Weapons of mass hysteria

Bush, The Second Iraq War, and the Attention Economy

Wars have always been a part of human experience, we are repeatedly told. Actually, what we call war, namely a military struggle for the control of land territory, is an outgrowth of the rise of agriculture and early industry. Land is valuable for growing crops or extracting resources. For those in most advanced societies who have abandoned a primary dependence on these kinds of activities, those reasons for war no longer make sense. Today, wars in general, and the second Iraq war in particular have primary value as a means for their instigators of focussing and attracting attention.

For Bush et al, the attention of those in the countries around Iraq mattered somewhat, but that of those at home in the US mattered far more. Some of us looked on in excitement -as if watching a sporting event – or in relief in the attack on a tyrant supposedly dangerous to the US. Others, including me, watched in deepening depression that the war had begun contrary to established international law and principle and despite every effort to oppose it. We were sick not only with the needless killing and destruction, but for fear of the power that George W. Bush would gain from it, a fear in itself quite useful to Bush. Our greatest fear perhaps is that this war will be followed by many sequels for the same ends.

Learn more →

Non-fiction book of the month: may 2018

non-fiction book of the month: may 2018

The top ten non-fiction books along with a personal recommendation

Presented every month by Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Literarische Welt, ORF-Radio osterreich 1 and Telepolis.

Isolde Charim

Me and the Others
How the new pluralization is changing us all

Learn more →

Eu directives on working hours and temporary work

Bad German laws become EU law

The talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and French head of state Nicolas Sarkozy were not the only time that steps backwards in European policy were sold as successes. While Straubing in Bavaria was about the right of the German car industry to undermine climate protection with high-horsepower carbon dioxide guzzlers, in Luxembourg labor law was created that legalizes 24-hour shifts and 66-hour work weeks.

This just in the moment in which the Hamburg labor lawyer Udo Mayer describes in the technical periodical labor law in the enterprise the consequences, which the 4 years ago "reformed" German working time law in the area of on-call services has. What now appears as European law is essentially the reaction of the German Schroder government to rulings of the European Court of Justice on on-call time and the EU Working Time Directive 2003/88/EC that has been in force up to now.

Learn more →

Back to the middle ages?

If it serves life, a little torture could provide better victim protection

Until now, embarrassing interrogations of suspects were rather embarrassing to punishable for the interrogators. This could now be fundamentally different. The kidnapping case "Jakob von Metzler" revives in the meantime a never completely silenced discussion whether torture in critical danger situations could be an appropriate means to make the obdurate talk. "It is possible to imagine cases in which torture or the threat of torture may be permissible, namely if a legal good is violated in order to save a higher legal good", said the chairman of the judges’ association Geert Mackenroth to the "Tagesspiegel". The prevention of the terrorist attacks of 11.9.In 2001, he cited the following as an example of such higher legal standards.

Frankfurt’s deputy police chief Wolfgang Daschner is said to have ordered that the suspected perpetrator Magnus G. when asked about the whereabouts of the kidnapped boy, that he would be hurt if he did not make a statement. Specifically, the chief detective in charge was allegedly supposed to inform the suspect: "If you do not talk now, we will inflict severe pain on you…as you have never had any, which you will never forget in your life." The Berliner "Tagesspiegel" According to Daschner, there is a note that Magnus G. "after previous threat, under medical supervision, by inflicting pain (no injuries) is to be questioned again". According to defense lawyer Ulrich Endres, his client was also put under prere with the threat of rape by fellow prisoners. He would be forced to "two coarse Negroes" Locked in the cell. The meanwhile successfully graduated law student is said to have communicated the whereabouts of the dead boy after these threats, after he could not remember so well at first.

Learn more →

Ukraine: the ceasefire that was not a ceasefire until now

Poroshenko threatens to end ceasefire early after military helicopter shot down, the "People’s Republics" Donetsk and Lugansk are founded "New Russia", Putin still does not rule out intervention

The temporary cease-fire unilaterally imposed by Kiev on Friday evening, which was broken on Monday by separatists of the "Donetsk People’s Republic" The problem that was taken over, is already broken again. Last night separatists shot down a military helicopter with MANPADs near Slavyansk. Nine Ukrainian soldiers died. President Poroshenko does not exclude the possibility of ending the ceasefire in response to this and other violations of the ceasefire.

One of the main activities of President Poroshenko, here with U.S. Vice President Biden. Picture: president.gov.ua

Learn more →