TWITTER | @martingruner


    A picture I took when I interviewed Ed Husain a while back is now the Wikipedia photo of him. A Wikipedia user contacted me through Flickr and asked for permission. So now the photo is under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license.



    Extremely interesting interview on torture with a conscientious interrogator who got very unpopular in Iraq, at NPR:
    What you're describing is taking techniques that U.S. military personnel had been trained to resist ... [and] using those very techniques on the people the U.S. was detaining in Iraq?

    Exactly, and I think a key point that your listeners need to understand, so they can grasp the gravity of the situation, is that the primary objective of that approach to interrogation was not truth … but somebody's political truth. In the Korean War, they actually compelled some of our pilots to admit to dropping chemical weapons on cities and so forth, when in fact that didn't happen. Now, that stands in stark contrast to intelligence interrogation, where the overriding objective is provide timely, accurate, reliable, comprehensive intelligence.

    And these harsh interrogation methods had been used by the Soviets and the Chinese to get people to say things that weren't true?

    That's true. And it's not just harsh physically, but I think the element that was more persuasive was their ability to induce what is known as debility, depression and dread through emotional and psychological techniques that profoundly altered somebody's ability to answer questions truthfully even if they wanted to. It truly undermined their ability to recall, so therefore it would call into question its efficacy in an intelligence-based interrogation.
    I am reminded of a passage in William Gibson's latest novel, Spook Country. Gibson apparently knew all this already. He posted this passage on his blog (sidebar), back in September 2006, so I'll repost it here, even though the published version is slightly different:
    Tito watched the old man fold the copy of the New York Times he’d been reading. The light was going. Fading above this other ocean, the Pacific, which Tito had never seen before.

    “I remember proofs of a CIA interrogation manual, something we’d been sent unofficially, for comment,” the old man said. “The first chapter laid out the ways in which torture is fundamentally counterproductive to intelligence. The argument had nothing to do with ethics, everything to do with quality and depth of product, with not squandering potential assets.” He removed his gold-rimmed glasses. “If the man who keeps returning to question you avoids behaving as if he were your enemy, you begin to lose your sense of who you are. Gradually, in the crisis of self that your captivity becomes, he guides you in your discovery of who you are becoming.”

    “Did you interrogate people, yourself?” asked Garreth. The three of them were seated in the back of an open jeep, the black Pelican case under Garreth’s feet.

    “No,” said the old man, “I only reviewed the product. It’s a terribly intimate process. An ordinary cigarette lighter will cause a man to tell you anything, whatever he thinks you want to hear. And will prevent him ever trusting you again, even slightly. And will confirm him, in his sense of self, as few things will.” He tapped the folded paper. “When I first saw what they were doing, I knew that they’d turned the SERE lessons inside out. That meant that we were using techniques the Koreans had specifically developed in order to prepare prisoners for show trials.” He fell silent.

    Tito heard the lapping of waves.

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    More on the role of Twitter and Texting in Generating Crisis Data

    A few months ago, I was interviewed by Danish newspaper Information about Twitter, microblogging, blogs and their relationship to journalism. One of the things I commented on was how I'd observed eyewitness accounts of the violence in Gaza and the recent riots in Oslo spreading through the network via Twitter. The same thing had supposedly also happened during the siege in Mumbai, though that slipped my mind at the time.

    This morning, I watched this intriguing video of a short (> 5 mins) talk by Erik Hersman. It gave the answer to one of the things I've been thinking about, namely the enormous problem of how to sort the data that's being generated in a crisis. The first thing people do in a crisis is to reach out to their loved ones, supplying and sharing information, generating rumours and trying to make sense of the crisis phenomenon. The amount of data generated in a crisis very quickly becomes too big to collate and review. Just when you need the data the most, there is too much of it.

    Now, the team that Hersman is a part of has built a GoogleMaps mashup that allows you to post data to a centralised map. It has already worked in Kenya, Mumbai and during the recent terror bombing of the civilian population in Gaza.

    The next step will be to create a crowdsourced noise filter: harnessing people to rate and sort information. Very clever trick, which will reduce the rumour mill, because another thing that always happens in crises is that unfounded rumours spring up out of nowhere.

    I do, however, foresee a problem. This system is going to work a hell of a lot better in crises that aren't generated by other humans. If there is an Earthquake in Los Angeles, this system will help. But what about the bombing of Gaza? In the bombing of Gaza there are two sides both trying to take control of the information. There would be an information war conducted through systems such as this one. Israeli and Palestinian agents would both be actively trying to boost information that favours their side. Therefore, the system would lose part of its meaning. But surely this idea is a spectacularly good one. Watch the talk, it's short and interesting:

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    Malm og Storhaug

    Langt og interessant intervju med Andreas Malm i Dagbladet.no. (h/t Ali Esbati).

    Malm har skrevet boka Hatet mot muslimer. En bok som, spør du meg, er blant de viktigste skandinaviske sakprosautgivelsene de siste 10 årene. Den er en skikkelig debattstopper av en murstein, nesten 800 sider lang, med 2.100 fotnoter. Den påviser og dokumenterer møysommelig en rasistisk diskurs mot muslimer. Utrolig interessant lesning, selv om den er veldig omstendelig. Den viser hvordan karakterer som Hege Storhaug - som man etter hvert ser framstår som en særdeles uoriginal spreder av islamofobi, selv om hun kun nevnes så vidt i en fotnote så langt jeg har kommet i boka - fordreier og vrir på virkeligheten for å skape konsentrert hets mot muslimer.

    I øvrig er det utrolig pinlig at Storhaug, en uetterettelig synser, blir motstanderen til Malm. Et klassisk eksempel på at journalister skal ha "det motsatte synet" inn i artikkelen, selv om det andre synet ikke hører hjemme noe sted. "Shape of the Planet: Opinions Differ"

    Etter artikkelen er det et nettmøte med Malm, der han svarer morsommere enn de aller fleste nettmøtedeltakerne jeg har lest. Selv på de mest vanvittige spørsmålene.

    Klassekampen har invitert Malm til Sigrid Undset-dagene på Lillehammer. Jeg gleder meg allerede til debatten.

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    Coming soon to a Lillehammer near you

    Programmet for Lillehammerfestivalen er sluppet, og jeg skal ha tre arrangementer der:

    * Samtale med Aravind Adiga, som vant Bookerprisen for sin debutroman White Tiger. Torsdag 28. mai kl 15.00, på Banken.

    * Samtale med finsk-estiske Sofi Oksanen, Norgesaktuell med romanen Stalins kyr. Lørdag 30. mai kl 15.00 på Cafe Banken.

    * Og så skal jeg lede en debatt om filosof Joakim Hammerlins bok Terrorindustrien:

    I boken Terrorindustrien spør filosof Joakim Hammerlin: Har frykten for terrorisme blitt et større politisk problem enn terrorisme i seg selv? Denne debatten vil forsøke å belyse de problematiske sidene ved terrorbegrepet, og den vanskelige balansen mellom vårt behov for beskyttelse og trygghet, og vårt krav på rettsikkerhet. I panelet: Joakim Hammerlin, filosof og forfatter av boka Terrorindustrien, Laila Bokhari, forsker ved NUPI, Thomas Mathiesen, rettsosiolog og fagbokforfatter, Guro Slettemark, seniorrådgiver i Datatilsynet, Cecilie Hellestveit, stipendiat ved Norsk senter for menneskerettigheter, UiO.
    Dette skjer fredag 29. mai kl 17.00, på Tinghuset.

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    Rune F. Hjemås tar på seg Nostradamushatten og utnevner Kjersti Rorgermoen til høstens beste debutant, i et intervju med henne. Altså høsten 2009.


    Ah. Islamophobia and Newt Gingrich. Two great tastes that go great together.


    Ah, islamophobia and torture. Two great tastes that go great together.

    Doctorow on Norwegian Piracy Study

    Cory Doctorow is, as always, making a lot of sense – this time about the Norwegian BI study that shows that pirates are 10 times as likely to buy music as non-"pirates". He makes two key points. First he explains the result in an intuitive manner:

    There's a simple explanation for this: if you really love music, you do lots of music-related things. If you're in the 20 percent of fans that buys 80 percent of records, you're probably in the 20 percent of downloaders that download 80 percent of music, the 20 percent of concertgoers that buy 80 percent of the tickets, and so on. The moral is that music superfans love music and structure their lives around it.

    Which means that when the music industry targets "the worst offenders" in its legal campaigns against downloaders, the people they're attacking are the ones who are spending the most on music.
    Second, he looks at piracy as progressive taxation according to artist success. This closely aligns with my experience of music pirates. Very few people want to buy Britney Spears, because they're not invested in the artist. They are heavily invested in a particular song. We want to download "Hit Me Baby (One More Time)" and play it at our high school reunion. We don't want the complete Spears oeuvre. As one commenter on Boing Boing puts it "I no longer buy records that suck. And I check out more bands. That's what piracy does for me."

    So artists such as Spears, who depend in their business model on constantly attracting attention from newly converted, but fundamentally low- and short-term-interest around hit singles, rather than a complete catalogue, will lose some money:

    As Doctorow puts it:
    Now, does this mean that downloads end up interfering with sales of music, or not? My guess is that it's a little of both. As Tim O'Reilly wrote, Piracy is Progressive Taxation. Obscure acts probably get more sales than they lose. Modestly well-known acts probably lose and gain about the same. Very famous performers probably lose a little. This has been the conclusion in the quantitative studies in music and books to date, and it makes sense to me.
    Me too.

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    Tab dump 21-04-09

    Excellent article in NY Times where a Times reporter and photographer wound up in the middle of a pitched infantry battle after an ambush near a riverbed in Afghanistan, in which the troop miraculously lost only one of the men. The story makes you feel really sorry for the soldiers, but is, obviously, completely one-sided. The journalists were completely embedded. Dramatic and engaging, the article gives a good description of combat on a strategic level that newspapers hardly ever cover anymore. And more to the point: probably shouldn't cover anymore. It ends up being a riveting story (with unbelievable multimedia: recordings of interviews and the sound of the actual combat, slideshow of incredible photos, etc.) from a more or less bygone age of media.


    Jokes from the cultural revolution.


    "Culture and Barbarism: Metaphysics in a Time of Terrorism" by Terry Eagleton:
    Why are the most unlikely people, including myself, suddenly talking about God? Who would have expected theology to rear its head once more in the technocratic twenty-first century, almost as surprisingly as some mass revival of Zoroastrianism? Why is it that my local bookshop has suddenly sprouted a section labeled “Atheism,” hosting anti-God manifestos by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and others, and might even now be contemplating another marked “Congenital Skeptic with Mild Baptist Leanings”? Why, just as we were confidently moving into a posttheological, postmetaphysical, even posthistorical era, has the God question broken out anew?

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    Breaking news: Siste nytt om den humane katastrofen fra Shädy Äcres & "Mann bruker diabetes til å si hva han mener om Steinar Lem" melder 5080.no.

    - Jeg har lenge ønsket å si hva jeg mener om Lem. Etter at jeg fikk diagnostisert diabetes 2 i forrige uke kan jeg endelig ta bladet fra munnen, sier Tobias Leira fra Ålesund.


    "That was like financial chicken soup for me"

    I like this interview with Elizabeth Warren from the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel in charge of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). She's so clearly nervous, but manages to come off as honest and dedicated (warning: rhetorical analysis. Actual person may differ), smart and surprisingly funny. The best bits are in the second part, where she explains why deregulation is bad for you.

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
    Elizabeth Warren Pt. 1
    Daily Show
    Full Episodes
    Economic CrisisPolitical Humor


    The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
    Elizabeth Warren Pt. 2
    Daily Show
    Full Episodes
    Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

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    Quality, not quantity

    Came across this little comment at the end of a (not that interesting) Guardian piece on the Pirate Bay verdict:
    The celebrity and technophile Stephen Fry added controversy to the debate today by commenting on the case on Twitter: "Pirate Bay not saints. But we've got to think about this rationally & sensibly. Shouting 'thief' all the time is no help. I stole in cassette age."
    Takeaway conclusion: the Pirate Bay verdict is so mind-numbingly stupid that an actor/comedian with a mood disorder can write something smarter in 140 characters.1 The verdict itself is 194.000 characters. That's more than thirteen hundred times more characters. It's not the size that counts, as the Norwegian foreign minister explained to the national convention of the Norwegian Labour Party yesterday.

    Btw, remember what I was saying earlier, about how the Swedish Pirate Party gained 5.000 members on the day of the verdict? There seems to be a certain amount of dissatisfaction among the key groups of music/film/software-customers (a.k.a. middle-class people who use computers), if I'm reading this straw poll at the Guardian correctly.


    1. A mind-bendingly clever and well-read technophilic one, mind. And one who makes very interesting documentaries about his mood disorders, which, to put a nice little twist on the story, get pirated onto YouTube so you can watch them in reasonably high definition before eventually, according to the latest data, actually buying the DVD or watching the film on your TV the next time it reruns.

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    Pirater – mer "kunder" enn "pirater." Arrrr

    BI bekrefter i dagens Aftenposten at "piratene" er de beste "kundene". Først lytter de gratis, så kjøper de platen eller går på konserten eller kjøper en t-skjorte fra artistene. Jøss, dette har vi jo ikke visst siden tidenes morgen og Napster-rettsaken.

    Dermed har den siste dommen i Pirate Bay-saken ført til at plateselskapene - nok en gang - har klart å bruke en masse tid, krefter og penger på å fornærme, kriminalisere og frastøte sitt nøkkelpublikum i stedet for å jobbe med gode løsninger, som TONO-avgifter og Spotify-aktige streamingløsninger.

    In other news: Pirate Bay-dommen har ført til et enormt medlemsboom for Piratpartiet. Samme dag som dommen falt registrerte partiet 5.000 nye medlemmer. 1 Ti poeng hvis du klarer å sette informasjonen i første avsnitt i denne bloggposten i sammenheng med informasjonen i tredje avsnitt.

    1. Aftenposten, 20.04.09, Kultur, s. 6.

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    J.G. Ballard has died, aged 78. I've only read Empire of the Sun, but what a strange book it was.

    Funny synchronicities: I was just talking about Christian Bale in that movie a week ago. Then, day before yesterday, I read a review David Foster Wallace - yes - wrote of J.G. Ballard's work. Oh, and I put a book by Tom Stoppard back on the shelf today. He wrote the adaptation of Empire of the Sun. It's a world full of coincidences, people.


    Endsjø om Monsen

    Dag Øistein Endsjø skriver fin kronikk i Dagbladet om Nina Karin Monsen:

    Homofile som kjemper for likestilling blir ofte møtt med påstander om at de ikke respekterer de som ønsker å undertrykke dem. Det er spesielt de homofiendtlige religiøse organisasjonene og aktivistene selv som krever respekt for sine synspunkter. Regjeringen har ikke gitt uttrykk for sin direkte respekt, men gått svært langt i sin aktive støtte. Likestillingsminister Anniken Huitfeldt ga statsstøtte til Frelsesarmeens Ungdom, selv om de var homofiendtlige i strid med gjeldende vedtekter. Islamsk Råd fratas heller ikke sin statsstøtte, selv om de nekter å ta avstand fra dødsstraff for homofile.

    Fritt Ord går likevel lenger. De hyller personer som på grunnlag av sin religiøse overbevisning ønsker å begrense andres liv. I år gir de sin årlige hederspris til Nina Karin Monsen, blant annet på grunn av hennes sterke, religiøst motiverte homohets de siste par åra.

    I lyset av den offentlige støtte, respekt og hyllest til homofober, blir det følgelig relevant å spørre om også rasister skal støttes, respekteres og hylles.
    Jeg ser at Endsjø gjør nøyaktig den samme parallelen til Vigrid som jeg dro i mitt innlegg. Moro at flere har fått den samme tanken. Jeg vil også sidestille mye av Monsens homohets med rasisme. I tillegg er hennes rolle i norsk offentlighet så fiendtlig og debattødeleggende at jeg ikke forstår hvorfor hun får prisen.

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    torture & other things I'm reading about

    Obama won't prosecute the torturers. This "stands Nuremberg on its head" according to Mike Farrell, President of the board of Death Penalty Focus and Co-Chair Emeritus of the Southern California Committee of Human Rights Watch.

    The Nuremberg defense, as you know, Bob, is basically when people say that "I was just following orders when I committed this war crime. How was I to know slaughtering jews or simulating drowning was wrong? I mean: it's war, who am i to know that mass murder or torture is a bad thing? It's not like our society has a strict code of morality about these things or anything. Right? Right?"

    Well, nuts to you, my good man! says the Nuremberg principles:

    The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.


    What kind of torture, you ask? Well, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed experienced simulated execution by drowning (waterboarding) more than 6 times a day for a month, a total of 183 times in 30 days.


    Bernhard Ellefsen was kind enough to make me aware of two articles by Mark Danner on the torture reports etc. I haven't looked at them yet, but from the skimming, they look really good:

    "US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites" and "The Red Cross Torture Report: What It Means".

    Ellefsen has a video of Danner on CNN up right now at the link above.


    Here are the actual torture memos by the Bush administration, recently released by the Obama administration, explaining in deliberate, crimes-against-humanity-conviction-inducing prose how to torture a person in such away that it somehow fails to be torture:

    In addition to using the cont1ncment boxes alone, you would like to introduce an insect into one of the boxes with Zubaydah. As we understand it, you plan to inform Zubaydah that you are going to place a stinging insect into the box, but you will actually place a harmless insect in the box, such as a caterpillar. If you do so, to ensure that you are outside the predicate act requirement, you must inform him that the insects "will not have a sting that would produce death or severe pain. If, however, you were to place the insect in the box without informing him that you're doing so,then in order to commit a predicate act, you should not affirmatively lead him to believe that any insects... the approaches we have described, the insect's placement in the box should not constitute a threat of severe physical pain or suffering to a reasonable person in his position. An individual placed in a box, even an individual with a fear of insects, would not reasonably feel threatened with severe physical pain or suffering if a caterpillar was placed in the box. Further, you have informed us that you are not aware that Zubaydah has any allergies to insects, and you have not informed us of any other factors that would cause a reasonable person in that same situation to
    believe that an ... cause him severe physical pain or death. Thus, we
    conclude that the placement of the insect in the confinement box...
    blah blah blah. Basically, Bybee is arguing that if you shut someone into a coffin-sized box WITH AN INSECT walking all over him, even if he had a phobia for insects, then that is somehow not torture. He could be in the box for hours at a time. With the insect. I have no such phobia, and I don't think I would remain sane if someone did this to me. These documents are worth reading. Pure, distilled banality of evil. 


    Last but not least on torture, an editorial in the NY Times in which they finally, finally, fucking finally bring out the big guns against the Bush administration:

    At least Mr. Obama is not following Mr. Bush’s example of showy trials for the small fry — like Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety. But he has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners — in violation of international law and the Constitution.

    That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

    These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

    After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability. [my italics]


    further torture update:

    Digby, as usual making lots of sense. Read the Danner articles. They're good.


    On the other hand, when Obama is not letting torturers go free, he is starting high-speed rail projects across the US. That is awesome. Now if only the Norwegian Arbeiderpartiet could get its ass in gear on this issue at their meeting this weekend, we could get something done in the next ten years.


    Speaking of which, here's our prime minister saying that Twitter and Facebook are important (Norwegian). The left parties are finally starting to realise what a tool for change the web can be when they take the lead. I tried telling them this five years ago, but would they listen? No.


    Ezra Klein on why the US health care system costs so much. Part I, part II.


    Ian McEwan on John Updike. I never liked Updike. He could bang a sentence together like nobody's business but his books, the few that I have had to read, have always felt morally flawed and self-centered to me. But it's always interesting to see what others saw in him.

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    #NyreFAIL, evt. Nyresvikt

    Hilde Sandvik kommenterer Twitter her. Lars Nyre hater Twitter på en usedvanlig dum måte her. Jeg skal prøve å skrive et svar til den siste artikkelen litt seinere i dag. Dens himmelropende teknofobe moralisme - fra en medieviter! - misforstår fullstendig hvor digitale mediers politiske potensial ligger.

    Denne kommentaren på Hildes artikkel fortjener å bli gjengitt i sin helhet, om ikke annet fordi den oppsummerer Nyres kommentar på et folkelig vis:
    E so lutande leie adle dissa folki so leiggje seg ut pao internette me bilde tao seg og sine og ein masse personle opplysninga og meininga dei maotte ha om adle veri slags ting. Eg har registrirt at dei so skryte mest øve å ha gjort da godt pao nette - og kår mange venne dei ha dar, e dei so eg frao før har misteinkt før å ha eit våldsåmt godt inntrykk tao seg sjøle, for å sei da mildt. Da e tydelegvis slek no te dags at å sitja timavis framføre datamaskinao og sjætta tomprat e sitt pao so fornuftigt. Eg ha ein ting å seia: Kom dikka i arbei elde ut pao tur; te og me fjernsyne e dao vel bere; for ikkje å snakka om dan goe gammaldagse kjønsle omgangen...? Men kå ska de dao skryta øve?

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    Spill for galleriet, og trist. Dette kommer sannsynligvis til å sette tilbake copyrightreformsaken i Norge med flere år.


    Takk, Fritt Ord!

    Nina Karin Monsen tildeles Fritt Ord-prisen. Jeg er målløs, ironisk nok. Hun må da virkelig være en av de personene som har gjort størst skade på det norske offentlige ordskiftet? Etter å ha lest alt for mange av hennes kronikker har jeg konstatert at hun er uerrettelig, irrasjonell, elendig til å argumentere, full av faktafeil og logiske kortslutninger, med argumentative blindflekker man kan kjøre tung trafikk igjennom. Hun avsporer alle debatter hun deltar i. At hun får denne prisen er intet mindre enn en skandale.

    Prisuttalelsen omtaler henne som "en banebrytende feminist". Jeg synes verken hun er banebrytende eller feminist. Jeg har store problemer med hennes ideologi. Hun er en biologist, en religiøs tenker som forkler seg som filosof, og jeg synes hun driver med eksplisitt homohets.

    Men det er ikke derfor hun ikke burde fått prisen.

    Det er ikke nok for å gi denne prisen at noen bare skal mene noe annet enn norsk offentlighet. Om det var meningen så burde man ha gitt prisen til Tore Tvedt fra Vigrid (han er et godt korrektiv til den tamme norske konformiteten! Frisk og politisk ukorrekt!) eller kollektivt til lukket avdeling på Sandviken Sykehus (endelig noen som tør å mene noe annet enn den klamme norske konformiteten! Det er så deilig og politisk ukorrekt når man ikke forholder seg til logikk og virkelighet!).

    Når man valgte ikke å gjøre det, så må det jo nettopp være fordi hun representerer noe kvalitativt bra ved den norske offentligheten. At hun gir stemme til noe viktig på en måte som hjelper det norske ordskiftet. Det gjør hun ikke. Hun skriver usammenhengende, uten argumentasjon. Hennes skrifter er monomane oppramsinger av normative setninger. Slik er det. Slik er det. Slik er det. Slik må det være.

    Noen ganger henger hennes argument litt sammen, som her, hvor hun argumenterer for at Arbeiderpartiet og SV vil ha felles ekteskapslov... fordi de er nazister som tror på rasehygiene:

    Homofile får aldri barn med den de elsker. [Jo, hele tiden faktisk, bloggers anm.] Hvorfor skal heterofile fortsette å insistere på den gammeldagse, biologiske konsekvensen av kjærligheten, når de har mye annet å gjøre? En moderne mann skal mene at alle hans kones barn, naturlige, adopterte eller konstruerte, er like vakre, like skjønne, like flinke, like elskverdige. Det samme skal en moderne kvinne gjøre. Vi kan se frem til et konstruert samfunn med håndplukkede barn for den frigjorte, politiske korrekte overklassen, - og et økende antall abort av fostre som ikke holder mål eller er overtallige.

    I kulissene bak vår rød - grønne regjering hører jeg en rå latter fra jungelen. For seksti - sytti år siden levde en patriarkalsk tyrann med et tradisjonelt kvinnesyn. Han ville konstruere den ariske rase på nytt, alle skulle ha blå øyne, hvit hud, lyst hår, en vakker kropp og korrekt hodeform, samt høy intelligens. Rasehygiene var allment tankegods i hele Europa.

    Nå kan det se ut som om den siden som vi trodde tapte krigen, allikevel vant. Det tok bare litt lenger tid og skjer på en litt annen måte enn de ønsket det. Vi forstår nå hvorfor regjeringen har det travelt og ikke vil begrunne sin likestillingsfanatisme.
    Her henger meningene litt sammen, fra avsnitt til avsnitt og man kan spore et argument som løper igjennom hele artikkelen. Men la oss ta et annet og nyere eksempel fra Aftenposten, der hun argumenterer for at... ja, jeg vet ikke helt hva hun argumenterer for her:

    Filosofen René Descartes (1596-1650) arbeidet med filosofiens grunnproblem. Hvordan bevise at mennesket virkelig eksisterte, og ikke var en drøm fremkalt av en ond demon? Beviset var tvilen. Om mennesket var seg bevisst sin tvil, var det tegn på eksistens: Cogito, ergo sum . Jeg tviler, altså er jeg.

    En drømmeverden.
    Den rødgrønne regjeringen prøver seg i rollen som ond demon. Den har nå laget en drømmeverden vi alle skal tre inn i. Samme ekteskapslov, bare basert på følelser, skal gjelde for både enkjønnede og tokjønnede par. Loven får tilbakevirkende kraft, alle får endret sitt ekteskap.

    Enkjønnede par skal få konstruerte barn, uten far. Regjeringen vil innbille oss at enkjønnede og tokjønnede relasjoner er like bra, og at de som tenker annerledes er uanstendige. Regjeringen fornekter tvilen og angriper den sentrale virkelighetserfaringen.

    Står utenfor realiteten.

    Regjeringen benekter i sitt forslag uoverkommelige forskjeller. Heterofile får barn sammen. De har mange sorger og gleder i forbindelse med uønsket graviditet. Noen synes fremdeles at de "må" gifte seg.

    Retten til abort skaper drama. Når barnet er født, leter man etter likhet med mor, far og besteforeldre. Enkjønnede par står helt utenfor denne realiteten. Uansett hyppig sex, skjer det ingen unnfangelse, abort er ikke noe problem. Homofiles barn fra heterofile sidesprang eller utenlandske klinikker er ikke noe argument for å endre ekteskapsloven til det ugjenkjennelige.


    Forvirret tilstand.
    Vi kan få et samfunn hvor mange betviler sine egne sanseerfaringer og intuitive overbevisninger. Den forvirrede tilstand som en del homofile lever i: Er jeg hetero eller homo?, blir til allmenn forvirring på et langt dypere plan. Er jeg intolerant fordi jeg vil kjenne faren eller moren min? Er jeg intolerant fordi jeg ikke synes at en mann kan erstatte min mor, eller en kvinne min far? [Svaret er: Nei, kun hvis du vil gjøre denne følelsen normativ for resten av samfunnet, bloggers anm.]


    En demonisk lov.
    Kunstig befruktede homofile kvinner får neppe abort. Antagonisme vil oppstå. Med få helsekroner kan det bli valg mellom å gi kunstig befruktning og fødestuen. Men anstendige lærere i barnehager og skoler vil nekte å lyve for barna. De kan ikke informere om en demonisk lov. Lærerne har en stolt tradisjon fra 1942.

    Stadig flere mennesker vil inn i Norge, hvordan skal man nå avsløre proforma ekteskap? Kvinnebevegelsen har alltid sagt: Hvem vil ikke ha en kone? Nå kan alle få en. Enslige gamle slipper å frykte sykehjemmet, de kan få en arbeidsom thailandsk kone. Hun blir norsk og velstående. En idé for noen hver når eldrebølgen er her?

    Som fortjent.
    Den onde demonen gjør hva den kan for å forvrenge våre sanseinntrykk og livsforståelse. Vår tvil er forbudt, og erfaringen av virkeligheten skal benektes. Regjeringen vil få som den fortjener.

    Stortingspolitikere som stemmer for denne loven blir fjernet ved neste valg. Deres navn blir notert.
    Legg forresten merke til hvor godt mellomtitlene kommenterer forfatteren.

    Poenget her er iallefall at hun ikke kan kjede sammen et argument der konklusjonen følger fra premissene. Hun slår fast. Hun deltar derfor med destruktiv kraft i alle debatter, for man kan ikke diskutere med henne. Om hennes meninger ble framført på en annen måte kunne jeg godta, om ikke like, prisen. Men slik det står så må jeg si at dette er helt skandaløst, en skam for Fritt Ord, en devaluering av Fritts Ords Pris og ellers bare himle med øynene og håpe på at det norske ordskiftet raskt får seg andre helter enn Nina Karin Monsen.

    [oppdatering: Jeg er visst ikke den eneste som tenker dette. Hastur går lenger enn jeg, av juridiske grunner, er villig til å gå. Twitter, Underskog og Facebook går amok. Men altså: Til og med Høyre-politikere synes dette er litt for drøyt

    Sejersted sier til NTB at

    Hennes poeng er ikke å angripe homofile, men å forsvare ekteskapet som sakrament. Hun fører et sterkt språk og vi er veldig klar over at det går en grense et sted, men Monsen beveger seg innenfor den, sier han.
    Jeg tror at hvis du ikke tror at Monsen angriper homofile, så har du ikke lest henne skikkelig. Man kan gjøre noe uten å ville det. Ekstremt eksempel: man kan si at "den hvite rasen er fullstendig overlegen". Da er poenget ditt kanskje ikke å angripe folk med svart hud, men det gjør du likevel, gitt. På samme måte så er det kanskje ikke meningen for Monsen å drive med homohets, men det er det hun gjør, gitt. Men når det er sagt, så er det altså ikke det som er poenget med akkurat denne innvendingen jeg har her. Den innvendingen går mer på at Monsen er en av de tre første jeg tenker på når jeg tenker på folk som ødelegger norsk debatt (de andre to er Hege Storhaug og Siv Jensen.)]


    In related news: Marte Michelet sier fornuftige ting om Steinar Lems merkverdige utspill om islam. Jeg synes det er synd at Lem får så mye oppmerksomhet rundt dette. Så lenge han holdt på med miljøvern fikk han da aldri så store oppslag som dette, gjorde han?


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    I quite simply love this surreal but beautiful interview with Bonnie Prince Billy / Will Oldham on being a pirate
    So what I really want to ask you about are pirates.

    Will Oldham: (Long pause.) O.K.

    How does that happen, exactly? Is it just something a person falls into? Or do you make a conscious choice, “Y’know, I’d really like to be a pirate?”

    I don’t think that word—the word “pirate”—has any real meaning. Or it’s something that’s had meaning imposed on it. The people who we’d label as pirates, who are doing things that we’d identify as pirating—taking over boats and robbing them of their cargo, down in Southeast Asia or the Spice Islands or Indonesia or the Philippines or wherever—I don’t think that word is even a part of their everyday lexicon. Do they say, “Here we are, pirates?” Or do they just say, “There’s a boat over there that has some stuff on it, we should take that?”

    So you never identified yourself as a pirate?

    I remember around this time getting a letter from a friend, and he had determined in this letter who he was. And I think that stalemated me for a little bit. I believed that you had to become who you are rather than just being who you are. It was about thinking that there’s an escape, that at any moment I could see a path that looked attractive and I had the option to walk down it. It’s thinking, “Well, being a pirate looks like a cool thing to do. So if I believe in that enough and do things that I associate with being a pirate, I will become that thing.”
    Read the whole thing.

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    St. Augustine on killing people from a great distance

    While the Washington Post is busy having quasi-fascist hard-ons for the rescue operation the US Navy did off the coast of Somalia...

    The three quick shots off the fantail of the USS Bainbridge that terminated the piracy incident in the Indian Ocean early Sunday night made a number of points for various pointy-headed political pundits to chew on, cudlike, for a few weeks. But one they'll probably miss is the following: The three shots make clear to a wider public what has been clear to people who pay attention to such things -- we are in the golden age of the sniper.

    He has become a kind of chivalric hero. He is the state, speaking in thunder, restoring order to the moral universe. Or he is civilization, informing the barbarians of the fecklessness of their plight. He is the line in the sand, the point of the spear, the man with the rifle, one of the few, the proud. He is also the intellectual of combat, in some ways, bringing a cool logic to what is normally hot, messy and exhausting.
    ... yes, seriously, one can do worse than reflect on the circumstances which led four presumably impoverished people living in a failed state to take arms onto a sea of troubles. Here's Johann Hari on piracy off the coast of Somalia:
    In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

    Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

    Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."

    At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters."

    This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence".

    No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But in a telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali: "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas." William Scott would understand.
    (h/t Zunguzungu in this thread)
    Also, the words of St. Augustine, quoted by Noam Chomsky, spring to mind:
    ...an apt and true reply [was] given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What meanest thou by seizing the whole earth? Because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.
    --St. Augustine, The City of God

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    the London police killed a defenseless, unarmed protester at the G20 summit

    The words above are really the most accurate way of describing what happened.

    As usual, stellar reporting by the Guardian, who have now made a breakthrough in the question of the police brutality at the G20 summit. They have obtained video of a man named Ian Tomlinson being pushed and struck with a baton, from behind, while walking away, slowly, with his hands in his pockets. He died a few minutes later from a heart attack. Here is the video:

    What riot police in general quite simply do not seem to get is that the reason we shouldn't use violence unless attacked is that our bodies, while equipped to handle a certain level of violence, are put in jeopardy by violence. As anyone who has experienced violence firsthand can tell you, it is always, no matter how slight, a shock to the system. Even when you are an unhurt party, the rest of the day is ruined by the adrenaline shakes and constant reruns in your head of what happened.

    When they shield bash unarmed protesters with their hands in the air, every single blow risks incapacitating, wounding, traumatising or killing a protester. Baton strikes to the thigh, like mr Tomlinson experienced, are incredibly dangerous. In US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, heavy blows to the thigh ("peroneal strikes") have caused fatal damage – clots or infarcts – in abused prisoners, and was the cause of death of several prisoners in the Bagram abuse case.

    Police officers are used to violence, and so probably think of it as part of their everyday life. To the rest of us, it can be instantly traumatising. Having The State push you down from behind can really ruin your day. In Mr. Tomlinson's case. He got so wound up, he died. That's a heavy shame for the London Metropolitan Police to bear. They were used as instruments of political violence and ended up killing a man.

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    On Easter break, skiing in Hemsedal until the 13th of April. Can be reached by phone, +47 986 20 468. Sayonara, suckers!


    "I don't know who is being protected here." I wonder if the police do.

    Laws intended for counter-terrorism are being misused in an increasingly heavy-handed approach to policing protests, a new parliamentary report warns today.

    The 70-page report, published by the joint committee on human rights after almost a year's inquiry, said it was concerned by evidence of the use of the powers, under legislation including the Terrorism Act, against peaceful protesters.

    The report comes as pressure mounts on authorities over plans for the policing of a series of high-profile protests, including at next month's G20 summit in London. The event, due to be attended by Barack Obama and other world leaders, is expected to draw thousands of protesters to Docklands, London. The findings are likely to anger demonstrators, after the news that thousands of riot police will be deployed in response.

    The report says: "Whilst we recognise police officers should not be placed at risk of serious injury, the deployment of riot police can unnecessarily raise the temperature at protests."


    O'Brien said the cordons were put in place because a group of about 200 people were violent. "There was no real deliberate attempt to say you are all going to stay here for hours," he said.

    He said people had been allowed to leave throughout the day, and that by about 7.30pm those left were people who wanted to be there, and they were asked for their names as they left as part of the inquiry. "What I saw there at that time was a couple of hundred people who did not want to go. They had ... been the agitators throughout the day," he said.

    The Guardian saw and spoke to many people who were clearly not agitators, but who were refused permission to leave.


    "this short film shows the campers calling out "this is not a riot" and holding their arms in the air, while riot police surge forward wielding batons and shields in an unprovoked attack."


    "Police said yesterday that a man who died at the G20 protests near the Bank of England had been walking home from work when he collapsed."


    "I don't know who is being protected here." Beautiful video reporting by the Guardian.

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    The Guardian has announced that it is ending its paper publication, and now publishing entirely on Twitter.

    Sceptics have expressed concerns that 140 characters may be insufficient to capture the full breadth of meaningful human activity, but social media experts say the spread of Twitter encourages brevity, and that it ought to be possible to convey the gist of any message in a tweet.

    For example, Martin Luther King's legendary 1963 speech on the steps of the Lincoln memorial appears in the Guardian's Twitterised archive as "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by", eliminating the waffle and bluster of the original.