05 February, 2007

The American Disease = GREED

The Long Goodbye to the Great Blue Planet As We Know It

[ Courtyard Dogs ] - 02.03.07 - by: Matt Dukes Jordan

Last night I again watched a favorite 1973 Altman film, one about how a
guy betrays his best friend for money. It's called The Long Goodbye and
it's based on a novel by the novelist Raymond Chandler, a writer who was
witty, acerbic, and cynical (it  goes with being a hard-boiled stylist) in
his criticism of American  greed.  In an interview in the DVD extras that
accompany The Long Goodbye, Altman (one of the rare directors who openly
attacked the Hollywood system) said bitterly that the movie industry
measures success in monetary, not artistic, terms—the film with the
biggest box office revenue is all-too-often viewed as the "best"
film.  Altman said that this tendency to measure success in terms of money
is "the American disease -- greed."

Does anyone remember the "small is beautiful movement" of the
1970s?  Probably not many. Governor of California, Jerry Brown (gov. from
1975-1983),  and Jimmy Carter (president from 1977-1981) both tried to
promote the idea that people in America needed to turn down the heat in
their homes, consume less, drive  less, walk a tad more lightly on the
earth  (and definitely not drive or buy hulking SUVs and build wastefully
large McMansions). Small is Beautiful got started, in part, with a 1973
collection of essays by the economist and hero to environmentalists, E.F.
Schuhmacher. He called a series of books Small is Beautiful. They made a
case for the need to ease off on burning up the planet and its resources.

Schumacher's approach assumed that if you reason with people, they will do
the right thing. President Carter and Gov. Brown thought that too.  What
they didn't want to fully acknowledge is that most people really aren't
all that reasonable. We behave, in so many ways, like greedy children,
grabbing at cookies and having a tantrum if we are denied.  For many
adults the cookies are fancy cars, boats, homes, clothes, etc.  But the
infantile urge to consume is pretty well built into the American
shopaholic's psyche. It's driven, in part, by what Freud called the
"pleasure principle"—that is, we all like to feel good and comfy and eat
well and have, well, pleasure.

The pleasure principle - by golly, that's something anyone who is trying
to sell something can work with! Look at the ads on TV, for example. Many
equate a product with pleasure of some kind—physical pleasure—food,
sex, drugs (including sleep drugs), or more subtle pleasures—love,
romance, or increased social standing or power. The pleasure-seeking
shopaholic is born!

One thing that didn't sell, however, was the "small is beautiful"
movement. Carter was not re-elected and in 1980s we saw a rise in the
credo espoused by Gordon Gecko in Oliver Stone's film Wall Street: "greed
is good."

Now we're seeing what happens when you pursue the "greed is good" idea for
too long. Two major problems facing our species: war and ecological
disaster—are largely a result of greed.

Just now we're hearing about a new report on global warming and the news
isn't good. More dramatic changes than were previously predicted are in
the forecast for the global climate over the next 100 years.

Here are a few samples of the latest news:

From The Observer on Sunday, January 21, 2007 :
"Global warming is destined to have a far more destructive and earlier
impact than previously estimated, the most authoritative report yet
produced on climate change will warn next week.

A draft copy of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, obtained by The Observer, shows the frequency of
devastating storms - like the ones that battered Britain last week—will
increase dramatically. Sea levels will rise over the century by around
half a meter; snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains;
deserts will spread; oceans become acidic, leading to the destruction of
coral reefs and atolls; and deadly heat waves will become more prevalent."

A report on ABC News  includes this:
http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/GlobalWarming story?id=2834152&page=2
"...we may already be at a point of no return.  On Monday, Indonesia's
environmental minister warned that rising sea levels stand to swallow up
some 2,000 of his country's more than 18,000 islands by 2030."

Currently the U.S. is a leading contributor to eco-disaster and war.  It's
sad but true, and goes against our self image as good guys but does go
with being the one superpower on the planet (but probably not for long).
Fact is, we consume the lion's share of the world's resources and thus
produce the lion's share of CO2 emissions, and we are currently engaged in
two wars that we seem to be losing but which are unfortunately serving to
fuel hatred and an impulse toward more war and terrorism on the part of
occupied peoples and their allies. The wars are in Afghanistan and Iraq.
(The Taliban are taking more and more villages in Afghanistan and in Iraq
a slow-burning civil war is underway with no end in sight.)

Iraq is home to the 2nd largest reserves of oil in the world. The guy who
was in charge there used to be our pal, but then turned against us.  Now
he's gone and we're occupying the nation. If we can maintain control of
the country —that is, have a friendly government in charge here—we
will not only have access to the oil, but also have some say about where
it goes when others bid for it. And in the struggle for world economic
dominance, that's a strong bargaining chip.

As Noam Chomsky said in an article called "It's Imperialism, Stupid":
"If the United States can maintain its control over Iraq, with the world's
second largest known oil reserves, and right at the heart of the world's
major energy supplies, that will enhance significantly its strategic power
and influence over its major rivals in the tripolar world that has been
taking shape for the past 30 years: US-dominated North America, Europe,
and Northeast Asia, linked to South and Southeast Asia economies.

"It is a rational calculation, on the assumption that human survival is
not particularly significant in comparison with short-term power and
wealth. And that is nothing new. These themes resonate through
history.  The difference today in this age of nuclear weapons is only that
the stakes are enormously higher."

Chomsky makes an interesting point: short-term impulses toward
accumulating power and wealth (greed) are driving decisions that people in
power make now, despite the threat that such behavior poses to species
survival. He also says that greed has always driven people. Only now
acting that behavior is far, far riskier. War and eco-disaster loom, yet
the very people who must take a leadership role in steering us away from
disaster seem to revel in the macho, alpha-male attitude of "bring  it on"
(because I'm so strong, I can handle it).

Alas, the guys at the top don't often seem to have the wisdom and
foresight, as Carter and Brown did in the 1970s, to say, "Let's cut back a
bit. Let's live more frugally, with a bit less, and do it for the good of
the planet and the next generation and generations to come." Nope, they
say, "We gotta stay on top. We gotta grab all the gusto and oil and power
we can get."

A kid's game, no? King of the hill. The kiddies scramble, clawing. Up, up,
yeee-haaa, top of the world, ma!

And then?

Ka-boom?  That's what comes next for the power-mad gangster in the film
starring James Cagney, White Heat (1949).

What's going to happen to those driven to be the king of the hill who were
in power most recently and still have a lot of power? Bush will eventually
retire to his ranch in Texas and live out his years being called Mr.
President and never backing down from the position that what he did as
president was right. Cheney will retire to his huge new house on the
Chesapeake Bay, (possibly purchased with stock profits "he owns many
shares which have increased greatly in value in recent years" from a
company that he used to run and which gets no-bid contracts worth billions
from the government: Halliburton). They will say, "We tried to keep
America strong." Maybe when (and if) they notice fewer birds singing or
the strangeness of the weather they will wonder, "What if we'd just
steered this thing toward, ah, scaling back and conserving the resources
of the nation and the world? What if we'd really been conservatives in
that sense of the word?"

Bush and Cheney and the neo-cons and the boys at the top of big oil etc.
probably don't wonder about such things too much. After all, they are
carrying out the programmed instructions built into their alpha-male
psyches. Because, hey, to get to the top of the hill takes a willingness
to step on your companion's hands, real ambition, real drive. Most
alpha-dogs don't grab all the gusto they can only to say, "Now let's
relinquish our power and wealth and be kinda like nuns and monks!"

In the Long Goodbye, a man betrays his best friend to get a lot of money
and the girl. Altman had it written into his contract that the film had to
end as it was written in the script that he saw and approved before the
start of production -- the detective, Marlowe, would blow away his evil
erstwhile pal, Terry Lennox.  Such endings offer satisfying but morally
dubious resolutions. In real life, all too often the bad guy gets away, as
in the film Chinatown, offering an even more morally disturbing ending.
Perhaps as we say our long goodbye to the great blue planet as we know it
now, we will sigh and wonder how it would've been if only we could've
believed that small was beautiful...And if only we could've let go of the
grasping for more—healed ourselves of what Robert Altman called the
"American disease" -- greed.


========= psyops for everyone ============

Friday, 27 January 2006, 18:05 GMT

US plans to 'fight the net' revealed

By Adam Brookes -- BBC Pentagon correspondent

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US
military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological
operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks.

The document says information is "critical to military success"

Bloggers beware.

As the world turns networked, the Pentagon is calculating the military
opportunities that computer networks, wireless technologies and the modern
media offer.

From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer
network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an
electronic war.

The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It
was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington
University using the Freedom of Information Act.

Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense,
Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.

Information Operations Roadmap

The "roadmap" calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military's ability
to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some
detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think
about this new, virtual warfare.

The document says that information is "critical to military success".
Computer and telecommunications networks are of vital operational


The operations described in the document include a surprising range of
military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists,
psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and
beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to
destroy enemy networks.

All these are engaged in information operations.

The wide-reaching document was signed off by Donald Rumsfeld

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement
that information put out as part of the military's psychological
operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television
screens of ordinary Americans.

"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy
and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.

"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger
audiences, including the American public," it goes on.

The document's authors acknowledge that American news media should not
unwittingly broadcast military propaganda. "Specific boundaries should be
established," they write. But they don't seem to explain how.

"In this day and age it is impossible to prevent stories that are fed
abroad as part of psychological operations propaganda from blowing back
into the United States - even though they were directed abroad," says
Kristin Adair of the National Security Archive.

Credibility problem

Public awareness of the US military's information operations is low, but
it's growing - thanks to some operational clumsiness.

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes
on an extraordinary tone. It seems to see the internet as being equivalent
to an enemy weapons system

Late last year, it emerged that the Pentagon had paid a private company,
the Lincoln Group, to plant hundreds of stories in Iraqi newspapers. The
stories - all supportive of US policy - were written by military personnel
and then placed in Iraqi publications.

And websites that appeared to be information sites on the politics of
Africa and the Balkans were found to be run by the Pentagon.

But the true extent of the Pentagon's information operations, how they
work, who they're aimed at, and at what point they turn from informing the
public to influencing populations, is far from clear.

The roadmap, however, gives a flavour of what the US military is up to -
and the grand scale on which it's thinking.

It reveals that Psyops personnel "support" the American government's
international broadcasting. It singles out TV Marti - a station which
broadcasts to Cuba - as receiving such support.

It recommends that a global website be established that supports America's
strategic objectives. But no American diplomats here, thank you. The
website would use content from "third parties with greater credibility to
foreign audiences than US officials".

It also recommends that Psyops personnel should consider a range of
technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial
vehicles, "miniaturized, scatterable public address systems", wireless
devices, cellular phones and the internet.

'Fight the net'

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes
on an extraordinary tone.

It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons

"Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense]
will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads.

The slogan "fight the net" appears several times throughout the roadmap.

The authors warn that US networks are very vulnerable to attack by
hackers, enemies seeking to disable them, or spies looking for

"Networks are growing faster than we can defend them... Attack
sophistication is increasing... Number of events is increasing."

US digital ambition

And, in a grand finale, the document recommends that the United States
should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire
electromagnetic spectrum".

US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of
globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems
dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum".

Consider that for a moment.

The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every
networked computer, every radar system on the planet.

Are these plans the pipe dreams of self-aggrandising bureaucrats? Or are
they real?

The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the
Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously
indeed in the Pentagon.

And that the scale and grandeur of the digital revolution is matched only
by the US military's ambitions for it.



Noam Chomsky meets the WSM and friends
by Joe --- Saturday, Feb 3 2007, 1:46pm

Dublin Talk - Film Screening

Revolt Video Film Screening of Chomsky Talk which took place in the
Teachers Club in Dublin last year. ''This film showing will feature the
Premier of Noam Chomskys talk in the teachers club last year which was
organised by the WSM . This discussion by Noam Chomsky differs from most
pieces filmed of him as it was captured using three cameras and the
footage was mergered together . Topics discussed include the Spanish Civil
War and commentary on Anarchism in general ''

''The other film showing is the second party in the "Power of Nightmares"
series in which we showed part one already this episode gives an insight
into how the neo-conservatives worked with the islamic fundamentalist and
what this co-operation bread . An unmissbale masterpiece of insightfull
documentary .

@ Seomra Spraoi -- 6 Lwr Ormond Quay, next to Capel St bridge.
Doors 7.30pm / Start 8pm SHARP! 3 unwaged / 5 waged ...


Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at Monday, February 05, 2007


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey fellow bloggers,

Number 1 in this week's Box Office is a sports comedy directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon.
"Blade of Glory" was released last week, on March 30. All the flash lights are on Chazz Michael Michaels, who is the star of the ice skating arena. His only competitor seems to be the former wonder kid, Jimmy MacElroy.

The two "sports heroes" meet each other face to face at the World Championships and their rivalry erupts into a big fight. Three years latter we find Michael skating, dressed as a clown or an evil wizard and drunk almost all the time and MacElroy working into a shoe store. In the end the two rivals join their forces and talent and they compete as the first skating pair in history of sports composed by two men.

Also released on March 30, "Meet the Robinsons" is a 3D animation fantasy directed by Stephen J. Anderson. The animation also known as "A Day with Wilbur Robinson" is a relaxing movie based on a science fiction story. A twelve-year-old, Lewis, meets Wilbur Robinson, a boy from the future, who takes him forward in the future by means of a time machine.

Traveling into the future, Lewis finds out the big secret of the Robinson family. Lewis is not an ordinary kid, instead of playing like most children of his age, he prefers reading and studying, having already a large number of inventions. His latest research was focused on creating a Memory Scanner device in order to recover his mother's thoughts when she gave him for adoption. Unfortunately, Bowler Hat Guy and his evil hat, Doris, are stealing Lewis' invention. Lewis discovers a new mysterious world with floating cities and manages to save the future and to help his future family.

The movie "300" lies on the 3rd place in this week's Box Office. Released on March 9, and directed by Zack Snyder with a $129,165,656 budget, the historical drama had a great impact on the audience. The filming location was Montreal, Canada and the movie is based on the legendary story of the Battle of Thermopylae, which took place in 480 B.C., when King Leonidas, his 300 Spartans and some other Greeks entered the war against the huge invading Persian army. The story is simple but intense and the film is great to watch and to listen to. Gerard Butler stars as King Leonidas, who runs an insignificant army from a numerical point of view. Rodrigo Santoro plays the Persian invasion leader, Xerxes.

The main actors were required to work out a lot for this movie, as the personages had to look strong, healthy, with sculpted bodies. The film special effects look great, the chromatics tend to impress more due to the sepia tones, or the violent red of the blood. Reviewers agree that "300" is a great movie based on a legendary moment and stylized with a lot of visual work. Taking into consideration the positive impact of the movie, perhaps "300" fans will get the chance in the future to play video games based on this movie.

Michael S.
For more fresh movie reviews and old movies like 13 Going on 30 or Boys Don’t Cry please visit my blog.

Sun Apr 29, 05:00:00 pm UTC  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locations of visitors to this page Politics Blogs - Blog Top Sites