When Hillary Clinton supporters are confronted with the evidence of their candidate's financial ties to dirty coal and oil, dirty finance, dirty autocratic governments, and so on, they insist that there's nothing to see here, because no one can link any specific contribution to a specific policy outcome. Read the rest
The Leap Manifesto calls for a Canada remade as "a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit, in which the opportunities of this transition are designed to eliminate racial and gender inequality." Read the rest
(In 2010, Boing Boing was pleased to feature as a guestblogger Arthur Goldwag, author of Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies: The Straight Scoop on Freemasons, The Illuminati, Skull and Bones, Black Helicopters, The New World Order, and many, many more. The following is an excerpt from Arthur's latest book, The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right. - dp)
Conspiracy theories often resemble a kind of misbegotten, debased form of theology — one that begins with a set of suppositions and then reverse engineers a fantastical version of reality that comports with them. History does not dispute, for example, the fact that Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s mother’s father was Jewish. But in the auto magnate and arch-conspiracist Henry Ford’s telling, this genealogical detail held the key not only to Lenin’s entire character and political philosophy but to the vicissitudes of the former Russian Empire circa 1920 and to the historical development of Bolshevism worldwide. Lenin’s wife is Jewish, and his children all speak Yiddish, Ford insisted, a little hysterically. Russia’s yeshivas are the recipients of lavish subsidies from the Bolshevik state:
The Bolsheviks immediately took over all the Hebrew schools and continued them as they were and laid down a rule that the ancient Hebrew language should be taught in them. The ancient Hebrew language is the vehicle of the deeper secrets of the World Program.
And for the Gentile Russian children? “Why,” said these gentle Jewish educators, “we will teach them sex knowledge. Read the rest
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Terry Savage happened upon two little girls giving away lemonade at their roadside lemonade stand. She was affronted at this economic illiteracy: after all, the raw materials for the lemonade had come out their parents' pockets, so they should be charging for the product! The mentality that leads to children giving away their parents' things (rather than selling them) is what has led to America's economic decline, according to Savage:
I pushed the button to roll down the window and stuck my head out to set them straight.
"You must charge something for the lemonade," I explained. "That's the whole point of a lemonade stand. You figure out your costs -- how much the lemonade costs, and the cups -- and then you charge a little more than what it costs you, so you can make money. Then you can buy more stuff, and make more lemonade, and sell it and make more money..."
No wonder America is getting it all wrong when it comes to government, and taxes, and policy. We all act as if the "lemonade" or benefits we're "giving away" is free.
Get that, kids? The correct thing to do with the stuff you appropriate from others is sell it, not give it away! Sounds about right -- companies take over our public aquifers and sell us the water they pump out of them; telcos get our rights of way for their infrastructure, then insist that they be able to tier their pricing without regard to the public interest. Read the rest
Happy International Women's Day to everyone, but especially to all the strong, brave women who fought and fight for a world where women and men have equal opportunities, equal representation in all fields of endeavor, and equal rights in society, custom and law. I am privileged to have been raised by my strong, feminist mother and father to be a feminist man. For my Mom, my grandmothers, my wife, and my daughter, happy IWD!
International Women's Day
Awful 1962 marriage textbook speaks out against feminism ...
Naomi Klein on social change Read the rest
"Our debt to Haiti stems from four main sources: slavery, the US occupation, dictatorship and climate change. These claims are not fantastical, nor are they merely rhetorical. They rest on multiple violations of legal norms and agreements."—Naomi Klein, in The Nation (via @shockozulu) Read the rest
Guestblogger Arthur Goldwag is the author of "Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies: The Straight Scoop on Freemasons, The Illuminati, Skull and Bones, Black Helicopters, The New World Order, and many, many more" and other books.
(CC-licensed photo on Flickr by 911conspiracy)
Forty-five years ago, Harpers magazine published Richard Hofstadter's essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." The occasion for the piece was the revenant conservatism that had driven Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign (the magazine hit the newsstands the month of the Johnson/Goldwater election), but it remains astonishingly apt. I cannot recommend it enough for anyone who wants to understand the mentalités of fringe political movements in the United States--from the Anti-Masons and Know Nothings in the first half of the 1800s, to McCarthyism, the Nation of Islam, and the Weathermen in the last century, to the Birthers and Truthers today.
Read the rest
(Douglas Rushkoff is a recent Boing Boing guest blogger -- below, a previously-planned excerpt from his new book, the last in a series of excerpts which ran during his guest-blogging period.)
Here's the final excerpts for the BoingBoing serialization of my new book Life Inc: How the world became a corporation and how to take it back.
I've chosen them in response to concern from readers of the earlier excerpts, who are asking "what should we actually do about all this?"
I think the first step is to fully comprehend how the financial mess we're in is not some aberration, but the culmination of a debt-based economy. When speculation and lending outweigh innovation and value-creation as drivers of economic activity, addiction to growth and the attendant bubbles are really the only possible long-term outcome. That's why it's important we understand how the ground rules were established, who came up with them, and why. Only then can we begin to look at how arbitrarily they were determined, and how artificially they were upheld.
But once we've done that, we need to look at mechanisms for restoring the functioning of a bottom-up economy that is at least as worthy as its top-down counterpart. Corporate foundations, while well-meaning, end up sitting on giant stores of investment that work against the very causes the foundations are supposedly working to fix. (There's a big section on how this works, using some of the LA Times terrific analysis of how the Gates Foundation invests its assets.)
It's not a matter of getting rid of corporations and centralized currency altogether, but maintaining alternative means of creating value and exchanging it. Read the rest
Tiffiniy from A New Way Forward sez,
Read the rest
Thanks to readers on Boing Boing and many others, the movement for dealing with the economic crisis has grown to 40,000 people in two months! But, so many people want to actually learn about what's going on, learn about the insider groups that are preparing to fight. Now, during the week of June 8th, thousands of people will get together at economic crisis house parties across the country to watch an ANWF-exclusive video that lays out how we got into this mess and a live webcast of economic crisis town hall forums in San Francisco, New York, and Washington DC. These events allow us to talk about alternatives for getting out of the crisis and take back the conversation from the technocrats who think that regular people like us shouldn't have a say.
Brought to you by Alternet and A New Way Forward, Doug Rushkoff and Professor Dal Bo will be speaking at the San Francisco town hall, and in Washington DC, Simon Johnson, and Les Leopold in NYC. We're thinking of petitioning Naomi Klein to speak at our NYC event (we need women!)
ANWF is differerent, we're all volunteer and people have made this our fight to win. People need to register their house parties and help build the movement and spirit. You can register a public or private- we have tools and a guide for hosting your party.
So, it'll be exciting, we'll get to feel like we have town halls again!
Naomi Klein's must-read piece in Rolling Stone about the $700 billion Wall Street bailout begins by examining Reuben Jeffery III, the man first tapped to serve as the program's chief investment officer. Snip:
Read the rest
Like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, he's an alum of Goldman Sachs, having worked on Wall Street for 18 years. And as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2005 to 2007, he proudly advocated "flexibility" in regulation – a laissez-faire approach that failed to rein in the high-risk trading at the heart of the meltdown.
Bankers watching bankers, regulators who don't believe in regulating – that's all standard fare for the Bush crew. What's most striking about Jeffery's résumé, however, is an item omitted when his new job was announced: He served as executive director of Paul Bremer's infamous Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, during the early days of the Iraq War. Part of his job was to hire civilian staff, which made him an integral part of the partisan machine that filled the Green Zone with Young Republicans, investment bankers and Dick Cheney interns. Qualifications weren't a big issue back then, because the staff's main function was to hand over stacks of taxpayer money to private contractors, who were the ones actually running the occupation. It was this nonstop cash conveyor belt that earned the Green Zone a reputation, in the words of one CPA official, as "a free-fraud zone." During Senate hearings last year, when Jeffery was asked what he had learned from his experience at the CPA, he said he thought that contracts should be handed out with more "speed and flexibility" – the same philosophy he cited back when he was in charge of regulating Wall Street traders.
Yee-HAW! EFF, the ACLU and others are suing the government -- in multiple suits! -- over the new spy bill that "legalizes" warrantless bulk surveillance and immunizes the telcos from civil prosecution for their past bad deeds in cooperating with the President in wiretapping the whole nation.
The ACLU contends those blanket powers to grab international communications of Americans without specific court orders violate the Fourth Amendment and would stymie journalists who often speak to confidential sources outside the country.
Plaintiff Naomi Klein, the liberal columnist and author, said the surveillance would compromise her writing about international issues.
"If the U.S. government is given unchecked surveillance power to monitor reporters' confidential sources, my ability to do this work will be seriously compromised," Klein said.
Go, go civil libertarians! You've just earned my annual donation, and I'm upping the amount next year. Have you joined yet? These are the folks who are keeping the Constitution intact even as "our guys" in Congress tear it up in the name of political expedience and assuaging right-wing talk-show hosts who aren't going to vote for them, anyway.
Link to donate to EFF,
Link to donate to ACLU
Obama's support for the FISA "compromise"
Senate approves warrantless wiretapping and telco immunity, throws out the Fourth Amendment Read the rest
In "China's All-Seeing Eye," Naomi Klein explains the terrifying and banal reality of China's new surveillance state, and the way that it represents a triumph of "Homeland Security" technology swaps between the US and China:
Read the rest
In Guangzhou, an hour and a half by train from Shenzhen, Yao Ruoguang is preparing for a major test of his own. "It's called the 10-million-faces test," he tells me.
Yao is managing director of Pixel Solutions, a Chinese company that specializes in producing the new high-tech national ID cards, as well as selling facial-recognition software to businesses and government agencies. The test, the first phase of which is only weeks away, is being staged by the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing. The idea is to measure the effectiveness of face-recognition software in identifying police suspects. Participants will be given a series of photos, taken in a variety of situations. Their task will be to match the images to other photos of the same people in the government's massive database. Several biometrics companies, including Yao's, have been invited to compete. "We have to be able to match a face in a 10 million database in one second," Yao tells me. "We are preparing for that now."
The companies that score well will be first in line for lucrative government contracts to integrate face-recognition software into Golden Shield, using it to check for ID fraud and to discover the identities of suspects caught on surveillance cameras. Yao says the technology is almost there: "It will happen next year."
When I meet Yao at his corporate headquarters, he is feeling confident about how his company will perform in the test.
Siva sez, "In cooperation with the Media Education Foundation and La Lutta, Free Culture @ NYU is screening Freedom of Expression®: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property at 9pm on Thursday, January 31.
Narrated by Naomi Klein, the film features interviews with Stanford Law's Lawrence Lessig, Illegal Art Show curator Carrie McLaren, Negativlandâ€™s Mark Hosler, UVA media scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan, and Free Culture @ NYU co-founder Inga Chernyak, among many others. This 53-minute documentary will be preceded by selections from Negativlandâ€™s new DVD, Our Favorite Things, and it will be followed by a Q&A with Freedom of Expression® author and director Kembrew McLeod and co-producer Jeremy Smith."
Freedom of Expression Screening and Q&A with Creators
Sponsored by Free Culture @ NYU, NYU ACM, and WiNC
Free and Open to the Public (bring ID if non-NYU)
Thursday, January 31, 2008
NYU's Courant Institute
251 Mercer Street b/w Bleecker and W. 4th
(Thanks, Siva!) Read the rest
David Byrne interviewed Radiohead's Thom Yorke for Wired Magazine about Radiohead's In Rainbows, an album that was released on a pay-what-you-care-to basis online. The conversation is fascinating -- as is anything that David Byrne is involved with. Byrne is not only my all-time favorite musician, he's one of my favorite thinkers and writers too (and a kick-ass blogger besides). Wired's done a great job with the online presentation of the piece, adding in audio from the interview and video of Radiohead performing.
Read the rest
Byrne: I've been thinking about how distribution and CDs and record shops and all that stuff are changing. But we're talking about music. What is music, what does music do for people? What do people get from it? What's it for? That's the thing that's being exchanged. Not all the other stuff. The other stuff is the shopping cart that holds some of it.
Yorke: It's a delivery service.
Byrne: But people will still pay to have that experience. You create a community with music, not just at concerts but by talking about it with your friends. By making a copy and handing it to your friends, you've established a relationship. The implication is that they're now obligated to give you something back.
Yorke: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was just thinking while you were saying that: How does a record company get their hands on that? It makes me think of the No Logo book where Naomi Klein describes how the Nike people would pay guys to get down with the kids on the street.