Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Above the law

Boingboing has a link to a column in the Miami Herald that says it all about BushCo's trampling of the Constitution. Quoting from the column:
Are we agreeing, then, to give the king unfettered privilege to defy the law forever? It's time for every member of Congress to weigh in: Do they believe the president is above the law, or bound by it?

Bush stokes our fears, implying that the only alternative to doing things his extralegal way is to sit by fitfully waiting for terrorists to harm us. We are neither weak nor helpless. A proud, confident republic can hunt down its enemies without trampling legitimate human and constitutional rights.

Ultimately, our best defense against attack -- any attack, of any sort -- is holding fast and fearlessly to the ideals upon which this nation was built. Bush clearly doesn't understand or respect that. Do we?

This column by the Herald's Robert Steinback (here is the link to the whole thing) not only asks the question we are all asking about whether and why BushCo appears to think it's above the law, but also touches on a few other key BushCo tactics we've all had enough of:

1. Twisted semantics. For example, war on a concept, a war that can never be won. Like David Cross said, "that's like declaring war on jealousy." Pretty convenient if you always want to be in a state of war, a state of war that somehow justifies the attack on civil liberties. Other examples are "freedom," "liberal," "activist judge," "liberal media," "christian," "family." In each case look for a recent shift, flip-flop, or addition to a term's meaning. Look for the term to appear in popular media, usually beginning w/ right wing propapganda-spouters, and watch as the twisted term appears more and more in popular debate without any comment on the term's confusing vagueness or political slant.

2. Sheer outrage as a tactic. Steinback's column lists a whole pack of horrible things Bush is responsible for: An invasion of Iraq over lies, admitting the lies & saying the "war" would still have been started anyway. Torture, secret prisons, locking people up w/o charges for years. Warrantless searches and domestic spying against the U.S. population. All marks of a political organization that is going to do things it wants to do, lie about it, get found out, and do it anyway. Need I remind all you Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens out there that this is not a dictatorship we live in? That we are looking at an administration with no respect for its own people, no respect for law or our Constitution? What we are looking at is NeoCon strategy, a private organization trying to run the government, terrified of its own people, terrified we are going to say no to NeoCon aims and motivations. Hence the drive to destroy civil liberties. It's not about terrorism, it's about preventing people from speaking out, from opposing BushCo policy.

3. Backstabbing, punishment & character assasination. The Plame affair, the organized attack against the veteran who questioned BushCo policy, are two tangible examples. Add to this countless rhetorical examples directed against any opposition. Add to this, given the NeoCon penchant for secrecy, countless other examples of dirty tricks, harm and ill intent directed at those in high places who speak out.

4. Distractions. Is there a campaign out there saying "Happy Holidays" is somehow an attack against "Christianity?" I didn't hear about it but it wouldn't surprise me.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Banning "western" music

Now this is just plain fucking stupid. Some fundamentalist bury-your-head-in-the-sand-guilt-ridden backwards-ass control freak in a high place "bans" western music. Nobody is taking this seriously over there, according to this NPR interview w/ an Iranian DJ I heard yesterday (this link points to an npr.org page w/ a button that'll play the radio story in either WMV or RealAudio).

Having fundmentalists in high places has got those people used to attempts at repression. You get thrown in jail for blogging, you get thrown in jail for playing the wrong kind of music, they have some absolutely psycho laws regarding control of women, too.

But can you see my point about fundamentalism and letting it, and religion in general take a place in government? People need to realize that religion deserves respect but it's not perfect and has no inherent control over people- just guilt.

After all, we are just humans interpreting what we believe to be divine- just humans, all our prophets, priests and priestesses, etc.

I think knowledge is key here- study history, comparative religion, sociology, current events. Critical thought in education- Liberal Arts is not a dirty word, people.

Interlibrary loan and Homeland Security

[12/27/05-- this story was a HOAX. Of course we should be asking ourselves what we are going to say when they come knocking at your door, looking at your library records, tapping your phone, snooping in your house, following your web-surfing and reading your email] I'm posting Boingboing's permalink regarding this story since Boingboing pretty much sums it up:
Update: "DHS visits student over Little Red Book" report
Interlibrary loan is a service you use if, say, your library does not have a copy of a book you'd like to read and cite in a history or sociology paper you're working on. Your library contacts another library and the book is sent. We have a workteam dedicated to that function at the libary I work at, and it is all in the name of scholarly sharing of information, academic freedom, and libraries doing what libraries are meant to do: help you out when you'd like to research, report, read, relate, study, communicate knowledge, etc.

The college student in the story borrowed a book via ILL and supposedly because the book was written by Mao Tse Tung, and the student travels internationally Homeland Security officers visited the student at his house and questioned him.

The student, if this is true, must've been terrified, and my point here is about a chilling effect police behavior like this has- you can get in trouble for reading a book.

Of course there are doubts that this happened- it's too ridiculous to be true & there are supposedly holes in the story.

But really, think about how stupid this is- it's like saying if I read Marx I want to be a communist, if I read a book about Hitler I want to be a nazi, if I read a book by St. Augustine I want to be a christian. And what the hell does communism have to do w/ homeland security anyway? Nothing, obviously- there must be thousands of communists in the U.S. & who gives a shit?

My other point is that once you give these shady police agencies the power to snoop, they are going to snoop. They're don't seem to be accountable to anyone, certainly not the people of the U.S. They are like a private security force.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

BushCo negative Christmas wish-list

BushCo has not been getting its xxxmass gifts.

Instead, a number of disappointments have come along this holiday season for BushCo. Each event is really a gift toward the people of the U.S, I mean all of us whether you buy the BushCo line of bullshit or not. After all, don't we all want safety, a strong military, jobs, health, freedom (see the Bill of Rights), a democracy, a healthy environment? Pretty much everything BushCo and the Neocons do or try to do is aimed at destruction of one important thing or another, accompanied by rhetoric to the contrary, and vilification of anyone who doubts or disagrees. However, Republicans and Democrats both are starting to say they've had enough of BushCo's disregard for the law, the environment, the people of the U.S, and our standing and respect among the world community.

The list of BushCo Christmas-time disappointments:

1. The Plame affair. An illustration of the back-stabbing, treachery and treason common in the Neocon business-model. A Scooter Libby has been set up to take the fall in what amounts to an acknowledgement of BushCo lawlessness and cheating. He is pretty high up, but still takes orders from people higher up yet, and the grand jury is not done yet. An indictment of Rumsfeld or Cheney, a couple of old-time bad-conservative puppetmasters, would be a major event, not only whipping the Neocons into a revenge-motivated froth, but also a demonstration that laws do count, our government must abide by the law, and nobody gave the executive branch permission to disregard the law.

2. The reports of U.S. secret prisons abroad & what they do. Shedding light into dark places. Of course we need to interrogate & arrest people conspiring to attack the U.S. But you can't just scoop up people, fly them around the globe and torture them in weird locations. That's wrong. Knowing about it is not a national security threat. Knowing about it just sheds light on BushCo ways of doing things, BushCo incompetence. I love the little built-in argument: "Don't be a pussy, they're terrorists, they don't deserve to be treated like human beings, etc." Well how does abuse help obtain information? What is abuse other than just abuse? Don't cowards ("pussies") always resort to abuse? Are well trained interrogators capable of finding things out more efficiently? They must be. All this torture just looks like rough-shod corporate incompetence, like a private company won a big bid to do our dirty work and did a really shitty job of it. Which is probably exactly what's happening- probably an obscure subdivision of Haliburton.

3. The denial of the secret prisons and torture. Wow did that backfire. If there is a single soul who reads the news and who is not rolling their eyes and thinking, "how can you believe any organization with a history of lying?" I'd be surprised.

4. The McCain anti-torture bill. There was no way BushCo could not go along with this. Of course they were dumb enough to oppose it at first. But why is it that this bill's passage is seen as a blow to BushCo and a blow to the Neocons?

5. The massively unpopular "war." Hey, why are we over there, and shouldn't our military be here at home to defend us, people are beginning to say. Republicans, democrats, ordinary people are asking about how it's about time to end this. Wow it's coming out in the laundry. Behind all this is the failure of the BushCo characterization of anyone opposing the "war" as radical, left-wing, unpatriotic, a supporter of terrorism, etc. They sure did try, but it's hard to portray Nam vets like McCain & Kerry as unpatriotic. It's hard to hang those negative labels three quarters of the United States of America population. And once again, BushCo tactics, the "Swift Boat Vets" being a good example, are coming to light.

6. The Senate fight against the Patriot Act's insanity. Once again, bipartisan. Once again, BushCo crying national security. Giving police unlimited power for warrentless, secret searching and snooping has nothing to do with protecting the U.S.A. from attack. This kind of policy has everything to do with an administration that is afraid of opposition from its own people. It's not hard for police to get a warrant to search- evidence is presented to a judge. Evidence. That's why we have a Bill of Rights- so we don't end up with a paranoid administration that just wants to start keeping tabs on critics, dissidents, doubters, and millions of others who may exercise the right to free speech &tc. "Wait a minute, what about civil liberties, what about the constitution?" cry the conservative and the liberals together. "Where is this country going?" Once again BushCo shows its true colors by countering with think-tank generated arguments made of vague but highly persuasive half-truths. Bush's arguments are weak, emotional and full of vague threats, and up there for anyone who can read to take a look at.

7. National Security Agency warrantless domestic spying. The thing about this problem is that BushCo demonstrated its disregard for law, its tendency for secrecy and acting above and around Congress and the Judicial branch. The NSA will never have problems doing what it needs to do. But nobody except the Neocons gave the administration power to authorize the NSA's new role in domestic surveillance. And that is exactly why Bush, the Attorney General, et al are now loudly crying how very legal their policies are, how this was actually authorized by Congress, how the President always respects civil liberties, how only Al Queso suspects are the ones being spied upon, and anyone who says otherwise is a traitor, a disgrace and a scumbag.

8. The intelligent Design hoax. BushCo looks to the religious right for support; unquestioning, blind, obedient support. And the religious right always wants to say society is poisoning its children, society is against Christianity, etc, whenever the rest of us go, "hey wait a minute I don't want to be a part of your fundamentalist belief system and your religion has no place in government." So, events in PA where a schoolboard that supported the intelligent Design hoax was voted out, and where a District Court recently ruled that the board could not in the first place force the teaching of "intelligent Design," (aka Creationism), have demonstrated that people are not really willing to put up with this crap. The response from the BushCo/Neocon rhetoric-machine will be to attack the judge and label him an "activist judge," of course, while the truth is more like we have concepts like separation of church & state, and scientific evidence, which are kind of like cornerstones of civilization. Teach your children well, fundamentalists. Teach them how to get interested in history, western civilization, science, critical thought and argumentation. If you want a free country, think for yourself and let the rest of us do that too. And remember, secular humanist is not a dirty word, nor is liberal. They are just concepts which have had mud kicked on them by those who want to silence the voice of civilization.

Torture described independantly by detainees

Human Rights Watch, the U.S. based human rights organization made up of lawyers, journalists, academics, and country experts, has published descriptions of torture taking place in Afghanistan.

Guards without uniforms
Men from various countries detained indefinitely for unexplained reasons
Nobody knew detainees whereabouts or circumstances
Total darkness for weeks
No food for days
Filthy water for weeks
Chained to a wall for days
Not allowed to sleep or sit for days
Blaringly loud bad music and "halloween" sounds lasting weeks
Being punched
Having water poured over their faces to make them think they would drown

These elements are corroborated by the stories of some current Guantanamo detainees via lawyers the detainees have been allowed to talk to. The torture occured in Afghanistan, and is described in this article on Human Rights Watch's website.

But according to Secretary of State Rice, the U.S. does not do these kinds of things, and there are no secret prisons where we do them.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Henry A. Giroux - Against the New Authoritarianism

This book crossed my desk the other day at the library and caught my eye. Here is a top-notch educator, a PhD who not only summarizes what BushCo is doing to this lovely country we inhabit, but has also left for Canada.

Since Bush has been around, particularly since the (cheated) election of 2004, I've heard many, many folks talk about leaving. I've seen this feeling of defeat all over the place. I have threatened to go to France, for that matter- "If Lance Armstrong can learn French, then so can I." Lots of argument on this issue, I might add, is taking place. Most of it to the tune of, "well hell, how you gonna help change things back if you just run off?"

One of the key NeoCon strategies, I believe, is to produce exactly that feeling of defeat, like whatever you do to help restore sanity to the U.S. leadership and sociopolitical climate, civil liberties, etc, will have no effect and will lead to social rejection and possible jail time, or at the very least being sneered at by a clean cut family in a Chevy Suburban on their way to a revival meeting at the local fundamentalist church.

The point being, regarding Giroux, is he ran off, and his statements bespeak a sense of defeat, and are somewhat scary. But he has some fascinating things to say- he seems to shed light on the darkness infecting the U.S. right now. He seems to add a sense of structure to the whole process we've seen happen following the election of Bush II the Moron Son.

Chapter 4 of Dr. Grioux's book (he's written something like 30 books) above includes an interview with Giroux, from which I'll quote below:

Henry Giroux: I think that many universities in the United States are being undermined by both their increasing alliance with corporate values and interests, on the one hand, and the equally dangerous attack on academic freedom by the political and religious Right, on the other hand. We have witnessed four years in the United States marked by a growing culture of fear, insecurity, and repression. This is a culture largely controlled by religious, political, and freemarket fundamentalists; this combination, and the power it has exercised on American life, has been profoundly dangerous. The current government is involved in a war at home and a war abroad, both of which are mediated by a messianic view of the world that does not leave much room for dissent, nor for social movements that want to make authority accountable or forms of public and higher education that act as if they are democratic public spheres. And, of course, with Bush’s re-election
this will all get worse. The Bush administration views higher education as a left-wing bastion that needs to be destroyed, and I am convinced that in his second administration, the universities will continue to come under a harsh political attack. At the same time, the right-wing attack on critical intellectuals offers the Bush administration the kinds of diversions that sidetrack people from thinking about the Iraq war, the resources it is draining, the lives being lost, and the suffering it is producing. We have seen remnants
of the attack on higher education already with many academics after the events of September 11th being called “unpatriotic” because they undertook a serious examination of American foreign policy or called “anti-Semitic” because they dared criticize the Israeli government’s policies in the Middle East. A senator from Pennsylvania even tried to pass a law withdrawing
federal funds from those public universities that harboured professors who criticized Israeli policy in their classes. These are very disturbing trends and
do not bode well as to what will happen in higher education in the next four years. So, we are seeing a new war, a war at home, and that war will basically be against the universities. We already see the indications of how that war is going to be organized. We see it in the unjust association made between dissent and treason. We see it in legislation in which Republicans, through an appeal to academic freedom, attempt to place more conservatives on faculties. We see it in the increasing corporatization of the university and the marginalization of those disciplines that don’t translate immediately into profits. Penn State is one of the largest procurers of military contractors. Susan Searls Giroux and I had written a book called Take Back Higher Education on the corporatization of higher education. Essentially, it is an attack on the corporate university, of which Penn State is a poster boy.
There was no question in my mind that there would be retribution, though I never anticipated the shape it actually took. What became clear was that Penn State had become inhospitable to any kind of dissent. To be an academic and to constantly find yourself under pressure and isolated, by virtue of an atmosphere of anti-intellectualism and conformity, was completely
unacceptable for me. It was a pleasure for me to leave.

Here's a link to the whole interview (PDF). This guy's a heavy-hitter of a scholar, and just about each topic he brings up is food for thought on a major issue. These subjects will be covered in an upcoming post.

Friday, December 16, 2005

NSA spying on U.S. citizens w/ shakey cause

So now we find out the NSA has been involved in domestic spying for a few years. BushCo in typical secretive fashion sidestepped the law & freedom itself. See this story in Reuters. All this comes out right when BushCo has Condoleeza Rice up there saying how much they've respected civil liberties &tc. throughout the "war on terror." A pack of lies is wrapped up this manuever, and in the way BushCo went about letting the NSA spy on us. Also see this story in the Washington Post.

How can you believe anything that someone who lies all the time says? Once they start lying, how can you believe anything?

Will BushCo and Bush himself ever have to answer legally for all the bad things they've done, and the way they've cried terror, war and national security all along the way?

BushCo, the Patritot Act and civil liberties


The Senate blocked BushCo's insane version of the so-called Patriot Act. Both Reps and Dems are sick of BushCo's attempts to diffuse the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the true foundation of our freedom. The freedom Bush talks about so much- lies about so much, I should say, as the Patriot Act stands for nothing but the loss of freedom.

Celebrate, people. And keep hope alive that when they finally hammer out a version of the Patriot Act, (because, unfortunately they will do this) it'll be a sane one. A version that fights criminaliy and attacks against the U.S. based on evidence, not based on snooping into the lives of U.S. citizens.

I think people are getting wise to the fact that BushCo, the neocons and the religious right are all about control, all about the loss of freedom. I get the feeling they are so interested in abolishing civil liberties because they know people are getting wise to NeoCon lies.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Paris Hilton Shrine

In Rhode Island. Suburban neighborhood. The kind of place where you see a lot of Santas and cute litte reindeer on people's snowy lawns this time of year. Not for this guy Joe Moretti, who usually has an unusual xxxmas tribute on his lawn instead. Last year it was Martha Stewart. Bizzare eh?

I like the huge blurry color photos, also the disgusting subject matter. Paris Hilton is neither beautiful or sexy, but the thing is that we are supposed to find her so- for some reason.

The first thing Moretti's neighbors think of is sex...some say "ah, no big deal," some are totally offended and worried about their grandkids associating xxxmas with sex, some, e.g. an old man quoted in the Washtington Post's story said, "hey, nobody should be ashamed of their sexuality." Sex, sex, sex, that all the neighbors think about.

What about seeing the guy's xxxmas display as a commentary on the commidification of xxxmas? A bold, full color set of panels, out of context, in a front yard, during the most commercial season of the year, of the biggest commodity of them all, Paris Hilton. Beautiful, but not because of Hilton.

Ok, OK. She's kind of cute but the fakeness, the celbrety crap is gross. She might look very nice in a pair of jeans w/o makeup and hair color &tc.

I guess there's a manger in Moretti's display too! According to a blog call the Defamer,
"A nearby manger scene playfully recasts Joseph and Mary with Paris and current Greek shipping heir beau Stavros Niarchos (with removable head, in case the romance ends before the end of December), and the infant Jesus with Hilton’s adorable pet monkey, Baby Luv."

"Recasting" the manger's infant Jesus w/ Paris' pet monkey? Cool!! Not that there's anything wrong w/ whatever religion people choose to follow, but this is the kind of gesture that says a lot about the "religious right's" moron-asshole-bury-your-head-in-the- sand-our-way-is-the-only-way-return-to-the-dark-ages guilt-ridden and contolling attitudes. Somehow.

And more from the Defamer, regarding Paris' very uh, welcoming pose:
"And while the larger-than-life image of Hilton spreading her legs at the center of the shrine might give some pause, they might reconsider their righteous ire when they learn that the pose is meant to accommodate the placing of over a hundred gifts for underprivileged children between the celebutante’s splayed thighs on Christmas Eve."

Now I think that's downright sweet.

And of all the digging I did, the Defamer Hollywood blog was the only place that mentioned the charity aspect or the manger.

Merry fucking Halloween everybody. C7

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Perception Management

Rendon Group : engineering consent. See this article in Rolling Stone. Paid 16 million by BushCo to fuck with your mind. Now look at the result.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Score one for Darwin

People are voting to stop the supression of scientific evidence. We are sick of bone-headed caveman rightwing bullshit attempts to put up twisted interpretations of the bible and twisted interpretations of reality as scientific theory.

From this article in the New York Times regarding recent schoolboard elections in Deleware [Pennsylvania, not Deleware]:

On Tuesday, the residents of Dover ousted all eight school board members running for re-election who had put their town in a global spotlight and their school district on trial for being the first in the nation to introduce intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in science class. In swept the full Dover Cares slate of eight candidates, which had coalesced to oppose the change in the science curriculum.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Watch The ACLU Freedom Files November 9th or 24th 2005 at at 8 pm EDT/PDT. Also available at www.aclutv.com starting November 11 2005. The American Civil Liberties Union is an important voice in this time when BushCo is stepping all over basic consititutional rights. This week's episode of the ACLU Freedom Files features Lewis Black - from Comedy Central's The Daily Show - providing a funny, biting commentary on the state of dissent in America.

Monday, November 07, 2005

White phosphorus


And I thought the use of depleted uranium (which burns armor but then leaves behind radiation) was horrible.

See this story in the 11/7/05 UK Independant.

--Phosphorus bombs ("Willy Pete") and an enhanced form of Napalm known as Mark 77 were supposedly used over there, in Falujah, a year ago. All this according a documentary being released by RAI," an Italian state media organization, called Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre.

Was this really necessary? Are there better things our tax dollars should be spent on?

Who runs our country? Cheney does

And who fucks it up? Same person. That rat Cheney.

Who pulls the puppet strings? Why is this guy there? Beats me.

See James Carrol's 11/7/05 column in the Boston Globe for a pretty good rundown of Cheney career highlights going back to the Nixon days.

Let me tell you, this guy might make a pretty good petty tyrant in a McDonald's or a Walmart in Peoria, yelling at minumun wage employees and etc, but he should not be vice president and he should not be dominating the president.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Political Ringtones (via boingboing)

Now this is fucking wierd- at first glance. But it makes sense, and it's funny. "Brownie yer doin' a wonderful job" overlaid on the old song "City of New Orleans." -Every time your cellphone rings!!

How about Bush's "we wanna keep all options on the table" juxtaposed with an air-raid siren sample from that guy's website at www.airraidsirens.com? (cool site- full of air-raid siren samples, video, mechanical breakdowns of how they work, etc. If you grew up in the 60's like I did you remember them testing the sirens weekly all over town- it was on Thursdays, I believe, in Sacramento. These days here in Tucson they blow the air raid siren daily at noon on Davis Monthan Air Force Base- a mournful, chilling, deeply disturbing sound you can hear in my neighborhood about 3 miles away. This is nothing, however, compared to the sound of these fuckers going off all over town- shudder. There is a defunct siren not far from here that I see on my morning ride to work- I'll have to photograph it and post it here asap!!)

Anyways, we used to make sound cut-ups with Reagan crap years ago. I don't think there will ever again be a King of the Idiots quite as grand as Reagan was, although Bush is equally pitiful and a good bit scarier.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The UK Guardian calls it "pressure"

Jeeze: This article in the UK Guardian says it all right now: Eastern Europe former Gulag sites are apparently now being used by the good old US for storing "terror detainees." All the records of this should be public, but they are not. Secrecy in government once again shows its ugly face.

Secret Prisons

Secret prisons are not secret anymore. This just does not sound like my country. I just sense something really horrible and ill about this. Rundown of the story is here in Newsday. ...Once again AZ Senator McCain figures prominently, speaking out against torture and things that are just plain wrong.

C'mon people, where are our tax dollars going? Secret prisons? Is it not time we all start wondering about such things?

Plenty of conservatives (McCain is one) have had it with this crap. Another prominent idea that seems to be behind what I see as a split in the Republican party and a massive loss of NeoCon power is the idea that the military should be for defense, i.e. for defending the U.S, that the military should not be spread thin overseas, leaving us here at home vulnerable to some catastrophe or other. Maybe that's what they want. Who knows what the Neocons will pull when they are driven to the wall, and the pattern of dishonesty, deception, deceit, disregard for the law, and destruction becomes increasingly exposed.

Other thoughts:
How long will it be before we start seeing pictures of u.s. prison inmates in hoods? How long before prisoners are exposed to cold temperatures, shocked, threatened with dogs, exposed to extremely loud noise, etc?

The press is fuctioning, at least somewhat. Things that're happening are at least getting reported. What a ray of hope. You can bet the spin at Fox and thru Limbaugh and his clones is in a heavy gear. I ought to be comparing some of the statements from that camp w/ others, ought to be holding them both up to quick analysis vs. accepted principles of journalistic integrity, vs. recognized attributes of persuasion.

I really think BushCo is on the run -always has been, in fact. That's what happens when a company weaves a web like that. But what will they pull next? I mean, it's getting popular for people to say, "hey, it's about time for one of their famous diversions of public attention!" -jokingly. The point is this strategy, knowledge of it, that is, used to be kind of esoteric. So, I think it'll be a "take wind out your sails argument-" maybe doing nothing, making no comment while working furiously to fix things behind the scenes, or else some crisis, real or otherwise, to divert people's minds from our fucked-up invasion, our fucked-up reasons for doing it, and the fact that people are not so divided as the Neocons want us to be.

Divided over a canard. I've said it before- we all want the same things: safety, family life, jobs, the chance to excel, succeed, do something good with our lives, socialbility, health, happiness, freedom. I used to think people were coming together when Clinton was president, then I started seeing us all somehow divided, mostly over a bunch of bone-head, primitive, old fashioned ideas that don't even deserve public debate.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Update to Road Rage

Saturday I headed west and joined Daily Ride for a trip up and down the Santa Cruz river. Afterward I took the road SS up A Mountain and felt pretty strong for a change. Took the previously mentioned route home via the industrial Aviation Corridor. Found the connecting road link to the Golf Links Rd. bike trail and the route home. The hell, I connected with the same route I use to get to Fantasy Island (when I ride out there rather than drive) and goddamn if I couldn't take a mountainbike on this city ride and hit F/I on the way home.

Road Rage

After the meeting yesterday it was noon and I knew I was a free man for the rest of the week. Naturally I headed to No Anchovies for a couple of slices and a glass of Nimbus.

I decided even tho I didn't have my bike shorts I'd take a long ride home. I settled on the Aviation corrider via 4th Avenue. Not bad at all. You get to cross the snake-bridge and go thru that odd neighborhood south of the Country House (now called Chafin's- it's the place that used be a Sambo's, and where you still get huge amounts of potatoes with your eggs and kind of bad, wood-tasting coffee). Hit the corridor and it's kind of uphill along the route across from the tracks. It looks like you're riding in a storm drain in some places, and there's graffiti, and it smells like sewers. You pass thru neighborhoods of people who have a lot of cars in their yards, home-made hand-welded barBQ's, and industrial places like car repair shops, fleet maintenance businesses and etc.

If you follow the trail to the end you get dumped out by the west edge of the base, about a quarter mile from Nimbus brewery. It's inhospitable w/o a mountain bike around that part, but not inacessible. I kind of had a tough time getting to the bike trail that follows along Golf Links, but it *looks* like if you catch 36th st. near the end of the corridor, 36th will dump you off right across from the bike trail, and there's a traffic light to get you across the howling, anonymous concrete stretch of highway.

In fact, that whole area looks like something out of a J.G. Ballard book, highways going everywhere, concrete walls, and patches of land in between with nothing but mesquites- no trash, no homeless, no rocks, just totally forgotten invisible patches of dirt, mostly triangular in shape. Ballard's book I'm thinking of is Concrete Island- people get stuck in one of those places and have to live there indefinitely.

So, you get to follow the bike trail east along Golf Links along a huge rock filled wash, thick w/ mesquites. There are fake rocks along the trail here and there, w/ graffiti, one of them smashed so you can see its hollow inside. Swan is a mile. You cross, head north thru a huge deserted park and past more backyards of an inexpensive neighborhood, across 29th, across 22nd, and as you approach Broadway you see the big dumb skyscraper you can see from my backyard. From there it's a half mile to my house. About 15 miles, I believe- I can't find my detailed city-map to check it out tho.

Anyway, a pretty good street ride, but it's over too quick- a half hour after you get warmed up, in fact.

Adding to the ride would be along the lines of, say, starting from my house, heading north to the Rillito river trail, catching it at Craycroft, then going west. There is a mile of dirt between Country Club and Campbell- nothing street bikes couldn't handle. Near Campbell, there are dozens of variations on a foothills street hill-climb-loop that can be added. I think then down Mountain, hit No Anchovies for beer and food, west to 4th ave, go south and hit the Aviation Corridor, and home via the route I just described above. If it's a festive occasion, hit Nimbus on the way home for more beer!!

Other options are adding a loop up A Mountain. Or heading to the end of the Rillito in the west, then south to the downtown/ UA area. The (street) connection between the west end of the Rillito and paved part of the Santa Cruz river trail is fuzzy, but it's there. Someday they'll pave the stretch of the trail north of Grant; they're definitely planning that.

Anyway the point is that this street ride is something approaching your San Fran city loop, in terms of distance, difficulty, and the idea of circling the whole city.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Blame it on Scooter

I don't need to tell you this is a BIG THING. Libby getting indicted shows someone somewhere in the federal government thinks Bush and company is responsible for following the law. Of course I don't need to tell you if Rove or Cheney turns out to be officially responsible for revealing Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent, this is going to be thicker kettle of fish.

Things on my mind right now:

1. Clinton. The whole rightwing/psycho-based shitstorm over the impeachment they drummed up: So who in the Clinton team revealed the identity of CIA agents as the result of getting pissed off about op ed pieces regarding phony reasons for invading a petty dictator's country? C'mon man, the Clinton administration bombed Iraq every time they even farted outside the no-fly zone. I (and the rest of us who don't suck up whatever Fox News feeds them) think that was about enough.

2. What I should be doing is focusing on the coverage of the Libby indictment by comparing the local TV news coverage vs. NPR, vs. PBS, vs. Reuters, vs. Fox, vs. LA Times, vs. the Guardian vs. polarized & equatorial blogosphere statements. There is a lot of emotional edging and dramatic cues as the bullshit factor increases in any given version of statement of facts. Example: local TV broadcast statement RIGHT AFTER the basic statement of facts regarding the Libby case, "Libby has stated he is completely innocent and is confident he will be fully exonerated of all charges after due legal process." Not much more to the story than that on good ol' channel 13. Poof, take the wind out of the sails of that nastly 'ol argument. Now for some commercials about diapers and constipation.

Of course the national TV news via the networks was not so kind, nor were most newspapers.

My point here is that I think there is a lot more to this story that indicates its seriousness to the Bush admistration that is not getting expressed, and backed up with evidence, in the major media.

Example? Well 2 of the cockiest rightwing neocon sonofabitches ( DeLay & Libby ) are now in deep doodoo. For, naturally, doing the dirtywork of the rats at the top of the tree. In other words, Scooter was a good man to them cuz he agreed to take the fall for rat-bastard Cheney & Rove.

Who's running our goddamn government, eh? You ever wonder what your tax dollars are doing besides building roads? I've said it before & I'll restate it here: These fucks are the kind of person who should be running a McDonald's in Peoria or Chatanooga, that's the kind of management we're looking at- petty tyrants at best. Good at yelling at 14 year olds or disrespecting someone who's had tough a time and who's just trying to get a job. This type of person ought to be in charge of a charity think-tank, a food shelter or a private disater aid foundation. And stick to the respective principles.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

McCain opposes allowing torture.

I can see people snickering about torture. In a giant SUV pulling up to the drive-in window of a McDonald's. Folks who buy into the whole BushCo rhetorical stlye. "Oh, the tree-huggers and the bleeding hearts want to prevent us from torturing the [insert whatever popular, misguided racial or or Limbaugh-generated object-word]'s..."

Who could have predicted, however, that a powerful Republican senator, who'd been locked up as a POW, and tortured, in Viet Nam, would put his foot down on the issue? Who could have predicted that once again, Democrats and Republicans are opposing BushCo policies together?

The news story is here in the Reuters news roundup of a couple days ago. The gist of the story is that the White House (via that rat Dick Cheney) is opposing regulations that forbid the use of torture by the CIA and similar agencies.

The regulations are supported by a crowd of higher-ups from both parties.

Senator McCain is a braver individual than most fat-asses in SUV's pulling up to McDonald's. A braver individual than most folks who hurriedly reach for the radio dial when it's time for Limbaugh's program. One of a large number of Republicans are unafraid to speak out against BushCo.

A couple of things I've said before and will say again:

Opposition to BushCo and BushCo ways is widespread in both parties and always has been. Opposition over conservationism, environmental issues, economic foolhardiness, civil liberties, the supression of scientific evidence, separation of church and state, is widespread and deep in both parties. It seems to get shellacked (sp?) over in the news media somehow, too.

You can't predict how this whole saga will come out- i.e. the truth will out. Even w/ all the thinktanks (i.e. professional bullshit-machines) in the world, you cannot predict exactly how light will be shed on secretive, destructive BushCo policy, and the lies used to legitimize and hide such policy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

DeLay and the downfall of BushCo

Arrest warrant issued for DeLay. DeLay is being arrested on corruption and money laundering charges. In Texas. See this AP story.

My cousin Jennifer down there in Texas told me that they are all not a bunch of buttheads down there, and I guess this backs up her statement.

Naturally, AP plays down the facts, "oh, of course this is just routine, happens all the time, the warrent is ALWAYS issued, just proceedural, mind you," Blah blah blah.

Momentum. Remember a couple weeks ago when I posted about "Big Mo?" OK, well momentum is happening. I said long ago they are all going to jail. BushCo, et al are not immune to the law. Apparently their strategy was to act like they are immune to laws, "we're takin over, n' yer laws're goin' the way of Old Europe." But that doesn't cut it, like the playground bully and his friends who all the other kids finally get sick of.

Imponderable: What will the Christian Right do when they no longer have a man at the top? And finding themselves increasingly recongnized as a bunch of half-assed Neandethals. A loud-mouthed minority at best, ruling through guilt and fear- "God sez this, god sez that...we know cuz we're in touch with god, yessirree. An' you better buy the party line or you're gonna find out what it's like to be rejected by a bunch of guilt-dispensing moron half-wits." With BushCo losing credibility, they don't really have much to stand on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's made-up words from the Simpsons!!

made up words from the Simpsons. Ya I got it from boingboing. For example,


>A scientist with questionable credentials who publicly supports spurious hypotheses. From "Lisa the Vegetarian":

"Jimmy: Uhh, Mr. McClure? I have a crazy friend who says it's wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?
Troy: No, just ignorant. You see, your crazy friend never heard of "The Food Chain." Just ask this scientician.
'Scientician': [Looks up from microscope] Uh…
Troy: He'll tell you that, in nature, one creature invariably eats another creature to survive."

[this is timely, what w/ the "intellegent design" bullshit. ...Ever hear of "flying spaghetti monster?"]

How 'bout this? Not from boingboing:


This guy's badass. I worship the ground he walks (in his stocking feet) on. Got some fairwheel bike socks at Fairwheel the other day. Really cool. Best socks I ever put on.

Ahh, so what the hell's going on. Glad you called.. Socially dull around here. Did you make it back in time for your show? Say hi to dubya for me? What the hell's going in Philly? Say hi to Simoºª•¶§∞¢£™¡åß∂ƒ©˙∆˚¬…æ÷≥≤µ˜∫√ç≈Ωºª•¶§∞¢£™¡n~'? (looking for a nasal o and accent there). There's something on the a-file I'd like to request. Will dig it up later.

Wierd sounds from the highschool coming tonight. The whole marching band is up there. They are not playing music per se. Just their military-sounding chanting (which I hate, and which I never heard up there prior to the Dubya-regime), and you can hear the director/teacher over his megaphone/microphone, "blah blah, blah, blah blahblahblah." Then this metallic metronome sound, "tink-tink, tink-tink, tink-tink," (played by one of the drummers, I'm sure) interspersed w/ like a wood, "tock tock" sound, then the wailings of the band as they tease, comment on, agree with, disagree with, cheer for the band director. Blah-Blah-blahblahblah, in their hoarse voices. The whole thing is pretty cool, given the stops and starts. I don't think they quite intend or know it to be so, but there ya go. And when they do pick up their instruments, they really do rock. Loud, with loud drums and loud horns, holy smokes, reminds me of Violet Blue writing about Extra Action Marching Band, up there in your territory. (see http://www.tinynibbles.com/blogarchives/2005/10/my_life_with_th.html ) Those fuckers (the Rincon High School marching band) are out there till like 10 o'clock sometimes. They've been practicing "You never give me your money" from the Beatles' Abbey Road, and McCartney's Live & let Die a lot this season.

I'm going up to get more beer, take a passing look at the band.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Brazil's government dumps Windows OS

Wow this is amazing. See this post at boingboing- Brazil is switching all their computers to open-source software cuz Brazil is sick of Microsoft's huge licensing fees.

Nice move. Not only is Windows' UI infuriating and obtuse, not only do wierd things happen when you copy files, not only is Windows designed to NOT work with the rest of the computer world, you have to pay huge amounts of money to do things like access Windows servers, individual databases, etc. etc.

My old boss was such a Windows goodie-goodie, jumpin' on the bandwagon at every new release. He'd attend a conference, read a book or two, and spout off how great the new MS dot.net platform was. When it came time to pay the fees and licenses? "We're not even going to mention that," he'd say. Wow.

What a goof. I used to tell him we should not be using Microsoft products at all. He'd look at me like I was a nutcase. Meanwhile, the other programmer (I was NOT a programmer at this job- I was the net admin) on the staff, a versatile, open-minded engineeer on whom my fat-ass boss relied for a lot of good code and solutions, was busy loading Debian Linux on old Macs and PC's, and participating in the development of Debian in his spare time. "So that way, we're not beholden to either Bill or Steve, right?" he'd say, grinning ear to ear. What a guy, I sure do miss him. He was also very encouraging of my ability w/ the tables and intricacies of databases, of which we had a lot at that place. The other guy, the fat-ass, really strove to keep me out of that area and tried to set me up to fail on more than one occasion. I kept outsmarting him and he eventually fired me! Asshole.

Anyway. Gilberto Gil, Brazil's Minister of Culture, from the boingboing snippet:

"'This isn't just my idea, or Brazil's idea,' Gil says. 'It's the idea of our time.'"

Makes me want to get back into the business. Maybe I could invent a database (based on an open-source platform) that was full of tips and tricks for outsmarting fat, lying Machiavellian assholes...

[12/17/05]-->This Linux blogger in MO had a relevant post regarding the ongoing un-Windowsifying process in MA.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ariticles by Christian Parenti in The Nation

This is the kind of journalist they call a traitor these days. His articles in The Nation are listed here.

Parenti in Bagdhad July 2004

In this article in The Nation, Christian Parenti hits the streets outside the Green Zone. He describes the Bagdhad of July 2004.

Christian Parenti interview in Mother Jones

Mother Jones interview from 01/05

Here is a journalist who does not consider himself particulary left wing ( even though he is the son of a pretty serious "marxist" scholar [hey, it's a free country, ok?]), quoting from an interview in Mother Jones:

"The military is, generally, a bunch of regular working-class Americans from all over the country. They work extremely hard and remain serious with whatever their task is: changing tires, getting computers to work, making sure communications are operational, making sure there is enough water and food, etc. You just get this serious, all-business, approach to the operations as a whole."

Right. And we need a strong military. To defend ourselves. We don't need to send 150,000 people and spend billions of dollars to invade a tinhorn Mideast dictator who's been getting bombed every time he farts since the early 90's.

This reporter Parenti happens to be the kind of guy who would have Rush Limbaugh and lots of other right wing types shitting bricks, because Parenti went over there and did his damnedest to interview the Iraqi insurgence as well spending a lot of time embedded w/ the U.S. Military.

Parenti also managed to piss of The News Hour on PBS as well by relaying facts he observed regarding how lots of people still had no power or water.

"just because you don't want to be in Iraq doesn't make you a traitor to your country"

Quoting from this 0304 interview on the radio program Democracy Now!, "Cody," from the U.S. Army, who was and still may be over there. More:

"...the thing about speaking out is a lot of questions about how you will be looked at after that. Anyone that's anti-Bush or anti-war will be looked at as a traitor and I’m just trying to put out to everybody that you can be -- you can love the Army and you can love America and just because you don't want to be in Iraq doesn't make you a traitor to your country. That doesn't make you any less patriotic. But you're being labeled that way because, you know, they're trying to suppress what the real morale is over there."

...From an interview w/ journalist and writer Christian Parenti, the soldier "Cody," and Michael Hoffman, a former Marine speaking out.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Paul "Earthquake" Pena obit

Paul Pena passes away at 55. Subject of a wonderful movie, Genghis Blues, about Tuva and the singers there, Paul Pena wrote a couple big songs Steve Miller had hits with, and was, more importantly an important bluesman and a conduit of this oddball Tuvan music, aka Tuvan Throat Singing.

Summing up our great country in a song

Oh my goodness, something about this song just sums up what our country (USA) is all about. Song is, I think, Roadside Flowers, by Winter Hours. I couldn't find a good pic of the band so I'm putting up this pic of a library in Rhode Island instead.

The lyrics go, as heard by me:

Follwing the footsteps that you gave me
I walked out alone,
highway streching out in front of me.
Then I saw the billboards
and the smoke from the refinery,
where the open sky it used to be.
Passin thru the small towns
and the clapboard houses beaten down,
I could hear a distant churchbell ring.
There beneath the maple trees
it all comes rushin back to me,
a simple thing forgotten long ago.

long ago, long ago, I heard those bells toll...
I don't walk alone
I don't don't own the lonely roar
I don't walk alone,
Just see the the road side flowers
look how they have grown.

I have been in cities where
multitudes enveloped me,
the stations and depots felt so cold.
Looked up at the city spires
they couldn't build them any higher,
A giant's teeth were clenched around my soul.
I walked along the river side
to watch the changin of the tide
and the black cloud hanging over me.

over me, over me, hangin over me,

[chorus] [mandolin solo]

And thru the roar of factories
reminded me of battlefields
where our brightest promises were lost.
overcome by fire and steel
groaning for humanity,
a thousand voices drowning in that roar.
And this is
Mister Harriman
rolling in his comforts and his spoils.
With the we wind we headed west
taking little time to rest
felt the prairies burning under me.

under me, under me, burning under me,

[chorus] [pedal steel & guitar solos] [end]

More evidence of momentum!!

I'd like to keep with the theme of momentum- momentum being my feeling that soone or later, we will ALL get sick of BushCo and quit putting up with so much shit.

In Phoenix, people are sick of personal information about high school students being automatically given to military recruiters. This story from the Arizona Daily Star has details, but the point is students and parents are standing up for privacy, going, "hey wait a minute here, who the hell says that the U.S. Military should have my contact info if I didn't ok it in the first place?"

Friday, September 30, 2005

Bennett (not Meese) and the downall of BushCo

[Update--it was William Bennett, not Edwin Meese, that made the incredibly stupid remark about abortion, crime rate and the color of human skin.]

Ooh, it was just a little theoretical genocide....

Of course BushCo, et al, said Bennett's (not Meese's) language was not appropriate! Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, even that hardcore rightwing clown who used to write speeches for Nixon, what the hell was his name, oh yeah Pat Buchannan (sp?), would say Meese's statement was bad!

Of course Bennett is making BushCo and the whole phony baloney bullshit "conservative" cause look like idiots, since Bennett is pulling down big bucks yammering on the right wing radio circuit.

Hey Bill Bennett, if you aborted all human fetuses, crime would go down, since we humans are the particular kind of animals that commit crimes, you fool.

Momentum and the fall of BushCo

"Big Mo," it used to be called by a football loving jock I used to work with.

Momentum 1: DeLay in trouble, actually indicted in Texas of all places, for what amounts to political money laundering. DeLay is one of the most cocky and negative of the Neocons, working to pack Texas with republican congresspeople, simply so the rightwing could get their way in Washington.

Momentum 2: Judith Miller, accompanied by the publisher of the New York Times, testifies in the Grand Jury looking into the matter of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA covert operative being revealed by someone close to the top in Washington. The revelation came after Plame's husband, in a New York Times op-ed piece, criticized BushCo's rationale for the invasion of Iraq. The op-ed piece was written after evidence was published suggesting Iraq was not really a global threat after all. It's a crime to reveal info about agents, and that's the reason for the Grand Jury.

Basically it looks like BushCo stepped on its own foot in trying to punish Plame's husband for speaking out against BushCo and the invasion of Iraq.

But what a story, somewhat twisted- involving the not only the op-ed piece, but a column by Robert Novak, which was where Plame's association with the CIA was supposedly revealed. Rove's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is supposedly the source the Times reporter Judith Miller wouldn't identify- Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify, btw. The source finally agreed to being identified and that's what led to Miller's 4-hour testimony yesterday.

Apparently Libby, Rove's [actually Cheney's] chief of staff, confirmed to Times reporter Miller that CIA operative Plame's role had indeed been revealed to the columnist Novak by Rove. Libby and Rove, according the AP, also met with another reporter from Time magazine, a Matthew Cooper, and told Cooper something about Plame. It looks like Wilson's testimony was key to the Grand Jury since she can corroborate what the Time magazine reporter testified to.

Convoluted. I'll have to dig up the press articles involved- the article by Novak from, I believe, 2003, the op-ed by Plame's husband in the NYT. Wonder what Matthew Cooper from Time and Miller from the NYT wrote, as well.

Didn't mean to go on and on but my point is this makes the Bush administration look very bad. This is this kind of thing that can go a long way towards showing some of the supporters exactly how those people do business. The supporters seem to bury their heads in sand, buying into myths about a liberal media, and etc. See my site re BushCo- the Oliver page.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

104 degrees

Ah life in Tucson. Where else can you roast in 100 plus temperatures in the last days of September? It was 108 the day I was born- in Sacramento. No wonder I ended up here.

Not to say I'm not getting a little tired of Tuscon, having been here since 1978, October 21, in fact, my Dad's birthday, in fact. I remember when I came here- I was 17 and had dropped out of not one but two highschools, the second being the righteously good Sandy Spring Friends, in Sandy Spring, MD. My folks were packing up and getting ready to come back to the Sacramento area after our 5 years in Maryland. My brother here in Tucson told me I ought to come out for a couple weeks and visit, soak up a little of Tucson. That was it, I've been here since.

Every time I go up to San Fran to see my friends I take a breath of that nice sea air, look around a bit and then I don't want to come back.

Feeling like a stranger here for 27 years. I feel like I'm home when I'm up there.