Monday, 22 October 2012

The Shiniest of Two Turds

I sent a few tweets out during the second Presidential debate, once I realised it was worth blogging. While I missed 'binders full of women', I did note the following, beginning with Obama's clever coup of claiming to have called Benghazi as a terror attack, a confident claim which totally floored the unprepared Romney: I ended up feeling pretty sorry for Mitt. Anyway, I'll be blogging the third debate over on the Twitter feed, so keep an eye out for that. Eagle! UPDATE: I missed the debate, owing to having something better to do, ie sleep. What did I miss? What was it like? Worth catching up on, or should I not bother?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Happy Equinox

Apologies for the lack of recent updates. The final harvest of the year, and there's been so much going on! Invisible Obama, you didn't build that, Grant Shapps, the 47%, gategate, Mitt's taxes (2011 return released today!).

Seriously, this isn't an SEO post, just an indication that I'm not sure what to talk about in all this.

Reality check: as we live in the equinox between light and dark right now, maybe we should be concerned with things more pertinent to our real lives than the mis-speaks of politicians?

Reality check: OTOH, I started this blog with the intention of chronicling the desires of the powerful through their Freudian slips. These people seek influence over us, over the rest of society. Someone needs to keep an eye on them.

 I'd like to broaden that remit a little: not just mispeaks and slips, and other psychological tells (like body language), but what is unintentionally revealed about power, by any means, whether that be by omission, documentary evidence, investigative journalism, or Freudian slip.

On the latter point, I'd also like to explore some of the psychological theories behind the Freudian slip - a contentious issue.

Stay tuned for posts over the next month as I catch up with what's been going on. Meanwhile, I'll work on updating header copy to reflect, and focus, the remit here.

Enjoy the Equinox and I'll wish you all a safe, happy and productive time as we move into the darker time of the year.  

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Gove us a clue

Discussing the leak, to the Daily Mail, of the plan to bring back the O Level exam to British schools, Ken Clarke claims he does not believe Michael Gove was responsible for the leak. Clarke cannot resist a smirk however, and stumbles over his words, wrong-footed. Most tellingly, when Andy Burnham (Labour) comments 'Michael Gove is the best leaker in Whitehall', Clarke immediately replies 'Yeah' before swiftly seeking to blame Liberal Democrats instead. Who knows if it was Gove or a Lib Dem, but interesting that Clarke seems to agree that Gove leaks and leaks often.

Anyone got any information on Michael Gove's record on leaking? If so, please let us know by commenting below.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Golden Dawn Rituals

One of the leading politico-economic stories of the year has been Greece's general elections, and the wider 'debt crisis' involving the Euro, austerity, and all that jazz, in which they have been situated. Last year, Russia Today's Keiser Report featured an interesting interview with Catherine Austin Fitts, and I was struck by her analysis that Europe does not have a 'debt crisis', rather it is a plan to restructure government according to the needs of the "financial coup d'├ętat":
Yet this situation creates unusual, unpredictable consequences for electoral party politics, particularly in Greece where the establishment parties have lost ground: notably to the 'coalition of Marxists, ecologists and feminists' Syriza, but also to the openly fascist Golden Dawn. The party achieved international notoriety during the election campaign, I would say chiefly for two things: their pledge to attack hospitalised immigrants in Greece, and for a GD MP's physical attack on two left-wing politician on live TV. Here is that moment, with English subtitles:
In a clear display of either paranoia or deliberate obfuscation, Golden Dawn leader Ilias Kasidiaris claimed he was set up, deliberately provoked. According to the Guardian, reporting on the incident
The party's image has been severely dented by continuous replays of footage of the 31-year-old Kasidiaris, a former army commando, striking the middle-aged Communist party deputy Liana Kannelli three times.
Oh yeah? Well, in fact Golden Dawn's share of the vote was only very slightly dented after the incident, its share down from 6.97% to 6.92%. In other words, support for the party has held firm. Clearly, the manufactured economic 'crisis' can be blamed. For our purposes, we note how little the GD spokesperson's public loss of control on TV affected the party's electoral results. What do you think? Was the incident manufactured, not by the TV show but by Golden Dawn itself, a fake loss of control designed to maximise publicity for the group and appeal to a pro-violence tendency in humanity? Or was it a genuine loss of control, spun by the party to portray Kasidiaris as a victim of political correctness? Here's a sharp analysis of the election results to ponder in the meantime. Also, in a thematically related incident from America, here's a video about an alleged assault on Ron Paul by another Republican politician that seems to have been imagined.
My take? Rather than an physical assault, this in fact seems to be an example of a psychological assault using body language commonly employed in the society of power to express seniority and hierarchy within that society. By the way, in the interests of balance I should point out that T-mobile are one of the many networks implicated in the Carrier IQ spyware story.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Obama on technological represssion

Back in April, on Holocaust Memorial Day, President Obama made an halting speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In the video below, at 1:33, Obama makes a slip regarding technological surveillance and repression. He's  talking about his administration's intent to 'institutionalise the focus' on the issue of potential genocides today. In particular, Obama talks about the current crisis in Syria, and announces new sanctions on those who 'abet' Syria 'for using technologies to monitor and track and target citizens for violence'. A finger wag comes in at 1:20, as Obama says the word 'today'. Then, as he begins to talk about the new sanctions, his hand makes a pincer gesture, as if to dramatise sanctions closing around the Assad regime, but the gesture continues, to emphasise the monitoring, tracking and targeting of citizens for violence. Then comes the Freudian slip: raising his finger once more, to emphasise the point, Obama states 'these technologies should not be used to empower...' and then he stumbles as he realises his mistake. As he moves to correct the statement, his hand once more makes the encircling gesture, as he says 'technologies should be in place to empower citizens not to repress them'.

 What are we to make of this? I want to hear your views. Is this a revealing slip, a politician stating his real, if unconscious view, on the era of technological surveillance Internet-based technologies have brought to bear? In particular, does the body language add a particular layer of interpretation to this parapraxis?

 

 We can possibly detect a little suppressed smile as Obama corrects his slip, almost as if the accidental meaning of his statement triggers a brief moment of amusement for him. Here's an animated gif showing the moment he realises his mistake and corrects his statement.

One final point: earlier on in the speech, Obama mentions new technologies, stating 'we will strengthen our tools across the board...and create new ones'. He states that they will work with technology companies to this end. He states 'alert channels will ensure information about unfolding crises, and dissenting opinions, quickly reach decision makers - including me'. In other words, technology will be used to funnel information to the government. I'm interested in theories as to why Obama feels the need to add 'dissenting opinions', which he does rather quickly, to this stipulation. Dissenting from who? Presumably, the President is expressing the need for a diversity of information about 'unfolding crises' to reach his ears, not just the standard view. It's a fine point, but why could it not be implicit in the phrase 'information about unfolding crises'? In other words, maybe the purpose of these new technologies will be to monitor 'dissenting opinions' in general? Here's the video capturing that moment, so you can judge for yourself.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

News In Brief

Stories catching my eye recently Many of you will have heard Obama's statement that he has 'evolved' into someone who supports same-sex marriage, and publicly affirming his personal support for gay marriage. It turns out one figure surprisingly not yet mentioned on this blog, American VP Joe Biden (who is famous for gaffes, slips and plagarism in public speaking) appears to have precipitated the affirmation. The story goes that in a typical Biden blunder, he jumped the gun by making a similar statement off the cuff, thus forcing Obama to make his statement - arguably, a case of the off-message mis-speak of a loose-lipped politician making a little bit of history. The Slate analysis is archly titled The Audacity of Evolution.
“I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
This classic quote comes from an interesting post listing "political faux pas that will leave you in splits" from John Mark Ministries.

 Added to Blogroll: Sturdyblog, which has at the moment a post that does seem to conclusively prove David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, to be a liar!

Meanwhile here's a pre-emptive exposure of Cameron, courtesy of Armano Iannuci's Time Trumpet.


 Local councillors are so funny sometimes.The Right Ear has a hugely entertaining report on the twitterstorm created by an apparently pro-EDL councillor who, despite claiming not to have realised the EDL were racist in her subsequent apology, had previously tweeted such gems as 'if you don't like it here go back to where you came from' to someone on the basis of their funny foreign name. The post is valuable as an archive of tweets deleted by the councillor concerned.

And finally: a political parapraxis for French speakers.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Mayday Fire

Happy Mayday! The story of the origins of Mayday can be a contested one, anarchists and pagans claiming the festival as their own, attempting to wrest the festival away from its usage by the state. In the ancient pantheon, the Greek Maia, mother of Hermes, was identified with the Roman Maia, a figure associated with growth and the earthly. According to Wikipedia,
the month of May (Latin Maius) was supposedly named for Maia, though ancient etymologists also connected it to the maiores, "ancestors," again from the adjective maius.
Here's a representation of the Greek Maia, with Hermes:

Mayday as a workers day is dated by anarchists from the late nineteenth century, and is intimately bound up with the fight for an eight-hour working day, the Haymarket riots and subsequent martyrdom of several men executed by the state in the aftermath. 6 years go, Democracy Now talked about these events in some detail:
Watch the whole show.
So that's the origins of Mayday from a modern perspective. Taking a longer view, the festival is as ancient as agriculture probably, maybe older. As the year's mid-point between spring equinox and summer solstice, this time is known as Beltain when the light and heat in the North is halfway between equality with dark and cold, and supremacy. The vulgar right-wing journalism of our old friends the Daily Mail holds that:
May Day as a festival is thought to have originated as a day of Roman dancing on which youths would celebrate the coming of spring and pay homage to Flora, the goddess of fruit and flowers. Read more.
The Mail here seems to want to downplay any grass-roots origins of the festival, and thus any authentic association with a people's history, instead preferring the Roman Empire as the secret origin. It appears far more likely the Roman Floralia was added to the British Beltain. This process has been repeated over and over, the day repressed or co-opted by the state as time moves on.

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