Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reagan's Legacy

The Reagan Administration, so admired by President Obama, inspired two American greats: The Iran-Contra Scandal by Peter Kornbluh, and Peddlers of Crisis by Jerry Sanders. Both in the tradition of Walter Karp’s 1973 classic, Indispensable Enemies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Free Expression

As a result of institutionalizing indigenous human rights, indigenous-produced media in South America makes significant advances, while their North American cousins still languish in 20th century models imposed by markets and states.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Psychology of Facts

Cyrano's examines the interaction of facts, information, beliefs and misinformation in media-saturated American opinion.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Haven of Injustice

The UK Ministry of Justice takes a stand to provide safe haven for international criminals.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Serving the Corporate State

A Harvard study of major media documents the complicity of outlets like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in covering up official high crimes and crimes against humanity since 2001. Compared to previous eras of US imperialism, the present coverage has dropped by as much as a factor of ten.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What Took Them So Long?

After six decades of our national security state, the Washington Post has discovered that our secret government is now out of control. Having witnessed these unaccountable agencies engage in defeating democracy worldwide at the behest of US corporations since Truman signed secret government into law in 1948, one has to ask, What took them so long?

Budget Scams

Liberty Beat notes that national security exemptions for racial profiling being considered by Congress defeat the purpose of constitutional protections against official harassment of minorities. With all the funding for counterterrorism budget scams, relying on security agencies to police themselves becomes a self-reinforcing system of corruption.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Markets of Murder

Examining the human rights case of a Canadian mining company in Guatemala, where government troops were used to destroy a Mayan village to clear the way for a nickel mine, we are allowed to focus on the broader reality of how deeply our societies are invested in brutality against the Fourth World. As Canadian pension plans benefit from these corporate violations of international law, we have to ask what we are willing to do to stop this inhumane system known as globalization. While churches and universities have tested the waters of disinvestment in genocide and apartheid, it's time unions and mutual funds joined the movement.

I mean, if we can't think of a better way to invest than markets of murder, then we really have to question our humanity.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Core Values

Leonard Zeskind discusses the Tea Party factions within the overall phenomenon of what he describes as a white nationalist political mobilization against civil rights law.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First Free Press

The Icelandic Parliament has passed a modern media initiative to protect journalists, sources and leakers, creating a haven for Internet-based investigative journalism.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Working With Words

The four modes of social organization — tribes, institutions, markets, and networks — all intentionally utilize words to communicate their unique perspectives and preferences. Words are chosen for their effect in creation stories, in mythologies, in advertising, and in propaganda.

Words themselves are invented for a purpose. They serve as tools of social organization, as weapons of war, as means of manipulation, and as medicine for the maligned.

Depending on how they are used, words can cause horrendous harm or great good. Meanings can be distorted or clarified.

Working with words can gain one respect, renown, and reward, but it can also generate resentment. Not all messages are appreciated.

Learning to use words effectively requires an understanding of the principles of communication, especially in what is termed netwar, which assumes that all communication in all its dimensions is contested, no matter the stated intent of the participants. Words are meant to achieve, and as propositions in the arena of human consciousness, they will be confronted; as such, working with words is serious business.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Moving Toward Maturity

David M. Green looks at the subject of international governance through the lens of the International Criminal Court, an institution opposed by the United States.
The ICC is living testimony to the fact that the world is moving – slowly, to be sure – away from the anarchy of the classic Westphalian System, and dragging the most recalcitrant regressive reprobates (you know who we are) along with it. It’s not an easy trick, in part because there is a real legitimacy to the idea of not universalizing all, or even most, policy issues, but only those which absolutely must be located at a global level, retaining the rest for national, provincial and local polities to grapple with as they individually see fit. This is the doctrine of subsidiarity, a key notion in the practice of federalism, that stipulates policy decisions should always be made at the lowest level pragmatically possible, and it’s a good idea.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Character of Antagonism

In IJOC 2010, Cinzia Padovani looks at the intersections among interpersonal communication, interaction with mainstream media, and the use of Internet communications in post-earthquake L’Aquila, Italy. By examining the methods used by local residents to perforate the government media spectacle, Padovani illuminates the capacity of networks to create opportunities for public participation in rebuilding identities and community. Proposing the character of antagonism as a grounded strategy in their struggle for democracy, Padovani reveals the value of a rebellious spirit in creating a permanent democratic presidium.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Adversarial Journalism

In IJOC 2010's Investigating Chilling Effects, Andrew T. Kenyon examines the relationships between independence, resistance, dissent, and adversarial journalism in Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia. Noting the role the Internet plays in overcoming the chilling effect of defamation law, Kenyon looks at how political criticism, governance, corruption, and crime are treated as topics by civil society and political opposition in independent media. If, as Kenyon asserts, the Internet is responsible for facilitating offline political expression and action, then Internet control measures sought by governments worldwide are a serious threat to public freedom.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Democrats in Berets

In conversations with a gatekeeper of Peace and Freedom Party of California recently, I was surprised to encounter a laissez-faire attitude toward indentured servitude, even slavery. We were talking about the proper political response to women and children trafficked online for sexual exploitation, aka prostitution, and his curious response was that Internet marketing of these unfortunates was somehow akin to public roadways being used for transporting controlled substances. Inappropriate metaphors aside, the casual dismissal of one of the worst human rights abuses on the planet by an official of California’s Feminist Socialist Political Party makes me wonder what he would take a principled stand on.

I mean, if this is the position of socialists, they might as well be Democrats.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Calling Out Craigslist

Protest by leading human rights groups set for July 8.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Crime With No End

In Living with the Enemy, Susie Linfield discusses what Jean Amery called "the moral necessity of undying resentment". Examining the modern obsession of truth and reconciliation, Linfield discovers the only truth is that "forgiveness and reconciliation are of far less interest to the victims than they are to the perpetrators".