Fairly wrenching statement from Cindy Sheehan as she quits “as the “face” of the American anti-war movement”. Worth clicking through.

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt “two” party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?

First Formal US-Iran Talks since 1980

Juan Cole on the first formal US-Iran talks since 1980

Do the United States and Iran have things to talk about? Yes. They have several common interests, which could be stressed and developed fruitfully.

1. Shiite Iran is a deadly enemy of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which the US is also fighting. Instead of making up silly charges against Iran, the US could explore avenues of cooperation against these enemies.

2. Shiite Iran is a deadly enemy of the Iraqi Baath Party and of the radical Salafi Jihadis who are responsible for most of the violence in Iraq and for most of the killings of US troops. There are ways in which the US and Iran could cooperate in defeating these forces, which are inimical to both Washington and Tehran.

3. Shiite Iran is happy with the Shiite led government of Iraq and wants to see Iraq’s territorial integrity maintained. Supporting the al-Maliki government and keeping Iraq together are also goals of the United States.

back from Vegas

Well, the Roto kind.

Was really good to get the fuck out of the city for a couple of days, and catch up with some of my favourite people. Treated it like a mini holiday, after finishing Part Two of USD version 2.0. Part Three remains.

Also nice to be away from computers and the information flow. Did I miss anything?

Call me on my bullshit!

Yes. Please.

Overwhelmingly, in fact. If you are reading this and are my friend, this is the most useful thing you can, as far as I can conceive at present, do for me. Bring it on.

For at least a decade now I have had an ferocious commitment to the truth as I understand it. I am willing and open to communication on this level. If you feel at any point I am not answering truthfully, or, perhaps more relevantly, clearly, call me on it. I do not not know what you don’t know until you tell me. Push for clarification. Ask better questions and I will give better answers, as to the best of my ability.

I am finding life enormously fascinating at the moment. 🙂

Okay, its’s 7am, and I should go to bed. I suspect my head may hurt upon waking. It’s all good.

i needed that

One of my flatmates just finished reading Eidolon.

His reaction went “Fuck. This must be published.” *makes head exploding motions*

Kind of made my day. 🙂

And yes, I really must do something about getting it published.

joy at sudden disappointment

Someone once asked a great sheikh
what sufism was.
“The feeling of joy
when sudden disappointment comes.”

– Rumi

Moore on Magic

This is probably the best and most interesting interview I have ever read with Alan Moore.

I tend to see magic, in a way, as a kind of language. I think, unsurprisingly, the gods of magic ARE the gods of language. And magic is, in a sense, a kind of language with which to read the universe. It’s a language of symbols with which you can extract meaning from the most mundane things. And in fact it’s that aspect of magic that I find myself attracted to. The idea of magic as some weird alien Dr. Strange dimension that one can escape to from this one doesn’t really appeal to me. I think that if magic his anything, it’s about realizing the [stage whispering] unbelievable supernatural magic is that in just the fact that we are thinking and having this conversation. Realizing just how magical every instance is, every drawn breath, every thought. Just how astronomical the odds are against it. How wonderful. And following through these kinds of beautiful chains of symbols that can lead to some interesting revelations. But again these are revelations that to me relate to a new way of seeing life in this ordinary mundane world rather than an escape to some fantastic new plane of existence. It’s about uncovering the revelation that is in everything.

There is so much good stuff in this one, I could quote half of it. Go read it.

(For those who don’t know, Moore is the reigning mad genius of comics, who did more than just about anyone else (other than Neil Gaiman’s Sandman) to get them considered an adult medium. He is most famous for Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell and Promethea. A bunch of his work has been used as source material for really awful movies (with the exception of V for Vendetta, which survived pretty well) and he is well worth checking out, as are his spoken word incantations, and so on and so forth.

Holy crap! He just got married.

Alan Moore's wedding!

He’s normally freaky looking in a completely different way.

(interview via technoccult)

wide awake in the middle of the night and i don’t really understand why
relaxed, alert, too much energy and nothing specific to do
hardly a bad thing
finding there are more hours in the day to fill lately
despite being more productive than ever
more or less
is this why people have jobs
something to fill the hours between sleep with activity so as to avoid thought
it used to scare me when people said they didn’t know what to do with themselves when they weren’t at work
it still does, to tell the truth
but i begin to understand a little
full as my leisure time is
maybe this is what is meant by balance
something missing
a core of mindlessness
that could be it
something for the body to do
an occupation
the mind, well, it does its thing
hard to shut off, hard to direct in useful ways
the heart runs riot and cannot be trusted
the body, well, dependable
solid, plodding
takes its time getting things done
more of that then
i could go and clean the flat
not yet that desperate, though it keeps coming up
something that needs doing
perhaps it is time to build a new dream machine

just safe for work

Classy little vid all about internet pr0n

Okay, so maybe not that classy. 🙂

Carla's List

Went along to a documentary at the Human Rights Film Festival last night, Carla’s List. It is a behind the scenes look at a year in the life of the prosecutor going after war criminals in the former Yugoslavia under the ambit of the International Criminal Tribunal, the first of its kind since Nuremberg with the power to try international leaders for war crimes. interesting in that it attempts to hold leaders responsible.

The great theme of the film is the way politics gets in the way of pursuit of justice. Lacking a police force or the ability to arrest their targets directly, the ICT can only apply political pressure on governments to find and arrest the targets. That political pressure is a complicated dance on a shifting dancefloor. They encounter a lack of cooperation, information sharing, and suggestions of political deals being cut in the background.

Further confusing things, one man’s war criminal is another’s national hero, and it is the support of that nation which will determine whether or not they are handed over. The large popular following many of these war criminals have makes it hard to get them when they are actively sheltered by populations.

The lessons from the film are that even with the benefit of tonnes of money, profile, and resources, getting anything done is really hard. In the Yugoslavian case, after a ten year process the primary targets responsible for the Sebrendica genocide are still at large.

However, justice is pursued vastly differently depending on the profile of the case, and frankly whether the victims are poor and colored or not. The situation with prosecuting war crimes everywhere else in much more chaotic settings with less funding and media profile (eg Rwanda or Timor-leste) is bleak. The likelihood of getting anything done whatsoever and the odds to get a conviction are much worse.

A couple of telling notes the doco struck. First, the Hague provides truth not justice. It is good at establishing what happened but powerless to do anything about it without goodwill from other countries. Second, in terms of cooperation and interference, “successful operations do not involve the CIA or MI6”.

All in all, fascinating but a huge downer. The panel discussion was interesting, too. The above is a sort of potted summary of impressions from the film and the panel.

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