Monday, April 10, 2006

Bad Cop, No Donut!

The phrase is funny, but the criminality behind it is anything but. We first told you about the "Bad Copy, No Donut!" show in this 'police terrorism' post, and we've since listened to a lot of the shows - they're horrifying.

I would love to tell you that it's possible to laugh off just how corrupt police are, but it's so much worse than you think. We're not talking about cops who harrass people they don't like, or how they regularly break every traffic law on the books, we're talking about rape, murder, home invasions, sexual abuse of teenagers - boys and girls - you name it. We thought we knew something about police criminality and brutality, but it's so much worse than even we expected.

You must listen to every single show in this show's archive, and then get active against police brutality and criminality. Keep an eye on the Bad Cop, No Donut! website for more info.

We took the image from the Bad Cop, No Donut! merchandise site.

UPDATE: Kingston Police Sucks.

UPDATE: LAPD has a blog. I just posted the following comment. Let's see if they let it go up there, or if the LAPD will censor it.

Hey chief,

stop killing unarmed black kids. stop terrorizing innocent people.

UPDATE: Couple arrested for asking directions. Hat tip: Drudge.

UPDATE: Typical.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sir! No Sir!

Great flick.

We originally told you about Sir No Sir! last summer, and now it's here. What to say? The movie exploded so many myths that I'd still held onto till this day - me, as an ultra-leftie, anarchism, semi-informed politico junkie living in San Francisco. If I'm still this ignorant, then where is the rest of America? Unreal.

We went to go see the movie in Oakland, at the Grand Lake Theater - talk about a great theatre (pic, left). The auditorium we were in seemed to have the capacity for several hundred people, and there were 300+ people there, I gather - 80+% full would be my guesstimate.

What were some of the myths that the movie exploded?

1) The 'spitting on returning soldiers' myth. I had heard this was more or less lies, from reading my liberal blogs (DailyKos and Atrios), but it didn't really sink in. The book I'd heard about on these blogs, and the author was profiled in the movie, is called 'The Spitting Image' by Jerry Lembcke. So, all those stories about soldiers coming home from Nam and getting spit on and all that - it was all a lie. Straight up.

2) The anti-war movement wasn't just happening on college campuses - it was everywhere, including and especially in the military. To find out there were 300 indepedent underground newspapers circulating on U.S. military bases all over the U.S. - it's just unbelievable. Being part of stuff like that could get you court martialed and sent to jail for years.

3) The myth that the anti-Vietnam war was a 'bad' thing. On the contrary, it was a good thing - a great thing. So many brave people sacrificed so much - getting beaten, jailed, exiled, and killed - all in the name of justice. That's incredible.

Here's the program for the night:

A Benefit for Iraq Vets Against the War

Celebrate Soldiers' Resistance from Vietnam to Iraq
Film, Music, Spoken Word, Community

Aimee Allison-Army Conscientious Objector
Pablo Paredes-Iraq War Resister
Vietnam GI Resisters from the Film

Thursday April 6th at 7:00pm
Grand Lake Theater
3200 Grand Avenue in Oakland
Advance tickets $8, $10 at the door,
For Tickets call 415-255-7296x244

Presented in partnership with:
Global Exchange, Courage to Resist, Not Your Soldier, Leave My Child Alone, Not in Our Name, Ruckus Society, Art in Action, Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Veterans for Peace

Aimee Allison did the emcee work. She's running for city council again. I like her deal - she's a Green. She was a conscientious objector in the first Gulf Slaughter - a very unpopular position, indeed. And she went to court and managed to get an honorable discharge. She mentioned that her basic training buddy - a female - also managed to get out of the illegal war - by using her pregnant friend's pee. Good idea!

Medea Benjamin got up after most of the performers and helped to raise $2,500 for the movie. The idea is to distribute bootleg copies of the movie to as many active duty military personnel as possible - for free. Medea asked for and got about twenty $100 donations, then a few $50 donations, and then some hats went around.

The old army slogan - FTA - Fun, Travel, Adventure - was turned into Fuck The Army. And it was turned into a film!

Biggest applause line of the night: "Fuck John Kerry!" One of the anti-Vietnam war dudes who was in the movie had just found out, from Medea, that Kerry came out with his "let's get out of Iraq" statement just yesterday. I forget the vet's name, but he said, after stepping up to the mic right after Medea, he asked, increduloulsy - distorting his face, "Is that right? Did John Kerry just say that yesterday? Fuck John Kerry!" [BOOM! APPLAUSE!] People were lovin' it. He followed with, "Great that he's finally saying now what he said 30 years ago." That dude was funny.

A white hip-hop rapper dude got on stage 2nd to last, after the fundraising and did his thing. Was alright.

Finally, a white singer lady, Barbara Dane, got on stage to perform a song called 'Insubordination' - which Jane Fonda had popularized, apparently. All in all, a great night. Look at this NPR page for a link to a live version of Dane singing Insubordination with crowd participation - just like tonight. Good stuff!

Great line from the movie - when soldiers are protesting out in front of the Capitol Building, throwing their medals over the fence, and as they do this they get a couple seconds on the mic to say their piece:

We don't want to fight any more,
but if we have to fight again,
it'll be to take these steps!

Now that is some great stuff. There's just so much to learn from this movie - so much.

It's important to repeat the film's dedication:

dedicated to jeff sharlet (1942-1969), founder of vietnam gi, the first gi underground paper; and john kniffin (1940-2002), leader of texas vietnam veterans against the war.

both died of cancer caused by agent orange, the chemical defoliant used by the u.s. in vietnam.

To finish this post on a very positive, uplifting note, check out this link for the 12-minute trailer, and to catch a listen to Rita Martinson singing "Soldier We Love You" (about 8 or 9 minutes in) - unreal voice - holy cow. I mean, she could be singing about place mats and it wouldn't matter a bit - her voice is incredible. We need to find a copy of her singing this song. Can't find it online anywhere, including iTunes.

p.s. Review of the movie is supposed to happen this week on Ebert & Roeper.

...wanted to add that there was a lot of cheering and jeering and applause during the movie. you will hear stuff you've never heard, see stuff you've never seen, and of course, learn stuff you've never learned.

...presenting Ms. Rita Martinson - about 1 min. worth of her singing from the 12-min movie trailer:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mogadishu, Somalia: Iraq Edition

The burning body of a U.S. helicopter pilot - apparently, already dead (thank God for him) - was dragged across the sands of Iraq.

This incident is not as bad as, but it is certainly reminicent of, Mogadishu, Somalia, when a Democrat (Clinton, the male), was going around the world 'spreading freedom'. A video preview of a very pro-U.S. (lying) version of events called "Somalia: Good Intentions, Deadly Results" is here (RealMedia). The U.S. did not have primarily good intentions in Somalia.

Of course, the best known work on Mogadishu is the book and movie Black Hawk Down. Unfortunately for the Americans in Mogadishu, at least one of them was caught alive. I think the rebels eventually killed him without torturing him, which was very generous of them given the circumstances of America mowing down and generally terrorizing innocent civilians and trying to take over their country - but I'm a bit fuzzy on the details now, so read/watch it for yourself.

How many Iraqi civilians will America murder in retaliation for this incident? 50? 100? 500? 5,000? Of course, we'll eventually get to those numbers, but I mean right now - or already. How many innocent Iraqi men, women, and children have already been murdered in retaliation for this attack on the American occupation forces?

...Iraqi soldier shoots and kills US soldier. Must be getting pretty bad over there. - Flash-based Blogging

Got a spam-mail of sorts from the creator of - which appears to be based out of Mexico, but the creator put together an English-language version, too. It's Flash-based Blogging, and it kind of sucks, but I like the idea very much.

With Flash being installed in upwards of 90% of web machines, by my last stats viewing, it makes one wonder when people are just gonna forget about all this HTML stuff in the first place.


Mitt Romney for President!

Holy cow. Drudge tells us that Massachussetts is about to pass a universal health care bill - if Mitt Romney signs it. Unbelievable. People like Atrios were saying it was inevitable, but I found it hard to believe.

If Romney's smart he'll sign the bill and then take credit for it. Or, he could be like George Bush, and veto the bill, have the legislature overrule him, and then take credit for it anyways.

Muchos, muchos political implications in this bill. As someone in the article said, this will 'have a ripple effect' across the nation. Indeed.

Why did Romney fall off the presidential bandwagon again? Which scandal was it? So difficult keeping track of Republican scandals these days...

Organizing Resistance: A Report from Chiapas

The Bay Area Progressive Directory notices board let us know about a Zapatista info session going on in Berkeley tonight. Rage Against The Machine have been Zapatista supporters for a long time, so we wanted to find out what was up with those folks. The image at right is the flag of the EZLN.

We also found this event listed on SquidList, and have reposted here:

Organizing Resistance: A Report from Chiapas

Wed, Apr 5
7:30 pm
$5 - $15 sliding scale

Organizing Resistance: A Report from Chiapas
Wednesday, April 5, 2006 - 7:30 PM
La Pena Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave

8 Bay Area folks just returned from a visit to Zapatista territory in
Chiapas. They will give an Update on the Zapatista's Other Campaign,
a global anti-capitalist organizing campaign, the current conditions
in Chiapas, and show brand new video interview with Zapatista
leaders. Some friends of Zapatismo will set the tone with a musical

Featuring musica humana~blues:
Arnoldo Garcia
Andrew Kong Knight
Jose Palafox

* New Zapatista Video Interviews
* Report on Conditions in Chiapas
* Update on the Other Campaign

Wheelchair Accessible
Near Ashby BART

Requested Donation $5-15 (Sliding Scale)
Proceeds Benefit Zapatista Autonomous Health Care in San Manuel

Sponsored by the Chiapas Support Committee
For more Information: (510) 654-9587


La Pena Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave

Near Ashby BART

Additional Info:


We wished SquidList did a political calendar as well (in fact, we asked them about it), but they're not interested. They posted this event, most likely, because it includes entertainment. Let that be a hint to all you event organizers out there.

UPDATE: Checked it out - good turnout - 100+ people. Music. Speakers. Home-made movie. The little town in the movie - somewhere in Chiapas (state) - was beautiful. Poor, but lush, green - very cool looking. In the movie, watching the military transport go by with 20+ soldiers in it was definitely a reality check. Some URL's from the handout and that we heard about:
  • Radio Zapatista - local radio show; 2nd Friday of each month on KPFA
  • Flashpoints - a show on KPFA on Zapatista and other movements
  • EZLN - pseudo-political freedom/peace/justice movement
  • Zapatista Network - aka "the ZapaRed"
  • Los Angeles Zapatista Collectives - LA-based support groups
  • Chiapas Support Committee - these are the folks that put tonight's event together

    One of the speakers was talking about doing a type of Zapatista Che 'Motorcyle Diaries' thing later this year with his boy.

    There are plenty of other links out there, so use Google - it's your friend.

    Heard a lot tonight about 'The Other Campaign', or 'La Otra CampaƱa'. It sounded real good - very interesting.

  • A Scanner Darkly / Waking Life

    Don't know much about 'A Scanner Darkly' (wiki) yet, but we plan on reading the book before going to see the movie.

    We do know something about Richard Linklater - he kicks serious ass. He did Waking Life (wiki) - which, if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor - now. It's one of the best films ever. E-V-E-R. Imagination unparalleled. Freaky. Funny. Thought-provoking. Compelling. And the music. It's too much. You can watch the trailer and the first eight minutes of the movie and other clips here. And you can read the script here (how cool is that?!). There's one scene that cracked us up in that first seven minutes clip - here's the text (we've labeled the main character 'dude', and the driver 'captain', and the other passenger 'other passenger', even though they're not listed as such in the script transcript). The one line from 'other passenger' is the part that cracked us up:

    (Main character walks through the airport and telephones his friend - 322.0031. There's a girl there, and he sees her.)

    dude: Hey man, it's me. Um, I just got back into town. I thought maybe I could bum a ride off you or something, but that's cool. I could probably just take a cab, something like that. Um -- Yeah, I guess I'll hang out with you later, something like that.


    (A boat car drives up in front of the airport)

    captain: Ahoy there matey! You in for the long haul? You need a little hitch in your get-along, a little lift on down the line?

    dude: Oh, um, yeah, actually, I was waiting for a cab or something, but if you want to ...

    captain: All right. Don't miss the boat.

    dude: (He gets in.) Hey, thanks.

    captain: Not a problem. Anchors aweigh!

    So what do you think of my little vessel? She's what we call "see-worthy." S-E-E. See with your eyes. I feel like my transport should be an extension of my personality. Voila. And this? This is like my little window to the world, and every minute it's a different show. Now, I may not understand it. I may not even necessarily agree with it. But I'll tell you what, I accept it and just sort of glide along. You want to keep things on an even keel I guess is what I'm saying. You want to go with the flow. The sea refuses no river. The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving. Saves on introductions and good-byes. The ride does not require an explanation. Just occupants. That's where you guys come in. It's like you come onto this planet with a crayon box. Now, you may get the 8-pack, you may get the 16-pack. But it's all in what you do with the crayons, the colors that you're given. And don't worry about drawing within the lines or coloring outside the lines. I say color outside the lines. You know what I mean? Color right off the page. Don't box me in. We're in motion to the ocean. We are not landlocked, I'll tell ya that. So where do you want out?

    dude: Uh, who, me? Am I first? Um, I don't know. Really, anywhere is fine.

    captain: Well, just -- just give me an address or something, okay?

    dude: Uh --

    other passenger: (The guy sitting next to him in the back seat speaks up) Tell you what, go up three more streets, take a right, go two more blocks, drop this guy off on the next corner.

    dude: Where's that?

    captain: Well I don't know either, but it's somewhere, and it's going to determine the course of the rest of your life. All ashore that's going ashore. Ha ha ha ha ha. Toot, toot.

    And this dude Speed Levitch (wiki) in the film is totally interesting. And how cool that he just kind of made stuff up as he went along - very much like the Blair Witch Project.

    Rotoscoping, man - it's all about rotoscoping.

    UPDATE: It seems I also have to see a couple of other Linklater films: Slacker, and Dazed and Confused - about which I think I remember people telling me, "Oh my God, dude! You have to see Dazed and Confused!".

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - It's all local

    Citizen journalism - that's the phrase we're hearing more and more these days. A number of factors are at play - the dictatorial tendencies of President Bush, the utter incompetence (or, complicity) of the mass media, corporate domination, the rise of collaborative and community-building and strengthening technologies like wikis and blogs, better and cheaper photography electronics, a more computer-literate society, and more - all of it is contributing to the rise of companies like

    OhMyNews has been at citizen journalism for years now, but it's mainly Korean national and international news. has been at local and international news for years now, but the sites are horrific to look at, and information is not often easy to find, nor of any standard quality nor format (not to knock our IndyMedia peeps - thank God they exist!!!).

    Craig Newmark of Craigslist has made remarks about wanting to check out citizen journalism, but it's a bit difficult to find out how he might make that happen, given the ever-growing nature of Craigslist, and Craig's seeming hands-on role in it all.

    So, along comes a site promising a pretty interface, relative ease of use, pseudo-anonymity, and it's free - could be taking the first step towards making citizen journalism a reality for the general population. Whether it's successful or not, we love the idea - anything that empowers regular people is a great thing.

    The wiki page on 'citizen journalism' also mentions, and

    UPDATE: We found a blog post from some VC dude, which had a lot of good links in the comments to other community-oriented news sites - most of which are one-offs, not part of any larger corporation - which, of course, is crucial to having an effective media. We've picked out some of the better ones, here:

  • (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • (Philadelphia, CA)
  • (Greensboro, NC) (and other cities)
  • (Vancouver, Canada)
  • (Westport, CT)
  • (Brattleboro, VT)
  • (Bakersfield, CA)
  • (Watertown, MA)

  • New Voices is an incubator for local news sites/services.

    Some software people are using to create these sites are:
  • CivicSpace
  • Drupal
  • Scoop

    Some news websites that are owned in total or in part by corporations:
  • (Bluffton, SC) (owned by Morris Communications, Inc.)
  • (Austin, TX) (owned by Cox Enterprises, Inc.)

    Thought leaders on this citizen journalism stuff apparently include Jay Rosen who said this, and Dan Gillmor, of the previously-mentioned

    UPDATE: I just want to go on record as saying that no new media organization - whether it is 'citizen journalism'-based or not, is going to be able to fundamentally change mass media news reporting in this country without taking corporate domination out of the picture. What this means is that even if a company like, a corporation - or, still a private company either to be bought by a corporation or to incorporate, themselves - even if becomes wildly successful, it will never be able to function properly (that is, be a voice for the people, and an antagonist to power) as a corporate entity if that corporate entity is controlled or dominated by just a few shareholders. I don't know how to overcome this problem, just yet, I only know that I'm highly skeptical of 'citizen journalism' overpromising. The real model I'm looking to is That needed to be said. :)

    UPDATE: Craig Weiler over at Bayosphere says something similar to me, about corporations - he says to be 'citizen journalism', an organization must be non-profit, plain and simple.

  • Racism - Fan Tosses Syringe at Bonds

    That's some messed up shit.

    We've been saying that it's OK for us to hate on Barry - because he's using roids, but we've also been hating on all sorts of other athletes who made good use of steroids, even white athletes. That said, however, we should have been a little more understanding of those who were crying 'racism' - because it's true, at least in part. Everyone knew Mak McGwire was all jacked up on roids and used them to break the single-season home run record, and to our knowledge, nobody ever threw a syringe at him. But the loony racists are still out there in America in force - too many of them - and all they need is a little right-wing hate speech to get them goin. Despicable.

    Now, this incident wouldn't be the end of the world had McGwire been treated similarly, but he wasn't - because he was white. Makes me want to start defending Bonds. If McGwire is innocent, then so is Bonds. We can't have it both ways.

    Free 411

    Haven't tried it yet myself, but I've plugged it into my celly. Will see soon enough. It's supposed to be legit. And it's about time someone helped stop the phone companies from rippin us off!

    Some startup called 'Jingle Networks'.

    hat tip: insane VC dude

    UPDATE: pretty darn tacky posting this right after the 'My Lai - Iraq Editions' post - my bad.

    UPDATE: I tried it. It worked. Got a human operator. Didn't connect me automatically. No ad.

    UPDATE: Service sucks, now. No human operators unless you wait longer than anyone wants to. Oh, well. Maybe someone else will pick up the slack.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    My Lai - Iraq Editions: Al Bu Seifa and Haditha

    What makes this latest massacre tougher for the US military to sweep under the rug is that an Iraqi police report is the source of the information - so, it's semi-official. And a journalist or photographer apparently has some pictures and/or video of the aftermath of this latest massacre:

    Iraqi police have accused American soldiers of executing 11 Iraqi civilians, including four children and a six-month-old baby, in a raid on Wednesday near the city of Balad, it was reported yesterday.

    The allegations are contained in an Iraqi police report on the killings, obtained and published by the Knight Ridder news agency. The report emerged at a time when a US navy criminal investigation is under way into a previous incident, in November, in which marines are accused of killing 15 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in reprisal for a bomb attack on a US patrol.

    So, this most recent massacre occurred in a town called Al Bu Seifa (we've also seen it printed as 'Abu Sifa') - which is just north of Baghdad, near Balad - the closest city. The previously-reported massacre from last year occurred in Haditha:

    In last year's Haditha incident, US troops are accused of killing civilians after a bomb attack. An initial marine report on the incident said a roadside bomb on November 19 last year killed a lance corporal and 15 Iraqi civilians. But further investigation revealed that the civilians had been shot with marine weapons after the blast.

    Editor & Publisher gives the story more attention.

    Original Knight Ridder article here, which includes a translation of the Iraqi police report that includes a list of all crimes taking place in the area - reproduced in full, here:


    This is a translation of the Iraqi police report obtained by Knight Ridder, including accounts of events not related to the Ishaqi raid.

    In the name of God, the most merciful

    This is the morning and afternoon events of 15/3/2006

    1. Interior Ministry Operations:

    All forces belonging to the Interior Ministry will go on 100 percent alert status starting Wednesday 15/3/2006 until 1000 hours Friday 17/3/2006.

    2. Coordination Center of Beji

    At 810 gunmen in a white vehicle, duck type (a reference to the local name for a Toyota model) kidnapped the child Mohamed (Badei Khaled) from Samaha school in Beji (map coordinates 617667).

    3. Coordination Center of Dujail

    At 730 a benzene truck burned near Gassem al Queisy fuel station after one of its tires caught fire. The incident burned the driver (Hamed Abdalilah) and he was transported to the hospital (map coordinates 263519).

    4. Coordination Center of Balad

    At 230 of 15/3/2006, according to the telegram (report) of the Ishaqi police directorate, American forces used helicopters to drop troops on the house of Faiz Harat Khalaf situated in the Abu Sifa village of the Ishaqi district. The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people, including 5 children, 4 women and 2 men, then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals (map coordinates 098702).

    They were:

    Turkiya Muhammed Ali, 75 years

    Faiza Harat Khalaf, 30 years

    Faiz Harat Khalaf, 28 years

    Um Ahmad, 23 years

    Sumaya Abdulrazak, 22 years

    Aziz Khalil Jarmoot, 22 years

    Hawra Harat Khalaf, 5 years

    Asma Yousef Maruf, 5 years

    Osama Yousef Maruf, 3 years

    Aisha Harat Khalaf, 3 years

    Husam Harat Khalaf, 6 months

    Staff Colonel
    Fadhil Muhammed Khalaf
    Assistant Chief of the Joint Coordination Center

    Whether this one particular story is true or not, the true nature of the US occupation of Iraq needs to be known - it's brutal. It's safe to say that these types of US-organized massacres occur daily in Iraq.

    My Lai photo from wiki.

    UPDATE: Re-reading the police report we were struck by the incident in which a child was abducted from a school by armed men. I mean, imagine you're the parents of that child. Pretty terrifying. Doesn't really mesh well with the wingnut "we're building new schools" argument.