Journal

WE’RE CALLED THE NSA…BECAUSE THE “THOUGHT POLICE” DIDN’T GO OVER WELL IN FOCUS GROUPS

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Journal, News & Politics | Leave a comment

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As you may already know, the ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION has filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive and, as far as anyone can tell, illegal domestic spying program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications.

For the full low down on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s lawsuit go here.

But wait, that’s not all… a new whistleblower who says millions of Americans have been spied on, not just thousands, has emerged!!

This from the article Whistleblower says NSA violations bigger at UPI.com…

“A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans’ Constitutional rights. Russell D. Tice [a self-described conservative – Joshua] told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about a “special access” electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with Congress.”

So there you go! Freedom is on the march!!

menwith.gif Menwith Hill US base near Harrogate, is run by the NSA. Inside ‘hardened’ buildings, the staff tap into all telecommunications traffic to and from Europe that pass through Britain. It is not marked on any map. It is the most secret US base in Britain and the world’s largest spy base. It is the hub of US military planning in the northern hemisphere. Yorkshire CND together with the Otley Peace Action group have waged a long campaign to close down the base and to exercise their right to walk on this stretch of British moorland. If Americans have been fine with this for decades, what’s the big deal when it comes to domestic spying? What are the ethics of spying and when is the line crossed? Was it crossed when the National Security Agency Web Threat Algorithm Program went online and began scanning millions of innocent websites around the clock? That was made legal under the PATRIOT ACT, but is it ethical? Are we unsafe without it? These are all pertinent questions that stretch out far beyond the systemic legalities of this issue.

TACKED ON UPDATE! (2/16/06)

Judge orders action on spying documents

“A federal judge dealt a setback to the Bush administration on its warrantless surveillance program, ordering the Justice Department on Thursday to release documents about the highly classified effort within 20 days or compile a list of what it is withholding.”

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NSA… YOU HOLD THE KEY TO MY HEART!

Duck!! Cheney’s Got a Gun!!

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Journal, News & Politics | Leave a comment

White House under fire in Cheney shooting accident.

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If you’re not reading DARYL CAGLE’S CARTOON WEBLOG, you really ought to start. The latest news on the Cartoon Riots and all the most relevant political cartoons regarding any madness in the world can be found there.

Cool New On-Line Comics Website!!

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Art, Comic Books, Journal | Leave a comment

Check out ACT-I-VATE!!

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More Work From Neill Blomkamp, the man responsible for “Alive in Joburg”

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Cool Stuff!, Film & TV, Journal | Leave a comment

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Neill Blomkamp continues to use Science Fiction to explore social issues in post-apartheid South Africa with this short film TETRA VAAL.

“After you see it once, replay the video and pay attention to some of the poses that the robot makes. Let us, for example, take a look at the robot holding the machine gun upright in a rather patronizing and authoritative manner while patrolling the streets of Johannesburg. Then there is the car ride and casual looking through the window in a slight mixture of relaxation, readiness and anticipation we would expect from say, a NYPD officer ready to go to action in some American movie. Perfect analogy to human behavior and some good cliche pickups make quite a combination.”

However, TETRA VAAL isn’t nearly as cool as the absolutely extraordinary ALIVE IN JOBERG which is everything that genre should be, at least to my mind.

Some people have been calling his stuff derivative, with ALIVE IN JOBERG being a take on the film ALIEN NATION and TETRA VAAL being a riff on ROBOCOP. But the work has such resonance as social commentary that the updating of these ideas in his hands seems almost necessary (of course ROBOCOP is a top notch example of relevant social satire in and of itself).

If you’re feeling it, also check out Neill’s great commercial for Citroen called ALIVE WITH TECHNOLOGY.

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Cartoon Riots

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Art, Comic Books, Journal, News & Politics | Leave a comment

First, credit where credit is due…much of this post is ripped from an MSNBC blog called DARYL CAGLE’S CARTOON WEBLOG. What follows here is a sort of Cliff’s Notes of all his hard work. If you want the links and a more in-depth look at the story you have to go to his blog and generate hits for him. Thanks!

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A protester demonstrates in front of the French Embassy, over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which were published after a Danish newspaper editor issued an invitation to cartoonists to submit drawings of the Prophet. The cartoons have sparked outrage across the Islamic world, although Britain’s normally provocative newspapers have so far refused to publish them.

HERE are the original 12 offending cartoons. Very tame by our standards.

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Bangladeshi activists from Oikya Jote, one of two Islamic parties in the Bangladeshi government’s four party coalition, burn a Danish flag during a protest in Dhaka as riot police approach. Appeals for calm in the furor over cartoons went unheeded as police shot dead four more protesters during rioting in Afghanistan.

A French newspaper reprinted the Jyllands Posten caricatures of Muhammad yesterday.
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The paper ran a Headline that read, “Yes, we have the right to caricature God” with a cartoon of Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Muslim gods floating on a cloud, with the Christian god saying, “Don’t complain, Muhammad, we’ve all been caricatured here.”

Jacques Lefranc, the editor of France Soir, was promptly fired. The BBC quotes France Soir owner, Raymond Lakah, a French Egyptian, saying that he:

” … decided to remove Jacques Lefranc as managing director of the publication as a powerful sign of respect for the intimate beliefs and convictions of every individual. We express our regrets to the Muslim community and all people who were shocked by the publication.”

Journalists at France Soir disagreed with the firing in a front-page editorial that read in part:

“Religious freedom gives people the right to practice their faith or not, but should not become a means to impose the rules of a single religion on society as a whole.”

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The USA took a position on the Muhammad cartoon controversy, on the side of the offended Muslim countries. Reuters quotes State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper:

“These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims. We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”

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Reuters went on to note:

American Muslims welcomed the U.S. position, although it stopped short of urging American media not to republish the cartoons that include depicting Mohammad as a terrorist. Cooper said he had no comment as to why the United States chose to pass judgment in a dispute that ostensibly does not involve America … The U.S. response contrasted with European governments, which have tended to acknowledge the tension between free speech and respect for religion but have generally accepted the newspapers’ rights to print the cartoons.

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By Feb 6th four had died in Afghanistan as security forces opened fire on demonstrators. At violent protests in Iran the Austrian embassy was pelted with Molotov cocktails and stones. Iran withdrew its ambassador from Denmark and blocked the import of Danish goods.

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A 14-year-old boy was shot and killed in a cartoon protest in Somalia as demonstrators hurled stones at international aid groups. The biggest city in Indian Kashmir shut down all shops for a day of protest as crowds filled the streets, burned Danish flags and hurled rocks at cars. Street protesters in Indonesia threw rocks at a Danish consulate. Muslim leaders in Australia demanded that the News Corporation apologize for printing the cartoons.

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On Tuesday crowds of demonstrators clashed with police near Bagram, Afghanistan as cartoon protesters tried to break into a US base. Some of the protesters shot at the base, and police shot back. Four people were killed and 19 injured. There were more protests at embassies in Iran, Indonesia and Afghanistan with rock throwing and burning Danish flags.

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A Danish lawyer was shot and killed in Moscow by a man from the Muslim Caucasus region of Russia, and the killing was attributed to the cartoons. The Prime Minister of the Russian state of Chechnya announced that Danish humanitarian organizations would be expelled from the state.

For my thoughts on why a comic book (which is different than a cartoon) would incite such anger, in this case in the Muslim world where terrorists amazingly do not, please see my old, and only barely relevant post COMICS! PERFECT FOR PROPAGANDA!!

Alright, I’m off to Wondercon in San Fran… buh bye…