and Productivity Wages Council Office. They described it as part of `a planned series of attacks on capitalist and government property'. It ends `we will answer their force with our class violence'.
Continue reading after jump

For HerrB!!!

I am NOT sayin' a word!
PS: Dray and I thought MINE was bad too! LOL!!!

Girlz With Gunz #132 (man has it been pissing down here in the last 24 hours!)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Caribou – Jamelia (DJ Koze’s Alarmclock)


Friday, 29 October 2010

David Bowie & NIN Live (40 mins)


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Thanx Stan!

More examples of 'men's style at the movies'
PS:There is a link there to buy the posters too...

James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 sold for £2.6m

♪♫ Throbbing Gristle - The Old Man Smiled (23-10-10)

Dream recording device 'possible' researcher claims

Pinch & Pavel Ambiont - Poison / Remedy


US OKs Largest-Ever US Solar Project in California

The Obama administration has approved a 1,000-megawatt solar project on federal land in southern California, the largest solar project ever planned on U.S. public lands.Interior Secretary Ken Salazar praised the $6 billion Blythe Project, to be built in the Mojave Desert near Blythe, California, as the start of a boom in solar power on federal lands.
"Today is a day that makes me excited about the nation's future," Salazar said Monday at a news conference. "This project shows in a real way how harnessing our own renewable resources can create good jobs here at home."
The Blythe project, being developed by Solar Millennium, a German solar developer, is slated for more than 7,000 acres (2833 hectares) of public land near the Arizona border, some 225 miles (360 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
The project is the sixth solar power development approved by the Interior Department this month all in California or Nevada. Approval of a seventh project also in California is expected in the next few weeks. All could start transmitting electricity by the end of 2011 or early 2012.
At full capacity, the seven projects would generate more than 3,000 megawatts of power and provide electricity for up to 2 million homes. The projects are expected to create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and several hundred permanent jobs.
A spokeswoman for the solar industry said the flurry of announcements shows that efforts made by the Obama administration and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to promote solar power are beginning to pay off.
"We're finally going to see solar energy produced on public lands in the United States, and this is something the public wants," said Monique Hanis, a spokeswoman for the Solar Energy Industries Association, a Washington-based trade group.
The announcements come about five years after solar developers began asking the Bureau of Land Management for rights to develop hundreds of solar plants on millions of acres of federally owned desert in the Southwest.
The bureau opened federally owned lands in 2005 to solar development, but an examination of records and interviews of officials by The Associated Press showed the program operated a first-come, first-served leasing system that quickly overwhelmed its small staff and enabled companies, regardless of solar industry experience, to squat on land without any real plans to develop it.
To expedite environmental review and bureaucratic red tape, the Interior Department identified 14 of the most promising solar projects among the more than 180 current permit applications covering about 23 million acres of federally owned desert in the Southwest.
Those 14 "fast-track" projects alone would produce more than 6,000 megawatts, enough to power 4 million homes for a day at peak usage, officials said.
Hanis, the industry representative, said that even after the 14 fast-track projects are approved, solar energy will remain a tiny fraction of overall energy production on U.S. lands. The projects approved this month are the first ever approved by land management bureau, compared with more than 74,000 oil and gas permits issued in the past two decades.
Final approval by the end of the year qualifies the solar projects for federal funds under the economic stimulus law approved last year. Solar Millennium is eligible to secure $1.9 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the Energy Department for the Blythe project.
The company will be required to mitigate the project's effect on more than 8,000 acres (3,240 hectares) of habitat for the desert tortoise, western burrowing owl, bighorn sheep and Mojave fringe-toed lizard, as part of an agreement with federal officials.
Matthew Daly@'WRBL'

Farewell Mon Amour: Prospects on Democracy's Electoral Defeat

Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them. -Tony Judt
In the midst of one of the greatest economic disasters the United States has ever faced, the Gilded Age and its updated "'dreamworlds' of consumption, property and power" have returned from the dead with zombie-like vengeance.(1) Poised now to take over either one or two houses of Congress, the exorbitantly rich along with their conservative ideologues wax nostalgically for a chance to once again emulate that period in 19th century American history when corporations ruled political, economic and social life, and an allegedly rugged entrepreneurial spirit prevailed unchecked by the power of government regulations. Wild West, casino capitalism, unhampered by either ethical considerations or social costs, has reinvented itself and become the politics of choice in this election year. Enthusiasm runs high as billions of dollars flow from hidden coffers into the hands of anti-public politicians, whose only allegiance is to power and the accumulation of capital.
In spite of almost unprecedented levels of inequality, hardship, human suffering and widespread public despair caused by the financial robber barons of Wall Street, the politics and values of Gilded Age excess are now celebrated by conservatives and Tea Party politicians, who define their retrograde politics as "having a flair for business, successfully [breaking] through the stultifying constraints that flowed from the New Deal" and using "their successes and their philanthropy [to make] government less important than it once was."(2) There is more at work here than a neo-feudal world view in which the future can only be measured in immediate financial gains and the amassing of colossal amounts of economic and political power. Massive disparities in wealth and power along with the weakening of worker protections and the destruction of the social state are now legitimated through a set of market-driven values in which politics is measured by the degree to which it evades any sense of actual truth and turns its back on even a vestige of moral responsibility. Under casino capitalism, politics increasingly becomes a front for the legitimation and exercise of ruthless corporate power. As politics loses its social purpose, not only does the state increasingly resort to modes of punishment, but the rules of politics are eviscerated of any moral and social responsibilities. Robber barons now decide the rules, and one consequence of such actions is that politics loses all sense of moral direction. Indeed, under such circumstances, the pathologies of inequality and injustice that cripple viable democracies are now rendered as inevitable and often celebrated as both a cleansing element and condition of politics itself.
If the first rule of robber baron politics is to make power invisible, the second is to make it unaccountable and the third rule is to give as much power as possible to those who revel in barbaric greed, social irresponsibility, unconscionable economic inequity, corrupt politics, resurgent monopolies and an unapologetic racism (parading as an attack on political correctness no less). The mainstream media and its rarely changing talking heads may wax endlessly about the populist anger fueling the current political climate, but it is a tragic mistake to overlook the fact that populism driven by authoritarian politics, while supplying an unmistakable enthusiasm to the current phase of electoral politics, is distinguished by and should be analyzed critically for the threat it poses to a democratic society...
Continue reading
Henry A. Giroux @'Truthout'

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

HA! Housing Benefits

David Cameron believes that housing claims of over £20,000 a year are unfair.
He has a point. I can think of one benefits scrounger who has repeatedly claimed more than this, despite having a perfectly adequate home in London.
David Cameron Second Home Expenses
2003-04:  £20,328
2004-05:  £20,902
2005-06:   £21,293.86
2006-07:  £20,563


Not exactly sure which year but...
(Thanx (?) Stan!)

♪♫ Suicide - Girl

(Video by Richard Kern)

Gaspar Noé Interviews Kenneth Anger

"NOÉ: In Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, the priest or the shaman is giving a magic drink to all of the people around him, and I was surprised to read in some books about you, that he's giving them yage. I've done yage many times in the jungle in Peru, and it's a drink that is full of DMT. Have you ever done yourself chemical DMT? Or have you drunk ayahuasca?

ANGER: No, neither one. I've read about them, but I've never tried them. I don't go out of my way to seek that sort of thing. But yage is from South America, isn't it? I tried peyote, which makes me kind of ill before it clears up. But that takes all night.

NOÉ: Have you tried it many times?

ANGER: A few times. I haven't taken any drugs, of any kind, in years. It was an experimental period in an earlier part of my life.

NOÉ: They open your mind, if you don't lose your mind.

ANGER: Well, one thing you cannot do—once, I tried to film when I was on LSD. And I had very good LSD in the early days, because I was a friend in San Francisco of Owsley Stanley, the famous chemist. And in the early days, it was just a drop of it on a sugar cube. So I had very good LSD, but the problem was—I tried making a film, or doing some filming, when I was on LSD, and it's impossible. I couldn't focus. I tried focusing, but when I looked through the lens, I'd see all different layers of focus, and I couldn't find which was the real one behind the camera. And I just thought, this does not work, and I never tried that again."...

@'Interview Magazine'

RIP - Paul the Octopus

Paul, the famous psychic octopus who shot to fame after predicting the outcomes of World Cup this summer, died Tuesday. He lived just two and a half years.

After passing away peacefully during the night of natural causes, Paul will be remembered for predicting the winners of all Germany's World Cup clashes, and then the final by selecting Spain over the Netherlands. Just before each game, the Octopus would choose one of two boxes, each loaded with a mussel food treat and marked on the outside with one of the teams. (He also made an enemy in Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)
Staff at the aquarium center where he lived said his death was not entirely unexpected, since common octopuses generally only live a few years. Paul's body is now in cold storage while the aquarium decides "how best to mark his passing." "We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine," said Stephan Porwell, manager of the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in Germany.
However, Paul's fans need not despair–his aquarium is said to be grooming a successor, also to be named Paul. (Even though, chances are, he won't be psychic.) And on a commercial note, the iconic octopus lives on in iPhone apps and clothing lines devoted to his soothsaying ways. NewsFeed salutes you, Paul. May you predict World Cup outcomes in octopus heaven.

Read more:

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Back tomorrow...

Scuba - Triangulation (Interpretations)

   HFCD003i - Triangulation (Interpretations)
Release date: November 15
01. Before (After)
02. Latch (Will Saul & Mike Monday Remix)
03. On Deck (FaltyDL Remix)
04. You Got Me (I Got You)
05. Tracers (Deadbeat Remix)
06. So You Think You're Special (Joe Remix)
07. Before (Deadboy Remix)
Released by: Hotflush Recordings Ltd
Release/catalogue number: HFCD003i
Release date: Nov 15, 2010

Divide and Conquer

I've never been a fan of shooting the messenger. I like to believe that people are capable of making their own minds on the information they've been given, but I'm starting to have second thoughts. In the currently polarized climate of American politics, it is increasing difficult to have a civil discussion on current events unless one is preaching to the choir. In recent conversations where I'm speaking with an avowed republican, I notice they all say the same talking points that are aired on Fox News on a daily basis. When I ask if they get their news from other sources, 9/10 times they say no. The excuse is they don't "trust" other outlets. What has resulted is cause for concern. One out of five Americans mistakenly believe Obama is Muslim. Many Americans mistakenly believe Obama's raised taxes.

Recently, NPR fired Juan Williams. What I find amazing is Fox News signed Williams to a contract the next day. Apparently, $2 million is the going price for Islamophobia.

Former Fox Newser Major Garrett admits that Fox News is in the business of keeping America divided. So, between the outrageous sums of money pumped into Fox and now the newly allowed unlimited anonymous campaign contributions (thanks to Bush appointees on the Supreme Court), the truth doesn't stand a chance.

WikiLeaks Exposes Rumsfeld's Lies

Monday, 25 October 2010

Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters

Paul O'Grady tells it how it is...

(Thanx Joe!)

RIP - Gregory Isaacs

Reggae legend Gregory Isaacs has died after a battle with cancer.
Isaacs, who was 59 years old, died on Monday morning at his home in London where he spent part of his time.
He leaves behind a wife and children.
Close friends told BBC Caribbean that he had originally been diagnosed with cancer of the liver which had then spread.
The Jamaican reggae singer, who was nicknamed the Cool Ruler, was best known for the song 'Night Nurse'.

The Nixonian henchmen of today: at the NYT

♪♫ Sylvain Chauveau - The Unbroken Line (version 2)

'...the only Muslim member of congress.'

Keith Ellison
As TRMS examined last week, we've had a 2010 campaign season full of "macaca" moments, gaffes from Republican/Tea Party candidates that would've ended their chances in any normal election.
Threaten to obstruct and possibly shut down the government? Dude, that's so 1994. Now you have to threaten violent revolution to get some attention. The goal line has been moved (forgive the football metaphor; it's Sunday) to a place we've never seen it before, and it's kept a lot of candidates viable long after they normally would have been. To the GOP/Tea Party folks, none of those things have yet disqualified these candidates.
But despite being willing to tolerate any manner of political gaffe, they do have standards. Being Muslim, it seems, is a bridge too far.
A Tea Party Nation e-mail (requires login) sent late Saturday night in support of Lynne Torgeson, the Republican candidate in Minnesota's 5th district, went full negative against Rep. Keith Ellison, the Democratic incumbent.
Best to just let you read it, verbatim:
There are a lot of liberals who need to be retired this year, but there are few I can think of more deserving than Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the most radical members of congress. He has a ZERO rating from the American Conservative Union. He is the only Muslim member of congress. He supports the Counsel for American Islamic Relations, HAMAS and has helped congress send millions of tax to terrorists in Gaza.
Good to know they have some standards, I guess.
Whether or not they can prove that Rep. Ellison has "helped congress send millions of tax" to Gaza, or whether the Congressman or the Council on American-Islamic Relations supports Hamas, that's besides the point. Because all Muslims are anti-American, right?
Right? Being a Muslim, per the Tea Party Nation, is now a disqualifying characteristic for being a member of Congress. Calling for the violent overthrow of government if, you know, that whole democracy thing doesn't go their way?
Now, that's American!
(Image: University of Minnesota-Morris.)
Update: As some of our commenters have noted, Tea Party Nation will be surprised to learn that Rep. Andre Carson (D-IL) is also a Muslim.
Jamil Smith @The Maddow Blog'
Still NO exscuse for working for Iran's PressTV though!

WikiLeaks Iraq war logs: Nick Clegg calls for investigation of abuse claims

Allegations of killings, torture and abuse in Iraq contained in leaked US military logs "need to be looked at", Nick Clegg said today.
The deputy prime minister said any suggestion that the rules of war had been broken or torture had been condoned were "extremely serious".
The almost 400,000 secret US army field reports show two cases of alleged involvement of British troops in the abuse of detainees.
Clegg did not rule out the possibility of an inquiry into the actions of British forces in Iraq, but said it was up to the US administration to answer for the actions of its forces.
His comments contrasted with a statement from the Ministry of Defence yesterday, which warned that the posting of classified US military logs on the WikiLeaks website could endanger the lives of British forces.
Clegg told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: "We can bemoan how these leaks occurred, but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious. They are distressing to read about and they are very serious. I am assuming the US administration will want to provide its own answer. It's not for us to tell them how to do that."
Asked if there should be an inquiry into the role of British troops, he said: "I think anything that suggests that basic rules of war, conflict and engagement have been broken or that torture has been in any way condoned are extremely serious and need to be looked at."
He added: "People will want to hear what the answer is to what are very, very serious allegations of a nature which I think everybody will find quite shocking."
Vince Cable, the business secretary, also said allegations of abuse should be investigated and criticised the way in which they were leaked. He told Sky News Sunday Live: "The Liberal Democrats were strong opponents of the Iraq war and we do feel vindicated by what's happening."
He added: "I think there have been several investigations already but I think, clearly, if there have been abuses taking place they need to be investigated – that's obvious enough."
British involvement in the alleged torture and unlawful killing of Iraqi civilians may also be the subject of legal action. Lawyers said the reports embroiled British as well as US forces in an alleged culture of abuse and extrajudicial killings in Iraq.
Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, appearing alongside the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a press conference in London yesterday, said some of the deaths documented in the reports may have involved British forces and could now go through the UK courts. The Iraq war logs, Shiner said, indicated that British as well as US commanders were likely to have ignored evidence of torture by the Iraqi authorities, contrary to international law.
"Some of these deaths will be in circumstances where the UK have a very clear legal responsibility. This may be because the Iraqis died while under the effective control of UK forces – under arrest, in vehicles, helicopters or detention facilities," he said.
The Ministry of Defence said the publication of the records was reckless and put the lives of British military personnel in danger, adding that it investigated any allegations made against British troops. It said: "There is no place for mistreatment of detainees. Any civilian casualty is a matter of deep regret and we take any incidents extremely seriously."
As Assange defended the decision to disclose the documents – saying it was of "immense importance" to reveal the truth about the conflict – the UN warned that if the logs pointed to clear violations of the UN convention against torture, Barack Obama's administration had a clear obligation to investigate them.
Manfred Novak, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: "President Obama came to power with a moral agenda, saying we don't want to be seen to be a nation responsible for major human rights violations." A failure to investigate credible claims of complicity in torture, Novak suggested, would be a failure of the Obama government to recognise US obligations under international law.
The US defence department condemned the WikiLeaks release, describing the documents as raw observations by tactical units, which were only snapshots of tragic, mundane events. Assange said the snapshots of everyday events offered a glimpse at the "human scale" of the conflict. He told the news conference his motive for the disclosure was "about the truth".
Iraq Body Count, a private British-based group that has tracked the number of Iraqi civilians killed since the war began in 2003, said its analysis of the logs had raised its total of civilian deaths from 107,369 to more than 122,000. IBC, which worked with WikiLeaks, said the war logs showed there were more than 109,000 violent deaths between 2004 and the end of 2009. They included 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed as "enemy", 15,196 members of the Iraqi security forces, and 3,771 coalition troops.
John Sloboda of IBC said: "They [the documents] show the relentless grind of daily killings in almost every town or village in every province."
WikiLeaks yesterday promised to publish 15,000 more documents about the war in Afghanistan.
Jonathan Haynes, Mark Townsend, Jamie Doward and Paul Harris and agencies @'The Guardian'

Dominic Ridgway


Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Undead

'Fruitier Than Thou'

Piracy Can Boost Book Sales Tremendously

Earlier this year book piracy surged after the introduction of the iPad. Although some publishers and authors fear that this will cause their revenues to dwindle, there are plenty of signs that the opposite will happen. This week, comic book writer Steve Lieber said that his sales went through the roof after pirated scans were shared on 4Chan, and he’s not alone.
This year has seen the definite breakthrough for digital books, which led to mixed feelings among publishers and authors. On the one hand digital distribution makes books more accessible to the public, but the downside is that unauthorized copies can also be shared more easily.
Looking at the music industry, some publishers are fearing the worst, but the million dollar question is whether or not these fears are justified. How big of a threat is eBook piracy for the book industry? Or is it an opportunity instead?
This week comic book writer Steve Lieber has shared his experiences with book piracy, proving that it also has its benefits. Lieber noticed that scanned copies of his graphic novel Underground were posted on 4Chan, but instead of putting his sales to a halt, they skyrocketed.
Lieber shared his findings in a blog entry, complete with fancy graphics which show that the 4Chan piracy resulted in a flood of new customers.

The picture above shows how Lieber’s site traffic surged after the pirated scans were posted, and how 4Chan brings in more traffic than BoingBoing. But Lieber also said that the spike in sales was even more impressive.
“The sales spike, I think, would be a lot sharper, actually, but we don’t have any way to track that as precisely… After the Boing Boing article ran, I sat down to do the free sketches for our Etsy buyers, and got them all done while eating a sandwich. After this, I’ll be sketching for DAYS.”
It would of course be naive to claim that this example proves that piracy is not going to affect the book industry in a negative way, or that it will boost sales for everyone. However, it does show that ‘being noticed’ can do wonders in individual cases, even if it’s through piracy.
And that’s not the only benefit. The availability of unauthorized copies doesn’t only help writers who have yet to gain an audience. Well established authors have also noticed that piracy can do wonders for sales figures.
Bestselling author Paulo Coelho has previously shown that giving away free digital copies of books can actually boost sales to quite an extent. He claimed that this ‘piracy’ has led to millions of additional sales over the years.
Coelho, who is an avid BitTorrent user himself and a passionate supporter of The Pirate Bay, has encouraged many of his fellow authors to share their work. “A person who does not share is not only selfish, but bitter and alone,” Coelho told TorrentFreak.
Even more so, according to the anecdotes above an author who doesn’t share might actually miss out on some additional revenue.

Don't forget to donate if you can afford it!

Thanx FTT!


Age of consent, underage sex and media panics – what you need to know

How much longer?

Mexico gunmen 'kill 13 young people at party'

How VERY interesting...

(Ta muchly HerrB!)

The Terror

Nick Cave on 'Ghosts of the Civil Dead'

In Roman law, a person convicted of a crime where the punishment included loss of their legal rights as a person was civiliter mortuus, a person without civil rights, a civil dead.

Here lies FAC 501

Julian Assange walks out of CNN interview

You know it makes (no) sense...

John Perry Barlow JPBarlow California spends about 1.8 billion a year to prohibit marijuana use, roughly what it could gain in taxes were it legal.

Race, marijuana and the war on drugs

David Hockney's iPad art

One day last summer I got a text message from David Hockney. It read: “I’ll send you today’s dawn this afternoon, an absurd sentence I know, but you know what I mean.” Later on it duly arrived: pale pink, mauve and apricot clouds drifting over the Yorkshire coast in the first light of a summer’s day. It was as delicate as a Turner, luminous as stained glass and as hi-tech as any art being made in the world today. Hockney had drawn it on his iPhone.
He first started using that Apple gadget in late 2008. Since then he has produced hundreds of drawings on his iPhone and – beginning last spring – on his iPad, too. Some of these will go on show next week in an exhibition David Hockney: Fleurs Fraîches at the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, Paris (Oct 21 to Jan 30).
The title comes from one of Hockney’s favourite sayings from the first half of last year. “I draw flowers every day on my iPhone,” he told me then, “and send them to my friends, so they get fresh flowers every morning. And my flowers last. Not only can I draw them as if in a little sketchbook, I can also then send them to 15 or 20 people who then get them that morning when they wake up.”
The novelty of what he has been doing is two-fold. Firstly, this is a new medium with fresh possibilities, requiring unorthodox techniques. Hockney executed the drawings mainly with the edge of his thumb; you can’t use the thumbnail, he says, because the device is sensitive to heat, not just touch. The second innovation is in the method of distribution. He sends these techno-sketches out to friends, who may then pass them on, collect them or do whatever they want.
Each image as it appears on another iPhone or laptop is virtually identical to the original, although Hockney points out that even with a manufactured item such as this, there will probably be minute differences. Even so, the drawing on my phone not only looks like the one on his, digitally and in almost every respect it is the same. This is profoundly subversive of the art market as we know it, with its focus on the signed original work.
Hockney first discovered the iPhone during the winter of 2008. “I was fascinated by it, because I think it’s a stunning visual tool,” he says. “It took a while to master how to get thicker and thinner lines, transparency and soft edges. But then I realised that it had marvellous advantages.” He uses an app called Brushes. “People keep sending me new drawings apps to try out, but once you get used to one it’s sufficient.”
Flowers were a frequent subject, especially of Hockney’s iPhone drawings from 2009. His partner, John Fitzherbert, would buy a different bouquet every day – roses, lilies, lilacs – and often Hockney would sketch them. The real subject, however, was light. The other persistent motif was the sun – breaking through the shutters, sparkling on the glass of a vase, rising over the beach.
“The fact that the screen is illuminated makes you choose luminous subjects, or at least I did,” he says. “Dawn is about luminosity and so is the iPhone. People send me iPhone drawings which look OK, but you realise that they are not picking particularly luminous subjects – which this medium is rather good at [in ways that] another medium isn’t.”
A lot of these little works were done in the early hours of the morning, as Hockney explained. “I’ve got this lovely bedroom window, and the flowers are there and the light’s changing.” The location is the north-east coast of Britain. For much of the past seven years, Hockney has been living in the seaside town of Bridlington, after having spent the previous quarter of a century based in Los Angeles.
The big difference between the two places, as Hockney sees it, is climatic. In southern California, there is only a small degree of seasonal variation; in Northern Europe it’s massive. During the dark winter the day is short, in high summer it begins to get light in the early hours of the morning.
“If you’re in my kind of business you’d be a fool to sleep through that, especially if you live right on the east coast, where there are no mountains or buildings to block the sun. Artists can’t work office hours, can they?”
In high summer Hockney wakes sometimes at 3.30 or 4 in the morning. “I go to bed when the sun goes down and wake when it starts getting light, because I leave the curtains open,” he told me in June last year. “The little drawings of the dawn are done while I’m still in bed. That’s the window I see and the shutters. If there are some clouds about, you get drama – the red clouds, the light underneath.
This is not the first time that Hockney has turned new technology to the age-old purposes of art. “Anyone who likes drawing and mark-making,” he thinks, “will like to explore new media.”
In the mid-1980s he bought one of the first colour photocopying machines and used it to create a series of works entitled Hand-Made Prints. A few years later, he did the same with the fax. He sent whole exhibitions down the line to be printed out and assembled on arrival. The fax, he joked at the time, was a telephone for the deaf (he is himself increasingly handicapped by deafness).
In both these cases, and now with iPhone and iPad, Hockney worked with the strengths and limitations of the device. Approaching the fax, he recalls: “People said it was just a bad printing machine. But I think there is no such thing as a bad printing machine. It either prints or it doesn’t. Most people were asking it to reproduce things it has difficulty with.”
In the case of the iPhone, he thinks: “There are gains and losses with everything. You miss the resistance of paper a little, but you can get a marvellous flow. So much variety is possible. You can’t overwork this, because it’s not a real surface. In watercolour, for instance, about three layers are the maximum. Beyond that it starts to get muddy. Here you can put anything on anything. You can put a bright, bright blue on top of an intense yellow.”
A little after Easter this year, another text arrived. Hockney had got his first iPad and was immediately converted to using that instead. “I thought the iPhone was great, but this takes it to a new level – simply because it’s eight times the size of the iPhone, as big as a reasonably sized sketchbook.” On this, Hockney draws with all his fingers, rather than just his thumb. Hockney began carrying his iPad around in the internal pocket he always has inserted by his tailor in all his suits. Previously it would contain a book of drawing paper.
One discovery that came with the iPad was that the process of drawing could be re-run at the tap of a finger. The screen goes blank again, then lines and washes reappear one after another, apparently of their own accord. The result is, in effect, a performing drawing (some of these will be on show in Paris).
Hockney is tickled by the experience of watching himself at work. “Until I saw my drawings replayed on the iPad, I’d never seen myself draw. Someone watching me would be concentrating on the exact moment, but I’d always be thinking a little bit ahead. That’s especially so in a drawing where you are limiting yourself, a line drawing for example. When you are doing them you are very tense, because you have to reduce everything to such simple terms.”
Like many people, Hockney thinks that this technology will change the world of news media and television quickly and irreversibly. But drawings, like songs, Hockney believes will always be with us: it is only the means of making and delivering them that will change. This autumn, Hockney remains in love with his iPad, and almost every day new drawings he’s done on it arrive in my inbox. “Picasso would have gone mad with this,” he says. “So would Van Gogh. I don’t know an artist who wouldn’t, actually.” 
Martin Gayford  @'The Telegraph'