Archive | July 3, 2013

U.S. Postal Service Scans and Logs All Mail

UspslogoAnother shocker in the annals of state security versus United States citizens’ right to privacy, from the New York Times:

Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: A handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home.

“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.

“It was a bit of a shock to see it,” said Mr. Pickering, who owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr.

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Why Fox News is Less to Blame for Polarized Politics than You Think

via Media Channel Fox News

American pundits spend a good deal of their time pondering partisan intensity, and how it has sharply increased over the years. At some point in such discussions, it is traditional to note that the sorting of America into ever-more flinty conservatives and ever-more liberal progressives has coincided with the rise of cable television and the internet. The problem, it is asserted, is that too many Americans consume their news from inside an echo chamber that reflects their existing prejudices. Oh, for the time when the nation settled down around the TV to watch the network news from Walter Cronkite and his peers, who delivered a broadly centrist diet of news from home and abroad in a tone of take-your-medicine seriousness.

Some of that hand-wringing is to the point. Attend Republican or Democratic campaign rallies, and you certainly hear the same talking points from many activists there, and many of those soundbites and factoids come from cable, talk radio and the same handful of partisan blogs.

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Hofmann’s Potion – Albert Hofmann LSD Documentary

Hofman's Potion

Check out Hoffman’s Potion, a documentary about LSD creator Albert Hoffman:

“I had to struggle to speak intelligibly. I asked my laboratory assistant, who was informed of the self-experiment, to escort me home. We went by bicycle, no automobile being available because of wartime restrictions on their use. On the way home, my condition began to assume threatening forms. Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had traveled very rapidly. Finally, we arrived at home safe and sound, and I was just barely capable of asking my companion to summon our family doctor and request milk from the neighbors.”

That must have been one hell of a bike ride!

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Why Glenn Greenwald Should Drive a ’75 Mustang II

Glenn GreenwaldAttention Glenn Greenwald:

Can people hijack your car and take control of it?

People can!

That’s according to former National Security superstar Richard Clarke. Now a cyberwar expert and consultant, Clarke almost matter-of-factly told the Huffington Post that most intelligence services can hack the computer on a late model car, take control and, in effect, assassinate the driver with their own vehicle:

Clarke said, “There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers” — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car.

“What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it’s relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn’t want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn’t want the brakes on, to launch an air bag,” Clarke told The Huffington Post.

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Interview with Zero and Suicide Squad Writer Ales Kot

Panels from Suicide Squad issue 21

Ales Kot writes comics, amongst other things. His first graphic novel, Wild Children with Riley Rossmo, was published by Image Comics last year. He quickly followed this with Change with Morgan Jeske, also at Image. The “>collected edition was just released by Image last week.

Now he’s writing the superhero series Suicide Squad for DC and his creator owned espionage comic Zero for Image.

I just interviewed him at Technoccult:

Wild Children deals with the education system, you’ve said that Zero is about war and Suicide Squad obviously deals with the prison system. It seems that institutions and the way they affect people is emerging as a major theme in your work. Is that deliberate?

That is an intelligent observation, thank you. The narrative thread you just traced between my works was subconscious more than conscious on a story-to-story level. I am consciously interested in how institutions we create affect our life; institutions that are official and the ones that are hidden deeper within the fabric of our lives, the ones we create within our society and within our heads, sometimes without giving them names or without even realizing their presence.

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WeAreChange Vlog: Burning Pope Effigies & Black Taxi Tour in Belfast

WeAreChange toured around Belfast to learn about the troubles that have been deep rooted in the country and city’s history. We were told how the trouble between the Catholics and Protestants began and were shown many of the historical and places of significance, including a 50 foot wall that divides the two communities. We were shown around by people that grew up from both communities and they shared with us their experiences.

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Court Rules That Yoga Can Be Taught In California School

yogaDoes yoga belong in schools? Will this throw open the door to Hinduism, Buddhism, and the metaphysical infiltrating our classrooms? (I certainly hope so.) The Huffington Post reports:

In a closely watched lawsuit in the San Diego-area where a family had sued the Encinitas, Calif. school district for what it saw as government sponsorship of religion for its yoga classes, a judge ruled Monday that yoga has religious roots but is not religious the way it’s taught in the district. The family who sued in Monday’s case is Christian.

But the ruling will likely not settle the ongoing debate in over whether yoga, which has grown immensely in popularity, is most closely related to its religious roots in Hinduism, is a more general spiritual practice or is a non-religious and non-spiritual pursuit.

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Alan Watts Talks About The Upanishads

Many times in past comments here I have mentioned the Upanishads.  Today one of my Disinfonaut friends, Matt Prather, sent me this.  I hadn’t “seen” Matt here since February or so, but his reappearance was the end(?) of a chain of synchronicity filled events.  As I watched this film this morning, and thought about all this, I realized I should post it.

Alan Watts – Way Beyond Seeking

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The Dictionary of the Global War on You (GWOY)

global war

Tom Engelhardt writes at TomDispatch:

In the months after September 11, 2001, it was regularly said that “everything” had changed.  It’s a claim long forgotten, buried in everyday American life.  Still, if you think about it, in the decade-plus that followed — the years of the PATRIOT Act, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” “black sites,” robot assassination campaigns, extraordinary renditions, the Abu Ghraib photos, the Global War on Terror, and the first cyberwar in history — much did change in ways that should still stun us.  Perhaps nothing changed more than the American national security state, which, spurred on by 9/11 and the open congressional purse strings that followed, grew in ways that would have been alien even at the height of the Cold War, when there was another giant, nuclear-armed imperial power on planet Earth.

Unfortunately, the language we use to describe the world of the national security state is still largely stuck in the pre-9/11 era.

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