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22 March 2004

Keeping the spirit alive

I am not American. I do not live in America. I have little actual, effective jurisdiction over what goes on in the country in which I live, irrespective of whether or not I vote, or if indeed I am even allowed to vote, so it can be safely assumed that I have no sway over the American electoral system. However, like every other human being on this planet, I am being increasingly subjected to the tyrannical actions, and the repercussions of those actions, taken by those that govern the alleged land of the free. (Which definition of 'free' were they using, exactly?)

So, when I received the call-to-arms for the American people via email (congratulations Mr Smith, you're the Antagonist's first), I felt duty bound to post it on the optimistic whim that, maybe, if people the world over can communicate and work together sufficiently well in the run up to an election in America to change things for the better (however naive that notion may be), then maybe this spirit of collaboration and cooperation, as opposed to the traditional one of competition and conflict which is expounded and horrifically prevalent in daily events, can transcend borders, races and religions to build a better world for more people and, maybe one day, everyone.

Critical Mass
The cooperative spirit of the public is alive and clearly evinced by events such as the immense global anti-war protest that occurred prior to the bombing of Iraq, as well as the increased sense of unity demonstrated by the Spanish people after the Madrid bombing and their choice to align themselves with and elect a leader who speaks of peace and who professes to uphold their will on an issue where their previous government failed them.

In the interests of keeping this spirit alive...

Footnote: it could be argued that, by virtue of the fact that I've posted this call-to-arms, and that a bunch of people that may be entitled to vote might in the US may read it and, further, might also make a decision based on the information contained here-in that could potentially affect the outcome of the American elections in a manner that could potentially be detrimental to the position of power held by George Bush (despite even the efforts of the likes of Katherine Harris?*), that I do indeed have some influence over what goes on in a far-off land. If this applies to me, then it must apply to you too. [ * Serious respect to Mr Blumrich for hitting Google's number four spot with a simple search for "katherine harris" :) ]

16 March 2004

Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt

The UK is at no greater risk now from a terror attack than it was before the Madrid bombings or even 11 September, Home Secretary David Blunkett said yesterday.

Today, Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir John Stevens has said a terror attack on London is inevitable.

Well, how useful. By the same token, the sky is going to fall in and we're all going to die. Oh, and news just in... the sky is not going to fall in and we're still all going die but it's going to take slightly longer than if the sky had fallen in.

In amongst the fear, uncertainty and doubt that is created around us, we must endeavour to free ourselves from the burdens of all forms of external pressure and chastisement for this is the way to an enlightened and peaceful life.

04 March 2004

Necessary Illusions?

When it was realised that there was only so much control that could exerted over people through the use of physical force, logic dictated that the way to make people en masse act in the desired manner is ensure their minds are controlled instead. The text below is a collection of quotes from various talks given by Noam Chomsky relating to the subject of propaganda and which all fit together nicely to produce a synopsis of quite how values, beliefs and ideas are engendered in a largely unwitting public via 'education' systems, mass media and simple repetition:

"The point is that you have to work. That's why the propaganda system is so successful. Very few people are going to have the time or the energy or the commitment to carry out the constant battle that's required to get outside of McNeil or Dan Rather or somebody like that.

The easy thing to do, you know, you come home from work, you're tired, you've had a busy day, you're not going to spend the evening carrying out a research project. So you turn on the tube and say, "It's probably right", or you look at the headlines in the paper and then you watch the sports or something. That's basically the way the system of indoctrination works. Sure the other stuff is there, but you're going to have to work to find it.

Modern industrial civilisation has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilisation has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praise-worthy, on the grounds that private licence yields public benefits, in the classic formulation.

Now, it's long been understood, very well, that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself, in time. it can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it's possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can.

At this stage of history, either one of two things is possible. Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests guided by values of solidarity, and sympathy, and concern for others. Or, alternatively, there will be no destiny for anyone to control.

As long as some specialised class is in authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community.

The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely to impose 'necessary illusions', to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority, and remove them from the public arena. The question, in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved, or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured, they may well be essential to survival."

03 March 2004

AD Serving Opt Out Cookies

No, not biscuits for people with attention deficit issues, this is apparently a way of preventing DoubleClick from setting cookies that are uniquely associated with your browser (read: 'identifiable as you') by setting a persistent "blank" cookie.