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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

But... They're fighting for freedom!

Via Byte Back I'd like to share with you this delightful tale:

Military officials are investigating a Marine who says he shot an Iraqi soldier twice in the back of the head following a grenade attack on his comrades.
Covarrubias, 38, of Las Vegas, said that during an intense battle in Baghdad on April 8, he pursued a member of the Iraqi Republican Guard who fired a rocket-propelled grenade at his unit. Covarrubias said he received a concussion in the attack and several other Marines also were injured.

Covarrubias, a 20-year Marine veteran, said he found the soldier inside a nearby home with the grenade launcher by his side. Covarrubias said he ordered the man to stop and forced him to turn around.
"I went behind him and shot him in the back of the head. Twice," Covarrubias told the Review-Journal.
"I'm not vindictive, and I might get in trouble for telling you this, but I take it very personally when you do that to my family," Covarrubias said. "The Marines are my family."
Marine reservist Sgt. Michael Dunn, who fought alongside Covarrubias and was injured in the battle, said he stands by him "100 percent."

"If he wouldn't have done it, those guys probably would've come back and killed or severely injured other Marines," Dunn said. "He did the right thing."

Note to Covarrubias: Look up "vindictive" in the dictionary. Note to Dunn and Covarrubias: You ever hear of taking prisoners? Note to Covarrubias again: You should be in jail.

I don't share these tidbits of Marines Gone Wild! with you in order to denigrate the military at all. I think I've mentioned before pretty much my whole family minus my mom was in the military at some point, and my goddaughter's dad is currently in the army, looking to go to Afghanistan soon. I share these tidbits because I feel it's important to take a very pragmatic view toward the military.

Military worship is something every nation on the planet should avoid like a poo stick. A cursory glance at history (I admit I am no expert) shows plenty of horrors wreaked upon the world due to military worship plus fervent nationalism. You know, colonial Britain, both Kaiser and Nazi Germany, Japan pre WW2, Rome, and so forth. We've got a bevy of mistakes in our basket as well, a few land grabs from our early history, Guatemala in 1954, Vietnam, and, uh… Iraq.

I really can't understand how people can despise the government, think taxes are immoral, and only refer to politicians as "fat cats", but at the same time think that every bomb we drop is dropped in the pursuit of "freedom". Don't they understand that it's the same system, the same people, and the same motivations, just projected across the sea? Does it give someone a nice, warm, fuzzy victimized feeling to think they're being screwed every paycheck via income taxes? In contrast to a horrible, debilitating, bewildering feeling to think nations are being destroyed and people being killed for no good reason by their elected leaders?

Are people just a bunch of pussies? Too intellectually weak to confront the horrible truth? Like, a couple million people were killed in Vietnam and Cambodia for no good reason? That Guatemala's democratic government was overthrown for no good reason? That the entire pretense for the Iraq war was a bunch of lies?

What are these people giving thanks for? Not considering the emergency workers (which makes more sense), or Afghanistan either, what do these people think they're thanking soldiers for? A few examples of titles:

Thanks for fighting for our country

Thanks for keeping us free

Thank you for fighting for us

Thanks for protecting our country

Thanks for all you've done for us

Huh? What did attacking Iraq have to do with "us"? The WMDs that posed a "direct threat"? The ones we haven't found and apparently we knew didn't really exist? If it's proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iraq was by no means a threat to the US, will each one of these people who thanked the soldiers for "protecting" us recant their words?

"Uh, well, I guess what you were sent to do had nothing to do with protecting me or the US in any way, so… I guess I really don't have any reason to "thank" you per se…"

Of course not. Right now you might think I'm saying soldiers should be spat upon or something to that effect. Well fuck you, you pea-brain. Soldiers are told what to do. They don’t get to decide if they're fighting for a just cause or for the reasons everyone says they are, they just get to decide how to stay alive. It's our job to separate the soldier, who does deserve a modicum of appreciation for taking a horrible job no one wants, from the reasons for war and those who wage them.

Think about it, what were they thanking the soldiers for? If we're talking about Iraq, they weren't protecting our country, they weren't fighting for our freedom by any stretch of the imagination, they weren't doing anything in the service of the American people at all. So why are people thanking them for these things? And should they be kidding themselves like that, trying to shape reality via their desire for the soldiers to be fighting an imminent danger?

We're taking the first steps toward a horrible future where our barely functioning, cash-determined government wages brutal wars of economic conquest while the population at home looks on with inappropriate, teary-eyed sentimentality ( I feel Goodwin's Law coming on). We're so desperate for another greatest generation we're willing to forgo actual moral, substantive consideration of all things related to war just so every soldier, even ones who execute the enemy in violation of every code of war and moral consideration, gets to be a "hero". This is a definite step down that mud-brick road. If Covarrubias doesn't get court-martialed, that's another step.

Soldiers are people hired to do a horrible job no one would ever want to do if it didn't have to be done. They're just people. They can be everything from a complete scumbag to a freaking saint; being a soldier doesn't change that. There is something "noble" about the military when you remove it and all its trappings from context, and there is something "noble" about those who do join to serve their country. However, it's idiotic, self-evidently illogical, to think: "therefore everything they do is noble and good…" Not only idiotic but dangerous. To invoke Goodwin's Law, the machinations of Hitler and the Nazis had pretty good popular support from the German people. It's not unheard of for people to go along with horrible acts willingly and firmly convinced they are the ones doing good. In fact, it's pretty common.

Being "Americans" doesn't make us any different.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Coming soon...

Probably next week I'll have more on the documentary I'm planning, for which I am going to solicit donations from this site. It's going to be based upon a series of interviews with a WW2 vet who fought with Merrill's Marauders in Burma. I've been putting together budgets and such, and sent a letter to the man in question just the other day. Basically as soon as I hear from him I'll start the process.

Until then blogging may be lite. Stay tuned!


Saw Alterman at the festival of books the other day. He and a couple other people were on a panel titled: Is the media biased?

To which Alterman pointed out it should be, "Are the media biased"?

The panel was entertaining, but not much else. He's a funny, quick-witted guy, more so than I thought. He's also more New York Jewish than I thought, "Who needs with so much Murdoch?! Oy!" (just kidding).

Afterwards I got my copy of What Liberal Media signed. Know what I said to him? Getting my book signed by someone I respect greatly and know what I said?

"Good... thing... in there. Panel."

I'm nothing if not articulate.

So Eric Alterman thinks I'm an idiot... That's cool.

I always do that when I meet someone in the public eye that I admire; act like an idiot that is. I don't break down all sitcommy style, I just say very little and say that small amount poorly. I guess I'm just afraid that if I "turned it on" I'd be too cool and wow them too much and that they'd start doing stuff like calling at 3 am asking me, "what're you thinking about?" It's better safe than sorry, I don't want to be anyone's unhealthy fixation, famous or not.

Oh yeah, Alterman needs to NordicTrak or something, he's got hisself a healthy pouch.

Friday, April 25, 2003

From the "Grind Them Into Coyote Feed" department:

This sick fuck.

[T]he yard was most disturbing to agents, who found carcasses of at least 30 animals, including the skeleton of one big cat sharing a cage with a live burro, McBride said. Inside three freezers were the frozen bodies of 58 cubs, and the bodies of numerous animals in various states of decomposition.

I remember seeing this guy on the local "news" just a few weeks ago. He needed donations or he'd have trouble taking care of his animals...

[update] This guy was not the same guy as on the news.

Grind him into coyote feed. Grind him up good.

When this blog was new I wrote about some bear poachers here in So. Cal (link no longer good, here's a description of the article). If you want a long, rambling treatise on why I think it's a horrible crime to treat wild (or any, really) animals with disrespect, check it out.

Animal cruelty (not the PETA kind, the non-fundamentalist kind) is just as much a breakdown of human morality as is war or murder. You can't be a decent person and beat the shit out of a dog or kill condors for fun or shit like that. You pull that kind of shit you're a real bastard. Yeah, yeah, maybe you were brought up wrong, beaten by your parents, I understand all that... The thing is our society at-large doesn't seem to take animal cruelty, or severe disrespect (hunting for deer from a pickup truck, for instance) for what it is- the act of a severly damaged conscience. It seems "middle America", whatever the fuck that is (boring, fat people watching 6 hours of TV a day?), can't acknowledge the depravity behind such acts because that will put them in league with the fringe "meat is always murder" crowd? I just don't get it. Why is respect for those weaker than you considered a character flaw?

This brings me to something else I wanted to share, and it's somewhat related. Couple weeks ago there was an article in the WSJ (won't link cuz you have to pay) titled: Hoping to Fend Off Trauma, Marines Share War Horrors.

It discusses a few marines' experiences and how they're dealing with them:

Marine Cpl. James Lis, 21 years old, is worried that for the rest of his life he'll be haunted by the image: A clean-shaven, twentysomething Iraqi in a white shirt, lying wounded in an alleyway and reaching for his rifle -- just as Cpl. Lis pumped two shots into his head.

"Every time I close my eyes I see that guy's brains pop out of that guy's head," Cpl. Lis, from Shreveport, La., told his platoon mates Thursday, as they sat in a circle in the ruins of the Iraqi Oil Ministry's employee cafeteria. "That's a picture in my head that I will never be able to get rid of."

I feel for the guy. That's got to be tough. Who wouldn't be affected and who would enjoy such a thing? They don't have a choice, being that it's their job to kill, but they're still human.

Then I read this, describing that same scene in which a second marine was involved:

He saw the young Iraqi in the white shirt lying on his back, his right arm extended above his head, where a rifle lay. Another rifle was near his left arm. When the man moved his right arm toward the rifle, Sgt. Wolkow shot him. The man started moving again, and this time both Marines shot him in the head, Cpl. Lis firing twice.

Then Cpl. Lis performed the eye-thump ritual [they poke the eye of a suspected dead person with their rifle to check if they're really dead- Tim] on the man. "It's the sickest feeling I've ever had in my life," he said at the therapy session.

Sgt. Wolkow had a more fleeting reaction. "As much as I love the Marine Corps and want to kill people, for a few seconds there was a kind of eerie feeling," after the first time he shot the man, he said. "It went away, and I shot the guy some more."

Sorry, I don't care if you're one of those "everyone in the military is a de-facto golden hero on a winged stallion" types, that is fucked up.

The guy's a marine, and he has to kill people if ordered to, but he wants to kill people? No one should want to kill people, no matter what they're job. Wanting to kill the enemy in a conflict? Sure. But he just "love[s] the Marine Corps and want[s] to kill people". What's this guy going to be like if he leaves the corps? He's got essentially no respect for life, really. His loyalty and respect is probably reserved for a few small, discreet groups. I can guess which- the corps, his family, the US, Church, and whatever discreet, personal relationships he might have. Think that's enough? Hell no! The default ought to be respect for everything unless it actively doesn't deserve respect (like the GOP), and even then don't be a complete dick (unless you're talking about the GOP).

So, to wrap up-- there's something seriously fucked up with people who are cruel and extremely disrespectful to animals and we got to take it for what it is, and-- there's something seriously fucked up with a guy who wants to kill people, military or not, and we got to be able to see through rose-colored military goggles to recognize that, too.


Apartment blues...

Found the perfect apartment. It was on a quiet street in Silverlake (which is sadly overrun by hipsters, but oh well), it was $1200, and it was freaking huge! Two story duplex, first thing is the huge livingroom with hardwood floors, then the large kitchen, then a small backroom with the rear entrance door, which leads out to the backyard that has a patio and a garage and a big tree and some space for a garden; the small bedroom and full bath is downstairs too. The top floor only covers the back of the place, it's got a huge bedroom, an adjoining sunroom, and a door that opens to the freaking roof so you can hang out there...

God. Damn. It. We should have got it. It still kills me to think about it, that was a $1500 apartment easy.


Friday, April 18, 2003

The Delusionists

That's my new word for "conservatives", "libertarians", neo-cons, etc. I think it works well to describe all the political and cultural thugs out there who call themselves conservative or libertarian, but aren't actually either. What they are is intolerant, cynical and mendacious. Their ideology and world-views are so dependant upon a network of ever-changing lies and obfuscations they essentially live in a fantasy world; hence they are Delusionists.

Delusionists are a dangerous bunch. They're reason-chameleons. Their agenda is an open secret, yet very few will honestly describe it. Rather, for every issue that pops up they simply make up a one-time, throwaway reason that somehow sounds good and completely abandon it, implications and all, once it's been found out. Consider the ever-changing justifications for the Iraq war, each one of them either demonstrably false or at least hypocritical. It started with WMDs, moved on to terrorist ties, drone planes came it at some point, nuclear program, mobile chemical labs, etc. At the last minute Bush claimed Palestine was part of the equation, but the very last new justification was "freedom" because freedom is just an idea, you don’t need a stockpile of Sarin gas to justify a war being waged for "liberation". All the while of course, the "real" reason was the US of A, the most powerful nation on the planet, seperated by the two most vast oceans on the planet from any probable "enemies", was threatened by them darn WMDs, which we "knew" they had.

But now that Iraq has "freedom", for the mouth-breather set out there our righteousness has been proven, the cause justified. This despite the fact that there have been essentially no findings of WMDs and the official war justification was that it was part of the war on terror, and had everything to do with the security of the US.

Remember when Bush said the "safety of the American people depends on this direct and growing threat" posed by Saddam? I do. For months and month they sold the war on the idea that we had to do it for out own safety. As recently as March 6th Bush claimed Iraq was a direct threat and said, " I will not leave the American people at the mercy of the Iraqi dictator and his weapons".

It seems pretty clear we ostensibly invaded because Iraq posed a threat. Unless we find nukes and huge barrels full of the Plague with their FedEx labels already attached and made out to "American People, USA" there's absolutely no reason to believe they were a threat at all. The country has fallen in less than a month of fighting, there's no WMDs to be found, no nuclear program, no ICBMs, no proven ties to any international terrorists, we've lost only about 120 people fighting this war so far... Exactly how were they a threat again?

See, they weren't. But none of that matters because no one is likely to care. The false justification is a big issue among, well, informed left-leaning folks mostly, but does anyone think the converted will criticize the administration now that the last advertised goal, "liberation", has taken place (soft of)? Hell no. Why? Because the Delusionist elite, those who make and/or broadcast Delusionist policy (from the Georges Bush to Will), know everything they say is just made-up and doesn't have much to do with reality; they're not out to fool themselves.

Take professional fuckwad Andrew Sullivan (please!), in an open letter to "liberals" he mocks the anti-war stance as being wrong (well, worse than just "wrong") because the justification for the war was so right:

There is absolutely no doubt that this war… saved lives. Compared to the relentless slaughter of Saddam's own people, let alone the terror they lived under, the allied campaign was a model of restraint and liberation, the most precise invasion in world history.

Forgetting that we invaded because Saddam was a "direct threat" to America.

Everyone is going to forget, because Delusionists don't remember. If they did they would have to confront their ever-changing reasons for everything they want to do. Imagine if tomorrow every creep out there who calls themselves a "conservative" (but is really just an arrogant jerk who thinks his taxes pay black people to have kids) woke up and, for some reason, the most important thing on their mind was the legitimacy of Bush's claims of WMDs in Iraq. Rather than fuming on and on how it's unfair to tax progressively they could only think about all the claims the administration made and decided that if they were false, bush had no business being president.

He'd be gone tomorrow. But alas, it's much more soothing to their unthinking ideological credo to just focus on what is correct for the moment: "They're free! Our president is wise and good!"

Remember when social security was to be "privatized"? I do. But then the GOP started denying they ever used the term, or that "privatization" was even what they wanted. If you asked a Delusionist now about privatization they'd probably tell you the term was created by Democrats. Very few would admit the truth.

Or how about those tax cuts? The reasons for the first round changed week after week, few of them having to do anything with actual economic principals. It's no different now.

Delusionists are dangerous because they will always end up "right". Sure, if you took a few minutes to check the facts behind their rhetoric, most of what they say would be presently false. However, no Delusionist grunt is going to bother to check the facts- they trust their comrades- and when honest people finally get around to checking the facts, the Delusionists have moved on, and nobody cares because the reason is different now; and the cycle begins anew.

Iraq changed to a war of liberation because that, in the end, is the only reason that somewhat matched the outcome. If the outcome changes, so will the justification. If we do find a bunch of WMDs it will be about security again, if we don't they'll continue to claim it's about liberation, or whatever works at the time, until people stop paying attention and they can just ignore it. There was no money for Afghanistan's reconstruction in the White House budget , but is it big news? Of course not. The last thing anyone heard is that kids can go back to school in Afghanistan (Kabul)! Proving we did the right thing. Everyone stopped caring. Afghanistan suffers, no one cares, but the Delusionists are still right because, remember, "Kids can go back to school!"

I would say within 6 months Iraq will be old news. We'll have installed some sort of puppet government and given Iraqis "freedom", i.e. no Saddam, and any unrest will be solely the responsibility of those committing the unrest.

The "personal responsibility" argument is one of the Delusionsists' favorites because it reduces everything down to a binary equation. "The only one responsible for a wrong is the individual who committed the act". Imagine if the world actually were ordered under that rubric.

Right now, if you’re a rabid "liberal" hater, your mind is probably whirring with gleefully righteous moral condemnations with which to smite me via the comments section:

Ah ha! The liberal rat shows his stripes! Liberals don't believe in personal responsibility!

Well, first off, rats don't got stripes. Second, consider this tale:

A small town with a decent police force is invaded by a ruthless biker gang. The gang pillages the town for two whole days unopposed then leaves. The police forces are not held responsible for any of the damage and destruction because they are not the ones who did the pillaging. The only ones to blame are the bikers themselves.

Makes sense, huh? The truth of any situation is usually complex, and when it comes to assessing blame for any one thing, say disastrous national policy, there's always plenty of worthy blame to go around.

But the "personal responsibility" meme is employed all the time because it's a powerful delusional tool that always sounds very "common sensible." Take Enron, Worldcomm, etc., etc. The "just a few bad apples" line the administration kept touting effectively insulated from any real scrutiny a system in desperate need of a major overhaul. In this case the personal responsibility line helped shield corrupt capitalism that benefited the Delusionists.

In the case of tort reform the personal responsibility gun is aiming to take away a US citizen's most powerful civil rights tool- the ability to file suit. A few moments on the internet exposes a number of the lies the Delusionists circulate to sway opinion. Lies that anyone who watches Fox News for more than 10 minutes a day will swallow whole when they arrive in the inbox.

It's part of the Delusionist canon. Log on to any online chat forum and you're sure to find some self-described "libertarian" or "conservative", or, much, much worse, a person who describes himself as "independent with conservative leanings" (translation: so delusional I actually believe I'm not a bastard) railing on and on about how liberals will assign blame to anyone but those responsible. So in the case of a looted Baghdad, US forces (a conquering, occupying force) bear no responsibility whatsoever for any of the damage done.

[Sidenote] I read an op/ed piece at the WSJ a long time ago that was a response to a Robert Fisk piece in which he describes being beaten by a bunch of angry, impoverished Afghans (brief description of the article by Fisk here). In the article Fisk is basically overcome by empathy. He writes:

"If I was an Afghan refugee in Kila Abdullah, I would have done just what they did. I would have attacked Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find."

The WSJ made essentially two points: One- We hate Fisk! And, two- The Afghans are the ones responsible and deserve all the blame and Fisk's bleeding-heart liberal response to say it wasn't their fault just goes to show you how liberals always blame someone else.

The "P.R." argument is a powerful one. We still have no serious investigation of the 9-11 attacks. I mean, a schlocky stand-up comedian would say it best, what's that all about? Are we going to place all the blame on the actual (dead) people who carried out the attacks and leave it at that? Probably.

Interestingly, the P.R. argument is thrown out the window when it comes to Clinton. Apparently Clinton is to blame if your kid fibs.

There's plenty of other tools the Delusionists employ that I really don't feel like describing. But the funniest one, to me, is the "everybody else is doing it" line. This is mostly employed by Delusionist grunts, those morons in cyberspace and sitting next to you in the restaurant. Log on to some online chat forum and bring up US foreign policy horrors. Within 10 posts I guarantee someone will dismiss all questioning and condemnation on the grounds that every nation does it, so to criticize the US without simultaneously criticizing every other nation on the planet in detail makes you anti-American. Also, one cannot criticize Israel without first thoroughly criticizing the whole of the Arab world. Yep, the same reasoning Johnny employs when he gets caught drinking prevents you from thinking critically.

What the Delusionist elites do and how they do it is clear; they lie, lie, and lie some more, and thanks to their domination of the means to broadcast their message, and their willingness to fight dirty while demanding the other side stay clean, they can fool people just long enough until a new distraction allows them to switch gears. Everyone "in" on it switches gears at the same time and this uniformity gives credibility to the message; it's what "everybody is saying".

What's puzzling is why they have so many ground troops as well. Why, when the president says this:

"Not enough of our fellow Americans can find work; there's too much economic uncertainty today," he said in a speech here. "For the sake of the workers of America, Congress needs to pass this > jobs growth package soon."

do so many people simply swallow the line? Especially when it's not too hard to see he's lying through his teeth?

I mean, to quote the X-Files title sequence, the truth is out there, why are so many people choosing to live in a fantasy world?

Now, let me be clear, I don’t mean to say there is only one correct view of things and that is a liberal view, no. What I'm describing is a political and cultural movement based upon, and reliant upon, lies, lies, lies. Supply-side economics has never demonstrably been proven to do anything right, except move wealth upward. Vietnam wasn't a very good idea. The Shah of Iran was a bad dude. The WMD evidence was sketchy, at best… all of things and more can be shown to be lies quite easily, but people choose to believe in the Delusionist fantasy world.

Part of it, of course, is just ignorance. Ignorance piled upon ignorance for years and years, so that things that are known to be untrue today are still considered true by many simply because that's how they remember it. Coupled with ignorance is laziness. No one is interested in proving their own assumptions wrong. But ignorance and laziness are traits shared by everyone. I have a friend who thinks he's Republican- he really isn't- he just doesn't know it. Many of the Delusionist talking points "make sense" to him basically because he doesn’t know any better. I sent him a good article on the whole CBO dynamic scoring, white house disaster- how the white house stacked the deck to "prove" supply-side economics right, but proved itself wrong, basically- and his response was something like, "Interesting article. But this guy seems anti-Bush, I'd like to read an objective piece or one from the other side." I had to explain to him that the CBO was the other side. The CBO was Bush's attempt to legitimatize his agenda and their own study showed Bush's agenda was for shit. But, he still didn’t get it. He still thought the CBO study was "opinion" and there was another, equally valid, opposing opinion out there he hasn't read. This is just ignorance, he's just not familiar with the terms of debate; he's not delusional.

What sets the Delusionist ground-troops apart is their willingness to absolutely ignore any and everything that does not already conform to their prejudice. This willingness is a manifestation of their mean self-absorption, what I like to call their crappiness.

All a Delusionist grunt is is a Delusionist-in-waiting. They want the same things the Delusionist puppet-masters want so they're willing to live in, and only reference, a delusional world. These are the people you meet that, when confronted with a direct attack upon one of their false assumptions, will do everything they can to avoid ever answering your question (ad hominem attacks, changing the subject, unrelated counter-attack, etc.). Them peoples are bad, and perhaps nuts, I don't know. The worst of them claim to be inherently more "rational" than anyone to the left of G. Gordon Liddy. If someone stakes claim to "rational" or "reasonable" and refuses to answer direct questions… well you've got one hell of a Delusionist foot-soldier there.

Delusionists are scum, I have nothing but wishes for pox upon them and their souls. And again, let me restate- they're not conservatives- they're not simply looking at the same picture but drawing different conclusions; they're blocking the picture from view and describing a totally different one to the public. They don't represent "another opinion", their opinions are lies based upon lies. What good is an opinion with no understanding or one based upon false assumptions? My friend thinks there are basically two sides, liberal and conservative, and they both are working off the same data, just different opinions. Both sides stretch the truth a little, so really all a person needs to do is decide which side makes more sense and go with them. That may have been true at some point, and I think it still describes "liberals" pretty well, but the conservative movement has been hijacked by Delusionists to such an extent that even actual conservatives cannot help but live in a part fantasy world. While the mendacious left are a minority on the fringes, the mendacious right is the mainstream and constitutes their majority.

Tapped calls the whole mechanism, in a nutshell, the Mighty Wurlitzer. Thankfully, plenty of people are finally starting to call a spade a spade, as The American Prospect does with " All the President's Lies ":

The man simply has no shame.

Good for them.

My view on all of this is that we are seeing a brand-new movement and brand-new political technique. Lie, lie, lie- live in a world of lies- lie some more… buy credibility, buy opinion, shape the nation specifically to maintain the machine, lie some more, etc.

It's new, it's different, it's frightening, and it's working. To fight back we need to remain honest and call out their lies whenever we can. Also, most importantly, we need to convince fence-sitters and non-voters out there that there is a vast, dangerous difference between the political left and the political right right now. There's no longer any "lesser of two evils"; it's "evil" and "marginalized, sometimes wimpy, but not evil".

The proof is out there!


Here's a few samples of some really creepy things people were searching for when they came across my blog:

gordon liddy support the troops [ Ick ]

michael moore is satan [ Real brainiac no doubt ]

japanese mothers suck there sons [ Huh? Why on earth...? ]

paris hilton the brat [ She is, and I do despise her and her creepy sister, but I'm no authority on the subject. ]

how to pretend to be rich fake millionaire [ How bizarre ]

army soldier rape pics [ that is so fucking creepy. I can't even begin to contemplate why someone would search for that (nor why my blog would come up) ]

gyrating butt [ That's actually just funny ]

catherine zeta jones ass [ That's my movie idea! ]

nuking iraq [ Ewwwww. A freeper has been here. Ick. ]

blacks are genetically inferior [ Good lord. ]

whites genetically superior [ Oh come on! Racists shouldn't be allowed internet access. ]

The odd, odd world of Google, eh?

Thursday, April 17, 2003

General Mush-Mouth and the looting of Baghdad

Every time I've ever heard Gen. Tommy Franks speak I've been left asking, "Huh?" So considering his latest I'm really not surprised he sounds like a drunk on "COPS" trying to explain why he's naked in Kmart, I'm just surprised this guy is a general:

"There is nothing more important that we are doing right now within Iraq than providing opportunities for the Iraqi people," he said.

"I actually believe the people in southern Iraq are already beginning to see the benefits and as we move through Iraq with humanitarian assistance, I think you will see it's in every place we go."

Uh… what's "it"? Good lord. Isn't it dangerous to have a general on the battlefield who might tell his troops to: "go forward right now to secure that area if in fact there is no resistance do not not go there unless you've determined you can move through and meet it on the other side, assuming it's there also, and not with that."

He also had this to say about the looting, arson and chaos* gripping Iraq:

The looting goes down every day and I think you will continue to see it go down because the Iraqis are now stepping up and controlling the problems for themselves," Franks said Thursday.

"I am sad, but I don't have any regrets about how the campaign was conducted,"

Translation: "They're running out of things to steal and burn, and we never gave a shit about it anyway." (probably a "who cares about those heathen Ay-rabs anyway?" in there somewhere.)

Franks is probably the perfect general for Mendacious G (my name fer Bush, that and Bushatullah).

But of course he wouldn't have any regrets. I don't know if Franks is a Delusionist, but there's no greater crime to the Delusionist types out there than to have regrets. It indicates self-reflection, which is a weakness. To be a good conservative you can't ever self-criticize.

[Side note- for a pretty good conversation, minus "Registered Breadfruit Jake", about the looting of cultural treasures, check out this Poor Man commentary.]

[*sorry Fisk-o-phobes, but he is the premiere reporter in the Arab world]

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Quick plug for a cool dude

I was roommates with this guy a few years ago, Wayne Grytting (pronounced "yo-yo-mah"), and he put out an eZine called "American Newspeak".

Here it is years later and I'm still on his mailing list, and now it's a book! (And now I'm not an ignorant punk who doesn't understand what he's so worked up about!)

So go here and check out the book for which Howard Zinn sez:

American Newspeak is just what we need in these mad days: a funny guide to the serious assaults on our language, our culture, our minds.

Seriously, Howard Zinn said it.

Check it out!

Friday, April 11, 2003

exactly What Liberal Media got us here?

Excerpt from a letter in the 04/10/03 WSJ (transcribed):

(In response to a previous story regarding John Brady Kiesling's resignation from his diplomatic post)

Mr. Kiesling seems to have conveniently forgotten that war results when diplomacy fails. Even more so when issues involved are non-negotiable. There were numerable U.N. resolutions concerning Iraq, enduring for 12 long years and ignored, that demanded disarmament rather than containment of that vicious tyranny.

President Bush said in September 2001 that we would hunt down and destroy terrorists, and those nations that support terrorism Our government knew Iraq sponsored global terrorism, if the striped-pants set doubts this, then after the conflict subsides maybe a holiday to visit that Boeing 727 at Safi, Iraq, would be in order. It was used for training the al Qaeda terrorists of 9/11.
His belief that President Bush is a liar is flat out wrong: our commander in chief possesses string convictions, something diplomats rarely encounter. It would behoove Mr. Kiesling to review the president's past statements. To serious consider opinions of European elitists, however friendly, is counterproductive.

J.D. Goodwin - Longview, Wash.

OK folks. This is serious. The kid gloves have to come off, you need to be prepared to lose friends and not get laid by dumb bimbos/mimbos as often. This dumb fucker from Longview (I haven't been to Longview, but I am familiar with the area- it's the kind of place where locals might deliberately kill spotted owls "in protest") states as if it were a fact that the 9-11 terrorists were trained in Iraq! He's clinically delusional. Stuff like this just kills me. It kills me. There's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that's even remotely true, yet this guy believes it.

I say take off the kid gloves because this is a crisis- it's a crisis of ignorance. Half our nation could be talked into attacking any nation on the planet for any pretext just through their sheer fucking stupidity, ignorance, laziness, and cultural arrogance. We are the most dangerous nation the world has ever seen. Great googely-moogely, we're walking in the footsteps of Rome, colonial Britain, and pre-Nazi Germany with our eyes wide open, saying this time it's different because we're Americans. We're incapable of empire or doing wrong because we're Americans.

Man, "they" were Romans, "they" were Britons, "they" were Germans; group self-worship plus power plus ignorance equals a shitstorm comin' down on the world's head.

So it's time to confront this ignorance folks. What do I mean? Someone you know that's a loudmouthed know-nothing- get in his fucking face and lay it down. We simply cannot have huge swaths of the nation living in a dream world.

This isn't about right or left, it's about the terms of debate. We can have a democracy that's ideologically split, we can't have one that's reality split- one side completely delusional, the other side dealing with reality- because it's a hell of a lot easier to make up pretty-sounding stories than it is to deal with the world as it is.

At this rate the Delusionists will take over the entire nation within just a few short years. I may be wrong but I don't remember it being this bad even during Gulf War 1. What happens when Fox News comes out with subdermal Newsfeed chips implanted in your brain?!?

So tell that dumb chick you were hoping to lay she doesn't know what she's talking about. Inform that stupid piece of man-meat you wanted to use for a little panky that no, in fact the Agreed Framework did work and there's a difference between Plutonium and Uranium. So you'll go home alone, big deal! Have you seen the recent advances in adult sexual aids?

We must unite people! Unite against the Delusionists!

[I think that's going to be my new term for new- and neo-conservatives/libertarians (neo carries a specific connotation, so no need to point out neo means "new"). Works well. I've had trouble with coming up with a name before, so Delusionists it is! Perhaps it will propagate and in a few months Joshua Micah Marshall will be using it in the Washington Monthly.]

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Allow me to not wow you with my philos-so-phee.

Via Calpundit I'm taking the Battleground God test.
It's fun! Go take it now before reading on or you'll spoil it.

OK, so I've gotten though to the last 5 questions with no hits. This is the question I'm now on:

It is foolish to believe in God without certain, irrevocable proof that God exists.

Now, my honest answer to this is "False" because I interpret the question as asking "can someone who is not a fool believe in God even though he/she knows the existence of God cannot be proven?" And the answer to that question is "yes", because the whole nature of faith is believing without knowing, and an honest person of faith would be able to admit they don't know if God exists or not, and will never know in their life.

But- is the question just a test of consistency? I've already answered that I don't know if God exists, and that in order for God to exist she must be omniscient and omnipotent, and it's rational to figure the Loch Ness monster doesn't exist. So is it just seeing if I'll stick top the empirical proof theme? But then I did say evolution was most likely true…

Aha! I answered "False" and no hits!

Next question:

As long as there are no compelling arguments or evidence that show that God does not exist, atheism is a matter of faith, not rationality.

I'm saying "False". Faith would be the belief that God does not exist. Wait… It depends on how you define "Atheism". Saying the denial of the existence of God is "faith" I think is incorrect. Saying the belief that there is no God is faith could be correct. Again, is it just for consistency? It depends on how you define "atheist", dammit!

I'm saying False.

Ha ha! No hits!

The serial rapist Peter Sutcliffe had a firm, inner conviction that God wanted him to rape and murder prostitutes. He was, therefore, justified in believing that he was carrying out God's will in undertaking these actions.

No-brainer. Of course he was justified in believing anything he wanted to believe. If that belief is demonstrably false, then that makes him nuts. The question isn't asking if he was nuts or not, just were his beliefs justified.
However, I did say it is not OK to order the world according to a firm, inner belief that ran contrary to reality… hmmmmm. Depends on how they're using the word "believe" and "justify".

I'm saying True.

Arrrg! I've been hit! I knew it!

Earlier you claimed that it is not justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner-conviction, paying no regard to the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of this conviction. But now you say that the rapist Peter Sutcliffe was justified in basing his beliefs about God's will solely on precisely such a conviction. That's a bull's-eye for the intellectual sniper!

Yeah, but the question wasn't was he right to believe what he believed (a question of sanity), but did his (wrong) conviction explain his belief? I think that's what it was asking anyway... Truly a no-brainer...

If God exists she would have the freedom and power to create square circles and make 1 + 1 = 72.

No-brianer- yes.

Arrrg! Another hit!

In saying that God has the freedom and power to do that which is logically impossible (like creating square circles), you are saying that any discussion of God and ultimate reality cannot be constrained by basic principles of rationality. This would seem to make rational discourse about God impossible. If rational discourse about God is impossible, there is nothing rational we can say about God and nothing rational we can say to support our belief or disbelief in God. To reject rational constraints on religious discourse in this fashion requires accepting that religious convictions, including your religious convictions, are beyond any debate or rational discussion. This is to bite a bullet.

Ahhhh, I don't buy it. I already decided in order to be God, God would have to be able to do anything and know everything, this would include things completely "irrational". Rationality being a human construct, it does not logically follow that "I'm saying" anything about the discussion of God at all. All I'm saying is God, in order to be all-powerful, would have to have the ability to do things that seemed impossible to us puny humans.

Bunch of philosophy nerds with too much time on their hands…

It is justifiable to believe in God if one has a firm, inner conviction that God exists, even if there is no external evidence that God exists.

Oh, man…

Sigh… So I guess the answer is false given the rapist question.

Bam! Hit!

You claim that it is not justifiable to believe in God based only on inner-convictions, but earlier you stated that it was justifiable for the serial rapist to draw conclusions about God's will on the same grounds. If this form of justification is good enough for the rapist, why is it not good enough for the believer in God? There's an inconsistency here.

I thought I was correcting myself. I see, it's not working from a static, conviction framework. It's assuming my convictions are subject to change from question to question.

Well, that's it. And apparently nearly half respondents did better than me. Oh well. I think I'm just too real for their wack game, boyee!

Monday, April 07, 2003

Libertarian smack-down sound bite for your arsenal, you witty bastard you.

I came up with a succinct, accurate, though-provoking sound bite the other day in a comments section at The Poor Man. It serves to describe, quickly, exactly why new-day "conservatives" are not fit to direct domestic policy… here goes-

The conservative agenda is doomed to failure and disastrous consequences because their goal is to create a society completely divorced from societal needs.

Think about it.

OK, let me explain. Conservatives want to do away with social services. They don't think the government should be "forcing" certain people to pay for the care of other people. They also think the government should stay out of the way of business. Regulation is unneeded because the market, like water, finds it own level. Altogether they think the government should stay out of the way of society, to not try to shape it or direct it or coerce it because individual rights are what is paramount, and the individual comes before the whole. Except of course when it comes to their moral concerns. So, for example, though they do not want abortion to be legal for moral reasons, they do not want any gun control laws because it infringes upon an individual's rights. But none of this makes any sense.

They claim abortion is immoral and therefore damages society. It's a fact the proliferation of guns allows for more gun violence, which is damaging to society and individuals- it's often random and impersonal.

They say "guns don't kill people, people kill people", placing blame for all gun violence firmly upon the shoulders of the individuals committing it. In other words the amount of guns available, the gun culture we've created, our societies reliance upon guns to solve problems both in fiction and real life- none of that contributes to gun violence at all. Yet there's no similar "only blame the individual" meme when it comes to abortion. Though an abortion realistically would only affect two families perhaps, and morally speaking, the "blame" rests on the shoulders of 2 or perhaps a very few people, they claim it's a societal ill. The very presence of legal abortion is somehow a danger to family, and by extension our whole society. Suddenly the individual doesn't matter anymore. The same individual whose rights demand the US allow guns to flow freely, even in the face of societal harm, must not be allowed access to legal abortion for the harm that individual's ability to choose does to society. Huh? Yeah, I know.

How to explain the double-standard? It's based upon nothing but ideology, and a very narrow set of "moral" standards. The same goes for everything in their agenda.

What does a society need? Well, a society is people bound together by some common identity. If we're talking nation, obviously they're bound by national identity, most likely culture, perhaps other things like ethnicity, tradition, etc. Here in the US we're bound most importantly by law. The US is a nation of laws, Americans are people who enjoy those laws as a citizen of the US. We share other things but that's the big one. The people of our society need the same things every national society needs: Food, clean water, clean air, land, a means to provide for oneself, healthcare, education, transportation…

Way back in the days of kin groups or family units, the ordering mechanism was simply the family structure. Later that evolved into clan groups, tribes, the first villages, etc., and the ordering mechanism would be mainly the mores of the group (operating underneath whatever social hierarchy there was). Small societies like these don't have to worry about being "just" or not as there is no disconnected governmental body that metes out justice; things are solved on a personal-public level. It's only when large numbers of people decide to live under the rule of either a small number of people or a set of arbitrary laws in which the sense of just and unjust come into play. And this sense of justice has been evolving ever since Hammurabi, in fact we're still working on it.

So with some 8,000 years of hindsight, what would we call a "just" society today?

How about a society in which the old and infirm, who do not have a family or benefactor to take care of them, live miserable lives and die miserable deaths?

Or a society in which a poor child born to poor parents in a poor area can only attend a poorly funded and poorly staffed school and receive a poor formal education, immediately putting that child at a disadvantage to those lucky enough to be born to better-off parents?

Or a society in which the mentally ill who do not have family or benefactors to take care of them have no method to treat themselves and live miserable lives often on the street, sometimes as a danger to society?

Or a society that provides no public services to address any of the above situations, but does provide vigorous protection of property and capital, so the cost of protecting wealth is paid for by everyone, but benefits just those that have wealth that needs contracts and lawyers and courts to protect it?

Or a society that allows certain people with certain religious, cultural, or ethnic traits to occupy a superior position within an established, arbitrary hierarchy, supported by the selected absence and presence of law?

Or a society in which the primary body for the enforcement of civil law is really only available to those with the cash to hire legal experts?

Or a society that allows small organizations of people to control what is seen and heard on the airwaves?

Or a society that requires all citizens pay for religious proselytizing in order to receive any social services?

I could go on. Would a society structured as such be considered just? The society I describe above does not take care of society itself. It does not take care of individuals; it does not protect the public good. It allows individuals and small groups to benefit from the labor and trust of the public with no requirement to address the needs of that public. In this society, if you have capital and/or power, you'll do OK. If you're somehow able to acquire these things from a lesser position, you'll do OK

However, if you're not able to acquire these things, and it's inevitable that many people will not (in fact it's necessary that many people don't in order to have cheap enough and flexible enough labor for industry), then you're going to live a pretty marginal life. Essentially, if a society does nothing to address the needs of the "losers", it is therefore structured to reward the "winners".

This strikes some people as "fair". After-all, that is the natural order of things- winners win and enjoy the spoils of winning, losers lose and should receive nothing because they've lost. This is the basic way, I believe, armchair libertarians and new-conservatives (post-Gingrich most especially) order their ideal world. Since it's simply economically impossible for everyone to be a "winner" (i.e. Wealthy), what this would most likely give us is a majority population of "working poor" (getting by, but unable to advance too far up the economic ladder), a large minority of the destitute, a small upper-middle-class, and a small upper-class. What we would have is something along the lines of Mexico or Russia (but with huge military and police forces, as well as plenty of lawyers) where most of the country is in some state of poverty, and there's no getting out. A stable, wealthy, and well-armed Mexico would describe it best, I think.

One could argue that this rule-of-the-jungle society would be fair in some way, but how could anyone argue it's just? A wealthy nation that doesn't take care of it's populace, where the courts and laws benefit only those with capital- how could that possibly be just?

Well it's not fair or just. In order for such a society to be fair, we'd have to all start off on a level playing field, not with 10% of the population controlling 90% of the wealth. In order for it to be just, everyone in the society would have to receive some sort of benefit from living in and contributing to society. Some undefined notion of "Freedom" is not benefit enough. If freedom is the natural order of man, then freedom is just a starting point, just the base. Society is everything that comes after freedom.

But that is the conservative/libertarian dream- no social services, no public education. In fact, no benefits or help for society at all via the government save property rights, courts, police, and the military.

Don't believe me? They say as much all the time:

BILL MOYERS: Is the conservative movement is going to be seen as the servant of the aristocracy?

GROVER NORQUIST: I think that the left has always made that accusation and I think that liberal Republicanism of the 1950s suffered from that. The great thing about President Reagan is that he changed the nature of the Republican party, is a party dedicated to limited government. It is not the pro-business party; it is the pro-freedom party. And for competent businesses, that's all they ask for. Incompetent businesses that want subsidies, they're not our friends, they're our opponents.

BILL MOYERS: What would you do about real life situations like this? This is a story out of New Jersey, the caseworker who closed a child abuse investigation and to a mother whose son was found dead in a locked basement here on Sunday had been working on more than 100 other investigations at the same time. That's more than six times the national standard recommended by national child advocacy groups. The New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services says its field agents juggle an average of 35 cases. Why shouldn't those of us who are well off be taxed a little more to try to make a system like this work for those who have nothing at all?

GROVER NORQUIST: Because I'm not interested in saving that system. I'm interested in saving and protecting the kids that that system is supposed to help.

BILL MOYERS: How would you do it?

GROVER NORQUIST: Well, I've been active with groups, the Institute for Children and some of the pro-adoption groups in Washington, D.C. The last numbers I saw, there are about 500,000 kids in foster care, about 50,000 kids free to adopt, and more than a million parents looking to adopt. And we have state rules and federal rules that are being liberalized, but that up until this point have made it difficult for kids to get adopted. And, the rules are...the Federal government gives subsidies to state governments, institutions like that, for every kid they keep in foster care, and they lose the subsidy if they get the kid adopted. That is the wrong kind of incentive to have. Nobody should have 100 kids they're chasing after...

BILL MOYERS: This is the real world, this is the only system these people have.

GROVER NORQUIST: We need to get them out of that system and into families where they're adopted. There are more people who want to adopt than there are kids that need to be adopted. And the government is in the way of having that happen.

BILL MOYERS: But in the meantime, can we hire more caseworkers, more people, to look after these children?

GROVER NORQUIST: As we're finding out, the government isn't looking after those children, and no government can look after children the way a family could, the way parents could. Let's get those kids into real families and adopted by real families who will take care of them.

BILL MOYERS: You're on record as saying, my goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bath tub. Is that a true statement?

GROVER NORQUIST: No. The first part is an accurate statement of exactly what we're trying to do. We've set as a conservative movement a goal of reducing the size and cost of government in half in 25 years, which is taking it from a third of the economy down to about 17 percent, taking 20 million government employees and looking to privatize and get other opportunities so that you don't have all of the jobs that are presently done by government done by government employees. We need a Federal government that does what the government needs to do, and stops doing what the government ought not to be doing. [emphasis mine]

Notice he specifically dodges the "what to do?" question. Get people to adopt children is not an answer. You'd have to be a complete idiot to think every child that needs care would be adopted if there were no social programs and adoption was easier. Well- let me restate that- You'd have to be a complete idiot to think every child that needs care would be adopted by decent parents if there were no social programs and adoption was easier. You'd also have to be an idiot to think conservatives would allow homosexuals to adopt if they had their druthers.

Bill asks him point blank- what would you do about the people not served by a private system- and Norquist avoids the question. Why? He 's not concerned about people who would not be served by the private sector. He doesn't care; it's not part of his equation.

There would inevitably be people who were left out , there's no such thing as a utpopia. Norquist knows this, the GOP knows this, every freak who writes and op-ed for the WSJ knows this- people would be left out. Yet they continue to sell their agenda as a de facto utopia- the private sector would take care of social services better and more completely than the government. But, again, it simply couldn't- there's no utopia!

So therefore, what other conclusion can be drawn except that new-conservatives and libertarians don't care if there are destitute people, don't care what happens to destitute people, and they have no interest in doing anything to address the needs of the destitute?

So the next time some C++ programmer/libertarian tells you it's unfair to be taxed and have some poor person receive a piddling benefit from his hard earned money (a whopping 1% of the federal budget), give him the sound bite, then beat him with a sock full of manure and rocks.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Spiraling down a pit of despair… How about you?

I started this morning worrying about an apartment I viewed over the weekend. I'm going to end it wishing someone would wake me up from this bizarre Matrix I'm obviously stuck in… THE FUCKING PROGRAM IS BROKEN! YOU'RE HUMAN-HARVESTING SCHEME WILL SELF-DESTRUCT! YOU'VE TURNED THE MATRIX INTO A HELLISH NIGHTMARE!


We're not just a nation of idiots, we're a nation of violent, completely self-absorbed idiots with no capacity nor patience for the barest amount of empathy:

Almost three-quarters praised Bush's handling of the war, 56% said he has done a good or excellent job of explaining the rationale for it and 70% say the United States has the moral authority to have attacked Iraq.

"I think it's the right thing to do," said Raquel Purisma, a clerk in Chicago. "If we don't do something first, they are going to do something to us."

"We" and "they". They are going to do something and killing a lot of people is "the right thing to do". Jebus Crisps, that woman, and many like her, could be convinced to attack any country. This is truly frightening. Raquel Purisma, you are a complete idiot and a horrible person for wishing death upon world without knowing a goddamned thing about it.

"When I turn on the TV, I see wall-to-wall Humvees, and I'm proud," said Sam Bernstein, a 51-year-old antiquities dealer who lives in Marin County, Calif., and drives a Hummer H2, an S.U.V. sibling of the military Humvee.

"They're not out there in Audi A4's," he said of the troops. "I'm proud of my country, and I'm proud to be driving a product that is making a significant contribution."

One does not even need an armchair any more to be jingoistic asshole, you can do it from the comfort of your ridiculous fucking car!

On Friday, Rick Almandi, 54, was buying an H2 at Bergstrom Hummer in Milwaukee. He also owns a Dodge Viper and a Corvette.

"Seeing them on TV, you kind of identify with them," said Mr. Almandi, a retired U.P.S. manager. "Whether other people don't like it, I really don't care. I really don't want to hear it. I like to personalize vehicles. They make me feel good. They reflect myself."

Translation: "I'm a self-absorbed, insecure prick. Also, I have a very small penis and have difficulty satisfying women. I'm under the impression my Hummer makes up for these inadequacies."

The Little Falls City Council is scheduled to decide Monday whether to take the French flag down from a city park named for Le Bourget, France. That's the Paris suburb where Lindbergh, whose boyhood home was in Little Falls, landed on May 21, 1927, after completing the first solo flight across the Atlantic.
"We are sending our young soldiers to fight and die for world freedom while France once again sits this one out," resident Mike LeMieur said in a letter published in the Morrison County Record, the weekly newspaper. "Maybe someday France will regain our respect and we can once again fly its flag with pride. But for now, it belongs in a box."

Maybe someday France can bask in the warm glow of your fat, white ass, too. Maybe someday, if we're feeling generous, they can come over and watch a DVD with us. They can't have any popcorn or Code Red, but they can sit on the floor and hang out for a little while, and they should count themselves lucky because we don't let just anyone hang in the basement. If they're really lucky afterward they can go get a burger with us at Dairy Queen.


I guess it's not so bad, though. This is all just dumb people, it's not like the people in charge are insane, fucking bloodthirsty animals who are bent on world domination.

Shortly after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a stark warning to Iran and Syria last week, declaring that any "hostile acts" they committed on behalf of Iraq might prompt severe consequences, one of President Bush's closest aides stepped into the Oval Office to warn him that his unpredictable defense secretary had just raised the specter of a broader confrontation.

Mr. Bush smiled a moment at the latest example of Mr. Rumsfeld's brazenness, recalled the aide. Then he said one word — "Good" — and went back to work.

Uh oh.

Well, at least our armed forces are well-educated, compassionate people who really just want to help people. At least we can trust them to conduct themselves with as much mindfulness as possible.

The rhetoric of US soldiers is often provocative. An American colonel, asked what the role of the Fifth Corps would be, replied: "We are going in there. We are going to root out the bad guys and kill them." His men whooped and punched the air as if they were watching a football match.

Oh crap.

So, what is it? Our leaders are bent on world domination, evil-super-villain style? Our military likes to kill more than they like to be compassionate? The public will accept any pretext for war, and use "rally round the troops" as a justification for the war itself, even though all their opinions are based upon demonstrably false information? And there's evidence that perhaps this could be the start of a never-ending spiral down a pit of madness like the world has never seen, plunging us all into an Orwellian nightmare?


[Update] Well at least we can still work to change things. At least we can fight back and be assured that our constitutional rights to do so will be respected. At least there's still hope in the principals this nation was founded upon.

Oh. Never mind.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Why you should give me money.

Because sex sells, man.

Seriously, there's a lot I'd like to whine about, and will get to some of it later, but right now I'm going to broach a serious subject- you giving me cash money. Within the next couple of weeks I am going to put a paypal or Amazon donation thing on the site and then I'm going to ask for money, lots of it. Not because this is such a great blog you should be charged, but because I have something important to do.

You may or may not know I've made a couple of films. The first one has its charm, but is all in all not very good. The second just got finished and has its charm, and is all in all OK. At this rate I'll make a great film in 20 years. This summer I need to make another film and will be trying to raise the money via this blog- but wait! Before you turn away in digust lemme 'splain it to you.

We have a family friend who fought in WW2 as part of Merrill's Marauders. They were an all-volunteer outfit that fought behind enemy lines in Burma, somewhat equivalent to the British "Chindits", and sort of a precursor to what we'd now call Special Forces. They were among the most ill-supplied and reinforced US units in the war. Burma got seconds on everything, but they fought longer and harder than just about anyone else.

You don't really hear about them much, and there hasn't been much said about them either. When I first found out about all of this it was 1999. I looked for books about them but I couldn't find any (at least via Amazon and Powell's, which says a lot) except for "Defeat into Victory" by Field-Marshall Viscount Slim, which is only peripherally about the Marauders because Slim was the British commander in Burma and it's his war diary. Recently I've found that since then some books have been published, reissued, or just brought to my attention via this Marauder, who's website 2 years ago didn't have nearly as much information (also, for some reason searching 2 years ago never produced the fact that a movie was made called Merrill's Marauders in 1962. That was before googling perhaps).

So this family friend, who's a great guy and has lived a big life (partying in Hawaii with the Seattle Seahawks seems to have comprised the entire decade of the 70s for him and his wife), is dying. He has cancer and very simply he's going to die sooner rather than later. I spoke to him 3 and then 2 years ago about documenting his stories, and he was up for it, but I was never able to do it mainly because I didn't have the money or the time. He can only do it in the summer when it's warm in Seattle because when it's cold he just feels too awful.

I sort of gave up on it two years ago. I had just moved to LA and was in a crappy job, barely making ends meet, altogether pretty miserable for over a year. Every once in a while I'd look around at grant opportunities thinking maybe someone would foot the bill. What grants I could find, it was always the same story- grants go to films with specific topics (mine didn't fit), they go to producers with track records (ha), they take 6 months to a year to process (just can't do that on my own). I shot a short last spring because I had a good idea and a little bit of money (more like credit) and could do it in a weekend. I didn't really consider going to Seattle and doing this doc because I'd have to take a week off work (not possible), would cost me just as much, and honestly I really didn't have any idea on how to make the doc work.

But, I realized recently I just have to get the footage. I need to film this guy talking. I don't have any concept of what to do with it, or how to package it, but that's the thing- none of that matters. This guy is going to die and take his experiences with him and someone needs to capture that. He lived a life no one in my generation, Gulf War 1 or 2 veteran or not, can ever understand and will never experience. He told me out of his entire unit (400 I believe) only 11 survived the war. I feel awful I never did this before. I had an opportunity I feel I've squandered. I mean, looking at it objectively no one could really blame me for avoiding another $3000 in debt, but even now I feel guilty that I'm not willing to take that burden and just do it. It's tough though. I've got quite a bit of debt and… there's a lot of things I'd like to do, almost all of them undoable with a mountain of debt over my head, you know?

I just want to preserve this guy's memories the only way I can. I don't have any concept for an hour-long PBS piece. I don't have any ideas for a title or the arc of the story or what my take will be, I just need to film this guy and I need to do it now.

So, in the next couple weeks I'm going to put up a donation button and further explain everything. Things are crazy right now with moving and everything, but I have to do this in July or August so I have to get it started now if this is going to happen.

I haven't talked to him recently, and I'm not going to until the ball is rolling a little. I simply can't do it on my own because it's going to cost me at least $3000, and I would hate to call him again, talk about how I'm going to try to do this again, and then again crap out on it. So rather, I'm going to do some pre-pre-production, including fund-raising with a provision for refunds if things fall apart.

Anyway, here's what I'd like you to do, if you think this may be a worthy endeavor: Anyone you think who might consider donating money for a cause like this, just give them a head's up to my blog.

When the time comes I'm going to email a bunch of larger blogs and ask them to link to the post. What I'll explain when the time comes is: The breakdown of costs. How it will happen. Why I want to do this, why I think it's important. How I'll handle the money people donate (worst, best-case scenarios). And a more detailed explanation why I'm trying to raise money this way and not another way (things like this always solicit a million emails from well-meaning people who either don't know anything about filmmaking or they do know quite a bit, but are working from a whole different level. See, I'm just a guy, not "in the biz" at all).

So, let some people know about my blog, I'd appreciate it.

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