Saturday, November 17, 2007

Occupational Perception


In Basra, violence is a tenth of what it was before British pullback, general says - International Herald Tribune
British officials expected a spike in such "intra-militia violence" after they pulled back from the city's center, and were surprised to find none, Binns said.
-Saddam has WMD. Lie.
-We're bringing freedom to Iraq. Lie
-The war will cost practically nothing. Lie.
-Withdrawl will unleash bloodshed and violence heretofore untold. Worse than we ever could have created ourselves. Lie.

And on and on and on and on and on. Trying to gather in all of the lies of the last seven years (to say nothing of the last 100) would be like trying to catch all of the raindrops in a thunderstorm, so I'm not even going to try. Just these four placed next to one another is embarrassing enough.

But hell, it's not as though Congress, the media, or a very big portion of Amerika cares too much (at least, not enough of the portion that "matter" in this system--hint, it's not "The People" anymore, if it ever was). And why should they? Amerika is too exceptional, too civilized and modern and highminded, and frankly too incoherent (a nod, a wink, and a click click to you Friend Television) to actually do anything whatsoever to put a stop to government funding of unmitigated death, destruction, and suffering. Even as the "soft fascism" head turns its eyes toward us and continues its predatory advance with a speed that, while we were busy entertaining ourselves and apathetically observing, has done little else but gather strength over these many years.

Let's have a pause here for mock-shocked, deluded folks now screaming "You hate/blame America" (or some talking point variation thereof dropped into their empty vessel skulls courtesy the Talking Opinion Box) Grab a refreshement, take a leak--it might be a long pause.

Anyone thinking that the other side of the aisle has finally mustered the courage to save us with this latest fake pullout stunt attached to the $50 billion appropriations drop in the war bucket is also very sadly mistaken. Go read the legislation. The circumference of the loopholes contained within are so huge the outline isn't even isn't within eyeshot. But you'd never know that by reading the major headlines presented. Digressions within a hodgepodge of digressions.

In reading the article, I'm sure many have noticed that the Brits haven't "pulled out", not completely anyway. They've relocated from the palace in city center to the airport. Redeployed. That's a term you'll see a lot of in that appropriations bill with all of the oh-so-firm-and-courageous "withdrawl provisions". Which brings me to one of my favorite parts of the article:
"We've been in that de facto role since we moved out of the palace...but we hope the (December) transfer will symbolize the end of a period many in Basra city perceived as occupation," [Major General] Binns said.
Perceived. The Iraqi's "perceive" it to be an occupation. Really? It's only their perception? Because I could have sworn that "occupation" is exactly what it was, and IS, given its basic and simple definition. Of course nothing in this world anymore should be basic and simple to understand, because if it was, what will all of the experts do with their time if they can't spend it explaining to us the intricacies of changes applied to once simple concepts?

The general, speaking unchallenged through the echo chamber media, wants to make sure you know that it's not exactly an occupation, but rather a perception of such.

Take War, for example. A bunch of people are told by a few people to go kill a whole bunch of other people so those few can impose their will. See? Distilled down it is simple. But we are constantly reminded how complicated and extremely delicate is the geopolitics of it all, and not to worry our pretty little heads, our Strong and Courageous Leaders will handle all of it because they've been doing this their entire lives--their resumes are strong with Public Service Gravitas and General Seriousness. Secrecy and lies? Well, that's just all part of the "game", isn't it? If you were richer, or smarter, or had better connections, or perhaps better genetics (as we will increasingly hear) perhaps you would be in the game. But you're not. You're not a "success" in this system, so better to let your betters handle things. Quick, the next episode of Can the American Idols Dance? is about air and you don't want to miss your chance to text message and vote for your favorite.

Use of the word "perceived" does nothing but make an effort to subtly reinforce the notion that the current illegal and murderous occupation is something other than just that--an illegal and murderous occupation that is genocidal in its numbers of dead and displaced. Occupation is not "perception". Either foreign troops are present and imposing their will, or they are not. Simple.

And now it's being plastered everywhere there's an eyeball or an ear that we now have to take the party next door to Iran. See lie numero uno above, replace Saddam with Iran, and voila--another miscalculation with good faith intent.

The really depressing thing is that it looks as though those who percieve the lies as truth, who perceive themselves as being free, who cannot perceive their own demise because any and all survival instinct has been homogenized and info-tained away, will let it happen.

When lies have been exposed and go unpunished, we are culpable. In the face of past falsehoods, when further lies are swallowed and cheered, we are culpable. We are paying the bill now, and will pay an even harsher tab in the future, and not just physically because of the economics of the thing. We will also pay psychically, when finally the full and uninhibited light of day is fully shed upon our vicious actions. That day that is coming where no one will be able to look away from that empty spot where empathy once lived. No partisanship, ignorance, good intentions, or any other dispassionate and academic sounding adjective will be able to effectively apply.

And so much for that (what was intended to be a short post)--what was the point of another anti-war tirade? The points are many, but for tonight, it was prompted by the question of where to be counted. When it all shakes out, where will we as individuals be counted? Will I be counted in the end as one who swallowed the lies? Even worse, might I be one counted as so gleefully ignorant that I didn't care to recognize the lie in the first place? Someone without the will to show a human level of disdain for the constant psychopathic barrenness continually heaped onto our consciousness? Will I accept with the daily redefining of words like "occupation" as something perceived rather than a decidedly real state of affairs?

No, No, and Hell No. The tirades must continue, lest I wake up one day and find that I also have been counted amongst the prevailing emptiness.

Annie Duke testifies for online poker

Also, check the Salon article where this came from.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Strategic Thrusting for Defensive Purposes

From the folks that brought you Total Information Awareness....

DARPA Strategic Thrusts--

Robust, secure, self-forming networks
Hooray! New social networking possibilites with my new uber-handheld. SETI at Starbucks, look at how green and techno-hip I am. Or, possibly...drop a bunch of security rovers onto a sector, let them all link up and find each other, and organize the most efficient patrol routes. Boy, bet you could equip those with all kinds of good stuff (all "non-lethal" of course).
Detection, Precision ID, Tracking, and Destruction of Elusive Targets
Does this one even really need a comment?
Urban Area Operations
Translation: Less war on the sea. Less in the sky. Less in the field. More in the city. Psst...that's where most people live or are being driven to.
Advanced Manned and Unmanned Systems
I'll be able to sleep while my autonomous hydrogen pleasuremobile ferries me to my job in the new 'service economy'. Neat. But the sky full of unmanned surveillance drones makes me sad (I think we should go back to talking about the pleasuremobile--I would fry bacon in mine--actually my Rhoombu [tler] (Rhoomba's parent company by this time has gone with a phonetic branding strategy, you see) will be doing it for me.)
Detection, Characterization, and Assessment of Underground Structures
Does this mean we get to find out what's in Iron Mountain OR does is just mean our Leaders will shortly be proclaiming "We're helping to keep America's basements Terrorist-Free"? My bad, I forgot. It's so we can find the Iranian nukes that are hidden away with Saddam's WMD.
Ummmmmm.....just "Space".
Increasing tooth and tail ratio
From WSJ--
We speak of the tooth-to-tail ratio, though it usually makes more sense to talk about tail-to-tooth: How many men must there be behind the front doing unglamorous work to make it possible to put one man directly into combat? In some cases it's greater than 10 to 1.
Christ, a person could spend an entire day just on the WSJ article. Summary: War is going to increase in cost, as well as attendant size. Not to worry though. This is us "evolving" and is in no way directed.
"Bio", having to do with living processes, and "revolution", a sudden, radical, or complete change. Why does DARPA have interest in funding things that will promote a sudden, radical, or complete change on the living processes in or around us? Well that one could certainly go in some wildly divergent directions.....
Core Technologies
Encompass broad areas much, DARPA?

'Stategic Thrust' Me. We're so 'Strategically Thrusted'.

(I'm hearing "but DARPA gave us the Interwebs!" cries already. Remember, you are given a reason/explanation, and then there's the real reason/explanation.)

A Brief Glimpse

Worth the time to read the entire thing. It helps to clear another smudge from the surface we're given. Keep cleaning the glass.

Metroactive Features | Robots
Part of the reason University of Texas at Austin computer scientist Benjamin Kuipers stopped taking military financing is that he's seen colleagues wind up in places they'd never imagined themselves.

"DARPA and ONR and other DOD agencies support quite a lot of research that I think is valuable and virtuous," he says. "However, there is a slippery slope that I have seen in the careers of a number of colleagues. You start work on a project that is completely fine. Then when renewal time comes, and you have students depending on you for support, your program officer says that they can continue to fund the same work, but now you need to phrase the proposal using an example in a military setting. Same research, but just use different language to talk about it. OK. Then when the time comes for the next renewal, the pure research money is running a bit low, but they can still support your lab if you can work on some applications that are really needed by the military application. OK. ... Then for the next round, you need to make regular visits to the military commanders, convincing them that your innovation will really help them in the field. And so on. By the end of a decade or two, you have become a different person from the one you were previously. You look back on your younger self, shake your head, and think, 'How naive.'"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Coming Soon (Updated)

Georgia to lift State of Emergency--

“I am authorised to declare on behalf of the Georgian government that emergency rule will be lifted on November 16 on all the country’s territory,” Burjanadze told a news briefing.


Burjanadze’s spokeswoman said later that although the emergency rule would be lifted on Nov. 16, the restrictions -- including bans on public meetings and independent media -- would be lifted a day later.

Seeing those "state of the art" gas masks made me think of this:

And this:

Perhaps there's something to that concept of predictive programming after all....