Feb 27, 2007
By the damned, I mean the excluded.
We shall have a procession of ideas modernity has excluded.
Battalions of the accursed, lead by the ignored that we have exhumed, will march. You'll listen to them -- or they'll march. Some of them livid and some of them fiery and some of them rotten.
Some of them are philosophers, twitching, tottering, animated by abstract theorems that keep them alive. There are theologians that will walk by, though we mock them. There are magicians and scientists: they'll go by like Euclid, arm in arm with the spirit of anarchy. Here and there will flit little artists. Many are clowns. But many are of the highest respectability. Some are assassins. There are pale scholars and gaunt warriors and mere maniacs and lively spies: The naïve and the cynical and the bizarre and the grotesque and the sincere and the insincere, the profound and the puerile.
The beyond-unrespectable, but the condemned, anyway.
The power that has said to all these things that they are damned, is Dogma, is Society, is Normality.
But we shall march.
The artists and freaks will distract attention, and the clowns will break the rhythm of the whole with their mindfucks -- but the movement of the march will keep on coming and coming.
It shall not stop, no matter how much you exclude us. You cannot fight or oppose or kill what we stand for. The crazed avatars of chaos will dance in the ruins of your theories, will laugh as your impressive towers, built on imaginary sand, tumble into the earth.
We are forced into the cracks between state and church and school and corporation and here we craft our bombs of logic and surrealism, weapons more potent than any devices of war, to wage our own endless insurrection.
We never died and we never went away and we never forgot. And our numbers grow daily. You can ignore us. You can sideline us. You can mock us, deny us an equal standing, hope that we will go away and no longer challenge you. But you will never be rid of us.
We are here and we are the march of the Damned. And by the damned we mean the free.
Apparently, the US government is so worried about Iranian influence in Iraq now, they have covertly switched sides and are now supporting Sunni insurgent groups against the Shiite dominated government. Not only is this a worrying development that suggests a possible future war with Iran just got more likely, it just pissed over the final credentials of The War on Terror.
Of course, among those Sunni groups you can include Al-Qaeda in Iraq, who are the main force for organizing and training foreign fighters in the country. You know, the Al-Qaeda that the National Intelligence Director just called "the most serious threat to US interests". Yeah, that one. Surprise surprise, this has bought the USA onto the same page as Saudi Arabia, our favourite cash cow for nutter terrorist groups around the world. They fully approve of this turnabout as they don't want their own Shia workers in the oil fields getting all excited and talking about Jihad.
It looks like the USA is now moving towards directing the Middle East conflict into a Sunni/Shiite disagreement. Which means on one side we have Iran, Syria, Lebanon and (nominally) Iraq, vs US allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States.
However, its always worth keeping an eye on the movements of Ali Larijani, the man in charge of Iranian national security policy. He's been racking up the airmiles lately, especially when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Which suggests perhaps all is not lost, that there is some back room negotiations going on. Iran knows everyone they talk to in the Arab world will eventually end up spilling the goods to the USA anyway, not to mention there has been a credible gap between rhetoric and actions when it comes to sabre rattling against their government.
For now, I think we can continue to see the USA (and local allies) and Iran trying to contain violence within Iraq. For now. However, it only takes another "black swan" event to intensify the violence to the point it cannot be contained. Hell, with the current confusion over the Ramadi park bombing, it may have already happened. No-one is going to own up to killing kids and if the US military did screw up disarming the devices there (as a BBC News Alert 10 minutes ago claimed), we could see total social disintegration.
Feb 26, 2007
For now, I'm content to laugh, but I may engage in some deconstruction later. Right now, after the dismantling of Mel, I am full of peace and love to all of reality (except Francis Fukuyama, I hope you choke in your sleep you shameless hack).
So, to todays feature from the Diary of Mad Mel: The War against the West
As has often been remarked, the capacity of the intellectual classes to deny the need for action against tyranny never ceases to amaze.
Indeed. Our support of Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt are morally reprehensible.
If you want to tap into British denial of the need to confront the threat from Iran, listen to last night’s Moral Maze on BBC Radio Four.
Oops, wrong country. Sorry about that. But wait, isn't Iran actually one of the more democratic states in the Middle East, with a government that allows elections and has multiple parties that run for seats? Of course, there is the power of the Supreme Leader and Guardian Council are affronts to constitutional republics everywhere - but no more so than the monarchy in Saudi Arabia or military dictatorship in Egypt.
Particularly astounding was the suggestion that we should stop ‘demonising’ Iran
There is a little tradition in history you may have heard of Mel, its called "diplomacy". Its generally accepted among its practitioners that the best way to go about its functions is not to try and act like the country you are dealing with is full of irrational murderous madmen - even if this may be the case. Now, I'm no expert, but if we want to get Iran to get something, soft words and a big stick are generally accepted as workable methods.
and of course, there were the inevitable claims that America is fabricating evidence that Iran is involved in Iraq
Some of them plausible. No doubt Iran are acting in Iraq, but as I have pointed out, attacks that clearly have an Iranian influence are not decried as such, while less obvious and unprovable assertions, such as IEDs being supplied, have been uncritically accepted by the majority of the right-wing media, who mostly ignore that Iraq was armed to the teeth with conventional weapons and IEDs are easy as hell to make. Why would an insurgent buy them from outsiders if his cousin Abdul nicked as many as his family could carry in the months when no-one was guarding the many military complexes that litter the Iraqi landscape?
the idea that America, which is in such difficulties in Iraq, would actually choose to embark on an all-out war with Iran at this juncture, with all the appalling risks involved, not least to the world economy, simply in order to ‘cover up’ its difficulties in Iraq, is bizarre in the extreme.
You are assuming that American interests are in making the region more secure - whereas it has been suggested that in fact, with the conditions in Iraq continuing to get worse, the best idea may be to plunge the region into chaos and get out. Obviously, I disagree, but certain military personnel do not. Leaders before have willingly chosen to bite off more than they can chew. You also are making an implicit assumption that America is trying to "cover up" its problems in Iraq with Iran. That rules out a whole host of other possible motives as to why America is trying to confront Iran, including the ideology of the administration and wider geo-political aims.
It is not helped, of course, by the appallingly ham-fisted way in which the Bush administration has presented its evidence about Iranian roadside bombs blowing up coalition soldiers in Iraq. No sooner than the munitions were unveiled complete with serial numbers when General Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, popped up to say ‘that does not translate that the Iranian government, per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this.’
Damn that pesky truth getting in the way, eh?
This is hopeless. How can the west be defended when America is not even able to present a coherent case for the involvement of Iran in Iraq?
Defended from what? Thats a rather huge jump in logic there Mel. Iran is rightly interested in Iraq - its on its border and should the USA not keep control, violence could spill over into its own country. That Iran is using Iraq to attack the USA is a huge stretch in logic. And that is where evidence comes in.
The evidence of this involvement has been known for years. This was finally rammed home when a group on Iranian officers was captured in Iraq, whose documents left the Americans aghast at the vast extent of Iran’s involvement in Iraq
Yes, Iraq again. We all know about the consulate raid, mostly because it was extremely foolhardy and a step off declaring war on Iran. But it details involvement in Iraq, no where else. Can you see where this is going? Iran's involvement in Iraq is more to do with it being next door to them then US troops being there. Far more.
The problem, as ever, is the US administration is deeply divided over this evidence and what to do about it, as it has been over Saddam Hussein and the war in Iraq, with the intelligence community trying to cover up its own incompetence and elements within the military deeply unwilling to open up another front against Iran.
Yes, the oh so hesitant US administration, who are well known the world over for holding evidence in high regard and considering others points of views. Come off it Mel, even you can't keep a straight face writing that sort of shit.
Meanwhile, Iran speeds towards genocide, with people still scoffing that it’s ‘only rhetoric’.
Nope, its a lie. Sorry, but those of us who do a little thing called "research" know by now that the translation to which you refer is a lie created out of the American Free Enterprise Institute, a Neo-Conservative think tank whose knowledge of Farsi is either abysmal or purposefully crafted to build popular support for war. Also, Iran has vast quantities of chemical and biological weapons. If it wanted to, it could have wiped Israel off the map years ago. I think something about 80-200 nuclear warheads tends to focus the mind on rhetoric as opposed to action.
You too may want to partake in "research" at some point. Its very fulfilling.
We have been under attack by Iran since 1979, when Khomeini came to power and declared war upon the west and his intention to wipe out Israel and Islamise the world.
We have always been at war with Oceania, too. Oh please, this is too much! Iran, after the revolution, was invaded by our proxy in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein, if you recall correctly. They spent 8 years fighting a futile war in which over a million Iranians died, after a period of repression at the hands of another US-backed dictator. Of course their rhetoric is going to be extreme.
I notice you also use the past to justify the present. Could that have anything to do with Iranian youth now having a generally positive attitude towards the USA and the rights it supposedly stands for? But of course, you can't allow your readers to think of that. Iran has no internal politics, its a homogeneous, Israel hating state of religious fanatics through and through, right?
Like I already said, if Iran wanted to wipe Israel off the map, they have the weapons to do it. Also they're far more concerned with trying to wrest away leadership of the Islamic world from Saudi Arabia than trying to Islamise the unbelievers. How much do you actually know about modern Middle East history and dynamics, Mel?
Now, with the clock at five minutes to nuclear midnight, we are still in disarray. Washington is mired in vicious internal in-fighting. Our elites continue to demonise America and Israel, thus paralysing our politicians and paving the way for a second holocaust.
Iran has not even managed to produce enriched uranium yet. A working bomb is years away, if that is their intention at all. I believe it is, personally, but they will have to moderate between any possible future military program and the money that could be made by using nuclear power internally and selling oil to foreign states. For states with weak economies like Iran, hard foreign currency is likely to take precedence over an abstract nuclear threat, unless the USA and Israel keep muttering their own arsenals in relation to Iran in diplomatic circles.
Demonise them? Well, yes. Lets see, torture, misleading the public, ignorance of human rights, war mongering...the sort of thing we denounce states like Iran for their use of. I think those are grand grounds for such a thing. Or dare you suggest we just blindly trust our leadership to do the right thing, like some sort of dictatorship?
Already dealt with the "second Holocaust" red herring.
People in irrational belief shocker! Have you considered you own views at all, as I'm convinced they are every bit out of touch with reality as those of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists, yet the Daily Mail sees fit to employ you. The BBC was covering them because there is a sizeable American movement who do believe in this conspiracy theory, no matter how wrong they are. Or would you rather the BBC ignored its own editorial guidelines on impartiality?
Meanwhile, we plunge ever deeper into total irrationality, with demented conspiracy theories about 9/11 being given a respectful hearing — as here on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show and here.
When are we going to pull ourselves together?
And what does that have to do at the topic at hand? Oh yes, nothing. I forgot. It was just a small sliver of irrational hate at the end of a rant that looks like it was drafted by Richard Perle when he was 10 years old. And possibly on meth.
Feb 23, 2007
I tweaked a few things, mainly for my own amusement, but nothing major has changed. The problem is wanting to keep a dark background and the sidebar more or less as it is, while finding another design or something to put in the background, just to make it a bit different.
Oh well. Normal service will now be restored.
Feb 21, 2007
Being the avid Daily Mail watcher that I am, especially the comments section, I had noticed this general trend towards attacking the BBC of late, for its apparent left wing dominance of the media. Lots of American political slogans being thrown around too, "liberal media fascists" enforcing "political correctness" on the masses at the behest of their lords and masters in Downing Street,
Here are some of the more rabid ones, collected from the Daily Mail Watch forums, who are doing a sterling job of highlighting bullshit in the media.
I was a coal miner one of many that voted for Mrs. Thatcher, I never had any regrets. I agree with your take on what has happened to the BBC, it angers me so much. Ideas are more deadly than bombs and the end of this dictatorship of the left in our country will be very bad. When it comes to it these liberals have no guts when it comes to a scrap. Well done to you, this from an ordinary bloke.
- Frederick Mee, Rhyl North Wales
A coal miner who voted for Thatcher, need I say more?
John Major had little opportunity to enjoy his success; within months, Sterling was ejected from the Exchange Rate Mechanism and his Government never recovered.
The BBC mounted a barrage of negative coverage on everything from the NHS to sleaze.
I mean, how dare the media actually report bad news about Our Glorious Leaders? Unless its Maximum Tone, of course. And even then, you can't please everyone, as the next entry proves...
Within the BBC, opinion ran strongly against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Most staff felt war was unjustified; feelings intensified by their contempt for President George Bush.
On Today we occasionally allowed the case for war to be made, but the prevailing tone was doom-laden. Arguing for a better balance was a thankless task: at one meeting I said our coverage was too anti-war; the editor's response was brusque.
Because of course, the public population was so in favour of the war. And Maximum Tone was dead set against it, obviously. Goddamn these sinister leftists, trying to trick us with their different positions!
The BBC in Scotland was deeply antagonistic towards the Conservative Government; our narrative was one of devastating industrial decline and Government heartlessness.
Scotland is deeply antagonistic to the Tories, you sanctimonious little prick. The whole country. Its Labour, SNP and Lib Dems up here, for as far as the eye can see. And of course, under Thatcher's benevolent rule, puppies were handed out to crying children, beer was a penny a pint, crime didn't exist, employment was 100% and inflation hadn't even been invented yet. Right?
Anyway, the Right's attempts at the Fox News-ization of the British media are soon becoming dull. Knowing lots of Americans and taking more than just a passing interest in their politics, the sheer amount of partisan, ill-informed bullshit that passes for news over there is disheartening to see. We can only hope the same does not happen over here.
Feb 20, 2007
Call to Barron Center Clinic, New York City, (212) 686-7546:
* eXile: Hello, is this the Barron Center?
* Barron Center: Yes, it is.
* eXile: Can you tell me if you offer male enhancement procedures?
* Barron Center: Yes, we do, that's what we specialize in.
* eXile: Okay, good. Can you tell me a little bit about your procedure, how much it costs, that sort of thing?
* Barron Center: Yeah, sure. I can give you a quick overview. We offer two different procedures, one for lengthening and one for widening. Most men will usually want to have both procedures done on the same day. Some men want one or the other...
* eXile: I'll probably want both.
* Barron Center: Okay, well, most men usually do. We do them in our surgical center here in New York. It's outpatient. Most people will go back to work two or three days later.
* eXile: Okay.
* Barron Center: The increase in length will be approximately one and a half inches, with an increase in circumference of anywhere from 30% to 50%. The cost of both procedures in the same day is $6900. If you want to do the length and the width separately, it's $5900.
* eXile: $6900.
* Barron Center: Are there any questions you want to ask?
* eXile: Yes, are there any side effects, particularly involving hormonal disruptions? If heard stories about facial hair falling out, mustaches thinning...
* Barron Center: I've never heard of anything like that [launches lengthy speech about "pretty low" risk of serious infection]... But the kind of thing you're talking about, I've never heard of.
* eXile: Because the thing is, I'm a television personality, and I can't afford any alterations in my appearance.
* Barron Center: I've never heard of any problems of that sort, with regard to facial hair...
* eXile: Mustaches.
* Barron Center: ...mustaches, anything like that.
* eXile: Okay.
* Barron Center: Okay?
* eXile: Um, is there any chance that you could send me a brochure? Some written material?
* Barron Center: Sure, absolutely! We have a full-color brochure, with before and after photos...
* eXile: I'll be wanting to look at those.
* Barron Center: (uncomfortably) Sure... And what is your first name?
* eXile: Thomas.
* Barron Center: Thomas. And the last name?
* eXile: Friedman.
From there we went on to give our sunny Barron Center representative (whose name turned out to be "Howard") Friedman's work address at the New York Times bureau in Washington: 1627 I St., NW #700, Washington, DC 20006. Having thus made sure that this plainly-marked envelope would land on the desk of Friedman's secretary, we then went on to ask about possible dates for surgery. Howard told us that "the earliest free dates" would be between the 24th and 27th of April. We paused as though to look in a planner, then told him that the 26th looked good to us. He said great and made a note of it. We told him we'd call back to confirm.
Like CIA spies leaving careful records of the movements of phantom agents, we then went on to make plane and hotel reservations for Friedman on the dates in question, making sure to leave Friedman's direct line at work -- (202) 862-0372 -- as a contact number each time. Explaining that "delicate circumstances" prevented us from going through our usual travel agent, we called Travel Express, Inc. (202-628-8638) on H street in Washington -- just around the corner from Friedman's office -- and made arrangements to buy a set of Delta shuttle tickets to and from New York for the dates of April 26 and 27, respectively. To the question of why we needed to buy shuttle tickets through a travel agent, we had a ready answer:
* eXile: The thing is, I need a first-class seat for the trip back. I was hoping you could find me the back end of an international flight, say a 747 coming from Switzerland, you know, stopping at Kennedy on the way to Washington.
* Travel Express: (woman's voice) Uh...
* eXile: You see, I'm having surgery, and I need to sit in a comfortable seat on that flight.
* Travel Express: (pauses) Um... I'm not seeing any of these flights, either International or Dulles.
* eXile: What about the 28th?
* Travel Express: No, no...
* eXile: Oh, they just don't exist.
* Travel Express: It's just the aircraft that they use...
* eXile: Right. Is there a business class on the shuttle?
* Travel Express: No. It's all the same.
* eXile: Hm. Well, I guess I'll take the shuttle tickets, then. Can I buy them through you?
* Travel Express: Oh, sure, sure. (long pause on both ends of the line; then, helpfully) You know, I could get you an emergency exit aisle seat, they have more room -- but no, if you've had surgery, you won't qualify. You have to be able to assist others in case of emergency.
* eXile: No, I definitely won't be able to assist anybody, I --
* Travel Express: What leg is it? The left or the right?
* eXile: I, uh, I'd really rather not get into it.
* Travel Express: Well, it could determine what side of the aircraft you'd sit on. If it's your right leg, you could sit on the left side of the plane.
* eXile: It's, ah, sort of on... both sides, I can't really explain it on the phone. I'll just take any seat, any seat is fine.
* Travel Express: Uh, okay.
Once that deal was finally done -- again giving the name, phone number and address of Thomas Friedman -- we told Travel Express that we'd be back that afternoon to pay in cash. "It has to be in cash," we said. The agent gave us the exact address and directions and said she'd expect us later that afternoon.
The hotel room we reserved was at Morgan's in New York, a "superior" suite for $225 a night. The customer service rep who took the reservation was flamingly gay and we gave him, too, the name and coordinates of Thomas Friedman. There was only special request:
* eXile: Does the hotel have room service?
* Morgan's: Yes, of course!
* eXile: Because I'm going to be having surgery, and I'm not going to want to move too much.
* Morgan's: We absolutely have room service.
* eXile: What kind of cuisine is it?
* Morgan's: Um...well, I would say it's probably like a Fusion or European cuisine, very good, I'm sure.
* eXile: That's good. I'm going to need to eat.
Although we didn't have the credit card to confirm the reservation ("Tom" had left his wallet in his coat in another room), Morgan's promised to fax us a copy of the reservation agreement immediately so that Tom could "show it to the travel desk."
The last remaining step to make the whole thing work was to let the cat out of the bag. Posing as Bradley Pfeiffer, travel agent for Travel Express, Inc., we called Friedman's office and got his secretary on the line:
* NYT: Thomas Friedman's office.
* eXile: (in drippingly gay voice) Oh, hello! This is Bradley Pfeiffer from Travel Express, Inc. I'm just calling to confirm Mr. Friedman's reservation, that he'll be picking up his airline tickets this evening or this afternoon?
* NYT: Um...ah, for what flight?
* eXile: Oh, this is his trip to New York, in April, April 26th? The reservations were booked through the Barron Center Clinic in New York, and --
* NYT: Oh, I'm sorry, Bradley, I've got him on the other line. Can I call you back?
* eXile: It's (202)-628-8638. [Actual Travel Express Number].
* NYT: Okay. But he made this through American Express?
* eXile: No, actually, the reservations were made through the [speaking loudly] BARRON CENTER CLINIC in New York directly. We do a lot of work with them.
* NYT: Okay, I'll find out the details and call you back.
* eXile: Okay. That's Bradley Pfeiffer.
* NYT: Okay. Bye
* eXile: Bye!
All the pieces were now in place. The secretary would switch to Friedman on the other line and ask him about the trip to New York on April 26th. Friedman would immediately deny that there was any trip to New York and demand to know what was going on. The secretary would call Travel Express, Inc. back, ask for Bradley Pfeiffer, and find out that there was no such person. Intrigued, she would explain the situation to someone at the travel agency, perhaps even a manager, at which point she would learn that, in fact, a man calling himself Thomas Friedman had in fact reserved a roundtrip ticket to New York. The agent may recall the man mentioning surgery. Actual plans had been made, and those phone calls had really been placed -- but why? From there neither side would be able to unravel the mystery any further, until...
Sometime later that afternoon, a fax would arrive from a hotel in New York showing reservations for a suite on April 26th. Or no fax would arrive and Friedman's secretary would get a phone call from another gay-sounding man claiming to be a clerk at a New York hotel with the chilling name of "Morgan's." With any luck, the secretary would mistake the hotel clerk for the mysterious Bradley Pfeiffer and begin shouting accusations at him. Or perhaps after three ominous and inexplicable phone incidents Friedman's secretary will have already called the phone company and made sure the *66 function in the office was operational. In either case, the inquiry would eventually lead back to the actual Morgan's hotel, where it would be determined that someone identifying himself as Thomas Friedman really had called to make reservations for the 26th. Again, there would be plain evidence of not insignificant effort being put into some sort of bizarre, elaborate deception, but the reasons for it would doomed to remain a complete mystery.
The whole thing comes together finally when the envelope plainly marked "Barron Center Clinic" arrives on the desk of Friedman's secretary in a few days. Unless she happened to write it down at the time -- which was unlikely -- Friedman's secretary would not be likely to have immediately recalled the name "Barron Center Clinic" in the wake of the mysterious Bradley Pfeiffer call. She might even have tried to remember this detail later, perhaps under Friedman's own frantic questioning, and been unable to. But it will all come back to her the instant she sees that giant red letterhead marked with the Barron Center name on the 8x11 envelope. Instantly she will hear that bright gay voice enunciating clearly from above, like a Greenwich Village Mr. Clean: "Actually, the reservations were made directly through the BARRON CENTER CLINIC...BARRON CENTER CLINIC...BARRON CENTER CLINIC..." It will all come back to her: the plane reservations were supposedly made by this clinic... the answer to the mystery will have arrived...
With any luck, she will open the envelope before she finds Friedman to tell him. If she does, it will suddenly all be clear to her. Friedman's ignorant denials in particular will make a lot of sense. The surreptitious telephoning, the two-bit travel agency, the "hotel" in New York... it will all fit. In the best-case scenario for the joke, she never brings it up again to Friedman, and never gives him the envelope, or lets on that she's seen it. The whole incident will live on within her in the form of a lingering empathetic suspicion. Better yet, she eventually tells someone, and it gets around.
In the worse case, she tells Friedman, and they both call the clinic together. They'll get Howard on the line and find out that an impostor had called to inquire about surgery. That will be all there is to find out, but they won't know that. What will be next? What other plans have been made in the columnist's name? What ambiguous tidings will arrive with the next ring of the office phone? Vigilance will be the word of the day -- and embarrassing mistakes will be made.
Either that or they're onto us, and reading this on the internet a week later. What the hell. At any rate, they'll have been freaked out for a good three days or so. And it's not like they can do anything to us here in Russia when they find out. Gotta love that globalization, eh, Tom?
From The eXile
Feb 19, 2007
Of course, anyone who took the time to watch the Edward Said lecture videos I posted earlier this month probably already knows this, but even so this shows a level of common sense at a citizen level that is not being replicated among policy makers.
For example, "tensions between Muslims and westerners arise from "conflicts about political power and interests" - endorsed by 52% overall." Similarly, a majority believes that education can help alleviate conflict and that common ground can be found between western society and Islamic ones.
Sadly however, about a third (or slightly less) of people seem to believe that tensions arise from cultural and religious differences and that conflict is inevitable. Perhaps if some of these morons got the aforementioned education, then they might see how this would be considered a self fulfilling prophecy. Muslims/Westerners must be violent fundamentalists/savage unbelievers and because of this, we cannot trust them. And when you act like someone is your enemy, they'll soon start playing to the role as they feel threatened. To quote Abbe Galiani:
"Foresight is the cause of Europe's present wars. If one would take pains to foresee nothing, the whole world would be tranquil, and I do not believe one would be worse off for not waging wars"
Feb 18, 2007
"Our culture engages historians, sociologists, psychiatrists and the media to . . . impose upon us a common view of reality. The reason for this imposing of socially-approved views is fear: As a culture we are afraid that unless we can force the majority of us to comply with particular givens, everything we have achieved and everything we believe we understand will unravel. The truth is that without the continual reinforcement of commonly held cultural views of ‘reality,’ most of our beliefs and some of our ways of living would unravel. . . . In fairness, we need to understand that there can never be a common view of reality because each of us is capable of seeing only so much and no more. . . . a commonly-held world view is not a possibility, not now and not ever. . . . We are stuck with the social illusions into which we are born. . . . From this evolution-of-illusion we get politics, religion, fads and all manner of cultural blindness. We pass our blindness down from one generation to another until it becomes so firmly entrenched in daily life that nobody asks whether this or that aspect of our social belief system might simply be wrong.
— Anderson Reed, from Shouting at the Wolf (p. 142-143, 148)
"There is no greater crime than to murder a fellowman, especially a friend. Still who would say that he commits a crime who assassinates a tyrant, however close a friend? The people of Rome, I tell you, think it no crime, but the noblest of all noble deeds. Did expediency here triumph over virtue? No, virtue followed in the train of expediency. . . . There can be no such thing as fellowship with tyrants, nothing but bitter feud is possible: and it is not repugnant to nature to despoil, if you can, those whom it is a virtue to kill; nay, this pestilent and godless brood should be utterly banished from human society. For, as we amputate a limb in which the blood and the vital spirit have ceased to circulate, because it injures the rest of the body, so monsters, who, under human guise, conceal the cruelty and ferocity of a wild beast, should be severed from the common body of humanity."Something about the supposed left wing and "liberals" that constantly disappoints me is how quick they currently are in jumping in bed with dictators as soon as they see they have a common enemy, usually in the current US administration.
— Cicero, from "No Fellowship with Tyrants"
Now, don't get me wrong. My sympathies lie with the centre left, economically, and most certainly with social libertarianism. If anything could be used to describe my political affiliation, it would most likely be unaligned liberal.
However, there are two problems with the left today which not only piss me off no end, but also make me ashamed to associate myself with such people. The first is the disastrous flirtation with Communism for the last 80 years, and the second is the current pre-occupation with a very postmodernist line of political thought.
Now, I'll agree that the socialist critique of liberalism at the start of the 20th century was vital in moving beyond simple political and economic liberty to understanding other barriers to personal freedom. But association with the Soviet Union, among the older elements of the left, was a huge mistake and nearly unforgivable. For example, one would have to think about the many campaigners within the CND over here, who were intent on disarming the UK of its nuclear weapons, without campaigning, like the noble END did, demanding the Soviet Union, with its history of state suppression and disregard for human rights, do the same. Or the Labour members who pressurised Parliament into recognizing the German Democratic Republic, with no conditions attached concerning its own human rights record.
Fortunately, the collapse of the Soviet Union helped to mostly halt this, though there is a disturbing trend of Marxism still present among Universities, as well as residual powers in the ideals of those early days, no matter how terrible they turned out.
The second problem, however, is far more subtle and relies on cultural relativism and the creeping movement of distinctly postmodern ideas concerning the truth and morality into the public discourse. To create a somewhat unrealistic strawman, the argument seems to go that people do things differently abroad and, being tolerant and liberal as we are of others lifestyles, we should not interfere. And I would agree, with a certain caveat that a lot of other people seem to have forgotten, so long as they do not bring harm or danger to others without their consent.
Stoning a woman to death for being raped is not right. Allowing a man to keep his wife in a state of near slavery is not right. Female circumcision is not right. Monarchy, despotism, racism, homophobia, sexism and state repression are not right, no matter who uses them and where they come from.
A perfect example of this mindset comes from French "intellectual" Michel Foucalt who, when asked about the bloody silencing of dissent in Iran under Khomeini, answered:
"They don't have the same regime of truth as ours, which, it has to be said, is very special, even if it has become nearly universal. The Greeks have their own. The Arabs of the Maghreb have another. And in Iran it is largely modelled on a religion that has an exoteric and esoteric content...It's often the case that people say something that, at a factual level, isn't true, but which refers to another, deeper meaning, which cannot be assimilated in terms of precision and observation."
Gotta love that, "they don't have the same truth as us", so its perfectly alright for the frothing lunatics decide to kill unbelievers if they want. I think I can hear Camus spinning in his grave somewhere....
And this has carried over, to the point that demanding other states respect human rights, equality and do not discriminate can be considered as "cultural imperialism". It actually strikes me as rather racist, that somehow human rights are only reserved for those who are white and of European descent.
Whats equally strange is that those who actually came up with the ideas of Universal morality going hand in hand with cultural relativism, originally, before it was perverted by those with an agenda, were the European philosophers of the Enlightenment, who were trying to use these as points to defend the people of the New World from imperial slavery and racism.
Ask yourselves this: why am I, and many others, outraged when we hear of American forces torturing prisoners or indiscriminately bombing civilian areas? Because they are against human rights, they are atrocities which we should rightly be disgusted with. So whats the difference when the Chinese try to enforce their hegemony over Tibet, or Putin suspends elections and sends death squads into Chechnya? Quite rightly, we should be more disappointed with the USA, who claimed to stand for individual freedom and human rights. But it is no less reprehensible when other do it too.
If the left is ever going to be taken seriously, it needs to shut up the idiots in its ranks who engage in pointless American bashing to score points with foreign dictators, who are often worse than the United States. While its a moral duty to oppose it when it does wrong, this duty should be extended globally. When it is not, it is shown as nothing more than hypocrisy.
Feb 16, 2007
We should not simply refuse modern culture; we must seize it in order to negate it. No one can claim to be a revolutionary intellectual who does not recognize the cultural revolution we are now facing. An intellectual creator cannot be revolutionary by merely supporting some party line, not even if he does so with original methods, but only by working alongside the parties toward the necessary transformation of all the cultural superstructures. What ultimately determines whether or not someone is a bourgeois intellectual is neither his social origin nor his knowledge of a culture (such knowledge may just as well be the basis for a critique of that culture or for some new creative venture), but his role in the production of the historically bourgeois forms of culture. Authors of revolutionary political opinions who find themselves praised by bourgeois literary critics should ask themselves what they’ve done wrong.
Feb 14, 2007
A former British National Party election candidate and a dentist stockpiled explosive chemicals in advance of a civil war in Britain, a court has heard.
Ex-BNP candidate Robert Cottage, 49, wrote of assassinating Tony Blair and bought dangerous chemicals together with friend David Jackson, 62, Manchester Crown Court was told.
Sound familiar? It should do, because I wrote a lengthy article on it on this blog about two months ago, when the arrests first went down and no-one outside of a few relatively minor internet outlets could be bothered to pay attention.
The mainstream off of the internet is still not paying attention. While the Independent have quite rightly put this on their front page, the Guardian has buried it quite deeply within its UK politics section, as has The Times and The Sun, while the Express and Daily Mail do not even have this on their websites.
Please note, for my foreign readers, this is a week after a suspected plot to kidnap and murder UK Muslim soldiers by Islamic extremists (which is most likely a concoction of MI5 as part of its turf war with Special Branch) hit the front pages of every newspaper and gained extensive national coverage. But this, oh this story is hidden away and kept quiet, even by supposedly leftist and independent papers like the Guardian. I wont even go into the reasons why papers like the Mail and Sun, who say they oppose the BNP but create a climate where their message is palatable, would do such a thing.
Anyway...Cain: 1. MSM: 0
Your move, gentlemen.....
Another piece of modern weirdness, delivered as promised by the Pravda science section of their English language site. Much thanks to the person on the PD.com boards who posted this:
Village residents from the Rostov region of Russia caught a weird creature two weeks ago after a strong storm in the Sea of Azov. The shark-looking creature was producing strange squeaky sounds. The fishermen originally believed that they had caught an alien and decided to film the monster with the help of a cell phone camera. The footage clearly shows the creatures’ head, body and long tail. The bizarre catch was weighing almost 100 kilograms, the Komsomolskaya Pravda reports.
However, ufologists and scientists were greatly disappointed when they found out that the fishermen had eaten the monster. They said that they were not scared of the creature so they decided to use it as food. One of the men said that it was the most delicious dish he had ever eaten.
Chairman of the Anomalous Phenomena Service, Andrei Gorodovoi, stated that the creature, which he could see on the short video, was an anomalous being. However, it could hardly be described as an extraterrestrial form of life, he added. Gorodovoi rejected the version about mermaids too. “There are many legends about mermaids living in the Sea of Azov. Nevertheless, specialists of the Service for Anomalous Phenomena have never confirmed those fairytales. On the other hand, we do not deny the possibility of other forms of life in the Sea of Azov,” the ufologist sad.
A spokesman for the Rostov-based zoo, Alexander Lipkovich, contacted local ichthyologists and asked their opinion about the Azov alien. “They said that the fish bears resemblance to a sturgeon. It was an extremely interesting individual. I have never seen anything like this before in my whole life,” the specialist said.
Here is a video of said creature, from where the above picture was presumably taken.
Feb 11, 2007
5 parts to this brilliant dissection and criticism:
Its hard to explain without trying to retell the story, so I'll just link you to it. There are pdf books as well as mp3s to listen to. However, I will say to read through the catalogue first, or everything else will make little sense. Also, look out for embedded links within the text and pictures provided.
Finally, keep a critical mind and have fun....
Feb 10, 2007
Faith schools remove the rights of children to choose their own religious, philosophical and ethical beliefs. They also sanction ethnic segregation and create tension and divisiveness within society. Schools should be places where children are given a free education, not centres for indoctrination. Creationism and other religious myths should not be taught as fact regardless of the funding status of a school. Abolishing faith schools will provide children with more freedom of choice and help to promote a fully multi-cultural, peaceful society.
"The story that appears on the site was edited by Sondra London with Thornley's authorization, from a manuscript he originally called The Dreadlock Recollections, which he completed in 1989. He lived long enough to see the first eight chapters published under the new title on this domain in 1997."
Also, there is a collection of what appears to be otherwise unpublished Erisiana. I've certainly not seen it before, and Sondra says she doesn't know that anyone else has copied it, so here is some unseen material for your perusal, available here.
Finally, if these interest you, there is plenty more material available here to keep you occupied for a while.
Much thanks to Sondra London, who emailed me yesterday to let me know about these articles.
Feb 9, 2007
A lot of people have been touting this as proof of an Israeli/US conspiracy to divide and conquer the Middle East, based on this paper. However, I am not so certain this is the case.
While no doubt both the USA and Israel have had far from exemplary records in recent history in that region, to present them as acting in concert, based on this plan is just not plausible. The USA, riding on the back of a wave of anti-Arab sentiment and successful campaign, decided to go into Iraq, for a myriad of reasons, most of which were never truly explained to the public.
Israel, on the other hand, apart from the continuing problems of the Palestinian territories, has only undertaken a limited campaign in Lebanon, one which was not successful and has in fact undermined the leadership there and played into the hands of Syria, who may well be welcomed back into Beirut soon, by an official, Hezb'allah dominated government.
Now, both of those can be read in the context of the paper. But Israel refusing to attack Syria, despite been given a green light by the USA (as well as several pieces of dubious evidence pointing to Syrian-backed terrorist groups working in Lebanon), yet they have refused.
Israel is quite unstable, in terms of its political parties who take control of government. In the last 11 years, they have gone from Left, to Centre, to Right back to Centre again, with all these parties dependent on coalitions to maintain a hold on power. As such a strategy as this would come from and be backed by the right wing Israeli politicians (Likud, for example), it would require a right wing party to have a secure grip on their government, as such a strategy would have to take place over the long term.
The US political system, on the other hand, is the very epitome of stability. Democrat, or Republican, regular elections, the Executive only removable by crime, mental illness or end of term.
And its the USA who invaded Iraq, is talking of attacking Iran and tried to push Israel into attacking Syria. Its very possible that political institutions or individuals with strong links in the USA passed on this paper on to their American counterparts. But, unfortunately for the anti-semitic fringe out there, its going to be quite hard to blame "teh evil J00s" for this one.
The USA would benefit from a stable Iraq, as would everyone. The idea that the USA would purposefully go in and destabilize such a strategically vital region of the world is madness. I can certainly see them having this as a back up plan, however. Should violence spill over into Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the voices calling for setting the entire region on fire before leaving will get louder. But that wont benefit Israel, certainly not in the mid-term. Those fanatical Islamic groups have become much more powerful since that paper was written. There's no telling if the violence would spill over into Israeli territory and if it could be stopped or not. Thats the problem with anarchy on such a scale, it becomes very messy and lots of people end up being hit in unexpected ways.
Stability is in Israel's interest, for now certainly. Anti-Israeli sentiment is at its highest point ever, currently. Doing this now would be suicidal, for them. Not for the USA, however.
See how simple these things are, when you think them through?
January '07: The never before published autobiography of Kerry Wendell Thornley is finally available to all as issue 17 of Trevor Blake's OVO http://www.ovo127.com 'zine, the 240 page book is a chilling confession to murderous mind control and knowing satire of what paranoid people sound like. It is available in .odt (OpenOffice) .pdf (Adobe) and to buy in print at lulu.com.
However, it can also be downloaded here
Feb 8, 2007
Feb 7, 2007
Feb 5, 2007
Basically, on PrincipiaDiscordia.com, there is something of a movement, or idea, called the Black Iron Prison. You can read about it here, its basically a collection of new ideas that came out of the effort to update Discordianism (in keeping with a religion of chaos, change is sometimes a good idea).
Anyway, along comes Laz from ClosertoGod.net, wanting a new entry for his site. So we direct him off to the more interesting and philosophical threads and he eventually vanishes and writes this complete and utter misrepresentation of the metaphor.
So naturally, I'm going to correct him.
The Black Iron Prison is an idea that I have come across on a website that touts the Principia Discordia and the Illuminatus trilogy books.Not strictly true, the site is named for the book, but many of us are actually bored with discussing it and have moved onto over areas on inquiry. A small point, some may say pedantic, but important.
The idea as it was explained to me is that in life you are trapped in a prison cell, it is dark and it is inescapable but you cannot see the walls that surround you. As an unwilling convict of this invisible penitentiary, you are in a position of pain and suffering and you have no way to break free until someone points out and makes you understand that you are in a prison.Then you misunderstood the metaphor entirely.
The prison is indeed inescapable, but not necessarily dark. That you equate it with pain and suffering, which were never originally mentioned, says a lot about both your preconceptions and metaphysics in approaching this.
Also, furthermore, the point is that you cannot escape. The prison was a metaphor for your senses and how you understand the world. You will never have perfect knowledge. You will never be able to know, be 100% certain of what is the truth and be objective about existence.
Once you understand that you are being held against your will, you may start to break down the bars of your jail window, it is a revalation, and a means of evading capture. however, your initial rapture of becoming a free man is short lived, as you will find that there is a cell outside of the cell in which you had been incarserated. While the walls of the first prison are now crumbled, there is another larger wall encasing the captive and another set of bars holding back the freedom which is sought.How can you escape your senses? Do you posit some sort of transcendent knowledge here, or are you merely misunderstanding what has been said? I am unaware of any of the former and the latter seems more plausible.
What I have found is that this analogy is a an unenlightened one, for it tells of failure to achieve enlightenment, and you had better not try again. It touts freedom but does not deliver. It is no truth bringer or real enlightenment, and is instead a masturbatory thought process that leads in a circle, and this ends in conformity, and bondage.Who spoke of “enlightenment”? Apart from you, of course. Enlightenment is not the point or the goal. Understanding mental processes, limitations and perceptions are the goal here. Enlightenment is a sham, a metaphysical construct for a perfection of knowledge that cannot exist in this Universe.
You already have freedom. Freedom is gained through choice and choice is contingent on subjective perception and understanding. If you do not like how you view the world, how your philosophy or ideology or chosen system works, you can change it. You cannot ever be right, but you can improve and progress. That you seek a definite goal and define freedom as the lack of external barriers (as opposed to the ability to chose) again shows flaws in your basic assumptions of what this is about.
How does this process end in conformity? If anything, it expresses the creative urge of the individual and how they can empower themselves to change their environment. That there is no perfection, no idealist Utopia at the end of the road, is an issue of your own perceptions about how the world should work. Its very presumptuous and also quite volatile and reactionary, as previous Utopian and Positivist movements have shown.
Breaking down walls is a good thing, but to find that behind every wall is another, is an idea that breads contempt, inadeqacy, and selfish behaviour, it is an idea that is a trick.How is that so? Only if you are weak minded and fear challenges, it would seem. Who is there to direct contempt against? No-one is responsible for your position except yourself, there is no divine trickster here, you cannot blame your cell mates, for they have unwillingly been thrust into the same position as you. Inadequacy implies goals that are not met, and there is no goal here. Selfish behaviour, I cannot even see how that follows from what we have said. To what end would selfishness be in any way beneficial?
I have broken free of the BIP and I find that it is actually a lonely place, it is not populated with individuals, but it does not have any further walls and is not devoid of life. It is a free place that is to be explored and learnt from.You have not broken free of anything. Your own philosophy drips from this tract and shows your own limitations in your thoughts and ideas. To claim you have broken free of anything is highly unlikely. A Nietzschean would easily detect the underlying Christian/Positivist philosophy in your writings and quite correctly bring you to account on it, at great length. That you probably do not realize this says so much about the invisible bars that hem in your thinking.
There are individuals everywhere, Laz. A planet of them, over 6 billion now. Many try not to be, because they would have to face responsibility for their actions, the fear of there being no control or higher power to justify their actions. But they still exist, try as they might to deny it.
Edit: Other even more excellent responses to Laz can be found here