“Terrorists can be defeated simply by not becoming terrorized — that is, anything that enhances fear effectively gives in to them.”*
This moment in history will be remembered as a high-water mark of fear and hysteria, a time when small groups of men successfully bred fear around the world, a fear which politicians encouraged and manipulated to secure their control over government. Today I called my Congressman and Senators’ offices to ask them to speak out against this “no liquids” policy on airplanes and the manipulation of this foiled act of terrorism by the party in power to make people more fearful, and thus, more easy to control. The response by our government to acts of terrorism is turning our country into a fearful, reactionary monster. I hope you’ll call or write your representatives, too.
* From “A False Sense of Insecurity?” (alternate link), an essay by John Mueller from the Cato Institute’s Regulation magazine.
Spam is the I Ching of our millenium.
I had a fan moment today. A friend of mine is working with a hiphop artist I really, really dig. I ran into them today and told the artist I liked his music. So fumbly, these moments. I tend to think back on the lack of eye contact. Why? To be seen; to speak; to see; to be heard. Which of them is the operator in these encounters with recording artists? To be present; to be in the presence of.
Last weekend, Improv Everywhere staged another mission for Manhattan. 80 IE agents in royal blue shirts hung around in a Best Buy store, just being helpful.
>The reaction from the employees was pretty typical as far as our missions go. The lower level employees laughed and got a kick out of it while the managers and security guards freaked out. [...]
>With our main photographer busted, I took out my camera and started taking covert snapshots. One employee caught me in the act and rushed over. As soon as he got to me, I caught him off guard with a question, “Hey, do you know where I can find the right memory cards for my camera?” He stammered for a second and then said, “Sure. They’re right over there.” I thanked him and was on my way. Another employee caught me moments later in the DVD section, but I disarmed him with a question as well, “Do you know how much the Star Trek DS9 DVDs are? There is no price tag.” We chatted for a second about how expensive the set was, and by the time I walked away he forgot all about the camera.
Read on: the Best Buy Mission
An open letter to David Byrne, since he doesn’t have a public email address.
Your view of the kids who fake ADD seems a bit off to me. I see this
as kids gaming a system that is biased towards linear thinkers. You
seem like a fairly non-linear thinker yourself so I was surprised.
Taking a little speed to better slog through some of the dull shit on
high school curricula and “succeed” at the K-12 game — as long as
they’re not abusing the amphetamines or selling them — seems like an
inventive strategy for dealing with the system.
I don’t disagree with your Big Pharma analysis, though — the Ritalin
marketing campaign was definitely part and parcel of the Foucaultian
systems of bodily control we’ve got going on now.
From the report on Guantanamo detainees by professors and students at Seton Hall University Law School, constructed from declassified government information (and nothing else):
> Only 5% of the [Guantanamo] detainees were captured by United States forces. 86% of the detainees were arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody.
> This 86% of the detainees captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance were handed over to the United States at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies.
Call your Senators and Congressmen to ask them what they’re doing to stop torture and mistreatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. It makes a difference.
More on the report:
>The media and public fascination with who is detained at Guantanamo and why has been fueled in large measure by the refusal of the Government, on the grounds of national security, to provide much information about the individuals and the charges against them. The information available to date has been anecdotal and erratic, drawn largely from interviews with the few detainees who have been released or from statements or court filings by their attorneys in the pending habeas corpus proceedings that the Government has not declared ?¢‚Ç¨?°?É‚Äû?É¬?classified.?¢‚Ç¨?°?É‚Äû?É¬?
>This Report is the first effort to provide a more detailed picture of who the Guantanamo detainees are, how they ended up there, and the purported bases for their enemy combatant designation. The data in this Report is based entirely upon the United States Government?¢‚Ç¨?°?É‚Äû?É¬¥s own documents. This Report provides a window into the Government?¢‚Ç¨?°?É‚Äû?É¬¥s success detaining only those that the President has called ?¢‚Ç¨?°?É‚Äû?É¬?the worst of the worst.?¢‚Ç¨?°?É‚Äû?É¬?
They have a new report that just came out Monday. I heard about it on C-SPAN today when the authors of the report, who are counsel for two detainees, spoke at George Washington University along with former detainees in England who spoke about the beatings, solitary confinement, and other mistreatment they received.
We knew (I knew!) we had never been modern, but now we are even less so: fragile, frail, threatened; that is, back to normal, back to the anxious and careful stage in which the “others” used to live before being “liberated” from their “absurd beliefs” by our courageous and ambitious modernization. Suddenly, we seem to cling with a new intensity to our idols, to our fetishes, to our “factishes,” to the extraordinarily fragile ways in which our hand can produce objects over which we have no command. We look at our institutions, our public spheres, our scientific objectivity, even our religious ways, everything we loved to hate before, with a somewhat renewed sympathy. Less cynicism, suddenly, less irony. A worshipping of images, a craving for carefully crafted mediators, what the Byzantine called “economy,” what used to simply be called civilization.
from ICONOCLASH (html + pdf)
Iraq is in civil war. The possibility of this war spreading to neighboring countries is almost certain. Already, hundreds of mujahedeen have gone into Iraq from Iran and Syria. What are you going to do about it? Who are you going to vote for this November?
Last week, the New School’s World Policy Institute held a panel discussion on the war in Iraq. The standout for me was the vivid, sobering portrait of Iraq from the ground by Nir Rosen, whom the moderator introduced as the journalist who’s spent more time in Iraq since the war began than anyone else.
direct links to the Real streams:
I work for the New School Online webcasting some of these events. Some of them are extraordinarily educational and illuminating, painting a picture of America and American politics that helps me to fight against apathy and get moving politically. Right now I’m sitting in the Tishman auditorium, webcasting a panel called Politics of Resistance, featuring Cornel West. These are great events, but they’re preaching to the choir! We need to get these to people outside of New York City.