North Dakota becomes first US state to legalise use of armed drones by police | The Independent

September 10, 2016

Armed drones could be used by police in the US state of North Dakota after local lawmakers legalised their use. Source: North Dakota becomes first US state to legalise use of armed drones by police | The Independent | Charles Frith

via North Dakota becomes first US state to legalise use of armed drones by police | The Independent — olddogthoughts

October 3, 2012

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين

Rabble.ca | David Heap | Oct 2, 2012

Staying Human: A Canadian reports from the Swedish Ship to Gaza in La Spezia

The Swedish three-masted schooner Estelle arrived in the Italian port of La Spezia on Thursday afternoon, and on Saturday supporters from all over northern Italian came to wish her well on her voyage to Gaza, and fill her sails with the powerful winds of solidarity.

There were greetings from the Mayor of La Spezia as well as from other municipal and regional authorities, including the mayor of Bulciago (a town near Milan), mother of legendary International Solidarity Movement activist Vittorio (Vik) Arrigoni, who was killed last year in Gaza. Next to a banner that reads “With Vittorio for a free Palestine” Egidia Beretta presented the Estelle with an image of her son.

Some of dockside greeting for Estelle had strong historical resonances. La Spezia and the region of Liguria suffered heavy losses in WWII: this area was among the hardest hit in…

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August 19, 2012

Awaken.

Johnsmallman's Blog

Humanity’s awakening is at hand.  Of course you keep hearing that, because it is a fact.  Within the illusion however, time often seems to drag slowly and relentlessly onwards without an identifiable destination or purpose, as pain and suffering continue to plague your lives.  Time is illusory, and in your perception it generally slows down when you want it to pass more quickly, and it passes more quickly when you want it to slow down.  That in itself should demonstrate very clearly to you that it can only be illusory.

Reality is constant, without inconsistency or imprecision of any kind.  It is perfect, clear, transparent, and authentic, just as God created It.  Reality has no need of time, and within It there is only the eternal now, the permanent moment in which God and His creation exist eternally.  While you remain apparently enslaved within your illusory time-determined reality, that is…

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Pimp My Terror Terror Terror. Terrifying. Terrible. Awful. I’m disgusted.

November 9, 2006

Tom, Felix, I disagree with you both on some points. But first things first: I’ve been thinking about exactly this topic, and analogies between political marketing, propaganda and contemporary branding a lot recently and my research came back with some surprising answers which I hope you’ll appreciate for the sake of diversity.

In answer to your questions Tom, the ‘tactic’ used in the photo works because political marketing relies very much on the old fundamentals of advertising such as frequency, reach and propositions ‘Labour isn’t working’ ‘It’s the economy stupid’ ‘You’re either with us or against us’ and so on and so forth. You call this ‘Positioning’ I believe. I’d suggest that it’s more of an umbrella strategy than a tactic but let’s not quibble over words at the moment, I’m guessing there is a lot of opportunity for that later unless the U.S. is not a country of free speech.

Modern brands are trying to figure out the (cough) ‘rules of engagement’ and the dimensions thereof across an ever increasingly disparate, media and marketing communications topography. Political marketing hasn’t got a hope in hell of achieving; let’s call it ‘Progressive engagement’, and which I believe you’ve called ‘X’. However, I’d rather call it ‘Progressive engagement’ than just plain ‘Engagement’ because Political advertising, is, even if you hate it very engaging. OK it’s loud, polemical, repetitive, hypocritical and odious but nobody could say that if a person matching those qualities grabbed you by the lapels and proceeded to yell at you, that you didn’t notice them or have a clue what they were talking about. It’s just as engaging as that awesome ‘hate something, change something ad’ but at different psychological levels. This is important to why I’m commenting so allow me to explain. Politics and political life are held by the people of all countries across the developed world as being in really really bad shape but it’s even worse than that, it’s not just a misconception or a general feeling of the great unwashed vis a vis the intellectual elite or the chattering classes. Politics actually is in really really bad shape, and has been since around after the Second world war when the former Military General and then President Eisenhower, witnessed the emergence of, and warned against, the Industrial Military Complex. In short Tom, Politics under no circumstances can be considered as having anything close to an authentic voice. Authenticity is a central tenet of engagement, progressive or otherwise. In fact Politics is as far from authenticity as you could hope to wish for. If any profession has adopted the double speak of Orwellian tautological manipulation, its politics. From ‘that depends on what the definition of is, is’ to ‘collateral damage’ and I need crank up the drama on my next point because it’s central to the ‘positioning’ versus ‘progressive engagement’ model, so here goes. Another gravity defying new-speak whipping boy, is the refusal to define precisely what torture and torture techniques are so that the enemy ‘don’t know our non torture techniques’ because of either option a) or b)

a) We’re actually torturing them and between you and I and a nudge and a wink, we’re ok with that, and so am I, but don’t let them Terror Terror Terror people think they can torture any captured troops from our Coalition of the Willing while we’re chilling with the Kool-Aid in the Green Zone . Oh no, double standards R most definitely not us.
b) We’ve got these new techniques that are really groovy and scare the living hell out of ‘non combatants’ and terrorists. But in the name of Allah or whatever God you choose to freak out on we really can’t tell you right now because everyone knows that open source torturing techniques never work out in real life.

I could mention ‘it was never about staying the course’ or ‘mission accomplished’ or ‘I never had sexual relations with that woman’ but I think you get my point. This is a non partisan marketing communications hypothesis. Politics uses the blunt and interruptive model of repetition, frequency and proposition because most effective political campaigning works effectively, not from the loved-up, collaborative, consumer generated, here’s my Youtube-political-two-cents- worth-upload, but from a completely different background – Fear. Nothing makes you change your awkward and unwelcome psychographics or consumer behaviour than fear.

It all started with the British Ministry of Information circa the advent of the First World War who set the tone for political advertising at the beginning of the last century. Prior to the heinous crime of sending ‘Lions led by donkeys’ to the flying-burger-patty carnage of trench warfare, most British citizens had no truck with the Germans. That’s right, in order to whip up our young lads into pledges of dying on the field of glorious battle, the British Ministry of Information with all those new fangled mass media equipment at their disposal managed to whip up support for a war that very few people today can say exactly why. They called that the Great War. So Hitler was really dead jealous of these new techniques used this propaganda techniques which thrive on ‘fear’ so when the time was right, the Nazis set fire to the Reichstag building and then blamed it on the communists to whip up his side, and ever since, politicians who took notes on these things while ducking snipers, have been using fear to whip up domestic support for everything from those Pinko Commie bastards in Vietnam threatening our way of life to (my words) There is no way on earth that the military industrial complex with companies like Halliburton and their shareholders like the V.P would ever knowingly bring forward a sensational execution judgement just prior to the day before the elections, to remind the people of what it’s all about because my dear friends without fear…..You have nothing to be afraid of, which gets us Zero votes.

Incidentally that ‘Sales or Income Tax’ issue is as I understand it, is about where they are going to find the money to pay for increased education spending in New Hampshire right? Given that Habeas Corpus took a walk a couple of weeks ago, arguing over who gets taxed or invoiced over what and where, seems a wee bit head in the sand. Lastly the only comparable communications model I can think of for fear is stuff like anti smoking and drink driving campaigns, you know; the ones where a big old iterative and scary message works best.

Posted by: Charles Frith | November 08, 2006 at 10:08 AM

Talking about noblesse oblige: M-W’s Word of the Day

November 5, 2006

 You’re average royal name dropper these days is a tart.

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The Word of the Day for November 5 is:
noblesse oblige \noh-BLESS-uh-BLEEZH\ noun
: the obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth
Example sentence:
"In the Robinson family’s circles, public service had long been common; it connoted not personal ambition so much as noblesse oblige." (Connie Bruck, _The New Yorker_, July 23, 1990)
Did you know?
In French, "noblesse oblige" means literally "nobility obligates." French speakers transformed the phrase into a noun, which English speakers picked up in the 19th century. Then, as now, "noblesse oblige" referred to the unwritten obligation of people from a noble ancestry to act honorably and generously to others. Later, by extension, it also came to refer to the obligation of anyone who is in a better position than others — due, for example, to high office or celebrity — to act respectably and responsibly.
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England

October 30, 2006

I’m all for losing me, losing the plot, losing at sport, gambling, love affairs and careers. Frankly losing rocks and is well underestimated. 
 

Where was I? Oh yes, England’s strongest side since 1966 they said. The newspapers did, mates who actually watch football and know a thing or two constantly reminded me in the run up to the tournament, it was all over the interweb, the TV pundits sang in unison, and even the Go-Go dancers at Long Gun on Soi Cowboy knew that England had a chance of raising the cup and for a fleeting second wink at the world and say, ‘told you we’re the best’. 

Well anyway, we’ve still got our sense of humour. I mean its official, now that we lost on penalties again. We can just come out of the closet and say it with pride. So here goes: “We haven’t come close to raising the world cup for 40 years have we?” But anyway, it doesn’t matter because we’ve got the most expensive players in the world, easily the most loved teams on the planet and Becks is soooo good looking. 

Once every four years whether I like it or not, I take football quite seriously. The world cup neatly synchs with me on this one, and I really love the opportunity to call up my mates who think I’m a bit gay anyway, and say ‘did you watch the footy last night?’ I really enjoy the banter but now it’ll probably be 2010 before you catch me being a real lad again. I’ll be over 40 too. 

Anyway it’s a real opportunity to bond because most of the time I’m either waffling on about geo-politics or psycho-babble nonsense such as how football enables lots of men to get together and talk to each other with passion, without anyone getting suspicious or a bit nervous as to intent. Apparently we used to get well revved up on politics and religion in the olden days, but just you try getting a conversation going about those things and people will think you’re plain weird. Honest they really do. 

Where was I? Oh yes; our strongest team since LBJ arranged for Kennedy to be shot in Texas. Well I kept quiet in the build up to the tournament about England’s form, because I hadn’t watched a game for four years and frankly, for just a little while, after that first goal in the first seconds, of our first match of the world cup, by David Beckham (he’s so handsome) I thought we might be up for it. The goal was awesome and felt a bit like an early omen, a taste of things to come. Maybe we had what it takes to go all the way. This could be our time, and even if football wasn’t coming home, at least the cup was and that’s what counts. 

I wasn’t impressed though when I watched the strongest side since the Second World War struggle to convincingly demolish a team that allegedly are a dab hand at playing the pan pipes when chilling out after a hot and sweaty game of footy in Ecuador (is that near the equator? Nobody seemed quite sure). I said it then and it didn’t go down well in the semi-quasi hostess bar we piled into to watch the match but my early observation was, I thought the England team looked a bit crap! 

Anyway, give ‘em a chance I thought. Let the team coalesce naturally instead of the forced structuring of the national squad mash-up. And anyway Grubby’s new Elvis quiff-with-highlights was looking good, Ads was yelling at Sven on the telly for doing the wrong four-four-whatever formation while Rez lapped up having a really good reason to sink a few cleansing ales because he’s usually a Starbucks kind of guy. Oh, and I almost red-carded myself for losing it with Saggy who snagged my seat at half time unaware we’d tipped up two hours early to get the good ones. Cheeky Indians! 

Which reminds me! I started to think about this piece in the Austin Healy style taxi I’d jumped into this morning from one of those painfully hip hotels on the way to Delhi airport where I was going to catch a sexy air India flight to Bombay or Mumbai as it’s officially known. The hotel was one of those Soviet architectural affairs that the Indians had a major fling with a few decades ago. Actually I loved the interior; all Indian baubles and modernist design but way overstaffed by folks in faux Issey Miyake uniforms and way under serviced in a how-long-does-it-take-to-get-the-attention-of 8 employees standing around doing nothing. But that’s got nothing to do with footy, and yet everything, when I get onto it, which is why I’m writing this. 

It’s the evening and I’d better crack on or I’ll never get round to the point, but as I was writing this by pen on the plane earlier, I felt embarrassed by my handwriting,  as it is so awful these days because  I rarely write. It feels all disjointed and clumsy and takes loads of effort. I predict that handwriting will go out of fashion one day. Voice to text seems the obvious way and I feel kind of sentimental for those who have really beautiful handwriting and write lovely notes on lovingly selected stationary, but I bet no one is going to miss my awful handwriting. Particularly me while I’m trying to type them up. 

Where was I? Ah yes the most formidable England squad since Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, partition of India and Pakistan and The Coronation. Enough of that, our first match was just awful, a real turkey of a game but the second was torture because practically none of the questionable gang of assembled chums could say absolutely certainly where Costa Rica was. I’d had a few tasty Chang beers but that was no excuse for not really knowing so I was plumping for The Americas somewhere between Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. I had to play it cagey because planners have a rep to keep up and I thought it was a better pick than the Africa option that was being floated at one point. It’s tricky when taking into account skin colour, the slave trade and surely the best thing about globalisation; all sorts of ethnic groups, in the England squad. Not many Indians but more on that later. 

Well, looking at our football group, I had to say that England were well lucky. Easily the easiest group to be in, apart from the game with Sweden that was lined up. I was semi relaxed about that one as Sven Goran Eriksson is our manager and as luck would have it (or design) we drew that match and nobody’s feelings got hurt. That plus Erik didn’t take his work home or vice versa. 

Anyway, after that dismal first match, I’d become a really good football pundit with loads of experience. I started to defend Peter Crouch. From what I had seen he worked harder, covered the whole pitch, was good in a tight corner, created opportunities and put the other lot on the back foot most of the time, and just because he looks a bit spastic doesn’t mean he isn’t a great football player. The boys as I’d started calling them since the start of Germany 2006 completely ignored me and kept going on about some robot dance that all real fans knew about. All I knew was we used to do that when Kraftwerk unleashed Das Model on the world, and that was a very long time after The Beatles and the Swinging Sixties or say 1966.

Incidentally I once worked in 1995 as a kitchen helper at a very expensive Hollywood restaurant on Melrose with a bunch of illegal alien Mexicans who spoke no English except for two words when they found out that I was; “The Beatles" and "Hooligans”. Amazingly hard workers, they earned less dollars than me, because I was a white boy, even though I’d never had any more experience than peeling onions at a Pizza Hut in Sutton in the very late 80’s and landed the job for preparing the Hollywood Bowl take-away set-dinners at 80 Bucks a pop. I learnt as much Mexican as I could to show them they could learn English too if they tried, but these days I only remember them saying ‘Mucho trabajo poco de nero’ which means lots of work and little money or something close. 

All top chefs in Hollywood speak fluent Mexican if they want to run a tight ship. Weren’t Mexico looking a bit dangerous at one point in the World Cup? Anyway, back to England. “The finest side to be fielded since Sexy Sadie (what have you done?), made a fool of everyone on the White Album. That was a long time before robot dancing. 

So it’s not really nice and even though Beckham is really dishy and I don’t want to hurt his feelings, I thought England were really shit in the second game where the average monthly wage of our opponents was I think about 150 Bucks which is I guess a couple of Hollywood takeaway lunch sets in the mid 90’s when I was doing my degree. Well maybe everyone has forgotten but Sven was definitely losing the plot, pulling at his hair from the sidelines, frantic even, and then the first sign of how England moves in mysterious ways kind of came to me. 

Wayne, who loads of people say is the best player for England since George, was taken off the substitute bench in a sure sign of desperation, because he had a broken meta thingy, that had suddenly miraculously healed!  And he came on after a few minutes of prowling on the sidelines and looking quite menacing. All of a sudden a few minutes into his game Crouchy headed an awkward number in and even though it wasn’t a classically beautiful goal, I’m sure every English fan around the world collectively kissed him for putting us out of the misery of being pinned down to a draw in the second half, by a poor country with probably only 80 people in it too. 

Quickly after I learnt the name Gerrard who suddenly poked a stunner in the back of the net from what looked like not to far from the half way line. Apparently they all do these types of goals, week in and week out in the league but to me it looked like every reason to love the world cup every four years. A night or so later I was thinking about this in bed and reflecting much more than I ever usually do or even ever did about football and England in 1966, or even things that we’re good at, stuff we’re not good at and about Wayne. The really nice Asian chap on BBC World News who was World Cup fever mad, and was my most trusted and convincing media pundit said something about Wayne showing all the early signs of a "legend". It was a probably said in a moment of rational(sic) exuberance but as my most trusted footy expert I had to square the hole, and figure out what he meant. 

Incidentally this flight has been circling Mumbai airport for ages now and the pilot who definitely sounded like he was having a pulmonary over the PA said the weather had been too dangerous to land earlier. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard that, and we’re three hours late on a two hour delayed flight so I took a look out the window as we descended, which is usually worth doing in any new destination at least once, and something equally terrifying caught my eye. I’ve seen the most hard core slums, but as we dropped into the view of Bombay, something out of the Silmarillion emerged in my line of sight. Really scary and growing like black fractal trippy growths on hill after hill, and even poking out in ways that huts can only do after years and years of organic but filthy accumulation and temporary fixes of wood, metal and plastic, there’s not much concrete in real slums funny enough. Anyway, really black, really scary they were; easily beating Ethiopia’s and Burma’s worst housing. I have to get out there some day. I need to take a closer look. Really scary; I quite like it when something feels so new it’s frightening. It’s like a legal high I guess. 

Sorry, I’m really off on one, so back on topic. To me, as Wayne our best striker since the transistor was invented, hardly touched the ball when he came on, and when he did, it wasn’t that special. Ok so at least two players were closely marking him at any one point, but didn’t Maradona always do his stuff at least once a game? Then it occurred to me (because after all, it’s all about me) that both those goals in the second match happened when Rooney came on. Rooney the fans chanted, Sven sent Rooney on, not Wayne, and it was Rooney that the England squad got all psyched up about. Enough to score two goals within minutes of what had up until then been an awful match, with a country we couldn’t pinpoint on a map. Then a possible solution came up. Maybe a football legend was just as much about psychology as reality. Costa Rica suddenly faltered and yet it was only later that it felt like Wayne was on the pitch and not Rooney. I hatched a quick theory that even if Rooney was not that good, or Wayne was much better than average; as long as we poked goals into the back of the net who cares if it was Wayne Rooney or not. I can handle that. Maybe England is more inspiration than perspiration. I mean apart from the Industrial Revolution and Feudal Society. But we didn’t play great international football, back then either. Even that notable game between the trenches in the First World War seems more poetic than tragic penalty shoot outs. 

But what’s most important is that while I watched us lose in that funky Delhi Hotel, the thing I was most struck by were the Indians cheering on Portugal with a vengeance. Never mind that the railways or say the civil service are two decent legacies that the awful empire slinked away from. It was England that was up for a bashing that night and I don’t know why but I feel it’s related to our multi-culti football team that has no Indians. Ever! But Indians, sure do kick ass on the cricket pitch.

THE MAD FARMER’S LIBERATION FRONT

October 13, 2006

Manifesto:
The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry


Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Listen to carrion – put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from The Country of Marriage, copyright C 1973 by Wendell Berry, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Breast Cancer

October 4, 2006
Clearly breast cancer is important and I did notice the pink ribbon recently and not quite recalling the difference from the red ribbon. Perspective is a generally a good thing and my intention is not to diminish the importance of the topic. However where I live in Thailand breast cancer is probably just a bummer compared to say institutionalised gang rape of targeted school children. For the record, if say my girlfriend or wife lost a breast or breasts through cancer, it wouldn’t matter in the least. But I do understand fully that a woman would mourn any loss of her sexuality or natural breast feeding ability. There you have it. My first 360 comment for those in the know.
 
 

You look like a perfect Fit.

September 30, 2006
(McCartney/Lennon)

Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you, Julia

Julia, Julia, oceanchild, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Julia
Julia, seashell eyes, windy smile, calls me
So I sing a song of love, Julia

Her hair of floating sky is shimmering, glimmering,
In the sun

Julia, Julia, morning moon, touch me
So I sing a song of love, Julia

When I cannot sing my heart
I can only speak my mind, Julia

Julia, sleeping sand, silent cloud, touch me
So I sing a song of love, Julia
Hum hum hum hum…calls me
So I sing a song of love for Julia, Julia, Julia

Encore!!

September 6, 2006
 

A PRAYER FOR THE STRESS

 

 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

the courage to change the things I cannot accept

and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had

to kill today because they pissed me off.

 

And also, help me to be careful of the toes I step on

today as they may be connected to the ass that I may have

to kiss tomorrow.

 

Help me to always give 100% at work…..

12% on Monday

23% on Tuesday

40% on Wednesday

20% on Thursday

5% on Friday

 

And help me to remember…..

When I’m having a really bad day

and it seems that people are trying to piss me off,

that it takes 42 muscles to frown and

only 4 to extend my middle finger and tell them to bite me!

 

Amen

 

Note: Got this stuff from a friend..Helps a lot, especially on Mondays.

 

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