The history of this manual is described in the book The Men Who Stare at Goats, by Jon Ronson. In brief, the manual is a new age Hagakure: Book of the Samurai, and was required reading among our elite troops in the eighties and nineties, describing the warrior as a seeker of truth whose main weapons are love and compassion — practices that were ultimately twisted and perverted in a very American fashion into interrogation and torture techniques used in our war against terrorism.
In order to understand how this all played out, you’ll have to read the book. Don’t see the film, it’s a joke.
All these services hint at the revolutionary potential of the new computing grid and the information utilities that run on it. In the years ahead, more and more of the information-processing tasks that we rely on, at home and at work, will be handled by big data centers located out on the Internet. The nature and economics of computing will change as dramatically as the nature and economics of mechanical power changed with the rise of electric utilities in the early years of the last century. The consequences for society – for the way we live, work, learn, communicate, entertain ourselves, and even think – promise to be equally profound. If the electric dynamo was the machine that fashioned twentieth century society – that made us who we are – the information dynamo is the machine that will fashion the new society of the twenty-first century.
At work and at home, people found they could use the Web to once again bypass established centers of control, whether corporate bureaucracies, government agencies, retailing empires, or media conglomerates. Seemingly uncontrolled and uncontrollable, the Web was routinely portrayed as a new frontier, a Rousseauian wilderness in which we, as autonomous agents, were free to redefine society on our own terms. “Governments of the Industrial World,” proclaimed John Perry Barlow in his 1996 manifesto “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” “you are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.” But, as with the arrival of the PC, it didn’t take long for governments and corporations to begin reasserting and even extending their dominion.
The error that Barlow and many others have made is to assume that the Net’s decentralized structure is necessarily resistant to social and political control. They’ve turned a technical characteristic into a metaphor for personal freedom. But, as Galloway explains, the connection of previously untethered computers into a network governed by strict protocols has actually created “a new apparatus of control.” Indeed, he writes, “the founding principle of the Net is control, not freedom – control has existed from the beginning.” As the disparate pages of the World Wide Web turn into the unified and programmable database of the World Wide Computer, moreover, a powerful new kind of control becomes possible. Programming, after all, is nothing if not a method of control. Even though the Internet still has no center, technically speaking, control can now be wielded, through software code, from anywhere. What’s different, in comparison to the physical world, is that acts of control become harder to detect and those wielding control more difficult to discern.
—Nicholas Carr, The Big Switch
[Today is the final broadcast of NPR Day to Day. The show, which has aired so much HV stuff and been a pleasure to work with, has been canceled.]
Much of our news today is like much of our food today. Heavily processed. Raised in cages, fed hormones and antibiotics. It makes us sick, maybe causes cancer. At least it doesn’t seem unreasonable that you could get cancer from the news.
But we need news, just like we need food. In order to maintain a civil society we need to stay well informed of the issues at hand, and the news is how we do this. So what we need is news that isn’t processed, we need more organic news.
In my opinion as a news connoisseur and critic, Day to Day was the cleanest, most ‘wild caught’ program produced by NPR. Sometimes after listening to the program I actually felt better. I had more energy and eagerness to go about my life. I wondered what would be on the show tomorrow. More than anything Day to Day gave me hope of hearing something really fresh and true. If anything suffers in processing, it’s the truth.
Faced with alleged budget shortfalls last Fall, some of NPR’s 17 vice presidents decided to cut Day to Day from it’s schedule and fire everyone who worked there. Personally, I would have erased all vice presidents. When was the last time you heard of a vice president in a news room? There are people called editors and producers and engineers in a news room but nobody goes by vice president, let alone 17 people who go by vice president all making around a quarter million a year. Not to mention their secretaries and assistants. Maybe some country club memberships.
This class of NPR employee apparently doesn’t mind producing and consuming processed news. They’ve done tests and conducted studies that show the news they produce is made from the best ingredients, assembled by trained professionals, all approved by the Columbia School of Journalism, and brought to you at a surprisingly inexpensive price. They are marketers and lawyers, and I say they should be gathered together and marched out onto the downtown Washington street on a snowy day and made strip down to their underwear, and then every single one of them should be fired and forced to eat nothing but Big Macs for the rest of their lives.
[Scott Carrier is working on an HV Hour about the murders in Juárez, Mexico, starting with his NPR series, then moving onto the current much, much worse situation. The following are some emails from Scott…]
Yesterday Armando Rodriguez, the journalist who’d written most of the stories (901) on this year’s executions in Juárez Mexico, was himself executed:
A Juarez journalist known for his work as a crime reporter for El Diario de Juarez was gunned down Thursday morning in front of his home, the newsapaper’s Web site reported.
Armando Rodriguez was preparing to take his daughter to school in Juarez when a gunman approached his car and fired several shots at point-blank range, according to accounts provided by the newspaper. Rodriguez reportedly died at the scene.
The assailant then fled to a waiting car carrying other men and sped off in an unknown direction.
Rodriguez was the police beat reporter for El Diario de Juarez and had become an expert on the brutal drug cartel violence that has gripped Juarez for the last several years.
“He was a good person and a good reporter,” said KINT-TV (Univision Ch. 26) reporter Pedro Villagrana, who has worked closely with Rodriguez for more than a decade.
Word of Rodriguez’ slaying quickly spread throughout the Juarez and El Paso journalism community. Some members of the Juarez media including his colleagues at El Diario de Juarez gathered at the crime scene to mourn his death, according to the newspaper Web site.
Juárez has always been a violent place. No rule of law. People get killed and nobody is arrested, not even an investigation. What’s new now is the rate of murders. There are more than 100 executions each month in Juárez, 1300 this year alone. Last year there were about 300.
“Mexico’s Red Days” by Charles Bowden in GQ on the escalating Juárez, Mexico murders:
The killings have the cold feeling of butchery in a slaughterhouse, and they are everywhere: done in broad daylight, on streets, in markets, at homes, and even in Wal-Mart parking lots. Women, children, guilty, innocent—no one is safe.
“America: Host or Parasite?”
Interview with economist, Dr. Michael Hudson. Dr. Hudson is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trend, a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of “Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire”. We discuss the US balance of payments trade deficit which creates US credit to finance the US national debt and war abroad; Russian economic shock therapy as the final stage of the cold war; the real estate bubble; permanent war and the inevitable collapse of the current US dominated global economic system. Visit his website at www.michael-hudson.com.
Today on KUER: Jim Harrison – Returning to Earth. Literary legend Jim Harrison has been capturing beauty and a zest for life with his poems, novels and essays for more than 40 years. He’s written about the spiritual pleasures of the natural world and the physical pleasures of the body in works like Saving Daylight, Legends of the Fall, and The Raw and the Cooked. Jim Harrison has recently published his ninth novel Returning to Earth, and in it looks from the good life to the good death. He is in Utah, and Thursday, RadioWest will air a conversation between Harrison and independent radio producer Scott Carrier.