Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Movies depicting the great cities of Earth being destroyed by eco-disasters are nothing new.
Way back in 1933, a now rarely seen movie called Deluge showed New York City being smashed by monster waves. Here's a clip :
A summary of the 1927 novel on which this movie was based from an excellent i09 piece on the history of Eco-Disasters in early science fiction :
A global flood turns oceans into deserts, and sinks land masses everywhere except what remains of the English midlands, which are transformed into an archipelago. (Hello, Waterworld.) With a marked lack of idealism, Wright - who also translated Dante's Inferno, and who uses this novel to criticize 1920s British society - tells the story of a new Adam and Eve: Martin Webster, a lawyer who attempts to find his wife; and Claire Arlington, an athlete ("like a valkyrie") and one of the few women to survive the flood. The two store up food, fend off feral dogs, and battle sex-starved and flood-maddened miners, laborers, and vagabonds. If it wasn't so un-cozy, you'd have to call Wright's novel an early example of the cozy catastrophe - because the author is obviously thrilled that modern civilization, with its motorcars and bureaucrats, is gone.
Any repeat-viewing fan of John Carpenter's The Thing will feel a thrill up the spine when they look at this photo of a massive unexplained circle of heat under the ice of the world's deepest lake :
One massive unexplained circle of heat that can be easily spotted from the International Space Station is weird enough. But there's a second ring under the ice, at the other end of the lake, and it's about the same size.
More At Wired
Monday, May 25, 2009
From Raw Story :
A former member of the 9/11 Commission criticizes former President George W. Bush in a new book for not responding to pre-attack intelligence on Osama bin Laden's intentions.
In "The Emperor's New Clothes: Exposing the Truth from Watergate to 9/11," Richard Ben-Veniste writes that CIA analysts told Bush that bin Laden was determined to strike inside the United States, "yet the president had done absolutely nothing to follow up."
A Democrat and a longtime Washington attorney, Ben-Veniste provides an inside account of the commission's three-hour interview with Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on April 29, 2004.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Schweppes claimed it was "satire" in the "great British tradition." The Mexican embassy was upset.The ad won't run again.
However, that doesn't mean this technique of getting some leg and arm space on a crowded Tube is not effective.
By Darryl Mason
You can ask answer machine Wolfram Alpha anything. These are birthday temperatures in Sydney across my life :
You can ask it the deepest philosophical questions :
WoPha appears to know all.
But not everything.
You won't always get an answer from Wolfram Alpha, sometimes it doesn't know what the hell you're asking it four or five times in a row, so you have to warn it not to mess with you :
(click to enlarge)
However great it will be for scientists and dedicated researchers of statistics and graphs, the answer engine point blank refuses to come clean when you bombard it with certain questions about where its true loyalties lie :
When you get specific, it chooses to play dumb :
(click to enlarge)
Something very similar to Wolfram Alpha logarithms will be in the first robohuman brains that can almost pass for old human.
However, if they want to move amongst us mostly undetected, they will have to come up with a better answer than "I am not sure what to do with your input."
Friday, May 22, 2009
By Darryl Mason
What is that little reassuring phrase that politicians like to tell us when we say we don't like the level of surveillance and scrutiny they put us under as we go about our daily, mostly non-law breaking lives?
Oh yeah, here it is :
"If you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to be worried about."So why are some British MPs so worried, and why are some threatening, or promising, suicide because their taxpayer-funded, gratuitously expensive lives are being exposed?
The campaign to expose MPs' Commons expense claims has become so personal that it has started to resemble a McCarthy-style witchhunt, a Tory backbencher said today.
Nadine Dorries, the member for Mid-Bedfordshire, also warned that the relentless drip-drip of leaked claims was creating such an atmosphere of terror that there was a real risk of an MP committing suicide.
"People are seriously beginning to crack," Ms Dorries told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "The last day in Parliament this week was, I would say, completely unbearable.
"I have never been in an atmosphere or environment like it, when people walk around with terror in their eyes and people are genuinely concerned, asking, 'Have you seen so and so? Are they in their office? They've not been seen for days.'
"There's a really serious concern that this has got to a point now which is almost unbearable for any human being to deal with."
Ms Dorries' comments, echoing postings on her weblog, appeared to be part of a fightback by MPs tired of having their reputations dragged through the mud even though they may have broken no Commons rules.
In an angry outburst yesterday one MP who was forced to stand down over the size of his gardening bills complained that his critics had merely been jealous of his "very, very large house".
"I've done nothing criminal, that's the most awful thing," said Anthony Steen, who spent £90,000 (on) his second home, including big sums for lopping trees. "And do you know what it's all about? Jealousy."
This ignorant groffon has no idea, no vivid comprehension of the level of outrage that boils amongst the British over this just plain fucking outrageous swindling of taxpayers for everything from dog food to maintenance of a moat. A moat.
As the Daily Show's John Stewart said, England now has a real Watergate.
In an earlier age, when so many people were not so subdued by prescription drugs, shit food and cheap corner shop alcohol, the British would be hanging some of these scumbags from the thickest high branches in that 500 tree forest.
The panic amongst the British MPs is obviously spreading because many of them know there is worse, incomprehensible exposes of intense, 'Fuck The Peasants' corruption still to come.
Do not be surprised if a British MP has tried to claim for the cleaning of a suit of armour, and jousting sticks.
England is right on the edge, perhaps closer to anarchy and civil disorder than even during the Miners Strikes. The people are ready for 18th century style justice. They're not going to get it.
And the newcomers to politics, the Farmer Johns, the unemployed 22 year old woman who has a better way than fighting Left Vs Right paradigms, or the single dad from Manchester, the stream of people who could come and revolutionise British politics and smash the two party system to pieces, will never get there.
That is what the anti-terror laws are for.
A man or woman who spoke to the people, like a real person, who has no affiliation to any existing political party, would never be allowed to gather thousands in the streets for speeches about "taking back Parliament", the police will smash any and everyone they need to. They're allowed to do this now, ram shields into faces, do this to non-violent people, to passers-by, while they send in the ski-masked 'helpers' to throw bottles and smash windows to get the one-sided rioting started.
Those who want to use this moment to strip away the facade of democracy in England, and bury forever the centuries old belief that sitting in Parliament entitles you to a stunning range of benefits and freebies that are denied to those who work outside, those who work the hardest, who work themselves to death, those who want to come up with something better will be followed, harassed, infiltrated, profiled and psychologically assassinated at every step of their rise.
This is how this ancient business is done now.
When those who know they can change everything, and find millions who agree with them, are blamed for terror attacks they didn't have anything to do with, the vast majority of the public will not believe the 'official story'. They know it won't be the truth.
They don't even have that trick now to shake, rattle and terrify the British public back into plodding silence.
So how will the British establishment stop this from escalating?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
By Darryl Mason
After being sprung bowing to the Saudi King, US President Obama has repeatedly tried to visually remind Americans that because he is a tall man, he must bow to those much shorter than him, particularly Saudis and small children.
So began a series of official White House potraits of Obama caught mid-bow, sending the message. "Hey, I do this all the time. It's no big deal. Why aren't you noticing how I began my Secret Muslim plan to wind down usury by going after the credit card companies instead of focusing on twaddle and pliff about my preference for bowing so I can talk face to face to someone?"
Okay, we get it, you bow a lot. Let's move on. But the White House thinks it needs to remind everybody there is nothing weird or unusual about bowing to Saudis, or small children, so yet another official White House Obama Bows portrait is released :
Great Moments In Obowmarama :
A fantastic interview below with a free-thinking American who inspires hope that The Truth Behind 'The Truth' is finally getting out, a man who I absolutely loathed once, hated with a "should I kick in the TV right now, or wait until after the Jake The Snake match?" intensity when he was in the wrestling game, an interview full of Take Absolutely No Shit From Dickheads attitude and deal it back faster than you get dealt it , and note how fast the Fox News host changes the subject when talk comes around to the financial connections between the Bin Laden dynasty and the Bush dynasty :
Politics, the American economy, the Bush legacy, and it's one of the most popular YouTube clips online at this moment.
This Jesse Ventura interview is less than 48 hours old, and already has wracked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, and across the various other blogs and alternative news sites that have re-hosted it. No nudity, no surfing dogs or skateboarding midgets or typing cats, but still hundreds of thousands of mostly young Americans have watched this interview and shared it with their friends. Why? Because Ventura blasts us with riveting, smacked-face Truth.
He just has to remember to stay out of small planes.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
A hater of youth and the Free culture and the mostly (for now) unrestricted information exchange of the internet writes a book :
...“the abandonment of grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, et cetera, and the substitution for these things of either nothing or of idiotic and inexpressive pictograms, jargon and expletives, is often not a choice but an artifact of a decadent and dysfunctional educational system.”I think it's fantastic that young people feel incredibly free, are in fact utterly free, to reinvent not only their language and how they spell the words they use (goodbye vowels) while they kick in the teeth the staid, old rules of grammar, as they text and Facebook and Twitter and blog themselves crazy, but that they also feel monumentally empowered to revolutionise their vocabulary, just like Shakespeare, making up new words to replace the old worn-out ones, even if those words are in fact symbols, an emoticon followed by LMFAO, or a tiny GIF of a few seconds of looped video.
We are moving into an age of visual language replacing written ones, it doesn't matter if you don't like it, it's happening.
The English language hasn't seen such a shattering of the once elite-enforced rules and regulations of speaking and writing in its entire history. Shakespeare's biggest and most enthusiastic audience was, of course, the youth of his day.
In another chapter Mr. Helprin rails against “mouth-breathing morons in backwards baseball caps and pants that fall down; Slurpee-sucking geeks who seldom see daylight; pretentious and earnest hipsters who want you to wear bamboo socks so the world won’t end; women who have lizard tattoos winding from the navel to the nape of the neck; beer-drinking dufuses who pay to watch noisy cars driving around in a circle for eight hours at a stretch; and an entire race of females, now entering middle age, that speaks in North American Chipmunk and seldom makes a statement without, like, a question mark at the end?”Wow, how he must hate every second he spends outside his home walking where young Americans gather to talk and laugh, while he seethes with bitterness and discontent.
Ths boffo c r e a k y GeezR rlly needz 2 LOL MoRe.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Err, The Corrupt, The Dodgy, The Compromised
If you believe in this type of thing, this mind-boggling appearance on Jay Leno by a very young girl effortlessly answering questions that would confound the vast majority of adults would be a perfect example of the brilliance of Indigo Children.
By Darryl Mason
Ho, ho, ho, you heard that from Alex Jones? You read Prison Planet? Ha hahahaha! Isn't he one of those loons who's been going on for years about a new world order and false flag terrorism and total surveillance and global taxes and a One World Bank? Oh wait....that shit doesn't seem so crazy anymore....
Jones, sounding these days a lot less like a screaming, ranting, angry American, is spot on when he explains why free independent alternative online news media is leaping ahead of the mainstream corporate media.
The truly delicious thing about the immolation of corporately compromised news media is that they are beginning to pick up on the news themes and once scarily conspiracy-heavy links at sites like WhatReallyHappened.com, PrisonPlanet.com and Rense.com because they can see the massive online audiences these sites, and hundreds of alternative news blogs, already have and are continuing to grow.
Why, the mainstream news chiefs wonder, are people going to these sites for their news instead of coming to us? But they know why.
The audiences for alternative news, the Truth Behind 'The Truth', is growing fast and vastly, while it seems audiences for sites like the Washington Post, or CNN, or the New York Times has peaked.
As those closed newspapers now only publishing online editions have already discovered, you won't find a huge online audience if you keep publishing the kind of fluff and historical disinformation and war industry lies and PR celebrity press release news-o-tainment that can be found on every other mainstream news media site.
The alternative media doesn't have to change what it does to capture ever larger online audiences, it's the mainstream media that has to reinvent itself and replicate the kind of content alternative news media built their audiences on to compete now.
If they don't, they will die.
Monday, May 18, 2009
By Darryl Mason
NeoCon propagandist Mark Steyn was flown to Australia for speeches and interviews by the Howard government a few years back, racking up a taxpayer tab believed to be in excess of $15,000.
What did the Australian taxpayer get in return? Fuck all. The interviews he did were terrible, full of his 'I'm So Witty Aren't I?' guff and twaddle and more lies about the Iraq War to prop up his original lies. This miserable cunt laughed during one interview when conversation turned to the tens of thousands of civilians who lay dead in Iraq, thanks to the invasion and occupation he backed so heartily.
Now totally discredited by the ever emerging truth about the mountain of lies that led to the War On Iraq, that he so enthusiastically helped spread around and personally profited from, Mark Steyn now searches desperately for something, some way to be relevant, and he thinks he's found a meme worthy of getting outraged about in the new Star Trek movie :
Why would anyone pay this squeaky voiced man to voiceover anything? You're not Leonard Nimoy, fantasy boy, you're a fucking moron.
I see they followed the Casino Royale reboot template, and saved the catchphrase and the theme tune till the end. And then they threw both down the toilet. The theme music is horribly re-orchestrated and sounds very weedy. And "To boldly go where no man has gone before" is now "To boldly go where no-one has gone before..."Surely this must rank as the world's all-time most pitiful capitulation to political correctness. I don't know what Leonard Nimoy was paid, but there's no amount of money that could persuade me to read that line and so dishonor the original.
His own readers remind Steyn of what an unresearched idiot he is :
UPDATE: Okay, I surrender. A gazillion readers say the line was changed for Star Trek: The Next Generation back in 1987. I seem to be the only one who missed it.But no, he's not wrong, it's everybody else who's wrong. So Nyah!
If the Casino Royale reboot was designed to get closer to the tougher Bond of Fleming's first terse little novel, so the Star Trek back-to-the-beginning story should have had the guts to restore the original line. Two decades of illiterate PC fatuity is more than enoughHere's Mark Steyn in December, 2003 :
The insurgency will continue for a few weeks yet, but it will peter out, like the dictator, not with a bang but a whimper.And here's Steyn only a couple of weeks after the Iraq War began :
What a tool.
This war is over.
Isolated atrocities will continue to happen in the days ahead, as dwindling numbers of the more depraved Ba’athists confront the totality of their irrelevance. But these are the death throes: the regime was decapitated two weeks ago, and what we’ve witnessed is the last random thrashing of the snake’s body.
....for everyone other than media naysayers, it’s the Anglo-Aussie-American side who are the geniuses. Rumsfeld’s view that one shouldn’t do it with once-a-decade force, but with a lighter, faster touch has been vindicated...
The 'War On Terror' was a religious war, Christianity Vs Islam?
Crazy! You sound like one of those damned conspiracy theorists.
Draper’s biggest find is a collection of daily cover sheets that Rumsfeld approved for the Secretary of Defense Worldwide Intelligence Update, a highly classified digest prepared for a tiny audience, including the president, and often delivered by hand to the White House by the defense secretary himself. These cover sheets greeted Bush each day with triumphal color photos of the war headlined by biblical quotations. GQ is posting 11 of them, and they are seriously creepy.Yes, they are.
Then President George W. Bush declaring the new War Of Christianity had begun shortly after the 9/11 attacks :
This crusade, this war on terrorism...is gonna take a while."Donald Rumsfeld never let Bush forget he was fighting a religious war.
And he never did.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
In a comment on this story about why China's Yuan will replace the US Dollar as the world's reserve currency, Michael Rivero shows how he can be one of the most powerfully concise commentators in the realitystream media :
We cannot make China out as the villain here, because they have exercised fiscal restraint to the point where they have a surplus. China, in large part, has been making deals, instead of dropping bombs, to get what it wants and needs.
US government de-regulation of the financial industry, coupled with the massive debt being wrung up on funding these immoral wars without end, have put the US in the financial position in which it finds itself, and the power brokers in Washington and their high-roller financial friends have no one but themselves to blame.
It's remarkable to look around the mainstream media and see just how few ever mention the impact of $1 trillion spent in the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, with at least two trillion more in post-war costs to come, have helped shatter the American economy.
By Darryl Mason
Australian current affairs show Dateline aired a small number of the thousands of still classified Abu Ghraib sexual torture photos back in 2006. These are believed to be some of the same photos President Obama is now having second thoughts about declassifying. They say they're worried, like President Bush was, what effect such images might have on the people of Iraq, and across the Arab world. The people of Iraq, and the hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims who watch Al Jazeera already know the depths of depravity American soldiers and contractors sank to in that horrorshow. They don't want us to know.
Rumours persist inside American media and military circles that there are other photos and video of Iraqi children being raped, some in front of their parents, as part of the interrogation process.
The Muslim and Arab world know all about what happened there, much more than we in the West do. The key worry amongst western governments is not what Arabs will do if all the photos got out, but what we might do.
Now let's turn to the considered opinion of Rupert Murdoch's leading Australian conservative commentator, and pro-war propagandist, to explain what we are seeing :
"the pictures of this beat-up controversy"
"the pictures of this beat-up controversy"
"the pictures of this beat-up controversy"
"the pictures of this beat-up controversy"
The conservative commentator, Andrew Bolt, is a one-time journalist who appears on Channel Nine, the ABC, various Australian radio stations, and is published in Australiia's biggest selling newspaper and a fleet of other Murdoch papers and online news sites. Andrew Bolt believes the torture, humiliation, prolonged sexual brutalisation and killing of many innocent Iraqis in Abu Ghraib was "a beat-up controversy."
I wonder if he would call it that if he had been dragged off the street and raped by a German Shepherd.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Really? Tell Us Something We Don't Know....
By Darryl Mason
The least surprising thing about what is now a steadily unfurling stream of shocking revelations about the "new reality" the Bush White House unleashed on the world is how un-shocking these revelations are. Now. Mostly because I read about them years ago, like millions of others, but only on independent news sites like WhatReallyHappened.com, PrisonPlanet.com, AntiWar.com, and InformationClearingHouse.info.
We knew that American and Israeli agents were torturing people to death in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. We knew that children were raped, sometimes in front of their parents, in American-run invisible prisons in Iraq, and the photos and footage found its way back to the Pentagon, Washington DC, and more than likely the White House.
We knew that the Iraq War would not be a "cakewalk", that Iraqi civilians would fight back with their guns when people from other countries came into their villages and their homes with guns.
We knew there were no WMDs, that Saddam Hussein didn't have nukes, and we knew that he had far too much dark history with the US to survive or go into exile.
We knew that the early bombardments of Afghanistan goat herders and mud brick home builders killed something like 5000 civilians.
We knew that the Taliban pretty much shutdown the production and export of heroin by 1999, and that by late 2002, with the Taliban overthrown, that user-culling Afghan smack was back on the streets of our cities and cheaper than ever.
We knew that the official story of 9/11, as told by the 9/11 Commission Report, was based on evidence and confessions sucked from people tortured hundreds of times, sometimes in front of their families.
We knew all that. But these are the headlines only now slipping into mainstream media newsbreaks. Some of them, like CNN, have the fucking hide to claim that the info in any of the above "we knews" is actually : Breaking News.
And finally, we knew there was an assassination squad run by Dick Cheney, with Donald Rumsfeld's help, that from early 2002 was killing terrorists and just-in-case suspects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran, and that innocent people were killed by mistaken identity, or as casualties of something suddenly blowing up for no apparent reason. Like a car. Or a donkey cart passing by a mosque.
And yet, we are expected to believe that the mainstream media is only finding out about all these things now?
UK Daily Mirror :
Well, off the chart acts of terrorism, obviously. Or to use the military terminology, "irregular warfare."
American special forces were secretly given the go-ahead during George Bush's presidency to conduct assassinations in up to 12 countries.
The hit list included targets in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East and was drawn up to reduce the risk of terrorism against the US.
It was revealed as Barack Obama moves to clean up some of Bush's controversial foreign policies amid fears they have damaged America's reputation.A source close to US intelligence said: "This is a matter for grave concern. If the list was the official line, what were they approving behind the scenes?"
The mainstream media knew all of this years ago. Of course they knew. If you knew, they fucking well knew, too.
They knew because news producers and researchers from the New York Times to the London Times, from CNN to Fox News to the BBC also read PrisonPlanet and AntiWar and What Really Happened.
The question is not When Did They Know?
The question is Why The Fuck Didn't You Report Any Of This When The People Responsible Were Still World Leaders?
But that is, of course, an irrelevant question.
The answer is the same now as it was when the truly horrific realities of World War I and World War II and Korea and Vietnam first assaulted the public, when the wars were already well over, and the leaders responsible were gone, retired, dead.
The answer is this : The United States, Australia, England, were at war, and just with all the other wars, when Afghanistan and Iraq were underway the mainstream media played along and did, mostly, what they were told and reported what they were allowed to report.
The War On Iraq, and the jihad-realitising 'War On Terror', proved yet again just how compromised the major media corporations are. Shockingly so.
The level of factual reporting for most of the War On Iraq, particularly for Americans, was about as detailed and truthful as radio listeners were hearing back from Europe in 1944. That is, fuck all. But that is only true if you relied solely on the mainstream media to tell you what was happening in Iraq, in Afghanistan, behind the layers of government lies, obfuscation, disinformation, propaganda.
Millions didn't rely on the mainstream media, at all. They found the truth, or at least something much more richly composed of truth, in the online alternative media. And I, like most of them, have an extremely hard fucking time reading the New York Times or the Washington Post or any of the Rupert Murdoch media, as they try to express shock at what we are now learning of the President Bush Torture N' Slaughter Show.
They knew, like we knew, the difference is, they weren't allowed to report it.
And so hundreds of independent blogs and alternative news sites and aggregators found an audience, an audience that continues to mostly grow and grow, at rates that must make Rupert Murdoch want to kick a pregnant koala in the face.
The mainstream media is not dying solely because of less ad revenue, they lost the faith and trust of their readers, and millions in the United States alone abandoned their daily newspaper for independent online news sites and they haven't gone back.
They lied, circulations died.
If What Really Happened or Information Clearing House had the resources and finances to print daily newspapers and distribute them across the United States, they would easily outsell the New York Times, the Washington Post, the institution newspapers which are supposed to be bastions of Truth.
It makes you wonder, doesn't it? Rupert Murdoch knows how many million unique readers Rense.com gets a month, and it's double, triple, quadruple the readers clicking on to many of his online newspapers.
People want the truth and challenging ideas and alternative views of history from newspapers, in print or online. It's that simple. Is that too fucking hard for the mainstream media to consistently deliver?
But all is not lost for the creaking, crumbling mainstream news media.
If the mainstream media wants to win back those millions of lost eyeballs, at least for a while, all they have to do is start telling the truth about 9/11. Begin there. And tell the truth about all of it. Everything they know, all the stories and reports and interviews they filed away in basements and in filing cabinets labelled "We Don't Need This Kind Of Trouble".
Tell the story of 9/11, not the Bush version, or the CIA or Mossad or Rupert Murdoch version, tell the real story of the people who were there, and the ones still alive who know the history-shattering truth, tell it all, and audiences will return.
But they won't do it. Because they are owned, they are compromised, they are tools of a global war industry that employs millions and generates trillions, and it is not in their interest to begin shattering all those many myths of war and terror attacks and assassination squads that their predecessors have spent a century locking into the history books and text books and building American myths and media empires out of.
There is a very real revolution unfolding in the News Business today. The media institutions of the 20th century are being torn apart and eaten alive by hundreds of independent news sites and tens of thousands of news blogs. None of the old or new media will ever again see the profits or the audiences of a decade ago, but for much of the independent media and the bloggers who know chew through the reports and slabs of documents 'serious journalists' once did, pleasing the shareholders or paying a CEO $20 million a year is the last of their concerns.
The mainstream media cannot compete with independent media, because so many independent journalists, bloggers, photographers, researchers, videographers are prepared to work for free and to give away their work for free, and to allow another new site making no money to publish and reproduce and quote heavily from their work, for free.
All of this drives media dinosaurs like Rupert Murdoch out of their fucking minds.
They know they cannot compete with Free, unless the truth they tell, the ideas they dare to throw out there, the history they are prepared to re-examine thoroughly, is of the reality-shattering impact of what we find just about everyday on our favourite independent news sites and through the excellent, dedicated work of this worldwide army of bloggers who want nothing more than to Get The Truth Out.
No new media, or established media, business model that casts aside Truth in pursuit of Profit will survive.
Good journalism is not dying. It's just moving out from under the containment and censorship regimes of the 20th century corporate media oligarchs.
Good journalism will survive the revolution, and great journalists will still win massive audiences for their work, even bigger audiences than the greatest names of 20th century journalism.
For someone who grew up a media junkie, and remains one to this day, this is a very fucking exciting time to be alive.
Long Live The New Media.
If George W. Bush was ultimately responsible for civilians deaths in the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan when he was the American president, and he was, then Barack Obama is responsible for this outrageous act of state terrorism :
An Afghan Government investigation has found that 95 out of 140 civilians killed in US air strikes a week ago were under 18 years old, an official said.
The Government has paid compensation to the families of the 140 people said to have been killed in the western Afghan province of Farah as well as 25 wounded, provincial government spokesman Farid Ahmad Ayobi said.
"The presidential delegation announced that 140 civilians were killed, 25 civilians were wounded and 15 houses were destroyed," Mr Ayobi said.
"There were 95 children below the age of 18 who were killed and 65 of the total killed were female," he said.
By Darryl Mason
Straight out of an ultra-paranoid 1970s Philip K Dick novel, but now very, very real :
“In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every e-mail you send, every Internet site you surf, every post you make, every check you write, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all criminal evidence, and they are held in searchable databases, for a long, long time,” the report states.“Whoever holds this evidence can make you look very, very bad whenever they care enough to do so. You can be prosecuted whenever they feel like it – the evidence is already in their database.”
Here's the Top Ten Worst Electronic Police States :
2. North Korea
5. United Kingdom: England & Wales
6. United States of America
There seems to be an awful lot of democracies in that Top Ten, doesn't there?
China and North Korea have spent billions buying electronic police state equipment and supplies from Western digital security corporations, who were allowed to trial the surveillance systems now being used in China and North Korea on the supposedly free people of Australia, the US and the UK first.
By Darryl Mason
We are presented with the evening news images of Somali pirates as rag-clothed, shitty boat driving terrorists of the seas.
But for a bunch of poverty-stricken and not very well armed Somalis, they sure have some very, very helpful, very well informed, intelligence resources back in London :
The story concludes that British shipping is "now being avoided" by the pirates.
The Somali pirates attacking shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean are directed to their targets by a "consultant" team in London, according to a European military intelligence document obtained by a Spanish radio station.It says that pirate groups have "well-placed informers" in London who are in regular contact with control centres in Somalia where decisions on which vessels to attack are made. These London-based "consultants" help the pirates select targets, providing information on the ships' cargoes and courses.
Captains of attacked ships have found that pirates know everything from the layout of the vessel to its ports of call....the pirates had full knowledge of the cargo, nationality and course of the vessel.
If you had a fair idea of what shipping was going to be targeted by Somali pirates and, say, you had a trustworthy buddy in The City of London, then you could place some very big bets on the stock market and profit heavily when container ships are captured, and hostages taken. If you knew the names and cargo of the vessels that would come under attack, and the ones that Somali pirates were allowing to pass by unmolested, well, you could make a fuck load of money, couldn't you?
It's not terrorism, it's not even piracy.
It's financial, corporate sabotage.
Someone in London gets rich, a few Somalis get food and guns and the media gets an ongoing crisis to fill the endless days and nights of 24 hours news-o-tainment.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
None of this is exactly a big secret, but it doesn't fit neatly into the War On Terror mythology of the past eight years.
I went into all this in a bit more detail yesterday.
The woman who would have been Pakistan's president, Benazir Bhutto, also said Osama Bin Laden was dead, that he died in 2002, only weeks before her assassination.
The War On Terror Has Been A Huge Success.....For Bin Laden
October 2008 : Bin Laden's Plan To Bankrupt The US Becomes Reality
Obama Reads Up On The Dark History Of How The CIA Helped The Saudis Launch Bin Laden's Jihad
July 2006 : FBI Closes Bin Laden Unit, "No Hard Evidence" Linking Bin Laden To 9/11 Attacks
September 2006 : Pakistan Says Bin Laden Will Be Freed If Captured, As Long As He "Lives In Peace"
Osama Bin Laden's Funeral Photographed By American Drone?
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
By Darryl Mason
So who's been writing and making all those audio cassettes, and videos from 'Osama Bin Laden' if he's actually been dead since 2002?
And consider the incredibly opportune times for the Bush White House when those Messages From Bin Laden found their way to the Western mainstream media, like just before the presidential elections of 2004.
From Raw Story :
Raw Story has the video of the Pakistan President announcing, based on information from the CIA, that Bin Laden is dead, has been dead, in fact, since at least 2002.
“I don’t think he’s alive,” the president told NBC’s David Gregory. “I have a strong feeling and reason to believe that.” Zadari continued: “I have asked my counterparts in the American intelligence services and they haven’t heard [from] him in seven years.”
The CIA has not confirmed that the voice purporting to be bin Laden in the March recording was in fact bin Laden. U.S. officials have claimed that bin Laden could be hiding in the mountainous region along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Just before saying that he believes bin Laden is dead, Zadari told Gregory that America has “been looking [in Afghanistan] for eight years… You lost him in Torah Borah, I didn’t.”
So if Bin Laden died in 2001/early 2002, and Al Qaeda was, originally, little more than a CIA list of the thousands of mujahadeen trained, armed and indoctrinated by American and Pakistan intelligence agencies to fight Russia in Afghanistan, as Blair government minister Robin Cook claimed just one month before his death, then what exactly has The War On Terror been?
Making shadow puppets to cast the shadows to chase?
Monday, May 11, 2009
How many know the true origins of Mother's Day?
...most Americans do not realize that Mother's Day began as an activist's response to war. Though the holiday has become a warm family tradition it began not as a feel-good national event but as an urgent call for women and mothers worldwide to unite against war.
"Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters, to prevent the waste of human life of which they alone know and bear the cost?" Julia Ward Howe wrote in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian war and just a few years after the Civil War ended.
Shortly after, she published her Mother's Day Proclamation, which was a call for peace and disarmament, and staked out a day to organize around. Howe's vision of a peace movement led by mothers gained support and the first Mothers' Peace Day festival was held in Boston on June 2, 1873.
Mother's Day for Peace was celebrated in at least 18 U.S. cities that first year and the tradition continued in Boston for the next 10 years.
Four decades later, the idea of a day for mothers was revived by Anna Jarvis, whose own mother had previously tried to establish Mother's Friendship Days as a way to heal the divisions caused by the Civil War.
...in 1914 Mother's Day was proclaimed a national holiday by President Wilson.
Julia Ward Howe's Mother Day Proclamation in full :
Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Can Military Robots Commit War Crimes?
By Darryl Mason
If you're planning to go see the killer robot action of Terminator Salvation at the cinema, and you don't want to see too much of what unfolds in the movie, probably best not to watch the below 4 minute long video capsule of just about the entire flick, bar the "surprise" ending.
If you have no intention of seeing Terminator Salvation at the cinema, or on DVD, because you think killer military robot movies that rip off some of the best ideas of Philip K Dick without bothering to give any credit are stupid and bereft of originality, then your prejudices will be confirmed :
It's very interesting to note that when the first Terminator movie was released and found its monumental worldwide audience on video in the mid-1980s, the idea of turning robots into ethics-and-morality-free killers for the world's military was pure science fiction for most, even though armed robots were already well under development in the research divisions of the world's biggest military contractors.
Today, the United States has a fleet of 7000 drones (some armed) and more than 12,000 "unarmed ground vehicles" deployed in its combat zones. This is a robot army. It's not science fiction. It's real. Armed robots are already fighting our wars. And the US is not alone by any stretch in trying to remove the human soldier from dangerous, expensive, future war deployments. Put it this way, dead human soldiers are expensive, robots in comparison are cheap :
More than 43 countries are developing military robotics, including Israel, Iran, China, Pakistan and Russia, as well as Britain and Australia.
The world is on the brink of a "robotics revolution" in military combat that will have profound social, psychological, political and ethical effects, says a leading US defence analyst.
"We are living through the end of humankind's 5000-year-old monopoly on the fighting of war … The robots of today are the first technologies to change the 'who' of war, not just the 'how' of war…"
With robotics transforming the nature of warfare, it was risky, he warned, to "make grand commitments before you figure out where things are headed".
Go Here For The Latest Stories From Your New Reality
Autonomous robots in the battlefield will soon, it is claimed, be making the all important decision to open fire on their own. There will be no 22 year old raised and trained on video games piloting that Hellfire equipped drone over Waziristan from a comfy chair in Nevada, the flying killer robot will soon find its own targets, and make the decision for itself to kill another few dozen poor brown people.
Will we see a day when a software programmer is held responsible for the slaughter of civilians when flying killer robots kill two 'terrorists' but a dozen women and children as well?
If no human, or software creator or defence contractor is directly responsible for the civilian-slaughtering decisions made by its robotic army, and stealthy flying assassins, then killer robots will become the front line soldiers of all future wars fought by the West :
The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control.
The Defense Department is financing studies of autonomous, or self-governing, armed robots that could find and destroy targets on their own. On-board computer programs, not flesh-and-blood people, would decide whether to fire their weapons.
Autonomous armed robotic systems probably will be operating by 2020, according to John Pike, an expert on defense and intelligence matters and the director of the security Web site GlobalSecurity.org in Washington.
Human operators thousands of miles away in Nevada, using satellite communications, control the current generation of missile-firing robotic aircraft, known as Predators and Reapers. Armed ground robots, such as the Army's Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System, also require a human decision-maker before they shoot.
Many Navy warships carry the autonomous, rapid-fire Phalanx system, which is designed to shoot down enemy missiles or aircraft that have penetrated outer defenses without waiting for a human decision-maker.
Some people have high hopes for the most brutal and heartless killing system ever devised by man :
"Robots must be constrained to adhere to the same laws as humans or they should not be permitted on the battlefield..."
Yeah, like that's going to happen.
But could a killer robot be developed that is more empathetically human than a flesh and blood human?
Arkin contends that a properly designed robot could behave with greater restraint than human soldiers in the heat of battle and cause fewer casualties.
"Robots can be built that do not exhibit fear, anger, frustration or revenge, and that ultimately behave in a more humane manner than even human beings in these harsh circumstances," he wrote.
A British critic of autonomous armed robots says the idea that robots can be 'taught' to tell the difference between enemy and civilian is the stuff of pure fantasy :
But they're already being built. China and the United States are expected to fire up mass production lines of military robots in the next twelve months. Humans are too expensive, and too responsible. They also have families, and insurance for the warzoned is expensive.
"....it's doomed to failure at present because no robots or AI (artificial intelligence) systems could discriminate between a combatant and an innocent. That sensing ability just does not exist."
Selmer Bringsjord, an artificial intelligence expert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., is worried, too.
"I'm concerned. The stakes are very high," Bringsjord said. "If we give robots the power to do nasty things, we have to use logic to teach them not to do unethical things. If we can't figure this out, we shouldn't build any of these robots."
Killer robots are cheap, and they don't cry, and they don't come down with PTSD, and they don't go home and write books about all the innocent people they accidentally killed, or were ordered to kill.
It will take years for international law to catch up with the use of autonomous killer robots in the warzones of the world. By then, of course, they will be everywhere, every side, all sides, will have them. Trying to shut down or wind back the prroduction lines of ground and aerial killer robots will be as impossible a grand task as trying to recall all the AK-47s circulating in Africa.
Killer robots have left the pages of Philip K Dick and a thousand other science fiction authors, and stepped out of the cinema screens and entered our reality.
If I learned anything about dealing with killer robots from the Terminator movies or those hundreds of luridly covered, tattered old science fiction paperbacks, is it this :
You Have To Hit Them Hard.
Read Stories From Darryl Mason's 'The Orstrahyun' Blog Here
Read Darryl Mason's Free Online Novel About Life In Sydney After The Pandemic Here
January 2006 : Robots Don't Cry - Pentagon Has Big Plans For Killer Robots
March 2008 : When Robots Decide It's Time To Kill
April 2008 : Armed Robot Turns Its Weapons On US Soldiers
Stop Robot Nudity Now
No Rights For Robots!
Do They Have A Soul Or Something Else?
Robots Are Now Being Given Human Emotions
Robots Will Need Us, But Only For Our Brains
Incomplete Musings On Why We Need Robots To Try And Kill Us
Go Here For The Latest Stories From Your New Reality
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Oh, but it'll be different when George W. Bush is no longer in the White House, they said. It'll all be different then, and he won't seem so bad in retrospect. You will really miss Bush when he's gone.
Here's Bush from a few years ago, half-hammered, smirking like a true fuckwit as he is asked an important question about the private corporate armies that were then frequently abusing and killing civilians in Iraq :
So, miss him much?
Friday, May 08, 2009
Early January, 2009 :
Early May, 2009 :
The strategy is simplicity itself : never deviate from the answers you intend to give, no matter what question or fact or reality check comes your way.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
This was much better, and much longer, when it was the David Attenburough TV Series Planet Earth, but the trailer is superb and makes me feel just a little awe every time I watch it :
Love It Or Leave It.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Americans are still turning out in big numbers for gun shows, even in San Francisco, but most are "hanging on their money". Ammunition for the guns they already own, however, is another story :
Some customers complained about the rising prices of guns and ammunition.
There was a virtual run on ammo, with customers buying in bulk everything from .22-caliber bullets to .44-caliber Magnum full metal jacketed cartridges.
"Everybody's panic buying," said a wholesale ammunition dealer, who also requested anonymity. "When the doors opened, people we're running in."
The dealer explained that with the United States fighting two foreign wars, and the constant need to outfit police agencies with ammunition, "what's left goes to the public."
Besides guns, dealers offered switchblades, hunting knives, bayonets, swords, machetes, crossbows, night-vision laser scopes, camouflage vests, earplugs, gas masks and Spectra-style body armor capable of defeating a powerful .357-caliber bullet.
By Darryl Mason
The UK prepares to seal its borders against carriers of possibly infectious thought crime :
"If people have so clearly overstepped the mark in terms of the way not just that they are talking but the sort of attitudes that they are expressing to the extent that we think that this is likely to cause or have the potential to cause violence or inter-community tension in this country, then actually I think the right thing is not to let them into the country in the first place."First the UK bans those they claim are the worst, then they starts banning those who simply say what the government doesn't want to hear, or what they don't want the public to hear.
"This is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country."
Don't let anybody fool you into thinking the War On Extremism has only just begun. The WoE began back in 2006, in the days of Bush, Blair and Howard, when the Iraq War was falling apart and Those Terror Guys had lost their power to shock Americans as thousands of their own were chewed up in the war machinery of Iraq.
Here's a Your New Reality post from back then :
The new key buzz word, along with 'Fascism', is "Extremism' and 'Extremists'.
Terrorists, of course, aim to cause terror through their actions and talk.
But what about Extremists?
We're moving into Thought Crime territory now.
A War On Extremists? Where do you even begin with that one?
And how exactly do you define Extremism?
Or more importantly, how do the lawmakers and law enforcers define Extremism?
That's terminology way wide open to multiple interpretation.
Then again, that's probably the whole idea.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The socialism of British prime minister Gordon Brown is the kind that "ultimately kills people’s dogs", says the brilliant British writer Jeremy Clarkson, after some mild ranting about why in a recession people are forced to abandon their pets, and the kinds of pets that the freshly poor people choose to abandon.
Clarkson can understand why poor people may be forced to take the dog or llama to a pet rescue centre, but he's shocked to hear that someone actually abandoned a tortoise :
I realise, of course, that it’s much easier to abandon a tortoise than various other animals. You’re forever reading about people who’ve driven from Scotland to abandon their dog in Exeter and three weeks later it’s homed and is back on their doorstep. Cats can do this as well. Unless you drown them first.More Here
Whereas a tortoise cannot. Take it to the end of the road, and even if it has a homing gene, you and your children will be six feet under before it’s back.
The fact is that a tortoise is unbelievably easy to keep. Sure, it may not be very cuddly, it’s completely useless at retrieving sticks and it won’t bark at burglars, but even if it loses a leg, there’s no need to call the vet: simply attach a caster, which can be bought for £2.49 from B&Q.
An extremely impressive trailer for a 40 minute movie made by junkie-fixated Lord Of The Rings fans, telling something of a new Middle-Earth story, though clearly based on JRR Tolkien's characters :
This is a great example of how the rise of digital video, and cheaper, simplified digital sound and visual editing, has the levelled the playing field for independent movie-makers. Doesn't that trailer look and sound as good as any major studio trailer you've seen for a fantasy movie in the past few years?
The makers of The Hunt For Gollum made the movie for a free, internet only release. So does it violate copyright? Should the Tolkien copyright holders be allowed to shut down access to The Rise Of Gollum if the intention is not to make money, or exploit the copyright for profit?
It's a beautiful piece of work. There's a vibrant sense of serenity that seemed lacking in many of the many hours of Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth trilogy, and the Gandalf glimpsed above somehow seems more realistic, at least realistic in the sense of the old world weary wizard as characterised in Tolkein's first Middle Earth novel, The Hobbit.
You can now watch the full version of The Hunt For Gollum here.