The internet and the media have been abuzz today over this article, detailing a yet-to-be published article, "General Failure," by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling that is set to appear in the Armed Forces Journal. The gist of this article?
"America's generals have repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq," charges Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, an Iraq veteran who is deputy commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. "The intellectual and moral failures . . constitute a crisis in American generals."
"After going into Iraq with too few troops and no coherent plan for postwar stabilization, America's general officer corps did not accurately portray the intensity of the insurgency to the American public," he writes. "For reasons that are not yet clear, America's general officer corps underestimated the strength of the enemy, overestimated the capabilities of Iraq's government and security forces and failed to provide Congress with an accurate assessment of security conditions in Iraq."
I am not buying this load for one minute- go back and take a look at the previous two paragraphs, and replace the words "Generals" with "Bush," and "General officer corps" with "The Bush administration". Strange- the article, altered thusly, is an exact echo of just about every piece written about the war in Iraq by the antiwar majority...
It gets deeper:
Yingling's comments are especially striking because his unit's performance in securing the northwestern Iraqi city of Tall Afar was cited by President Bush in a March 2006 speech and provided the model for the new security plan underway in Baghdad.
So, here's what happened: Lt. Col. Yingling has been trotted out to produce the latest obfuscation regarding the war in Iraq:
It wasn't the Bush Bowl that screwed things up- it's the Generals- the very same generals that Bush repeatedly says that he trusts to provide him with the "real deal" in regards to the situation in Iraq.
I don't doubt that Yingling will be able to provide ample testimony for his tenuous claims- the situation in Iraq is deteriorating rapidly, and in such situations, crap generally rolls uphill.
As we saw during the Nuremberg trials, many of those who were brought before the magistrates maintained, even as they walked to the gallows, that they were not to blame- it was the fault of those at higher levels of power. Similarly, in the debacle that Iraq has become, no soldier or petty officer in their right mind is going to step to the fore and claim responsibility for the crap they've done- they were only following orders, after all...
Passing the buck is de rigueur in all large enterprises- all the more so in the enterprise of war.
Not content with dividing the american people, the Bush Bowl has now crossed the final line- they are now working to pit the military against itself.
Some on the left have embraced Yingling as a "sane voice within the military." This is a grievous and horrific mistake. In writing this crap, Lt. Col. Yingling has only one goal- to shift the blame from Bush, onto the military that he has abused so callously.
In doing so, he is a disgrace to the military, his uniform, and the country he claims to serve.
THE FIRST DEMOCRATIC DEBATE- PATENTLY UNFAIR
The entirety of the debate is not online, only an edited version via the MSNBC website- so those who missed it will have to wait a few days until someone gets the whole thing up on google video. Until that time, I cannot comment comprehensively about the debate, with the exception of the following:
The debate was the Obama/Clinton show (around 8 questions apiece). The second-tier candidates were asked around six questions. Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich were asked four questions apiece.
In giving preferential treatment to certain candidates, Brian Williams (the moderator,) and NBC were deciding which candidates deserved to be heard. This was patently unfair.
Yeah, Gravel and Kucinich don't have much money at this early stage of the game, and thus, are relegated to "fringe candidate" status. However, the debates are supposed to be places where everyone- no matter how much cash or support they might claim at any one time- are given equal access to the media. Without this basic fairness, candidates are doomed to be stuck in their respective status- thus, the media is serving to perpetuate a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Dennis ain't got 24 million bucks, but his opinions are every bit as valid as those of Barack Obama. Mike might be the darkest of dark horses, but he deserves every bit as much time on-camera as Hillary Clinton. NBC, which broadcasts via the airwaves that every american owns, had no right to decide which candidates we would hear from, over others.
Speaking with a few friends in the wake of the debate, many were stricken by Mike Gravel's ferocious tone and demeanor. Quite frankly, I don't blame the guy one bit- he shows up for the debate, expecting equal treatment as a valid candidate for the presidency of the United States, and is treated like a light fixture (or, as he put it, a "potted plant.") Considering the guy had the guts to give voice to the great unspoken truth about the Iraq war- that it was lost the day that we decided to start it- he showed himself to have more cajones and intellectual honesty than Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and John Edwards all rolled together.
A few years ago, the corporate media decided that George W. Bush was the greatest leader since Alexander The Great, and spent three years perpetuating this myth, while tens of thousands died. Can allow these same cretins to decide who deserves to be our next president?
I think not.
SUICIDE KILLERS- AN OFFENSE TO ONE'S INTELLIGENCE.
A few weeks ago, I was offered a DVD preview copy of "Suicide Killers" (a documentary about suicide bombing, which included several interviews of suicide bombers who had, for one reason or another, survived their attacks) by the folks over at Special Ops Media. I was intrigued. Considering that every day, we awake to reports about the latest suicide bombings in Iraq, one couldn't help but be interested in the psychology that underlies these actions.
I popped the DVD into my player, and, well- where do I start?
I'll start off the review with my tradition of having something nice to say:
Being predominantly about the continuing Palestinian/Israeli conflict, there were a lot of great shots of beautiful, ancient architecture... Am I done with the nice stuff? Okay- I'll get on with the rest of the review.
The morality of suicide bombing, much like any kind of bombing, is beyond debate- it's sick, wrong, and a crime. Whether it be a nameless US serviceman who dropped a load of cluster bombs on an Iraqi Village, or a guy who straps a load of explosives to his body and detonates in a marketplace, it's a shame and a disgrace.
Such is even more the case in the continuing Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In "The Bubble of American Supremacy," George Soros spends a great deal of time speaking of the horrific dynamic of that conflict- particularly, how those who were once victims become perpetrators. Think about it- the Jewish people, who were so horrifically persecuted for millennia, finally were given their own state in their ancestral homeland. Within a mere three decades, after being attacked repeatedly, they in turn inherited the role of oppressors, which, in turn, bred successive generations of Palestinians who resented their occupation.
Who is right or wrong in this situation? NO ONE.
The lines between right and wrong in that particular part of the world have been blurred in a rapid succession of victims becoming perpetrators. There is so much blood on either side, that to determine which cause is wrong in terms of retribution is folly.
Enter "Suicide Killers", which is pure, sickening, dangerous folly.
This movie is an infuriatingly selective exercise in demonizing the Muslim religion, and the Palestinian people. It is an almost comical slideshow of grotesques that serves only to oversimplify and trivialize the deeper issues behind the ongoing conflict in Israel and the occupied territories, and serves no one.
The film begins with a few narratives from survivors of suicide bombers- heartbreaking- I feel for them, and honest to "Bob" above, I hate the people who perpetrated these crimes. Then, the film goes into an Israeli prison (festooned, inexplicably, with pictures of Minnie Mouse), to interview a few of these criminals who plotted, or hoped to carry out, similar crimes. They're presented as they are- soulless, freakish, stunted creatures...
All well and good- I was hoping that the film would proceed to show how such a state of affairs came about, but no- the film turns into a myopic snapshot of the current day, with no backstory. We're presented with a slaughterhouse, then a freakshow, but are given no idea of how such a state of affairs came about...
Does the film spend any time discussing the utter hopelessness, poverty, and destitution of the Palestinian people? Does it deign to spend a bit of time talking about how thousands of Palestinians were shoved off of their land, to make room for settlements occupied by a few hundred immigrants from Queens, New York? (a crime) Does it mention the economic and social deprivation that 33 years of Israeli occupation has brought to these people? (a crime)
Well- yes- about 60 seconds are spent on the issue, and then the filmmakers dismiss these concerns, and present us with a two-dimensional caricature of the palestinians that is painful to watch.
We are shown palestinian kids, some so young that I can only guess at their ages, participating in war games and training excercises- kinda scary- but when they are showing these youth militias, marching with weapons and chanting their hatred, I looked behind the assembled ranks.
I saw the neighborhoods from which these youths came- stark, gutted ruins- blasted, glassless windows peering out like eyes from massive, granite alien heads. These children have nothing- limited access to education, the necessities of life, and no future.
Yes, these kids are being recruited into a generational school of hatred- why? BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOTHING ELSE.
Is this mentioned in the film? Nope. Is an alternative to this hopelessness given? Nope.
The film spends a majority of its length presenting the most extreme elements of palestinian and arab society as "normal", while only (grudgingly, in my opinion,) allowing moderate voices a few spare minutes to present a bit of sanity, before diving back into fear mongering of the most base sort.
We're presented with a family who has given several children to suicide bombings, and, indeed, it's sick to see the parents talk about how proud they are of their murderous kids.
Hmn- I recently saw an american family that lost two kids in Iraq... As best as I can recall, their kids' job was basically to kill Iraqis, and DANG, their parents were proud of them. I fail to see much difference.
We're told that the Palestinians are sick bastards, because when one of their number dies in a suicide bombing, they idolize them, and set up shrines to them
Hmn- There are still a bunch of Israeli sickos who hold yearly vigils for Baruch Goldstein, who gunned down 29 muslims while they were at prayer inside of a Hebron Mosque. Meir Kahane, a racist, wanna-be genocidal bastard, is still revered amongst a sizeable population in Israel.
But that's okay, I guess, in the eyes of these filmmakers.
Examples from pan-arab TV are shown- and I must admit, the programs are horrific- anti-semitic, sexist, violent, intolerant drivel. However, the problem is that the filmmakers present these programs as indicative of the Muslim mindset, as a whole. This is patently foolish- I could just as easily produce a movie containing excerpts from Pat Robertson's 700 club that are every bit as racist, sexist, and violent in intent, and present them as indicative of the christian west as a whole- and I'd be every bit as wrong.
In one particularly repellant segment, the movie tries to convince the audience that the Muslim suicide bombers perpetrate their crime, because- well- they just can't get laid, or earn enough money to get a woman to marry them. I'm sorry, but if this were a valid hypothesis, every Star Trek convention and Christian abstinence hoedown in the United States would be filled with potential suicide bombers. I don't buy it for a second.
I could go on, and on, and on.
The producers of this movie had an excellent opportunity, but they squandered it. Rather than present their subject matter as indicative of the foolishness and ruin that mutual suspicion and hatred can breed, they've wasted their time producing a film that will only serve to deepen a divide that is in desperate need of healing.
Don't see it, don't rent it, don't watch it.
APRIL 21, 2007
AS THE BOWL CRUMBLES...
I am very sorry, folks, but I have to go away for a week.
Yes- a week, in addition to the five days that I've been away- such is life. I'm working on a few political campaigns, and doing a bit of corporate work, to cover the tax bills.
Out of respect for those who died, and their families, I'm not going to follow in the steps of those on the right and those on the left who have so quickly seized upon this to advance petty political crap.
It was a horrific day.
MY 2006 WAR DEBT: $1541.20
Every year, I'm amongst those millions who dash to the post office on midnight, with hastily-prepared Turbotax printouts, sliding to the finish line just as the deadline hits. The relative morality of taxation is a subject better left to libertarian blogs- however, I'm consistently shocked at how a guy like me who makes less than 20k a year finds himself in the 25% tax bracket...
Seriously- last year, I pulled in a whopping 18K, and apparently, 4K of it ain't mine (leaving me with a yearly income that allows for jack outside of the necessities...) But hell- it's a small price to pay, knowing that those at the very top got such HUGE tax breaks. I'm shouldering my tax burden with pride- because of my sacrifice, a millionaire somewhere has the cash to buy yet another italian suit...
But here's what troubles me- in New Jersey, 40% of our tax dollars are going towards the military, and most of that is poured directly into the bloody gullet of Iraq. By my reckoning, I'm giving $1500 to my government, so that it may more expeditiously kill other human beings. If I don't give them the money (almost 10% of everything I made last year) they will put me in jail.
I know there are tax resisters out there- they always have great, inspiring stories to tell, but the result is always the same: generous jail sentences.
Thus, I write a check, and soon, my money will be used to kill someone- most likely an Iraqi muslim male, but it could every bit as easily be a british soldier cut down from friendly fire, or a schoolgirl who just happened to be caught in the middle of a firefight- the possibilities are endless.
In recent years, my tax dollars have been used to kill pregnant women and schoolkids. A while back, some US soldiers in Iraq used my tax dollars to rape an Iraqi teenage girl to death after murdering her family. When they were "done" with her, they tried to use my tax dollars to burn her small, broken body (ya see, the american soldiers had shattered her spine and pelvis when they raped her,) but they were too doltish to do the job properly- my tax dollars burnt her head, but the rest of her body was spared. A few months previously, my tax dollars were used to kill and torture other human beings in a place called Abu Ghraib. Before that, my tax dollars rained down upon Baghdad in the form of cluster bombs- thousands of my tax dollars ripped into human bodies- whole neighborhoods withered under the hail of my tax dollars.
I hear some people talking about how much they'd like to use my tax dollars to kill other human beings that live in a place called Iran.
Then, I pick up my pen, and write a check. I don't want to go to jail...
Kurt Vonnegut would never accept such absurd praise, but I considered him amongst the closest friends I've ever had. I never met him- he had no idea who I am, and wouldn't know me from Adam- but whenever I opened one of his books, I felt I was talking with an old friend- we caught up on our old acquaintances, and I listened with rapt attention while he regaled me with fantastic tales about things which were deceptively small, at first glance. His books were comedies without laughter, and tragedies without tears.
And he will be missed.
And so it goes...
APRIL 12, 2007
I REALLY DON'T CARE ABOUT IMUS...
I really, really don't. I've tuned into the guy's simulcast on MSNBC a couple of times, and the experience left me with only one question on my mind:
"Why is this guy on the air?"
I mean- he plays music that even the oldest of hippies would find boring, his speaking style resembles that of a senile, doddering drunk, and the criterion upon which he categorizes himself as a "shock jock" are elusive, to say the least. For those who never listened to the guy, here's a synopsis of every show he's done for the past 30 years:
<Jingle> I-mus in the mor-NING!</jingle>
Uhh...... Good mahwrning, and whelcahwm to the shahw....
<shuffling of papers>
I whahs whahtchin' Ahmerican Idahwl thaw awther night- Good Lahwrd... Thahw people who ruhn that shahw are just a buhncha IDIOTS!
Uhh- we hahve a fine guest for yaw'll this mahwning- say hello to <insert media-hungry jackanape here.> Whehlcahwm to thaw shahw, sir...
Thanks for having me on, this morning, Don- I'm a big fan of the show!
Thaw "show"? Ahw- you mean thaw "shahw!" Try to keep up- you're tahwlking like an IDIOT!
Sorry, Don- I'm just glad for the opportunity to...
Nahw, Nahw- you're ahwlright- last wheehk, whe hahd Joe- a producehr from "Ahmerican Idawl" awn- Bhoy- thaht ghuy whahs an IDIOT! Leht's take a cahwl!
Caller: "Hey, Don! I'm a HUGE fan of the show- you always play the BEST music! I have a question for your guest!"
Juhst try to not sound like an IDOT, cahwller! Uhh... hohldon cahwller- we have to bhreahk fahwr cohmmerciahls- leht's listen to sohme Steely Dan ahwn our way out. Then we'll tahwlk about whoh's behing an IDIOT, tohdahy...
Now, putting aside the fact that anyone who likes Steely Dan should never be allowed to have their own radio show, I could never fathom how this guy became such a media sensation (and double goes for Howard Stern- listening to him is sorta like watching a mid-80's soviet chess match, without color commentary.) Chalk it up as another idiosynchracy of mainstream america that I'll never be able to understand (sorta like 6000-calorie breakfast sandwiches and Britney Spears.)
That having been said- one cannot help but be taken aback by the media furor surrounding this incident- it's so damned pervasive and voluminous that the news networks have had to cut back their coverage of the Anna Nichole Smith stupidity.
Why is the media spending so much time covering this statement by a geriatric talk-show host? Well, they're turning Don Imus (as boring and irrelevant as the man is,) into a scapegoat.
Remember- the same media machine that has spent the past 72 hours excoriating Don Imus is the same machine that gives airtime to Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Neil Boortz, and a HELL of a lot of other right-wing bigots who have spent the past decade filling our airwaves with the most vitriolic and divisive hate speech imaginable.
Yeah- let's focus in on Imus's "nappy headed ho's" statement, and while we're at it- let's ignore how these same media organizations promote Glenn Beck, a modern-day Joseph Goebbels who has professed "hatred" for the victims of hurricane katrina. Let's ignore how they give airtime to Michael Weiner "Savage", who spends every program spewing homophobic nonsense. Let's ingore the millions they pay Rush Limbaugh, who calls women who have the temerity to ask for equality in the workplace "feminazis," and makes light of the suffering of the homeless. Let's ignore the free airtime they give to Michelle Malkin, who has made a name for herself cashing in on mutual suspicion and hatred. Let's ignore the cash Neil Boortz rakes in, while preaching a vitriolic and inhuman philosophy of social darwinism that would make Hitler blush. And hell- we can't fault these corporate news pushers for putting Ann coulter on the air- because, well- she's just too FUNNY!
All of this crap is fine and dandy- but DON IMUS MUST PAY!!!!
If Don Imus is never allowed on TV or radio again, my life will not change one whit. However, what truly frightens me, is that the corporate media will feel themselves vindicated, after their Imus-induced self-flagellation, and continue giving airtime to greater criminals...
The only concrete cultural legacy of this whole non-event is that nappyheadedhos.com has been recently procured by an internet porn concern- here's hoping they use it for empowerment!
CAN WE STOP...
Saying that Barack Obama is the "first black presidential candidate?"
I know it's a quibble, but whenever I hear this phrase, it strikes me as just silly...
For a short time in the 1988 race, Jesse Jackson led Michael Dukakis in delegates to the democratic convention. Al Sharpton was a candidate on '04. Alan Keyes has been a perennial republican presidential candidate. There have been dozens of third-party black candidates for the presidency.
But I guess it's too damned hard for people to do a google search.
I've spent the past four years telling ya'll why this guy is patently incapable of handling the job he's been given, and quite frankly, I'm sick of repeating myself. He's a tiny, despicable toilet bug, and to quote R. Lee Ermey, the best part of him leaked down the crack of Barbara's ass, and wound up as a brown stain on the mattress.
Bush, unfortunately, will finish his second term. He will not be impeached. He will not be brought to The Hague to answer for his crimes. He will get away, scott-free. He will have a half-billion-dollar presidential library contructed in his honor, and in decades to come, the "Bush Legacy Project" will sow seeds of disinformation- twenty years from now, the average american citizen will remember him as one of the greatest presidents who ever served.
It's disgusting, it's reprehensible, and it's the way things will be.
That's why I never want to have children (as if that'll ever happen.)
APRIL 8, 2007
GOTTA PLAY HOST- FILM REVIEW AND MEDIA...
About a week back, I recieved a DVD copy of "Operation Homecoming- Writing the Wartime Experience." I will guiltilly admit that I didn't sit down to view it, for a few days. Ya see, after quickly scanning the accompanying literature, I figured it was some sort of self-indulgent peotry slam/spoken word coffeehouse film. To tell the truth, I've never been much into that sorta stuff...
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my initial impressions had been way off-mark. The film is essentially a series of writings and commentary, provided by vetrerans of Iraq and of wars past, accompanied by simple, yet creative and effective imagery.
I can't say that I "enjoyed" it- but I found myself fascinated, throughout. I'm sort of at a loss as how to give a full review, because pretty much anything I could say would be trite, in comparison to the film itself. All I can really say about the film is that is unique amongst recent movies on the subject- it doesn't waste a moment debating about the morality of war- rather, it seeks to relate the reality of war.
Loosing itself from the yoke of editorializing, the film allows the viewer to draw their own conclusions. Even those few who support the war can watch this, and while they might ramain secure in their beliefs by the film's conclusion, they will be forced to accept new ideas.
It's getting a very limited release, but you might be able to get a DVD copy here...
Can't write more, tonight- I have guests in the house, and I gots to play host...
APRIL 5, 2007
NEW MEDIA, AND NOTHIN' ELSE...
I wanna spend an evening studying character rigging in 3ds MAX. I'm producing a new video, soon, and I'm sorry, but I'd rather create, than blog, right now...
APRIL 3, 2007
MCCAIN IS OUT....
I'm sure we all remember the maverick McCain who wowed the electorate in 2000: Decorated Vietnam veteran, "straight talker", and the only republican who was able to muster the cajones to go head-to-head with the religious right.
Don't get me wrong- I would never have voted for the guy, but his style was refreshing for the time, and for a brief moment, one got the impression that there might be a tad of hope for the republican party.
Long gone are those days. After having his campaign derailed by the dirtiest tricks that Karl Rove could dream up, he deflated like a balloon. Swallowing perhaps the largest bolus of bile in recorded history, McCain fell into line, and became one of the most strident and vocal defenders of the extremism that he had spent his campain deriding- so much for backbone.
I can only assume that he labored under the misguided idea that if he spent eight years with his lips firmly attached to Bush's left buttock, he'd be a shoo-in, come 2008.
Unfortunately, the guy learned far too late that there's no honor among thieves, and has been floundering since the day he announced his '08 presidential bid. I've sat through a few of his campaign events (viewable via the Campaign Network,) and the guy is astounding- he can talk for two hours, and not say a single thing. The helmsman of the "straight talk express" has devolved into the greatest non-entity in american politics since John Hagelin.
But ya gotta give the guy points for pluck- a few weeks back, he showed his ass on national television, by saying that Baghdad was such a safe and secure city that westerners could walk down any Baghdad street without the slightest worry.
After the gales of collective laughter died down, McCain decided that is was high time to walk the walk. Indeed, just today, he showed up in Baghdad, and true to his word, he walked around a market outside of the green zone, and was perfectly safe...
Well- safe, as long as you are wearing a bulletproof vest, and are accompanied by 100 marines, with five heavilly-armed helicopters hovering a few hundred feet above your noggin.
This was a titanic farce, yet, afterwards, McCain appeared before the press, and trumpeted his excursion thusly:
"(His) visit to the market today was proof that you could indeed ‘walk freely' in some areas of Baghdad."
I decided, last night, to take a bit of advice from ol' Molly, so recently departed. She would regularly speak before activist groups, and she would always admonish her audience to "have more fun."
In running this site, I hadn't had much fun in quite some time. I was tired of being sick at heart 24 hours a day about what's been going on, and, well- April Fool's Day was upon us, and I couldn't resist it. In times past, other websites such as Whitehouse.org put up right-wing hackery on April 1st, and didn't think any would actually take it seriously if I did the same...
In fact, far more than I expected did, indeed, take it quite seriously. I'm sorry if anyone was actually alarmed that something sinister had taken place (considering what we've all witnessed over the past six years, everyone's a tad gun shy,) but dang- it was fun.
It shan't happen again, if for no other reason that it took me a good hour to overwrite all 300 pages of the site (I do things in good ol' fashioned HTML.) Further, I fear a few links might have been screwed up- if you notice any broken or redundant links, let me know...
If you didn't visit during april 1st, you can see what greeted all of the visitors to the site, here.
WERE YOU A CONTRIBUTOR TO MY '04 DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION FUND DRIVE?
Did you not receive your DVD? If so, please know that this resulted from a loss of a bunch of e-mails soon after the end of the convention. I know it's crappy of me to have waited this long to admit it, but well- as I stated before, I'm a crappy individual.
If you never got your DVD, drop me a line, and let me know how I can get one out to you.
Better late than never, I guess...
WAR AGAINST IRAN BEFORE TAXTIME?
This was forwarded to me today, and while this administration has a long and colorful record of patently insane behavior, I can't really take it seriously...
Yeah, the neocons are pretty disdainful of any sensibilities or logic that exist outside of their solipsistic worldview, but an attack on Iran, on the day of the muslim sabbath, while british military personnel are in Iranian custody, would be so mind-blowingly catastrophic that I would think that it would even give Bill Kristol pause.
But then again, one never knows what insane orders will be issued forth from the increasingly deserted Bush Bunker, as he enters his second year of sub-freezing approval ratings....
I'M CONSIDERING GETTING RID OF "IDIOT OF THE MONTH"
It's been a fixture of the site for well over a year, but it hasn't been updated in several months- why?
Because this was a column that featured e-mails from rabid Bush supporters- and well, these days, they're an endangered species. I meet more people who are willing to admit to liking the Spice Girls, than those who will admit to voting for Bush. Further, after a few of these cretins saw their idiocy re-printed here for the world to see, the word apparently got out, and they all retreated back to the warmer scumholes over at Free Republic
After years of getting tons of hatemail and death threats, I've not received a single piece of vitriolic right-wing idiocy via e-mail in months.
Now, as much as I'd like to continue the column as a more general "idiot conservative on the month" type thingie, the guys over at Democratic Underground have a column in the same vein which is so damned fine, that it renders any comparable attempt on my part redundant.
ZIMBABWE- WHERE THE LEFT GETS IT WRONG, AND THE RIGHT JUST DOESN'T CARE.
I was going to ramble on about this a week back, but I scrapped the idea, thinking it was too obscure for an audience that's overwhelmingly North American. However, recent e-mails from the Green party and other north american progressive organizations are forcing my hand...
I know ya'll come here to hear me ranting about how the right wing in this country is wrong, wrong, and wrong again. I'll admit- it's a damned easy job- there's never a dearth of material to work with: I wake up every morning, switch on the tv, and within five minutes, I find myself wanting to kick the screen in (but not recently- K-mart had a great sale on TVs, and I'm lovin' my my new 24-inch screen.)
But ya know? As much as right-wing idiocy pisses me off, left-wing idiocy pisses me off tenfold. I'm USED to seeing the right acting like asses- when I see my own following in their footsteps, it's shocking and grotesque. Unlike those on the right, who are still following Reagan's 11th commandment not to speak ill about their own, we on the left have a responsibility to kick ass and clean house, when we find misguided idiots and harmful ideas circulating amidst our ranks.
And that brings me to Zimbabwe. I have a feeling that 99% of you know jack-all about what's going on in that country, and I can't blame you, really. Most of us have had our hands tied with our own concerns, and couldn't be bothered with the goings-on in a small country in sub-saharan africa. However, in recent days, I've seen some on the left in this country doing their damndest to fill this gap in the american consciousness with a load of bullshit, and I'm not gonna put up with it.
I cannot give you a full history of post-colonial Zimbabwe, because it would take the better part of a week to fully recount, here. I trust you know how to use wikipedia and google, and suggest that you go there to learn about the history of that part of the world. What concerns us, today, is Zimbabwe's recent past.
Long before South Africa abandoned white minority rule and apartheid, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) was well on the path to becoming a multiracial democracy. After declaring independence from Great Britain, and a short period of white minority rule, Zimbabwe was forced (by pressures both foreign and domestic) to dismantle their own version of apartheid, and allow black majority rule.
The reigns of power fell upon the shoulders of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF,) and particularly upon the shoulders on its de facto leader, Robert Mugabe. On the day that white minority rule ended, the future looked bright- Mugabe spoke about building a great and prosperous future for all Zimbabweans, both black and white, and urging his countrymen to grind the legacy of racism and division beneath their feet. It was truly inspiring- remember- at the time, Nelson Mandela was still in a South African prison. Reagan was in office, and a firm supporter of the apartheid regime in that country. We were desperate for any rays of hope in that part of the world, and Mugabe/ZANU-PF seemed to be walking the walk.
But there was a serious problem to be addressed. Despite the handover of political power, most of the richest land in that country was still in the hands of a few white farmers. Land reform was a priority, but was a very delicate issue. Dismantling these huge white-owned farms would be troublesome in an economy that depended upon agriculture, but denying the zimbabwean people a fair shot at owning a chunk of their own country was antithecal to everything the new government stood for.
That's how things stood in 1980, as the new country of Zimbabwe took its first unsteady steps towards an uncertain future. Canaan Banana served as a figurehead president until 1986, when the power behind his throne, Robert Mugabe, officially took the office of president. And there he stayed...
Fast forward to 2000- and after 20 years of one-party rule under the NAZU-PF, nothing had been done about land reform. Robert Mugabe, despite his sterling entry into power, had sat on his well-fed behind, and ignored the whole issue. For 20 years, he was willing to let the white minority continue their ownership of the agricultural industry, and ignore the festering issue of land reform, as long as his grip on power was certain. However- there was a problem- there were elections slated for that year, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), seemed to be headed for victory.
And wouldn't ya know it? All of a sudden, Mugabe declared it was time for the Zimbabwean people to re-claim their land. His brilliant plan for land re-distribution? Send truckloads of ZANU-PF "war veterans" (many of whom were far too young to have served during Zimbabwe's brief civil war) to white-owned farms, where these "war veterans" would proceed to intimidate the white owners of a particular farm. When intimidation didn't work, they just killed them, in brutal and primitive ways.
The atrocities weren't committed solely against the white owners- the black employees who worked on the farms were targeted for lynching, murder, and were systematically driven from their jobs and homes.
During the elections of that year, ZANU-PF militias staked out polling stations, MDC candidates and supporters were intimidated, beaten, and killed. Vote fraud was blatant and widespread. And here's what got me:
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! used her program to whitewash this atrocity. Parroting Mugabe's johnny-come-lately rhetoric, she tarnished her position, claiming that Robert Mugabe was "the first african statesman to return colonial land to the people" while conveniently ignoring the means by which this supposed transfer was made possible. She allowed an MDC spokesman onto her program, and used the majority of his time on the air to deride and insult him, while tossing the occasional softball question to the ZANU-PF representative.
Around that time, I was still attending Green Party meetings, but when I heard someone in attendance lauding the "great works" of Mugabe, my interest waned, and I ceased attending.
Ya see- the left in this country was still living in 1980, and, blissfully unaware and chronically misinformed about what was going on in that country, was conveniently ignoring the facts on the ground, in favor of their myopic feel-good liberal view of Africa- just as the neocons did, and are doing, in regards to Iraq.
I'll forgive the neocons, because they're crazy- I'll not forgive the american left, because they're intentionally and self-consciously ignorant, in regards to this issue.
Mugabe's re-election to the presidency was certain, considering the chaos and fraud he set into motion. During the following months, he accelerated his "war veteran" push, and sent in the state security apparatus to back up his rowdy bands. In time, after a sufficient number of people were brutally killed, white farmers decided to leave (usually missing a few members of their families, and leaving thousands of black zimbabweans without a job.) The farms were seized by the Zimbabwean government, but nothing was given to the "war veterans"- the erstwhile white-owned farms were carved up, and given over to Robert Mugabe's closest friends and supporters, including a few hundred acres given to his numerous mistresses.
Naturally, since these plots of land were given to people who had no practical interest in farming, these formerly productive lands now lay fallow. As farm seizures and grotesque nepotism spread, less and less food was being produced, and the economy collapsed.
Fast forward to 2007....
Now- we here in the United States would like to think we have it bad- but our problems are nothing in comparison to those that exist in the husk of a nation called Zimbabwe. This nation, formerly the breadbasket of southern africa, has become a gray shadow of its former self. Just a decade ago, Zimbabwe fed hundreds of millions- now, people in Zimbabwe are eating rats, famine is widespread, and there's little hope on the horizon...
The opposition MDC has been able to survive- but just barely. MDC supporters and politicians have been subject to systematic abuse and persecution, but they've refused to give in. Their ability to keep fighting in the face of systematic oppression and persecution is inspiring, while at the same time heartbreaking.
A few weeks ago, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, was arrested on falsified, trumped-up charges and beaten so severely that his skull was split open. Fortunately, he was removed from prison just in time to save his life. The pictures of Mr. Tsvangirai as he left the hospital are frightening- head partially shaved, with deep scars- an eye swollen shut, weakened in body, but thankfully, not in spirit.
He went before the cameras, and rather than using his injuries as an indictment against the thuggish brutality of Mugabe's rule, he bore them proudly, and said they were but a small price to pay for the liberation of his country. On March 28, still suffering from his torture and imprisonment, he was again arrested by Mugabe's thugs, hours before he was due to speak to the world's press about the political violence in his country.
International furor ensued, and finally, it seemed the world was taking notice of this ongoing atrocity- but not amongst the american left.
"Bob" help me, but I get e-mails just about every day, from self-appointed useful idiots who refuse to see the writing on the wall, and continue to laud this brutal dictator as the savior of the african people.
"Please help defend Mugabe against scurrilous western lies!"
Yeah, right- bite me. You're perpetuating a particular and strange brand of western liberal racism:
"As long as the leader is black, he can do no wrong!"
Yeah, and forget that 99% of the people this bastard has killed, repressed, and tortured are black africans.
Mugabe is a cancer in the heart of africa- and ya know- the right wing doesn't care- as long as more brown people are dying, all's well and fine. However- when I see the left defending a brutal racist dictator out of ignorance and an outmoded and irrational myopia, it makes me sick.
I cannot stand seeing people actively supporting an ongoing genocide, for the sake of political convenience- whether it comes from the right, or the left.
What can we in this country do to support real change in Zimbabwe? Be informed- stop supporting the knee-jerk "liberal" lie that is being fed to you. Zimbabwe might be on the other side of the planet, but the situation there is every bit as dire as that which exists in Iraq.
Send a bit of love to the MDC- they don't need your money- in fact, they'd most likely refuse it- this is an african problem, to be solved by africans. However, in a western "liberal" atmosphere that irrationally supports Mugabe, they need to know there are some free-thinking folks here in the west who are with them, as they try to liberate their nation, once again.
Soon after I posted the faux-documentary "Death of A President," It was removed from Google video. I can only assume there were copyright issues involved, as it had been online for quite some time, prior to my linkage. Such are the ways of the internet...
Don't be too resentful- the movie wasn't all that great...
WHEN LIBERALS RULE THE WORLD
Stats Say The GOP is Dying. But Red-Staters Are Breeding Like Drunken Ferrets. Who Wins?
by Mark Morford
Here’s the good news: The Republican party is dying. Slow, painful, twitching, secreting war and intolerance and desperation like a fetid gas, snarling and gagging like Jabba the Hutt being choked by the hard chain of progress and hope and relaxed social mores and an upcoming Generation Next that seems to sense that screaming about gays and women’s rights and Muslims and drugs actually doesn’t do much to move the human experiment forward in the slightest.
Is this not delicious? Is this not cause for rejoicing? According to Pew Research, the percentage of young ‘uns age 18 to 25 (a.k.a. Generation Next) who identify with Republicans has been in steady decline since the early ’90s, and now hovers around a meager 35 percent, down from a high of 55 percent in the Reagan-toxic early-90s, and is still dropping, whereas fully 48 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds now lean Democratic … and rising.
Seems Generation Next tend to be more socially liberal and much less worried about the trembling “sanctity” of the failed nuclear family, and are overall less inclined to align with a particular religion. Indeed, it almost makes you want to weep and sigh and go buy a large grass-fed free-range organic hybrid vibrator.
Ah, but there is a flip side. A counterargument. A dark cloud of righteous bleakness and it looms like a giant synthetic cheesecake-scented Glade PlugIn of potential misery.
1.sincere penitence or remorse.
2. Theology. sorrow for and detestation of sin with a true purpose of amendment, arising from a love of God for His own perfections (perfect contrition), or from some inferior motive, as fear of divine punishment (imperfect contrition).
About a year ago, as a long-slumbering american populace began to awake from their collective delusions regarding the war in Iraq, I felt the need to preach a bit of the old "With Malice Towards None, and Charity towards all."
At the time, I felt that our fellow americans weren't totally to blame for their own brainwashing. After all, they had been fed a daily dose of war propaganda and personality cultism via our pervasive corporate media.
I felt, in the interest of unity amongst the anti-war majority, to cut these folks a break...
However, in recent days, I've seen the transformation take place amongst some of my few conservative friends, and, well...
It's a pretty crappy spectacle:
"Didn't I tell you? I'm against the war, now!"
"I was for it, at first, but dang, it was just mishandled, so badly!"
"I didn't think it would get so bad!"
Their conversion has all the gravity of changing one's favored brand of toilet tissue. "Oh, I was wrong- my bad! Didja watch 'Lost', last week?
These folks think that they can walk away from the responsibility they bear. They seem to conveniently forget that this illegal, unconstitutional, and brutal war could not have proceeded without the tacit consent that their silence and groupthink bestowed upon this criminal administration.
Do I want those who are switching positions on this war to crawl to jerusalem on their hands and knees, wrapped in sackcloth, with ash smeared upon their visages? Well- that WOULD be nice, and would make a great Pay-Per-View channel for the liberal masses. However, I couldn't expect such to happen.
What is essential, as we come to grips with the carnage that we have wrought through our collective indifference and blind ignorance, is a collective and individual sense of contrition. Those who willingly played to role of "loyal americans" during the march to war cannot glibly shake off the responsibility they bear for their (in)actions, their words, and their intent, by saying "Gee- It just got too unpopular, so I changed my mind."
Why? Because without contrition- without a sense of regret, without taking a few moments off to consider the pain and suffering that they allowed to be loosed upon the world...
They will have learned nothing- and the next time this country is being lulled into yet another pointless war for profit and greed, they'll make the same damned mistake, yet again.
MARCH 22, 2007
A DRAB OF NEW MEDIA, AND NOT MUCH ELSE...
I told ya this would happen- my engine's running down...
More in 48-no more weekly updates.... I've been battling a lot of inner demons as of late, But I'll be back into the swing of things with updates, every two days, from here on out...
MARCH 16, 2007
IRAQ VETERANS MEMORIAL
The Iraq Veterans Memorial is an online war memorial that honors the members of the U.S. armed forces who have lost their lives serving in the Iraq War. The Memorial is a collection of video memories from family, friends, military colleagues, and co-workers of those that have fallen.
I think this serves to mark the fourth year of war, far better than any crappy animation I could ever do.
EGREGIOUS SPELLING ERRORS...
Having a horrific spelling error ("WHERE YOU A 'GOOD AMERICAN' IN THE TIME OF GEORGE W. BUSH?") on the site's headline for two days was quite an experience. I'm not gonna make any excuses- I'm a crappy blogger.
No- I'm a crappy webmaster- no- wait- I'm a crappy individual, when you get right down to it...
There are a good fifty people out there who contributed good damned money to send me to the democratic convention in 2004. They were promised an "exclusive BushFlash" DVD documentary of what happened at said convention- and ya know?
I never sent out the DVDs.
With few exceptions, none of the folks who contributed a good 2400 dollars to send me to the democratic convention never got what they were promised, in return for their investment. So, let's get down to brass tacks- that money was procured under false pretences, and in that regard, I'm no better than James Dobson.
Despite this, a few months back, I was short on funds, and asked for donations to help me out of a tight spot, and the response was humbling. I needed the help, and well- people gave- but it made me feel like shit (pardon the four-letter word). I hadn't adequately calibrated my moral thermometer, and, well- with every dollar that was donated, I thought about how many liters of milk that dollar could have bought for a sudanese refugee, or a few gauze bandages for one of the few relief organizations that Mugabe still allows to operate in Zimbabwe, or a phone card for a soldier recovering at Walter Reed, who can't afford to call his/her family from their rat-infested bunk...
I'm not, and never have been, worthy of any of this generosity, and I humbly apologize for ever asking for such.
MARCH 14, 2007
WERE YOU A "GOOD AMERICAN" IN THE TIME OF GEORGE W. BUSH?
Was I a good American? How good an American was I? Did I do what I could to resist the takeover of my country and the brutalisation of my fellow human beings? How much further could I have gone? Were the crimes of the Bush administration those that demand you give up your life and everyday commitments to throw yourself into maximum resistance? If not, then what were we waiting for? The questions have troubled me regularly these last five years, because I was one of the millions of American citizens who did not shut down Guantánamo Bay and stop the other atrocities of the administration.
I wrote. I gave money, sometimes in large chunks. I went to anti-war marches. I demonstrated. I also planted a garden, cooked dinners, played with children, wandered around aimlessly, and did lots of other things you do when the world is not crashing down around you. And maybe when it is. Was it? It was for the men in our gulag. And the boys there. And the rule of law in my native land.
Before the current administration, it had always been easy to condemn the "good Germans" who did nothing while Jews, Gypsies and others were rounded up for extermination. One likes to believe that one will be different, will harbour Anne Frank in one's secret annex, smuggle people across the border, defy the authorities who do evil. Those we scornfully call good Germans merely did little while the mouth of hell opened up.
I now know the way that everyday life can be so absorbing, survival so demanding, that it seems impossible to do more on top of it or to drop the routine altogether and begin a totally different life. There is the garden to be watered, the aged parent in crisis, the deadline looming; but there are also the crimes against humanity waiting to be stopped. Ordinary obligations tug one way even when extraordinary ones tug the other way. The Bush administration is by no means the Third Reich, but it produced an extraordinary time that made extraordinary demands on US citizens, demands that some of us rose to - and too many did not.
Uhh- haven't ya'll been paying ATTENTION, for the past six years? Yeah, yeah- okay- the attorney General, upon the advice and consent of White House legal council Harriet Myers, decided to fire 8 US attorneys, because they didn't spend enough time prosecuting democratic politicians. Sure- there was a greater plan to fire every US prosecuting attorney, and replace them with republican operatives. Yes- they were to be installed into office without congressional review or approval- a move made possible due to an obscure, penciled-in sentence in the USA PATRIOT act. Yes- this was going to lead to a justice department that would have worked as a barely legal judicial attack machine, on behalf of the republican party.
Uhh- again- haven't ya'll been paying attention? Does this sorta crap surprise you? Alberto Gonzales thinks that TORTURE is okay- do you think he'd give two tugs of a dead dog's pivates about the dangers of a partisan judicial gestapo?
I'll leave it up to other sites to spell out the details, whenever one of the pimples of corruption that bespeckle the rump of this administration bursts. I've been warning ya'll about these bastards in word, song, and moving images for well onto four years- I can't get riled up, anymore, when the obvious explodes into the popular consciousness.
MARCH 12, 2007
PERSONAL CRAPOLA, FIRST...
Due to more problems with the new windows install (laugh it up, Mac users,) I've had to spend the better part of the evening downloading the website to another drive. I would have been with ya'll last night, but I was called in to help with the visual development of the Kucinich campaign's MySpace page- there was a nasty problem that prevented flash links communicating with MySpace HTML, and well- in the end, a good five hours were wasted. MySpace essentially turns off "backwards compatability", when it comes to things like flash...
In the end, we were able to put together a MySpace page that makes Obama's look like something put together by a 14 year old.
I'll be helping out with the development of the Kucinich website, in coming days- big things are happenin' over there, very soon... I know it looks a tad primitive, now, but keep checkin' it out!
LATE NIGHT MUSIC DOCUMENTARY WITH LAIBACH
I've been listening to these guys since my college days, and it's been a wonder to see an underground art collective become a true culutral and political force. One wonders- where is America's Laibach, in these troubled days?
MARCH 8, 2007
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?
I guess I had eaten yet another bad clam, because around noon today, I decided to check in over at Free Republic, to see what the bottom-feeders thought about the Walter Reed scandal. I figured that these folks would be up in arms about how the casualties from their war are being treated.
Well, if nothing else, leave it to the wingnuts to entertain...
Ya see, the current freeper spin on the horrific conditions at Walter Reed is thus:
"This PROVES that socialized medicine won't work!"
Kudos for being so damned plucky, Free Republic- in a time at which even Pat Buchanan is calling for Bush's impeachment, you guys stick true to the cause, no matter how insane or patently absurd it is.
Yes- it isn't Bush's fault for cutting back veterans' benefits every year, or his slaughtering of the VA budget. It isn't the fault of the inept Haliburton private contractors who this Whitehouse turns to, whenever a choice contract is given. This isn't about their screwups- heck- it isn't even about the troops who have been dealing with sanitary conditions that would make an MTSU student dorm look downright clean...
NO- this is SOLELY an example of "socialized medicine" in action, and a SOLID WIN for "their side."
It is one thing to play political football with the lives of our fellow americans, but these guys take the cake. They've spent the last six goddamned years screaming for war, and playing armchair general. Now, when confronted with the consequences of their actions, they refuse to take any responsibility. Even worse- they use the suffering of these returning soldiers as a political chit, to play in their petty, illogical online game.
And here's what gets me- I've been watching the C-span coverage, and time and again, the higher-ups have said:
"Gee- this all came about, because we were unprepared for the number of casualties from Iraq."
Four years into the war, and we still have folks in such high office that still subscribe to the Pollyanna fantasies that existed at the outset? Have these people been sealed in amber for the last few years?
I propose that the next administration hire folks like myself, Medea Benjamin, and John Pilger as core members of the NSA, because we could have predicted this was gonna happen, back in 2001 (even though we didn't have access to alla that great intel...)
HILLARY IS OUT...
She refuses to acknowledge her vote for the war as a mistake, or an error- and well- we on the democratic side have had our fill of equivocation. We might have been willing to put up with John Kerry in '04, despite our deep reservations concerning his Iraq war vote- but no more.
The war in Iraq is the defining political issue of our day, and any democratic candidate who voted for the war, and cannot bring themselves to own up and show an ounce of contrition for their lapse in judgment is unfit for the Presidency.
She'll limp along for a few more months- perhaps until the first few primaries, but Hillary Clinton is going to crash and burn (seriously- if you thought Howard Dean's collapse was spectacular- you ain't seen nothin' yet.) I suggest that the folks pumping millions into her war chest might spend their bucks in a more constructive way...
THE SECOND-BEST MOVIE OF 2007
I just hadda pass this along- I tried to write a review, but gave up after it reached ten pages in length.
Idiocracy is an utterly brilliant film. I've watched it about a dozen times, and it gets better, with each viewing. My circle of friends is rapidly shrinking, as they get sick of me repeating catchphrases from this danged movie- yet: If I had the money, I'd pay to have it projected on the surface of the moon.
MARCH 5 , 2007
THE RECONSTRUCTION CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE ALONG...
At least, on the homefront.
I know ya'll are sick of hearing excuses, but on Friday, I hadda do an emergency system recovery, and if I recounted all of the hassles involved in getting this system back up to spec, I'd be inundated with e-mail from the Macintosh Mujahadeen, declaring, as one: "We TOLD you so!" To tell the truth, the off-the-disk recovery version of XP is fine and dandy, it isn't until you install the 100-plus updates (which require at least ten re-boots) that things get screwy.
As of this hour, I've finally gotten most of the software suites back up and running, but I'm still running at about 50% efficiency. The new printer/scanner won't install, but I guess that will have to wait, until tomorrow...
Long story short, You'll have to wait another two days for a decent update.
But I leave you with the following:
IRAQ'S SABIAN MANDAEANS ARE BEING WIPED OUT...
Remember how, in the days after the glorious "Liberation" of Iraq, the richest cultural heritage in the world was sacked from Baghdad Museums, as US troops spent their time guarding the Iraqi Oil Ministry? During those chaotic days, the earliest examples of writing- immeasurably precious clay slabs- were stolen by looters, and to this day, are still lost in the illegal antiquities trade. The loss of these, and many other priceless antiquities was one of the greatest losses of our collective cultural heritage in world history.
But hey- at least no one stole the desks from the Oil Ministry- Kudos, Don Rumsfeld!
While the loss of these cultural artifacts cannot in any way be understated, one must consider the value of documents, in relation to people, and one of the world's most enduring cultural traditions...
Mandaeism is one of the oldest surviving gnostic cultures in the world. This religion predates Christianity and Islam by centuries, and to western ears, might sound a bit heretical- I shall spare you the "book report" style recount here, and refer you here, to find out what makes their religion and worldview so unique.
Prior to Gulf War one, Iraq was home to one of the world's largest Mandaean communities, but today, there are fewer than 5,000 left. Now- I'm not gonna gloss over history- life for the average Iraqi wasn't a cup of tea under Hussein, and the Mandaean community shouldered their fair share of misery under his rule- but today, the situation is far worse.
In a country torn apart by a civil war between two Islamic sects, the Mandaeans (who are avowed pacifists) find themselves being targeted by both sides...
This is genocide- these people are being targeted for extinction, because of who they are.
Those few who still adhere to the pretensions of the failed Bush doctrine are never hesitant in proclaiming Bush's innocence, in view of this, and so many other atrocities in our glorious "New Iraq."
"After all," they protest, "it ain't US doin' all the killin'- it's them danged insurgents."
Such is where we find ourselves today: where so many people are unable to discern between the immediate threat, and original cause. Those who spent so much time assuring us that a garden of roses would sprout from the craters and scars left by our cluster bombs now lay the blame elsewhere, when confronted with the bitter, ugly fruit they sowed...
In the sacking of Baghdad, we lost the record of who we were. In any genocide, we're losing a great part of what we are.
"The Sabian Mandaeans are a people of ancient Iraqi roots, who practice the traditions and rituals of the oldest era in the history of Iraq. They follow the teachings of the great prophet of peace, John the Baptist. They carry this prophet’s banner of peace, and believe in water as a symbol of purity and vitality. They maintained their baptism ritual generation after generation.
Today, the Mandaeans are facing persecution and death due to the tragic situation in Iraq, resulting in a decrease in the number of members to a few thousand and making the Mandaeans an endangered race. Every day hundreds migrate to neighboring countries (Syria, Jordan, Yemen, etc.) to join other families in exile. These immigrants live in inhumane conditions, mostly on charity. Their children are forced to leave school. They fled to the unknown for fear of murder, robbery, looting and rape.
The Mandaeans are calling on you in the name of humanity, history, religion, and culture to stand and support them in this moment of crisis. Since they are not linked to any strong political institution, or a world religious authority on which they can rely, they are seeking your help. Please sign this letter to be presented to the concerned international institutions, most importantly the United Nations, requesting that they take it upon themselves to protect the Mandaeans, the remnants of the people of Ur, Babylon and Missan, a race threatened in their homeland. Alternatively, these institutions should help organize the Mandaeans’ immigration to a country of safe refuge, where they can keep their original identity, human dignity, and their religious and cultural heritage.
The Mandaean people are depending on your generosity and are certain that you will take this necessary step to protect and aid them in their moment of need."
Mandaean Associations Union in the Countries of the Diaspora.
LATE-NIGHT MUSIC CLUB...
With VNV Nation, of course...
I believe that we'll conceive
to make in hell for us a heaven.
A brave new world.
A promised land.
A fortitude of hearts and minds.
Until I see this kingdom is mine,
I'll turn the darkness into light.
I'll guide the blind.
My will be done until the day
I see this kingdom has been won.
MARCH 2 , 2007
WASTED- NOT SACRIFICED.
The right wing echo chamber went into overdrive, a few days back, when Barack Obama had the temerity to say that the lives of the 3000-plus americans who have fallen in Iraq were "wasted." After the usual suspects subjected Obama to a nonstop barrage of hyperbolic bile and anger, he apologized, and said that, instead, these lives had been "sacrificed."
Naturally, these same usual suspects were curiously mute when John McCain said precisely the same thing- that these american lives had been "wasted." McCain issued an apology, today.
Thus, the democratic party has again deferred to the ravings of the radical right, and the war of words has suffered its first casualty: the word "waste."
Let's take a look at those two words: "waste" and "sacrifice."
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "sacrifice" is defined as:
"An act of giving up something one values for the sake of something that is of greater importance."
I have spent a goodly number of hours today wondering what the "something that is of greater importance" is that necessitates the use of this word. As most of us (I hope) remember, this war was initiated to rid Iraq of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction- so, scratch that "greater importance." Next up, we have the "bringing democracy to the heart of the muslim world." Considering that the government that we've installed in Baghdad can't even govern Baghdad properly, I fail to see a "greater importance" there, either. Thirdly, we've been told that the war in Iraq is essential to combat terrorism. Unfortunately, this, too, falls flat on its face.
Next, let's take a look at the meaning of "waste:"
"(to) use carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose."
American men and women are being sent into Iraq for no other purpose, than to cover Bush's rear, so that he can continue the war, and hand it over to his successor. They are being sent without proper armor protection, and without adequate training. If this callous disregard for the safety and well-being of our troops isn't "waste," I don't know what is...
The word "sacrifice" is yet another attempt by the right to smear lipstick on the grotesque pig that is the war in Iraq. It is a rhetorical bandaid- an empty, meaningless affectation that the pro-war minority uses to make their reckless, callous disregard for our men and women in uniform sound patriotic and gallant.
I have used the word "sacrifice", in times past- but no more. These thousands of american lives were wasted- there's no other way to put it.
It is essential that the democratic party- and particularly those democrats running for president- stop letting Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, and Matt Drudge dictate what language they use. Words, after all, are powerful things, and when we permit these charlatans- these representatives of a tiny minority of the american people- to frame the debate, they're given a power far beyond that which they deserve.
I made a mistake- lemme tell ya'll...
I'm currently under a TON of pressure- I have a lot of freelance work coming in (thank "Bob",) I'm being called upon to do a lot for the Kucinich campaign, and most pressing of all, I'm still desperately searching for a new roomie (and regretting that I just didn't move out on my own, two months back.)
Last night, I promised that I'd start an hourly blog, in the month of March- I dunno what possessed me to do so, because today, the stress of everything that's being asked of me became suddenly so overwhelming, that I couldn't deal with it. Two people who were supposed to come by to check out the apartment cancelled, an important check bounced, and my answering machine was laden with messages from important clients.
I can only assume I had gone temporarily insane, as there's no conceivable way that I could do an hourly blog, while shouldering my current workload. (Plus- haven't I been whining and complaining about how I wanna STOP blogging, and get back to animating?)
A apologize for making such an irrational claim- I guess I ate a bad clam...
KENT HOVIND UPDATE!
I recently featured "Dr" Kent Hovind's creationism lecture series in the right-hand media lineup, and I guess it had the desired result, as I've received numerous e-mails from folks who suffered through watching a few of his presentations. Such is only to be expected- this guy's "educational" lectures are so patently bizarre, they've succeeded in alienating other creationist organizations.
Well- for those who survived repeated insults to their intelligence- good news!
On January 19th, Kent Hovind was sentenced to ten years in prison for massive tax evasion, and fined $600,000. His wife is facing a similar sentence (her trial resumed, today.) For a full rundown of Hovind's serial criminality, click here. His other crimes include assault and battery, property tax evasion, theft, and false declaration of bankruptcy.
I guess it's not really big news anymore, when a fundamentalist "christian" evangelist turns out to be a serial criminal- but it's still fun to point it out...