NYT Article: Police Surveillance of Cyclists as Political Dissidents

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

  1. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    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?!?
    >
    > Typical elitist left-wing arrogance.
    >
    > Bill "by the way, he's not alone in that inability to control emotions
    > (primarily anger) thing" S.
    >
    >

    From the Wikipedia article:

    In Chomsky's view there is little reason to believe that academics are
    more inclined to engage in profound thought than other members of
    society and that the designation "intellectual" obscures the truth of
    the intellectual division of labour: "These are funny words actually, I
    mean being an 'intellectual' has almost nothing to do with working with
    your mind; these are two different things. My suspicion is that plenty
    of people in the crafts, auto mechanics and so on, probably do as much
    or more intellectual work as people in the universities. There are
    plenty of areas in academia where what's called 'scholarly' work is just
    clerical work, and I don't think clerical work's more challenging than
    fixing an automobile engine—in fact, I think the opposite... So if by
    'intellectual' you mean people who are using their minds, then it's all
    over society." (Understanding Power, p. 96)
     


  2. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    Bob wrote:
    > Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:
    >
    >>http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/n...8926beae1ec&hp&ex=1135314000&partner=homepage

    >
    >
    > Oh my god, the police are WATCHING people in public places! How awful!
    > <yawn>


    I think you misrepresent the main thrust of the article. It was about
    police undercover infiltration of groups (with no apparent danger to
    public safety) and even engaging in provocative behavior -- although I'm
    willing to accept that may have been individual overzealousness. We've
    been down this road before and it doesn't go anywhere good...

    I find it troubling that you, a law enforcement officer I believe, would
    dismiss this so easily.
     
  3. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    > 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.


    Indeed. It's been very noticeable to me how commonly torture is
    presented in USA TV shows as (a) normal, acceptable behaviour by the
    military and other govt employees (b) near 100% effective in getting
    information from the bad guys (the goodies usually resist it fairly
    well) and (c) virtually no innocent people ever get tortured by mistake.

    I find it unsurprising that such a high proportion of USAians approve of
    torture, given such an unremittingly positive portrayal of it. But it is
    nevertheless disappointing that their attitudes may be so strongly
    determined by TV fiction.

    James
    --
    James Annan
    see web pages for email
    http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/
     
  4. James Annan wrote:
    >
    > I find it unsurprising that such a high proportion of USAians approve of
    > torture, given such an unremittingly positive portrayal of it. But it is
    > nevertheless disappointing that their attitudes may be so strongly
    > determined by TV fiction.
    >


    But TV shows, films and so on certainly do play a central part in the
    brainwashing process, and an especially effective one given that so
    many in the USA have been rendered incapable of complex, rational
    thought by a lifetime diet of mindless TV shows.

    No one is the UK seems overly bothered about this but at least the
    French are alert to how the American 'entertainment' industry is
    probably as an important means of achieving American domination as its
    huge military machine. This is why they take some pains to try to
    protect their own culture. It is also no surprise that such
    'resistance' of the France to American hegemony results in them being
    targeted, witness all that anti-French hate propaganda about 'Freedom
    fries' and websites such as righwingstuff.com selling T-shirts with
    logos reading 'Bush's to do list: 1) Bong Iraq (crossed out) 2) Bomb
    Iran 3) Bomb France. Most of all the right in the USA are terrified of
    the ideology of 'Egality, Liberty and Fraternity', especially the bit
    about egality...

    A review on Amazon of the book I mentioned earlier 'Friendly Fascism :
    The New Face of Power in America' covers similar points saying:

    '...for Americans used to the association between the term `fascism'
    and the image of angry totalitarian states such as Nazi Germany and the
    Italy of the same period of time, it is perhaps difficult to associate
    with the notion that clever and systematic manipulation of the general
    population through use of the mass media is a form of fascistic
    influence. Yet, as Gross argues so persuasively, that is exactly what
    it is.

    The term that pops to mind is that process that M.I.T. scholar Noam
    Chomsky would refer to as "manufacturing consent", a dangerous
    propensity which dangerously influences the perceptions of individual
    citizens by continually immersing the populace in an electronic stream
    of messages, both blatant and subliminal, that serves to condition them
    to a particular way of experiencing, participating, and perceiving the
    world around them. We find ourselves constantly bombarded by powerful
    and suggestive images, message-laden icons which deliver consistent
    themes regarding the nature of the environment we are living in, one we
    come to employ more and more exclusively as our preferred method of
    interacting in both the civil and legal aspects of contemporary
    society. As Professor Gross so prophetically forecasted, the mergers of
    all commercial news sources, both electronic and other, have come under
    the ownership and control of corporate America, one of the leading
    edges of the power elite.... Lost in our petty diversions and
    self-absorbed in a pool of trivial pursuits, we become increasingly
    more vulnerable to the solid wall of subliminal and other messages all
    conveying a message regarding he nature of the world and our social,
    economic, and political place in it.

    http://tinyurl.com/d2opt
     
  5. James Annan wrote:

    >
    > I find it unsurprising that such a high proportion of USAians approve of
    > torture, given such an unremittingly positive portrayal of it. But it is
    > nevertheless disappointing that their attitudes may be so strongly
    > determined by TV fiction.
    >


    But TV shows, films and so on certainly do play a central part in the
    brainwashing process, and an especially effective one given that so
    many in the USA have been rendered incapable of complex, rational
    thought by a lifetime diet of mindless TV shows.

    No one is the UK seems overly bothered about this but at least the
    French are alert to how the American 'entertainment' industry is
    probably as an important means of achieving American domination as its
    huge military machine. This is why they take some pains to try to
    protect their own culture. It is also no surprise that such
    'resistance' of the France to American hegemony results in them being
    targeted, witness all that anti-French hate propaganda about 'Freedom
    fries' and websites such as righwingstuff.com selling T-shirts with
    logos reading 'Bush's to do list: 1) Bomb Iraq (crossed out) 2) Bomb
    Iran 3) Bomb France. Most of all the right in the USA are terrified of
    the ideology of 'Egality, Liberty and Fraternity', especially the bit
    about egality...

    A review on Amazon of the book I mentioned earlier 'Friendly Fascism :
    The New Face of Power in America' covers similar points saying:

    '...for Americans used to the association between the term `fascism'
    and the image of angry totalitarian states such as Nazi Germany and the
    Italy of the same period of time, it is perhaps difficult to associate
    with the notion that clever and systematic manipulation of the general
    population through use of the mass media is a form of fascistic
    influence. Yet, as Gross argues so persuasively, that is exactly what
    it is.

    The term that pops to mind is that process that M.I.T. scholar Noam
    Chomsky would refer to as "manufacturing consent", a dangerous
    propensity which dangerously influences the perceptions of individual
    citizens by continually immersing the populace in an electronic stream
    of messages, both blatant and subliminal, that serves to condition them
    to a particular way of experiencing, participating, and perceiving the
    world around them. We find ourselves constantly bombarded by powerful
    and suggestive images, message-laden icons which deliver consistent
    themes regarding the nature of the environment we are living in, one we
    come to employ more and more exclusively as our preferred method of
    interacting in both the civil and legal aspects of contemporary
    society. As Professor Gross so prophetically forecasted, the mergers of
    all commercial news sources, both electronic and other, have come under
    the ownership and control of corporate America, one of the leading
    edges of the power elite.... Lost in our petty diversions and
    self-absorbed in a pool of trivial pursuits, we become increasingly
    more vulnerable to the solid wall of subliminal and other messages all
    conveying a message regarding he nature of the world and our social,
    economic, and political place in it.

    http://tinyurl.com/d2opt
     
  6. James Annan wrote:

    >
    > I find it unsurprising that such a high proportion of USAians approve of
    > torture, given such an unremittingly positive portrayal of it. But it is
    > nevertheless disappointing that their attitudes may be so strongly
    > determined by TV fiction.
    >


    But TV shows, films and so on certainly do play a central part in the
    brainwashing process, and an especially effective one given that so
    many in the USA give every appearance of having been rendered incapable
    of complex, rational thought by a lifetime diet of mindless TV shows.

    No one is the UK seems overly bothered about this but at least the
    French are alert to how the American 'entertainment' industry is
    probably as an important means of achieving American domination as its
    huge military machine. This is why they take some pains to try to
    protect their own culture. It is also no surprise that such
    'resistance' of the France to American hegemony results in them being
    targeted, witness all that anti-French hate propaganda about 'Freedom
    fries' and websites such as righwingstuff.com selling T-shirts with
    logos reading 'Bush's to do list: 1) Bomb Iraq (crossed out) 2) Bomb
    Iran 3) Bomb France. Most of all the right in the USA are terrified of
    the ideology of 'Egality, Liberty and Fraternity', especially the bit
    about egality...

    A review on Amazon of the book I mentioned earlier 'Friendly Fascism :
    The New Face of Power in America' covers similar points saying:

    '...for Americans used to the association between the term `fascism'
    and the image of angry totalitarian states such as Nazi Germany and the
    Italy of the same period of time, it is perhaps difficult to associate
    with the notion that clever and systematic manipulation of the general
    population through use of the mass media is a form of fascistic
    influence. Yet, as Gross argues so persuasively, that is exactly what
    it is.

    The term that pops to mind is that process that M.I.T. scholar Noam
    Chomsky would refer to as "manufacturing consent", a dangerous
    propensity which dangerously influences the perceptions of individual
    citizens by continually immersing the populace in an electronic stream
    of messages, both blatant and subliminal, that serves to condition them
    to a particular way of experiencing, participating, and perceiving the
    world around them. We find ourselves constantly bombarded by powerful
    and suggestive images, message-laden icons which deliver consistent
    themes regarding the nature of the environment we are living in, one we
    come to employ more and more exclusively as our preferred method of
    interacting in both the civil and legal aspects of contemporary
    society. As Professor Gross so prophetically forecasted, the mergers of
    all commercial news sources, both electronic and other, have come under
    the ownership and control of corporate America, one of the leading
    edges of the power elite.... Lost in our petty diversions and
    self-absorbed in a pool of trivial pursuits, we become increasingly
    more vulnerable to the solid wall of subliminal and other messages all
    conveying a message regarding he nature of the world and our social,
    economic, and political place in it.

    http://tinyurl.com/d2opt
     
  7. <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >>

    >
    > But TV shows, films and so on
    >.....

    [and on...]

    Propaganda is, of course, most effective if it is posted repeatedly.
    Propaganda is, of course, most effective if it is posted repeatedly.
    Propaganda is, of course, most effective if it is posted repeatedly.
     
  8. Peter Cole a écrit :

    > I think you misrepresent the main thrust of the article. It was about
    > police undercover infiltration of groups (with no apparent danger to
    > public safety) and even engaging in provocative behavior -- although I'm
    > willing to accept that may have been individual overzealousness. We've
    > been down this road before and it doesn't go anywhere good...


    Myself, I was struck by the association made between cycling and
    sedition. There are other countries such as Poland, just as repressive
    and right-wing as the USA, where this connection would seem absurd. It
    is a tacit admission that shameless overconsumption of fossil fuels is
    part of the American Way, and that mere symbols of ecological
    consciousness can be conflated with terrorism as threats to it.

    EFR
    Ile de France
     
  9. Roger Houston wrote:
    >
    > Propaganda is, of course, most effective if it is posted repeatedly.


    I don't see much repetition. A suggestion at the complexity of the real
    world perhaps. (Complexities which are systematically obscured by the
    black and white simplicities propagated by the American propaganda
    machine).
     
  10. Bill Sornson wrote:
    \
    > Read: more liberals think that "people
    > are fundamentally stupid and sheep-like and largely complicit in their own
    > repression and ignorance" than do conservatives.


    Bill, ISTM that if you were forbidden to simplistically divide people
    into "liberals" and "conservatives," your mental machinery would grind
    to a halt.

    Try to consider that, for the bulk of the population, those labels are
    no more accurate than cartoons.

    - Frank Krygowski
     
  11. Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:

    >
    > Myself, I was struck by the association made between cycling and
    > sedition. There are other countries such as Poland, just as repressive
    > and right-wing as the USA, where this connection would seem absurd. It
    > is a tacit admission that shameless overconsumption of fossil fuels is
    > part of the American Way, and that mere symbols of ecological
    > consciousness can be conflated with terrorism as threats to it.
    >


    Quite so, but I also think that the current repression of cyclists in
    New York is largely a reaction to the anti-Bush demonstrations which
    cyclists played a central part in. That said the bicycle has long been
    associated with subversion and as being a challenge to the 'social
    norm' in the UK too. For example, due to the close associations
    between cycling and the women's emancipation movement, between cycling
    and the early socialist movement (via the 'Clarion' organisation * )
    and because cyclists out on their Sunday club runs were regarded as
    'working on the Sabbath'. Cycling has also long been regarded as
    'proletarian' and egalitarian in nature and as such stands as a
    challenge to the status-orientated elitism and competitive
    aspirationalism which are so central to the way the motor car is
    'sold'.

    * See
    http://www.thebikezone.org.uk/thebikezone/thinkingcyclist/clarion/clarion.html
     
  12. P.s Of course, even in the USA the bicycle is still seen as having it's
    uses. For example, as a child's toy or as a means of keeping fit. (Even
    if over 64% of the American population are now either overweight or
    clinically obese!). After all loading up one's SUV with bicycles and
    driving half the day in order to find somwhere safe enough to cycle is
    hardly seen as being a threat to the car-culture!
     
  13. Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:

    > Myself, I was struck by the association made between cycling and
    > sedition. There are other countries such as Poland, just as repressive
    > and right-wing as the USA, where this connection would seem absurd. It
    > is a tacit admission that shameless overconsumption of fossil fuels is
    > part of the American Way, and that mere symbols of ecological
    > consciousness can be conflated with terrorism as threats to it.
    >


    There may be an element of this but I think that the current repression
    of cyclists in New York is largely a reaction to the anti-Bush
    demonstrations which cyclists played a central part in.

    Whilst the US has a different history the bicycle has certainly long
    been associated with 'subversion' in the UK. For example, because of
    the close associations between cycling and the women's emancipation
    movement, between cycling and the early socialist movement (via the
    'Clarion' organisation * ) and because cyclists out on their Sunday
    club runs were regarded as 'working on the Sabbath'.

    In the UK the bicycle has also long been regarded as 'proletarian' and
    egalitarian in nature and as such as posing an ideological challenge to
    the status-orientated elitism which has been so central to the way the
    motor car has been 'sold'. As car ownership has grown the bicycle has
    also come to be seen as posing a potential threat to the 'social norm'.
    However, in the UK a lot of this stems from the strength of the British
    class system and the fact that the early motorists were drawn from the
    'social elite'. Things may be a little different in the US where having
    a car seems to be so much part of the culture that it is perhaps not so
    much a measure of 'status' as it is in the UK. (This is something I
    will have to do more research on but I do recall reading someone who
    was arguing that to not drive a car was in some way 'Un-American').

    Even in the USA the bicycle is still seen as having its uses. For
    example, as a child's toy or as a means of keeping fit. (Even if over
    64% of the American population are now either overweight or clinically
    obese!).

    * See
    http://www.thebikezone.org.uk/thebikezone/thinkingcyclist/clarion/clarion.html
     
  14. [email protected] wrote:

    > Ermm, I think that's satire. At least I hope that' s satire.


    Several things suggest that there is serious intent here, even if it is
    presented as satire:

    1) It was first published in a car magazine.

    2) Many of the 'arguments' put forward are actually common currency
    amongst anti-cyclists.

    3) 'Americans don't do irony', or so I have heard.
     
  15. Tony Raven wrote:
    >
    > Ermmm. You do know that P J O'Rourke is a famous satirist, formerly of
    > National Lampoon and Rolling Stone, don't you.
    >
    >


    Yes, of course. But reading it much of the humour seems about as thin
    as that of Jeremy Clarkson when he 'jokes' about cyclists being 'lefty
    museli munchers' or how he will run cyclists down 'for fun' if the get
    in his way at traffic lights. Unfortunately, it is rather too easy to
    pass of prejudice as 'humour': people like Jim Davidson and Bernard
    Manning made careers out of doing so. The fact that the article was
    first published in a car magazine suggests the 'humour' in this case
    was expressly designed to appeal to the prejudices of the prospective
    reader.
     
  16. Bill Sornson

    Bill Sornson Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > [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...


    Wow, it's written right here on Usenet, so it MUST be true.

    >> 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...


    Of course he didn't say that; and yes, people who are miserable and fearful
    don't tend to buy toys.

    >> 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.


    Shocking.

    >> 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).


    People also said Bush attacked Iraq for "political gain". Hell, it nearly
    cost him the election (and DID put his approval ratings in the toilet for a
    month or so; now it's back above 50%). Yeah, liberating millions of people
    and losing 2200+ solidiers and spending ga-jillions of dollars was just such
    a SELFISH ACT! Bad USA!
     
  17. Bill Sornson

    Bill Sornson Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Roger Houston wrote:
    >>
    >> Propaganda is, of course, most effective if it is posted repeatedly.

    >
    > I don't see much repetition. A suggestion at the complexity of the
    > real world perhaps. (Complexities which are systematically obscured
    > by the black and white simplicities propagated by the American
    > propaganda machine).


    Whoosh.

    (Hint: you're double and triple posting -- repeatedly -- today.)

    Bill "almost as bad as replying to yourself up to 4 times" S.
     
  18. Bill Sornson

    Bill Sornson Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Bill Sornson wrote:
    > \
    >> Read: more liberals think that "people
    >> are fundamentally stupid and sheep-like and largely complicit in
    >> their own repression and ignorance" than do conservatives.

    >
    > Bill, ISTM that if you were forbidden to simplistically divide people
    > into "liberals" and "conservatives," your mental machinery would grind
    > to a halt.
    >
    > Try to consider that, for the bulk of the population, those labels are
    > no more accurate than cartoons.


    Read the thread, Frank. Whatshisname made the blanket statement I quoted
    above ("people are fundamentally stupid and sheep-like and largely complicit
    in their own repression and ignorance"). I replied that more elitist,
    too-smart-in-their-own-view liberals think that way than do (insert
    derogatory terms here) conservatives.

    I agree that the vast majority of people don't fit either category, so I
    don't need to "try to consider it" TYVM.

    Now if you don't consider Chomsky a liberal, then, well... never mind.

    BS
     
Loading...
Loading...