Monday, March 28, 2005

Cowardice by any other name...

The Sideshow tipped us off to this buyer's remorse blog post . Miss "I'm too cool to protest" is shocked that her boy, George, is turning out to be the asshole we all said he was.

So I blasted her for her craven and irresponsible takes and she responded by cutting short my comment, part of which included links to three different sources where she and her too-cool-to-protest friends could get a whole lot less ignorant. I've reproduced the part of my comment that Miss Too-cool-for-all-of-you has not cut (yet) from her site, and I've added back my guesstimation of the original:

This is the most ridiculous post, from someone who is apparently attempting to be serious, that I've ever read. All the whining is abhorrent:
* being over on the left was terrible
* i don't like john kerry
* this is not an apology, i'm in the middle!

what kind of garbage is this? this is why you voted for Bush? the u.s. military is raping the citizens of another country - figuratively and literally - and you vote for Bush because you don't 'like' Kerry? do you not know about Abu Ghraib? do you not?

how many innocents have to be killed? how many have to have their heads dunked in feces and urine before you say, 'You know what, I really don't think that's what I want to be a part of'?

Like Michael Moore said, you do owe people an apology - our troops, for starters. Just because you busied yourself watching Fox News doesn't mean you aren't culpable for the nightmare that is still unfolding. We are all responsible - even me - even Moore - but you owe a lot more. You've got some serious catching up to do.

Did you see today's cover of the USA Today? 2 years! 2 years! Still not enough body armor! You re-relected this guy! This information was available! You re-elected him! How do you sleep?!

And you still talk down about anti-war protesters. "I'll never be one of them," you say. Very big of you.

[admin note: I edited the rest of this post out because it was starting to annoy me. Too many exclamation points and too many links to blogs that I consider, how should I say this, irrational. ]

The red is Her Highness. Too cool to act overly concerned, of course, because this blogging thing is not my real thing, you know? As a voter, I helped start a war. Seriously!

Now, from memory, parts she cut from my comment:

Do you think we achieved some level of civil rights, women's rights, and the 40-hour work week because the government was feeling benificent one day? They only came about because citizens demanded it. You think the Vietnam war ended because our leaders were tired of making billions in helicopter sales? It ended because the anti-war protestors you despise demanded that it end.

How about ... stop sitting on your couch watching Fox News for a minute and say, read a book? Or maybe read some blogs? Or, shoot, even go see Fahrenheit 911 and try to comprehend what the movie is about? Go ahead. It won't hurt. I promise. Show at least as much bravery towards your lilly-livered combative keyboarding friends as our 18 YEAR OLD soldiers show every day in Iraq, and go see the movie.

It's time to earn your citizenship:

Lies My Teacher Told Me

Democracy Now!

Daily Kos

First, she mentions 'too many links to blogs'. Ummm ... what's French for ... 'LIAR'!? Only the 3rd link is a blog. She didn't know what the links were, and she didn't care. She was tired of getting berated. Good for her. She gets to cut my comment, turn off the computer, and go to bed. The troops she sent into the desert only wish they could turn off the hellacious physical and mental violence playing out in front of their domes right now.

Every blogger has the right to pull comments from their site which are inappropriate, have foul language, etc. I was purposely very careful not to use any foul language. I'm used to dealing with the left and occasionally libertarian side of the blogosphere where, more often than not, people accept criticism of all types. It's American. It's brave. It's responsible. It's proactive. It's open-minded. It's right.

On the other hand, to remove from oneself the possibility of true, meaningful, biting criticism, is to wallow in the cowardice that so exemplifies our ruling class. To cut a comment that is critical and hide behind the excuse that it was starting to annoy me is also blatantly dishonest. While Miss Cool may have been annoyed, this is not the reason she cut the links. She cut the links to keep herself from facing the horrible truth - that she is partly resopnsible for much death and horror. But she also wishes to salvage her good standing in the right blogosphere, where acting cool while sending others to die always takes precendence over admitting your faults and fuckups, and changing tack to do what's right by the country, and those you've sent to die.

Taking criticism is tough to do sometimes, especially when you're proven wrong. I've been there, as have many other brave Americans, yet this particular blogger - ASV - does not feel compelled to stand to post and accept that which is righteously being directed at her. This ASV blogger need only face 'incoming' in the form of electronic text, written on a page, flown across the internet, to a harmless, flickering screen in front of her face. No roadside bombs. No 360-degree attacks. No ambushes. No mortar rounds. No wounded, killed, armless, legless, sightless comrades. No coming face to face with dead, wounded, crying, screaming, starving Iraqi children, much less her 'enemy'. No packing up a comrade's belongings in a box to send home to his or her family. No lack of medical supplies. No lack of food and water. No lack of a secure place to sleep. And still ... still she just turns and says, "You know, this critical comment was bugging me. I've sent young men and women to their deaths. So? I still don't want to read this critical comment, and I sure as heck don't want anybody else to read it."

This is one of the most cowardly acts I can think of. Sitting at home, in front of the keyboard, afraid to take some criticism. Meanwhile, GI's you've sent to die, be maimed and/or traumatized are taking live fire, from real guns. As one American GI said, 'Someone must die. Someone must die." It's shameful in the extreme to push for war and then cower from criticism. Beneath contempt.

Maybe I'm only surprised because I don't know this ASV person to be one of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, but maybe that has changed.

You've sent kids to their deaths, ASV. Kids. American kids. White kids. Christian kids. And others, too. But don't sweat it...can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, eh?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

U.S. Civilians Killed in Iraq Counted?

This Union Tribune article talks about American civilians who are killed in combat. Don't know what the numbers are, and not particularly anxious to find out, but the figures cited in the article don't seem low:

San Diego's Titan Corp. has sustained the highest number of casualties of 119 U.S. companies operating in Iraq, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

At least 136 Titan employees and subcontractors have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led war began in March 2003.

I guess that's one way for Rummy to keep the death count down.

I don't have too much sympathy for contractors who willingly go into the Iraqi deathtrap and get killed, but I do feel great sorrow for their families. On the other hand, the contractors going to Iraq are not coming from America's upper classes or middle classes - they are coming from the lower-middle classes. People living in the Bush/Reagan economies making $8/hr find out they have the chance to earn $50/hr or more and they just can't help but go. In some cases I'm sure it's pure greed, but in others, I suspect that many go being completely ignorant of the facts on the ground. I'd be interested to know how many of the folks that go over there get their news almost exclusively from Fox. 75%? Higher? If you think Iraq is not in flames, you'd probably be a lot more likely to sign up with one of the companies asking you to risk your life for their profits.

Maybe these folks think going to Iraq for a year or two at $50+/hr would help them retire early or something? I'm not sure. I would like to hear some stories from some contractors who've made it back to the U.S. in one piece, if they'd do it again, if they have done it again, and also get perspectives from families who lost their contractor-husbands. Does everybody think it was worth it? Is it all rah-rah-rah-America, or do they actually feel any sense of loss, or do the feel duped by Bush and Fox News?

On the kill numbers, I'm curious what the current numbers are for soldiers who made it back to the U.S. outside of a coffin - in some physical/mental state. How many thousands of returned Iraq vets are armless and/or legless and/or sightless and/or brain-damaged and/or nerve-damaged and/or crippled and/or clinically depressed and/or psychotic? And what percentage of them have sufficient health care? 20%? 25%?

How many have killed themselves? How many have killed family members?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

U.S. making world safer...with fighters jet abroad...

Welcome to upside-downism personified, folks. We're selling fighter jets to Pakistan for money...doh! no, not for money, for strategic...something, or whatever. And then we're going to sell even more jets to India. And then we're going to sell more military shit to Pakistan. And then...

A little cold war in Asia would be *very* good business for the U.S. military industrial complex. The CNN report I saw mentioned at least one Texas Lockheed (or some other shit military company) plant that would be able to stay open past October only if it got a new order of fighter jets - the kind of fighter jets that kill people - so much for the sanctity of life during the Schiavo disaster.

I wonder who this senior administration official is?

"It is important for the Pakistani government feel secure," one official said. "It is in India's interest that Pakistan feel secure."

He's a fucking idiot, and he's a cowardly cowboy from Texas.

Yes, I guess that pretty much describes all the presidents to ever come out of Texas, but still, there's only one I can think of that could utter something so blindingly ridiculous as this - so simple - and still he fucks it up. The dude's brain is just gone, man - it's all fried up after being coke'd up and drown in alcohol for twenty years.

Drop the news on a Saturday night, at the height of the Schiavo disaster, and hope nobody catches it. Awesome.

Bush says it's a big kiss on the lips to Prez. Musharraf for all the wonderful work he's been doing to help us in the 'war on terror'. Yeah - I just don't even know where to begin with that one. Just read my lips - A.Q. Kahn. Weren't we supposed to be invading Iraq to prevent them from getting WMD, but we reward the country that's been spreading WMD technology more vigorously and successfully than any other country or entity at any other time in the history of the planet? Sounds about right for Bushco. [Oops - meguesses, though I really don't know, that the U.S. shared mucho WMD secrets with the Israelis over the years, but who knows? They had access to other western nuclear powers, like France and Germany.]

If you sell military technology to one of the two countries who feel threatened by one another, then my guess is that you're only going to escalate the race against each other to gain more military technology - which is exactly what Bushco is hoping for.

Like Michael Moore said years ago, before it was obvious and before it was cool - this is not about any 'war on terror' - this is about money, and power, and greed - plain and simple. Bushco has gotten the Rethug base to buy into it, so he knows they won't question this sale. The Limbaughs and Foxes will say how much it makes sense, etc. etc.

Also, possibly importantly, the CNN quickly dropped a one-liner that said something about 'the direct transfer of technology'. It was like, let's see how Bush manages to pull this one off - meaning, this selling of a few jets is plainly a direct transfer of technology, and that direct transfer of (military) technology is against U.S. law or U.S. regulations of some type, and therefore it should not be allowed, of course, but of course, it will be allowed. The CNN guy - was it Dobbs or just someone doing a report on his show? - sounded incredulous - like he knew it shouldn't be done, it couldn't be done legally, but that it would be done because Bushco wanted it done. The CNN guy seemed to be amused at the thought of the lines of reasoning Bushco would employ to con his base this time.

Here's one - just tell them, the deal will make the world safer. No - no - not more dangerous - safer. Yeeeeeaaaahhhh.

Somehow, I think that Rethugs would not be so inspired with this new definition of safety were it France trying to sell figher jets to Osama bin Laden. "But do not worry, my American friends," the French leader would say, "it's going to make the world ... safer. Ouiaaaaaa."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

30 Muslim workers fired for praying on job at Dell

That is not the headline that most of America saw, but that is what happened. I'm guessing what happened was some racist good 'ol boy/girl from Nashville decided he was going to get revenge for the 9/11 attacks, and told these Muslims they had a choice:

They told us, if we pray, we're going to be fired.

Of course, if you live in America and don't get your news from the internet, and maybe even if you do, you're likely to have seen a different headline: Muslims Quit Their Jobs Over Prayer Dispute. Now, this headline, while technically true, is completely misleading. The headline makes it seem as if some small tiff was responsible for these Muslim folks getting all bent, and being the vengeful and ungratfel people that all Muslims are, just decided to walk off the job because they had better things to do with their time.

With Dell being the world's largest PC manufacturer, and Muslims being so prominent in so many foreign countries where Dell operates, Dell had to quickly go into spin mode. Nonetheless, word hit the streets, and hit hard, especially in India where Dell has been talking new business., which gets its newswire feeds from Reuters India, had this headline: Nashville probes firing of Dell Muslim workers.

Some might argue that the Muslim folks should have stayed, prayed, and then suffered the indignity of getting told explicitly that they were fired, getting removed from the premises, ass before head, and all the rest. I guess it is possible that their managers were lying to them - only threatening to fire them if they prayed, but that is all besides the point - and hardly a defense. Do we really want all workers in the U.S. to think twice before deciding if their managers are actually lying to them or not? The point is that this racist manager took it upon himself/herself to break company policy - and possibly the law - and prevent these Muslims from praying. A little renegade whitebread manager who got his ass kicked a lot in high school and is too afraid to go fight Muslims on the battlefied thought he'd take his shots on American soil, where he was confident his chances were better. Coward.

Dell would not have come to the negotiation table if it weren't legally culpable for the mess - and legally culpable is bad business for any American-based, worldwide-operating business these days. FOX News only reaches so many racist Americans...the rest of the world is left to think for itself.

And maybe Dell would not have responded at all had the workers not sought the help of legal counsel from CAIR.

So, a settlement has been reached. Am I supposed to be happy now?

I want the name of the manager responsible for this travesty. I want his or her manager's name. I want them to be made public to humiliate them like they humiliated these Muslim workers. I want a public apology from this manager and from Dell. And if we can't get an apology from this manager, then he should be fired.

Time to stick up for the less powerful...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Maradona and soccer fitness...

With and without soccer, respectively:


Wow. Well, I guess that's also without, and with, cocaine addiction, too.

Point is that sports are great for staying fit because hopefully you're just having fun - not necessarily worrying about how many calories you need to burn.

UPDATE: We corrected the spelling of 'Maradona' (we used to have 'Maradonna').

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Another Journalist Murdered by U.S. Troops

Listen, at some point people are going to realize that the U.S. military has a policy of killing people it doesn't like - and that includes journalists. Unlike 'insurgents', journalists are dangerous to the people in Washington - not physically, of course - politically; and that's why truth-telling journos must be eliminated - with much more urgency than quashing a few more 'bad guys'. It's really as simple as that.

That Eason Jordan was forced to resign after telling the people of the U.S. what the rest of the world already knew is par for the course in American 'journalism' today. When the next journalist 'accidentally' gets bombed into his or her next life, we'll hear the same excuses. The U.S. does not have a policy of targeting journos. Kinda sounds like...'the U.S. does not have a policy of abusing prisoners', doesn't it?

At the end of the day, if you still don't believe that the U.S. kills journalists deliberately, you have to ask yourself - how exactly does something like this happen? And why won't George let the Italians inspect the bullet-ridden car?

Of course, I can't imagine the Italian people are all that excited about the U.S. military killing more Italian civilians. Kinda forgot about that one, didn't ya? All that red stuff on the snow? It's part of what spilled out of the 20 people who were squashed to death, inside their cable car, after falling 370 feet to the ground, where they were horrificly and instantaneously squeezed from above and below, until their bodies literally burst. I guess the equivalent of getting thrown off the top of a 30-storey building will do that to a body. Who knew?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Vietnamese Citizens Sue Pentagon Companies

Good shit:

Vietnamese citizens who say they have suffered a life time of health problems after being poisoned by Agent Orange during the Vietnam war are suing the US chemical companies that provided the Pentagon with the toxic defoliant.

The case has huge implications. If successful it could open the way for claims against companies that produce weapons such as depleted uranium-tipped munitions which have been linked to cancer.

I highly doubt this case would be successful in the U.S., especially since it could have 'huge implications'. The Pentagon / DOW Chemical / Monsanto would fight it for another 20 years, by which time most of the victims would be dead. If the case ever got close to a finding against the killers they'd settle for some small amount of money if the remaining Vietnamese agree to keep quiet. Else, they'd promise/threaten the Vietnamese to appeal it until the end of time.

A couple of good lines in the article. First, is this, from the company/Pentagon lawyers:

Lawyers also stated that companies normally enjoyed exemption from criminal and civil liability for alleged war crimes.

That's the old 'hey, IBM sold computers and tabulating equipment to the Nazis to help them keep track of how many Jews and others they were exterminating (12 million people in all, 6 million of whom were Jews), and they didn't get punished, so neither should we!' Honorable.

But the judge said this:

"The fact that all power was centralised under Hitler did not permit all people operating under his orders to violate international law," he said.

Frickin liberal activist judges, man - tellin ya.

And this from...a Vietnam veteran?

Dave Cline, of the veterans group, Vietnam Veterans against the War, supported the action. He said US veterans had fought for years to receive compensation for 11 separate conditions and illnesses linked to Agent Orange.

"In Vietnam they say three million people still suffer," he said.

You mean, American citizens...soldiers....veterans....who fought in Vietnam for the elites of American society, and are championed during wartime, had to fight, upon returning 'home' to the United States...not only memories of the fierce Viet Cong resistance, not just raving anti-war types who spit on them and shouted obsceneties at them, but their own government? Who'd a thunk it?

And speaking of anti-war types, I don't know my Vietnam history, but I'm fixing to do some reading. In the meantime, I saw a snippet of the 'NATIONAL TEACH-IN ON IRAQ: How Can We End This War?' C-Span coverage on tv tonight. Aaaand, missed March madness while I was at it. But the few minutes I saw before I passed out was worth it - very informative. One of the speakers mentioned how U.S. soldiers started refusing to go on offensive operations. They would head out to the jungle and point their weapons towards the ground with a ribbon tied around their guns - or something like that. Thought that was a great story of resistance.