Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Blood for Oil

I don't know if Harpers is considered mainstream, but that they're saying Blood for Oil probably means that's it OK now to state the obvious. The war crime that was the U.S. invasion of Iraq was motivated by many things - oil being among the top three.

The other top motives? Defense of Israel, and George W. Bush's personal desire to be 'great'. In my humble opinion.

On December 3, 2002, well before the March 20, 2003 invasion, Chomsky wrote this:

More generally, the September 11 terrorist atrocities provided an opportunity and pretext to implement long-standing plans to take control of Iraq's immense oil wealth, a central component of the Persian Gulf resources that the State Department, in 1945, described as "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history" (referring specifically to Saudi Arabia, but the intent is more general). US intelligence predicts that these will be of even greater significance in the years ahead. The issue has never been access. The same intelligence analyses anticipate that the US will rely on more secure Atlantic Basin supplies. The same was true after World War II. The US moved quickly to gain control over Gulf resources, but not for its own use; North America was the major producer for decades afterwards, and since then Venezuela has generally been the leading exporter to the US. What matters is control over the "material prize," which funnels enormous wealth to the US in many ways, and the "stupendous source of strategic power," which translates into a lever of “unilateral world domination.”

It's never too late to start reading Chomsky.

SUBWAY: Sponsor of Mass Murder & Terrorism Walk

Since Subway decided to sponsor the Mass Murder & Terrorism Walk, I decided to send them letters:

Since you've decided to sponsor the Mass Murder and Terrorism Walk (http://www.asyfreedomwalk.com/sponsors.html), I've decided to swear off Subway for two months - not easy, since I've been craving a cheesestake sub bigtime!


Typos, man. Killin me. I need to go veggie, anyways. :)

UPDATE: 10/29/2005 - For the record, I have not gone veggie, but I'm still banning Subway, and I know it's been more than two months.

Mass Murder & Terrorism Walk

The Rethugs are willing to do anything - well, almost anything. I don't know, at this point, if they'd all sacrifice their own mothers to stay in office, but I wouldn't put it past them. No, I'm not kidding.

When the Pentagon announced their Mass Murder & Terrorism Walk, I couldn't believe it. But I soon came to believe it. I forget that we're dealing with mass murderers here - there is no shame in their game.

As per the Dem response - well, as with most Dem responses (or lack thereof) - you could hear a pin drop. If it had been the Dems sponsoring this horrific caper, the Rethugs would have jumped all over them - and rightly so. The Rethugs would have yelled loudly, often, repeatedly, forever, until the event was canceled and greatly embarrased the Dems, the following:

How sick are these people?! We had almost 3,000 American slaughtered on September 11th and Democrats want to celebrate that? This is outrageous! Is Osama bin Laden going to be the guest of honor?! I'm sick to my stomach. In all my years of politics, I've never, ever seen this type of sleaze. They're spitting on the graves of the dead. This is not my America. This is not the America I grew up in. I love this country. How disgusting these people would choose such a horrific, tragic incident to promote their own domestic agenda. Sickening! I can't finish this interview. I'm sick. <up and walks out>

Now, what was the Dems actual response to this Rethug thuggery?


Sad, but true.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bush CYA Operation for U.S. Airline Manufacturer


U.S. experts will join Greek investigators on request by the American government, because the aircraft was manufactured in the United States, Tsolakis said.

Listen, if the aircraft was a piece of shit, and the manufacturer (who was it, Boeing?) has to pay people a few billion dollars, so be it. It's the free market economy. Let Boeing evolve. The U.S. government should not be interfering.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

I Quit! with Keith Olbermann

Some good 'quit smoking' stories from MSNBC. As horrible as this network is, it does occasionally provide something of value to its viewing public:

The bloodhound
The one sure way to quit is to marry a militant non-smoker. My wife wouldn't let me smoke in the house or in the state for that matter. She has a keen sense of smell. It was like being married to a bloodhound. If I had been out smoking I would get a disapproving look when I got home. Ladies and Gentlemen, guilt works. I have been without cigarettes for almost a year and don't miss them at all. Now if I could only overcome my addiction to coffee, chocolate, Coca Cola, biting my nails and cable news I might just make something out of myself.
— Charles James Concklin, Glenview, Illinois

There are many other, very valuable stories. Go check them out.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

This Is Your Press Corps

On the whole T.O. drama:

On Friday morning, Owens left his Moorestown, N.J., home with two suitcases and went to Philadelphia International Airport, where he told KYW-TV as he headed to a security gate: “I’m going to the Bahamas. I’m going to get a tan.”

It appears Owens was joking: He was interviewed by local reporters at an Atlanta airport.

Owens was joking? About going to the Bahamas and getting a tan? T.O.? The football player? Big, dark, black dude? Bout 6' 2" or so? Joking?

Deterring Democracy

There are just some comments you make on another blog (Eschaton: #1, #2) that you feel need to be said again - they're that important. Not that anything you say is that important, in and of itself, but the information you direct people to is that important. So, without further adieu:

I don't believe in committing the 'supreme international crime' (i.e. invading a sovereign country), but to suggest that incompetence wasn't the reason this invasion/occupation went badly is to just ignore reality.

If Bush/Rummy weren't in charge, we would have had 500,000+ soldiers on the ground, and that would have made a difference. If the U.S. was actually interested in democracy, we would have set up elections immediately - within 6 months for all posts in a short-term government, with more elections in a year from the first. We would have declared our intentions to leave fully and completely, and we would have begun withdrawal on the first day of occupation. We would not have built four permanent bases. We would not have implemented our own laws to make Iraq's oil industry ripe for takeover by U.S. and British oil companies. The list goes on and on. If anyone but some Rethugs in America believed we were intent on withdrawing and not dominating Iraq's economy and government, there would have been no civil unrest and suicide bombers and all that. Of course, reality dictates that there be an insurgency to kill anyone attempting to help the U.S. and Britain steal Iraq's money/resources/honor/etc.

Outside of these facts of incompetence and bad intentions, as Chomsky has said, the U.S. only cares about democracy when that democracy will benefit U.S. interests. It is obvious that democracy in Iraq will *not* benefit U.S. interests, which is why Bushco is doing everything in its power to prevent it. That's right, Bushco is trying to prevent democracy in Iraq, and elsewhere (Haiti, Venezuela, etc.). This is not new foreign policy for the U.S. - this is standard operating procedure for both Rethug and Dem administrations going back at least to the 1950's. [See Chomsky's Deterring Democracy. If you haven't read any Chomsky yet, you'll shit yourself when you realize what's been going on (even the Cold War is explained and it's just truly unbelievable - all sourced from U.S. government documents, the New York Times, etc.). These are 'big picture' realities explained in this book - corruption and treason and all that are small topics compared to what is explained and analyzed in this book. If you don't love the content of this book, and learn about 800,000 new things in the first chapter alone - yes, 800,000 new things - I'll give you your money back. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and other books like NoLogo are good on the economic front, both with some level of political insight. But Chomsky's writing, to me, is the best. His dry humour is awesome. I've never heard that in the press about him, but he's funny as all get out. The problem is that he uses his humour in pointing out the most horrible atrocities committed by the U.S. and its allies around the world. So, it's funny, but funny in the way that Bushco is funny - tragically.]

All you have to do is look at the evidence. Bushco first tried to appoint their own king - Chalabi. When that didn't work, they tried to have Chalabi work his way to the presidency/premiereship/kingship by virtue of 'elections' with continued U.S. support. It didn't work. So, Bushco finally relented and allowed 'elections' to occur. When the 'elections' finally came around Bushco interfered with them bigtime. These facts are all strong evidence of U.S. intentions in Iraq - and those intentions do not want to see a democracy in Iraq that wants the U.S. to withdraw or give up control of Iraq's oil resources, so a true democracy can not be allowed to occur there - no matter what. The people of Iraq want to own and conrol the oil under their own ground - imagine that.

Uncontrolled democracy in Iraq is the worst possible outcome for U.S. national security interests, because what then would we then have? A soon-nuclear-capable Islamist state who is way-too-friendly with Iran and controls the second biggest oil reserves in the world - and through oil control has 'critical leverage' against the U.S. The U.S. economy would be on a leash. <ruff!> Good dog.

Thomas Carothers says as much in his new book - though he's too hospitable on how far the U.S. will go to prevent democracy.

Stop buying the propaganda. The U.S. was never interested in democracy in Iraq. It's a sham. The U.S. was always interested in controlling Iraq's resources, in de-nationalizing its national industries/assets and selling them off to private U.S. and British companies. If that required some form of a democracy which the U.S. could control - fine. If not - fine - Bushco would just have to work a little harder to show that the new dictatorship was, in actuality, better than Saddam's. It's all bogus - don't believe the hype. Don't listen to the jingoistic expressions of 'freedom' and 'democracy' and all that - read the actual headlines, read the laws being enacted, use your common sense.

Immediate and complete withdrawal, with no permanent military bases, is the only morally righteous answer. What's right is right. Give the Iraqis self-determination. If U.S. national security interests suffer even more because of this illegal invasion, so be it. We'll hold those responsible for it accountable. War crimes tribunals. Life imprisonment without parole for all of them. It's that simple.

Deterring Democracy, man. Deterring Democracy. Talk about flippin the script. Took a while for it to sink in, but I finally got it. Facts are facts - as sad and pathetic as they may be - as sad and pathetic as they show our political leaders to be.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Republican Men Are Cowardly Girlie-men

Same old, same old - getting their asses kicked in high school, having small penises, the usual:

Some men were told that their survey responses were indicative of a female identity and others were told the opposite. The same was true for women, who were used as the comparison group.

Preference for SUVs increased
Afterwards, Willer had the students complete a survey that examined their attitudes about certain masculine concepts, including homophobia, purchase of a sport-utility vehicle and support for the Iraq war.

Men whose masculinity was threatened — who were told that their initial survey responses were more feminine than masculine — tended to overcompensate for it in the second survey by expressing more homophobia, a higher level of support for the Iraq war and a greater interest in buying an SUV as opposed to other types of vehicles, Willer reports. These men also reported more feelings of shame, guilt, upset and hostility than did those whose masculinity was not threatened.

I support war! I need an SUV! I, I.... cowards.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Compassionate Conservative

Bush made fun of the funding request for a wind-powered ice sled:

Three years ago, President Bush went to war against congressional pork. His official 2003 budget even featured a color photo of a wind-powered ice sled -- an example of the pet projects and alleged boondoggles he said he would no longer tolerate.


The wind-powered ice sled lampooned in the budget was for the sheriff of Ashland County, Wis. As it turned out, the funding had been secured by Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), after an Ashland teenager fell through the ice of Lake Superior and drowned as sheriff's deputies, firefighters and his father watched helplessly from shore. The controversy illuminated a timeless truth of budget politics: What looks like frivolous spending to some eyes never looks that way to the people who requested it."


Ignorance and arrogance are a dangerous mix. The President and his entire team should resign immediately.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Looks like fun.

Kennesaw, GA - Bring Them Home Now

Never thought I'd live to see the day...

GA is packed with some of the most backwoods, virulent racists you'd never want to meet. Kennesaw is on the outskirts of Atlanta, so has some level of tolerance. That might explain this banner, but still, I'd be very surprised if the owners of this banner haven't yet had their lives threatened.


They Let It Happen

Another piece of evidence that Bushco knew that terrorists were about to strike and did nothing about it - so Bush could get his war on Iraq:

Mohammed Atta and three other men who hijacked aircraft on September 11, 2001 were identified by the US Government as possible members of an al-Qaeda cell more than a year before the attacks, it was reported today.

A highly classified military intelligence unit prepared a chart showing likely al-Qaeda cells in the summer of 2000, which showed the names and photographs of the four men, according to The New York Times.

The secret military team, known as Able Danger, recommended that the identities of the four men be shared with the FBI and other parts of the military, but the recommendation was never taken up, according to a Republican Congressman, Curt Weldon, quoted by the newspaper.

Don't think anyone is surprised that Bush hid this info from the fake 9/11 Commission. Typical.

So, Chomsky and others have roundly criticized any opinion that Bushco had an active role in the 9/11 attacks. That sounds like a bit of a stretch to me, but even if you cann't buy into the fact that Bushco took an active role in conducting the 9/11 attacks, you have to concede, at a minimum, that they purposely let it happen.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Winter Soldier

New, old indie flick:

"It introduces us to Rusty Sachs, a handsome, curly-haired former Marine helicopter pilot, who recalls with an ironic smirk how his superiors instructed him not to 'count prisoners when you're loading them on the aircraft - count them when you're unloading them,' because, he says flatly, 'the numbers may not jibe.' He describes contests to see 'how far they could throw the bound bodies out of the airplane.'

And it introduces us to the gentle-sounding, Jesus-like Scott Camil, a former Marine scout and forward artillery observer, who in a whispery voice relates his personal journey from rah-rah patriot to trained killer to medal-winner to self-preservationist Angel of Death. 'If I had to go into a village and kill 150 people just to make sure there was no one there to kill me when we walked out, that's what I did,' he says."

Movie home page here.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Telesur, Television of the South

Telesur has launched. A southern hemisphere propaganda (probably) channel to combat the northern hemisphere (American) propaganda channel.

Details here.

Racism: From South of Denver to DC

Sitting in the bar, enjoying my beer and rigatoni, some white countryboy/redneck comes in and we start talking sports, football, whatever. I don't care what color people are, nor what they dress like, nor whether or not they have a drawl, or if they're a countryboy and/or redneck - it's all fine by me, and it's none of my business who someone voted for. If someone seem like a decent person, I'll be nice to them.

This countryboy/redneck says he's from just south of Denver, Colorado. OK. He wanted to talk - I could tell he was a wingnut because he threw out a couple of Bush/Iraq feelers to which I didn't respond, choosing to keep the conversation civil, but whatever - I thought he was probably still basically a decent dude. He mentioned he was in town to bury his uncle's ashes at Arlington - his uncle had served in Vietnam - I was very polite.

He mentioned he flew out here on a plane and 25 Indians were getting on the plane with him. He says he didn't want to get on board with 'those monkeys' - because 'they all look the same to me, ya know?' - and two ladies behind him said, 'yeah - yeah'.

My blood boils, I feel sweat on my face leaping out of my pores, I envision 5-0 coming to the scene putting me in handcuffs and all I'm willing to say is my name and "I'm not talking until I see a lawyer."

So, to head off that scenario (I had just watched one of those 'evil city' shows - the one about Thomas Junta), I pick up my cellphone, make a couple of calls to occupy my time while I finish the rest of my rigatoni and beer, and pay the bill. The dude tries to talk some more - I don't look at him, give him one 'yeah' at what he says, and continue to look either at the sports on the tv or a blank stare straight ahead - the one you see some psycho do just before he loses it.

I'm not sure if I should give him a lecture before leaving the bar - "we don't go for that racist shit around here, redneck fuck!", or something similar, but as I'm getting up to walk out I see that he's now chatting with... a black guy. This is so typical, I think. People will say whatever to your face, but give them the opportunity - i.e. let them think they're talking to someone they can trust - and the real shit comes out. I decided I didn't want to mess up this black dude's night, too - so I let this redneck fuck ride. He got the point. But he won't learn, except maybe to be a bit more careful when he comes to the 'big' city.

I should have known something was up. During the course of our sports talk - only five or ten minutes - we got on the topic of Tiger, and how some dude (the name is Dan Rooney, apparently) in the new Sports Illustrated magazine is a pilot in Iraq, and how Dan beat Tiger five straight times in golf matches in college (this is the account provided to me by Mr. Racist Redneck Fuck). Dan thought he was going to be rich - at least as rich as Tiger, but instead, he played some shit little golf tour in the midwest, didn't make any money, and then joined the Air Force at age 27 - the upper age limit to become a pilot. I have no idea if Dan resented Tiger, but Mr. Racist Redneck sure did.

Mr. Racist Redneck was suffering from that same old conflation of several motivating factors (racism, economic frustration, etc.), misinformation, and ignorance that leads lots of people to fucked-up conclusions. Mr. Racist Redneck was implying that the pilot was better than Tiger - that he deserved to be rich, just like Tiger, because at the end of the day, just what was Tiger anyways, except a black guy who'd gotten beat by a white guy in college five times in a row?

I thought the dude was just harping on the 'all our armed forces personnel are gods' tip, but it went a lot deeper than that - it was 'all the good white men of America go off to fight our wars while all the undeserving blacks get to sit back here in America and play golf and get rich'.

As a white guy, I'm often privy to the dark side of the white American male. I have played the part of good 'ol boy before just to figure people out, but tonight I didn't try in the slightest. If this dude was a KKK member, I had no interest in finding out. Not sure what made him think he could trust I was a fellow racist. Maybe it was the remainder of my own southern drawl that made this fuck feel like he could say whatever he wanted. Or maybe he was feeling emboldened because I didn't smash his face into the bar after he dropped his pseudo-pro-Bush references. Tonight I was straight up city-slicker - about as city-slicker as DC gets, which is not much.

Lesson: If you are white, and you think that racism doesn't exist, or that it doesn't strongly influence almost every major policy decision made in America today (voting rights, health care, home finance, education, taxation, etc.), then do yourself and your country a favor and please, for the love of Xenu, PLEASE PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS. Racism can be stopped, but not when Republicans refuse to believe that their own party appeals to and implicitly endorses the racism in voters with the Southern Strategy. This is the strategy that Ken Mehlman of the Republican National Committee just apologized for, to the NAACP.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Axis of Ares

Justin Raimondo over at AntiWar.com, in addressing concerns that Syria and Lebanon are next on Rumsfeld's list of countries to overrun, gives another account of the true reasons behind the War on Iraq in his article 'The Axis of Ares'.

Raimondo doesn't think oil has anything to do with the war, which is absurd, but he's right about the Israeli influence.

Eric Alterman Gets Snarky...Again?

Eric Alterman has been having it out with Errol Morris over Morris' docu-film the Fog of War. I tend to agree with Morris' P.O.V.

UPDATE: First link corrected/changed/updated/something. The MSNBC/Altercation links have sucked forever.

Ready for Freddy?

I've seen some of the great ones play - and I've seen a couple of video clips of Freddy Adu, and this dude can straight ball.

Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism

Got some lit from these Orthodox Jew dudes, Neturei Karta, hanging out at the new DC Convention Center a few months ago, at the AIPAC espionage/spy-on-America festival. They gave me some anti-Zionism literature.

The lit starts off:

Judaism and Zionism are different and incompatible concepts diametricallly opposed to each other. Zionism and the State of "Israel" is a tragedy for the Jewish People, as well as for the Palestinians.

Interesting. Seems to echo some of what Chomsky has been saying for a long time. Chomsky said Zionism used to mean something different back in the day - not sure what that's all about yet.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

More Racist Sports Jockeys

Fuck these racist sports jockeys.

KNBR misses the point. Players and managers are bound to be offended by lots of things they hear on the radio, but racist rhetoric like 'brain-dead Carribeans' should not be condoned, ever. It offends every sensible person.

This guy should have been fired immediately.

UPDATE: They get letters:

Subject: you guys have totally missed the point...

Players and managers are bound to be offended by lots of things they hear on the radio, but racist rhetoric like 'brain-dead Carribeans' should not be condoned, nor tolerated, ever. It offends every sensible person.

Mr. Krueger needs should have been fired immediately. That he hasn't been fired yet is outrageous, and I hope your station suffers for it.

Shoot - typos. Tired.

UPDATE: The Giants get letters:

Hope you guys stick up for your boys. I haven't seen it yet, but here's to hoping that y'all do.

UPDATE: A website advertiser, Lee & Woo Optometry, gets letters:

Subject: are you aware of racist remarks from KNBR sports jockeys?

The story is here:

The manager should not have to stick up for himself by himself. All of us decent citizens should state our unequivocal support for the manager, and our support for the severe reprimand of the announcer who felt compelled to fill the airwaves with racist rhetoric.

As an advertiser on KNBR's website, you have particular influence. All you need to is drop an email or quick phone call to KNBR's sales team and express concern about what happened. Ask them if you're likely to lose business because of the uproar, and ask them what they're doing about it.

Thank you for your support.


p.s. I'm just a concerned citizen. I hope y'all are, too.

Uh-oh - watch out - another website advertiser, Scott Hyver visioncare, got a letter, too. I used his online form - about identical content.

Desire and Loss in the Curve of a Back

I read the first few lines of the review for this movie, and decided it was something I should see. I decided to find out more about the movie online after having glanced at the pic/review/promo in the Times on the newspaper stand in the local hooker-hangout/CVS. The net and Google are so awesome in that you only have to remember a couple of random words or thoughts about what you were thinking earlier and BOOM - the article pops up in Google, like magic.

Anyways, after seeing Kung Fu Hustle, and benefitting tremendously from not having watched or read any previews which outlined plot details, I'm going to try to do the same with this film.

On War and the 'Bravery' of Our Troops

Chickenhawks supporting chickenhawk politicians often only have one rhetorical tactic to employ against those who have actually done time in the military - that is to attack the person for choosing to do that time. I don't think this is necessarily the most honorable tactic for a chickenhawk to use, but I don't expect much from chickenhawks, who I deem to be particularly detestable humans in the first place. Nothing the chickenhawks do seems to shock me more than their primary goal and success, which was and continues to be to send young kids into war zones to kill for the elites of our society. That these chickenhawks then verbally attack those kids whenever given the opportunity just doesn't shock me or disgust me as much as their initial pushing of those kids into the warzone in the first place.

With that said, anti-chickenhawks (such as myself) have often used the rhetoric 'our brave young men and women in uniform' to attempt to inflict political damage on the chickenhawks for ripping on soldiers who have actually served, unlike the chickenhawks themselves. But every time I heard a usually-Democratic person come to the defense of some current or ex-soldier getting Swift-boated, the defender would utter that phrase - 'our brave men and women in uniform' - and I just thought....something ain't right here. That phrase didn't ring true for me.

I knew that cops wore uniforms, and they sure as heck weren't brave. I knew that prison guards wore uniforms, but I knew they weren't brave. I knew the stewards and stewardesses on our airlines wore uniforms, but I didn't think of them as being particularly brave. The janitors at most of the schools I attended all wore some type of uniform, but I never thought of them as brave. So, why was I supposed to believe that our armed forces folks were brave? Because someone said so? After all, I read enough about war to know that 'our men and women in uniform' were probably no more or less brave than the next joe shmoe on the street. Many soldiers have admitted to pissing their pants, being too scared to crawl out of a foxhole, or being too afraid to point and/or fire a gun. Are those symbols of bravery? I think not. Similarly, regular people on the streets, be they stewardesses, computer programmers, garbage men or pencil pushers often act cowardly in the face of frightening circumstances they may enounter - like backing down from a physical fight not on moral grounds, but on fear-of-injury grounds, or running in the other direction when witnessing someone getting beaten, raped, or murdered. It happens all the time. We're all just imperfect individuals - doing our thing - ideally looking out for each other, but we're imperfect - we're certainly not all brave - and our military forces are certainly not all brave.

This post is not about knocking people who decide to serve in the military, or in the police force, or as airline personnel, or as computer programmers - it's about making the point that we all need to start thinking for ourselves. The subtle rhetorical devices employed by the wingnuts are also used by the lefty pols when they want to score political points. It's up to us, then, to make sure that these politicians don't do our thinking for us. We have to be ever-vigilant of jingoism - like the phrase 'our brave men and women in uniform'.

Just because one straps on a uniform does not make one brave. Wearing a badge does not make one a good person. And choosing 'school teacher' as a profession does not bestow intellect or knowledge upon someone.

We need to challenge the over-the-top rhetoric of the left and right. Our soldiers are brave is they demostrate bravery, else, they're just like everybody else. If we let Democrats or Rethugs or any party whip us into a nationalistic fervor, we can only do damage to our own best interests, those of our childen and our country. We need to think for ourselves - we need to challenge everything that comes out of the mouths of our elected leaders.

Why not get rid of the rhetoric? There would be absolutely nothing wrong, for instance, with saying 'our men and women in uniform'. Why do they have to be 'brave'? Can't they be just like the rest of us - trying to earn a paycheck and carry on normal, hopefully happy lives? Would it be so bad for politicans to talk about soldiers and cops and teachers and garbage men as if they were all cut from the same cloth, all deserving of the dignity that all humans should be afforded? The rights and respect that every U.S. citizen deserves? Isn't it enough that they're human beings and they're, for the most part, American citizens, and we should never have them sacrifice their well-being and that of their families unless we absolutely, positively, must ask them to? Isn't that enough?

If people aren't outraged by Hackett/Kerry/Cleland/others getting attacked for serving, then why pretend like that should be the case? I don't glorify cops, firefighters, or soldiers more than I glorify computer programmers (fd: me), school teachers, or garbage men. They all get paid to do their jobs, and they all do their jobs, or they suffer the consequences. These are all voluntary professions. Voluntary.

During my recent jaunt around San Francisco during the San Fran (Half) Marathon, everytime we passed a cop, fellow runners would say 'thank you for being here today, officer' - as if the officer was donating his or her time of the goodness of their hearts. WTF? These cops were there for a reason - easy money. There's nothing wrong with making easy money - if you can do it in an honest way, then I've definitely got your back, but saying 'thanks' to an officer just for showing up? C'mon! Complement them if they're doing a good job, but not just because they decided they should do the job they were being paid to do.

We do not have compulsory military service like Israel. And, though our military folks are not in traditional jobs in the sense that they can just quit when they want to (Stop/Loss), they still had the choice to join that job in the first place. They actually had to apply for that job, just like I had to apply for all of my jobs. They're voluntary.

And those who chose to re-enlist certainly volunteered. It was their choice.

Of course, we must allow for the fact that many kids 'volunteer' for the military as the only realistic way for them to escape the hopelessness of their economically-depressed hometowns. Not much of a choice - join the military or sell crack or flip burgers or whatever. But, still, we have to keep in mind that there are choices to be made. These kids still have self-determination.

And even after joining the military, these kids have choices. They can go AWOL, like thousands of their comrades, they can seek concientious objector status, try to get discharged out of the military altogether by offering ethical or religious grounds for doing so, try to work out a 'down-low' agreement with the military to keep oneself from having to fire on Iraqis, they can even go to jail instead of fighting in this illegal war. There are probably other ways to not fight the elites' war for them, too.

The question here, though, is: Should soldiers be glorified for their 'service to this country' anymore than garbage men should?

I think the answer is 'no'.

In fact, I think the answer is more like, 'no - of course not - that would be totally ridiculous, unless of course, you just wanted to be in the business of glorifying people for going to work everyday and doing their jobs - a la Labor Day, which might be valid, say, once a year or so.'

I think garbage men and soldiers both perform vital services to this country. I think soldiers are, unfortunately, more just playthings for politicians and the elites than garbage men, which is why soldiers are used by both sides for political advantage.

What's important to realize is that glorifying one profession over another in a nationalist, non-thinking fervor, is bad for America. It promotes jingoism, self-reinforces nationalism and racism, and in turn damages our democracy in the long run by allowing politicans to whip up the country into a patriotic/nationalistic fervor for foreign, illegal wars that weaken our civil liberties.

Wars have always been the most useful of distractions for politicians who just can't seem to convince the populace to do what the politician wants us to do - pass their outrageous legislation. With a war, all thinking goes out the window - replaced by jingoism and nationalism - and we allow politicians to do as they please with our liberties and our money.

Let's not be part of it anymore. Let's not be sheep. Let's not just follow the crowd. Let's think for ourselves. Let's demand that all politicians, left and right, start treating us all with respect, by talking about policies, instead of muttering jingoistic, meaningless phrases like 'our brave men and women in uniform'.

Let's not fight any more wars. Ever. They're just excuses for these suits to steal our money and redistribute it to their friends. Every day we're talking about war is another day most of us go without health insurance. Fuck that.

Some things are admirable, some are not. Is it admirable to put yourself in harm's way - that is, to make a personal sacrifice, via military service, because you perceive that doing so will be good for your country, and that is the *only* or primary reason for your decision? In general, I'd give that a 'yes'.

The opposite of this 'generally honorable thing to do' would be the philosophy of the chickenhawk who, despite wanting the U.S. to fight wars, would never actually offer to make a significant personal sacrifice for 'the good of the country'. That is why chickenhawks deserve the scorn generally heaped upon them by honest folks.

Whether you are a chickenhawk or not, the best choice for the future of our country is to refuse to accept jingoism wherever and whenever it is used, and to refuse to allow the U.S. to ever fight another war.

Friday, August 05, 2005

DC Mass Transit: Extreme Incompetence

First, a truly humiliating experience - I lodged an email complaint which will probably be ignored, but somebody's gotta do it:

Bus failed to stop at bus stop. I was waiting in the covered, clear bus pad at Clarendon Blvd (southbound) and N Highland St. The pad is not well lit, but the bus stopped a 1/2 block down the street to pick up another passenger who was still making his way north, walking up Clarendon Blvd. I ran out into the street and chased the bus, waving my arms. The bus quickly took off, despite my Ben Johnson-like sprint after it. I was only 30 meters or so behind the bus when it took off. There is simply no way the bus driver could not have known I was there, because the kid who got on the bus down the street obviously noticed the lunatic chasing the bus in the middle of the street. The bus did not even appear to slow down at the bus stop. I am not sure s/he knew it was there.

The bus was supposed to show up at 12.52 am - it showed about 12.50 am by my watch and the NextBus clock inside the bus pad. Fine - I was there early, but it is unnacceptable for a driver to purposely leave someone behind, and it is similarly wrong for a driver to be so sleepy as to pass someone waiting in the bus pad, on time, and still fail to recognize them when they are chasing the bus down the street. At a minimum, when the bus is pulling away from the curb, the driver should check his rearview, at which point he would surely have seen me, as i was far enough away still from the back of the bus.

That was a completely humiliating experience, and left me stranded in Clarendon without a phone, without a wallet, and without information on if/when there might be another 38B bus, and without enough money for a taxi.


So, I got to jog 4 miles home - not that big a deal, but 4 miles at bar closing time and it's still 80+ degrees outside isn't necessarily my idea of a good time. No 'Run, Forest, Run' shouts, which was a bit disappointing, but with DC mass transit on the case, I'm sure I'll have another opportunity in the near future.

Had another experience on the new DC Circulator today, so thought I should file a complaint on that one, too. This one wasn't that humiliating for me, but it pissed me off nonetheless, because it's just shows a total ineptness, incompetence, disregard for common sense, etc.:

One of the DC Circulator signs at Union Station is very confusing. There is one towards the 'inside' of the roundabout at Union Station, and there's is one on the 'outside' of the roundabout.

Of course, when the Circulator bus pulls up, people try to get on, and of course, the driver has to tell people to walk 20 meters 'over there' - pointing out another Circulator sign, where the bus can stop, and slow thru traffic, on the 'outside' of the roundabout.

Now, regardless of the reasoning behind putting another bus stop in a high-flow traffic area, the Circulator sign on the inside of the roundabout is still confusing. The buses waiting in the Union Station roundabout look as if they can and should be boarded - especially with a sign indicating that where the buses are waiting is where they should be boarded - of course. This is all common sense, unless we're talking about the DC Circulator Bus and Union Station - in *that* case, you must throw logic out the window and apply 'DC Mass Transit' logic - which is to say, whatever makes *least* sense, is probably what is supposed to happen. So, the rider, if wise to the ways of the DC mass transit folks, should look for the highest density traffic thoroughfare and assume that the bus stop will be smack dab in this middle of that thoroughfare.

It was a hassle for me, a DC local, to not know where to stand for a bus which is supposed to make commuting in the city easier, especially for tourists, but this longtime DC resident was unable to accurately obtain this seemingly simple-to-relay piece of information.

Needless to say, when the bus did finally show up on the other side of the Union Station roundabout, people had to hustle to make it to the bus on time - especially the partially crippled girl who was stupid enough to assume that the prescense of a DC Circulator sign was an indication that this was an area she could board the DC Circulator bus. No, I'm not kidding, this girl literally hustled her hobbling ass over to the bus because she was afraid of getting left behind, as did others, only this particular girl wasn't as quick as the rest of us. I would have asked the bus driver to wait, of course, but the point is that we shouldn't have people running to catch a bus, especially when they're where they think they're supposed to be, and all indicators *are* that they're where they're supposed to be.

My metropass card worked, or didn't, but the driver told me I needed to deposit another 35 cents, and i deposited a dollar bill instead - as change is not my forte. Of course, the big metropass image on the money-taking machine might lead one to believe that the machine would be smart enough to deduct a whole dollar from one's smart card, but again, this is DC mass transit we're talking about here.

The DC Circulator was a great idea, implemented to near disastrous perfection.

Congratulations, one and all.

Out in San Fran, I actually saw an ad in a BART (Metro) station that directly criticized BART leaders. I was shocked. Would they allow that in DC? Was there even a group of folks in DC organized to do such a thing? If not, we need one.

Don't know if this was the San Fran group or not, whose ad I saw.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Call for Indictments in 59-year-old Case

The alternate world of independent media brings us golden nuggets of truth like this:

Civil rights activists in Georgia reenacted a 59-year-old lynching this month to push for indictments in the murder of four African Americans, two men and two women, one of whom was seven-months pregnant at the time. No one was ever prosecuted in the case. We speak with the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, which organized the reenactment.

Thanks, once again, to Democracy Now! for doing kick-ass work.

Galloway Getting Jiggy on Imperialists

Respect MP George Galloway is going off on Bush/Blair/Berlusconi/Aznar during a series of interviews he did for Arab television stations in the middle east. Remarks and links at dKos.

Very, very good stuff.

Vista Cops Getting Jiggy on Hispanics

So, crooked cops in Vista, CA - just north of San Diego - murder three Hispanic men in a Thursday-to-Monday stretch. None of them were armed.

Yes - you actually did hear that correctly - none of them were armed.

And, two of them were fleeing. Yes - as in, running the fuck away from the poh-poh. Leaving the scene. Away from the police officers - every second representing less and less of a threat to the police giving chase.

And one of the killer cops has killed before - in May.

And here's a fun part:

When the deputy stopped behind the Jeep, the two men took off running. The deputy gave chase, and when one of the men reached into his clothes, the deputy shot him.

The old 'he reached for something inside his jacket that looked like a piece' routine. Never heard that one before.

Myself - I've always been curious how a guy booking his ass off, pumping his arms faster than a steroids-gripped Ben Johnson, can reach 'into his clothes' for anything at all - much less a gun, which would, presumably require the booker to grab it with great care to prevent him from shooting himself. Guess this particular guy was pretty good with the whole booking-eye-hand-soft-touch thing. The San Diego Chargers could have used someone with such soft hands, but now the guy is dead - murdered by Vista PD.

And I like how the cops use the very ambiguous phrase 'into his clothes'. Now, once you understand that the booker did no such thing, you'll start to understand why the cops claimed he did - because they can, and because it gets the cop off murder charges - automatically bringing them down to a negligent homicide or manslaughter or battery or some other bullshit, non-murder charge. The cop claims he was scared, the PBA puts a bunch of lying cops on the stand to back up the cop version of events (remember, the dead dude is going to have a tough time testifying), and the cop walks. Very typical.

The cop who murdered this guy never saw the guy reach - of course not - that's just standard cop phraseology to use whenever you murder someone. And why not? It works - well. But the reason they used the 'into his clothes' phrase is because the cop didn't know how to flesh out his fairy tail. Should I tell them he reached into his jeans? Or his jacket pocket? Oh, wait - he didn't have on a jacket pocket. Or, did he? Not wanting to change his story too many times, the killer cop is advised by his lawyer, who then advises Vista PD, to say that the fleeing man reached 'into his clothes'. Just use that, the lawyer tells Vista PD, until we figure out what we're going to say actually happened.

Of course, being able to reach into one's 'clothes', and presumably grab a gun - that person would then, presumably, have to point the gun in the general direction behind him - where the gun would then represent an actual danger to the officer giving chase. But our brave officer took the initiative - being the real go-getter that he is - and buried this dude outright - vigilante style - judge/jury/executioner.

Here's a question - what did the dead dude's buddy do when he saw his buddy murdered by Vista PD? Did he:

  1. ) Shit his 'clothes' and continue running?, or
  2. ) Shit his 'clothes' and stop running, trusting that Vista PD had only accidently busted a cap in his boy's ass?, or
  3. ) Shit his 'clothes' and stop running, knowing that he, too, would be murdered for sure if he kept running, but stood a slightly less than 100% chance of being murdered if he did, in fact, stop running?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Here's another fun part, from one of the other Hispanic dudes who was murdered by Vista's filthiest:

The man fled, and while climbing a fence on Newport Drive reached for a bulge on his hip. A deputy shot him.

Interesting. The dude reached for a bulge on his hip, huh? What was found in that bulge? Nothing? Maybe there was nothing there in the first place? Of course there was nothing there in the first place. Non-cops don't carry guns on their hips - they carry them in their front pockets, or in their sweatshirt's front pocket, maybe their back pocket - but never, ever on their hip - in a holster, or otherwise. It's just nonsense. So, this murdering cop will undoubtedly find the missing details of his story soon - first to his lawyer, then to internal affairs. Everything is going to come together real nice for this killer.

And the dude running away from the cop managed to reach for the bulge on his hip while climbing a fence. Let me repeat that last part - climbing a fence. I don't even think Spiderman could climb a fence with one hand, much less some dude without a full-body, multi-colored, fashion-sensible sticky-suit. This dude never reached for his hip - he was murdered in plain daylight by Vista PD. Sometimes things are just as they appear.

These cops are gangster murderers - no doubt. They should all rot in jail for a long, long time.

p.s. Trying to find out who the 'Escondido Human Rights Committee' is, referred-to in the above article...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


San Francisco Half Marathon. Half way to the promised land. Half way to... something.

The marathon, I guess, is the new, cool 30-35 years-old mid-life crisis task. Turn 30 - must run marathon. Add it to the list of other 30+ tasks that must be accomplished: buy house/condo, get serious about retirement, get life, etc.

But is there really any accomplishment in doing a marathon anymore? It seems there are just so many ways to get it done - it seems like it's so easy. It seems like anyone can do it - big, small, short, tall - whatever. Run, walk, run, done. Pacers. Training groups. 'Run for the cause'. Whatever. It's all so ... scientific. No more magic. 26.2 is just not that far anymore - all the kids are doing it.

The ultra-endurance runners are going 160 miles, so what's just 26.2? Got me. An excuse to drink a few beers? Sure...why not...

p.s. Note to self - don't kick the San Francisco bar owner's aaaaaaaaaaass on the pool table if you want to continue the atmosphere of good vibes. Also, if this does occur, be sure to return as often as possible to said San Francisco bar and drink heartily while expressing your desire to offer a rematch to the ego-laden bar owner 'soon'. When? 'Soon'.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Toronto Tourism; Plane Crash

Toronto's been doing a big ad campaign in DC. And Toronto is truly a great town. So, who decided that this plane just had to land in an outrageous thunderstorm?

My flying experience is fresh - just got in this morning - so this hits close to home, in that sense. And after getting molested by security on my way back to DC, it pisses me off even more to think that an airline would force a landing in horrific weather just to make a few dollars for the life-gambling executives of the airlines - in this case, Air France.

There are obviously a lot of decisions that went on with deciding to land this airplane in these conditions, but I think it's safe to say that we're all fortunate this type of thing doesn't happen a lot more often. If people knew the true frequency of near-misses (and near-crashes of all types), they wouldn't be flying so much.

UPDATE: Everyone survived. Happy for all the families/friends. Must've been hell waiting for that official word to come down.