New Paul Thomas Anderson Radiohead Video of “Numbers” – Remember: One Day At a Time

Hey everybody! I’ve come out of my cave to say hello!

This song struck me when it first came out last May. I was going to over the bridge into the city, and thinking about the future –> even before they started singing about it.

Then it was like, oh what do ya know, Radiohead wrote this song for me. :-)

I almost blogged it then, but I seem to have blogging “posters block” these last few years. Everybody asks me about it. Still. “What the hell happened Lisa? I really liked your blog.”

Well today’s the day! (Fade in trumpets rising.)

I’m going to try to post at least once a day, in the morning, about whatever I’m thinking about that morning. Lucky you!

We call upon the people
Only people have this power
and the numbers don’t decide
The system is lie
A river running dry
The wings of a butterfly

and you may pour us away like soup
like we’re pretty broken flowers
but we’ll take back what is ours
we’ll take back what is ours

Oooh One day at a time

Complete Lyrics:

It holds us like a phantom
Touches like a breeze
Shines its understanding
See the moon is smiling

Open on all channels
I’m ready to receive
Cause we’re not at the mercy
Of your shimmerers or spells
Your shimmerers or spells

Mmm hmmm hmmm

We are of the earth
To her we do return
and the future is inside us
It’s not somewhere else
It’s not somewhere else
It’s not somewhere else
One day at a time

One day at a time

We call upon the people
Only people have this power
and the numbers don’t decide
The system is lie
A river running dry
The wings of a butterfly

and you may pour us away like soup
like we’re pretty broken flowers
but we’ll take back what is ours
we’ll take back what is ours

Oooh One day at a time

Timothy Leary and Aaron Swartz: Interesting Parallels Between Their Lives

Photo by Ron Raffaeui.

Dr. Timothy Leary – Photo by Ron Raffaeui.

Aaron Swartz - Photo by Sage Ross.

Aaron Swartz – Photo by Sage Ross.






Over the last four months, I have been researching Aaron’s life in ever more detail for my movie, “From DeadDrop to SecureDrop.” I keep noticing similarities between his life and that of Timothy Leary’s.

I must admit, I dismissed them at first. As Timothy Leary’s Digital Librarian, and co-author of the Timothy Leary Archives Blog (with Tim’s longtime archivist, Michael Horowitz), I told myself I could hardly be objective about it. They were novelties. Anomalies.

But as the months went on, the similarities became undeniable.

Dr. Timothy Leary and Aaron Swartz had a lot in common.

To paraphrase Timothy, both he and Aaron “thought for themselves, and questioned authority.”

They were both philosophers who were persecuted under highly questionable circumstances for their political beliefs, and acts, by the U.S. Government that wanted to make examples of them. Though the government never came out and admitted it with Tim, the judge that first sent him to prison as much as said so. In Aaron’s case, the prosecutor actually told Aaron’s father that he wanted to make an example out of Aaron. (We learn this in “The Internet’s Own Boy.”)

Aaron wrote extensively about everything on his blog, where he asked thoughtful questions about meaningful issues, and worked hard every day to make the world a better place.

Tim believed that encouraging more people to properly experiment with mind-altering plants and drugs would bring them more in touch with themselves, and empower them to create a better world.

Tim was sent to prison for possession of two half-smoked marijuana joints, and denied bail on the basis of opinions expressed in two published articles where Tim had spoken out publicly and written about the controversial issue of taking mind-expanding drugs.

As Michael Horowitz explains:

“Bail was denied by a Reagan-appointed judge in Orange County, one of the most rightwing in California. The judge held up the publications in the courtroom and during his ruling called Leary “a pleasure-seeking, irresponsible Madison-Avenue advocate of the free use of LSD and marijuana.”

Aaron was being prosecuted for writing a script to download academic journal articles at a faster pace and then plugging his laptop into an open computer closet on the MIT campus.

Aaron had a ruthless prosecutor, who refused to drop the charges against him, largely because of his philosophy regarding the moral imperative of sharing knowledge, as stated in the “Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto.”

In fact, the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto is not all that radical of document, to those of us who feel that access to information is a basic human right.

To quote Jacob Applebaum, from this year’s Aaron Swartz Day (video, transcript, all videos/transcripts):

When we learned more details about the US prosecutors, we learned that they considered Aaron a dangerous radical for unspecified reasons. One of the primary reasons is probably the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. This is a good document, and as many others I respect it and I admire it. The Guerilla Open Access Manifesto is not as radical as the US prosecutors might consider it. But their fear is telling, so let us say it out loud: we should honor it and we should extend it.

As I write this post, I realize there are probably many more similarities between them. Certainly more than I first realized. As I keep putting the pieces together, I will continue to share them with you.

At this time in my life, all posts have a link to my Kickstarter campaign – only 11 days left! Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving – Let’s try to live up to our country’s ideology

The Pilgrims themselves were immigrants. They did not “belong” here. They were running from religious persecution.

Without naming names, it seems to me that many of the “immigrant groups” that now enjoy full acceptance in this country had a hard time of it themselves when they first got here, and are forgetting their roots a bit. (We are talking about these peoples’ grandparents, but it really wasn’t that long ago.)

20 years from now, I hope we will look back on these last two weeks of shameful refugee-blaming as a hiccup in American History, before we got a hold of ourselves. This country was built on immigrants. From time to time, we pride ourselves in them (when we’re not putting them in an actual internment camp (like the Japanse) or internment camp-like facilities (like that “First People’s reservations” of today).

Chelsea Manning, whose statement I had the honor of reading (transcript) at this year’s Aaron Swartz Day event, wrote an insightful piece that was published yesterday. She encapsulated much of the sentiment that has been brewing in my mind these past few weeks, as I’ve been watching CNN at the gym and resenting the station’s fear mongering and misinformation (unchecked information is almost as irresponsible as information one knows may be untrue, in my book).

I feel that news organizations still have a responsibility to the public to give them the news that they need. Needless to say, this is constantly demonstrated to not be the case.

Let’s think about how much it meant to a certain group of pilgrims to be welcomed by a certain group of First People’s, one day, a long time ago. It meant so much that we’ve founded an entire historical tradition on it.

Let’s try to help our politicians, who represent us in our relations to the rest of the world, take actions that truly represent the spirit of Thanksgiving and of welcoming others who are far from home. Remind them that the Syrian refugees are victims, the same way that holocaust survivors were in the 40s, or Vietnam/Cambodian refugees were in the 70s.

From Chelsea’s piece:

Like many other attacks, the attacks in Paris were tragic, horrific and coldly calculated. They may or may not have been preventable – it’s simply far too soon to know, assuming that we ever will. However, stoking the fears about a shadowy wave of terrorists coming from everywhere that there is warfare and strife is a disturbing, alienating and disproportionate response.

The people of France were the ones who delivered the Statue of Liberty to the US nearly a century and a half ago. Beside the statue for many years was a massive immigration station on Ellis Island. Describing the site of the statue as it was erected, the American poet Emma Lazarus wrote that the statue silently demands:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

It is a poem that defines America – and we and the EU would do well to remember it, especially in such turbulent times.

At this time in my life, all posts have a link to my Kickstarter campaign.

Back to the old blog

It’s been over a year technically – and many many years, since I have really blogged on this thing on a regular basis.

I guess at some point that projects I was working on consumed so much time there was no room for blogging, and now it’s like a whole decade of my life that I’ve lost. Or at least don’t have as well indexed as the six years before that. (I started blogging in 2001.)

Well, no time like the present to go back and catch up! My life has become beautiful and surreal in unexpected ways this last year. Aaron Swartz Day has blossomed into a historical occasion (video and transcripts here) that I’ll be writing about for months to come. I’m lecturing at San Francisco State University and finding it to be one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, and I’ve launched also a new career as an independent film maker, with a Kickstarter campaign that’s currently in mid-swing.

My first movie is entitled “From DeadDrop to SecureDrop,” and focuses on the open source anonymous whistleblower submission platform SecureDrop (originally protyped as “DeadDrop” by Kevin Poulsen and Aaron Swartz.)

SecureDrop is alive and well over at the Freedom of the Press Foundation. There are now over 19 news and non-profit organizations that have SecureDrop implementations. You’ll be hearing a lot more about SecureDrop over the next few weeks and months, as it’s one of my current obsessions, not only as I make this film, but as I teach my classes and write articles and blogposts about how I truly believe that SecureDrop is an important tool to help make the world a better place.


Google Is Being Forced To Censor The History Of Merrill Lynch — And That Should Terrify You

Google Is Being Forced To Censor The History Of Merrill Lynch — And That Should Terrify You
By Jim Edwards for Business Insider.

From the article:

The European Union’s new law giving people a “right to be forgotten,” which requires Google to remove links to information about them, is having exactly the effect its critics predicted: It is censoring the internet, giving new tools that help the rich and powerful (and ordinary folk) hide negative information about them, and letting criminals make their histories disappear.

Exhibit A: Google was required to delete a link to this BBC article about Stan O’Neal, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch. O’Neal led the bank in the mid-2000s, a period when it became dangerously over-exposed to the looming mortgage crisis. When the crisis hit, Merrill’s losses were so great the bank had to be sold to Bank of America. O’Neal lost his job, but he exited with a $161.5 million golden parachute.

There is nothing incorrect in the post, in fact it’s a rather mild account of O’Neal’s incompetence during the period. O’Neal was forced out of the company after he began discussing selling it without informing his board of directors. This is ancient, well-established history. Having it removed from Google doesn’t undo the fact that it happened. But there is a new generation of 25-year-old investment bankers who perhaps do not have a firm grasp of the 2007 crisis that reshaped banking globally. Their grasp will be ever more slightly weaker due to this new law.

Totally Freaking Out About Google’s New “EU Memory Hole”

I’m just trying to make sense of all this, but it looks like we’re going to need what would be effectively a site that keeps track of the pages no longer being indexed by Google.

Here’s one article about it. I will be posting many more over the course of the day…

Europe’s journalism disappearing down Google’s court-ordered memory hole

By Nick Miller for the Sidney Morning Herald

From the article:

 The page in question was a 2007 blog entry about investment bank Merrill Lynch as the subprime mortgage crisis hit the company. It mentioned departing chairman Stan O’Neal, suggesting that he was taking the blame for a wider problem of reckless investments.

The page had been taken down, not from the internet, but from some of Google’s European search results – it had been wiped from the map, rather than destroyed.

But – as Preston put it – “why has Google killed this example of my journalism?”

It was the indirect result of a recent decision of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Spaniard Mario Costeja Gonzalez had brought a case against Google Spain, because whenever his name was Googled it came up with an old newspaper auction notice of his repossessed home, over the recovery of unpaid social security debts.

In May the court ruled that a new EU directive aimed at protecting a ”right to be forgotten” meant that search engines must erase, on request, search results that are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”.

Since the decision, Google said it had received 70,000 of requests to take down links from its European search engines – at one stage, about 10,000 a day. They are now being processed.

The Guardian was the next to report it had received similar notices from Google. Six articles had been removed from search results – three relating to a retired Scottish soccer referee named Dougie McDonald, who was found to have lied about his reasons for granting a penalty in a Celtic v Dundee match, one a 2011 piece on French office workers making Post-It art, another 2002 piece on a solicitor facing a fraud trial, and an index of pieces by a media commentator.

“The Guardian has no form of appeal against parts of its journalism being made all but impossible for most of Europe’s 368 million to find,” reporter James Ball said. “The [court’s] ruling has created a stopwatch on free expression – our journalism can be found only until someone asks for it to be hidden.”

This was a huge challenge to press freedom, he said.

By now news of the deletions was trending, ironically, on Google News. Given the opportunity for a click or three the Daily Mail revealed similar censorship of Mail Online stories.

The stories concerned McDonald, and “a story about Tesco workers posting stories on social media attacking their workers; a story about a couple caught having sex on a Virgin train; and a story about a Muslim man who accused Cathay Pacific, the airline, of refusing to employ him because of his name.”

Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke said: “These examples show what a nonsense the right to be forgotten is. It is the equivalent of going into libraries and burning books you don’t like.”

Mail Online would regularly publish lists of articles deleted from Google’s European search results, Mr Clarke said.

Even the lowly Oxford Mail has been hit – a story about an archaeology specialist caught shoplifting was the paper’s first to be removed.

Marketing Land publisher Danny Sullivan pointed out that some of the articles so far deleted may have been removed on the request of a commenter underneath them, rather than the subject of the article itself.

“(Google) has foolishly decided to be the first arbiter of what gets censored under this new, ill-defined and easily abused right,” Sullivan wrote. “Far better … to kick all these requests over to the various EU privacy bodies and let them make such decisions.”

He said Google had been handling the process in a “fairly inept fashion”.

Media Law blogger Paul Bernal believes this is deliberate and that Google is trying to stir up “intentional overreaction … to prove that the ruling is unworkable”.

Google fought hard against the right to be forgotten.


Sasha Shulgin – “This is why I do the work I do…”

From the Timothy Leary Archives Blog.

Sasha Shulgin (June 17, 1925 – June 2, 2014) – Santa Barbara Psychedelic Conference, 1983

Sasha ended his talk with these words:

“There are a multitude of tenuous threads that tie together the fragile structure of the human spirit. The life-giving with the death demanding side; the exalted voice with the mundane; the strongly centered Self with the drive toward dispersion and loss of center.”

“These all co-exist in all of us, but there is an essential blockade between these inner worlds which, I truly feel, can be penetrated only with the words and tools and the understanding that may be most easily obtained through the area of psychedelic experiences…”

“My personal philosophy might well have been lifted directly out of the writings of William Blake:

‘I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man’s . . . ‘

“I may be wrong, but I cannot afford the possibility of being wrong.  I must do what I can. This is why I do the work I do–and as fast as I can–and make available to all the fruits of this doing, so that some voice may quietly materialize within each individual, as to his or her role in human survival, in an annihilating environment.”

“I will do what I can.   As fast as I can.”

Michael Horowitz, Sasha Shulgin (middle), Andrew Weil, at the Psychedelic Conference II, in Santa Barbara, 1983.

Michael Horowitz, Sasha Shulgin (middle), Andrew Weil, at the Psychedelic Conference II, in Santa Barbara, 1983.

More About Timothy Leary and Marshall McLuhan

Michael Horowitz and I decided to continue the story about Timothy Leary and Marshall McLuhan, and their unique friendship.

Leary, McLuhan and Electronic Technology


From the post:

Marshall McLuhan, media theorist and philosopher of electronic technology, had a stronger and more lasting influence on Leary than any other of Tim’s contemporaries.  McLuhan “predicted the World Wide Web–the ‘Global Village’–almost thirty years before it was invented” (Paul Levinson, Digital McLuhan:  A Guide to the Information Millenium).  McLuhan wrote:  “The right-brain hemisphere thinking is the capability of being in many places at the same time. Electricity is acoustic.  It is simultaneously everywhere.”

Leary, for whom “the medium is the message” was the single most potent meme that came out of the ‘60s, fully embraced McLuhan’s concept of the Global Village as the natural evolution of the new media technology.  With the launch of the personal computer revolution, Leary famously said:  “The PC is the LSD of the ‘90s.”   He lived long enough to have one of the earliest personal websites.

New Article for Boing Boing: Timothy Leary and Marshall McLuhan, turned on and tuned in

Marshall McLuhan and Timothy Leary

Marshall McLuhan and Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary and Marshall McLuhan, turned on and tuned in

By Michael Horowitz and Lisa Rein, for BoingBoing.

From the article:
McLuhan urged Leary to promote LSD the way advertisers promoted a product: “The new and improved accelerated brain.” He advised him to “associate LSD with all that the brain can produce—beauty, fun, philosophic wonder, religious revelation, increased intelligence, mystical romance.” But above all, he should stress the religious aspect. “Find the god within.” He encouraged Leary to come up with a winning jingle or catch-phrase along the lines of: “Lysergic Acid hits the spot/Forty billion neurons, that’s a lot.”

McLuhan told Tim to “always smile” and radiate confidence, never appear angry. He predicted that while Leary would “lose some major battles on the way,” he would eventually win the war. “Drugs that accelerate the brain won’t be accepted until the population is geared to computers.”

Leary wrote: “The conversation with Marshall McLuhan got me thinking [that] the successful philosophers were also advertisers who could sell their new models to large numbers of others, thus converting thought to action, mind to matter.”

Inspired by McLuhan, Leary took LSD and devoted several days to creating a slogan. He claims he was in the shower when he came up with “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.”