December 1, 2014 | Posted in:Uncategorized

Chapter Twenty-One

 

leaf3Drafts and crafts must typify the present pass, one way or another.  More smoky diasterosity characterizes our fucking stove.  Both Alicia and Jimbo imagine all manner of conspiracies to account for things.  How sad; how funny; not necessarily false of course, but then probity will ever remain elusive in such matters, at least for the overwhelming majority of cases.

Writing these things from a deadline-cusp, recollection is at the most optimistic ephemeral.  Yet here we go again.  Listening to the Corbett report about China and conflict and cooperation in relation to the U.S., as a template that such as Anthony C. Sudden/Sutton have noticed—Hoover Institute ‘scholarship’ and more.   Corbett is such a fascist in waiting—three times of socialism: Bolshevik, National, and Welfare, oh my.

Just finished listening to Martian conspiracy by UFO fuckers.  Again, oh my.

“Completely Nonsensical” ends up making sense.  But what really makes sense is more thrashing and crashing around the doors of orgasmic frenzy.  And then we have this little missive to dear Chall Grey—what a story!

French opium den Public Domain

French opium den Public Domain

Hey Chall!

The evergreen gig will not be a happening thing.  Cheap trees were plentiful last year on the 25/70 bypass around Marshall, but that’s probably a week or so away yet.

How did your poetry reading go?  Any onliine audio or other links?  Inquiring minds always want to know.

You may already have made a visit to Contributoria at this juncture; the site doesn’t indicate from where our points are coming.  We’re close to having another project backed, so if you haven’t ‘contributed’ yet, we’d bow and scrape shamelessly to encourage you to do so.

Thanks man!  2015 ought to be a great year for backgammon. 

 

This Day in History

Today is both World Television Day officially and World Hello Day unofficially; twenty-one hundred and seventy-eight years ago, more or less, a Jewish leader of the Hasmonean family resuscitated the Jerusalem Temple, thereby establishing the basis for Hanukkah each year among Jews; an army of Turkic and Central Asian forces led by Timur(or Tamerlane) sacked the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi six hundred twenty-eight years back, taking the Georgian king himself captive; the settlers aboard the Mayflower signed their famous ‘compact’ three hundred ninety-four years prior to the present pass; a baby boy came into the world three hundred twenty years ago, destined to grow up as Voltaire, a renowned philosopher and thinker; two and a quarter centuries ago, North Carolina became the twelfth jurisdiction of the United States when its representatives ratified the Constitution; a male American infant was born a hundred ninety-six years back who would mature as Lewis H. Morgan, whose anthropological investigations laid the basis for work by European thinkers as diverse as Charles Darwin and Friedrich Engels; Thomas Edison a hundred thirty-seven years before the here-and-now announced that he had invented a phonograph, a mechanism capable of making and playing recorded sounds; Japanese soldiers a hundred twenty years back captured Port Arthur and, according to some sources, slaughtered many civilians there after this decisive Sino-Japanese war victory; one hundred twelve years back, the boy child who received the name Isaac Bashevis Singer was born, destined to grow up to win the Nobel Prize in Literature; a brief paper by Albert Einstein a hundred nine years ago elicited the formula for showing the equivalence between energy and mass, or E=mc-Squared; Brazilian sailors rebelled on some of their navy’s most powerful fighting ships a hundred four years back, in an uprising that they referred to as “the revolt of the lash;” Polish partisans murdered several hundred Jews and Ukrainians near present-day Lviv ninety-six years prior to this day, in a pogrom that paralleled the revolutionary upheaval of the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; in Columbine, Colorado eighty-seven years ago, a force of hired mine guards and State Police gunned down miners with machine guns during a strike action that we now know as the Columbine Mine Massacre; sixty-nine years back, the United Auto Workers led strikes in ninety-two manufacturing facilities in fifty different cities simultaneously in backing up workers’ calls for higher wages; the British Museum of Natural History sixty-one years ago acknowledged that the so-called ‘Piltdown-Man’ skull was a fabrication and a hoax; fifty-two years prior to the present pass, China’s Peoples Liberation Army announced a unilateral cease-fire in the Sino-Indian War; a baby girl came into the world three years subsequently and twelve thousand miles away in Iceland, who grew up to claim the name Bjork and work as an iconoclastic and world famous singer-songwriter, feminist, and thespian; the first permanent networking link on the Internet predecessor Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or ARPANET, activated its connection forty-five years ago between UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute; precisely a decade later, in 1979, attacks on the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan killed four and wounded many more; U.S. Naval Intelligence Analyst Jonathon Pollard found himself under arrest twenty-nine years ago for espionage, accused of handing over files to Israel, charges for which he subsequently faced a sentence of life in prison; a year hence to the day, Oliver North and his assistant were shredding documents that implicated them in selling arms to Iran in order to garner cash to proffer to the anti-government Contra forces of Nicaragua, in contravention of both U.S. and international law; a decade ago, the financial cabal that calls itself the Club of Paris agreed to write off up to 80% or Iraq’s $100 billion in outstanding debt, and, in a prequel to the Maidan uprising in Ukraine, a so-called ‘Golden Revolution’ invalidated Viktor Yanukovych’s election in a runoff that both the United States and the European Union labeled corrupt; legendary science fiction author Anne McCaffrey died three years ago today; two years subsequently, just last year, acclaimed journalist and critic Clyde Egerton breathed his last.

 

SEARCH OF THE DAY
“homo sapiens” OR “human origins” clan lineage consanguinity rules OR strictures history OR anthropology origins = 10,700 Results.

TOP OF THE FOLD

ARROGANT ASSININITY ABOUT UKRAINE

www.truthdig.com/report/item/obama_remains_high-handed_–_and_wrong_–_about_ukraine_20141119     A reality-based blast from TruthDig regarding the Group-of-Twenty meeting in Brisbane, Australia, where the thuggish duplicities of imperial leaders berated Vladimir Putin in the context of utterly ignoring their own frequent and vicious depredations: “President Obama’s final words to Mr. Putin set the pattern for hypocrisy: ‘(We are) very firm on the need to uphold core international principles, and one of those principles is you don’t invade other countries or finance proxies … to break up a country that has mechanisms for democratic elections.’  (Perhaps) no one in his own government has yet worked up the courage to tell Mr. Obama that … his own United States State Department … arranged a public uprising in Kiev last February, against a democratically elected (if corrupt) president of Ukraine, and sponsored the coup d’etat that made Arseniy Yatsenyuk (known as ‘Yats’ in the department) prime minister.  The Washington-sponsored coup occurred before there were any Russian troops in Ukraine, and before either government had as yet dreamed that Mr. Putin would annex Crimea in retaliation.”

RECENT BLOG-POSTS

book hor2

NWU NATIONAL & AT-LARGE ANNOUNCEMENTS

A MEMBER’S INSPIRING REMARKS AT THE N.B.A. CEREMONY

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/national-book-awards-ursula-le-guin?utm_source=tny&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyemail&mbid=nl_112014_Daily&CNDID=20305156&spMailingID=7302546&spUserID=MjUyNDM5Mjg3NTUS1&spJobID=562231375&spReportId=NTYyMjMxMzc1S0     From the New Yorker, a summary of commentary at this week’s National Book Awards ceremony, where longstanding member Ursala LeGuin accepted a lifetime literary achievement medal and spoke truth to power from the podium in her speech: “I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being.  And even imagine some real grounds for hope.  We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.  Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art.  The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.  We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.  I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit.  Its name is freedom.”
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS

BEYOND TURING CONFERENCE IN AUSTIN

http://www.math.unipd.it/~frossi/BeyondTuring2015/    An upcoming event in Texas’ capitol, an introduction to the current state of contextualizing and grounding artificial intelligence, work that researchers in many other venues(http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626420/?sc=swhn) are also carrying out(http://arxiv.org/pdf/1410.6142v1.pdf): “The Turing test, now over 60 years old, has long served as a highly visible, public signpost for research in artificial intelligence.  It is also highly game-able, and arguably in desperate need for a refresh.  The purpose of this workshop, modeled on a set of early meetings that helped shape the annual RoboCup competitions, is to seek community input.  More precisely, at this workshop, our goal is to craft a replacement, an annual or bi-annual Turing Championship, that might consist of 3-5 different challenging tasks, with bragging rights given to the first programs to achieve human-level performance in each task.”

 

NSF’S GRANT PROPOSAL GUIDE

http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf15001/gpg_index.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_109   For everything from soup-to-nuts, undergraduate to post-doctoral research and beyond, an outline of protocols and parameters for submitting proposals and such.

ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING

SCIENTIFIC SEXUALITY REVIEWED

http://theconversation.com/hunt-to-discover-the-secret-of-sexuality-is-far-from-over-34377?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+20+November+2014+-+2107&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+20+November+2014+-+2107+CID_911bc58342f028ae288754839c7bfb18&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Hunt%20to%20discover%20the%20secret%20of%20sexuality%20is%20far%20from%20over     A well-curated compilation from one of the English scholars who typify The Conversation, about the “stuttered” history of sexology as a discipline and some of what that might mean for human beings: “The exhibition traces the development of this science, revealing how, as curator Kate Forde says: ‘each generation likes to think that it invented sex’ – or, at least, how sex ought to be.  Everyone has an opinion on what French philosopher Michel Foucault described as the ‘secret’ of sexuality.  The 19th-century Argentinean politician, Juan Bautista Alberdi argued that ‘to govern was to populate.’  British campaigner Marie Stopes believed that making contraceptives available, especially to the poor, would enable the ‘race’ to improve.  The Austrian psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich, explained sexual repression as a consequence of an authoritarian character, providing one of the earliest explanations of the rise of Nazism as a result of damming up the ‘orgasmic convulsion.’  The list goes on.”

CULTURE & POLITICS, UKRAINIAN STYLE

http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/22534/1/boys-don-t-cry?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Dazed+Sex+Survey%3A+US+vs+UK+|+Jacques+Greene%27s+New+Video+|+Guide+to+Breaking+the+Internet&utm_campaign=20141120_m123194012_Dazed+Sex+Survey%3A+US+vs+UK+|+Jacques+Greene%27s+New+Video+|+Guide+to+Breaking+the+Internet&utm_term=1097162_JPG     A briefing and overview of a Kiev photography-and-culture collective that critically examines life in its lenses, from Dazed, in a no-critical-distance-whatsoever bow to imperial supremacy, one of hundreds of grassroots reports about Ukrainian on-the-ground realities–ranging from the minimally distorted to the fatuously false–in realms as disparate as politics(http://www.alternet.org/world/how-israel-lobby-protected-ukrainian-neo-nazis?akid=12483.279476.rjePv2&rd=1&src=newsletter1027326&t=3) and militarism(http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/13-Persons-Killed-Every-Day-in-Ukraine-Since-the-Cease-Fire-Began-20141120-0012.html) and social engagement and more: “With Vladimir Putin leaving the G20 summit early this week after reports the Russian president copped some (much deserved) flack from other world leaders – here’s looking at you, Obama – and essentially realised that no one really wants to hang out with him, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to showcase Ukrainian photography collective GORSAD’s Boys Don’t Cry.  Putin has certainly fuelled creative fires around both the Ukraine and Russia, allowing for fertile ground to garner ideas, momentum and of course, controversy.  But there’s no denying that the country’s uneasy political climate has been a thorn in GORSAD’s – and other artists’ – side.  ‘We publish mainly abroad,’ the collective explain.  ‘Therefore, there is no problem with the lack of understanding.'”

SOCIAL DIVIDES, DIGITAL DIVISION, & THE INTERNET

http://www.worldwatch.org/digital-dilemma-internet-killing-or-saving-planet     A new report from WorldWatch Institute about the paradoxes and possibilities of virtuality and rise of web culture, in terms of creating sustainable relationships(http://www.worldwatch.org/bookstore/publication/state-world-2014-governing-sustainability) among ourselves: “When the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, the collection of ideas and artifacts that is now known as the Internet was only a research and development program at the U.S. Department of Defense.  Meanwhile, environmental advocates of the era were fighting large, complex technological systems, such as nuclear power and industrialized agriculture, as threats to both the ecosphere and democratic self-governance.  Yet when big digital systems began to take hold in the 1980s, these expanding pervasive and powerful technologies were rarely criticized.  Today, a true understanding of their environmental and social impacts is urgently needed in order to navigate—or resist—technology’s growing influence.”

EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF CLIMATE CHANGE REVERSAL POSSIBILITIES

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change/?utm_source=techalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=112014    A massive longform assessment from two participants in Google’s now-abandoned renewable-energy electricity initiative, via the Institute for Electrical & Electronic Engineers, of empirical and analytical perspectives about the challenges of carbon, cost, and power production: “Google’s boldest energy move was an effort known as RE<C, which aimed to develop renewable energy sources that would generate electricity more cheaply than coal-fired power plants do.  The company announced that Google would help promising technologies mature by investing in start-ups and conducting its own internal R&D.  Its aspirational goal: to produce a gigawatt of renewable power more cheaply than a coal-fired plant could, and to achieve this in years, not decades.  Unfortunately, not every Google moon shot leaves Earth orbit.  In 2011, the company decided that RE<C was not on track to meet its target and shut down the initiative.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FREDERICK DOUGLASS PORTALS

http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2014/11/frederick-douglass-activist-and-autobiographer/     Insightful and extensive tools and approaches for pondering Frederick Douglass specifically and the experience of enslavement from the slave’s perspective generally, from Library of Congress: “Last November, we published a post addressing the controversies associated with Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  A recent comment pointed out that Huck’s views on slavery are those of the dominant society of the time.  Because the post featured a letter from Frederick Douglass as a supplement to the novel, the commenter wondered ‘why not present the experiences and views of the oppressed rather than the oppressor?’  That struck me as an intriguing question, so here are a few places to start exploring those views and experiences with your students.”

CROWDSOURCING FROM UNICEF

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/unicef-crowdsources-report-on-worlds-children-to-inspire-innovation-and-localize-solutions/?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101&ftag=TRE684d531     A Tech Republic gateway to recent UNICEF publications(http://sowc2015.unicef.org/report/part-1/) on innovative approaches to youth issues, work that the agency has in no small measure crowdsourced as a collaborative, grassroots venture(http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SOWC_2015_Summary_and_Tables.pdf) on the twenty-fifth anniversary of United Nations Convention on The Year of the Child(http://www.unicef.org/crc/): “Kartik Sawhney was denied access to study science in India because he is visually impaired, and authorities said there were too many visual elements to the courses.  He finally convinced them to let him in, but none of his textbooks were in a format he could use.  He had to type them out instead.  The real trouble came with graphs — he had difficulty figuring out the shape of graphs to analyze them.  So, he developed software that would allow the graphs to be translated into audio — ‘like an arc of sound,’ he said.  If there’s an increase in frequency, the graph is obviously sloping upwards.  If it’s constant, the slope is at zero.  Sawhney’s story is just one inspiring example of tech innovation led by children that is highlighted in UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children Report – Reimagine the future: Innovation, which was released Thursday, Nov. 20 on the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

MEXICAN MELTDOWNS, INTENSIFYING

http://portside.org/2014-11-19/main-mexico-leftist-party-verge-dissolution-leader-says   A brief from PortSide Labor about the collapse that appears imminent in Mexico’s institutional ‘leftist’ organization, as a result of violence–especially against students and youth–and the ongoing impact of the grotesque and murderous fraud of the so-called ‘War-on-Drugs,’ topics that a wide range of media outlets such as The Guardian have also been reporting deeply(http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/20/mexico-protests-anti-government-anger-violence-students-president?CMP=ema_565) of late: “The elder statesman of Mexico’s main leftist party said on Sunday the group was on the verge of falling apart after a series of mistakes and the disappearance of 43 students in a state it runs in the southwest of the country.  Three-times presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas said the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which finished runner-up in Mexico’s last two presidential elections, had lost its moral authority and needed urgent reform.”

‘TREATMENT’ PROFITEERING

http://www.afsc.org/sites/afsc.civicactions.net/files/documents/TIC_report_online.pdf    A relatively short White Paper from the American Friends Service Committee about one of its signature areas of investigation, for profit prisons, in this case focusing on so-called ‘treatments’ that increase corporate income but reduce chances for rehabilitation or even functionality among the fallen, a peek into the ubiquitous research and manipulation surrounding ‘illegal drug’ use, on the one hand(http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626460/?sc=dwhn), and prescribed ‘medicine,’ on the other hand(http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626432/?sc=dwhn): ” Private prison corporations have profited from, and at times contributed to, the expansion of tough-on-crime and anti-immigrant policies that have driven prison expansion.  This confluence of special interests and profit-driven policy-making has been referred to as the ‘prison industrial complex.’  This brief describes the expansion of the incarceration industry away from warehousing and into areas that traditionally were focused on treatment and care of individuals involved in the criminal justice system–prison medical care, forensic mental hospitals, civil commitment centers, and ‘community corrections’ programs such as halfway houses and home arrest.  While the prison industrial complex was dependent on incarceration or detention in prisons, jails, and other correctional institutions, this emerging ‘treatment industrial complex’ allows the same corporations (and many new ones) to profit from providing treatment-oriented programs and services.”

UBIQUITOUS RENEWABLE ISSUES & NETWORKSFarmerBooFaveScrSh

https://medium.com/solutions-journal-summer-2014       An issue of Rocky Mountain Institute’s journal, Solutions, which brims with articles, leads, and briefs about the potential to proffer power to people in much more sustainable and ecologically benign fashion than is currently the case, a proposition that recent research in battery storage(http://www.technologyreview.com/news/532311/a-battery-to-prop-up-renewable-power-hits-the-market/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20141114) and close-to-unanimous community support for wind and similar projects(http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/626131/?sc=dwhn) make clear, while compensation for nuclear giants from Germany(http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/nuclear/swedish-energy-giant-vattenfall-nets-billions-for-nuclear-phaseout/?utm_source=energywise&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=111914) and intense debates about a role for nuclear(http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/11/17/the-nuclear-power-debate/?utm_source=Tikkun+Daily+Daily+Digest&utm_campaign=3ac09f91a7-DAILY_DIGEST_EMAIL&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_19adec7513-3ac09f91a7-106980657) provide further context.

VAST L.O.C. & GOVERNMENT DATA TROVES

http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2014/11/all-the-news-thats-fit-to-archive/     Another portal to the incalculably invaluable Library of Congress collections for writers, in this case one of several digital archiving initiatives in relation to newspapers and news sites, with context about other efforts from LOC also present, one of dozens of outreach notes in a given period of time that cover such diverse topics as street-art-&-poetry(http://blogs.loc.gov/catbird/2014/11/the-writings-on-the-wall-found-poetry-in-street-art/), accessing treaty information(http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2014/11/u-s-treaties-a-beginners-guide/), identifying and using primary source material to facilitate storytelling skills(http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2014/11/storytelling-and-songwriting-making-connections-through-primary-sources/), and even podcasts of primary source and other online learning experiences(https://locosi.adobeconnect.com/p2gb4wd0h4f/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal), materials that various news reporting organizations supplement by illuminating other governmental moves to open up access to the almost incalculable quantity of data that our government collects(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/18/theres-a-commerce-department-swat-team-opening-up-government-data/): “Our newspaper collections are invaluable to researchers.  Newspapers provide a first-hand draft of history.  They provide supplemental information that cannot be found anywhere else.  They ‘fill in the gaps,’ so to speak.  The way people access news has been changing and evolving ever since newspapers were first being published.  We recognized the need to capture news published in another format.  It is reasonable to expect us to continue to connect these kinds of resources to our current and future patrons.  Websites tend to be ephemeral and may disappear completely.  Without a designated archive, critical news content may be lost.
WRITERS’ ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLSNYT

STORIES’ INHERENT SYMPATICO TO ‘PITCHES’

http://theconversation.com/ utm_medium=e  product%20placement    A lovely contextualization from The Conversation of the historical background, without much in the way of political economy or social conceptualization, of writers who receive ‘patronage’ from megabucks corporations as exemplary of a ‘long tradition’ of this sort of relationship: “Boyd is in good company when it comes to this kind of sponsorship.  In 2001, Fay Weldon took a cheque from jewellers Bulgari to write her novel The Bulgari Connection, while BMW commissioned writers to produce audio books in 2005.  Ian Fleming was commissioned by the Kuwaiti Oil Company to write a book on the country and its oil industry (though it was never published because the Kuwaiti government disapproved).  Artists need patrons, and patrons have priorities.  It was ever thus.”

HOMEPAGE’S CRITICAL FUNCTIONS

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/Newsletter/Columns/Digital-Publishing–There-s-No-Place-Like-Home    A dose of textual realpolitick for our digital age, from Editor & Publisher, providing both the basis for and some of the superstructure of how homepages are essential as an interface for engagement in any media work: “Despite the reduction in traffic, newspaper homepages harken(sic) back to the historic place the front page of a newspaper had in the community.  Forgive me for sidestepping into marketing speak, but editors should think of their news organization’s homepage as their ultimate brand statement.  In an instant, members of the community (both readers and advertisers) can quickly see what the site is about, what’s going on that’s important to the community and why they should bother spending time there.  In an Internet ecosystem that is becoming more and more scattered, media organizations do have an ability to build brand loyalty with readers, and the homepage can still play an important part in nurturing that loyalty.”

POSSIBLE GREAT NEWS FOR JOURNALISTS FROM EGYPT

http://www.france24.com/en/20141120-egypt-general-sissi-exclusive-france-24-libya-jazeera-journalists/    From France24, a twenty-five minute video interview between a correspondent and Egyptian President Abdel al-Sisi, in which the possibility for a pardon of Al Jazeera journalists is one topic of conversation: “In his first-ever interview with a European media outlet, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that issuing a presidential pardon for three al Jazeera journalists currently imprisoned in Egypt ‘is currently under discussion.’  The journalists were sentenced to at least seven years in prison in June for aiding a ‘terrorist organisation’ and undermining the national interest for their dealings with members of the Muslim Brotherhood in a ruling that sparked an international outcry.  Al Jazeera has denied the accusations.”

GENERAL MEDIA & ‘INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY’ ISSUES

DIVIDE-&-CONQUER PROPAGANDA VIA FILM

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/20/east-n20.html   Another deeply-reported review essay from World Socialist Website about a quarter-century old ‘Eastern European’ film festival that takes place in Germany near its border with Poland, in environs beset by social meltdown and growing inequality and reaction, thanks to restored ‘free markets’ and ‘freedom’s’ imperial imprimatur generally, a dandy context, from the perspective of rulers, for playing up identity politics: “Increasing disillusionment with official politics in Eastern Europe is expressed in record low turn-outs in one election after another.   Political parties and slogans are regarded as interchangeable.  Plutocrats have now decided that often the best way to defend and expand their business and financial interests is to finance their own political parties and run the government.  The most prominent example is Ukraine, currently ruled by billionaire Petro Poroshenko, the ‘Chocolate King,’ who has the full backing of the EU.  Against such a background of explosive tensions, the organisers of the 24th Cottbus film festival decided to dedicate one of the event’s central sections to what its programme describes as ‘homosexual life worlds.’  There can be no doubt that gays and lesbians face considerable discrimination in many eastern European countries where the church and nationalist, homophobic groups play a significant role in political life.  But the prioritisation of gay rights in the current situation sends a definite signal.  In particular, it creates a platform for parties such as the Greens and various pseudo-left organisations working together with selected NGOs to elevate identity politics above social issues.”

ROBOTS A-COMING

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/532431/rise-of-the-robot-security-guards/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20141120   An MIT Technology Review report about a company’s ‘autonomous security robots’ that will permit centralization and reduction of human guardians in various contexts, such as Microsoft campuses, one of many recent examinations of the horizon of autonomy(http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=133392&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click), looming ever closer: “In order to do the kind of work a human security guard would normally do, the K5 uses cameras, sensors, navigation equipment, and electric motors—all packed into its dome-shaped body with a big rechargeable battery and a computer.  There are four high-definition cameras (one on each side of the robot), a license-plate recognition camera, four microphones, and a weather sensor (which looks like a DVD-player slot) for measuring barometric pressure, carbon dioxide levels, and temperature.  The robots use Wi-Fi or a wireless data network to communicate with each other and with people who can remotely monitor its cameras, microphones, and other sources of data.”

RECENT HAPPENINGS

COLOMBIAN ‘PEACE PROCESSES’ & VIOLENCE

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Colombia-The-Early-Signs-of-a-Violent-Peace-20141117-0044.html     A news-analysis from TeleSur that shows the intricacies and dire conflicts that underlie Colombian attempts to bring peace and reconciliation in relation to the Andean nation’s longstanding civil conflicts, in which revolutionary groups confront a government that is close to one hundred percent a ‘creature’ of U.S. imperial and corporate interests, in between both of which social forces citizens and indigenous people often find themselves: “A billboard set up by FARC with Cano’s picture, reads, ‘We will not relent for one instant in the struggle for a political solution to the conflict, for our principles, for the certainties that motivate us, because we are revolutionaries, because we love peace. – Sixth Front, Western Bloc, Commander Alfonso Cano.’  While the FARC considers northern Cauca to be its territory, and recruits Nasa people to its ranks, the Nasa have struggled at great cost for autonomy in their territory.  Over the decades, the Nasa have liberated much of their territory from the speculators and large landowners who had stolen it from them, established their own municipal governments, and administered their own traditional justice system, at communal assemblies.  In order to resist armed attacks, usually by the state and paramilitaries but too often also by the FARC, the Nasa have a traditional ‘indigenous guard’, a standing organization of people who carry nothing but traditional sticks as a symbol of their authority, who have played a major role in maintaining the indigenous people in their territory, resisting all of the forces that have sought to displace them.”

PREPARING ‘EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION’ IN FERGUSON

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/20/ferg-n20.html   Incisive analysis from World Socialist Website of the political repression that Missouri is preparing to deploy against social protest over police murder in and around Ferguson, as well as a critical examination of the almost total void of either analysis or critique of these developments among corporate media outlets: “One searches in vain in the establishment media, including its ‘left’ representatives, for any criticism of the move, or even any serious analysis of its consequences.  Outside the commentaries and interviews with area residents posted on the World Socialist Web Site, moreover, there is no reporting on the immense hostility among workers and youth in Ferguson to the decision, which is correctly seen as an assault on their democratic right to protest police violence.  (I)n its editorial pages,…(t)he Wall Street Journal urges Obama to intensify the crackdown in order to ‘defend the rule of law and public order,’ while the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Nation magazine have not commented on the frontal attack on First Amendment rights taking place in Missouri.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
TOLSTOY’S APPEAL TO WORKING PEOPLE
http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_pdf/Tolsto One of those seminal works that, even as one might critique it on different grounds, one must first read and understand it, since it lays a foundation for understanding important aspects : “I have but little time left to live,and I should like before my death to tell you, the working people, what I have been thinking about your oppressed condition and about those means which will help you to free yourselves from it.  Maybe something of what I have been thinking (and I have been thinking much about it) will do you some good.”

WAR & HOMELESSNESS, FROM CRS

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34024.pdf   A typically thorough overview from the Congressional Research Service, only available to scrappy scribes and citizens as a result of the advocacy of the Federations of American Scientists, in this case a research compilation about the issues that surround homelessness among veterans: “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans.  Researchers have found both male and female veterans to be overrepresented in the homeless population, and, as the number of veterans increased due to these conflicts, there was concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately.   The 2007-2009 recession and the subsequent slow economic recovery also raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans.”

 

 

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