Thursday, February 21, 2008

U.K. MoD warning to military stationed in the U.S.

"Americans are very warm and welcoming, especially to military personnel, but – make no mistake – America is a foreign country, and as far as the locals are concerned, you are foreign aliens."

[ ... ]

And schools can throw up another hazard, says Cheryl Friedrich, the schools adviser:

"Watch out for school buses. They stop and disgorge seemingly hundreds of kids who mill about all over the road with no regard to traffic. You are not allowed to overtake or go round a school bus, and if you do, you can bet there will be a traffic cop hiding behind a tree waiting to slap you with a $1,000 fine. My advice is to find the routes your local buses take, then take all the back roads possible to avoid them."

And then there is the problem of laws that differ from state to state. You could be driving perfectly legally at 70mph (113km/h) on one side of the state line, only for the speed limit to drop to 50mph (80km/h) on the other.

Again, the advice for new arrivals is clear: If you do get stopped, just sit still. The traffic cops are very twitchy. It is a legal requirement to carry all your documentation with you, and if you don't, your car might be impounded. But suddenly lunging for the glove compartment to retrieve your licence can ruin your day.

Whatever you do, don't argue with the traffic cops, if for no other reason than in this country you will need your car very much. That applies especially if you find yourself with a posting to a "dry" county, where you could be facing a round trip of 100 miles (161km) or more just to get yourself a Bud.



~ From
Getting a slice of American pie ~

Salvador Dali on "What's My Line?




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A

The Mightier Pen - Politics, Language and Persuasion


Language Abuse and Human Consciousness
Keynote: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

    'Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication and reflection. The fact of the matter is that the "real world" is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group.'


This passage from the American linguist and anthropologist Edward Sapir (1884-1936)'s 'The Status Of Linguistics As A Science', written in 1929, is what has come to be known as the 'Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis'

Related Quotations

    This is but a world of illusion (Guatama Buddha)
    'He gave man speech, and speech created thought, which is the measure of the universe'
    (Prometheus Unbound, Shelley)
    '...misleading symbols were everywhere treated with a wholly unwarranted respect...' (Aldous Huxley: introduction to 'The First and Last Freedom'
    'Hear, and understand; not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.' (Matthew 15;11)
    'The description is not the described.' (J Krishnamurti)


Politics and the English Language by George Orwell

I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language—and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists—is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase—some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno or other lump of verbal refuse—into the dustbin where it belongs.


Language Abuse: Historical Examples
Language Abuse Part 3; Historical Examples


Footnote on the power of the spoken word: Hitler supposedly spoke before 35 million people in his lifetime (excluding broadcasts). His self declared objectives in speaking were the elimination of thought, suggestive paralysis and the creation of a receptive state of fanatical devotion. Since, in his view, 'the masses are like an animal that obeys instincts,' he prescribed 'maximum primitiveness, simple catch phrases, constant repetition, the practice of only attacking one opponent at a time as well as the dogmatic tone of the speeches, which deliberately refused to give "reasons" or to "refute other opinions".' (Joachim Fest: The Face of the Third Reich)

Prevention and Cure
Language AbusePart 4 : Identification and Rebuttal


Given that the majority of the language patterns used by human beings are employed subconsciously, there is no need - nor benefit - in starting a crusade. A gentle, questioning means of approach whereby various forms of abuse are casually, even humorously, pointed out will be more than sufficient. As with most subconscious behaviour, the simple mechanism of pointing it out brings it into consciousness: once it is brought into consciousness, the subconscious mind, instead of carrying on the way it always has (it learned the majority of these patterns back in childhood and had no choice), slowly and automatically re-assimilates the behaviour into a new pattern. The correspondence is like telling someone they have a hair sitting on their shoulder: once they are made aware of the fact, they brush it away effortlessly.


The power and politics of English

Abstract: The issues related to power and politics of the English language are presented specifically in relation to the unprecedented global spread of the language. Several perspectives—linguistic and non-linguistic—used to conceptualize the relationship between language and power are considered, particularly that of Michel Foucault. The power-related issues, and their manifestations and implications, are seen in terms of various control-acquiring strategies resulting in political manipulations and language conflicts. The interplay of power and politics within the three Concentric Circles of English (Kachru, 1985a) is shown in issues related to sociolinguistics, linguistic innovations and language pedagogy. It is claimed that the most vital power is that of the 'ideological change' which has been attributed to the knowledge of the English language and literature in the Outer and Expanding Circles. The paper aims at providing a blueprint for the study and conceptualization of selected issues related to the power and politics of an international language.


The Limits of Clear Language

There are really two distinct kinds of bad political writing: the overcomplicated, unclear kind, and propaganda. The first kind is dangerous because people in power can use it to fuzz up what they are doing and thus avoid accountability—think of a word like “rendition”—but it is usually not persuasive, because persuasion is not its intent. Propaganda, on the other hand, is often quite beautifully and clearly written. When it works, it works by virtue of being simple and memorable. What is dangerous about propaganda is that it is misleading. But its success seems to disprove Orwell's implication that all bad ideas must be clumsily expressed. Consider the following extract from President Bush's speech to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001, in which he unveiled the “War on Terror”:

    On September the eleventh, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars—but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war—but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks—but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day—and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

This would strike many people today as practically the locus classicus—as Orwell surely would not have put it—of the kind of language we call “Orwellian.” (At the time, it struck almost nobody that way.) Bush was responding to a successful terrorist attack by declaring war, not against the attackers themselves but against unspecified “enemies of freedom.” Thus, as in 1984, the United States was in a war without a definite beginning or end point, against whomever Bush wanted it to be against. Still, the speech wasn't exactly Newspeak—its rhetoric was neither purposely obscure nor flat and simple to the point of meaninglessness. It was meant to have a genuine, persuasive emotional effect, and it did. Neither, except in its violation of Orwell's proposed ban on the word “freedom,” is it representative of the kind of rhetoric “Politics and the English Language” was aimed against. It was vivid and (to quote Orwell) “all its words are those of everyday life.” The one exemplar of good writing Orwell singled out for praise in “Politics and the English Language” was the King James version of the Bible—a text that Bush and his chief speech writer at the time, Michael Gerson, obviously also admired and tried to use as a model. The challenge that “Politics and the English Language” puts before us today is in determining how far we can get politically through linguistic reform.


Language, Politics, and Composition
Noam Chomsky interviewed by Gary A. Olson and Lester Faigley


Chomsky's views on ideology, propaganda, and indoctrination are also of interest to compositionists. He claims that intellectuals are “ideological managers,” complicit in controlling “the organized flow of information” because intellectuals are by definition those who have “passed through various gates and filters” in order to become “cultural managers.” In effect, “the whole educational system involves a good deal of filtering towards submissiveness and obedience.” By definition, those who are subversive or independent minded are not called intellectuals but “wackos.” In fact, Chomsky is quite critical of the distinction established between intellectuals—those in the universities—and non-intellectuals. Arguing that often non-intellectuals have a richer cultural life, he speaks disparagingly of the principal activity that sets academics apart from others: “From an intel­lectual point of view, a lot of scholarship is just very low-level clerical work.”

In examining the media's role in indoctrination, Chomsky says that “the media's institutional structure gives them the same kind of purpose that the educational system has: to turn people into submissive, atomized individu­als who don't interfere with the structures of power and authority.” Similarly, democratic governments use propaganda and “the manufacture of consent” in place of violence and force to control the masses. “Indoctrination is to democracy,” he philosophizes, “what a bludgeon is to totalitarianism.” This atomization of individuals, this breakdown of independent thought, and this general depoliticizing of society together create the perfect environment, in Chomsky's view, for a charismatic, fascist dictator to seize power. “I think that's one of the reasons why I'm very much in favor of corruption.... A corrupt leader is going to rob people but not cause that much trouble.... Power hunger is much more dangerous than money hunger,” he argues.


Terrorism: The Politics of Language - Noam Chomsky, 1986
excerpted from the book Stenographers to Power - media and propaganda
David Barsamian interviews

DB: Perhaps it's like George Orwell said in his essay "Politics and the English Language," that in our time political speech and writing is largely the "defense of the indefensible."

NC: Yes, he gave interesting examples which are now classic, like the term "pacification." It is used for mass murder; thus we carried out "pacification" in Vietnam. If you look at what the pacification programs were, they were literally programs of mass murder to try to suppress and destroy a resisting civilization population. Orwell wrote long before Vietnam, but he already noted that pacification was being used that way; by now it's an industry. Orwell had pointed out early examples of this kind of usage. A standard example is "defense." In the United States, up until 1947, we used to have something called the "War Department." Since 1947, we haven't had a War Department; we've had a "Defense Department." Anyone who had his head screwed on realized in 1947 that we were not going to be involved in defense any more, we were only going to be involved in war, and that's why the War Department has to be renamed the Defense Department-because "defense" means "aggression." By now this is a sophisticated operation. It's the same with every term you can think of. Take the term "conservative." Conservative is supposed to be a good thing, and this is supposed to be a conservative administration. A true conservative like, say, Robert Taft, would turn over in his grave to see what's being called conservative. Everything the conservatives have always fought against is being advanced by this administration. This administration is in favor of extending the power of the state and increasing the intervention of the state in the economy. State power has increased faster under this administration than under any since the Second World War. It's also interested in protecting the state against its citizens, cutting down access to the state, controlling thought, controlling expression, attacking civil liberties, attacking individual rights. It's the most lawless administration we've ever had. All of these things are anathema to conservatives. Conservatives want the opposite in every respect, so naturally they call the administration conservative, and if you like it you're supposed to be conservative. These are all ways of undermining the possibility of independent thought, by eliminating even the tools that you can use to engage in it.


DB: It seems in recent years, certainly starting in the 1970s, through the 1980s and for the foreseeable future, the term "terrorism" has become a dominant issue, a theme and focus for the media and politicians, I wonder if you could talk about the word itself; it seems to have undergone a curious transformation in the last couple of centuries.


NC:It definitely has, it's a very interesting case. The word "terrorism" came into general use at the end of the 18th century, and it was then used to refer to acts of violent states that suppressed their own populations by violence. Terror was the action of a state against its own citizens. That concept is of no use whatsoever to people in power, so, predictably, the term has come to be changed. Now it's the actions of citizens against states; in fact, the term "terrorism" is now almost entirely used for what you might call "retail terrorism": the terrorism of small, marginal groups, and not the terrorism of powerful states. We have one exception to this: if our enemies are involved in terrorism, then you can talk about "state terrorism." So there are really two things that define terrorism. First, it's done against states, not by states against their citizens, and it's done by them, not us. So, for example, take Libya. Qaddafi is certainly a terrorist. The latest edition of the Amnesty International publication, Political Killings by Governments, lists Qaddafi as a terrorist; he killed fourteen people, Libyans, mostly in Libya, in the 1980s. There may be a handful of others, but even taking the most extreme estimate it couldn't be more than several dozen, probably less. That's terrorism, and he's therefore the "Mad Dog of the Middle East" and the "King of International Terrorism." That's because he meets our criteria: he's them, not us, and the terrorism that one talks about is carried out generally by small groups, not by one of our major states.



Gender, Transnational Feminism, and Politics of Self-Terms of Abuse: Regimentation of Heterosexism and Heteronormativity in Language

Language has the ability to persuade, compliment, and even abuse. Words themselves provide the ammunition for such acts. Focusing on the terms of abuse used when referring to homosexual men demonstrates how the power of language excludes these individuals from the privileges afforded to their heterosexual male counterparts. The dichotomy of masculinity and femininity has an interesting relationship to the power of language. Michele Foucault highlights that "discursive formations are defined as much by what lies outside them as what lies within".2 By definition, the feminine falls outside of masculinity. One can see that what is important is not where the feminine is located, but where it is not located.


Poetry and Politics

Poems also create their own state of mind, and politics does that as well. Paul Valery defined a poem as a "kind of machine for producing the poetic state of mind by means of words." The politician produces the political state of mind by means of words. Each does an act of hypnosis by persuading its audience that reality is the world that the poet or politician has constructed for them. In that, the two are equally imaginative. The world they create is an unreality. Yet that world must be grounded in reality, in facts -- the real toads in imaginary gardens that Marianne Moore prescribed for poetry -- or else the audience will not believe it.

Still, if poetry and politics are bedfellows in certain ways, the bed is rarely comfortable. Poetry has none of the active power that politics has. It can protest or commemorate a war but cannot cause one. Assessing the poet's responsibility in the world, Allen Tate derided the romantic notion that if poets "behaved differently . . . the international political order itself would not have been in jeopardy and we should not perhaps be at international loggerheads today." Poets do not have that sort of influence, and undoubtedly would abuse it if they did.

The power poetry does have, however, is staying power. It outlives politics mainly because the language of poets outlives the language of politicians



THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE

And it has long been established that language is the singular most important component of a people's culture, since culture itself is defined as the " ideas, customs and art of a particular society or civilization at a particular period in time". This is why cultures ascribing superiority to themselves usually impose their languages on cultures perceived as inferior. An example readily comes to mind: Immigrant Italians or Ukrainians residing in the US or Canada have been so assimilated that even their thought processes, I mean their minds, are anglicized. The only thing left of their originality is the Italian or Ukrainian blood in their veins and their food culture. This example applies to all societies that have been colonized or have submitted themselves to cultural imperialism to the extent that Nigerians in this gathering generally think first in English before conveying a Yoruba, Igbo or Fulani thought, or the thought of some of the other 247 ethnic nationalities that make that great African giant, Nigeria.

If you want to destroy a people's self -esteem, all you need to do is to destroy their language; make it impossible for them to discuss amongst themselves in a language incomprehensible to their new captors their masters. Thereafter, put your own language into their mouths, and then let them grow up as your caricatures.


The Politics of Persuasion: Communist Rhetoric and the Revolution

One of the essential ingredients of the Chinese Communist party's (CCP) revolution in China was propaganda. Convincing people of the rightness of the cause, bringing them into the fold, and forging programs of acceptance were all impossible without propaganda. To Communist leaders, propaganda was more than the promotion of certain ideologies particular to their interests. It was a means to educate and mobilize a mass of people in the real or perceived benefits of Party programs. The constant state of crisis, first with Guomindang (GMD) and foreign suppression, then with the Japanese invasion, and finally with the civil war, made it doubly important not only for cadres to know and understand the goals of the Party but also for the masses to understand them. "Once the masses know the truth and have a common aim," said Mao Zedong, "they will work together with one heart."(1)

In our world, the term "propaganda" has negative connotations, but in the Chinese context, the term xuanchuan means more to publicize or make known than to manipulate for a specific purpose. The importance to the CCP hierarchy of "making known" its policies cannot be overestimated. It was so important, in fact, that all levels of Party hierarchy from the Standing Committee down to the district committees and branches had their own propaganda committees.

Propaganda can be conveyed in many ways, but in the world of the CCP between 1927 and 1949--a world of illiterate peasants and workers; a world where constant danger made mobility vital; and a world where such things as printing presses, ink and paper were luxuries--it was essential to deliver the message in the simplest, most direct way possible. That meant devising an understandable and appropriate message that could be related verbally, or through slogans and stories. Language became the critical tool cadres used to disseminate information to the masses. Nevertheless, the words themselves were not as important as the way in which they were made understandable and appropriate to the targeted group.


Roberts, Caroline. "The Politics of Persuasion: Measure for Measure and Cinthio's Hecatommithi."

Rhetoric in Shakespeare's plays has been well canvassed, [1] but as Brian Vickers points out in '''The Power of Persuasion': Images of the Orator, Elyot to Shakespeare," there have been fewer studies of the nature of persuasion in Shakespeare's plays, of "the attempt of one person to change the way another person thinks or acts" (PP 423). The aim of this paper is to examine the nature of persuasion in Measure for Measure and in one of its probable sources, the story of Epitia in Cinthio's Hecatommithi. In Cinthio's story, rhetoric functions as the basis of women's power. Rhetoric has a similar function in Measure for Measure, but in Shakespeare's play, whatever power Isabella's rhetoric lends her is stripped away by a competing rhetorical mode. In Measure for Measure one sees the copresence and interaction of different kinds of rhetoric: forensic rhetoric, the language of the law courts, is delimited and controlled by deliberative rhetoric, or hortatory rhetoric, which is inappropriately used by Angelo but ultimately monopolized by Duke Vincentio. Deliberative rhetoric ultimately dominates in Cinthio's story as well, but it does so in Epitia's usage, rather than in the Emperor's. Shakespeare departs from Cinthio's assignation of deliberative rhetoric to a female character. Instead, Angelo and Duke Vincentio battle for control of the deliberative style, reflecting a political struggle in James I's government at the time when Measure for Measure was written.

[ ... ]

In her opening appeal to Juriste and in her first suit to the Emperor, Epitia's rhetoric is forensic: in her first appeal she defends her brother; in her second she accuses Juriste of wrongdoing. Faced with the prospect of Juriste's postconnubial execution, however, Epitia's rhetoric switches to the deliberative mode. The purpose of deliberative rhetoric is to exhort or to dissuade: the deliberative orator advises about things which may or may not happen, but which are within our control. Considerations such as justice and injustice are "accessory" to the deliberative orator, whose hortatory aim is instead the expedient or good, and whose dissuasive end is the bad or harmful, the general principles of either the good or the bad being established by the orator (Aristotle 35).


Language and Persuasion and Bush's War

Persuasive speech or writing consists of communication with the intent of reinforcing beliefs, changing beliefs, or adding new beliefs. Ads for specific deodorants are surely designed to cause users of that deodorant to stick with it, as well as getting some to change from another brand to the one being promoted. But there was a time before people started using them that such ads were intended to convince nonusers that if they didn't use them they would stink and therefore drive their friends away. Deeply implanted in my brain is a pair of sentences I got from ads for Dial soap, a deodorant soap, "Aren't you glad you use Dial? Don't you wish everyone did?" As a site for the Dial Corporation notes, in 1953 Dial became the leading anti-bacterial soap partially because of this line. This ad pissed me off back then which is probably why I remember it. Coincidentally, when I last ran out of bar soap, I looked in our cabinent and found a bar of Dial going unused (probably for years) and I am using it now. I smell as sweet as a spring flower. In a nutshell we can say that the purpose of persuasive communication is to affect belief formation whether or not what is communicated is true.


George Bush and Mrs. Malaprop

It is difficult to listen to George Bush speak and not think of Mrs. Malaprop, a very memorable character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals, who had the habit of substituting contextually inappropriate words that often bear a certain (usually phonetic) similarity to an appropriate one. Another word that springs immediately to consciousness when thinking of characters in novels and George Bush is "falstaffian," which originated from the name, Sir John Falstaff, who was a character in Henry IV, Parts I and II, and The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare. This character is famous for saying, "Discretion is the better part of valor" (because it saves ones life). President Bush definitely took heed of Falstaff's advice when he joined the National Guard during the Vietnam War. Let's focus, however, on possible accounts of President Bush's propensity to use contextually inappropriate words. I can think of four. Bush is a Nitwit; Bush is an Ignoramus; Bush is a Sociopath; and Bush may have some sort of speech disorder, perhaps a mild case of anomia.

George Bush has come up with some fairly amazing malapropisms, some of which are presented at the web site, Fun-With-Words, which provides examples from others as well.

    (1) "I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well."
    (2) "Natural gas is hemispheric... because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods."
    (3) "The law I sign today directs new funds... to the task of collecting vital intelligence... on weapons of mass production."
    (4) "Oftentimes, we live in a processed world, you know, people focus on the process and not results."


Emotional persuasion and politics

My friend Dave pointed me to the Frontline interview with Frank Lutz to find out how he uses persuasion to sell both products and politicians. A fascinating interview that discusses the architecting of the Republican strategy for persuading Americans. This excerpt cuts to the heart of this strategy that uses language to persuade:

    What matters most in politics is personality. It's not issues; it's not image. ... My job as a pollster is to understand what really matters. Those levers of importance -- sometimes they're called levers; sometimes they're called triggers. What causes people to buy a product? What causes someone to pull a lever and get them to vote? I need to know the specifics of that. And in politics, more often than not, it's about the personality and the character of the individual rather than where they stand, and that's exactly the opposite of what your viewers will think.


THE LEGAL HYPOCRISY

The usage of a third person, like the undersigned counsel, the affiant, etc. were indicators of departing from themselves to sound as if they were separate entities from the real person. This is hypocrisy no.3

The personification of the court, like “this Court rejects that motion” “the Law does not allow that“. In the legal construction, the law is just a matter of interpretation and concept by its enforcers; but the interpreters and enforcers of law would distance themselves from the concept to appear as if they were separate from the court or the law. This is hypocrisy no.4


After 500 years of progress, we're still waterboarding people and stoning them to death for adultery

The problem is, Bradbury won't tell the House Judiciary what are the differences between American 21st century waterboarding, and the Spanish Inquisition's. Bradbury's reason is that the information is classified, even though the committee members have the highest possible security clearances, and even though, as Bradbury acknowledged, Congress has a Constitutional duty of oversight.

[ ... ]

Of course, there's no comparison between actually stoning someone to death, and merely convincing them you're drowning them. But drawing out subtle distinctions of “time limits” and “medical oversight” sounds a lot like Scholastic angel-pinhead-dancing more appropriate to 12th or 16th century Spain than modern-day America...


also see:

The Language of Politics: England and the French Revolution




'Is America a Police State?' by Ron Paul

" ... Let me make a few observations:

Our government already keeps close tabs on just about everything we do and requires official permission for nearly all of our activities.

One might take a look at our Capitol for any evidence of a police state. We see: barricades, metal detectors, police, military soldiers at times, dogs, ID badges required for every move, vehicles checked at airports and throughout the Capitol. The people are totally disarmed, except for the police and the criminals. But worse yet, surveillance cameras in Washington are everywhere to ensure our safety.

The terrorist attacks only provided the cover for the do-gooders who have been planning for a long time before last September to monitor us "for our own good." Cameras are used to spy on our drug habits, on our kids at school, on subway travelers, and on visitors to every government building or park. There's not much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC, yet most folks do not complain- anything goes if it's for government-provided safety and security.

If this huge amount of information and technology is placed in the hands of the government to catch the bad guys, one naturally asks, What's the big deal? But it should be a big deal, because it eliminates the enjoyment of privacy that a free society holds dear. The personal information of law-abiding citizens can be used for reasons other than safety- including political reasons. Like gun control, people control hurts law-abiding citizens much more than the law-breakers.

Social Security numbers are used to monitor our daily activities. The numbers are given at birth, and then are needed when we die and for everything in between. This allows government record keeping of monstrous proportions, and accommodates the thugs who would steal others' identities for criminal purposes. This invasion of privacy has been compounded by the technology now available to those in government who enjoy monitoring and directing the activities of others. Loss of personal privacy was a major problem long before 9/11.

Centralized control and regulations are required in a police state. Community and individual state regulations are not as threatening as the monolith of rules and regulations written by Congress and the federal bureaucracy. Law and order has been federalized in many ways and we are moving inexorably in that direction.

Almost all of our economic activities depend upon receiving the proper permits from the federal government. Transactions involving guns, food, medicine, smoking, drinking, hiring, firing, wages, politically correct speech, land use, fishing, hunting, buying a house, business mergers and acquisitions, selling stocks and bonds, and farming all require approval and strict regulation from our federal government. If this is not done properly and in a timely fashion, economic penalties and even imprisonment are likely consequences.

Because government pays for much of our health care, it's conveniently argued that any habits or risk-taking that could harm one's health are the prerogative of the federal government, and are to be regulated by explicit rules to keep medical-care costs down. This same argument is used to require helmets for riding motorcycles and bikes.

Not only do we need a license to drive, but we also need special belts, bags, buzzers, seats and environmentally dictated speed limits- or a policemen will be pulling us over to levy a fine, and he will be toting a gun for sure.

The states do exactly as they're told by the federal government, because they are threatened with the loss of tax dollars being returned to their state- dollars that should have never been sent to DC in the first place, let alone used to extort obedience to a powerful federal government.

Over 80,000 federal bureaucrats now carry guns to make us toe the line and to enforce the thousands of laws and tens of thousands of regulations that no one can possibly understand. We don't see the guns, but we all know they're there, and we all know we can't fight "City Hall," especially if it's "Uncle Sam."

All 18-year-old males must register to be ready for the next undeclared war. If they don't, men with guns will appear and enforce this congressional mandate. "Involuntary servitude" was banned by the 13th Amendment, but courts don't apply this prohibition to the servitude of draftees or those citizens required to follow the dictates of the IRS- especially the employers of the country, who serve as the federal government's chief tax collectors and information gatherers. Fear is the tool used to intimidate most Americans to comply to the tax code ... "

~ Link ~




U.S.-Argentina letting go of 'suitcase-gate'

From the L.A. Times:

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner met today with U.S. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne, reported Clarin. Washington's envoy had been in diplomatic limbo since the "Suitcase-gate'' scandal re-erupted here late last year. That's the curious case of an alleged bagman for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who in August was found carrying $800,000 in his luggage on arrival in Buenos Aires from Caracas. In December, testimony in a criminal case in Miami suggested the money was intended for the presidential campaign of Fernandez. The outraged president dismissed the matter as a "garbage operation'' meant to discredit her and Chavez, a close ally.

The scandal has resonated throughout the region. Many seem willing to believe that Washington aggressively pursued the case to sully the image of archfoe Chavez. For years, allegations have swirled that the Venezuelan leader was secretly dispensing petro-dollars to bankroll allies in Latin America.

But fewer seem inclined to buy the Argentine government's official, and some critics say paranoiac, conspiracy theory: that the entire affair was a kind of CIA "black op." The embattled government here basically turned to a familiar trope, that suitcases of cash equal the CIA. It's true enough that Fernandez hardly needed the bucks for her campaign for the presidency, which she won handily last October. She was the sitting first lady and enjoyed a seemingly limitless war chest. To this day, the source and destination of the $800,000 remain murky. Some speculate the cash could have been destined for sundry Chavez cronies in Argentina.

Opposition leaders in Argentina now fear the truth will never emerge. Their take: The traditional allies in Washington and Buenos Aires have decided to make nice about the whole messy affair and get back to business as usual.


Evidence of a 'Master Plan'

" ... "The World Has Cancer And The Cancer Is Man" - A. Gregg as quoted in Mankind at the Turning Point (1974)

In 1974 the book Mankind at the Turning Point: The Second Report to The Club of Rome [1] was published. This report states the need to create an "organic" or a truly interdependent society as the only way to save the world from the almost overwhelming world problematique.

According to The Club of Rome, the world problematique is the set of interlocking world problems, such as, over population, food shortages, non-renewable resource depletion, environmental degradation, etc. With the use of absurd, exponentially based computer models, the complete unravelling of society and perhaps the biosphere was predicted. Not surprisingly the only solution capable of adverting global catastrophe is the development of an organic society. As I will show, a global organic society is only a euphemism for totalitarian world government.

The Club of Rome is a premiere think tank composed of approximately 100 members including leading scientists, philosophers, political advisors and many other characters who lurk in the shadows of power. ... "

Mankind at the Turning Point Part 1: Interdependence is Totalitarian

Mankind at the Turning Point Part 2: Creating A One World Consciousness

'Swatting' is latest cybercrime

From UPI:

The United States is dealing with a new type of cybercrime that fools 911 dispatchers into sending SWAT teams to homes where there is no emergency.

Called "swatting," the practice involves using computers to make it appear that life-and-death emergency calls are coming from homes selected by the prankster, The Daily Breeze newspaper of Torrance, Calif. reports.

Supervising agent Bryan Duchene of the FBI's Los Angeles cybercrimes unit says swatting has no profit motive.

"It's just a twisted way for people to have fun."...

Infowar and psychological operations without limits

From Global Research:

The 2003 Pentagon document entitled Information Operation Roadmap describes the need to dominate the entire electromagnetic spectrum, 'fight the net', and use psychological operations to aggressively modify behaviour. But one major question remains; are there any limits to information warfare?

For further reference see The author's previous article describing the major thrust of this document.

The present article is Part Five of a Series of five articles...

~ Read on... ~

Battle of the bulgeless wallet hits Ivy League

More signs of hard times, unfortunately.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

A financial aid war is breaking out among the nation's elite universities.

More than three dozen schools have capped or eliminated loans, tuition or parental contributions for low-, middle- and in some cases upper-middle-income students. Most of them are private, ultra-selective schools with enormous endowments and a small percentage of poor students. Students who qualify for more aid might find these universities cheaper even than state schools - if they can get in.

The movement could help put a damper on skyrocketing college costs. But schools with smaller endowments and larger percentages of low-income students will be hard pressed to match the price cuts of the richest schools.


This year's cybercrime trends forecast from Trend Micro

From prosecurityzone.com (via slashdot.org):

Increasing trend in underlying criminality for financial gain in the area of cybercrime set to continue throughout 2008.
 
Trend Micro has published its 2007 Threat Report and 2008 Forecast.

According to research from Trend Micro's TrendLabsSM, hackers are intensifying their attacks on legitimate Web sites. It debunks the adage to “not visit questionable sites” – just because a user visits a gambling or adult-content site doesn't necessarily mean Web threats are lurking in the shadows; the site with the latest sports news or links in a search engine result, however, could potentially infect visitors with malware.

An underground malware industry has carved itself a thriving market by exploiting the trust and confidence of Web users. The Russian Business Network, for example, was notorious all year for hosting illegal businesses including child pornography, phishing and malware distribution sites. This underground industry excludes no one. In 2007, Apple had to contend with the ZLOB gang, proving that even alternative operating systems are not safe havens for the online user. The Italian Gromozon, a malware disguised in the form of a rogue anti-spyware security application, also made its mark in 2007.

This past year, the NUWAR (Storm) botnet expanded in scope when Trend Micro researchers found proof that the Storm botnet is renting its services to host fly-by-night online pharmacies, dabble in stock pump-and-dump scams, and even portions of its backend botnet infrastructure. During 2007, the most popular communication protocol among botnet owners was still Internet Relay Chat...

Gates jonesing for India 10bn arms deal

From Reuters:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates travels to India next week to strengthen diplomatic ties strained by an impasse over a landmark nuclear deal and push American bids for a lucrative $10 billion fighter contract.

After decades of a pro-Soviet tilt, India has moved closer to Washington in recent years, with new arms sales and joint military exercises. Millions of Indians also are turning to the United States for education, jobs and consumer goods.

Gates' visit comes as U.S. companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co. are competing with Russian and European rivals for one of India's biggest ever arms contracts, a potential $10 billion deal to sell India 126 fighter aircraft.

Burgeoning arms deals may also help pacify Washington, frustrated at India's apparent climbdown over a nuclear deal with the United States that President George W. Bush had called "historic"...


US military has new rape case to deal with in Japan

The US military said Thursday it was investigating new allegations of rape by a US serviceman in Japan amid uproar after a string of criminal cases.

The case was revealed one day after the US military imposed a sweeping curfew on troops and their family members in a bid to stem public anger in Japan, a close US ally.

A Filipina woman said she was raped by a member of the US Army on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, which is home to half of the more than 40,000 US troops in the country, officials said...

~ Read on... ~




Justices Shield Medical Devices From Lawsuits

Makers of medical devices like implantable defibrillators or breast implants are immune from liability for personal injuries as long as the Food and Drug Administration approved the device before it was marketed and it meets the agency's specifications, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

The 8-to-1 decision was a victory for the Bush administration, which for years has sought broad authority to pre-empt tougher state regulation...

~ Read on... ~

Judge pulls plug on Wikileaks

Cayman Islands Bank Gets Wikileaks Taken Offline in US

Wikileaks, the whistleblower site that recently leaked documents related to prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, was taken offline last week by its U.S. host after posting documents that implicate a Cayman Islands bank in money laundering and tax evasion activities.

In a pretty extraordinary ex-parte move, the Julius Baer Bank and Trust got Dynadot, the U.S. hosting company for Wikileaks, to agree not only to take down the Wikileaks site but also to "lock the wikileaks.org domain name to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar." A judge in the U.S. District Court for Northern California signed off on the stipulation between the two parties last week without giving Wikileaks a chance to address the issue in court.

The Julius Baer Bank, a Swiss bank with a division in the Cayman Islands, took issue with documents that were published on Wikileaks by an unidentified whistleblower, whom the bank claims is the former vice president of its Cayman Islands operation, Rudolf Elmer. The documents purport to provide evidence that the Cayman Islands bank helps customers hide assets and wash funds...


Wikileaks Under Attack
California Court Wipes Wikileaks.org Out of Existence

One of the most important web sites in recent months has been Wikileaks.org. Created by several brave journalists committed to transparency, Wikieaks has published important leaked documents, such as the Rules of Engagement for Iraq [see my The Secret Rules of Engagement in Iraq], the 2003 and 2004 Guantanamo Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures, and evidence of major bank fraud in Kenya [see also here] that apparently affected the Kenyan elections. Wikileaks has upset the Chinese government enough that they are attempting to censor it, as is the Thai military junta.

Now censorship has extended to the United States of America, land of the First Amendment. As of Friday, February 15, those going to Wikileaks.org have gotten Server not found messages. Today I received a message explaining that a California court has granted an injunction written and requested by lawyers for the Cayman Island's Bank Julius Baer. It seems that the bank is trying to keep the public from accessing documents that may reveal shady dealings. Wikileaks was only given a couple of hours notice "by email" and was not even represented at the hearing where a U.S. judge took such a drastic step attempting to totally shut down an important information outlet...

United Spinal Association gets sponsor with Car Culture Island in Second Life

Press release for a good cause:

Pontiac's Motorati Island is getting a second life by making a very generous donation of the the successful 7-region car culture island in Second Life to United Spinal Association, a U.S. based national 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Jackson Heights, New York. The newly named Motorabilty Island aims to continue catering to the car culture community in Second Life with a twist, by providing an opportunity to empower the 10,000 United Spinal Association members to join Second Life and experience car culture events and activities in this very popular virtual world.

New and experienced Second Life residents will enjoy car culture related virtual events, activities, community building, educational seminars and pure racing fun on the many original venues and race tracks re-opening in early February. Event proceeds, sales of goods and services from commercial enterprise and sponsorships will contribute to raise awareness and provide funding to support United Spinal Association programs in the virtual and real world. Visit Second Life here.

Major sponsor and coordinating efforts by the car culture community on United Spinal's Motorability Island is Jody DeVere (aka Avatar Patty Streeter in Second Life), President of AskPatty.com -- Automotive Advice for Women and a member of the board of directors for United Spinal Association. DeVere's son Joseph was involved in a tragic car accident in 2005 which resulted in paraplegia. This event created a big passion in her to help provide non-traditional recreational and quality of life programs for disabled Americans...

~ Read on... ~





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