NYT Article: Police Surveillance of Cyclists as Political Dissidents

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Elisa Francesca Roselli, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. Mike Kruger wrote in part:

    > In linguistics, Chomsky is a bona-finbe genius. Genius isn't all that
    > transferrable, however. Just because you have achieved brilliance in an
    > academic field does not mean you are brilliant in all fields, or even more
    > than one. In politics, Chomsky is on the far, far fringe.


    I see him as sort of a 'radical' inflammatory pundit-professor. In the
    end, his informative rants are undermined by an inability to control
    his emotions (anger, primarily), which leads to an overreaching that is
    ultimately fatal to his arguments. To Chomsky, government conspiracy
    and thought control determine pretty much everything, there are no
    accidents, there is no democratic choice that has any significant role
    in shaping events. Obviously not true, but his writings contain much
    more detail and fact-based scholarship than is typical, and this is
    useful scholarship that unfortunately is obscured by the 'message.' It
    is true that the more you know about history of US foreign policy, the
    more angry you get, and ol' Noam knows a great deal. But ultimately he
    ignores an entire huge portion of the story, namely that people are
    fundamentally stupid and sheep-like and largely complicit in their own
    repression and ignorance. (In Chomsky-world, people are not born
    stupid, they are made and KEPT that way by sneaky govt.
    indoctrination.) As a relentless critic of US policy he performs what I
    believe to be a vital role in democracy--makes people think and be less
    sheep-like.

    Robert

    thimk
     


  2. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner Guest

    Mike Kruker wrote:

    > In linguistics, Chomsky is a bona-finbe genius. Genius isn't all that
    > transferrable, however.


    Yeah, I suppose you could say William Shockley was a genius at physics,
    but that doesn't mean there was any wisdom in his social and political
    views.

    --
    Paul Turner
     
  3. Bill Sornson

    Bill Sornson Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Mike Kruger wrote in part:
    >
    >> In linguistics, Chomsky is a bona-finbe genius. Genius isn't all
    >> that transferrable, however. Just because you have achieved
    >> brilliance in an academic field does not mean you are brilliant in
    >> all fields, or even more than one. In politics, Chomsky is on the
    >> far, far fringe.

    >
    > I see him as sort of a 'radical' inflammatory pundit-professor. In the
    > end, his informative rants are undermined by an inability to control
    > his emotions (anger, primarily), which leads to an overreaching that
    > is ultimately fatal to his arguments. To Chomsky, government
    > conspiracy and thought control determine pretty much everything,
    > there are no accidents, there is no democratic choice that has any
    > significant role in shaping events. Obviously not true, but his
    > writings contain much more detail and fact-based scholarship than is
    > typical, and this is useful scholarship that unfortunately is
    > obscured by the 'message.' It is true that the more you know about
    > history of US foreign policy, the more angry you get, and ol' Noam
    > knows a great deal. But ultimately he ignores an entire huge portion
    > of the story, namely that people are fundamentally stupid and
    > sheep-like and largely complicit in their own repression and
    > ignorance. (In Chomsky-world, people are not born stupid, they are
    > made and KEPT that way by sneaky govt. indoctrination.) As a
    > relentless critic of US policy he performs what I believe to be a
    > vital role in democracy--makes people think and be less sheep-like.


    But you apparently think that "people are fundamentally stupid and
    sheep-like and largely complicit in their own repression and ignorance", so
    Chomsky changes their very nature?!?

    Typical elitist left-wing arrogance.

    Bill "by the way, he's not alone in that inability to control emotions
    (primarily anger) thing" S.
     
  4. Bob

    Bob Guest

    SB wrote:
    > On Fri, 23 Dec 2005 00:52:11 +0000, Mike Kruger wrote:
    >
    >>In linguistics, Chomsky is a bona-finbe genius. Genius isn't all that
    > > transferrable, however. Just because you have achieved brilliance in an
    > > academic field does not mean you are brilliant in all fields, or even more
    > > than one. In politics, Chomsky is on the far, far fringe.

    >
    > No, he's not. He's right on. He seems on the fringe because
    > the rest of the western world is disgustingly to the right. Peace, love
    > and understanding are only for songs and peoples' personal inner circles
    > in our current corporate dominated society where ignorance and selfishness
    > prevails.


    IOW, "I and that very small percentage of the population that agrees
    with me are centrists. Everyone else is on the fringe and they are all
    disgusting, hateful, ignorant, selfish people."

    Thank god the "true believers" on both the left and right think that
    this type of foaming at the mouth proselytizing is effective
    persuasion. That helps prevent their lunacies from spreading.

    Regards,
    Bob Hunt
     
  5. Tony B

    Tony B Guest

    cycle-one wrote:

    > Gee and ere I thought I was the last reactionary.
    >
    > Does anyone else consider as an added benefit the lack of control the state
    > can exert by eschewing kars and all the attendant licensing;and living a
    > cycling life?


    Not arf. I've recently (after a four year break) rejoined the "car
    owning democracy" as Thatch called it, and have had plenty of time over
    the last week to ponder this relationship with the private car.

    ISTM that they are both the ultimate in the physical manifestation of
    the aspirational bollocks we are all conditioned to believe in while at
    the same time acting as a really good distraction for the bewildered
    herd. People everywhere spend ages moaning about traffic, roads, cameras
    etc. while nicely missing the really important things we should all be
    bitching about (insert refs to our slide into a totalitarian
    dictatorship here).

    I agree that being without a car does remove oneself from a whole raft
    of govt. interference. As does avoiding air travel.... I can hardly bear
    to go into airports these days as they seem to have moved from being
    places where one gets on/off an aeroplane to places where you get your
    fear levels topped up/reinforced. Coppers with guns? No thanks.

    While we (ok, I) are putting the world to rights, may I also add that I
    am incredibly pissed off that I need a passport to get to France.
    Indeed, Mrs B on a recent flight from Manchester to Edinburgh was
    required to show her passport. "Papers! Papers!" indeed.

    Then again, compare my journey to work via cycle and car. On the bike I
    get chance to destress and ponder the interconnectedness of all things,
    in the car I just feel my life and will to keep kicking slowly ebbing away.

    No wonder they don't like cyclists.

    Love,

    Che
     
  6. Bob

    Bob Guest

  7. Bill Sornson wrote:

    > But you apparently think that "people are fundamentally stupid and
    > sheep-like and largely complicit in their own repression and ignorance", so
    > Chomsky changes their very nature?!?


    I would say that reading Chomsky or Bill Buckley or David
    Brooks or Tierney or Ayn Rand or Nietzsche or Plato or
    C.S. Lewis or St. Augustine or Kazantzakis or Michael Herr
    or any number of others who somewhat have their s#*! together,
    regardless of political leanings, would help folks begin to
    overcome what appears to me to be a natural human tendency
    toward not knowing, or caring, what in the hell is going on.

    > Typical elitist left-wing arrogance.


    Whatever you say man.

    How do you define 'left-wing' and what makes you think
    I am part of it?

    Robert
     
  8. Bill Sornson

    Bill Sornson Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Bill Sornson wrote:


    >> Typical elitist left-wing arrogance.

    >
    > Whatever you say man.
    >
    > How do you define 'left-wing' and what makes you think
    > I am part of it?


    I mostly meant the mind-set you ascribe to Chomsky; however, your expressed
    views qualify pretty well, too :) (Read: more liberals think that "people
    are fundamentally stupid and sheep-like and largely complicit in their own
    repression and ignorance" than do conservatives.)
     
  9. [email protected] wrote:
    > [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > There is a big difference between memos discussing what is acceptable
    > > and legal treatment of high-value prisoners for the purpose of
    > > extracting information... and mistreating random prisoners for one's own
    > > sick sadistic pleasure.

    >
    > You mean there is a difference between torture in order to serve the
    > 'needs' of the invading forces and torture which is done 'just for
    > fun'? Probably doesn't make any difference one way or the other to the
    > victims... You also seem to be in some sort of state of denial when you
    > talk of 'memos' as though their contents had no relevance to what was
    > being done as a consequence of them.


    Torture and abuse are subjective terms, and people disagree on where
    the limits are. But morons like Lindie England did not get their
    motivation from memos from Rumsfeld. The memos don't say "make people
    talk at all costs, and by the way tell the guards to feel free to get
    their rocks off however they please."


    > > do you agree that ridding Iraq of Saddam and his sons was in itself a good thing?

    >
    > Looking at Iraq at the moment I don't think that many Iraqis could say
    > that they are better off. I guess it is a good thing for all the
    > American companies making a fortune out of 'rebuilding' Iraq, (and
    > charging extortionate rates for doing so) while in exchange as much oil
    > as is possible is being pumped out of the country to feed America's car
    > culture and plans are being drawn up to exploit the remaining 100-200
    > billion barrels of oil which are still in the ground.


    As a matter of fact most Iraqiis DO think they are better off. The
    number of people who have mobile phones, cars, and satellite dishes is
    a materialsitic way of quantifying that. As is the amount of
    electricity consumed. And schools. As is the huge increase in
    marriages. People don't get married unless they think things are
    getting better. Or you could just ask them. Polls how they think they
    are better off,and they think things will get better still. This
    doesn't mean things are great right now, just better. The money from
    the sale of Iraqii oil goes into a trust fund that is the property of
    the Iraqii people. Several plans are being evaluated, and one llikely
    one involves each citizen getting a yearly check from the proceeds.
    Hardly theft on the grand scale you imagine.


    > In any case many of the deprivations the Iraqi people suffered under
    > the the previous regime were no less due to other external factors,
    > such as the US blockade of medical and other supplies which cost the
    > lives of over half a million Iraqi children, Oh, and wasn't it the USA
    > who bolstered his power in the first place by supporting him when he
    > invaded Iran back in 1980? (And he was an American puppet for a long
    > time before this).


    The figure of 500,000 is completely bogus. And the oli-for-food program
    was specifically supposed to provide essentials, but due to the
    incompetance of the UN, and the complicity of France and Russia, it
    instead turned into the biggest graft machine the world has ever seen.
    The 12 years was wasted time that didn't benefit anyone except Saddam
    who should have been removed from power long ago. Back in the 80's Iraq
    was supported against Iran as the lesser of two evils.

    > All that really changed was that Saddam no longer served the needs of
    > the USA, so it's a bit hypocritical to try to claim 'the moral high
    > ground' now. After all, history shows us that the USA is quite
    > prepared to support almost any dictatorship if doing so serves
    > America's interests. What's more the USA is also quite prepared to
    > undermine legitimate democratic governments and to engineer the
    > establishment of dictatorships if this suits its purposes, as it did in
    > the case of Chile back in 1973.


    Support of dictatorships around the world during the Cold War was a
    complicated issue, with in some cases very unfortunate consequences. At
    the time the options were limited, with the destruction of the world
    the result of a wrong move. Now that the Cold War is over, and the
    dynamic has changed, the situation no longer limits the US to having to
    suppport such dictators. Which is a good thing. The only long-term
    solution to peace in the world is the elimination of repressive,
    non-democratic regimes. Free societies do not attack each other. As
    outlined in the Bush Doctrine, the pursuit of this goal is the policy
    of the US.

    It is clear I am not going to change your mind, and you are not going
    to change mine. Maybe next time I am in the UK we can argue about this
    over a long bike ride!

    Joseph
     
  10. Bill Sornson wrote:
    > [email protected] wrote:
    > > Bill Sornson wrote:

    >
    > >> Typical elitist left-wing arrogance.

    > >
    > > Whatever you say man.
    > >
    > > How do you define 'left-wing' and what makes you think
    > > I am part of it?

    >
    > I mostly meant the mind-set you ascribe to Chomsky; however, your expressed
    > views qualify pretty well, too :) (Read: more liberals think that "people
    > are fundamentally stupid and sheep-like and largely complicit in their own
    > repression and ignorance" than do conservatives.)


    I think one mind-set is the inability to consider that they might be
    wrong.

    So the logic goes: "I am correct. I have good intentions. They
    disagree, and since I am correct, they only way they could think
    otherwise would be if they do not have good intentions. They must
    therefore be criminals out to repress all good people for their own
    material gain."

    Joseph
     
  11. sothach

    sothach Guest

    Mike Kruger wrote:
    > In linguistics, Chomsky is a bona-finbe genius.


    I dunno about genius: any programmer would start to see the patterns in
    human language, he was just one of the first programmers, so was in the
    right place... His later stuff is consider to be be crap though, what
    was it, P-grammars? He makes the typical programmer mistake: if a
    little bit of abstraction is a good thing, lots must be better. Today
    SVO tomorrow the Meaning of Life. Time XP came to linguistics.

    Does he cycle?
     
  12. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    On 22 Dec 2005 12:22:59 -0800, [email protected] wrote:

    >
    >One man's story of being told to wait to cross an international border,
    >where his ego is bruised by not being recognized, does not a police
    >state make.


    How many citizens need to be "rendered" before it's a police state?
    --
    zk
     
  13. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    On 22 Dec 2005 14:32:52 -0800, [email protected] wrote:

    > What's more the USA is also quite prepared to
    >undermine legitimate democratic governments and to engineer the
    >establishment of dictatorships if this suits its purposes, as it did in
    >the case of Chile back in 1973.


    uhh, they're still doing that in Chile.
    --
    zk
     
  14. Mike Kruger wrote:

    > >

    > Can't you do better than Noam Chomsky and some comedian I've never heard of?
    >


    Assuming you are an American, the fact that you have never heard of
    Bill Hicks reinforces much of what I was saying. Americans talk about
    'freedom' but being 'free' to think what you want counts for little
    when almost everything avenue of available information is so tightly
    controlled. In reality the USA is one of the most brainwashed nations
    on earth and such a good job is done of manipulating what people think
    and believe that few even realise that they haven't a 'free' though in
    their head and no longer even have the power of genuinely critical
    thought.

    One obvious example of this relates to religion. Not only do almost 90%
    of Americans 'never doubt the existence of 'God' a majority apparently
    believe in other even more incredible things such as the Bible being
    the literal word of God, the existence of an actual physical 'devil'
    and a many even believe that the world is just 10,000 years old. When a
    whole nation is able to suspend rationality and critical thought to
    such a degree it is no wonder they are also so susceptible to the
    propaganda and lies that their government feeds them.

    That America as a nation should act in the way it does on the world
    stage should be of no surprise either when one sees just how much
    fantasies of power, violence and domination pervade every aspect of
    American 'Culture'. Just look at the level of violence and the way the
    'all-American heroes revel in the horrific deaths of 'the baddies' in
    films produced even for children. Characters such as 'Indianna Jones'
    and 'Arnie' in The Terminator might be presented as mere entertainment
    but their purpose goes much deeper. They indoctrinate the next
    generation, desensitising them to death and killing, help present a
    simple black and white, fundamentalist view where everyone in the world
    is either with you and all you do or are an enemy. They also helps to
    present an image to the world which says, 'Look at this this is what
    American is all about, mess with us and a whole nation of
    Schwarzenegger-like ubermenchen will come and 'blow the f*** out of
    you'. In many ways the American 'entertainment' industry plays much the
    same role as gladiatorial contests did in Ancient Rome, impressing on
    all the might and propensity to violence of the empire.

    Americans also talk a lot about 'freedom' and 'democracy' and yet
    whilst they might be 'free' to keep an assault rifle under their bed if
    the so wish, many Americans are denied the freedom to live a full and
    fulfilling life which comes with having a decent standard of living,
    access to good education and health care and so on, and poverty, racism
    and exclusion affect millions of families. There is no real choice when
    it comes to politics either and dissent is usually treated with
    McCarthy like intolerance (as with the NYPD and cyclists). As Bill
    Hicks said:

    'This is the reality of politics in America. "I think the puppet on the
    left reflects my views". "I think the puppet on the right is more to my
    taste." "Hey the same guy is operating both puppets". Go to sleep
    America, your government is in control. Watch the Love Connection and
    get fat and stupid, and don't forget to keep drinking the beer you
    fuc*ing morons.'

    OK, I fully accept that there are many people in the USA who see the
    reality of 'Liberty lost still buried today, Beneath the lie of the
    USA' as the Manic Street Preachers sang about another truly great
    American most will probably never have heard of either (given the
    attempts made to write him out of American History) Paul Robeson.
    However, the fact remains that last time round the American people
    actually voted Bush in for a second term (I know Britain has nothing to
    be proud of either, as Blair was voted back into power last time too)
    and whilst he might not be so popular at the moment it seems this has
    more to do with the price of fuel rising than people realising that
    Bush, as Bill Hicks would have said, 'Sucks the dick of Satan.'
     
  15. max

    max Guest

  16. [email protected] wrote:

    > Torture and abuse are subjective terms, and people disagree on where
    > the limits are.


    And it seems the US government sets the limits rather higher than most
    in the civilised world...

    > As a matter of fact most Iraqiis DO think they are better off. The
    > number of people who have mobile phones, cars, and satellite dishes is
    > a materialsitic way of quantifying that.


    How VERY American, happiness and fulfillment equals owning a car and a
    mobile phone...

    > The figure of 500,000 is completely bogus.


    Personally, given that these figures were researched by the likes of
    the World Health Organization and UNICEF I trust them a whole lot more
    than any cooked up by the US government.

    >
    > Support of dictatorships around the world during the Cold War was a
    > complicated issue, with in some cases very unfortunate consequences.


    Your touching defence of some of the worst excesses of US foreign
    policy marks you out as being a true 'Good American'. I don't think you
    need have any fear of being snatched by the CIA and flown off to some
    secret prison where a corrupt regime keen to curry favour with the USA
    will torture you... However, even though the 'cold war' might be over,
    nothing has really changed in that the US will still do whatever it
    thinks will serve its own political and economic ends. (Including
    trying to scupper any attempts to tackle global warming. Despite Blair
    supporting Bush over Iraq it made me laugh to see Bush refuse to
    support Blair over global warming saying no 'quid pro quo' existed.
    Still, the US has a habit of ignoring international treaties in any
    case, whether they relate to global warming or the use chemical and
    biological weapons).

    The invasion of Iraq is just one example of how the US continues to do
    anything which suits its own ends and as I am sure even you must be
    aware all the lies spun about there been links between Iraq and the
    events of '9/11' and about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction
    were simply an excuse to put into action a plan hatched much earlier. (
    A plan which had a lot more to do with securing future oil supplies and
    ensuring that the worlds supply of oil continues to be traded
    primarily in Dollars than any desire to bring 'freedom' to the people
    of Iraq).
     
  17. P.s I think it is very naive, or perhaps even fatuous to try to argue
    that America, as a nation' is a bunch of 'good guys' who simply don't
    go around torturing people. I feel that just how deep violence (and
    racism) runs though the American psyche is well illustrated by the
    American Lynching phenomena I mentioned previously. Ok, some might like
    to dismiss it as being 'just history' but lynch murders went on right
    into the 1960's and white supremacist killings still go on in a less
    public way. I don't think that such events can be truly said to be
    nothing more than history when they happened in living memory and many
    of the attitudes which allowed them to happen still persist. When
    within living memory black men could be skinned, forced to eat their
    own genitals, had their fingers cut off, red hot irons forced into
    their eyes and down their throats, dragged through bonfires, tortured
    for hours and slowly burnt to death in front of cheering crowds of
    thousands of men, women and children who had responded to adverts
    placed in the local press announcing the 'show', and who would
    afterwards queue to buy postcards of the event or even pieces of the
    cooked bodies as talismans against the feared power of the black man,
    one must wonder just how deep the taste for violence and domination
    runs through the American psyche. OK, no nation can claim to have clean
    hands when it comes to atrocities but making a public spectacle of
    torture seems to come from the middle ages, not the 20th century.

    Thankfully, some Americans can still see this and are not living in a
    state of denial with regards what the US is capable of. The following
    is from The Austin Chronicle of 14 May 2004:

    'The shameful news of American torture at Abu Ghraib prison, and all
    its implications, has rightly dominated the media. Most Americans are
    shocked, shocked, do you hear, that their fellow Americans can commit
    torture - though I doubt such shock is shared by Vietnam vets, or
    anyone who's done hard time in our prisons (male or female), or people
    of color who've been arrested in our slums, or even a lot of people in
    mental hospitals. In fact, anyone who's watched TV shows like Alias, La
    Femme Nikita, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Angel knows that torture has
    become a staple of American prime-time entertainment. Any competent
    history course teaches what the U.S. cavalry did to Native Americans
    and what the white South did when lynching 5,000-ish African-Americans
    circa 1900-1950. Torture is nothing new to America, however much we
    protest our innocence.'

    Similarly, from issue 89 of the Black Commentator

    None of the Abu Ghraib prison guards involved in the assaults appear to
    believe they were doing anything morally repugnant. Rather, they whine
    that they should have gotten better training, or claim to have been
    misused by intelligence agents. Their President is whining, too.

    "This is not America," said George Bush on Wednesday, pleading the
    national case to the Arab world. "America is a country of justice and
    law and freedom and treating people with respect."

    No, America is a country built on genocide, slavery and insatiable
    land-piracy, where even the lowest status white person is a king or
    queen compared to a "hajji" or "gook" or some other variety of
    "nigger." This is the cultural well from which springs America's
    ceaseless domestic and international wars, the fountainhead of
    aggression as a national trait.

    And let's not forget that the recent events in Iraq fit into a clear
    historical pattern...

    "By the time Calley and men sat down to lunch, they had rounded up and
    slaughtered around 500 unarmed civilians. Within those few hours,
    members of Charlie Company had 'fooled around' and laughed as they
    sodomized and raped women, ripped vaginas open with knives, bayoneted
    civilians, scalped corpses, and carved "C Company" or the ace of spades
    onto their chests, slaughtered animals, and torched hooches. Other
    soldiers had wept openly as they fired on crowds of unresisting old
    men, women, children, and babies."

    Description of the My Lai massacre (16 March 1968). From An Intimate
    History of Killing, p 160.
     
  18. di

    di Guest

    "Elisa Francesca Roselli" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/n...8926beae1ec&hp&ex=1135314000&partner=homepage
    >
    > Some extracts:
    >
    > "Undercover New York City police officers have conducted covert
    > surveillance in the last 16 months of people protesting the Iraq war,
    > bicycle riders taking part in mass rallies and even mourners at a street
    > vigil for a cyclist killed in an accident, a series of videotapes show."
    >
    >
    > "Provided with images from the tape, the Police Department's chief
    > spokesman, Paul J. Browne, did not dispute that they showed officers at
    > work but said that disguised officers had always attended such
    > gatherings - not to investigate political activities but to keep order and
    > protect free speech. Activists, however, say that police officers
    > masquerading as protesters and bicycle riders distort their messages and
    > provoke trouble."
    >
    >
    > "After the 2001 terrorist attacks, officials at all levels of government
    > considered major changes in various police powers. President Bush
    > acknowledged last Saturday that he has secretly permitted the National
    > Security Agency to eavesdrop without a warrant on international telephone
    > calls and e-mail messages in terror investigations.
    >
    > In New York, the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg persuaded a
    > federal judge in 2003 to enlarge the Police Department's authority to
    > conduct investigations of political, social and religious groups. "We live
    > in a more dangerous, constantly changing world," Police Commissioner
    > Raymond W. Kelly said."
    >
    >
    > "Ryan Kuonen, 32, who took part in a "ride of silence" in memory of a dead
    > cyclist, said that two undercover officers - one with a camera - subverted
    > the event. "They were just in your face," she said. "It made what was a
    > really solemn event into something that seemed wrong. It made you feel
    > like you were a criminal. It was grotesque.""
    >
    >
    > EFR
    > Glad to be in Ile de France
    >


    Just the fact that this came from the NYT, completely destroys it's
    credibility.
     
  19. di wrote:

    > Just the fact that this came from the NYT, completely destroys it's
    > credibility.


    Why, is the NYT run by a bunch of 'pinkos'? Is is just that what 'Free
    Republic' types like to believe...
     
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