Torturing Democracy: A Documentary That Could Put Dick Cheney Out Of Our Misery

Torturing Democracy, an expose of how and why America came to be involved in open large-scale torture of prisoners (many of whom were simply shepherds captured by mountain tribesmen and sold into captivity), is now available for viewing online.

You can read the whole thing here, and/or comment below.

Rashid Rauf's Family Says Reports Of His Death By US Air Strike Are False

Family members of Rashid Rauf are disputing the widely-reported claim that he was killed in a US missile strike in Pakistan on Saturday, and it would be altogether fitting and proper if they were correct. None of the other news that has been widely reported about Rashid Rauf and the so-called "Liquid Bombers" has stood up to serious scrutiny, either. Rarely if ever in human history has more been done with less.

You can read the whole piece here, and/or comment below.

Cossiga Spills More Beans On Our "Security Blanket"

Former Italian President Francesco Cossiga speaks a bit too freely sometimes -- to our great benefit. Recently he made some not-so-startling admissions, which were picked up by Chris Floyd ...

Read all about it here -- or comment below.

99 Francs - Forced consumption

Here is a little video from a French film which I uploaded to my blog. WP thought it was worth posting here. The title '99 Francs' refers to the commercial habit of offering prices like $ 9.99, instead of $ 10.

A little context: Octave works in an advertising agency. He comes up with a pretty funny idea for a commercial, but it's shot down by the representative of the company selling the product. So he does a dumb commercial instead, the usual crap you see everyday. But inside, he can't stand this shit. So, he works in collusion with the director of the dumb commercial, who is also pissed off because of the crap he had to shoot, and creates another version. And, Octave has a man working inside Channel 1, to hijack the airwaves and broadcast that very version. The extract starts as he is preparing to leave to nowhere, before it all explodes.

The video's there. [Couldn't upload it anywhere else than on my blog. Copyrights I suppose.]

I'm in the course of reading a very interesting anarchist book, whose chapter drafts are available for free here. It's called "Organization Theory" and will soon be released. Some of its passages are mind-boggling. Here's one that resonates with George Carlin's bit about how people are owned by big corporations:
Illich's mistake lies in his confusion over who the actual consumer is. Counterproductivity is not a "negative internality," but the negative externality of others' subsidized consumption. The "disappointment" is not internal to the act of consumption, because the real "consumer" is the party who profits from the adoption of a technology beyond the second threshold--as opposed to the ostensible consumer, who may have no choice but to make physical use of the technology in his daily life. The real consumer is the party for whose sake the system exists; the ostensible consumer who is forced to adjust to the technology is simply a means to an end. In the case of all of the "modern institutions" Illich discusses, the actual consumer is the institutions themselves, not their captive clientele. In the case of the car culture, for example, the primary consumer is the real estate industry and the big box stores--not the poor schmuck who lives in a monoculture suburb and can't buy a loaf of bread without hopping in his car to negotiate the freeway-mediated system of entrance and exit checkpoints. The inconvenience suffered by the suburban homeowner, whose feet, bicycle, etc., are rendered useless as a source of access to shopping and work, is an externality resulting from the real estate industry's subsidized consumption of cheap roads, fuel, and utilities, from zoning prohibitions of mixed-use development, and from preferential treatment of suburban developments by home mortgage subsidies. Rather than saying that "society" suffers a net cost or is enslaved to a new technology, it is more accurate to say that the nonprivileged portion of society becomes enslaved to the privileged portion and pays increased costs for their benefit. Or as Lewis Mumford put it, the "megamachine" is "a minority-manipulated majority-manipulating device...."

The larger theme of the book seems to be that large organizations are too costly to maintain, and it would be much 'better' to have cooperatives of self-employed workers. For instance, the higher production of factories is over-shadowed by the higher cost of distribution of a mountain of units destined for the national (and sometimes global) economy, the higher cost of management, the higher cost of advertising. Cooperatives of self-employed workers in a local economy that is dependent on consumer demand drastically lowers (and sometimes erases) those costs, which explains why globalization is actually a waste/plunder. Profit through large-scale production is only possible when the cost of distribution is subsidized by the state.

An illustration of this happened not too long ago, when big capitalists threatened to leave India if something wasn't done regarding its road infrastructure. That is, distributing their products threatened to become too costly, so they dumped the bill on Indians instead of providing the money themselves.

In other words they make profit at our expense.

Thus Was All Hope Lost, 45 Years Ago Today

Forty-five years ago today, the world was changed by an audacious act of terrorism.

Ensuing events have confirmed the suspicions that arose at the time: the changes that came in the wake of the event have been forever, and not for better.

Humanity's last reasonable hope for peace and prosperity was dashed. The last real President of the United States was dead. And all the rest has been decline and fall.

You can read the rest here, and/or comment below.

Reports From Pakistan Say Rashid Rauf Has Been Killed In A US Airstrike

The alleged liquid bomber mastermind is now reportedly dead.

You had to know this was coming.

You can read about it here or comment below.

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