Monday, July 28, 2008
There only about 700 wild mountain gorillas left in the world. They live in themountains of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are an extremely endangered species for many reasons. Currently, the most pressing is the illegal charcoal trade in the area. The charcoal people have burned down most of the forest around the National park that the gorillas live in and now they want to exploit the park. They see the gorillas as a "hindrance". In 2007, a vindictive statement by the charcoal traders against the park rangers was made- 4 gorillas were found dead. They were shot but not harvested for there meat, skulls, or hands, as they usually are when murdered by poachers. Poachers also steal baby gorillas to sell to zoos or on the black market to sickos who like to keep gorillas as pets confined in basements or cages. Another problem is the heavy fighting amongst rebel groups in those areas. There are reports of rebels using gorillas as target practice with their AK-47s. It seems like that part of Africa is so war-torn and poor, the life of a gorilla is meaningless to some just struggling to survive.
There is also some amazing video over at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Fossey was the pioneering researcher that lived with and studied the gorillas from 1967 until 1985 and helped get rid of the "king kong" stereotype that gorillas were savage beasts. She was hacked to death with a machete. The culprit was never caught. Most assume it was poachers that didn't like her work. But one of her own trackers was arrested for the crime, though he hung himself in jail before anything was proven. People think he was working for Rwandas booming gorilla tourism industry that Fossey had accidentally ushered in- but hated and tried to stop.
Saving our closest relatives may be impossible. My co-worker thinks the only way it can happen is if a natural disaster or disease "levels the playing field". On a more positive note, you can donate money directly to the park rangers that are actively protecting them.
Another major problem is the extinction of Orangutans in Indonesia. They now only live in two parts of the world- on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. They are in trouble for similar reasons as above, like kidnapping for pets, but mostly because of the massive palm oil industry. The Indonesian government is systematically cutting down the forests of Borneo to make way for palm trees. Palm oil is used in something like 30% of kitchen products in the typical American household (soap, bread, chips) so the demand is high. Locals regard the last five or ten thousand remaining orangutans as "pests" because they eat the baby palm trees that have been planted. In earlier centuries, locals would not kill them because they felt they were just people hiding out in the trees so they didn't have to work or become a slave. The word Orangutan translates to "people of the forest." They could be extinct within 10 years. More info here.
UPDATE Aug 5th: The July issue of National Geographic had an article about the gorilla killings. Apparently the man that orchestrated the killings is Honore Mashagiro. He works for the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature and he is in charge of protecting the National Park. He is totally corrupt and profits from the charcoal trade. He was trying to frame a man named Paulin Ngobobo who had found him out. Mashagiro is currently awaiting trial.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I found this painting on David Mancuso's Loft website. He started the dancing all night to music phenomenon with his Loft parties in New York in 1970. About the painting: "This work of art, painted by Penelope Grill, is a pastel. The characters were inspired by real Loft people at a Prince Street party. In the foreground are dj's, promoters and a writer. In the right background David is at the turntables while his devoted fans cluster around him. The paintings that hang on the walls around the dance floor were painted by Penelope Grill."
Here is another one: Around the Punchbowl. In the early days there was always acid in the punch.
About the painting: "All the characters were inspired by real Loft people. The refreshment in the large bowl was a lightly sweetened citrus punch. Slices of orange and lemon floated on top. The man in the Hawaiian shirt on the lower left is wearing an evil eye glass pendant. These were given out a gifts to everyone attending the party one evening. The party mascot, Wolfie, the cat, stretches out under the table. If you attended the parties on Prince Street you may know who some of the people were."
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Derrick Carter recorded these tapes sometime in the mid 90's. When I first got into house they were on continual rotation. Eventually, I think I traded part two and lost part one so I was stoked to recently find both archived on line and I thought I'd share them with you. I haven't heard Derrick DJ in along time but back then we would drive hours just to hear him. The best set I saw him play was at the JuJuBeats Rave in the Los Angeles National Forrest in 97. I couldn't get my head out of the speaker his whole set. If you've ever wondered what exactly house music sounds like, this is it. 2 hours of raw banging Chicago. Play this loud.
Illusions Part One Side A
Illusions Part One Side B
Illusions Part Two Side A
Illusions Part Two Side B
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The official word on Guantanamo is they are interrogating "enemy combatants" for information to stop the "terrorists." Most have been there for 6 or 7 years now, so after years of torture, what more could they possible reveal? Nothing. I don't think they are looking for information any more. Guantanamo is an experiment. An experiment in brainwashing. Through the use of shock, isolation, and torture, this is a major effort to erase the minds of these men to a blank slate, where upon they can begin to rebuild them to the governments liking.
The methods they use there were developed by two doctors the CIA funded in Montreal in the 1950's, Dr. Donald Hebb and Dr. Ewen Cameron. The work of these two psychiatrists was the foundation for the infamous CIA torture handbook the KUBARK manual. They took patients, often students, and under the guise of attempting to heal problems like schizophrenia or anxiety, subjected them to hardcore punishment and torture. The whole "blank slate" idea was Cameron's. To erase ones mind he used a variety of methods: Lots of electroshock. Extreme isolation. Lots of LSD and PCP. Usually all three together. One experiment went like this: He converted the horse stables behind the McGill hospital into isolation chambers. He put blackout goggles and soundproof headphones on his subjects. He wrapped their arms in weird pipes so they couldn't touch themselves, all of this to induce sensory deprivation and to cause the mind to "fold in on itself." He would stagger meal times and serve breakfast food at dinner, dinner a lunch, etc. No contact with anyone. He would leave them like this for MONTHS AT A TIME. At this point, when the personality is gone, there is a state of total vulnerability where the prisoner will comply with anything. Then the sensory overload part begins, usually involving days of blaring white noise and music, lights, yelling, tape loops. Torture historian Alfred W. McCoy calls this "the first real revolution in the cruel science of pain in more than three centuries."
In addition to stress positions (standing for days), water boarding (drowning), phobias (like fear of dogs), humility (nakedness), and beatings, Cameron and Hebb's technique is occurring at Guantanamo Bay. As soon as the Iraq and Afghanistan prisoners were captured, a hood went on and the shock and isolation treatment began. There is a section at Guantanamo called Delta Block that holds more than 50 men who have completely lost it. James Yee, a military chaplain that worked there describes what he saw: "I'd stop to talk to them, and they would respond to me in a child like voice, talking complete nonsense. Many of them would loudly sing childish songs, repeating the song over and over. Some of them would stand on their steel bed frames and act out childishly..." Indeed, those are the same results Cameron got. After experiencing extreme regression most would curl up into a fetal position and suck their thumb. Then Cameron would start playing repeating tape loops of positive messages to them for months at a time. Psychiatricly, a laughably sick joke. Obviously it didn't work, the patients never recovered. Most lost there jobs, some killed themselves, and many cant remember anything about there life before they came across Cameron. Thankfully, a few of them pulled it together and sued the CIA, as well as the government of Canada, and won.
So when we look at all this in relation to what has happened to the prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, a different picture comes to light. Hundreds of thousands have been detained, tortured, and released months or years later, never being charged or accused of anything. Abu Ghraib is one of the main facilities for this purpose. As Naomi Klein, from who's book The Shock Doctrine I got most this information, puts it: "We are told it's about getting information but I think it's about more than that- I think it may also have to do with trying to build a model country, about erasing people and then trying to remake them from scratch."
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
For those of you with HBO, they are now showing a good documentary called Ganja Queen. It is about a 27 year old Australian woman named Schapelle Corby that was caught in 2004 with ten pounds of weed in her boogie board bag in Bali, Indonesia. Of course she claims innocence. If she is, she is either a really good actor and/or has convinced herself she didn't do it. Well, who did it then? Some say it was baggage handlers at the airport but there is no evidence at all and that doesn't seem likely when you consider the other suspects: her family. There are few options as to who the guilty party is.
Option one: her father. He is an obvious liar. When it comes out after the trial that his neighbor and best friend got arrested for growing weed, he claims he never knew about it. Bullshit. But the filmmakers do go to the neighbors farm and interview the guy and he seems pretty strait up. He grows dirt weed and Schapelle was caught with Hydro. But that doesnt mean he doesn't have hook ups. Another weird thing is the father was dying of cancer at the time- he is dead now- so why didn't he just say he planted the weed without her knowledge in the hope the court has mercy and lets her out?
Option two: the scumbag brother. She has a younger half brother that does not appear much in the film but when he does he can barely talk, they have to subtitle his speech... He seems like a half-wit or some kind of moron. After the trial he was sentenced to four years in jail for attacking and robbing some people of their money and weed. He was also holding the boogie board bag at the Bali airport when customs called him over to search it. When they asked if it was his, Schapelle stepped in and said it was hers.
Option three: the older sister, Mercedes, and her husband. Mercedes lives in Bali with her native Indonesian surfer husband. He seems chill and refers to pot as "god-plant." A close family friend that attended the trial came out recently, and while taking and passing a polygraph test, said that in the past Mercedes had offered to pay her to import weed for her. During the trial Mercedes is freaking out just as much, if not more than Schapelle. It seems like she is consumed with guilt and knows it is her fault.
So what happened? My guess is the brother or the father or both scored the weed and were going to have Mercedes and her husband sell it to their local connections. They probably offered Schapelle a bit of money to put it in her bag or just did it without asking. Either way that is pretty fucked up because she was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years. It could have been worse- the maximum punishment was the death penalty. All the appeals she is allowed have been filed and rejected. All for POT. More evidence the world is run by idiots. Devastating. You probably can't but try and help.
Schapelle as she learns her fate. This is a really sad scene in the film.
Friday, July 11, 2008
I wrote a bit about Naomi Klein's disaster capitalism idea in a previous article but wanted to go a little deeper into it here. The idea argues that, in Naomi's words, "today's preferred method of reshaping the world in the interest of multinational corporations is to systematically exploit the state of fear and disorientation that accompanies moments of great shock and crisis." Below is an enlightening conversation between Klein and interview master Tavis Smiley.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I wanted to alert our readers to a really sick mix I found online, one of the best I've heard in a long time. It's by Star Eyes. It is, for the most part, a really focused blend of electro 80's and angry Wax Trax style industrial. There's some new stuff on there too like Pink Lunch. I didn't recognize most the tracks. I did recognize Alien Sex Fiend, Psychic TV and Nitzer Ebb. I'm always in wonder and amazement when I hear someone drop something as obscure and radical as Alien Sex Fiend in a mix... Star Eyes started one of the first Drum & Bass crews in San Francisco in the 90's called (if I remember correctly) B.A.S.S. Crew. I first heard her DJ when she was a resident at the Eklektic parties. Then she started playing two-step with her friend Siren as Syrup Girls. That sound was totally new and awesome at the time and they were the only ones I knew of that were reping it. Now she does the Trouble & Bass parties in NY with Mathhead, The Captain, and the phenomenal Drop The Lime. They play what they call Heavy Bass Music, a combination of 4X4, UKGarage, bassline, grime, and all kinds of other stuff. Check it out if you live out there. Definitely check out DTL too, he has been one of the best producers and performers out there for a while now.
Here is the mix:
Star Eyes- Haxor Mix