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April 2003

o-blog  an i.p. blog o-blog: an i.p. blog


art¦ Plastographique is a .pdf-based online journal of “Plastography, Plagiarism, Parasitism, and Textual Turntablism”; #00004 is now available. • And here’s some scandalous and resourcefully executed public art for you to enjoy from the streets of London.


war¦ More than ever, we should be concerned about bias in journalism and particularly, war reporting. The internet gives us at least the possibility to garner a number of perspectives. In that interest, here are two links about the war in Iraq from Russians who are monitoring military communications: Venik’s Aviation Wartime Edition, and War in Iraq (both in English).

©¦ Newsfeed. The Commonwealth of Learning presents a Moderator’s Report and summary of a discussion entitled Copyright and the Web. • Further mainstream interest in the growing piracy threat: writes about the government using purchase records to profile suspected terrorists. • In the UK, the British Recording Industry is planning to sue universities that don’t crack down on file sharing.


©¦ Apparently the “Honest Thief” scheme to trade music downloads for unused computer cycles was a hoax and intended as a publicity stunt to market a new book. (We blogged it on 03-12.)

©¦ “Can you put your own name on something that’s in the public domain?” (Justice Sandra Day) O’Connor asked. “The short answer is, you can,” (Attorney) Gerber said. A current case before the Supreme Court attempts to hash it out.


war¦ George Monbiot says that there are three possible outcomes to the current war in Iraq, all of them bad. They’ve “dragged us into a mess that will last for years.”

war¦ I guess this is an encouraging sign: People are not content to be spoonfed by the likes of Fox and CNN. Evidence for this? A Guardian article, “Demand for news pushes web traffic to record levels,” contains the tidbit that “al-Jazeera” has replaced “sex” as the most searched-for term at Lycos.

war¦ Michael Moore says we live in “fictitious times,” and judging from this example he’s not too far off: The LA Times has fired a photojournalist for altering a news photo that was subsequently published on their front page. The tweak was minor, and doesn’t really create a false impression of events that transpired. Still it would be troubling to just let it go, and the LA Times didn’t.


©¦ Newsfeed. Rather than actually trying to address their own systemic problems, the RIAA has decided to escalate the matter. Now it’s suing college students. • On the other hand, a reporter at asks, rather wholeheartedly, the question Why not? when it comes to the idea of giving content away free.


war¦ Linguist and cognitive scientist George Lakoff writes about the current Gulf War in a reprise of a piece he wrote for the first Gulf War some ten years ago, about how metaphors can kill. • In the meantime, another noted Linguist and dissident, Noam Chomsky, is interviewed by Z magazine on his proposition that the current war in Iraq is a trial run.

www¦ Googlewashing is a new concept, and another reason to generally be wary of private organizations that do their job so well that they become taken as part of the infrastructure. This is the story of a new meme, its interaction with Google, and how the meme’s meaning was changed in a mere 42 days.


war¦ Dan Gillmor, visiting New York for the annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference, explains the reasons Why we may never regain the liberties that we’ve lost.


tech¦ Writing for, Sheldon Pacotti pens the cautiously pessimistic thoughtpiece Are we doomed yet?, in counterpoint and amplification of the Bill Joy’s dire warning from three years ago, Why the future doesn’t need us, which appeared at


©¦ The ham fist in action. The big news on the copyright front in the last several days has been the RIAA’s recent lawsuit brought against four college students to the tune of $98 billion — with a ‘b’ — for running file sharing services. Various discussions on the matter turned up, with varying degrees of thoughtfulness and depth of insight. • Lessig’s blog sounds a note of optimism, arguing that the extremism of the RIAA’s position will finally show through. • Whimsically, we offer this historical note. • And finally, New Yorkers for Fair Use.

< archived items >


Letter to America

from The Grand Delusion

The Grand Delusion,
Act Two

BBC reporter Alistair Cooke’s weekly broadcast “Letter from America” recently commented on a Dramatic Rise in Support for War. Here in Prague, some statistics about Czech citizen’s support for conflicts in recent years appeared in the March 25 issue of Mlada Fronta Dnes, a Czech daily newspaper. Question: Do you support war?

  • 2003 Iraq: 26% Yes, 55% No, 19% undecided
  • 2001 Afghanistan: 67% Yes, 33% No
  • 1999 Kosovo: 31% Yes, 38% No, 31% undecided
  • 1991 Persian Gulf: 70% Yes, 24% No

I. Primary delusion is control of thought, feeling, emotion, and expression.

a.] Source of current conflict is a disconnection from debate, discussion, world discourse. Individuals report a sense of powerlessness.

b.] The deep degree of mistrust in diplomacy apparently shown by the Bush administration demonstrates a lack of imagination and stunning arrogance; what is worse is that a forcible “pre-emptive” action establishes a precedent, an unsustainable course to follow for any global citizen, great or small. George Soros: An allergic reaction to the Bush doctrine. This bodes poorly for the future: Where before in history has there been a people for whom no fact is true? Media according to plan. “People of good will are hoping for peace.”

c.] President Bush walked away from the Kyoto environmental conference, turned his back on the U.N., squandered world-wide support and compassion for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and seems just as capable of turning his back on his own people. He’s apparently turned his back on God: An overwhelming majority of American religious organizations oppose a war that the Pope also condemns. Briefing for reporters, “we have 52 nations represented” (the fact is the U.S. is very much alone). General Tommy Franks briefing on Iraq for reporters. Doonesbury. Al-jazeera in English; which recently experienced a hack-attack. A Baghdad webcam. And, Get Your War On.

II. Liberation or Destruction?

a.] Liberation or colonialist occupation? India calls war unjust. Horror of horrors, nascent totalitarian John Aschcroft sings his love of country and conquest. America builds a new empire: meet the U.S. appointed team to run Iraq. (Although there is speculation that Tony Blair's White House visit will coincide with a push for sharing responsibilities with the United Nations.)

b.] Reconstruction in Afghanistan was forgotten in the most recent budget. (After this oversight was pointed out, money was quickly added to the budget.) The U.S. has been using illegal cluster bombs, and could potentially use MOAB missiles.

c.] As the kid-upstart United States attempts to hammer an 8,000 year old civilization into the dust, it notes, with some surprise, the ferocity and tenacity with which a people will defend their native soil from invaders — apparently the possibility that liberation is at hand isn’t taken seriously by the Iraqis. They remember well the nature of U.S. “support” during their attempts at self-liberation during the last Gulf War.

III. Human cost.

Robert Fisk comments on market blast in Baghdad. Geneva Convention? One rule for them.

IV. Monetary cost.

In 1991 costs were shared, and there was world cooperation. Today America is acting alone and President Bush has pushed a war that America cannot afford.

a.] 75 billion dollars is the estimated bill Americans will pay through October, 2003, if aggressions end within one month and proposed reconstruction begins. $75 billion for 6 months of war shocks Washington.

b.] A 753 billion tax cut proposal set to go through the US Senate was cut down to $350 billion. Along with the approved $2.2 trillion budget this will likely mean that the US debt will grow to trillions over the next decade. According to one source the U.S. owes the world $4 trillion.

c.] World economic growth could shrink by as much as 2%, or minus $800 billion.

State of the Union Redux. (Forwarded by Andrew Sinning from “an old friend,” saying, “It reminded me of some of your early plagiarism work.”)

Like you, I am very pre-occupied with the current struggle against the evil one who has “ambitions of conquest in the Middle East.” Surely “the ideology of power and domination has appeared again” and we are about to witness ”the triumph of violence in the affairs of men.” It makes any scientific work that I do seem very trivial. I wish that I had someone like you here to brainstorm on culture-jamming activities (the best slogan I have thought of so far is: “W” is for War).

It seems to me that “if this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of [the evil one] is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”

The evil one “has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why? The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate or attack.”

“If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning.”

I am hoping for the day when “America and the world will not be blackmailed” by threats and bought off with bribes. I hope that this “brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States”, to undermine our constitution and our civil rights, and to vitiate international law.

“I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of [the land of the evil one]: Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.”

All quotations are from G.W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address.

Finally. Ebon Fisher wrote this piece about his experiences with the anti-war protests in New York: Protesting the Monkey King with the True Patriots.

the white dove of Nicola Tesla

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