July 2008

Scott Ritter is noted for his role as a chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, and later for his criticism of United States foreign policy in the Middle East. Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Ritter publicly argued that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). He became a popular anti-war figure and talk show commentator as a result of his stance.

I’m currently listening to the audio book of “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” by Vincent Bugliosi, an American attorney and author, best known for prosecuting Charles Manson. He lost only one of the 106 felony cases he tried as a prosecutor, which included winning 21 out of 21 murder cases.

He writes with great lucidity in his book, highlighting the tragedy of the Iraq War. Impeachment has been brought up on numerous occasions in the US, but after considering Vincent Bugliosi’s compilation of evidence and arguements, I firmly hold that various members of the US administration should be indeed tried for murder.

You can obtain the book via torrents or through the official website.

Douglas Rushkoff, one of my heroes and media ecologist has a short recording of one of his recent speaches at the Personal Democracy Forum.

The ideas he presents are a taste from his upcoming book “Life Incorporated”.

Download his Opening Invocation from New York, June 24, 2008.

While writing a reply to a commentator on my ‘Rant in Czech Minor’ it became quite clear to me that we have come to a close end of the wave of freedom that we have recently been experiencing on the Internet (ie. blogs replacing old methods of news gathering, etc.). The developments in the fields of streaming, torrents, youtube, social networking sites and such make it fairly obvious that the fishing net is once again over us and it’s too late to jump out.

The example I propose here caught my attention today.

From E-Bay:

Customising Your eBay Experience. We’re rolling out programs and working with partners that help make our sites and services, and some of the ads you see on the web, more relevant and useful to you. Naturally, because we’re a transparent community, we will provide you with choices about these programmes. You’ll notice a new preference now available in My eBay -: named AdChoice -: that lets you tell us whether you want us to use the information we have about you to customize the ads you see. You’ll be able to sign in and change your advertising preferences in My eBay at any time. In some cases, we may also use information from other companies to select the right audiences for our promotions. In the revised Privacy Policy, you’ll see a new Marketing section that describes in more detail our collection and use of information for these and all our marketing programmes.

The Professional Persuaders and Why We Listen
Now, just last year I read a book by Douglas Rushkoff called Coercion: The Professional Persuaders and Why We Listen and one of the parts I remember most clearly was one dealing with Rushkoff belief that the technology was already there, at the time of writing (2000), to use on-line targeted advertising, which would be sophisticated to a level where ads would not only identify you by name (ie. Buy this product, Mr. so and so), but
would also maximize the potential of you buying such product by identifying your previous choices with utmost accuracy.
I am very well acquainted with the targeting formula that Amazon or Google use, but it seems that the companies who are fairly quickly becoming dominant (and controlling) over the Internet, deem us ready for a new advancement in persuasion in the on-line marketing field.

“There’s only so much you can do right? So let’s at least start talking about it. Maybe let’s even write a book and try to change to world. DJ Ing leads a discussion about American/Czech policies, culture and language, not to mention the impending radar base set to be built in the Czech Republic. Joining the discussion is American author, Aiden Delgado. His book titled, The Sutras of Abu Ghraib explains his experiences as a soldier in the war in Iraq which led him to apply and ultimately obtain conscientious objector status. Also joining the discussion, Jeremiah Palecek (King Vitamin) and musical interludes by Lorin Bassnectar.”

In Czech and English

Listen to the show here.
Visit ArtBeep

Brought to you by: Alcohol, American tourists in Europe, frustration, dualist perspectives, and unjustified generalizations.

If you are an American male or female citizen reading this post, I would like you to reach down into your pants and touch your proverbial balls. Do you feel something? Good. Now stop being such god damn pussies (so to speak). I’m tired of hearing all the Americans in Europe bitching about how the US sucks, how president Bush is an idiot, and how everything in America is going downhill. No shit! It’s wonderful you came to this profound realization seven years too late. And to clarify, the current conditions we are dealing with aren’t a result of the Bush presidency, but the general decline of society in the US over the past few decades. Of course, that would require some actual insight by some of you, which at times seems too much to ask for. But I’m going off on a tangent.

I write to tell you that there’s hope. This isn’t the manufactured, rhetorical hope that Obama is spouting nor is it the blind and wishful hope that other institutions have been peddling for centuries. I’m talking about jumping off the “America sucks” band wagon, thinking progressively, and actually doing something. Criticizing the United States at this point in time is like being critical and concerned with Britney Spears. Everyone knows something needs to change, so get off your asses and do something about it. Do something in whatever area interests you, whether it is law, movies, acting, dancing, cooking, just do something in your own little way. Stop counting on someone else, grab your nuts, and act.

As the Zen demon once said:
Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now!

“For Matthew Irving, the 21-year-old former North Providence honor student, who has become the focus of so many prayers these days, tonight’s flight from Boston to Germany will be far from routine.

He has reached the point, family members say, where the pain racing up from the base of his spine has been relentless. He has become so sensitive to light, sound and touch, they say, that even the sound of light music is painful to his ears, requiring him to lie motionless in a darkened room.

An experimental treatment in Germany may lead to a cure. The treatment is not allowed in this country, the parents say, because the FDA does not allow patients to be deliberately placed in comas for more than two days. The treatment in Saarbrueken, Germany, involves putting the patient in a coma for five to seven days, during which the body is filled with massive amount of ketamine in an attempt to “reboot” the body system.

Dr. Schwartzman has written that of the 41 patients he has sent to Germany, 14 came back pain free and have remained free for five years, while others have come back with their pain reduced.”

Read on

Synesthesia (or synaesthesia) is loosely defined as “senses coming together.” At its simplest level, synesthesia means that when a certain sense or part of a sense is activated, another unrelated sense or part of a sense is activated concurrently. For example, when someone hears a sound, he or she immediately sees a color or shape in his or her “mind’s eye.” The Synesthesia Project’s website presents an abundance of information about this phenomenon including a thorough FAQ section, which answers questions
such as “How common is synesthesia?” and “Is there any proof that synesthesia occurs?” In addition, visitors can find details about the Vision and Cognition Lab located at Boston University. Finally, the site includes
the opportunity for visitors to participate in two of their web-based experiments.

Visit the The Synesthesia Project

My primary e-mail account is on a Czech search engine, every day I log in I have the opportunity to have a look at major headlines from the Czech Republic. I remember that just a year ago it made me incredibly happy that Czech journalists chose to write about happy and uplifting themes, positive changes, as well as slightly weird stories about animals and pets (Czechs are a very cute nation). These days all I see are news pieces on murders, rapes, and deaths, all of which are depicted with utmost detail.

Now, why is that? Has the small nation of Czech Republic changed so much over a year? Or is it more likely that Czech journalists have learnt the lesson from their Western counterparts and now choose to cover such news that provide the biggest shock and intensity of interest?

I know which one sounds more likely to me. You see, it’s not that we live in a world that’s more fucked up than ever before, that’s simply not true, but we live in a world where a lot of things happen – it’s a big world and there are a lot of people. And this negative filter that we are being shown by the ‘news’ makers is simply that, a filter. It’s not the reality, no, it’s just one angle.

And sure, you have the choice to adopt any filter you choose, not necessarily the one that you are constantly bombarded with. But the next time that you feel an urge to jump before a train, punch someone in the face, the next time that you feel scared or aggressive, ask yourself why and where from. It’s not wrong to feel that way, it’s completely natural, yet not necessarily coming from you.

Do we even need a conclusion to this rant? Perhaps, let us all sit before the fire and pray together for a world where journalists choose to write about puppies being saved, about people who survive a multiple stabbing, rather than die from one, about journalists who write about wonderful births, rather than terrible deaths, about a world that seems less bleak to the ones who do not see beyond that which is presented to them.

…earth to explode.