Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Way We "ARE"!

Here's how propaganda works, in less than three minutes. Everything you ever wanted to know. Do you feel great yet?

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Road to Skye...

In Scotland, the back-roads are almost all one-lane wide, with turn-outs about every quarter mile. On-coming traffic races one another to get past the closest turn-out before the auto coming from the other direction does, thereby forcing them to stop and wait for you. That's where this guy, former world F-1 and Indy champion, Jackie Stewart, learned to do it. This video, which I don't own, and claim only fair use consideration for, features Stewart narrating a tour around the "old" Nurburgring, in the hills and forests of the Rhineland, south of Bonn. This is the track which Stewart , himself, memorably named"The Green Hell." Growing up on Scottish roads would have prepared him well. I attended races there in '65 (Jim Clark won) and '66 (Jack Brabham), and in between got to drive the circuit--it's public roads, or it was then--in a speedy little Fiat coupe...

Welcome To The NFL: Not Sams' Club?

How Woody Seezit: The Dallas sports guy, Hansen, has got it spot on. Bingo. Cha-Ching.

But, unfortunately, I believe the NFL will exact a punishment on Sams, for making an "issue" of his sexuality, and making the league face the issue head-on. He holds up a mirror to the league, and they don't like how they look.  By his announcement, Sams made the NFL "look bad."

That's because "The League" (really, a single, corporate entity with 30 franchises) would rather not have to deal with this. Their dilemma is that by accepting Sams, they risk alienating a pretty large portion of their "fan base," many of whom are of the same persuasion as those cracker asswholes who murdered Matthew Shepard a decade ago and hung his body on a fence like vermin. They'll balk at paying to watch "faggots" on the field, and it would hurt revenues.

But if they don't accept Sams--named and widely acknowledged the BEST defensive player in the BEST conference in the country, the SEC--then they look like the intolerant cracker asswholes--which. of course, they consumately are--but that sort of admission, even de facto, will generate acres of bad press, too.

So Sams coming out put the "League"  in a "no win" situation, and they can be expected to extract some sort of vengeance.

Which is why I think there's a high probably he will NOT be drafted at all, and almost CERTAINLY not in the high rounds, where his signing would be seen as a signal of at least tacit approval.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Breitbartian Taint: Snowden, Greenwald, and Secrecy

Woody has been remarkably and commendably circumspect about Edward Snowden and Greenwald's free-lance espionage escapades to this point. Much of interest has been revealed, much more--one suspects--has not.

As you'd know, if they still taught history when you were in school, our government has been doing shit like this since at LEAST the 1870s. Only then it was the Wobblies, or the nigras, or the Irish, then Italian immigrants, or the socialists, or suffragettes, or the Mexicans, or some other acceptably marginalized group (civil rights workers, student activists, more recently), so that the good burghers didn't feel imposed upon. Now those complacent burghers feel like they're being cast with the ni**ers and the rest of the undesirables, and they don't like it; their tits are in the wringer, and they're squealing.

But it's too late for that. That ship done sailed...

For now, many, many people have very, very much different stuff invested in the Greenwald version of the story. It seems to be a huge cudgel to wield against o'er-weening power of the State. But Greenwald's a libertarian bomb-thrower, and I doubt his allegiance to principle of any kind other than self-interest. Though he's a brilliant self-promoter, you have to give that to him...

And, I've felt all along like something about Snowden "clanged." Something was "off," something was "not right."

It turns out there may have been quite a LOT was and is "off," about both of them AND the story. Its author, Milt Shook, is not an unimpeachable source, either, being accused by detractors of indiscriminately fellating the leadership of the DLC, upon occasion.

Still, I have said and felt since Day 1 of this affair that there was always the troubling whiff of the dissembling, Breitbartian provocateur about Snowden and about the whole proceeding, like Jamie O'Keefe and ACORN, the skeevey little shit "proving" a fallacious point just to create shitstorms of trouble for ideological foes. Greenwald's enough of an opportunist to exploit (or even plot) it.

So I do not give perfect credence to EITHER account. I have my own confirmation bias to deal with; but, I believe I stand confirmed in my doubts, if we may believe this report in any of its particulars...

Which is debatable, of course. Indeed, someone inquired why I should believe this account, or give it more credence than reports by Snowden's coworkers as to his "humble brilliance?"

I said, I see no reason to "believe in" the persona Snowden's projected 'at work,' where, he has as much as admitted he was working as a mole.

Yes indeed, the revelations may  spawn a necessary "national dialogue"--though it should have happened generations ago. It was a common-place among the members of the counter-culture for their business to be reported by moles and impostures. We complained. It didn't stop.

I'll gladly, NOW, admit the need for 'dialogue" on the subject, though it is altogether, utterly unlikely to result in significantly curtailing intel-gathering and analysis activities of all 16 federal bureaus and 2000(+) private corporations doing the Gummint's snooping and analysis. (and arguably, dangerous in a world where EVERY nation possesses and deploys all the intelligence-gathering resources they can afford to posses in pursuit of the same goals).

It may be that  am too cynical, but I'm not sure what's gonne result from this "national debate."
We have 'em all the time, and they're generally fruitless:
Guns, Choice, Wars, Safety Net, Banks/Markets, Corporat Personhood?
We are supposed to have had robust, national debates about all of those. Yet pretty much, the status quo ante obtains.

And, as the FISA/Church Act reforms demonstrated in their failure to prevent the expansion of the Intel mission, the exigencies of global real-politik will compelled (within the epistemic structure of the institution)  them to "stretch" and even break the law. As the "State" is the natal ground of the ends-justifying-means rationality, it is a bit hypocritical to blame it for that means of being, no matter how much we abhor it.

Here's a list of the the countries which have espionage/intel agencies. Many are maintained by nations which are adversaries and/or enemies of the US Empire. For a nation and empire--the largest, richest, most powerful, most despised, most dangerous in history-- which stands (still) atop the pyramid of global power, unilateral disarmament on this front would be as foolhardy, as dangerous as unilaterally disarming the military.

And that's NAGAHAPUN, either.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Danielson Evaluation of Thanksgiving Dinner

Woody'z gotta Holiday Treat for those teachers of his acquaintance-- PE Nolan, Suzanne Farley, Suzanne Libourel, Ellen Jampole, Susan Huddleston Edgerton, and all the rest.
(For non-teachers, The Danielson Guide is a notorious teacher-evaluation "rubric" which permits the disguises of evaluators' biases behind glossy glossaries. Here's your monthly "eval.")

The Danielson Guide to a Highly Effective Thanksgiving:
Unsatisfactory: You don’t know how to cook a turkey. You serve a chicken instead. Half your family doesn’t show because they are unmotivated by your invitation, which was issued at the last minute via Facebook. The other half turn on the football game and fall asleep. Your aunt gets into a fight with your uncle and a big brawl erupts. Food is served on paper plates in front of the TV. You watch the game, and root for the Redskins.

Needs Improvement: You set the alarm, but don’t get up and the turkey is undercooked. 3 children are laughing while you say grace. 4 of your nephews refuse to watch the game with the rest of the family because you have failed to offer differentiated game choices. Conversation during dinner is marked by family members mumbling under their breath at your aunt Rose, who confuses the Mayflower with Titanic after third Martini. Only the somewhat nice relatives thank you on the way out. Your team loses the game.

Proficient: The turkey is heated to the right temperature. All the guests, whom you have invited by formal written correspondence, arrive on time with their assigned dish to pass. Your nephew sneaks near the dessert dish, but quickly walks away when you mention that it is being saved until after dinner. You share a meal in which all family members speak respectfully in turn as they share their thoughts on the meaning of Thanksgiving. All foods served at the table can be traced historically to the time of the Pilgrims. You watch the game as a family, cheer in unison for your team. They win.

Distinguished: The turkey, which has been growing free range in your back yard, comes in your house and jumps in the oven. The guests, who wrote to ask you please be invited to your house, show early with foods to fit all dietary and cultural needs. You watch the game on tape, but only as a video prompt for your family discussion of man’s inhumanity to man. Your family plays six degrees of Sir Francis Bacon and is thus able to resolve, once and for all, the issue of whether Oswald acted alone.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Citizens' Dispatch: "Why Spy?"

Here's a question for those who want to shutter the NSA: Objectively, in the "REAL WORLD" of Nuclear politics and Big Money, why WOULDN'T ANYBODY bug everything and everyone they could? Especially when knowing that EVERYBODY is trying to bug YOU?

That's pretty much how ALL intel gathering works: scoop up everything and hope there's something useful. Back in my day, we used antennae which were pointed where we wanted to listen, and that's what we heard. Today, satellites only point DOWN, and down there, everything is available

"Real-politik" is all about power. It's a bitch if you're on the business end of it, and there is this bit of "real politik/Intel"to consider: Knowledge really is power, especially in state-craft. Information is the raw material of knowledge. You wouldn't want YOUR 'State' to have an information deficit in its dealings with other 'States," would you? You wouldn't want the Govt. NOT TO KNOW what the Russkis are doing, what the Iranians are up to, or whom the Israelis are screwing. NOT KNOWING would be foolishness, where the fate of the world/'civilization' is, often quite literally, in the balance. Ignorance is right on the brink of irresponsibility because, in fact, the world really IS a pretty dangerous place.

So: Everybody spies on everybody else. How could it be otherwise? Johnson knew, via "illegal" phone taps, that Nixon and Kissinger were sabotaging the Paris Peace talks in '68, but "couldn't" reveal it cuz it was "illegally" obtained information, or so it is often alleged. So, too, I imagine that Carter, via the same expedients--"illegal surveillance"-- probably knew that William Casey and GHW Bush were engaged in illegal negotiations with the Iranian mullahs to pre-empt an October Surprise, but "couldn't/wouldn't" blow the whistle on the Raygooners treason.

So: Nobody's really unhappy when the Govt spies on "enemies," "antagonists," etc. No worries. It just gets "tetchy" when you begin to feel like you're the object of the power.

And, NSA spied and spies on EVERYBODY! That's its job, mission, and purpose. In the super-power world of "real-politik," it's just not possible to run an Empire without nearly total supervision and surveillance, domestically and abroad.  And it won't stop, despite all the lawz, regulationz, and rulez Congress can make--there'll STILL be room for plenty of "exceptions." The "law/rule/reg-makers" themselves will see to that.

Remember "Total Information Awareness," from the bad, old days? It "went away" after being exposed, right? Only it was just renamed something more innocuous. The Govt just completed a multi-billion-dollar/multi-million square foot 'information processing'  facility in the Utah desert. What does anyone suppose they're going to do there? Have rodeos? Soccer matches?

Technically, I suppose, "spying" on your own people is ethically questionable. But states/Governments do NOT have "morals." The US Govt has been spying on its own citizens since the Gilded Age, in the 19th Century. Mostly, the targets have been on the margins of society: Wobblies, Communists, Anarchists, labor movements, civil rights activists, etc. Until recently, nobody much complained. Now some (but not all) "every-day" citizens are feeling the pinch of marginality, and are uncomfortable...

Welllll: Pay-back's a bitch, innit, hippies?