edward bernays. freud. america.

“the century of the self” is a documentary by adam curtis from the BBC following the influence of freud and his cousin edward bernays (the father of public relations) on the development of united states consumerism, the engineering of consent, and the control of the masses. goes on to show the development of psychology and marketing, the transformation of politics into a consumer good, and how democrats (especially clinton and dick morris) adopted the techniques, and in the process undermined the party’s ideological foundation. outstanding. i guess i got to this party late (the program was released in 2002).

via phil’s stock blog
part 2

part 3

part 4 (in six segments)

what the hell am i thinking

this is going to be the week that i give 30 day notice on my apartment and it has me a little stressed out. there is a finality to moving once i call the property manager, and i am slightly nervous.  i keep wondering whether this plan of mine, to put everything in a duffel bag and go cruise around central america, is maybe not a little crazy.

i’m not sure what i am looking for, or whether i am searching for anything at all. i have a feeling though, that it isn’t in the bay area right now.  approaching midnight here, so i think i  will forego diving into the reasoning behind my decision until a later (as in earlier in the day) time.

oh, i just realized that i have been talking about this offline primarily, and this is the first mention i am making  of it here. so yeah. i am pulling up anchor and sailing out of the bay. or, to be more accurate, i am throwing out most of my shit, putting the rest of it into a truck, and heading down I-5 for southernmore parts. i have lived in the bay area half of my adult life. this time around, i have been here seven years, so maybe this is my seven year itch.


as a postscript to my last post, let me add two more items. today’s news (emphasis mine):

With tensions already running high, the United States has bolstered its naval forces in the Persian Gulf in a show of strength directed at Iran. There is concern that with so much military hardware in the Gulf, a small incident could escalate dangerously.

Afshar, the Iranian officer, warned the United States would not be able to control the consequences if it attacks Iran.

“The United States and its allies know that if they make any mistake in their calculations … they will not be able to control the dimensions and limit the duration of a war,” Afshar said.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader,warned this week that Western countries “must know that the Iranian nation and authorities will use all their capacities to strike enemies that attack.”

and a history lesson:

Gulf of Tonkin Incident was an alleged pair of attacks by naval forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (commonly referred to as North Vietnam) against two American destroyers, the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy. The attacks occurred on 2 August and 4 August 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin. Later research, including a report released in 2005 by the National Security Agency, indicated that the second attack most likely did not occur, but also attempted to dispel the long-standing assumption that members of the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson had knowingly lied about the nature of the incident.[1]

The outcome of the incident was the passage by Congress of the Southeast Asia Resolution (better known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution), which granted Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression”. The resolution served as Johnson’s legal justification for escalating American involvement in the Vietnam Conflict.

townhall on iraq

i went to barbara lee’s townhall on iraq in oakland this morning. sean penn (no link, he needs a blog) was a guest speaker, and daniel ellsberg got called up out of the audience to give a speech. the antiwar movement seems a little fragmented right now, especially after the contentious supplemental appropriations bill that passed the house this week. as lee put it on the floor of the house:

“As someone who opposed this war from the beginning, I have voted against every single penny for this war and found myself today in the difficult position of having to choose between voting against funding for the war or for establishing timelines to end it.

“While as a matter of conscience I cast my vote against the funding, I hope that this passage of this bill marks the beginning of the end of the Iraq war, but the real fight still lies ahead. Congress will continue to have to confront the issue of this war and occupation, and I am committed to continuing to push to fully fund the safe withdrawal of our troops from Iraq at the earliest practicable date and for timelines for withdrawal that are backed up by the appropriations power that the Constitution grants to Congress.”

there was also a bit of grumbling in the audience that moveon has betrayed the antiwar movement by getting too chummy with pelosi. everyone is unhappy and worried about the democrats abandoning the war authority provision (that would have required bush to get congressional approval before attacking iran).

sean gave an excellent speech, and ellsberg’s impromptu moment was good as well. both called for bush’s impeachment, and barbara lee pointed out that dennis kucinich is talking about it. and more from kucinich:

While agreeing that the administration should ultimately be held accountable under international law, Kucinich opposed immediate impeachment proceedings. “We must keep the focus on our troops, Kucinich said. “The minute impeachment is on the table, this President will accelerate the war even more.”

But he added, “if Bush attacks Iran, all bets are off.” Later he added, “We need to safeguard our Constitution.” If the President takes steps towards another war, Kucinich warned, Congress could make “an active effort” toward impeachment.

“The President is clearly trying to provoke Iran,” he said, adding that the Bush administration is “treading on the thinnest ice it has ever been on”.

we are in a precarious position, and the prospect of a war with iran is profoundly scary. it also seems more possible every day. the google newsfeed for iran is back in top position in my rss browser.

and while i am encouraged by the changing political climate, i am uncertain about the amount of pragmatism, consensus building, and compromising that seems necessary at this point. if hostilities start with iran, this country is going to be in a world of shit, and it will be very difficult or impossible to turn back. and i fear that is *exactly* what the bush administration has in mind. (satire follows)

WASHINGTON, DC—Almost a year after the cessation of major combat and a month after the nation’s first free democratic elections, President Bush unveiled the coalition forces’ strategy for exiting Iraq.


BushBush announces the pullout of Iraq through Iran.

“I’m pleased to announce that the Department of Defense and I have formulated a plan for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq,” Bush announced Monday morning. “We’ll just go through Iran.”

jim cramer

here is a clip from a few months ago. cramer talks candidly about the markets, and price manipulation techniques of hedge fund managers. you won’t see him talking like this on CNBC (as he says himself in the video). (via bill cara).