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The Matrix

Journal: The Matrix is Mimetic 12

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

As Yuval Harari points out, "What is so special about us that allows for such cooperation? Unflatteringly, it is our talent for deluding ourselves. If you examine any large-scale human cooperation (or co-option), you will always find some imaginary story at its base. As long as many people believe in the same stories about gods, nations, money or human rights (memes and antitropes) - they follow the same laws and rules (of conduct)."

https://www.coursera.org/course/humankind

User Journal

Journal: Little historical help out there 12

Journal by smitty_one_each

I had said

Maybe we can agree that, as is nearly always the case, there was a spectrum of motives [for/against slavery]. If boiling it all down to "plain old economics" was the sum, then the 3/5ths Compromise would not have been as contentious in [debates about the Constitution in] 1787.

Now, I realize that there is this concerted effort out there to try to hang guilt on contemporary Americans. I've two words in reply to these efforts, the second of which is "you". Doubling down on my comment above, no one is virtuous; not me, not the slave traders then, not Abraham Lincoln, not those flinging guilt today. But do note such figures as Luther Martin:

Martin was an active participant in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was an especially strong proponent of proportional representation in Congress and fought to prohibit the further importation of slaves. The slave trade, wrote Martin, was "a solemn mockery of and insult to God." Slavery itself was "inconsistent with the genius of republicanism ⦠as it lessens the sense of the equal rights of mankind and habituates us to tyranny and oppression." He would later become honorary counselor of the Maryland Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Ultimately, Martin opposed ratification of the Constitution and became a prominent Anti-Federalist in Maryland. He authored four open letters to the citizens of Maryland in which he addressed his concern that a strong federal government was bound to expand in size and scope and thereby threaten the liberties of all. His voice was a part of the larger national chorus that supported the Constitution as long as it came with a bill of rights.

If you aren't willing to step back and view the sweep of events from Independence through the Civil War through the Civil Rights movement to the Racism Industrial Complex of our day, that juxtaposes Ferguson, MO to ISIS, then I think you're missing some major points.

United States

Journal: FDL Nails It: Superpower Performance Art

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

'The Cause Of Empire Leads To The Graveyard'

"This is a vision of the world in which might makes right - a world in which one nation's borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different. We believe that right makes might - that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones; that people should be able to choose their own future...

America is and will continue to be a Pacific power, promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations. But we will insist that all nations abide by the rules of the road, and resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law. That's how the Asia-Pacific has grown. And that's the only way to protect this progress going forward."

User Journal

Journal: For crying out loud in the dark, NYT 32

Journal by smitty_one_each

It seems that the Paper of Record had no record of the broad coalition built by George W. Bush for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, including ground troops from more than a dozen nations, when it attempted to explain the difference between the approaches of Bush and Barack Obama on war in Iraq and now Syria.

I'll concede that George W. Bush answered the question: "Does the U.S. have any business engaging in nation building?" with "abso-effing-lutely NOT".
However, I think that the Paper of Record has so thoroughly soiled itself that even its staunchest, vertebrae-free sycophant apologists here on Slashdot can just lay by their dishes.
This embarrassment on the basic facts of the previous decade underscores the NYT's basic unreliability, and the uselessness it brings to discussions of, say, Benghazi.

User Journal

Journal: familiar faces from film and TV in commercials

Journal by Bill Dog

I was shocked when Laurence Fishburne first showed up in those Capitol One commercials. He was so great in Pulp Fiction and the Matrix, I thought, oh no, is his career over already? And now Jennifer Garner (no doubt the daughter of Jim Rockford) is shilling for the same.

The creepiest is Matthew McConaughey driving around at night in a butt-ugly Lincoln SUV softly waxing sweet philosophical nothings to us.

The latest is (the now forgettable) Sarah Marshall and Punk'd Employee of the Month (who I just found out are married (to each other, I mean)) doing like a minute and a half mongo commercial where a Samsung Galaxy tablet is part of every aspect of their lives.

And just like that, poof, the shame and presumed damage to one's career for resorting to "acting" in TV commercials is now gone evidently.

It used to be just voices. Like I can never forget a face, I can pick out a famous actor's voice (I just can't remember names for shit). That way an actor could lend a brand some familiarity, without getting himself all soiled in it. For example I most recently heard a new spot with King Ralph as the voice of it. Have no idea what the product or service was, as in my case I'm usually distracted by the familiar voice.

Which I would think is even more of a down-side when they actually appear in the commercials. As in, the focus is on the spokesperson and not the product or service being pitched. When I see Flo (who, incidently, was in that Ben Stiller honeymoon movie before becoming Ms. Progressive) or Red, I think car insurance or Wendy's. When I think of Matthew McHowdoyouspellhisnameagain, I think of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, not a dying carmaker division whose vehicles' front ends all look like hideous barn owl faces.

User Journal

Journal: Undercover police cars 5

Journal by Timex
I was on my way to work today and saw a State Trooper's car on the side of the road. I knew it was a State Trooper not because of the distinctive two-tone blue that cruisers have (this one was black), but because it had several antennas and a radar gun on the driver's side.

It reminded me of the graphic that has gone around on Facebook with a picture of a police car in Europe (bright colors designed to attract attention) compared with an American undercover police car (designed to look like any other car and not stick out in traffic). It occurs to me that there are a few different reasons why American police departments (on the state and local levels) might employ cars with stealth-ish designs, one or more of which may apply:
  • The police department may not be able to afford the number of officers required to patrol all parts of their jurisdiction. Having undercover cruisers means the people are going to be more careful about their habits in an attempt to not get ticketed.
  • The police department is attempting to generate revenue for their {State|Community} by catching people off-guard.

In the first case, it would make sense, and it kinda works after a fashion. That isn't what bothers me.

In the second case, it's sneaky and underhanded. My train of thought (such as it is) went on to consider the fact that when people hunt, they have legal restrictions on what they are allowed to do to bag their prey. They cannot set certain traps or route their prey into certain areas for the purpose of killing them. If a hunter is found to have employed entrapment techniques, the Games Warden will likely take the kill and the hunter could lose his hunting license.

Why are police allowed to get away with the same sort of thing?

User Journal

Journal: I'm shocked, SHOCKED! to hear they sifted the docs 3

Journal by smitty_one_each

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to "separate" damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

I sure am glad that both Harry "the Cadaver" Reid, plus Pravda on the Hudson (NYT) did such a stellar job on the case. They, and the sad little sycophant throne sniffers one encounters on this site, are encouraged to locate a large supply of shame and prepare to feel it in a big way.
On the other hand, the investigation could exonerate the whole sorry lying lot of them.
I may be wrong in my assessment, and will be happy to eat crow.
Also, the sun may rise in the West.

The Military

Journal: James Foley Is Not a War Ad 11

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

by David Swanson / September 13th, 2014

                               

To the extent that the U.S. public is newly, and probably momentarily, accepting of war -- an extent that is wildly exaggerated, but still real -- it is because of videos of beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

When 9-11 victims were used as a justification to kill hundreds of times the number of people killed on 9-11, some of the victims' relatives pushed back.

Now James Foley is pushing back from the grave.

Here is video of Foley talking about the lies that are needed to launch wars, including the manipulation of people into thinking of foreigners as less than human. Foley's killers may have thought of him as less than human. He may not have viewed them the same way.

The video shows Foley in Chicago helping Haskell Wexler with his film Four Days in Chicago -- a film about the last NATO protest before the recent one in Wales. I was there in Chicago for the march and rally against NATO and war. And I've met Wexler who has tried unsuccessfully to find funding for a film version of my book War Is A Lie .

Watch Foley in the video discussing the limitations of embedded reporting, the power of veteran resistance, veterans he met at Occupy, the absence of a good justification for the wars, the dehumanization needed before people can be killed, the shallowness of media coverage -- watch all of that and then try to imagine James Foley cheering like a weapons-maker or a Congress member for President Obama's announcement of more war. Try to imagine Foley accepting the use of his killing as propaganda for more fighting.

You can't do it. He's not an ad for war any more than the WMDs were a justification for war. His absence as a war justification has been exposed even faster than the absence of the WMDs was.

While ISIS may have purchased Sotloff, if not Foley, from another group, when Foley's mother sought to ransom him, the U.S. government repeatedly threatened her with prosecution. So, instead of Foley's mother paying a relatively small amount and possibly saving her son, ISIS goes on getting its funding from oil sales and supporters in the Gulf and free weapons from, among elsewhere, the United States and its allies. And we're going to collectively spend millions, probably billions, and likely trillions of dollars furthering the cycle of violence that Foley risked his life to expose.

The Coalition of the Willing is already crumbling. What if people in the United States were to watch the video of Foley when he was alive and speaking and laughing, not the one when he was a prop in a piece of propaganda almost certainly aimed at provoking the violence that Obama has just obligingly announced?

Foley said he believed his responsibility was to the truth. It didn't set him free. Is it perhaps not too late for the rest of us?

United States

Journal: Illustration of Press Function Under Fascist State

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

How much will this cost? What are possible unintended consequences? How long will it take? How will we know when it is over? No one seems to ask these questions. Instead this is considered to be journalism and reporting on the issue:

Over a dinner of D'Anjou pear salad and Chilean sea bass, Obama, Vice President Biden and the outside experts engaged in a deep discussion of the options to combat the Islamic State, those who participated said.

"D'Anjou pear salad" - how interesting. But what are the options discussed, what are their up- and downsides and what are their costs? There is nothing about that in the Washington Post. The fourth estate is gone, nowhere to be found.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/09/the-stampede-towards-war-on-isis.html

Such access! So... embedded!

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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