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a quick response

Posted on Feb 1, 2011 in News | 0 comments
Tagged on: , ,

…to Agostino

I read a letter by Agostino di Scipio tonight. I found it a very stimulating reading. I would like to read the Italian version though, Agostino ; ) I too – like yourself – like “thinking about it“…

Here is the last paragraph of Agostino’s letter:




[…] So, should I (however preliminarily) conclude, based on these annotations, that just by “thinking about it” I confine myself out of the self-appointed “anti-academic” AND out of the “academic” world? And should I conclude that the two, in essence, are just different representations of the same? If anything they behave like the same when they happen to confront with (not only) my sounds, such that these sounds reveal aspects they share. (Agostino di Scipio)


My quick response, due to a very immediate reaction, is a very short list of random thoughts & questions. I’ll be very “anti-academic” if at least this doesn’t stand for any status quo.

When people go around the “civilized” world performing an act of some sort (wherever they can…) for 20,000 euros (let’s skip the Capital E…), they don’t catch my imagination, they push it away, and I happily go with it. When the political framework is constellated (nice old fashioned word btw) by pimps and paranoids (read: the majority of the political elite on the planet), it seems to me that the choices are very limited and radical.

(longer version of the above at the very end * Not a wikileaks but public information)

Capitalism plays riot games all the time nowadays, metaphorically or not. Fake or for real, from the street of Toronto, Rome, Tehran… to the classes of Kunstakademien & Ivy Leagues, these games are again a revealing epiphany. Not a new one though; an “inescapable dilemma” embodied by the spectacular expansion of commodities in every single field of our existence (and Marx here was right, so very right), avantgarde and experimental included.

Thanks (whoever) god (did I said that?…) my heart is quite often a-rhythmic and as I really like humanness in his perfect imperfection (despite the tyrannies of the beats) I quite like that subtle reminder of the glitch. (not the trendy one though…)

Finally, I believe in very simple ideas that are also a few questions. I won’t go too far to explain as I don’t feel the need to look for absolute causes or reasons as I don’t recognise myself in hierarchical systems of thought that endlessly try to “explain” and to “give reasons”. I would like to ask and answer myself why we always confuse emotions and facts, why we don’t enjoy the possibility of a beautiful behavior (not beauty) detached by any aesthetic, ideological, neo-ptolemaic demagogy. Why with Agostino, “thinking about it” makes absolutely good sense?



Blacks and whites in the U.S. are victims of murder in almost equal numbers, yet 82% of prisoners executed since 1977 were convicted ofthe murder of a white person.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice,

Bureau of Justice Statistics.

1998 USA Human Rights Report,

Amnesty International.


In 1998, the global starvation rate

among children reached its 600 year peak.

Source: UNICEF,

State of the World’s Children, 1998.


Over 3,000 drugs are withdrawn annually

due to unforeseen side effects in humans,

which do not appear in animal tests.

Source: U.S. National Institute of Health,

Report on Animal Testing, 1998.


Responses to 1972 and 1999 Gallup polls asking, Do you have a great deal of trust in:

1972      1997

The US Congress             13%       6%

The US mass media         18%       10%

Candidates for

US political office              7%        5%

Source: Gallup News Services,

Poll Releases, 1997.


In 1997, the US maintained 13,750 nuclear warheads, 5,546 of them on ballistic missiles.

Source: US Department of Defense,

1997 Annual Defense Report; Natural Resources Defense Council, “Nuclear Weapons Databook Project,” 1997.


Since 1995, the U.S. has designated

2,500 targets for its nuclear ballistic


Source : The Brookings Institution, 1998.


An estimated 100 million landmines

laid in 68 countries kill or maim over 26,000 people a year, 90% of them civilians.

Source: United Nations Secretary General, 1996.


“I’m running out of demons.

I’m running out of villains.

I’m down to Castro and Kim II Sung.”

– US General Colin Powell

Source: Defense News, April 8, 1991


The impact of the average US citizen

on the environment is approximately

3 times that of the average Italian,

13 times that of the average Brazilian,

35 times that of the average Indian,

140 times that of the average Bangladeshi,

and 250 times that of the average sub-Saharan African.

Source: UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children, 1994.


The typical US citizen is exposed to between 50and 100 advertisements each morning before nine o’clock.  American teenagers are typically exposed to 3 to 4 hours of TV advertisements a week, adding up to at least 100,000 ads between birth and high school graduation.

Source: World Watch Institute,

State of the World Report, 1991.


1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, a 3-fold increase in the last 50 years.

Source: National Cancer Institute, 1999.


“Television was our chief tool in selling our policy.”

– Richard Hass, US National Security Council, on the US war with Iraq.

Source: New York Times,

Nov. 5, 1991, p. B3.


“By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome

once and for all!”

– US President George Bush,

on the success of shaping public

opinion for the US-Iraq War.

Source: Newsweek, March 11, 1991.


Annually, 600,000 women,

99% in developing countries,

die from complications during

pregnancy or childbirth.

Source: World Health Organization, 1998


25% of women living in developing nations

suffer from pregnancy-related disabilities.

Source: World Health Organization, 1998.


Half of the world’s 1 billion reproductive-age women are anaemic and malnourished.

Source: World Health Organization, 1998.


The first 15 days of NATO bombing

in Yugoslavia cost the U.S. an estimated

500 million dollars.

Source: CNN News, April 22, 1999.


The average NATO jet incurs direct

costs of about $10,000 per sortie.

From March 24 to April 20, NATO flew

more than 4300 bombing sorties over Yugoslavia.

Source: Center for Strategic and

Bedgetary Assessments, April 22, 1999.

Costs from 1997 figures in

General Accounting Office (GAO),

Operation Desert Storm:

Evaluation of the Air Campaign, June 1997


In 1992, the U.S. government spent only 7% of its drug-control budget

on treatment, the remaining 93% of its budget went to programs

of source control, interdiction and law-enforcement.

Source: Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., (1994), Controlling Cocaine,

Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the

United States Army, Santa Monica, CA:

Drug Policy Research Center, RAND, p. 5.


“We shall demolish, destroy, devastate, degrade . . . and ultimately eliminate the essential infrastructure . . . . We shall relentlessly grind them down and it will continue as long as it takes to accomplish our objectives.”

– US General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, on the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia

Source: International Herald Tribune, March 26 1999.


From 1980 to 1997, the US federal government reduced spending on education

by more than one-third.

Source: US Department of Education,

National Center for Education Statistics,

December 1997.


About 1 in every 20 Americans is expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime.

For African-American men, the number is greater than 1 in 4.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice,

Bureau of Justice Statistics,

Lifetime Likelihood of Going to State or Federal Prison, March 1997.


“The United Nations Security Council has the primary responsibility

for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

-NATO Strategic Concept, North Atlantic Council, April 1999.


An estimated 11% of drug users in the US are black;

however, blacks constitute

37% of those arrested for drug violations,

42% of those in federal prisons for drug violations,

and 60% of those in state prisons for drug felonies.

Sources: SubstanceAbuse and Mental

Health Services Administration,

National Household Survey on Drug Abuse:

Population Estimates 1996, Rockville, MD:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Services Administration (1997);

Bureau of Justice Statistics,

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996,

Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office (1997); Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 1996, Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office (1997),


“What we are in effect seeing is that war-making has become the tool of peacemaking. In the NATO bombing . . . large numbers of civilians have been incontestably killed, civilian installations have been targeted on the basis that they are, or could be, of military application. And NATO remains the sole judge of what is or is not acceptable to bomb.”

U.N. Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson, at press conference, Geneva, April 30,1999.


In 1997, US states spent $29 billion

in state funds on corrections,

and $14 billion on social welfare for the poor.

Source: National Association of State Budget

Officers (NASBO). 1997 State Expenditure Report, Washington, DC: NASBO (May 1998), pgs. 50, 80.


“The demonization of Milosevic is necessary to maintain the air attacks.”

Source: US State Department, San Francisco Chronicle, March 30, 1999, p A10.


Every dollar invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.46 in societal costs.

Source: Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., Controlling Cocaine, Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army, Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND (1994).


21% of US children live in poverty.

Source: US Bureau of the Census,

Current Population Surveys, 1998.


Worldwide, 115 million women, have had their genitals mutiliated.

Source: United Nations Population Fund, 1998


In 1996, the U.S. Department of Defense

dedicated 6,000 employees and $450 million

to promote U.S. arms sales overseas.

Source: World Policy Insitute,

Arms Trade Report, 1996.


The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population,

consumes 25 percent of the world’s petroleum.

Sources: Population Reference Bureau,

World Population Datasheet, 1997.

British Petroleum, BP Statistical Review of – World Energy, 1997.


During the 1st Gulf War, the United States

suffered 148 soldiers killed in action,

and 458 wounded.

The U.S. estimated that more than

100,000 Iraqi soldiers died,

300,000 were wounded,

150,000 deserted, and

60,000 were taken prisoner.

Source: U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, 1992.


Farm animals slaughtered in the US during 1998:

# slaughtered

Cows         35.6 million

Calves       1.50 million

Hogs         101 million

Sheep        3.86 million

Eggs         79.7 billion

Chicken      7.76 billion

Turkeys      284 million

Source: United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural

Statistics Service, 1998 Summary.


In 1998 CEOs earned an average 36% more than in 1997.

White collar workers during the same period, 4% more.

Blue collar workers, 3% more.

Source: Business Week, Executive Pay Survey,

April 19, 1999.


More than 70% of the US grain harvest is fed to farmed animals,

as is 33% of the entire world’s grain harvest.

Source: US Department of Agriculture,

World Cereals Used for Feed,1997;

Worldwatch Institute, State of the World,1997.


In 1965, CEOs earned on average

44 times more than factory workers.

In 1998, CEOs earned on average

326 times more than factory workers.

In 1999, CEOs earned on average

419 times more than factory workers.

Source: Business Week, Executive Pay Survey,

April 19, 1999; Business Week, April 20, 1998.


In the US, more than 200 million handguns, rifles,

shotguns and high-powered weapons are currently in circulation.

Source: Amnesty International, 1998 Report on the US.


Women and minorities comprise 57% of the US workforce and 3% of US CEOs.

Source: US Dept. of Labor, Glass Ceiling Commission 1997.


Weapon manufacturers’ stock price increases since the initiation of the Yugoslavia war on March 24 1999:

Rockwell International: +48% (manufacturer of the Lancer B-1 bomber, etc.)

Boeing Aircraft: +30% (manufacturer of the B-52 Stratofortress, KC-135

Stratotanker, etc.)

Raytheon Systems: +37% (manufacturer of the Tomahawk cruise missile, AGM-88

HARM Missile, etc.)

Lockheed Martin: +18% (manufacturer of the F-117A Nighthawk, F-16 Falcon, etc.)

Northrop Grumman: +16% (manufacturer of the B-2 bomber, EA-6B Prowler, etc.)

Sources: U.S. Department of Defense, May 26, 1999.

New York Stock Exchange, daily historical data, 1999.


In 1998, more than 400,000 personnel from US Armed Forces occupied foreign countries,

more than one-third of all US Armed Forces personnel.

Source: US Department of Defense, Defense 98.


I don’t see this as a long-term operation. I think that this is . . . achievable within a relatively short period of time.”

– U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, March 24, 1999.

4 weeks later… :

We never expected this to be over quickly.”

– U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, April 19, 1999.





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