Friday, June 11, 2004

Goin' Camping
Portland Mercury

For those of you who have the misfortune of not living here...

Finally, I Can Mourn

All week I've been so sad, but I did not know what to do. I didn't think it was right to start mourning immediately. The media was too busy covering other news to get around to really recognizing this great man. But now that we have the National Day of Mourning 1 week after the event, I feel like I can finally mourn, and he gets the coverage he deserves.

So on this sad day, I have one thing to say: Fuck You, Ronald Reagan.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Weed Good

It's OK to smoke dope, England fans told

Portuguese police officers will turn a blind eye to England supporters who openly smoke cannabis during Euro 2004, having decided that a stoned crowd is easier to control than a drunk one.

Lisbon police confirmed yesterday that England fans will not be arrested for puffing on joints on the streets of the Portuguese capital, following a recommendation from the Dutch authorities responsible for policing the English during Euro 2000.

Democracy (Bush Remix)

Waingroh had heard the word Fascism bandied about recently, and wanted to brush up on what exactly that meant. He found a general description of fascist governments, defined by the Library of Congress, here. Fascism had always been commonly attributed to tyrants like Hitler and Mussolini, so comparing that to a US president, even the worst president in the history of the US, would surely be going across the line. After all, this is still a Democracy, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
by Dr. Lawrence Britt
Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism -
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights -
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause -
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military -
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism -
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homo-sexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media -
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security -
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined -
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected -
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed -
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts -
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment -
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption -
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections -
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Shocking how dead on this list describes the current climate in this country; a fascist administration in control of a democratic and free land. Remember, Patriotism is a love of country, a region, a way of life, a people. Nationalism is the blind love of government and unquestioning obedience to leaders.

Be a patriot. Kerry 2004.
Bush Back on Blow

Waingroh got to watch Bushy's G8 "press conference" at lunch, and even though the TV sets here at Folsom aren't too great, it's obvious Drinky's back on blow. He was maniacally playing the crowd of brown nosing reporters, cracking "jokes" between every question. He couldn't wait to actually finish answering a question so he could get back to making the glad handers chuckle. At times he'd try to finish the reporter's questions before they were done asking, causing confusing backsteps and exposing his coked out anxiousness. He'd launch into animated rhetoric about Iraq, actually using terms like "In case you've forgotten about Saddam, let me tell how bad he was" (it's tough to forget since you point it out EVERY CHANCE YOU GET). Any questions about real topics, such as the torture memos, Cheney's investigation, etc. were met with one-sentence answers and a new reporter immediately being called:
"Frank (mhehe)."
"yes, Mr. President, what can you tell the American People when American Soldiers will be coming home?"
"When the job's done. Judy. (snicker)"

What an ass.
Welcome to 1984

Concerning Reagan, and just about everything else the wing nuts believe. From 1984.
The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it. It also follows that though the past is alterable, it never has been altered in any specific instance. For when it has been recreated in whatever shape is needed at the moment, then this new version is the past, and no different past can ever have existed. This holds good even when, as often happens, the same event has to be altered out of recognition several times in the course of a year. At all times the Party is in possession of absolute truth, and clearly the absolute can never have been different from what it is now. It will be seen that the control of the past depends above all on the training of memory. To make sure that all written records agree with the orthodoxy of the moment is merely a mechanical act. But it is also necessary to remember that events happened in the desired manner. And if it is necessary to rearrange one's memories or to tamper with written records, then it is necessary to forget that one has done so. The trick of doing this can be learned like any other mental technique. It is learned by the majority of Party members, and certainly by all who are intelligent as well as orthodox. In Oldspeak it is called, quite frankly, 'reality control'. In Newspeak it is called doublethink, though doublethink comprises much else as well.

More to come...

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Nice Goin' Assholes

When the FBI went through Brandon Mayfield's possessions to investigate his connection with the Madrid train bombings, agents seized what they called "miscellaneous Spanish documents."

As The New York Times reported, Mayfield's family later identified the documents as his children's Spanish homework.


Imagine the trouble he could be in if his kids were studying French.

It appears the geniuses in Iraq are preparing for more fun time in Falluja.
Occupation tanks poised to enter Falluja

True dat


Juan Cole has a good, brief analysis of Sistani's political beliefs, here.

So they're working hard to reduce Iraq's debt, being that it's not fair to saddle a new government with the debt of the old one.

So will we be able to get the incredible debt incurred by the Bush administration reduced when we kick him out of office?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Long Week

I know all this Reagan coverage is sickening, cultish and something akin to Soviet Russia, even though we have a "free press". The thing I can't stop wondering is, what will happen when Carter dies? Will we get another week of mourning where there is no other news, or will it be reduced to a factoid on the news crawl at the bottom of the screen? Probably somewhere in between.

At least Reagan didn't die 4 months from now. If McDumbass gets a little bounce in the polls, it will vanish as soon as the media gets back to reporting the failure that is this administration.

But it's still so hard to watch.
Freedoms Haters?

Bush likes to portray terrorists as freedom haters. But as far as I can see, Bush and his gang hate freedom just as much if not more.
You're on your way to work in the morning and place a call on your wireless phone. As your call is relayed by the wireless tower, it is also relayed by another series of towers to a microwave antenna on top of Mount Weather between Leesburg and Winchester, Virginia and then beamed to another antenna on top of an office building in Arlington where it is recorded on a computer hard drive.

The computer also records you phone digital serial number, which is used to identify you through your wireless company phone bill that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency already has on record as part of your permanent file.

A series of sophisticated computer programs listens to your phone conversation and looks for "keywords" that suggest suspicious activity. If it picks up those words, an investigative file is opened and sent to the Department of Homeland Security.

Congratulations. Big Brother has just identified you as a potential threat to the security of the United States because you might have used words like "take out" (as in taking someone out when you were in fact talking about ordering takeout for lunch) or "D-Day" (as in deadline for some nefarious activity when you were talking about going to the new World War II Memorial to recognize the 60th anniversary of D-Day).

Never trust a junkie

Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House Aides
Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.

“It reminds me of the Nixon days,” says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That’s the mood over there.”

Sounds to me like Drinky is finally having to deal with adversity and more importantly, reality... and with no bottle and no blow, he's failing miserably.

I also can’t seem to get excited over stories of abused Iraqis. There are so many and they have a numbing quality. Also, the hostility I encounter from Iraqis makes me — shamefully — less empathetic to their complaints. But nor do I feel much sympathy for Americans who point guns at me. The tragic part of this is that there is no way to blame anyone in this situation. The Iraqis will naturally hate an occupying army. And soldiers will naturally grow to hate a people they think they came to liberate but who continue trying to kill them.

I wish I could see more of the goodness in Iraqis that I know is there. And likewise, I wish they could see the goodness in Americans. But people here — the Iraqis, the CPA, the military and even some journalists — have become blinded to each other’s concerns and qualities. Those of us here, all of us, we’re not all bad people, I don’t believe. And I say “we” because no matter our nationality, this place hammers us into a collective body. The Iraqi selling me delicious juice concoctions, the American soldiers at the checkpoints missing his wife, the CPA employee who truly believed the Bush rhetoric, we are all in this together now.
Thank You, Jesus

Oh my god.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Lesson Plan

Steve Perry teaches your children the ABC's of terrorism.
Who needs clean air anyway?

June 7 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Mexican trucks to begin shipping to destinations across the U.S., refusing to require an air-quality study sought by labor and environmental groups.

The nine justices unanimously agreed with the Bush administration, which argued that a comprehensive environmental analysis wasn't required under two federal statutes...

The Bush administration contended that any impact on air quality would be the result of the president's decision to open the border, not the agency's safety rules. Only federal agencies, not the White House, are required by law to issue environmental impact statements, the Justice Department said.

These guys have really made side-stepping rules an art form. Very impressive use of the Clean Air Act loopholes...

Church and State

With four weeks left, supporters of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage are relying on churches and mailed-in petitions to gather the 100,840 valid signatures they need to make the November ballot.

The mostly behind-doors campaign is taking place after Sunday church services and in the homes, workplaces and neighborhoods of supporters. It's a departure from the traditional approach of collecting signatures in heavily trafficked public places.

And that makes it harder for opponents to be there to persuade people not to sign. That's significant, because it's easier and cheaper for opponents to attack a measure before it gets on the ballot than it is to defeat it at the polls.