Incompetent & Vulgar

Not only can’t the rich run their own system for making themselves rich, they have no taste-

Swiss luxury accessories brand DEOS launched these diamond-encrusted covers designed for iPod and iPhone earbuds. Prices for these handcrafted covers, which slip on earbuds, start at $4,500, for black and white diamond versions, climbing to $60,000 for earbuds dripping with pink, yellow or black diamonds. Sure, they cost more than the actual device. Which is why some of the models, like the DEOS 32W, which has a full carat of diamonds and costs $5,000, comes with a complimentary Shuffle.

You see whatever the crisis, there is still plenty of money for certain people.

Enemy Mine

NuLabour trying to sneak through massive surveillance? Why I’ve never heard the like!

You might suppose that the economic tornado hitting Britain would cause the government to focus its energy and resources very tightly on the political projects that are of undoubted value. This is not, after all, the moment to be wasting either political or financial capital. But you would be wrong. Faced with a crisis that it patently can’t control, the government is instead seeking to exert power where it still can: over us.

The state’s latest plan to watch us makes every other imminent intrusion seem limited. Next month’s Queen’s speech will contain a brief reference to an innocuous-sounding communications data bill. But what this means is the development of a centralised database that will track, in real time, every call we make, every website we visit, and every text and email we send. That information will then be stored and analysed – perhaps for decades. It will mean the end of privacy as we know it.

Except data mining doesn’t really work in the catch the eveel terrorist type way-

But the authors conclude the type of data mining that government bureaucrats would like to do–perhaps inspired by watching too many episodes of the Fox series 24–can’t work. “If it were possible to automatically find the digital tracks of terrorists and automatically monitor only the communications of terrorists, public policy choices in this domain would be much simpler. But it is not possible to do so.”

The report was written by a committee whose members include William Perry, a professor at Stanford University; Charles Vest, the former president of MIT; W. Earl Boebert, a retired senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories; Cynthia Dwork of Microsoft Research; R. Gil Kerlikowske, Seattle’s police chief; and Daryl Pregibon, a research scientist at Google.

So the state is left with a huge unwieldy system that will however be useful as control-

We all have a gulf between who we really are and the face we present to the world. Suddenly that barrier will be taken away. Would a protester at the Kingsnorth power station feel quite so confident in facing the police if she knew that the minute she was arrested, the police could find out that she’d just spent a week looking at abortion on the web? Would a rebel politician stand up against the prime minister if he knew security services had access to the 100 text messages a week he exchanged with a woman who wasn’t his wife? It isn’t just the certainty that such data would be used against people that is a deterrent, it’s the fear. As the realisation of this power grew, we would gradually start living in the prison of our minds.

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120 Minutes

It’s just taken me slightly over 2 hours of phone *meh* between the Carphone Warehouse and O2 to get a ten pound credit I was owed. I know, hardly worth it but once you’re an hour in it becomes a- cut your losses and it was all wasted or saunter on with bemused resolve. It’s horrible working in a call centre and it’s horrible trying to get anything done via one. The only service that does work is sales, but other than the corporation taking your money all other functions are …not very functional. It’s a prime example of a corporatist dystopia, the worker has a rubbish time, the consumer has a rubbish time and the handful of owners get hugely fucking rich. Employees are not given the autonomy or resources to problem solve (after all if they did they might get ideas…unions!) and so getting something sorted really relies on a dogged determination and luck that out of the numerous departmental handovers every so often you happen on someone who can help you inch forward in your quest. I think that’s the way to view it, more a series of accidental encounters that in time can be shaped towards your desired goal. Read the rest of this entry »

How Iran Helped The US Fight Al Qaeda

Via Iran Affairs the AP (hmmm) report on the help Iran gave America after 9/11 yet the Bush regime (and it’s difficult not to see the hand of AIPAC & the neocons as a major factor here) took the help and in return called them part of the ‘axis of evil’. It’s a common story, how the world was horrified by 9/11 but the Bush regime managed to turn that solidarity into contempt by reacting as it did. Using the attacks as cover for a pre-determined set of bloody imperial polices & domestic repression that bore no relation to dealing with the attacks and their causes.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an effort to help the United States counter al-Qaida after the 9/11 attack, Iran rounded up hundreds of Arabs who had crossed the border from Afghanistan, expelled many of them and made copies of nearly 300 of their passports, a former Bush administration official said Tuesday. The copies were sent to Kofi Annan, the U.N. secretary-general, who passed them on to the United States, while U.S. interrogators were given a chance by Iran to question some of the detainees, Hillary Mann Leverett said in an Associated Press interview.

Leverett, who said she negotiated with Iran for the Bush administration in the 2001-3 period, said Iran sought a broader relationship with the United States. “They thought they had been helpful on al-Qaida, and they were,” she said. For one thing, she said, suspected al-Qaida operatives were not given sanctuary in Iran. Some administration officials took the view, however, that Iran had not acknowledged all likely al-Qaida members nor provided access to them, Leverett said. Many of the expelled Arabs were deported to Saudi Arabia and to other Arab and Muslim countries, even though Iran had poor relations with the Saudi monarchy and some other countries in the region, Leverett said.

James F. Dobbins, the Bush administration’s chief negotiator on Afghanistan in late 2001, said that Iran was “comprehensively helpful” in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack in working to overthrow the Taliban and collaborating with the United States in installing the Karzai government in Kabul. Iranian diplomats made clear at the time they were looking for broader cooperation with the United States, but the Bush administration was not interested, the author of “After the Taliban: Nation-Building in Afghanistan,” said in a separate interview. The Bush administration has acknowledged contacts with Iran over the years even while denouncing Iran as part of an “axis of evil” and declining to consider a resumption of diplomatic relations.

“It isn’t something that is talked about,” Leverett said in describing Iran’s role during a forum at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan policy institute. Leverett and her husband, Flynt Leverett, a former career CIA analyst and a former National Security Council official, jointly proposed the next U.S. president seek a “grand bargain” with Iran to settle all major outstanding differences.

“The next president needs to reorient U.S. policy toward Iran as fundamentally as President Nixon did with China in the 1970s,” Flynt Leverett said. Among the provisions: The United States would clarify that it is not seeking change in the nature of the Iranian regime but rather in its policies, while Iran would agree to “certain limits” on its nuclear program. Iran considers most of its neighbors as enemies. Among its incentives for improving U.S. relations is that they feel that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would be less provocative, the Leveretts said.

I’m guessing this won’t puncture the bubble of presidential campaign/financial thing obsessed homeland media, especially as the level of debate the right perpetuates is a flavour of imperial functioning racism with eliminationist goals –Obama’s middle name is Hussein, so he’s a terrorist like all Arabs & Muslims, we must kill them all– (not to mention Iranians are erm, not Arabs). Still, what can be expected from an administration led by a man who was unaware there were two major sects of Islam before invading Iraq.

PS. Apparently the police in Ohio are not treating the gas attack on a mosque as a terrorist act or a hate crime while the rubbish & hateful ‘Obsession’ DVD continues to be distributed by a well funded secretive hate group that maintains that crucial polite deniable distance from the McCain campaign.