Thursday, February 28, 2013

Glenn Greenwald - Bradley Manning: the face of heroism

Bradley Manning: the face of heroism
Comment is Free

The 25-year-old Army Private, this generation's Daniel Ellsberg, pleads guilty today to some charges and explains his actions

In December, 2011, I wrote an Op-Ed in the Guardian arguing that if Bradley Manning did what he is accused of doing, then he is a consummate hero, and deserves a medal and our collective gratitude, not decades in prison. At his court-martial proceeding this afternoon in Fort Meade, Manning, as the Guaridan's Ed Pilkington reports, pleaded guilty to having been the source of the most significant leaks to WikiLeaks. He also pleaded not guilty to 12 of the 22 counts, including the most serious - the capital offense of "aiding and abetting the enemy", which could send him to prison for life - on the ground that nothing he did was intended to nor did it result in harm to US national security. The US government will now almost certainly proceed with its attempt to prosecute him on those remaining counts.

Manning's heroism has long been established in my view, for the reasons I set forth in that Op-Ed. But this was bolstered today as he spoke for an hour in court about what he did and why, reading from a prepared 35-page statement. Wired's Spencer Ackerman was there and reported:

"Wearing his Army dress uniform, a composed, intense and articulate Pfc. Bradley Manning took 'full responsibility' Thursday for providing the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks with a trove of classified and sensitive military, diplomatic and intelligence cables, videos and documents. . . .

"Manning's motivations in leaking, he said, was to 'spark a domestic debate of the role of the military and foreign policy in general', he said, and 'cause society to reevaluate the need and even desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore their effect on people who live in that environment every day.'

"Manning explain[ed] his actions that drove him to disclose what he said he 'believed, and still believe . . . are some of the most significant documents of our time' . . . .

"He came to view much of what the Army told him — and the public — to be false, such as the suggestion the military had destroyed a graphic video of an aerial assault in Iraq that killed civilians, or that WikiLeaks was a nefarious entity. . . .

"Manning said he often found himself frustrated by attempts to get his chain of command to investigate apparent abuses detailed in the documents Manning accessed. . . ."

Manning also said he "first approached three news outlets: the Washington Post, New York Times and Politico" before approaching WikiLeaks. And he repeatedly denied having been encouraged or pushed in any way by WikiLeaks to obtain and leak the documents, thus denying the US government a key part of its attempted prosecution of the whistleblowing group. Instead, "he said he took 'full responsibility' for a decision that will likely land him in prison for the next 20 years — and possibly the rest of his life."

This is all consistent with what Manning is purported to have said in the chat logs with the government snitch who pretended to be a journalist and a pastor in order to assure him of confidentiality but then instead reported him. In those chats, Manning explained that he was leaking because he wanted the world to know what he had learned: "I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public." When asked by the informant why he did not sell the documents to a foreign government for profit - something he obviously could have done with ease - Manning replied that he wanted the information to be publicly known in order to trigger "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms". He described how he became deeply disillusioned with the Iraq War he had once thought noble, and this caused him to re-examine all of his prior assumptions about the US government. And he extensively narrated how he had learned of serious abuse and illegality while serving in the war - including detaining Iraqi citizens guilty of nothing other than criticizing the Malaki government - but was ignored when he brought those abuses to his superiors.

To Read the Rest

More Resources:

Spencer Ackerman: Bradley Manning Takes ‘Full Responsibility’ for Giving WikiLeaks Huge Government Data Trove (Wired)

Vandana Shiva: Environmentalism/Science/Philosophy/Feminism/Bioethics


Planet Diversity: Vandana Shiva Biography

Navdanya (Founded by Vandana Shiva)

Vandana Shiva's Personal Website

Seed Freedom

Common Dreams: Vandana Shiva Essays

South End Press: Vandana Shiva Books

Resources by/about/featuring Vandana Shiva:

Beyond the Frame: Alternative Perspectives on the War on Terrorism (Media Education Foundation, 2004)

Bogado, Aura, et al. "A special one-hour program on the South Central Farm in Los Angeles – lessons in human rights, immigrant rights, ecological sustainability, and activism. We’ll hear from farmers, organizers, local reporters, and more." Uprising Radio (June 16, 2006)

Dyer, Gwynne and Vandana Shiva. "A Debate on Geoengineering." Democracy Now (July 8, 2010)

Hedges, Chris, Robert Scheer and Vandana Shiva. "On Liberalism, Economy, and Corporate Domination." Uprising Radio (October 22, 2010)

Shiva, Vandana. "Create Food Democracy, Occupy our Food Supply." The Understory (February 27, 2012)

---. "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest." AlterNet (December 10, 2012)

---. "From Seeds of Suicide to Seeds of Hope: Why Are Indian Farmers Committing Suicide and How Can We Stop This Tragedy?" Huffington Post (April 28, 2009)

---. "The Future of Food and Seed." (Posted on YouTube: 2009 Organicology Conference in Portland, Oregon, on February 28, 2009)

---. "Making Peace with the Earth (City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture: November 3, 2010)

---. "On the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds." Moyers & Company (July 13, 2012)

---. "Prop 37, GMOs, Food Sovereignty, and More." Uprising Radio (October 31, 2012)

---.Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2000: 5-20.

---. "Traditional Knowledge, Biodiversity and Sustainable Living." (Video posted on YouTube: March 29, 2011)

Tran, Mark. " Vandana Shiva: 'Seeds must be in the hands of farmers'- Biodiversity campaigner accuses corporate giants of trying to take over the world's seed supply through genetic engineering." Guardian (February 25, 2013)

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Scar Tissue

Vandana Shiva: Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest
by Vandana Shiva

Today, at a time of multiple crises, we need to move away from thinking of nature as dead matter to valuing her biodiversity, clean water, and seeds. For this, nature herself is the best teacher.


Beyond Monocultures

From Chipko, I learned about biodiversity and biodiversity-based living economies; the protection of both has become my life’s mission. As I described in my book Monocultures of the Mind, the failure to understand biodiversity and its many functions is at the root of the impoverishment of nature and culture.

Navdanya, the movement for biodiversity conservation and organic farming that I started in 1987, is spreading. So far, we’ve worked with farmers to set up more than 100 community seed banks across India. We have saved more than 3,000 rice varieties. We also help farmers make a transition from fossil-fuel and chemical-based monocultures to biodiverse ecological systems nourished by the sun and the soil.The lessons I learned about diversity in the Himalayan forests I transferred to the protection of biodiversity on our farms. I started saving seeds from farmers’ fields and then realized we needed a farm for demonstration and training. Thus Navdanya Farm was started in 1994 in the Doon Valley, located in the lower elevation Himalayan region of Uttarakhand Province. Today we conserve and grow 630 varieties of rice, 150 varieties of wheat, and hundreds of other species. We practice and promote a biodiversity-intensive form of farming that produces more food and nutrition per acre. The conservation of biodiversity is therefore also the answer to the food and nutrition crisis.

Biodiversity has been my teacher of abundance and freedom, of cooperation and mutual giving.

Rights of Nature On the Global Stage

When nature is a teacher, we ­co-create with her—we recognize her agency and her rights. That is why it is significant that Ecuador has recognized the “rights of nature” in its constitution. In April 2011, the United Nations General Assembly­—inspired by the constitution of Ecuador and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth initiated by Bolivia—organized a conference on harmony with nature as part of Earth Day celebrations. Much of the discussion centered on ways to transform systems based on domination of people over nature, men over women, and rich over poor into new systems based on partnership.

Separatism is indeed at the root of disharmony with nature and violence against nature and people. As the prominent South African environmentalist Cormac Cullinan points out, apartheid means separateness. The world joined the anti-apartheid movement to end the violent separation of people on the basis of color. Apartheid in South Africa was put behind us. Today, we need to overcome the wider and deeper apartheid—an eco-apartheid based on the illusion of separateness of humans from nature in our minds and lives.The U.N. secretary general’s report, “Harmony with Nature,” issued in conjunction with the conference, elaborates on the importance of reconnecting with nature: “Ultimately, environmentally destructive behavior is the result of a failure to recognize that human beings are an inseparable part of nature and that we cannot damage it without severely damaging ourselves.”

The Dead-Earth Worldview

The war against the Earth began with this idea of separateness. Its contemporary seeds were sown when the living Earth was transformed into dead matter to facilitate the industrial revolution. Monocultures replaced diversity. “Raw materials” and “dead matter” replaced a vibrant Earth. Terra Nullius (the empty land, ready for occupation regardless of the presence of indigenous peoples) replaced Terra Madre (Mother Earth).

This philosophy goes back to Francis Bacon, called the father of modern science, who said that science and the inventions that result do not “merely exert a gentle guidance over nature’s course; they have the power to conquer and subdue her, to shake her to her foundations.”

Robert Boyle, the famous 17th-century chemist and a governor of the Corporation for the Propagation of the Gospel Among the New England Indians, was clear that he wanted to rid native people of their ideas about nature. He attacked their perception of nature “as a kind of goddess” and argued that “the veneration, wherewith men are imbued for what they call nature, has been a discouraging impediment to the empire of man over the inferior creatures of God.”


To Read the Entire Essay

HUM 221/ENG 102 Extra Credit Opportunity: Vandana Shiva

Internationally regarded sustainability scholar and activist Vandana Shiva returns to the University of Kentucky Thursday to share her expertise with the campus and community.

Her publications and work in sustainable agriculture, development, feminist theory, alternative globalization and bioengineering as well as her creation of Navdanya, a participatory research initiative to provide direction and support to environmental activism in India, have inspired colleagues to deem her one of the brightest minds working in the interdisciplinary field of sustainability today.

Shiva will present her lecture at 8 p.m. Feb. 28, in Memorial Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

Shiva’s lecture is made possible by support from the UK Student Sustainability Council, the Student Government Association, Tally Cats, the departments of Sociology and Geography, and the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice.

BCTC Library: Women's History Guide

[Message from BCTC's Marcia Freyman] Good Morning. I wanted to make you aware of a library guide for women’s history that I prepared in anticipation of Women’s History Month in March. It contains links to items in BCTC library as well as web sites for biographies, politics, arts, literature and science.

Here is the link: Women's History Guide

Extra Credit for HUM 221/ENG 102 Students: Screening of Anne Braden: Southern Patriot

A screening of Mimi Pickering's and Appalshop's film Anne Braden: Southern Patriot. The film is a first person documentary about the extraordinary life of an American civil rights leader, her attempt to desegregate a Louisville, Kentucky neighborhood in 1954, and a lifetime of racial justice organizing matched by few whites in American history.

Thursday, Feb. 28th from 6 -- 8:30 p.m.
Central Library Farish Theater
140 E. Main Street
Lexington, KY

For more information, here is a link to a clip about the film from WUKY

Here is Flobots song "Anne Braden":

On Being: Listening Generously - The Healing Stories of Rachel Naomi Remen

Listening Generously: The Healing Stories of Rachel Naomi Remen
On Being with Krista Tippett

Rachel Naomi Remen's lifelong struggle with chronic illness has shaped her philosophy and practice of medicine. She speaks about the art of listening to patients and other physicians, the difference between curing and healing, and how our losses help us to live.

To Listen to the Episode

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lynn Stuart Parramore: God’s Racket - Why It’s High Time to Shut Down the Vatican Bank

God’s Racket: Why It’s High Time to Shut Down the Vatican Bank
by Lynn Stuart Parramore

It’s a place where angels fear to tread; where criminals, frauds and mysterious corpses turn up as regularly as rats in the metro. The Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank, was set up in 1942 by Pope Pius XII to manage the vast Vatican finances. Often referred to as the world’s most secret bank, the operation is run by a CEO and overseen by five cardinals who report directly to the Pope.

The bank’s official role is to safeguard and administer property intended for works of religion or charity. The actual activities of the bank are somewhat different. They include money laundering for narcotics traffickers, bribery, skimming charitable funds to enrich priests, and tax evasion for wealthy Italians.

Finance, Vatican-Style

The scandals associated with the Vatican bank, particularly over the last four decades, are so sordid and improbable as to strain the creativity of a supermarket tabloid. The Church’s past offenses of selling indulgences and charging fees for sacraments have been updated for the world of modern finance, complete with shell companies, speculation and secret transfers. (For more on the antecedents of the current bank, see Betty Clermont’s handy synopsis [3] at Daily Kos.) Last year, Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi published a book [4] delving into the intrigue and corruption swirling in a bank that has been answerable to no one. It was an eye-opener.

In May 2012, Pope Benedict XVI’s butler was arrested for leaking documents bristling with claims of financial corruption and criminal activity involving major Italian companies. The last Vatican bank chairman, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was shown the door when it was revealed that the bank was running afoul of international money-laundering standards. Leaked material and reporting reveals a bank that appears to be a kind of rogue offshore vehicle favored by various kinds of miscreants, including right-wing politicians, mafia types and tax evaders who wish to hide their financial transactions. Kind of like HSBC, only with God’s imprimatur.

Subsequent investigations have resulted in a shutdown of credit card transactions at all Vatican venues; right now, God can only take cash. In an attempt to restore relations with the international financial community, outgoing Pope Benedict appointed [5] a new director of the bank, German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg, as one of his final acts. So far that’s not looking so good, as Freyberg has been revealed to have unfortunate links [6] with a company with a history of making warships, including those produced for Nazi Germany.

Skeletons In the Vault

The same month the butler story broke, sinister echoes of earlier scandals emerged when the Catholic Church’s top exorcist (yes, you got that right) claimed [8] that a pile of bones buried in the tomb of a notorious gangster – and church doner -- belonged to a missing schoolgirl who was forced to perform for priests' sex parties. The gangster’s girlfriend at the time claimed that American monsignor Paul Marcinkus, the scandal-ridden chief of the Vatican bank from 1971 to 1989, was behind the abduction. Whether or not that’s true, the years of Marcinkus’ reign were certainly unusual.

To Read the Rest

The Mamas & the Papas: California Dreamin'

Extra Credit Opportunity for HUM 221/ENG 102 Students: Vandana Shiva (2/27)

World-renowned environmental leader and advocate for bio-ethics, eco-feminism, and bio-diversity Vandana Shiva will speak at 7:30 tonight in Carrick Theater at Transylvania University on violent economic reforms and the growing violence against women. Born in India, Shiva is a Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology and the author of many books, including "Staying Alive" and "Soil Not Oil.” She is a leader in the International Forum on Globalization and recipient of the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize and the Sydney Peace Prize for her commitment to social justice. Free and open to the public.

Hector Postigo - Cultural Production and Social Media as Capture Platforms: How the Matrix Has You

"Cultural Production and Social Media as Capture Platforms: How the Matrix Has You"
by Hector Postigo
MIT Comparative Media Studies

This presentation develops a theoretical framework (rooted in Science and Technology Studies) for understanding how, generally, social media's technical feature-sets create a system of capture and conversion. Capture describes the persistent ways in which social web platforms record and fix online/offline social and technical practices. Conversion applies to the way in which technical architectures convert what is captured into value (both culturally contingent and economic). The notions of capture and conversion are developed in light of other work in the field that seeks to understand how social web platforms use technology to leverage user generated content (UGC). The framework bridges a focus on ongoing social practice within/through platforms with analysis of technology as a determinant of probable practice. Ultimately this work is part of a larger project that seeks to develop a way of critically engaging the political economy of the social web while at the same time not ignoring the subject positions of those whose lives on display make it compelling.

Hector Postigo is Associate Professor in Media Studies and Production at Temple University's School of Media and Communication. He is the co-founder of the blog and most recently the author of The Digital Rights Movement: The Role of Technology in Subverting Digital Copyright from MIT Press and co-editor of Managing Privacy Through Accountability from Palgrave Press. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the European Commission. He teaches and writes about video game culture, labor in digital networks, and privacy and copyright on the social web.

To Listen to the Presentation

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Betsy West: Makers: Women Who Make America - New Film Chronicles Past 50 Years of Feminist Movement

"Makers: Women Who Make America": New Film Chronicles Past 50 Years of Feminist Movement
Democracy Now

We look at a major new documentary that tells the story of how women have shaped the United States over the last 50 years through political and personal empowerment. It’s called "Makers: Women Who Make America," and it premieres tonight in a three-hour special on PBS. Narrated by Meryl Streep, the film explores the women’s movement from the publication of Betty Friedan’s "The Feminine Mystique" published 50 years ago this month in 1963 to the Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991. "Makers" shares the story of legendary figures such as Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey, to lesser-known pioneers such as Kathrine Switzer. In 1967, Switzer became the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon. Her run made headlines when a top race official tried to forcibly remove her from the race. She finished the race.


Betsy West, executive producer of Makers: Women Who Make America. It premieres tonight on PBS, check your local listings.

To Watch the Episode

Lisa Graves and John Nichols: Billionaires for Austerity - With Cuts Looming, Wall Street Roots of "Fix the Debt" Campaign Exposed

Billionaires for Austerity: With Cuts Looming, Wall Street Roots of "Fix the Debt" Campaign Exposed
Democracy Now

With $85 billion across-the-board spending cuts, known as "the sequestration," set to take effect this Friday, a new investigation reveals how billionaire investors, such as Peter Peterson, have helped reshaped the national debate on the economy, the debt and social spending. Between 2007 and 2011, Peterson personally contributed nearly $500 million to his Peter G. Peterson Foundation to push Congress to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — while providing tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. Peterson’s main platform has been the Campaign to Fix the Debt. While the campaign is portrayed as a citizen-led effort, critics say the campaign is a front for business groups. The campaign has direct ties to GE, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Peterson is the former chair and CEO of Lehman Brothers and co-founder of the private equity firm, The Blackstone Group. For more, we speak to John Nichols of The Nation and Lisa Graves of the Center for Media and Democracy.


John Nichols, political writer for The Nation. His latest article is "The Austerity Agenda: An Electoral Loser."

Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy and an editor of Pete Peterson Pyramid, a new website that connects the dots between billionaire Pete Peterson and the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

To Watch the Episode

Films We Want to See #25: Let Fury Have the Hour (USA: Antonio D'Ambrosio, 2012)

Film Website

“Let fury have the hour/
Anger can be power/
Do you know that you can use it?”
– “The Clampdown,” The Clash

Rough, raw and unapologetically inspirational, LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR is a charged journey into the heart of the creative counter-culture in 2012. In a time of global challenges, big questions and by-the-numbers politics, this upbeat, outspoken film tracks the story of the artists, writers, thinkers and musicians who have gone underground to re-imagine the world – honing in on equality, community and engaged creativity – in exuberantly paradigm-busting ways.

Writer/director Antonino D’Ambrosio unites 50 powerful, of-the-moment voices –from street artist Shepard Fairey to rapper Chuck D to playwright Eve Ensler to musicians Tom Morello and Billy Bragg to novelist Edwidge Danticat to filmmaker John Sayles to comic Lewis Black – who share personal and powerful tales of how they transformed anger and angst into provocative art and ideas. Mix-mastered with historical footage, animation and performances, D’Ambrosio presents a visceral portrait of a generation looking to re-jigger a system that has failed to address the most pressing problems of our times . . . or human potential.

The story begins in the 1980s with the rise of Reagan and Thatcher — and a cultural shift towards fierce individualism and rampant consumerism. Coming of age in a world seemingly gone mad or at least gone shopping, some kids started searching for something more authentic. This was the start of a renegade movement D’Ambrosio calls “creative-response.” It was a hybrid, haphazard collective of skateboarders, punk rockers, rappers, street poets, feminists and graffitists whose reaction to this brave new world was not to turn away, but to turn up the volume and have their say.

Now that generation is coming to the fore, sparking a global movement focused not just on pushing the boundaries with guitars, paint, dance, storytelling, graphics and subcultural style – but on coming together around real reasons for hope.

Set to a stirring soundtrack from the film’s artists – including Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy, Billy Bragg, Gogol Bordello, MC5, DJ Spooky and Sean Hayes – LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR is a fast and furious trip into the grass roots of art and activism, 21st Century style. The film is written and directed by author and visual artist Antonino D’Ambrosio in his feature debut. The producers are D’Ambrosio and James L. Reid and the executive producers are Jonathan Gray, Brian Devine, Rob McKay, Mark Urman and Chaz Zelus. The film features original music from composer and MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer. A CAVU Pictures release.

MIT Comparative Media Studies: Copyright, Fair Use and the Cultural Commons

Copyright, Fair Use and the Cultural Commons
MIT Comparative Media Studies

How has the American tradition of intellectual property law understood the relationship between originality and tradition? What rights do artists and educators have to draw inspiration from or comment on existing works in existing media? What habits, beliefs, legal and policy decisions threaten the emergence of a more participatory culture? What have people done, and what can we do to protect the Fair Use rights of artists, educators, and amateurs so that explore the opportunities created by new media and a networked society?


Hal Abelson is professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. He is engaged in the interaction of law, policy, and technology as they relate to the growth of the Internet, and is active in projects at MIT and elsewhere to help bolster our intellectual commons. Abelson is a founding director of the Free Software Foundation, Creative Commons, and Public Knowledge and serves as consultant to Hewlett-Packard Laboratories.

Patricia Aufderheide is a professor in the School of Communication at American University where she also directs the Center for Social Media . She is the author of several books including Documentary: A Very Short Introduction (2007), The Daily Planet (2000), and of Communications Policy in the Public Interest (1999). She has been a Fulbright and John Simon Guggenheim fellow and has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival. She received a career achievement award in 2006 from the International Documentary Association.

Wendy Gordon is a professor of law and Paul J. Liacos Scholar in Law at Boston University. In many well-known articles, she has argued for an expansion of fair use utilizing economic, Lockean, and ethical perspectives.

Gordon Quinn is president and founding member of Kartemquin Films where for over 40 years he has been making cinema verite films that investigate and critique society by documenting the unfolding lives of real people (i.e., Hoop Dreams, 1994). Quinn is working on Milking The Rhino, a film examining community based conservation in Africa and At The Death House Door, a film on a wrongful execution in Texas.


William Uricchio is co-director of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and professor of comparative media history at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. His most recent book is Media Cultures, on responses to media in post-9/11 Germany and the U.S.

To Listen to the Panel Discussion

Monday, February 25, 2013

Andrew Grossman: When the World Was Wide(r) - A Requiem for PBS

When the World Was Wide(r): A Requiem for PBS
by Andrew Grossman
Bright Lights Film Journal


The greatest myth, however, is that public broadcasting is noncommercial, simply because its financing comes mainly from giant, grant-giving corporations. For years, public broadcasting has been aggressively commercial in ideology, if not in funding: the only apparent way to secure an interview on The PBS NewsHour or NPR's All Things Considered or Fresh Air6 is to have a book, film, or other media artifact to hawk. True dissidents and subversives rarely (if ever) appear, for they can hardly promote Simon and Schuster or the Brookings Institution. Shilling now inescapably constitutes the "public interest," and legitimacy is granted only to the shillers.7 The same problem, of course, plagues even more intensely would-be satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who lambaste the entertainment-industrial complex in the first half of their shows and grant amicable, always topical interviews to entertainers, politicians, and oligarchs in the second. They excuse their complicity by claiming their rights as entertainers to indulge in hypocrisy, but their excuse is ignorant, not merely naïve. Satire is a high calling, not a license to sell out, and we don't need our critiques timidly or irresponsibly framed as meager entertainments. One recalls Noam Chomsky's argument that the media's alleged "liberal bias" is in fact the best cover for the status quo, for liberal media tell us that we can go only so far in our critiques and no further. We can joyfully assail Republican intolerance and backwardness, but Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee will always wind up smiling at our roundtable, their religion perhaps corrupted, but never inherently treacherous.


To Read the Entire Essay

David Graeber: On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time

David Graeber: On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time
School of Visual Arts

The twentieth century produced a very clear sense of what the future was to be, but we now seem unable to imagine any sort of redemptive future. How did this happen? One reason is the replacement of what might be called poetic technologies with bureaucratic technologies. Another is the terminal perturbations of capitalism, which is increasingly unable to envision any future at all.

David Graeber likes to say that he had three goals for 2011: to promote his new book, Debt: The First 5000 Years (Melville House), learn to drive, and launch a worldwide revolution. He's done well on the first, failed the second, and the third may be on the way, in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement that Graeber helped initiate. He teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is also the author of Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value, Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, and Direct Action: An Ethnography, among other books.

David Graeber gave this talk in the School of Visual Arts theater on January 19, 2012.

Modest Mouse: Good News for People That Like Bad News

Law and Disorder Radio: Marjorie Heins - Priests of Our Democracy, The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge; Barbara Blaine and Pam Spees - New Vatican Rules On Handling Priest Sexual Abuse Cases

Law and Disorder Radio

Priests of Our Democracy, The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge

Priests of Our Democracy, The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge is the title of the recently published book by attorney Marjorie Heins. The book examines a very dark period in academic freedom within New York City’s municipal colleges. In the early 1940s, faculty, students and staff were the target of massive investigations into their political beliefs and associations. They hauled before tribunals of the New York State legislature, dozens were stripped of their careers.

Author Marjorie Heinz shows historically, that academic freedom is nothing to take for granted and is always on shaky ground despite being protected by the First Amendment. The backlash of controversy against Students for Justice in Palestine sponsoring a Boycott Divest Sanction event at Brooklyn College is recent example. This is a book for anyone working in education to understand the court battles that tried to preserve a right protected by the Constitution.

Encore Interview: New Vatican Rules On Handling Priest Sexual Abuse Cases

Earlier this year, the Vatican had revised its laws making it easier to discipline sex abuser priests. The new internal of the Vatican will use faster judicial procedures instead of full ecclesiastical trials. Critics of the revisions, say the Vatican merely tweaked the process and the new rules don’t hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch or require that they report the sexual abuse to the authorities. In the same report was the inclusion that attempting to ordain women as priests was comparable to heresy, apostasy and pedophilia. To many it was a comparison meant to resist any suggestion that pedophilia can be addressed by ending the requirement of celibacy.

Guest – Pam Spees, senior staff attorney in the international human rights program at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She has a background in international criminal and human rights law with a gender focus, as well as criminal trial practice

Guest - Barbara Blaine, founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation’s oldest and largest self-help organization for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

To Listen to the Episode

Brave New Foundation: Stop GEO Group from Naming a Stadium!

[HUM 221 students -- this is the private prison corporation that Jim Fenton discussed in our last class.]

Stop GEO Group from Naming a Stadium!

Florida Atlantic University is about to let the GEO Group, a notorious private prison company, slap its name on a new football stadium. Don't allow that to happen! GEO has a shameful record of human rights violations, abuse, and neglect at its facilities.

Making Contact: Guard Us All? Immigrant Women and the HPV Vaccine

Guard Us All? Immigrant Women and the HPV Vaccine
Making Contact

Gardasil is the first cervical cancer vaccine ever developed. After it was approved in 2006, controversy has surrounded this vaccine. Its safety and effectiveness have been questioned, and the requirement that immigrant women take the vaccine has come to the forefront of both immigrant rights and reproductive justice organizing. Advocates argue that this vaccine is a new chapter in a history of reproductive oppression that targets women of color and immigrant women. On this edition, we hear from activists, doctors, attorneys and women most affected by the new vaccination.


Fatima Quraishi, Pakistani immigrant; Priscilla Huang, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum policy and programs director; Dr. Deblina Datta, CDC division of STD Prevention; Jessica Gonzales, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health director of policy and advocacy; Loretta Ross, SisterSong founding member; Beth Stickney, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project executive director and attorney; Woman client (name withheld for confidentiality and safety), immigrant from Chile; Nial Cox Ramirez, and Elaine Riddick Jessie, residents of North Carolina and subjects of sterilization.

This program is made possible in part by The Reproductive Justice Fund at the Tides Foundation. Special thanks to The Winston Salem Journal for use of their audio from “Against Their Will” multi-media project. Thanks to Sarah Olson for her editorial guidance.

To Listen to the Episode

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices (USA: Robert Greenwald, 2005: 98 mins)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Making Contact: The War Comes Home - Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans

The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans
Making Contact

Nearly two million Americans have fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On this edition, reporter Aaron Glantz takes us inside the war as it comes home to our communities, with a focus on the special role our educational institutions can play in helping former soldiers adjust to civilian life.


Andrew Berends, The Blood of My Brother filmmaker; Michael Hall, former US Army staff sergeant; Rachel Feldstein, New Directions associate director; Joshua Kors, The Nation magazine correspondent; Zollie Goodman, former Naval petty officer; Barack Obama, United States president; Todd Stenhouse, National Veterans Foundation spokesperson; Terry “T.J.” Boyd, former Marine Corps sergeant; Ron Finch, National Business Group on Health; Catherine Morris, Sierra College veterans’ counselor; Paul Sullivan, Veterans for Common Sense executive director.

This documentary was produced with support to Aaron Glantz from the Hechinger Institute for Education and the Media at Columbia University Teachers College and the Rosalynn Carter Journalism Fellowship program at the Carter Center. Thanks also to Mike Siv of New America Media.

To Listen to the Episode

Extra Credit Opportunity for HUM 221/ENG 282/ENG 102 students: Southern Patriot

Film screening: Southern Patriot

When: 6 pm Thursday

Where: Lexington Public Library, Farish Theater, 140 East Main Street

Cost: Free

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gabriella Coleman (Anthropology/Science/Technology)


Gabriella Coleman (Personal Website/Archive)

Wikipedia: Gabriella Coleman

Twitter: Gabriella Coleman @BiellaColeman

McGill University: Gabriella Coleman

Resources by/about:

Coleman, Gabriella. "The Anthropology of Hackers." The Atlantic (September 21, 2010)

---. "Beacons of freedom: The changing face of Anonymous." Index on Censorship (December 3, 2012)

---. "Code is Speech: Legal Tinkering, Expertise, and Protest Among Free and Open Source Software Developers." Cultural Anthropology 24.3 (2009: 420-454)

---. "Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking." Law and Disorder Radio (February 18, 2013)

---. Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking. Princeton University Press, 2013.

---. "The ethics of digital direct action: Denial-of-service attacks and similar tactics are becoming more widely used as protest tools." Al Jazeera (September 1, 2011)

---. "Everything you know about Anonymous is wrong: Whether viewed as heroes or villains, much of what is stated about Anonymous is exaggeration." Al Jazeera (May 8, 2012)

---. "Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties." MIT Technology Review (February 4, 2013)

---. "Hacker Culture: A Response to Bruce Sterling on WikiLeaks" (December 23, 2010)

---. "Hackers for Right, We Are One Down." Huffington Post (January 14, 2013)

---. "On the Ethics of Free Software." Suprisingly Free." (January 8, 2013)

---. "On the World of Hackers." PBS (July 22, 2011)

---. "What It's Like to Participate in Anonymous' Actions." The Atlantic (December 10, 2010)

Coleman, Gabriella and Alex Golub. "Hacker practice: Moral genres and the cultural articulation of liberalism." Anthropology Today (2008)

Coleman, Gabriella, Peter Fein and X. "Hacktivism’s Global Reach, From Targeting Scientology to Backing WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring." Democracy Now (August 16, 2011)

Frediana, Carola. "Revealing Anonymous: An Interview With Gabriella Coleman." TechPresident (November 11, 2014)

Greenwald, Glenn. "How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations." Intercept (February 24, 2014)

Taylor, Astra. "By Any Memes Necessary." Bookforum (December 2014) ["An inside look at the hacking group Anonymous reveals a boisterous culture of dissent and debate."]

We Are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists (USA/UK: Brian Knappenberger, 2012: 93 mins)

MIT Technology Review: Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties

Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties: Recent events have highlighted the fact that hackers, coders, and geeks are behind a vibrant political culture.
By Gabriella Coleman
MIT Technology Review

A decade-plus of anthropological fieldwork among hackers and like-minded geeks has led me to the firm conviction that these people are building one of the most vibrant civil liberties movements we’ve ever seen. It is a culture committed to freeing information, insisting on privacy, and fighting censorship, which in turn propels wide-ranging political activity. In the last year alone, hackers have been behind some of the most powerful political currents out there.

Before I elaborate, a brief word on the term “hacker” is probably in order. Even among hackers, it provokes debate. For instance, on the technical front, a hacker might program, administer a network, or tinker with hardware. Ethically and politically, the variability is just as prominent. Some hackers are part of a transgressive, law-breaking tradition, their activities opaque and below the radar. Other hackers write open-source software and pride themselves on access and transparency. While many steer clear of political activity, an increasingly important subset rise up to defend their productive autonomy, or engage in broader social justice and human rights campaigns.

Despite their differences, there are certain websites and conferences that bring the various hacker clans together. Like any political movement, it is internally diverse but, under the right conditions, individuals with distinct abilities will work in unison toward a cause.

Take, for instance, the reaction to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a far-reaching copyright bill meant to curtail piracy online. SOPA was unraveled before being codified into law due to a massive and elaborate outpouring of dissent driven by the hacker movement.

The linchpin was a “Blackout Day”—a Web-based protest of unprecedented scale. To voice their opposition to the bill, on January 17, 2012, nonprofits, some big Web companies, public interest groups, and thousands of individuals momentarily removed their websites from the Internet and thousands of other citizens called or e-mailed their representatives. Journalists eventually wrote a torrent of articles. Less than a week later, in response to these stunning events, SOPA and PIPA, its counterpart in the Senate, were tabled (see “SOPA Battle Won, but War Continues”).

The victory hinged on its broad base of support cultivated by hackers and geeks. The participation of corporate giants like Google, respected Internet personalities like Jimmy Wales, and the civil liberties organization EFF was crucial to its success. But the geek and hacker contingent was palpably present, and included, of course, Anonymous. Since 2008, activists have rallied under this banner to initiate targeted demonstrations, publicize various wrongdoings, leak sensitive data, engage in digital direct action, and provide technology assistance for revolutionary movements.

To Read the Rest

Richard D. Wolff: Global Capitalism

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sharif Abdel Kouddous: 2 Years into Uprising, Bahrain Feels Like a "Nation Under Occupation"

Sharif Abdel Kouddous: 2 Years into Uprising, Bahrain Feels Like a "Nation Under Occupation"
Democracy Now

Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous joins us to discuss his recent trip to Bahrain, where the Sunni monarchy continues its crackdown on a two-year-old uprising. Since February 2011, at least 87 people have died at the hands of U.S.-backed forces. While talks are taking place this week between the Bahraini government and opposition groups, several of Bahrain’s leading human rights defenders remain imprisoned. "Bahrain had the feeling of a country under occupation," Kouddous says of his visit. "There was helmeted riot police in full armor wielding shotguns, tear gas, sound grenades, deployed around villages outside of the capital. There was helicopters buzzing overhead conducting surveillance. ... Many people lament there, from the opposition movement, that they have been forsaken by the international community and forgotten by the world’s media for this uprising that doesn’t get a lot of attention."


Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! correspondent and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His latest article for The Nation, "Scenes from a Bahraini Burial," will be published today.

To Watch the Episode

Gabriella Coleman: Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking; Steve Vittoria: Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal

Law and Disorder Radio

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking

In the past 2 years, we’ve discussed in many interviews and updates, the attacks on whistle-blowers and hackers. The emerging movement of programmers, hackers, open source software, online communities has challenged and exposed corporate and government control and surveillance, making them targets of prosecution. As many may know, our own Michael Ratner has represented whistle-blower Julian Assange, computer activist Jeremy Hammond, and has been a legal adviser to many others including the late Aaron Swartz. Today we talk with author Gabriella Coleman about her recently published book Encoding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking. It’s a good place to start for those learning about the political significance of free software, intellectual property and the morality of computer hacking.

Guest – Gabriella Coleman, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy in the Art History and Communication Studies Department at McGill University. Trained as an anthropologist, she researches, writes, and teaches on hackers and digital activism.

Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal

The new documentary, “Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal,” is premiering across the country. The film includes interviews from Cornel West, Alice Walker, Ruby Dee, Dick Gregory, Amy Goodman, Michael Parenti, writers Tariq Ali, and Michelle Alexander. This film beautifully captures the importance of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s life as an American journalist, and radical. He published seven books in prison including the best selling “Live From Death Row.”

In Chris Hedges’ review he points out what Cornel West says in the film: “The state is very clever in terms of keeping track, especially [of] the courageous and visionary ones, the ones that are long-distance runners. You can keep track of them, absorb ’em, dilute ’em, or outright kill ’em—you don’t have to worry about opposition to ’em.”
Guest – Steve Vittoria, the writer, director, producer and editor of Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal. The film premiered in theaters in New York City earlier this month.

To Listen to the Episode

Democracy Now Headlines: Judge in ... Jeremy Hammond Case Opts Not to Recuse Herself Despite Alleged Conflict

Democracy Now Headlines

Judge in ... Jeremy Hammond Case Opts Not to Recuse Herself Despite Alleged Conflict

A judge presiding over the trial of accused hacker Jeremy Hammond has opted not to recuse herself from his case, despite claims she has a conflict of interest. Hammond’s attorneys had filed a motion for Judge Loretta Preska to step down, saying her husband was directly affected by the hack as a client of Stratfor — the private intelligence firm Hammond is accused of targeting. Hammond could face a life term for allegedly turning over millions of Stratfor emails to WikiLeaks. In a statement from solitary confinement this week, Hammond responded to the suicide last month of fellow Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz, who was weeks before a trial date for downloading a trove of articles from the nonprofit JSTOR. Jeremy Hammond wrote: "In a society supposedly based on principles of democracy and due process, Aaron’s efforts to liberate the internet ... make him a hero, not a criminal. ... This sad and angering chapter should serve as a wake up call for all of us to acknowledge the danger inherent in our criminal justice system." Newly obtained documents show how the FBI had closely monitored Aaron Swartz, collecting information from his social media profiles, tracking his blog posts, and at one point seeking to "locate Aaron Swartz, his vehicles, drivers license information and picture."

Timoth Wu: America's First Lesson in the Power and Peril of Concentrated Control Over the Flow of Information

While [Alexander Graham] Bell was trying to work the bugs out of his telephone, Western Union, telephony's first and most dangerous (though for the moment unwitting) rival, had, they reckoned, a much bigger fish to fry: making their man president of the United States. Here we introduce the nation's first great communications monopolist, whose reign provides history's first lesson in the power and peril of concentrated control over the flow of information. Western Union's man was one Rutherford B. Hates, an obscure Ohio politician described by a contemporary journalist as "a third rate nonentity." But the firm and its partner newswire, the Associated Press, wanted Hayes in office, for several reasons. Hayes was a close friend of William Henry Smith, a former politician who was now the key political operator at the Associated Press. More generally, since the Civil War, the Republican Party and the telegraph industry had enjoyed a special relationship, in part because much of what were eventually Western Union's lines were built by the Union Army.

So making Hayes president was the goal, but how was the telegram in Reid's hand key to achieving it?

The media and communications industries are regularly accused of trying to influence politics, but what went on in the 1870s was of a wholly different order from anything we could imagine today. At the time, Western Union was the exclusive owner of the nationwide telegraph network, and the sizable Associated Press was the unique source for "instant" national or European news. (It's later competitor, the United Press, which would be founded on the U.S. Post Office's new telegraph lines, did not yet exist.) The Associated Press took advantage of its economies of scale to produce millions of lines of copy a year and, apart from local news, its product was the mainstay of many American newspapers.

With the common law notion of "common carriage" deemed inapplicable, and the latter day concept of "net neutrality" not yet imagined, Western Union carried Associated Press reports exclusively. Working closely with the Republican Party and avowedly Republican papers like The New York Times (the ideal of an unbiased press would not be established for some time, and the minting of the Time's liberal bona fides would take longer still), they did what they could to throw the election to Hayes. It was easy: the AP ran story after story about what an honest man Hayes was, what a good governor he had been, or just whatever he happened to be doing that day. It omitted any scandals related to Hayes, and it declined to run positive stories about his rivals (James Blaine in the primary, Samuel Tilden in the general). But beyond routine favoritism, late that Election Day Western Union offered the Hayes campaign a secret weapon that would come to light only much later.

Hayes, far from being the front-runner, had gained the Republican nomination only on the seventh ballot. But as the polls closed his persistence appeared a waste of time, for Tilden, the Democrat, held a clear advantage in the popular vote (by a margin of over 250,000) and seemed headed for victory according to most early returns; by some accounts Hayes privately conceded defeat. But late that night, Reid, the New York Times editor, alerted the Republican Party that the Democrats, despite extensive intimidation of Republican supporters, remained unsure of their victory in the South. The GOP sent some telegrams of its own to the Republican governors in the South with special instructions for manipulating state electoral commissions. As a result the Hayes campaign abruptly claimed victory, resulting in an electoral dispute that would make Bush v. Gore seem a garden party. After a few brutal months, the Democrats relented, allowing Hayes the presidency — in exchange, most historians believe, for the removal of federal troops from the South, effectively ending Reconstruction.

The full history of the 1876 election is complex, and the power of the Western Union network was just one factor, to be sure. But while mostly studied by historians and political scientists, the dispute should also be taken as a crucial parable for communications policy makers. More than anything, it showed what kind of political advantage a discriminatory network can confer. When the major channels for moving information are loyal to one party, its effects, while often invisible, can be profound.

It also showed how a single communications monopolist can use its power not just for discrimination, but for outright betrayal of trust, revealing for the first time why what we now call "electronic privacy" might matter. Hayes might never have been President but for the fact that Western Union provided secret access to the telegrams sent by his rivals. Western Union's role was a blatant instance of malfeasance despite its explicit promise that "all messages whatsoever" would be kept "strictly private and confidential," the company regularly betrayed the public trust by turning over private, and strategically actionable, communications to the Hayes campaign. (22-24)

Wu, Timothy. The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.

Matthew Cunningham-Cook: The Christopher Dorner Complex

The Christopher Dorner Complex
by Matthew Cunningham-Cook


The initial response to the Dorner phenomena — like most phenomena involving madmen — has been to isolate it as an individual event, extrinsic to our society. Why does he hate us? Indeed, the presentation of most criminality is as something monstrous. This formulation ignores something crucial: it is impossible to arbitrarily separate some parts of our lives from the others. It is as foolish to presume that criminality is monstrous as it is to presume that the leg operates independently of the hip.

And so the Dorner incident, like all incidents involving madmen, requires us to consider the madness that structures life in America.

Baldwin’s midcentury injunction still holds today, absent the male normativity: we do need to take a hard look at ourselves. Why has Dorner attracted such support online, especially in communities of color? Why have two more LAPD officers, at great risk, come forward to address the free-flowing racism that characterizes their worklife? The questions we might ask will be fraught with peril, but there could be great positives: one of the key things that this experience has exposed is that a broader social consideration of what it means to live life ethically is gravely absent.

In Dorner’s case, the allegory of life to a furnace takes literal weight — he has died, consumed by fire. The police will celebrate, the chorus will quiet, the lives of his victims mourned. It is unlikely that the fire that burned away Dorner will burn away any illusion: this is unfortunate, and disturbing. His allegations will be dismissed as the rantings of a lunatic, things will return to normal. Until the fire, next time.

To Read the Entire Commentary

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nirvana: Bleach

Screaming Trees: Invisible Lantern

Moyers & Company: Jonathan Haidt - How Do Conservatives and Liberals See the World?

How Do Conservatives and Liberals See the World?
Moyers and Co.

Our country is more politically polarized than ever. Is it possible to agree to disagree and still move on to solve our massive problems? Or are the blind leading the blind — over the cliff?

Bill and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt talk about the psychological underpinnings of our contentious culture, why we can’t trust our own opinions, and the demonizing of our adversaries.

“When it gets so that your opponents are not just people you disagree with, but… the mental state in which I am fighting for good, and you are fighting for evil, it’s very difficult to compromise,” Haidt tells Moyers. “Compromise becomes a dirty word.”

To Listen to the Episode


Chris Kluwe: The First Amendment is not just about freedom FOR religion, it's also about freedom FROM religion

Colin Stokes: How Movies Teach Manhood

Colin Stokes: How movies teach manhood
TED Talks

When Colin Stokes’ 3-year-old son caught a glimpse of Star Wars, he was instantly obsessed. But what messages did he absorb from the sci-fi classic? Stokes asks for more movies that send positive messages to boys: that cooperation is heroic, and respecting women is as manly as defeating the villain.

To Watch the Talk

Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá: You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

Take food for example. We all assume that our craving or disgust is due to something about the food itself - as opposed to being an often arbitrary response preprogrammed by our culture. We understand that Australians prefer cricket to baseball, or that the French somehow find Gerard Depardieu sexy, but how hungry would you have to be before you would consider plucking a moth from the night air and popping it, frantic and dusty, into your mouth? Flap, crunch, ooze. You could wash it down with some saliva beer.How does a plate of sheep brain's sound? Broiled puppy with gravy? May we interest you in pig ears or shrimp heads? Perhaps a deep-fried songbird that you chew up, bones, beak, and all? A game of cricket on a field of grass is one thing, but pan-fried crickets over lemongrass? That's revolting.

Or is it? If lamb chops are fine, what makes lamb brains horrible? A pig's shoulder, haunch, and belly are damn fine eatin', but the ears, snout, and feet are gross? How is lobster so different from grasshopper? Who distinguishes delectable from disgusting, and what's their rationale? And what about all the expectations? Grind up those leftover pig parts, stuff 'em in an intestine, and you've got yourself respectable sausage or hot dogs. You may think bacon and eggs just go together, like French fries and ketchup or salt and pepper. But the combination of bacon and eggs for breakfast was dreamed up about a hundred years aqo by an advertising hired to sell more bacon, and the Dutch eat their fries with mayonnaise, not ketchup.

Think it's rational to be grossed out by eating bugs? Think again. A hundred grams of dehydrated cricket contains 1,550 milligrams of iron, 340 milligrams of calcium, and 25 milligrams of zinc - three minerals often missing in the diets of the chronic poor. Insects are richer in minerals and healthy fats than beef or pork. Freaked out by the exoskeleton, antennae, and the way too many legs? Then stick to the Turf and forget the Surf because shrimps, crabs, and lobsters are all anthropods, just like grasshoppers. And they eat the nastiest of what sinks to the bottom of the ocean, so don't talk about bugs' disgusting diets. Anyway, you may have bug parts stuck between your teeth right now. The Food and Drug Administration tells its inspectors to ignore insect parts in black pepper unless they find more than 475 of them per 50 grams, on average. A fact sheet from Ohio State University estimates that Americans unknowingly eat an average of between one and two pounds of insects per year.

An Italian professor recently published Ecological Implications of Mini-livestock: Potential of Insects, Rodents, Frogs and Snails. (Minicowpokes sold separately.) Writing in, William Saletan tells us about a company by the name of Sunrise Land Shrimp. The company's logo: "Mmm. That's good Land Shrimp!" Three guesses what Land Shrimp is. (20-21)

Ryan, Christopher and Cacilda Jethá. Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. Harper Collins, 2010.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Democracy Now Headlines: Palestinian Filmmaker Behind 5 Broken Cameras Detained at LAX Ahead of Oscars

Palestinian Filmmaker Behind "5 Broken Cameras" Detained at LAX Ahead of Oscars
Democracy Now

A Palestinian filmmaker and his family were detained at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday after arriving to attend this weekend’s Academy Awards. The filmmaker, Emad Burnat, is nominated in the Best Documentary category for "5 Broken Cameras," which documents the growth of a resistance movement to the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in. In a series of Twitter messages, the filmmaker Michael Moore said immigration officers told Burnat he would not be allowed to enter the country even after he showed them his Oscar invite. Burnat and his family were eventually released after Moore phoned Academy attorneys. Moore quoted Burnat as saying: "It’s nothing I’m not already used to. When [you] live under occupation, with no rights, this is a daily occurrence."

Link to Today's Headlines

Nirvana: Nevermind

[Happy Birthday Kurt -- wish you could have stayed with us longer]

Nicole Willis and the Blues Investigators: Feeling Free

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Democracy Now: Wanted for Killing 3, Christopher Dorner’s Claims of Racism, Corruption Resonate with LAPD’s Critics

Wanted for Killing 3, Christopher Dorner’s Claims of Racism, Corruption Resonate with LAPD’s Critics
Democracy Now

A manhunt is continuing in California for Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer accused of shooting three people dead. In his online manifesto, Dorner threatened to wage "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" against a police department he accused of racism and corruption. He was fired from the police department in 2008 after being accused of falsely claiming his training officer kicked a mentally ill suspect in the course of an arrest. On Friday, the LAPD announced it would reopen its investigation of Dorner’s firing and his claims. We’re joined by journalist and activist Davey D, who says, notwithstanding the allegations of murder, Dorner’s manifesto "has opened up old wounds or it’s reaffirmed what people have long suspected or have experienced in terms of [police] brutality. ... I’m really curious as to whether or not these allegations that he has raised, where he names dates, times and places and names, whether or not they actually check out. And I think that needs to be really investigated, above and beyond the immediate scenario which led to his firing."


Davey D, journalist and activist. He runs the popular website, "Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner" at He is co-host of Hard Knock Radio on KPFA in Berkeley, California. He is also an adjunct professor at San Francisco State in the Afro Studies Department.

To Watch the Episode

More Resources:

The Daily Dot: Second ex-LAPD Manifesto Released Online

Occupy Police: A 3rd Former LAPD Officer steps forward in the wake of Christopher Dorner

Video of the Police Attack on Dorner's Hideout

Nirvana: Come As You Are (Live)

Automatic Self Destruct: Arizona Uber Allies

Monday, February 18, 2013

Saturday Night Live: New Tarantino Movie "Djesus Uncrossed"

Matt Taibbi: Journalist


Wikipedia: Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone: Taibblog

Democracy Now: Matt Taibbi

AlterNet: Matt Taibbi

Twitter: @mtaibbi

Smirking Chimp: Matt Taibbi's Blog

Resources by/about/referencing Matt Taibbi:

Benton, Michael Dean. "Hate Message #25 Concerning the New Socialist Student Union at BCTC: A Tea Party Supporter." Dialogic (October 1, 2010)

Black, William and Matt Taibbi. "Bailout Secrets & How New Foreclosure Deal Spares Banks from Justice." Democracy Now (January 11, 2013)

Foster, John Bellamy and Hannah Holleman. "The Financial Power Elite." Monthly Review 62.1 (May 2010)

Harrison, Edward. "Matt Taibbi: Obama's Big Sellout." Credit Writedowns (December 11, 2009)

Mayer, Danny. "Corporate creep in University of Kentucky CEO search." North of Center (November 24, 2010)

---. "How JP Morgan Took Over All Kentucky's Financial Services, And Why You Should Be Scared." AlterNet (August 4, 2011)

Schecter, Danny. "US economics: One big Ponzi scheme." Aljazeera (February 20, 2011)

Taibbi, Matt. "AIG Exec Whines About Public Anger, and Now We're Supposed to Pity Him? Yeah, Right." The Smirking Chimp (March 27, 2009)

---. "At Least We're Not Measles: Rationalizing Drone Attacks Hits New Low." Taibblog (February 14, 2013)

---. " Bank of America - Too Crooked to Fail: The bank has defrauded everyone from investors and insurers to homeowners and the unemployed. So why does the government keep bailing it out?" Rolling Stone (March 14, 2012)

---. "The Big Takeover: How Wall Street Insiders are Using the Bailout to Stage a Revolution. The global economic crisis isn't about money - it's about power." Common Dreams (March 22, 2009)

---. "A Christmas Message From America's Rich." Rolling Stone (December 22, 2011)

---. "Gangster Bankers - Too Big to Jail: How HSBC hooked up with drug traffickers and terrorists. And got away with it." Rolling Stone (February 14, 2013)

---. "The Great American Bubble Machine: From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression - and they're about to do it again." Rolling Stone (April 5, 2010)

---. "The Great Derangement." Media Matters (February 22, 2009)

---. "Greed, Excess and America's Gaping Class Divide." Common Dreams (July 14, 2011)

---. "How Wall Street Hedge Funds Are Looting the Pension Funds of Public Workers." Democracy Now (September 26, 2013)

---. "How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform." Rolling Stone (May 10, 2012)

---. "Lara Logan, You Suck." Taibblog (June 28, 2010)

---. Looting the Pension Funds: All across America, Wall Street is grabbing money meant for public workers." Rolling Stone (September 26, 2013)

---. " Maybe We Deserve to Be Ripped Off By Bush's Billionaires: While America obsessed about Brittany's shaved head, Bush offered a budget that offers $32.7 billion in tax cuts to the Wal-Mart family alone, while cutting $28 billion from Medicaid." AlterNet (February 20, 2007)

---. "On Big Banks Lack of Accountability." Moyers & Company (February 1, 2013)

---. "On Goldman Sachs." Counterspin (August 21, 2009)

---. "The Real Housewives of Wall Street: Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?" Rolling Stone (April 11, 2011)

---. "The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia: How America's biggest banks took part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy - until they were caught on tape." Rolling Stone (June 20, 2012)

---. "Someone Take Away Thomas Friedman's Computer Before He Types Another Sentence." The Smirking Chimp (January 22, 2009)

---. "Teabagging Michelle Malkin." The Smirking Chimp (April 16, 2009)

---. "The Truth About the Tea Party." Rolling Stone (September 28, 2010)

---. "Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street." Democracy Now (April 15, 2014)

---. "Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail? Financial crooks brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them." Rolling Stone (February 16, 2011)

---. "You Can Go to Prison for Pot, While Big Banks Get Away With Laundering Drug Cartel Cash." AlterNet (December 13, 2012)

---. "Zero Dark Thirty Is Osama bin Laden's Last Victory Over America." Rolling Stone (January 16, 2013)

Taibbi, Matt, et al. "The Politics of Audacity." To the Best of Our Knowledge (January 13, 2008)

Matt Taibbi: The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia: How America's biggest banks took part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy - until they were caught on tape
by Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone

Someday, it will go down in history as the first trial of the modern American mafia. Of course, you won't hear the recent financial corruption case, United States of America v. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm, called anything like that. If you heard about it at all, you're probably either in the municipal bond business or married to an antitrust lawyer. Even then, all you probably heard was that a threesome of bit players on Wall Street got convicted of obscure antitrust violations in one of the most inscrutable, jargon-packed legal snoozefests since the government's massive case against Microsoft in the Nineties – not exactly the thrilling courtroom drama offered by the famed trials of old-school mobsters like Al Capone or Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo.

But this just-completed trial in downtown New York against three faceless financial executives really was historic. Over 10 years in the making, the case allowed federal prosecutors to make public for the first time the astonishing inner workings of the reigning American crime syndicate, which now operates not out of Little Italy and Las Vegas, but out of Wall Street.

The defendants in the case – Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm – worked for GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric. Along with virtually every major bank and finance company on Wall Street – not just GE, but J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia and more – these three Wall Street wiseguys spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America. The banks achieved this gigantic rip-off by secretly colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion. By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes – from "virtually every state, district and territory in the United States," according to one settlement. And they did it so cleverly that the victims never even knew they were being ­cheated. No thumbs were broken, and nobody ended up in a landfill in New Jersey, but money disappeared, lots and lots of it, and its manner of disappearance had a familiar name: organized crime.

In fact, stripped of all the camouflaging financial verbiage, the crimes the defendants and their co-conspirators committed were virtually indistinguishable from the kind of thuggery practiced for decades by the Mafia, which has long made manipulation of public bids for things like garbage collection and construction contracts a cornerstone of its business. What's more, in the manner of old mob trials, Wall Street's secret machinations were revealed during the Carollo trial through crackling wiretap recordings and the lurid testimony of cooperating witnesses, who came into court with bowed heads, pointing fingers at their accomplices. The new-age gangsters even invented an elaborate code to hide their crimes. Like Elizabethan highway robbers who spoke in thieves' cant, or Italian mobsters who talked about "getting a button man to clip the capo," on tape after tape these Wall Street crooks coughed up phrases like "pull a nickel out" or "get to the right level" or "you're hanging out there" – all code words used to manipulate the interest rates on municipal bonds. The only thing that made this trial different from a typical mob trial was the scale of the crime.

USA v. Carollo involved classic cartel activity: not just one corrupt bank, but many, all acting in careful concert against the public interest. In the years since the economic crash of 2008, we've seen numerous hints that such orchestrated corruption exists. The collapses of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, for instance, both pointed to coordi­nated attacks by powerful banks and hedge funds determined to speed the demise of those firms. In the bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama, we learned that Goldman Sachs accepted a $3 million bribe from J.P. Morgan Chase to permit Chase to serve as the sole provider of toxic swap deals to the rubes running metropolitan Birmingham – "an open-and-shut case of anti-competitive behavior," as one former regulator described it.

More recently, a major international investigation has been launched into the manipulation of Libor, the interbank lending index that is used to calculate global interest rates for products worth more than $3 trillion a year. If and when that case is presented to the public at trial – there are several major civil suits in the works here in the States – we may yet find out that the world's most powerful banks have, for years, been fixing the prices of almost every adjustable-rate vehicle on earth, from mortgages and credit cards to interest-rate swaps and even currencies.

But USA v. Carollo marks the first time we actually got incontrovertible evidence that Wall Street has moved into this cartel-type brand of criminality. It also offered a disgusting glimpse into the enabling and grossly cynical role played by politicians, who took Super Bowl tickets and bribe-stuffed envelopes to look the other way while gangsters raided the public kitty. And though the punishments that were ultimately handed down in the trial – minor convictions of three bit players – felt deeply unsatisfying, it was still a watershed moment in the ongoing story of America's gradual awakening to the realities of financial corruption. In a post-crash era where Wall Street trials almost never make it into court, and even the harshest settlements end with the evidence buried by the government and the offending banks permitted to escape with no admission of wrongdoing, this case finally dragged the whole ugly truth of American finance out into the open – and it was a hell of a show.

To Read the Rest of the Essay

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Shift Change: True Stories of Dignified Jobs in Democratic Workplaces

Shift Change: True Stories of Dignified Jobs in Democratic Workplaces
Films For Action

At a time when many are disillusioned with big banks and big business, and growing inequity in our country, employee ownership offers a real solution for workers and communities. Shift Change is a new documentary that highlights worker-owned enterprises in North America and in Mondragon, Spain. The film couldn’t be more timely, as 2012 has been declared by the U.N. as the “International Year of the Cooperative.”

To Watch

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Films We Want to See #24: Occupy Love (Canada: Velcrow Ripper, 2013)

Matte Hjort: Film ... has an extraordinary capacity to expand our reality

Film matters, among other things, because it has an extraordinary capacity to expand our reality, to deepen our moral sensibility, and to shape our self-understandings, sometimes by moving us closer to cultures, problems, and realities that are distant from those we know well. That said, I think it is far from being the case that all films matter. The task, I think, for film scholars in the future will be to help to ensure that films that genuinely do matter continue to get made, and that they receive the attention they deserve.

Matte Hjort, "Film ... has an extraordinary capacity to expand our reality." Why Does Film Matter (Intellect Books, 2008)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dead Kennedys: Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death

Fugazi: The Argument

Elysian Fields: I Can't Tell My Friends

AK Press: What Do You Mean By "Anarchism"

{MB: for the record, because I have already been asked, here is What I Mean By Anarchism)

What Do You Mean By "Anarchism?
AK Press

"Like all really good ideas," writes Clifford Harper, "Anarchy is pretty simple when you get down to it—human beings are at their best when they are living free of authority, deciding things among themselves rather than being ordered about." Anarchism means abolishing the state and all coercive social relations. It means a society in which individuals create and control their own collective organizations to meet their social and economic needs. These organizations would federate and democratically coordinate (rather than compete) among themselves without any government oversight. Some say that this is impossible, that without governmental authority we’d descend into violence, lawlessness, and corruption. But, look around: isn’t that pretty much what we have now? Government is a centralized force that imposes rules from above, suppressing individual initiative in the interests of a small minority. Capitalism is an economic system based on exploitation, private ownership (theft) of society’s resources, and a logic of ruthless competition. Rather than accept these human constructions as "natural," AK Press draws on a rich history of folks from all over the planet and from all walks of life who have imagined, fought for, and actually achieved something better.

No government, “revolutionary” or otherwise, has ever liberated its citizens from gender, racial, or class oppression. No government has ever developed a model for an environmentally sustainable society. With a record like that, it’s strange that anyone still backs that particular horse. Back in the day, as socialist ideas were developing and confronting the emerging capitalist system, revolutionaries claimed that “the emancipation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves.” Anarchists still make that claim. We don’t advocate “no control,” but insist on asking “control by whom?” We work to destroy arbitrary power (political, economic, and social), to take decision-making power away from “officials,” while developing our ability to fill that void and provide for ourselves. “People's governments” invariably become calcified and abandon the struggle for human freedom. This is why we identify with the liberatory strains within the history of socialism—the unbroken thread of impassioned resistance against both the terrors of capitalism and the tyranny of government.

Anarchism doesn't tell people what to do. It tells them that they have the ability to make decisions about the issues that affect them. Anarchism, and the anarchist movement, is about emancipation, empowerment, and agency. Ask yourself this: what would your ideal transportation system, agricultural system, neighborhood, school, or workplace look like? Now ask yourself how much influence you and the people around you have over these issues? Can we afford to leave these decisions to the same people who have been screwing up our lives thus far?

Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould once wrote, “I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” The repressive hierarchies of capitalism and the state create human beings who are mere shells of what we could be, stunting us mentally, physically, and emotionally. Adding insult to injury, we’re then taught to blame ourselves for this situation, instead of looking for the institutional roots of our problems.

Beca0use destroying one form of oppression only leaves the others to fester, anarchism tries to focus on all unequal power relations simultaneously. Capitalism and the state didn’t invent racism, patriarchy, or gender oppression, but they use a variety of divisive tactics to bolster our dependence on them. Understanding how oppressions are interlinked is an important step in overcoming them, as well as a way to practice freedom here and now, rather than relegating it to some distant future.

For us, anarchism is a practical framework for working out these issues. It’s a revolutionary analysis that helps us understand the roots of domination, both as individuals and as members of exploited social groups. It offers a useful and instructive history of theoretical and practical experimentation by people who have worked to expand the definition of freedom itself by fighting those who violently constrain and deny it.

Read the Rest of This Statement

I Love Mountains! Protest In Frankfurt, KY (2/14/13)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Films We Want to See #23: Hannah Arendt (Germany/Luxembourg/France: Margarethe von Trotta, 2012: 113 mins)

Films We Want To See #22: The House I Live In (Netherlands/UK/Germany/Japan/Australia/USA: Eugene Jarecki, 2012: 108 mins)

Global Research: Gregory Elich - Putting the Squeeze on North Korea

Putting the Squeeze on North Korea
by Gregory Elich
Global Research

Tensions are escalating since North Korea’s launch of a satellite into orbit on December 12, 2012. Overwrought news reports termed the launch a “threat” and a “provocation,” while U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor called it “irresponsible behavior.” Punishment for North Korea was swift in coming.

North Korea’s Kwangmyongsong-3 was just one of 75 satellites that a variety of nations sent into space last year, but Pyongyang’s launch, and a failed launch earlier in the year on April 12, were the only ones singled out for condemnation. [1] In Western eyes, there was something uniquely threatening about the Kwangmyongsong-3 earth observation satellite, unlike the apparently more benign five military and three spy satellites the United States launched last year.

We are told that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, the official name for North Korea) used the satellite launch to test ballistic missile technology. But the North Koreans could hardly have sent their satellite into orbit by slingshot. The Kwangmyongsong-3 was equipped with a camera intended to help assess the nation’s natural resources and forest distribution and to collect crop estimates. The Western press was quick to scoff at the satellite as having no rational economic purpose. Although the satellite failed to become operable, a common enough experience for nations putting their first satellite into space, the intent was to support much-needed ecological recovery in North Korea and to aid agricultural planning.

Specialists argue that the DPRK’s Unha-3 missile, used for the launch, is not a suitable candidate for delivering a nuclear warhead. According to analyst Markus Schiller of Schmucker Technologie in Germany, for North Korea to “become a player in the ICBM game, they would have to develop a different kind of missile, with higher performance. And if they do that seriously, we would have to see flight tests every other month, over several years.” [2] The North Korean missile “was developed as a satellite launcher and not as a weapon,” Schiller says. “The technology was suited only for satellite launch.” Brian Weedan, a space expert at the Secure World Foundation, agrees, and points out that the missile took a sharp turn to avoid flying over Taiwan and the Philippines. “That is definitely something more associated with a space launch than with a ballistic missile launch. It’s not what you would expect to see with a missile test.” [3]

The Unha-3 is simply too small for the job of delivering a nuclear warhead, even assuming that the DPRK had miniaturized a nuclear bomb, an endeavor requiring significant time and effort. The North Koreans would also need to develop a long-range guidance system and a reentry vehicle capable of withstanding the heat of returning through the atmosphere. Experts consider the DPRK to be years away from achieving such steps. [4]

In regard to North Korea’s satellite launches, Lewis Franklin and Nick Hansen of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation remark, “The oft-repeated phrase ‘readily convertible to an ICBM’ posed by non-technical policy experts is engineering-wise unsupportable.” They explain that while other nations have utilized ICBMs for sending satellites into space, conversion of a light missile like the Uhha-3 into an ICBM “requires considerable redesign and testing, and no country has taken this route.” [5]

The other aspect of the launch that the U.S found so provocative was its violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 of June 12, 2009, which enjoined the DPRK from conducting “any launch using ballistic missile technology.” That resolution was prompted by a North Korean nuclear test. Yet, when Israel, Pakistan and India – all non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – not only performed testing, but proceeded to build substantial nuclear arsenals and missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads, no action was forthcoming. This double standard has not gone unnoticed in the DPRK, which understands that the distinction between the North Korean case and that of Israel, Pakistan and India hinges on the latter three nations being U.S. allies, while for decades it has been the target of Western sanctions, threats and pressure.

Interestingly enough, India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapon-capable ballistic missiles at around the time of North Korea’s failed satellite launch on April 12, 2012. [6] The Indian and Pakistani missiles did not carry satellites; these were purely military tests, a fact which did not perturb the Obama Administration. Criticism was reserved for North Korea alone, while in regard to India’s test, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner merely noted that the U.S. has a “very strong strategic and security partnership with India.” [7] Following Pakistan’s launch, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland’s only comment was, “What’s most important is that they do seem to have taken steps to inform the Indians.” [8] These mild remarks contrasted with the vociferous abuse poured upon North Korea for its non-nuclear capable missiles carrying satellites.

Since the April ballistic missile launches, India and Pakistan have continued their tests, including India’s test of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile fired from underwater, part of its program to develop submarine-based nuclear missiles. [9] India conducted its underwater ballistic missile test on January 27, only a few days after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea for putting a satellite into orbit.

When North Korea launched its satellite, India condemned the launch as “unwarranted,” and termed it an action adversely impacting peace and stability. [10] That same day, India test fired its nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile, again without complaint by the U.S. [11] And just days after passage of the UN Security Council resolution against the DPRK, Japan put two spy satellites into space, both aimed at North Korea. [12] Not surprisingly, these missile launches evoked no complaint from U.S. officials.

South Korea successfully placed its own satellite into orbit on January 30, 2013, with the complete support of the U.S., which only added to North Korea’s growing sense of irritation over the blatant double standard. The hypocrisy is quite breathtaking. The U.S. sits atop the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, possesses the largest military machine on earth, regularly invades or bombs other nations, threatens nations who refuse to bend to its will, turns a blind eye to tests of ballistic missiles by India, Pakistan and Israel, and it condemns the small nation of North Korea for engaging in “provocative” behavior by sending a peaceful satellite into space.

The DPRK bears the distinction of being the only nation to have a UN Security Council resolution in effect banning it from launching a satellite. Yet, the international outer space treaty affirms that outer space “shall be the province of all mankind,” and that “Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind.” [13] Note the language used here: “without discrimination of any kind.” This is absolutely unambiguous. The treaty does not say “except when the powerful choose to deny this right to a small nation.”

To Read the Rest of the Article