Steal This Singularity Part 3: Bean Counters in Paradise

 

It was 2008 — maybe a week or two into my first experience working with “official” “organized” (as if) transhumanism as editor of h+ magazine. I was being driven down from Marin Country to San Jose to listen to a talk by a scientist long associated with various transhumanoid obsessions, among them nanotechnology, encryption and cryonics. As we made the two hour trip, the conversation drifted to notions of an evolved humanity; a different sort of species — maybe disembodied or maybe not — but decidedly post-Darwinian and in control of its instincts. I suggested that a gloomy aspect of these projections was that sex would likely disappear, since those desires and pleasures arose from more primitive aspects of the human psyche. My driver told me that he didn’t like sex because it was a distraction — a waste of brain power… not to mention sloppy.

I arrived at a Pizza Hut in an obscure part of the city. This gathering of about 15 – 20 transhumanoids would take place over cheap pizza in the back room that was reserved for the event. There was even a projector and a screen.The speaker — a pear shaped fellow clad in dress pants held up by a belt pulled up above his stomach — started his rap. As I recall, he predicted major nanotechnology breakthroughs (real nanotechnology i.e. molecular machines capable of making copies of themselves and making just about anything that nature allows extremely cheaply) within our extended lifetimes, allowing us, among other things, to stay healthy  indefinitely and finally migrate into space.

I recall him presenting a scenario in which all of us — or many of us — could own some pretty prime real estate; that is, chunks of this galaxy, at the very least that we could populate with our very own advanced progeny (mind children, perhaps.) I’m a bit sketchy on the details from so long ago, but it was a very far out vision of us united with advanced intelligences many times greater than our own either never dying or arising from the frozen dead and, yes, each one getting this gigantic chunk of space real estate to populate. (That these unlivable areas can be made livable either by changing it or ourselves or both with technology is the assumption here.)

Once the speaker had laid out the amazing future as scientifically plausible, he confessed that he was mainly there to make a pitch.  Alcor  — the cryonics company that he was involved in — needed more customers. As he delineated how inexpensively one could buy an insurance policy to  be frozen for an eventual return performance, he began to emphasize the importance of a person in cryonics not being considered legally dead… because that person could then build interest on a savings account or otherwise have his or her value increase in a stock market that was — by all nanocalculations — destined to explode into unthinkable numbers (a bigger boom).

For the bulk of his talk, the speaker dwelt on the importance of returning decades or maybe even a century or so hence to a handsome bank account. It was one of those “I can’t emphasize this enough” sort of talks that parents used to give to their 20-something kids about 401ks. Read more “Steal This Singularity Part 3: Bean Counters in Paradise”

Writing “Blood and Guts In High School” — Excerpt From “After Kathy Acker”

by Chris Kraus (from After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography

I first became aware of Kathy Acker when excerpts from Blood and Guts in High School appeared in the Canadian avant-garde magazine Impulse in the late 1970s. It was the first fictional work I’d read that was able to do what punk rock was doing. Everything around it seemed dull by comparison.

Years later, I got to meet Acker at a MONDO 2000 event and we would quickly become close friends and (briefly… twice) lovers. 

Now we have Chris Kraus’s After Kathy Acker. It’s a well-researched bio that revolves around her creative work… with enough discursive style to achieve some degree of Acker-ness. 

below then… an excerpt from Blood and Guts in High School

R.U. Sirius

*****

Until she sat down to compose the manuscript at the end of 1978, Acker never conceived Blood and Guts in High School as a continuous, stand-alone book. Neither a serial project nor a “big novel,” the book was composed from an assortment of fragments and outtakes written and saved since she moved to Solana Beach with Peter Gordon in 1973 and began writing prose. The intricate pictograph dream maps she drew while she was writing The Childlike Life appear for the first time in Blood and Guts, preceding some fairy tales she’d composed but not used in Toulouse #4.

Teen gangs like the Scorpions had been on her mind since becoming involved with the downtown scene when she moved back to New York. In a 1974 letter to Ron Silliman, she gleefully wrote, I’m becoming a rock & roll lyricist, and copied her new “poem” for him:

NO MORE PARENTS NO MORE SCHOOL

NO MORE SOCIETY’S DIRTY RULES

SPREAD MY LEGS I’M SO POOR I WANT TO DIE

According to Judith Doyle, Acker saw punk as “this schoolyard nasty-girl desire thing.” Composed in the wake the hyper-narrative Kathy Goes to Haiti, Blood and Guts proposes a more aggressive and upbeat, less tragic form of rebellion than the schoolgirl conspiracies that unfold in The Childlike Life, drawn from her years at the Lenox School and the writings of Violette Leduc.

The Persian Poems — her ingenious, maybe real, maybe fake translation of such phrases as Janey is an expensive child/But cheap and see my cunt! into Farsi that form the middle part of Blood and Guts — was initially published in Sylvere Lotringer’s 1978 Schizo-Culture issue of the magazine Semiotext(e). The Persian Poems appeared again in 1980 as an artist’s book illustrated by Robert Kushner that was also funded and produced by him as “Bozeau of London Press.”

Early in 1978 Acker confronted, for the first time, the possibility that she might have cancer. Discovering a breast lump, she underwent a biopsy that turned out benign. Fear and dread of the disease course through the second half of Blood and Guts in High School: [In] my life politics don’t disappear but take place in my body, she writes in the section following The Persian Poems. And further on:

Having cancer is like having a baby. If you’re a woman and you can’t have a baby ‘cause you’re starving poor or ‘cause no man wants anything to do with you or ‘cause you’re lonely and miserable and frightened and totally insane, you might as well get cancer. You can feel your lump, and you nurse, knowing I will always get bigger. It eats you, and, gradually, you learn, as all good mothers learn, to love yourself.

By now she and Gordon no longer lived, or expected to live, as a traditional couple. Best friends and roommates, they had established completely separate lives. Still, that year they got married on a freezing February afternoon at City Hall. As Gordon recalls, the marriage was wholly Acker’s idea. There was no reception, party, or other acknowledgment of the event.

To Gordon, “Our marriage] was always kind of a mystery to me . . . I still wonder about it. Perhaps it was because . . . mortality had raised its head and perhaps there was a re-evaluation of the importance of the relationship.” A more crass viewpoint would be that it was for insurance reasons. But even though he’d signed up for insurance, Gordon’s employer neglected to pay for the policy, and they were stuck with the hospital bill.

Six months later they separated permanently. Gordon moved out of the apartment, into his East Sixth Street studio. They’d been together since 1972. Even though she’d been actively seeking a more — to her mind — suitable romantic partner for the past several years, Acker was devastated. The pain of their separation defines the comedic exchanges between “Janey” and “Father” in the opening of Blood and Guts in High School.

In Scene One, Janey’s father — like Peter Gordon — has started casually dating a girl and discovered that he likes her. Janey: You’re going to leave me . . . Father (dumbfounded, but not denying it): Sally and I just slept together for the first time. How can I know anything? Janey (in amazement. She didn’t believe what she was saying was true. It was only out of petulance): You ARE going to leave me. Oh no. No. That can’t be. Father (also stunned): I never thought I was going to leave you. I was just fucking . . . A series of tormented relationship conversations ensues:

Janey (searching for a conversation subject that doesn’t touch upon their breaking up): What’s Sally like?

Father: I don’t know. (As if he’s talking about someone he’s so close to he can’t see the characteristics.) We’re really very compatible. We like the same things.

She’s very serious; that’s what she’s like. She’s an intellectual.

Janey (showing no emotion): Oh. What does she do?

Father: She’s hasn’t decided yet. She’s just trying to find herself. She’s into music; she writes; she does a little of everything.

Janey (trying to be helpful): It always takes awhile.

Father: She’s trying to find out everything . . .

Janey: Are you going to want to live with me again?

Father: I don’t know right now. I’m really enjoying the emotional distance . . .

Janey: When do you think you’ll know if you ever want to live with me again?

Father: Oh, Janey. You’ve got to lighten up. Things just got too entangled. Everything between us is still too entangled for me to be with you.

Janey: I see. That means no . . .

Father: Right now I just really like opening my door to this apartment and walking into my own space. I’m going to be here through September and then I’ll see what my plans are. I don’t think you should bank on anything . . .

“We were basically living separate lives” Gordon recalls. Kathy had her own life and I had my own life, with Kathy in it. The relationship was not going to change, and I was now marked as a married man. I realized I had to get out..

The exchanges between Janey and her father comprise the first scenes of the book, but they were clearly the last to be composed. It could be that the disturbance of her final separation from Gordon prompted Acker to arrange this collection of outtakes and unpublished writings into a disjunctive but emotionally continuous work. Read more “Writing “Blood and Guts In High School” — Excerpt From “After Kathy Acker””

David Bowie’s Strange Louis Vuitton Ad From 2013

We’re inured to it now — even those of us who remember a time when weirdo rock music, even of the most commercially popular sort, wasn’t used in television advertisement.  But every once in awhile, there is an odd or interesting enough juxtaposition of the content of the song to the company being advertised… or even just to the fact that someone deemed this appropriate to be part of an ad, that it makes me, at least, sit up and take notice (and wonder why no one else ever seems to).

The first big fuss, way back,  was about The Beatles song Revolution being used in an ad for Nike (the song was owned by Michael Jackson) in 1987.  Revolution wasn’t a particularly revolutionary song (“Don’t you know it’s going to be all right?”), but McCartney made some unhappy noises about its use (Lennon being unavailable).  McCartney’s songs have since been in a number of ads.

 

A stranger note was stuck by the use of the Jefferson Airplane’s Yippie-esque marching song, Volunteers in an E*Trade ad, which I think may have been aired in the late ’90s, if memory serves, or it may have been later.  Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life to advertise Royal Caribbean Cruise was pretty strange if you know the lyrics, but in contrast with Volunteers, the songs’ more radical or distinctive lyrics weren’t a part of the ad.

The truly weirdest thing I ever saw mixing rock with advertising was — I swear to my own memory of this — a Goodyear Tires ad using Venus In Furs by the Velvet Underground.  Now, I find on YouTube only a Dunlop ad from Great Britain, which is peculiar enough, but this ad is visually strange whereas the Goodyear ad was visually straightforward, and therefor did not call any attention to the content of the song.  I saw it once and never again.

And in 2014, we had David Bowie’s harpsichord remake of “I’d Rather Be High” for Louis Vuitton with its chorus

I’d rather be high
I’d rather be flying
I’d rather be dead
Or out of my head
Than training these guns on those men in the sand
I’d rather be high

So there’s the contemporary anticolonial war undercurrent (we naturally think of western soldiers in Arabic territories), but what really sticks out like a sore thumb with a tab of ecstasy on it is the well enunciated “I’d Rather Be High.” The French Revolution-era Court of Louis XVI party decadence visuals are just there. Interesting, but more Louis Vuitton than I’d rather be high. But then, at the end, the fashionable and contemporary beauty  — model  Arizona Muse sitting at the piano gazes up rapturously at the Michaelangeloesque ceiling, reaches slowly — as though, in fact, high, slightly out-of-body, for her fashionable LV pocketbook and then, outdoors, gazes at the camera with eyes that seem, well, high in a psychedelic sense, a bit like she’s seeing you better than you’re seeing her, and maybe having casually drifted up to that Michaelangelesque ceiling, she’s now a tad the chic urban visionary, and at the same time she’s not experiencing quite enough boundary between her self, the camera and whatever’s behind it.

What’s interesting here isn’t any residual purity anyone may have about rock in advertising. That ship sailed long ago. What’s interesting is the conflation of being high… on drugs… with the desired product. Which has been done over and over again for years, but never enunciated, clearly, lyrically, until now.

So that’s it then. A cultural watershed? Wanting to be high… even being high… it’s normal as wanting to be chic, which is… how normal?  Not sure. But the whole negotiation around drugs, their legalization, their use, and maybe even the more liminal states that  some of them sometimes provide are coming into the open. Maybe? In most peculiar ways.

A Mouse in the Noodles over Mars

 

by Woody Evans

Tim opens the fridge to find a mouse in his noodles.  He’s quick enough to grab the wee bastard and chunk her out of the airlock.  The mouse stiffens, bloats, and floats away.  Her rear left leg kicks hard once, then goes still but for the head-over-tail, slo-mo spin into cold darkness.

The noodles might be salvageable, but Tim doesn’t have the stomach for it anymore.  Back to the gruel-in-a-pouch while he treadmills and watches late night celebrity interviews streamed up from Jezero Crater.

Was Tim right to toss the mouse?  How do Tim’s rights and the rights of the mouse meet and interact?  There are analyses elsewhere on posthuman and transhuman rights, but here let’s look for a minute at the mouse, the noodles, and Tim.

Tim has been up there a long time, and life is hard in low Mars orbit.  He’s very often alone, and he only gets a delivery of Chinese food once every three months.  Chow mein, man, with baby corn, little fancy mushrooms, and that crispy fried tofu… How the mouse got out of its weird little lab trap, Tim doesn’t know — an investigation to be opened.  But Tim won’t get any more noodles for 2 months and 29 days.  Sometimes it’s the little things that help you get through fluorescent-white Monday night headaches.

The mouse wasn’t wrong to sniff out the noodles.  She took advantage of a fridge that had been too hastily shut and had bounced open a smidge — a crack just big enough for her to work her way in.  The mouse was hungry, and the noodles were off-gassing umami compounds.

Tim reacted very quickly to the mouse. He didn’t sit and think about what he should do, he just moved. If he’d taken time to ponder the situation, he might have put the mouse back in her lab trap, then tossed the noodles out of the airlock, instead. But he was motivated by revulsion, and his fight or flight thing started flapping: ergo dead mouse. Mice (on Earth, anyway) carry fleas and can spread disease. Makes a kind of ancient common sense to nuke them. Tim wasn’t wrong, though if he could have muscled-down his disgust he might have slowed his reactions and made a choice that was less harmful — indeed, beneficial — for the mouse. Read more “A Mouse in the Noodles over Mars”

Bastards of Young

 

“Muslim punk rockers” The Kominas

 

by Prop Anon

 

Bastards of Young, a punk rock road documentary, recently released by filmmakers Rakesh Baruah and Marcus Ricci, is 60 minutes of raucous action narrated by the poets of the future. A movie like theirs could not have come at a better time than in today’s angry and confused cultural landscape. For three weeks in August 2009, Baruah and Ricci rolled their cameras nonstop as they followed three unique musical voices on their nationwide US tour. What they captured was all the mayhem and chaos such a cross-country tour manifests. When that tour involves a group of  “Muslim punk rockers,” a Sufi dance rock virtuoso and an Anarchistic Hip-Hop artist the outcome makes this documentary worth watching.

The Kominas were formed in 2005 when Basim Usmani gave his friend Shahjehan Khan a cassette tape that read ‘Punk 101.’ Shaj quickly adapted his guitar playing style from classic rock to the infectious grooves of bands like The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Damned, NOFX, The Misfits, and the two began crafting their own brand of Punk. The Kominas wrote a couple song and threw them up on their myspace account, little did they know that they were about to tap into a cultural Zeitgeist. Why? They were singing about their experience growing up as Pakistani Americans raised by Muslim parents and the struggles they faced in their experience as young Americans. Luckily, they were funny and their highly ironic lyrics followed in the tradition of all the best punk rock has to offer. Based off two myspace songs the band received an absurd amount of media attention, and as they grew as a band they continually faced the criticism that they were handed something they did not yet earn. Most bands spend years in the trenches before receiving any attention, but for the Kominas this was different and they were willing to prove their detractors wrong. Over the next few years they were joined by Imran Malik, on drums, and Arjun Ray on guitar, and they created their first album ‘Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay;’ released in 2008. By the time of the 2009 tour, The Kominas were ready to prove all detectors wrong and show and prove that they were constantly evolving musicians with a vital perspective needing to be heard. The future of America may just depend upon it.

Bastards of Young reveals the struggles faced while on a D.I.Y. nationwide tour embarked on by musicians hungry to speak their minds. In 2009, I was nearing the completion of my first album Squat the Condos, a Hip-Hop record that was calling attention to the rapidly increasing price of everyday life in cities like New York. My song Luxury Condos epitomized of that message. Sarmust, aka Omar Waqar, played his Sufi dance indie rock with an intensity that made instant fans. His songs addressed topics like partition, hate crimes, and rocking the fuck out.

This film does an excellent job chronicling the mad road driving men ahead when facing the perils of physical injury, malnutrition, and no sleep to reveal the joyful nature at the heart of all great music. Since 2009, the Kominas have evolved their sound and continue to tour to growing audiences. Me, I’m just trying to pay rent, but I won’t give up on the music. Watching this documentary makes me want to hang out with all these guys. Oh snap, I did! Well, I’m real glad I did.

Sufi rocker Sarmust

Bastards of Young documents friendships made under the rubric of punk rock and Hip-Hop. Friendship is one of the themes explored within, and the fun times that can be had when people put friendship before all else within the music industry. Baruah and Ricci are talented filmmakers and their movie adroitly translates the excitement of music and the open road. The statement is clear: counterculture is not locked away in online nihilistic holes spewing venom and crying for an America that never existed. The counterculture is on the road, making friends, having fun and challenging hatred. Bastards of Young demonstrates that America’s hope resides in the people making a place for themselves while making room for others. This is Punk Rock, this is Hip-Hop, this is America, and this is the future.

PROP ANON is the author of the upcoming Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson, the first official biography of the late counterculture philosopher. Prop Anon started his career as a Hip-Hop artist whose 2010 album Squat the Condos presaged the Occupy movement. In 2014, Prop switched musical gears and released a Stoner Rock album called HAIL ERIS! with his band, HAIL ERIS!  

Report: Update on the Spirituality Business in the Kali Yuga

 

 

by Jody Radzik

When you believe the universe is a Super Hot Dominatrix who has no fucks to give and no sense of what She’s doing as She slashes and burns away while laughing manically about the whole thing, it’s a bit easier to bear the horrors of the present day in its various spheres, including that of commercial spirituality.

Case in point: the devotees of convicted rapist guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. While awaiting the verdict of his trial on rape charges, over 200,000 of his devotees staged to riot in northern India. And when the inevitable explosion occurred after the guilty verdict was announced, everyone was still caught surprised by the intensity of the demonstration of rage that has since come to be known as the Northern India Riots of 2017, in which 38 people were killed (most by police), over 300 were injured, with thousands detained and over 500 people arrested. With his command staff on the lam fleeing arrest warrants, the Baba has been left to his own devices in prison. And apparently, things are looking up for Singh as he has allegedly already converted most of his prison guards into devotees.

But while Singh gets comfy in jail, the heat is now on for anybody else considered to be a Godman or Godwoman in India. The surprise severity of the riots has resulted in a proliferation of news media articles that are critical of gurus in India. Most of these fall into a category you could call “Bad Baba” lists, but the fact that they even exist, and in such great numbers over such a long period of time, does not bode well for those who were imagining themselves to be the next big Godsploitation artist in India.

Meanwhile, in what has got to be the greatest case of overt greenwashing that India has ever seen, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of Isha Yoga and possessor of what is hands-down the bushiest beard in the commercial guru space, is busily trying to shore up his image after erecting a statue of Shiva in his profile on a wetlands. He is doing this by not-at-all-ironically campaigning for the preservation of rivers and wetlands in India! Apparently, they are all drying up, which is an expected outcome when you’re building statues on top of them.

 

Back here in the States, we’ve been left to contend with a newly “woke” Jim Carrey, who is certainly not being shy about it. Taking his already world-class creepiness to new heights, he is now clearly demonstrating being firmly in the grips of a classic case of ego displacement, which occurs when people who are exposed to the ideas of nondual spirituality create a new persona for themselves of not being there as themselves after having undergone some kind of transformational experience that has been misinterpreted as nondual spiritual enlightenment. He’s joining the ranks of thousands who are already online making identical proclamations, but Carrey’s celebrity puts him in a different class entirely—those who will be heard regardless—and with celebrities such as EDM DJ/producer Diplo making proclamations in support of Carrey’s being “woke AF,” a whole generation’s chance at true spiritual understanding now lies in abject peril.

But with much greater perils being dropped into the theater of our lives everyday by a mad Mother Goddess and the crazies She has up on the main stage, what the kids think about Jim Carrey’s enlightenment is going to have to be happy

(Excerpt) Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right

by Angela Nagle, Selections by R.U. Sirius

 

Weighing in at only 129 short pages, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump And The Alt-Right  (KAL) is the book to read this year. Everyone who — like most MONDO enthusiasts — have been steeped in counterculture values and attitudes needs to wrestle with its complicating vision. While it’s not a pretty picture, it’s a peculiarly fun read — excessive behaviors do tend to keep us fascinated.

While the so-called “alt-right” is the main target of this books’ critique/expose, the excesses of the culture-obsessed left are also sharply assessed. KAL spreads its blame around for the ugliness currently extant online as it spills with increasing vigor into the physical political realm.

Most interestingly, for MONDO readers, KAL takes on transgression, libertinism and other tropes of hip culture and, more or less, concludes that we are not doing the right thing.

Here I present the parts of the book I underlined. They may be a little out of context, but most of you will get the point.

Thanks to Zero Books and Angela Nagle for allowing us to run these excerpts. The subheads are ours.

The Technotopian Connection

The culture of 4chan, Anonymous etc., in the pre-gamergate days of Occupy and Anonymous could have gone another way. Long before this ‘geeks vs feminists’ battle, the libertarian left had its own pro-hacker, pro-computer geek, Internet-centric political tradition, which some in the early Anonymous milieu obviously drew influence from. Hakim Bey’s idea of the temporary autonomous zone was based on what he called ‘pirate utopias’ and he argued that the attempt to form a permanent culture or politics inevitably deteriorates into a structured system that stifles individual creativity. His language and ideas influenced anarchism and later, online cultures that advocated illegal downloading, anonymity, hacking and experiments like bitcoin. Echoes of John Perry Barlow’s manifesto ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’ can be seen in this earlier period of Anon culture and in analyses that reflect a more radical horizontalist politics, like Gabriella Coleman’s work. Barlow was one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, anarchist hackers and defenders of an Internet free of state intervention, capitalist control and monopolizing of the online world. In a similar style to the rhetoric of 4chan and Anonymous (‘we are legion’), it warned: Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the home of Mind. On behalf of the future I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

******************

Just a few years ago the left-cyberutopians claimed that ‘the disgust had become a network’ and that establishment old media could no longer control politics, that the new public sphere was going to be based on leaderless user-generated social media. This network has indeed arrived, but it has helped to take the right, not the left, to power. Those on the left who fetishized the spontaneous leaderless Internet-centric network, declaring all other forms of doing politics old hat, failed to realize that the leaderless form actually told us little about the philosophical, moral or conceptual content of the movements involved. Into the vacuum of ‘leaderlessness’ almost anything could appear. Read more “(Excerpt) Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan And Tumblr To Trump And The Alt-Right”

The Unbearable Cluelessness of Russian Embassy Reporting

 

by: Renketsu Link

 

 

The ultimate problem is this: It’s all written by civilians.

The intel community has a word for people who aren’t on the inside: Little people.

Little people don’t matter because they don’t have skin in the game. The reasoning goes, intel agents are in the field, while you’re at home living your life. On some level, there is the understanding that the intel community is fighting to protect the lives and happiness of the Little People, but in practice there tends to be condescension and resentment because you don’t really get to lead a normal life if you’re playing the Great Game. The two are fundamentally incompatible. This also means that little people don’t know anything about how the intel community operates on any level, which includes how it treats things that it considers important (intel product) from inception to retirement. In point of fact, most “common knowledge” about the intelligence community comes from movies and novels, and intersects in no meaningful way with reality. Much of this misinformation is due to the fact that that people on the inside don’t want to talk because they assume that a) they’re being watched by Somebody (which is the case maybe a quarter of the time, and usually by their own agency’s counter-intelligence section) and b) no matter what they say they’ll get picked up for saying anything (a risk which varies by administration). There is a more subtle reason for this, which I’ll get to in a moment.

The chain of command is not only something you get beat with until you let someone else be in charge, it’s also a game of Telephone where nobody’s willing to call anybody else on their weird-ass ideas.

The intel community is a world unto itself, ostensibly executing policy set by the Executive Branch. That policy gets modified in subtle ways all the way down through the various chains of command. This Director thinks the policy means one thing, and interprets it one way. The Vice Director thinks the policy interpretation they found on their desk one morning means something else and writes orders that mean something slightly different. And so on. Policy (what a government wants to accomplish and how it wants to be perceived) is just as much created as it is carried out. At the level of the individual operative there is no policy, there are only orders carried out that, to a large extent seem to reflect the original intent of what the Executive Branch wanted to do but just as often doesn’t. The chain of command is not only something you get beat with until you let someone else be in charge, it’s also a game of Telephone where nobody’s willing to call anybody else on their weird-ass ideas. Functionally speaking, this is a feature and not a bug because plausible deniability is the chief concern of civil servants, and being able to blame somebody farther down the chain of command than you are has saved no small number of asses over the years.

The “more subtle reason” I alluded to earlier?

If somebody on the inside talks about stuff inside the intelligence community, they are commonly perceived as being The People Who Set Policy. Let’s consider J. Random Spook, an intelligence operative of some kind who happens to make a public statement that gets published. The little people think J. Random Spook is the one who makes the hard calls, orders the assassinations, organizes the overthrow of governments, and so forth. He looks like he’s in charge when he is, in fact, not particularly important. Unfortunately, this makes the agency J. Random Spook works for look bad. It also makes it look like J. Random is doing things above their pay grade which pisses everybody off and explicitly goes against agency policy (and by that I mean the handbook that says what Thou Canst and Canst Not Do While You Work Here). Also, due to the chain of command being one big game of Telephone, this also misrepresents what the Executive Branch wants done and makes the President look bad. Whether or not anybody in the Executive Branch knows that the chain of command is a big game of Telephone is an entirely separate question — one I don’t have the answer to. The Internal Affairs and probably Counter-Intelligence departments of the agency J. Random works for come down on him like a ton of bricks because he’s not only kicked over an anthill by running his mouth, he’s shit on the Director’s desk right before a visit by the President.

But, back to Russian embassy reporting. In particular, the Russian embassies in New York City and San Francisco being shut down a week or two ago, all personnel being expelled from the country, and people reporting fires at those facilities. Read more “The Unbearable Cluelessness of Russian Embassy Reporting”

I Hope You Didn’t Dose The Pudding

 

Phriendz with R.U. Sirius
(Sirius – Daddy Phr!day)
Video by Pizza T

i asked my baby for her tantric thing
she tossed away the side of her face
she’s an elevated totally evil wigged-out angel
she shaked clear and showed me her glass spine

i asked my baby for a 5 dollar bill
she says she’s very very smart
she’s a masculine italian gangster movie
she wears those black satin gloves so groovy

i asked my baby to look beneath the sheets
she feels the breath of god caress her
she loves old wiz in Beatle boots
she likes the thrill of the overdosed jester

i asked my baby why we jumped outta the womb
she wants a lie that’s more fulfilling
I smile gee whiz we’re roller-coaster baby-friends
I hope you didn’t dose dose dose the pudding
I hope you didn’t dose dose dose the pudding
I hope you didn’t dose dose dose the pudding
I hope you didn’t dose dose dose the pudding

Part of a MONDOToxicated experience! RU Sirius and his warriors of rock met again using the internet to have band practice and bring you this amazing remix of their own song. Robert Anton Wilson and Terence Mckenna voices were used by the bandmates in the darknet to create the remix.Zane Kesey let us use a recreation of his father’s Furthur bus that Zane personally made himself. Thank you Zane! You are solid!