Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Remembering the dead of war

I am Abbas Mehdi from Qana, Lebanon.

I died on July 30, 2006 at the age of seven.

I was killed with 53 others. 27 of us were children, in a bomb shelter. The building we were in was bombed by the Israeli defense force and collapsed.

I am the dead of war. Why did I have to die?

I am Brad Will from New York, New York. I died last Friday at the age of 36. I was killed by a bullet from government-supported paramilitaries in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. I was filming attacks on the barricades set up by the popular movement that is controlling the capitol.

I am the dead of war. Why did I have to die?

I am an unnamed child. I am from Ramadi, Iraq. I died with my family – my father, mother, aunt, grandmother, and my brother or sister on Saturday. I was killed by a US airstrike.

I am the dead of war. Why did I have to die?

I am Private Edwardo Lopez from Aurora, Illinois. I died on October 19th, 2006 at the age of 21. I was killed by enemy fire in Al-Anbar, Iraq. I died fighting for control of oil and wealth, in a war based on lies and greed.

I am the dead of war. Why did I have to die?

We are the dead of war. Why did we have to die?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Get on the ACLU bus: Defending abortion, protesting anti-gay bigotry.

I recently looked at my ACLU card - since 1988, when good old George Spymaster Son-of Nazi Bush I was calling Mike Dukakis a 'card carrying member of the ACLU'. Student rate of $5, if I recall; the first and longest membership I've had.

And while I think that the National Lawyers Guild rocks, the ACLU is kind of like Consumer Reports; glad they're there, even if they don't get their hands involved in the dirty work. (I.E. - all the ACLU does is lawyer work.)

This is exactly the way to change my mind - the ACLU will put up people - room and board - if they want to get out and fight the S.Dak abortion ban or the Wisconcin bigoted anti-gay marriage ban.

To All Liberty Loving People in Minnesota:

Your neighbors in South Dakota need your help. Join us in Sioux
Falls, South Dakota, next weekend, November 3-5, to help local
activists repeal South Dakota's Abortion Ban.

South Dakota is the scene of a major showdown over reproductive
freedom. After their state passed a ban on virtually all
abortions, pro-choice South Dakotans came together and took the
anti-choice zealots by surprise when they collected more than twice
the necessary signatures to place a referendum on the ballot to allow
the people of South Dakota to repeal the ban.

We will cover most of your expenses as you hit the streets and
canvas with other volunteers. The ACLU will provide transportation (or
mileage reimbursement in some cirsumstances), a shared hotel room,
most meals (including vegetarian), as well as lots of hot chocolate
and cookies for those hitting the doors and turning the tide in this
critical election effort.

If you are able to travel to Sioux Falls to volunteer with our
campaign partner, the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families,
we're looking for volunteers to arrive on Friday evening and return
home on Sunday afternoon or night.

Please email rfp@aclu.org if you are able
to travel to Sioux Falls to volunteer with the South Dakota
Campaign for Healthy Families, and tell us:

* The city and state where you live
* The best email address and phone number to contact you at
* The number of people who will be joining you
* Whether you are able to drive with a group of your friends if we
don't get a bus (mileage will be reimbursed).

Once we assess interest in your state, we will be in touch to let you
know about the travel options available.

South Dakota has become a battleground between those who believe
that our most private decisions should be made by individuals and
those who want to put such decisions in the government's hands.
Your volunteer time is critical to win this fight.


A Wisconsin ballot initiative would prevent ALL unmarried
couples, gay or straight, from accessing the protections that come
with civil unions and domestic partnership.

If enacted, this marriage and civil unions ban would seriously
endanger existing legal protections for all unmarried couples, gay or
straight, including:

* Hospital visitation in emergency situations
* Being able to share health insurance
* The ability to make life and death decisions
* The right to a partner's pension

To learn more about the campaign and the 200 rights, responsibilities
and protections that would be denied to Wisconsin families if this
constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage is passed,

To get involved in the Wisconsin campaign, email ACLU organizer
Nora at nranney@aclu.org or call (646) 506-5560.

We hope you'll join us! As a friend of the ACLU, you value
autonomy, freedom of expression and equality all values counter to
these initiatives. Standing with our neighbors in
Wisconsin or South Dakota will make an important statement to
policymakers in our own state as well as send an important message
nationwide that the Midwest is no place for singling out people for
discrimination and limiting a woman's right to

Oaxaca update: Federal invasion to break uprising

Looks like killing a white boy got the local PRI paramilitary/cops in trouble; lame-duck Mexican president Fox sent the federales in. And they're going in now.

Oaxaca Burns: PFP invasion right now
What began as an article about the murders of Oaxacan protesters and a New York journalist changed as La Jornada is reporting that the invasion of Oaxaca by Mexican Federal Preventative Police (PFP) is happening RIGHT NOW. According to Radio Universidad, (reporting live over the internet) PFP have advanced to area around the Oaxaca City center and PFP elements wearing balaclavas over their faces are invading private houses and arresting protest leaders.

Federal Police March on Oaxaca
By Dan Feder,
Posted on Sun Oct 29th, 2006 at 04:28:36 PM EST
For just over an hour the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) have been marching on Oaxaca City. Police are advancing with water cannon tanks and riot shields. They have cleared several barricades but others are holding their ground. Whether or not police are armed is unclear, but there have been several reports on the movement station Radio APPO of PFP officers beating protesters. The station also reports that snipers are flying low over the city in three helicopters. Leaders continue exhorting the people to resist but to abstain from any violence against the police.

The gold standard of coverage for this stuff: Narco News Bulletin and the Narcosphere

On Brad Will, slain IMC journalista: NYC Indymedia

The election here had profound influence on Mexican politics. What happens in Mexico has profound influence on the rest of North America.

Costume party

Despite the fact that I don't have his hips, wierd eyes, and am carrying a good 80 pounds on him - here it is. The Goblin King from Labyrinth.

And while I'll try the Goblin King, given our differences of physical frame, no way in hell would I do this. But check it out - Bowie in a red power mullet and an eyepatch.

And for the hell of it - Tainted Bowie Love.

Death of a comrade - Brad Will, IMC journalista, shot dead in Oaxaca

This link, to this video, is one of the most chilling clips you'll likely ever see.

From the Narco News Bulletin:

Brad Will, New York Documentary Filmmaker and Indymedia Reporter, Assassinated by Pro-Government Gunshot in Oaxaca While Reporting the Story
Photographer Oswaldo Ramirez of the Daily Milenio Wounded in Attack by Shooters for Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in Santa Lucia del Camino

By Al Giordano
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Chihuahua

October 27, 2006

Brad Will, 36, a documentary filmmaker and reporter for Indymedia in New York, Bolivia and Brazil, died today of a gunshot to the chest when pro-government attackers opened fire on a barricade in the neighborhood of Santa Lucia del Camino, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. He died with his video camera in his hands.

I don't know Spanish worth a damn. Its a long clip, and I, with some trepidation, forwarded it to near the end.

Fuckers shot him.

This is capitalism. This is our fucking continent, which has had a state under popular revolt for months. This is covered how much? By you, if you have a blog? By me? This is the PAN, this is the PRI. These are the parties of accomodation; the struggle by APPO for dignity, control of their lives, and power; these are the corpses that litter streets in grimy third-world towns all over the world.

To Brad. Mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living.

Update: Two others were killed that day; Esteban Zurrita and Emilio Alonso Fabian. They also died because the State refuses to share power with the people.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dawg, baseball, white evangelicals, Iraq.

First off - the dawg is feisty and her spirit has healed in advance of her body. This means we have to slow her down to recover; doggie valium? The leg bandage comes off tomorrow - she had a cyst removed there.

I was hanging with some dudes tonight and one of them was bitching about the new Twins stadium, which is a travesty of public monies going for private profit - and the rich get the view and the bleachers get screwed. What's new?

So the guy says that the line between home, the pitcher's mound, and second base has to be north by northeast. I've spend two whole minutes trying to confirm this, but I can't. So we'll roll with it. So this means that the new location, right next to the garbage burner, gives the cool view of downtown to the rich boxes, and the shitty view of the garbage burner to the bleachers. "All the mercury and crap will drop on everyone, though, so it's OK." he says.

Juan Cole at Informed Comment has this to say about the collapse of the Bush base - southern white evangelicals.

In the past 30 days, support for the Iraq War among white evangelicals has fallen from 70 percent to 58 percent.

These numbers matter because evangelicals are a quarter of the people who actually bother to vote, and 78 percent of them voted Republican 2 years ago. Only 58 percent say they are satisfied with the party now, and Iraq and the Foley scandal are driving the discontent...

The only explanation of which I can think for the general collapse of this pillar of War party is that the political contests in mid-Atlantic and Southern states are generating television ads, candidate appearances and debates that highlight the catastrophe that is Iraq--and it is getting through to the church-goers at long last.

Mostly political discourse in the United States is dictated by the ruling party in Washington, and the mass media and press are most often nervous about getting out in front of the elected officials. But in an election season, the press is suddenly allowed to cover at least a narrow range of dissident views intensively-- that is, the views of political opponents of the incumbents. Since the vast majority of incumbents in the mid-Atlantic and Southern states are Republicans, the upshot is that a Democrat point of view is suddenly getting aired and reported on. And the Dems are mostly pretty critical of Bush's Iraq War.

Pretty cool. The article covers more, so I recommend you read it (it's short-ish).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dawg sitting

The dawg made it down into the computer pit for the first time today - she was apparently broken, because she went to the vet and got fixed.

So all can say 'good recovery to tatonka, queen of the prairie'! (and expect a light posting schedule)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

South Dakota Abortion Ban: Call to Action

I got this email from a friend who is now living in South Dakota. If you've been missing the news, what with all the coverage that's piled on to both the Dakotas at this time of year, the state has a total abortion ban on the ballot. I'll let Teresa speak for the rest of this post.


I am living in the middle of a war zone. And we need your help.

South Dakota is about to decide historical legislation that would ban all abortions, including women who were impregnated from rape or incest. It is obvious South Dakotans are being used as a weapon by the fundamentalist extremists to test our federal legal system - if this passes it WILL go all the way to the US Supreme Court (and SD residents will pay for that battle.)

Also if this bill passes, the domino affect will provide the momentum for state after state to adopt equally repressive measures that will mark the swift disintegration of women's rights throughout the US and the world. Little do we here in SD know it, but what happens here could adversely affect women in Africa, South America and other developing countries of the world.

This threat is real the imminent - it very well could pass. It's pretty much even right now even though last week it was a better story. But, the extremists have decided to say that Plan B, the day after pill, would take care of any incest or rape victims, which apparently has changed many peoples' minds. And you know the extremists have millions of dollars to invest. They have done all the usual - gotten doctors to skew facts and statistics on commercials (luckily a Sioux Falls TV station ran a story about all the distortions - but how many people actually saw that?), and they have narrowed the issue to a simple moral issue with no other options. The worst of all, the majority who oppose the ban have been silenced.

People who live here are afraid to speak out against this legislation. I am continually disturbed at a peoples, whom I have always valued for their honesty, fearlessness and outspokenness, have become silent and afraid of social stigmas and loss of business. I recently moved back here to work on a project, and more than the physical isolation I feel living on this farm, I feel the social isolation.

This issue is dividing families, communities and the state. And of course it's taking the spotlight off of real issues like poverty, education, dying farm communities and the decline of agriculture - the state's #1 source of revenue.

We need bodies and lots of them. We need you to come here and make phone calls, put out door hangers, signs, literature drops.... Here in the NE part of the state where I live, are the largest cities in the state. This area is also one of the most conservative. Just driving through this area, I feel as if I am back in the south. Only this hatred is unspoken - focused towards women and children, cloaked in the deceit of the "pro-life" movement.


We need you Nov 3 - 7 most - but anytime between now and the 7th is helpful.

Call/e-mail Ben at SD for Health Families and let him know when you can come. 605-221-5642 or bj@sdhealthyfamilies.org

He will assign you to a location. If you can't afford a hotel, housing will be found for you. It would be good if you had your own car or can come with someone you can ride with. The main towns that will be focused on are Aberdeen, Watertown, Brookings, Madison, Vermillion and Sioux Falls. I can accommodate several people at my house though it is a drive from the major urban centers. (I live 50 miles from Aberdeen and 60 miles from Watertown.)

If you can't make any of these days - then please do what you can: Call friends or pass along this e-mail to whomever could possibly come Call friends in SD who you know are either undecided or are against the ban and urge them to get involved - to write op ed pages - to call their local news papers about the lack of dissent letters that are being published, etc. Donate to SD for Healthy Families.

There is a virtual media shutdown here in my area - Aberdeen. Last Sunday, despite hundreds of letters against the ban, only 1 letter was published, while 6 pro ban were published.

Thank you for any help you can give.


Busy Monday

So now it's two weeks to the election...

I wish someone would link up close races by which states have electronic voting machines. As prior posts say, the fraudulent machine is one of the tools of the anti-democratic corporate regime to stay in power; it's not universal, and it's not foolproof.

Ellison seems to be weathering the girl-shoe-drop. I was up in Stillwater - the west prefab 'burbs - and I could see Bachmann's field effort (sign war along 36 to Manning north to 75: Bachmann 65 - Wetterling 2) seems to be decent - I wish Wetterling's bench was deeper (but what do you expect with a DC campaign?) Rowley and Walz endorsed by Strib. Decent.

Dawg surgery tomorrow. Prayin' for good things.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Quiet weekend

I worked with a group of people on the banks of the Mississippi this weekend. We did a working for peace and health for our loved ones and the River, and a graceful change of state. We built snakes and a figure, and sent a barge with our prayers down the river.

It was cold, but not too cold.

Peace: We need it in Iraq, in Afghanistan. We need to keep it in - heh, I said 'keep it in' as in 'keep it in the pants' as in no more military adventuring by the Bush regime. We need peace in the class war declared on us by the rich, but a just peace, not the peace of being quiet while the boot grinds on our necks.

Health: My dog's going in for her spaying (and to get a lump removed) so I was heartily behind this prayer. If you're reading this, send good thoughts on Wednesday - clean operation, lump not cancerous. Another of our circle had a friend who needed health as well.
The river needs health - no toxins, protection of Coldwater Spring, clear flowing. It takes a raindrop at the top of the river 90 days to get to N'awlins. The channel that flows through my town is a mere 10,000 years old - the bottom third of the Mississippi has been flowing more or less in those banks for like 250 million years. Long time.
(The mouth of the river would normally shift - but we've held it in place for 150 years because there's a city - or part of a city - there. Hoping that the energy of the shifting mouth doesn't mess things up.)

Graceful change of state: Hah. This one was inspired by fall - the change from growth to death (or at least repose) - but it also applies to, oh, say, a change in the State. Let's hope the dig-in-their-heels, power-at-any-cost crew that's in charge in Washington sleeps too late to try and overthrow democracy (any more than they have) to remain in power.

So mote it be!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Military Commissions Act: A historic betrayal of the Constitution

Who would have thought that a former sportscaster would be the person? Keith Olbermann, yet again, with another special comment on the Military Commissions Act, blazing with the betrayal that is the Bush regime.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived… as people in fear.

And now — our rights and our freedoms in peril — we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

What happens next - a blistering attack on the law and the regime that produced it - is exemplary for a number of reasons. First, it's being shown on the corporate media. While Olbermann's ratings have been rocketing, it is still the case that the system that supports the corporate-ordered status quo government is in place. When will the owners face pressure from their friends on the interlocking directorate boards they serve on to muzzle him? When will advertisers get the push, to pull him? When will the astroturf campaign begin to whip up hatred against him? (They've already started the smearing and the threats.)

The second thing is the commentary itself; and it's not the strident nature, the calling Bush a liar flat out - it's the historical context. I've not been educated in history, except by myself. Perhaps that's why I find the lack of historical context in a huge amount of what's on the internet so appalling. "This is the worst time ever, what they're doing." The Eternal Now - how I tire of it.

For instance, this post by Digby at Hullabaloo about the new "bi-partisan" meme. It's a well-written post, of course, and it's narrow point is correct - that the Reich Wing will bitch about any show of hardball politics by the Democrats if they regain office, despite Newt Gingrich's approach in 1994-onward.

It really can't be overstated how Newt's bare knuckle style of politics changed the way things worked in Washington. When it was combined with the big money media operations that finally came to fruition during that era --- Limbaugh, FOX etc. --- any old fashioned notions of political comity went out the window...

...There has rarely been a more vicious partisan environment than during the 1990's. And the media, as frightened as anyone of this marauding hoard of political hatchetmen, naturally sidled up to the bullies as a way of protecting themselves. Hence, David Broder saying that it was Clinton who came to town and trashed the place when it was really Newt Gingrich and his wild revolutionaries who broke all the rules of civility and comity.

Digby also points out the impeachment for no cause, and the seizure of power by the Supreme Court in 2000. These are certainly historic moves, and Digby is not calling it the worst time ever (but he's close).

But the phrase 'bareknuckle politics' is a metaphor. It's really happened. (C-SPAN)
There is a persuasive argument to be made that, when seen in historical context, recent decades have seen advances in matters of decorum and civility on the House floor. Instances of far more severe violence among Members of Congress were common in the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, in 1789, two Members brawled on the House floor using a cane and fire tong. In 1793, a House Member responded to a lingering dispute with a former Member by challenging him to a duel outside of the Capitol and killing him. In 1832, Rep. Sam Houston was formally reprimanded by the House for attacking Rep. William Stanbery with his cane. Stanbery's response was to shoot at Houston, but his pistol misfired. A duel between two freshmen Congressmen in 1838 ended in the death of one. In 1838, Rep. Abram Maury and Rep. William Campbell came to blows behind the Speaker's chair on the House floor. Campbell beat Maury bloody. In separate incidents in 1840, Rep. Jesse Bynum attacked Rep. Rice Garland with a cane, while Representatives Kenneth Rayner and William Montgomery broke canes over each other's heads. In the 1850's, a House Member (Rep. Preston Brooks) strode onto the Senate floor and beat a Senator (Sen. Charles Sumner) senseless with his cane. The Senator lived, but was not able to return to office for three years.

So Olbermann calling out Bush - metaphorically, on television - is by no means historic; it's just been rare in the last decade or so. The Bushies have indeed crapped on the Consititution, which is despicable but nothing new. (And must and will be fought against.)

For those who have made it this far: Mr. Olbermann.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Amy, what are you doing?

It was with trepidation that I approached the headline "Ellison: Woman has blackmail in mind." I thought – awww, shit. Bet this is about Amy.

Sure 'nuff.

The blackmail allegation surfaced Wednesday as part of a motion filed in Hennepin County by a lawyer for Ellison, who is running for Congress. The motion asks the court to dismiss a request for a restraining order filed against Ellison in September by Amy Alexander of St. Louis Park.

I've known Amy for nearly a decade. Our relationship has definitely been one of friendship, at times; it's been non-existent or arms-length at times. And her relationship with Keith Ellison was something that I'd heard about long before Martin Sabo's Congressional seat was a gleam in anyone's eye. There was supposedly some kind of affair, it ended badly. There was a job, then there wasn't.

I don't know what the relationship was like. Amy is smart, attractive, passionate, and dances to the beat of some other drummers. I've known her to have been under some kind of mental health care. I've known her to love crisis.

Right now, I see her being used to smear Ellison. It's sad, and it's sick. She and her daughter don't deserve this. I would say to her: Amy, who's benefiting by this? Is this something you want to do, or something others want you to do? What will these people have for you once this is done? Do they care?

Certainly the kind of crap that comes out of the Rove playbook: find some way for a personal smear. The Strib ain't helping.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Torture bill signed; Cole on Robin on Johnson and Baker (et. al.)

Preznit Bunchy McWaterpants scribbled his "Who's your Daddy" on the Torture Bill - a.k.a. the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a.k.a. the Military Gets to Commit Torture and Get Out of Jail Free Act.

A piece of crap article appeared today from the AP - before the bill was signed. It never used the word 'torture' (aggressive interrogation techniques), didn't mention the retroactive pass that people who were too 'aggressive' will get, claimed it was a major victory for Bush, etc. Never trust the AP.

Juan Cole used this to springboard into a discussion of why Republicans love making other people second-class citizens; because then there's justification for the ultra rich to be that way. Love this graf and a half:

So why? Why should a Right that claims a genealogy in egalitarian Enlightenment thinkers have these smelly entanglements with racial, sexual, religious and other hierarchies?

I think it is because of a central contradiction in capitalist democracy. As capitalism actually operates in real societies, advantages accrue to the wealthy.

Whoa! Juan!! Dissing on capitalism?

I think all this explains why Dick Cheney wants to create an underclass of non-citizen residents with lesser rights than citizens, and why he voted against having a Martin Luther King Day when he was in Congress. He is about there being unequal levels in society. Because they in turn justify the inequality in treatment of wealthy people like himself. And the issue of "security" is only a McGuffin that drives the plot. External threats are invoked to justify weakening civil liberties, which in turn allow the reinforcement of hierarchies of rights. The relationship of the concern for "security" and the actual legislation creating inequalities is usually tenuous to say the least.

Do not be mistaken: the PATRIOT ACT, this Military Commission of Sins Act, all those signing statements and executive orders have shit-all to do with protecting Americans from terror, and they're all about having the police state tools in place when the gap between the rich and the poor gets so big that people rise up.

Robin and Johnson and Baker? From this Corey Robin London Review of Books article. Cole cited it in his post. It looks like a good article. I'll be reading it tomorrow.

Monday, October 16, 2006

5 games that sucked my soul (and it was oh soo goooood)

OK, if I'm spending too much time playing something - maybe then it's time to admit it: in addition to being addicted to news, I have a gaming jones.

The games that I'm going to talk about here aren't anything but some of my personal faves. There might be better, there are definitely worse, some of them are on ancient platforms. My histories may be wrong. Whatever.

The game that's now doing it to me is Sid Meyers' Civilization 3. I started playing Civ when it was the somewhat related boardgame, put out at the time by Avalon Hill. An amazing game, it required at least four players and at least 6 hours. When I was in highschool, we used to get together in the little river cabin of a friend of mine outside of town, load up with Mountain Dew, run to the bar nearby for pizza when the time came. We got maybe 10 games fully played in about two-three years.

Avalon Hill (as I recall) had to give Meyers permission to use the name. Civ 1 was something I found at my dad's house, back when I had a Mac Centris. It came on several 3.5 inch disks and oh my god. I was living in an apartment by myself, kinda working and kinda going to school, and it was hours and hours. Then, when I'd switched to the PC world (work and games) I overcame my stingy and got Civ 3 (skipping Civ 2, which was a major PC title.)

I recently felt the need to play something a little deeper, because I'd been playing a couple of others; Freecell, Wierd Worlds (more later) and Fate, which was a Diablo clone.

Diablo and Diablo 2 are both examples of the kill things, take their stuff, sell their stuff, get better things to kill things, rinse and repeat game. (This genre is known as 'hack and slash') Blizzard titles, they have great interfaces, simple concepts, and good stragegy. (Fate, which was my last purchase, is Diablo-like, and it's OK but not the shit.)

I have a friend who refuses to put Diablo on any of his harddrives, bought upwards of 10 copies, and spent real money on fake game stuff. I never got that financially into the game, but man, did I put hour upon hour into it.

Both Civ and Diablo can take hours at a time. On the other hand, Wierd Worlds: Return to Infinite Space by scratchware developer Digital Eel can be over in 15 minutes. So it's time for another!!

The sequel to Strange Adventures in Infinite Space, Wierd Worlds is tasty fun. You fly around, get stuff, find enemies, blow them up and take their stuff. (Sound familiar?) And then you do it again!

This fits the same niche as card games, except it's science-fictiony and written by someone with 5 skill levels in Teh Funny.

And for those who want a politics-games crossover, go spend time at Man!festo Games.

Showing that I am indeed a true and deep geek, I will now drop two games in the huge D and D empire into the mix; Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and Planescape:Torment.

I, with four of my friends, ran a 3 round AD and D tournament at Gencon (gamer mecca) for five years. My active roleplaying career stretched from ages 15 to 35. I've since gotten political, which eats into said time. (I did run a superhero game for many years.)

I ain't got much to say about D and D, except I was there, man, I was there. If you get it, you got it, if not - may Bigby's Extended Finger give you the message.

Planescape: Torment narrowly beats out Fallout as my fave CRPG. And the Wikipedia entry on CRPGs tells why:
In most computer role-playing games, character advancement does not affect the characterization of the player character. Planescape: Torment and Fallout both stand as notable exceptions to this trend for their inclusion of complex quest structures and NPC behaviors that were altered depending on the player's choices, with Torment taking into account the player's predilection for law or order and Fallout introducing reputation-based traits such as "Child Killer" or "Gigolo."

The richness of those two games - the writing - made them interactive novels in a way that most games don't. I got into Morrowind, yeah, with it's freedom to act, and create your own structures, and if I weren't a cheapskate and was willing to pay for a comptuer that would run Oblivion, I'd be blogging in two sentence entries every 3 days. But it is the writing (and the well-known game mechanics of D and D) that made it for me. I remember when I reached the end of the game, when the storyline peaked; and it wasn't a happy ending. Kudos to the writer. (who was either Colin McComb or Chris Avallone. (OK, the writer was Avallone, but Colin deserves a link as well.)

And while I'm on CRPGs, the cultural and political content of Grim Fandango deserve a link as well. Where else can you settle a strike by dockworker bees?

The final position (and yeah, I mentioned more than five) goes to World of Warcraft.

I spent more time on Everquest than I did WoW. I also spent way more money, because all of my WoW time was spent playing the beta. I got into it early, and it was awesome. Fortunately for my sanity and pocketbook, I recognized that the wonderful colors, beautiful art, clever characters, solid interface, and odd adventures would have threatened my job, my marriage, and most of my other relationships. But if you want to know what massively multiplayer online RPG to play, it's WoW.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A good Saturday review: Lancet study, US Foreign Policy, Progressives and Racism

I took TWO naps today! (OK, one of them was due to antihistamines... but still...) so you get three great articles I read on this relatively slow Saturday.

This analysis of the Lancet study, from one of the defenders of the earlier study, asks us to look at the real question: is it really really much worse in Iraq since our illegal and immoral invasion and occupation? (Natch, answer is YES)

The numbers do add up
Daniel Davies
...The question that this study was set up to answer was: as a result of the invasion, have things got better or worse in Iraq? And if they have got worse, have they got a little bit worse or a lot worse...

The results speak for themselves. There was a sample of 12,801 individuals in 1,849 households, in 47 geographical locations. That is a big sample, not a small one. The opinion polls from Mori and such which measure political support use a sample size of about 2,000 individuals, and they have a margin of error of +/- 3%...

And the results were shocking. In the 18 months before the invasion, the sample reported 82 deaths, two of them from violence. In the 39 months since the invasion, the sample households had seen 547 deaths, 300 of them from violence. The death rate expressed as deaths per 1,000 per year had gone up from 5.5 to 13.3...

Well, there is something that we can do. We can ensure that the people responsible for this outrage suffer the consequences of their actions. A particularly disgusting theme of some right-wing American critics of the study as been to impugn it by talking about it being "conveniently" released before the November congressional elections. As if a war that doubled the death rate in Iraq was not the sort of thing that ought to be a political issue. Nobody is doing anything about this disaster, and nobody will do until people start suffering some kind of consequences for their actions (for example, no British politician, soldier or spy has lost his job over the handling of the Iraq war and no senior member of the Bush administration either).

The BooMan takes a serious look at American foreign and economic policy in A Humble Foreign Policy.

The Bush team came into office and got almost everything immediately wrong. Although forewarned that the biggest threat we faced was asymmetic and rooted in our Middle Eastern policies, they chose to see China as the real menace and pursue missile defense. They tore up the anti-ballistic missile treaty in December 2001. Then, once we were attacked, they developed the Bush Doctrine...

The neoconservatives speak a good game about promoting democracy and pursuing peace through the aggressive confrontation with China, Russia, and the Middle East. But this is all about access to energy supplies and everyone knows it.

And in many respects, this is nothing new. The same considerations drove American foreign policy under Truman, Kennedy, and LBJ. The only real difference now is that the game is being fought under the mask of combating terrorism instead of godless communism. That, and the fact that we have almost no allies in this fight, largely because the Bush administration has pursued the principles laid out in the Bush Doctrine: pre-emption, military superiority ("strength beyond challenge"), and unilateral action.

We end with a superb essay by Bill Fletcher of The Black Commentator, which strips some feelgood myths away and causes scales to fall from eyes in this discussion of racism and politics. These two excerpts only touch on the many great points he makes; I highly recommend a complete reading.

The Democratic Party, which had a significant base among white workers from its inception, evolved in a peculiar direction in part due to the demands of this constituency as well as due to larger macro-economic changes. In order to understand this, one must begin with the recognition that the collapse of Reconstruction - formally in 1876/1877 - —what W.E.B. Dubois called the counter-revolution of property, was not simply the victory of the Democratic Party. It was the result of a shift within the power bloc running the USA with regard to both the terms of the ruling consensus and the corresponding shape of US democracy. The dominant sectors of capital, having virtually eliminated all opposition to the US settler state by the First Nations/Native Americans, came to an agreement with the defeated ruling elites from the former Confederacy. The terms were clear: the former Southern ruling elites would be free to rule the South as long as they swore allegiance to the Northern industrial capitalists and their vision of a new United States of America. Upon winning their support, the Northern industrialists, and their political representatives, were quite prepared to abandon the Reconstruction. The political representatives for the Northern industrial capitalists were largely found in the Republican Party of the time...

The Democratic Party that we look at now is the legacy of the political realignment that took place with the exit of the Dixiecrats and the fallout from the 1960s reforms addressing racial injustice, reforms - needless to say - that were introduced as a result of the struggles conducted by the Black Freedom Movement. These factors fueled the George Wallace 1968 and 1972 campaigns and fused with the growing tension within sections of the white working class and the middle strata concerning their anxiety (if not opposition) to the demands raised by people of color, as well by the shifting of the tax burden away from the corporations and the wealthy and onto the backs of these classes and class fractions in order to pay for many of the various reforms. I hasten to add that we are also looking at a party that, in 1972, was prepared to lose an election rather than witness the victory of the liberal George McGovern.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Validity of Lancet Study

Echidne, who has been doing a series on statistics, chimes in on the Lancet study (pdf) that investigates the death rate in Iraq since our invasion, and finds an additional 400,000-900,000 deaths:

In a nutshell, the wingnuts hate the study, because the findings suggest that a near-genocide is going on in Iraq, and the moonbats defend the study ferociously, because it confirms their expectations that a near-genocide is going on in Iraq. Nobody is happy about the study findings, of course. Let me repeat that: Nobody is happy about the study findings; nobody wants to imagine that many horrible deaths and the suffering that goes along with those or the effect on the survivors.

After discussing the way in which the study was completed (which is pretty much normal public health statistical technique, mitigated by the fact that so much is a war zone), she looks at the critiques of the study. The first is simply - geez, no-one else says the number is that high!

That there is a difference in these numbers can be at least partly accounted for by the fact that the Lancet study was actively looking for deaths in the community, whereas all the other sources are based on passive reporting: stories in newspapers, checking on morgues and so on. It's pretty likely that a war-torn country has large numbers of deaths which are not reported on, especially a country like Iraq where large areas of the country are too dangerous for journalists to venture in. This does not mean that the Lancet numbers are necessarily correct, of course, but it suggests that we must take into account the different methods other death counts use before comparing the two.

Then there's the cluster sampling method, and the honesty of the people interviewed.

But the cluster sampling method is widely used for estimating deaths in conflict areas. Its weakness, compared to simple random sampling, is taken into account in the wide confidence intervals the estimates produce...

The third most common criticism has to do with the truthfulness of the survey results and respondents. The research teams asked for a death certificate in 87% of the cases and were shown one in 80% of all cases. It's unfortunate that so many people who write about the study are using the higher percentage of 92% confirmation rate. This only applied to the cases where a certificate was requested. But 80% is fairly impressive, too.

Pretty damning. Which is why the condemnation of the study from the perpetrators, those who have the blood of 655,000 (plus or minus a couple hundred thousand) on their hands is so swift, if not accurate.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Racists, Fascists, and Bigots - Oh My!

I've been ruminating on right wing rhetoric, the depth of our collective brainwashing, and the state of the world.

Hannity and Colmes; the perfect example of the problem. Set up to be so - Sean Hannity is extreme, a thug, a racist and a bigot and a fascist. Alan Colmes is a Milquetoast.

Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin - their 'schtick,' being the 'crazy radical right,' allows the media mindscape to be littered with the kind of foul ranting you'd expect from a drunken Nazi brownshirt.

How few those on the Left - at least, those we hear - that talk about the Right in the same way?

These words - bigot, racist, fascist - are powerful, but we cannot use them. Or do not use them. Or are not allowed to use them in the channels of the corporate media.

Instead, we get words like 'Southern Strategy.' 'Nixon won the election with his Southern Strategy.' Sounds a lot better than 'Nixon won by appealing to southern white racists,' doesn't it?

The PATRIOT Act and the Military Commissions Act are fascist. The Bush Administration is authoritarian. The attacks on Keith Ellison's character are racist. Alan Fine could be a wife-beater. (Sorry - 'is alleged to have committed domestic abuse.') Paul Wellstone may have been assassinated.

Call it like it is, my friends. Use the powerful words we are given.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nice going. 655,000 Iraqi deaths due to our illegal and immoral invasion and occupation

Let's see... that's twice as many as Hussein killed in 25 years. That's over 200 times those killed in 9/11. That's over 230 times as many killed as US forces have lost.

Nothing succeeds like excess. Mission Accomplished!

From the Guardian:
'655,000 Iraqis killed since invasion'

The death toll among Iraqis as a result of the US-led invasion has now reached an estimated 655,000, a study in the Lancet medical journal reports today.

The figure for the number of deaths attributable to the conflict - which amounts to around 2.5% of the population - is at odds with figures cited by the US and UK governments and will cause a storm, but the Lancet says the work, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, has been examined and validated by four separate independent experts who all urged publication.

In October 2004, the same researchers published a study estimating that 100,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the war since the beginning of the March 2003 invasion, a figure that was hugely controversial. Their new study, they say, reaffirms the accuracy of their survey of two years ago and moves it on.

Have you actually read the Foley IMs?

Thanks to the two people who wrote my post for this evening...

Maf54 (8:03:47 PM): what you wearing
Xxxxxxxxx (8:04:04 PM): normal clothes
Xxxxxxxxx (8:04:09 PM): tshirt and shorts
Maf54 (8:04:17 PM): um so a big buldge
Xxxxxxxxx (8:04:35 PM): ya
Maf54 (8:04:45 PM): um
Maf54 (8:04:58 PM): love to slip them off of you
Xxxxxxxxx (8:05:08 PM): haha
Maf54 (8:05:53 PM): and gram the one eyed snake
Maf54 (8:06:13 PM): grab
Xxxxxxxxx (8:06:53 PM): not tonight...dont get to excited
Maf54 (8:07:12 PM): well your hard
Xxxxxxxxx (8:07:45 PM): that is true
Maf54 (8:08:03 PM): and a little horny
Xxxxxxxxx (8:08:11 PM): and also tru
Maf54 (8:08:31 PM): get a ruler and measure it for me
Xxxxxxxxx (8:08:38 PM): ive already told you that
Maf54 (8:08:47 PM): tell me again
Xxxxxxxxx (8:08:49 PM): 7 and 1/2
Maf54 (8:09:04 PM): ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Maf54 (8:09:08 PM): beautiful
Xxxxxxxxx (8:09:38 PM): lol
Maf54 (8:09:44 PM): thats a great size
Xxxxxxxxx (8:10:00 PM): thank you
Maf54 (8:10:22 PM): still stiff
Xxxxxxxxx (8:10:28 PM): ya
Maf54 (8:10:40 PM): take it out

Monday, October 09, 2006


Activist burnout. It's not really that bad, but today I had something before work, work, and something after work. Tomorrow, I have work and something after.

I spend about two days a week doing media activism stuff, another doing spiritual stuff, and then, I have the blog.

I've enjoyed it, enjoyed the writing. It's been satisfying ticking off the small advances - two months now? The day that Mark gave me the hot link and I topped 50 visits. Woot!

I've also not done the promotion necessary; that was my goal, to write once a day and to promote once (like crosspost at Booman, or Kos, or blogwhore at Shakes, or drop a couple comments.)

But now, all I want to do is play Fate.

Tonight was cable-star night. Some of my media activism consists of sending things into the void of broadcast (like WAVE projects at KFAI) or tonight's little east metro cable show. It went pretty well - one of the reasons I posted the Media Self Defense 101 (Propaganda Model) post was because that's what we'd be doing on the show. But who watches, who listens?

At least with the blog I have hit counts. And maybe someday I'll have comments!


OK - just had the dog clean my face. And then I wrassled her to the ground and glommed on her ears. And then she fell asleep.

So I take back that Ugh.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Election Predictions

Pulled straight out of my butt, served to you here and now!

First, the scandal du jour, Mark Foley (R-NAMBLA) and the coverup by the phlegmatic Denny Hastert will continue and hurt the national Republicans BADLY. Nothing like a gay Rep coming on to 16-year olds to disgust your homophobic right-wing base!

Second, Karl Rove will try and pull something out of HIS butt, which may involve Iran.

Now, I know we all love the feeding frenzy surrounding the Foley page scandal. But there are two points to remember:

1) The corporate media is still corporate. The institutional biases against us are still powerful.

2) The Bush Regime is made up of evil motherfuckers who will do what they can to cling to power.

Now - I'm not saying that they'll just cheat their asses off and steal the election. Nope, while I don't doubt that they have a ton of dirty tricks, some involving computerized voting machines, these tools are just that - tools. They are not magic wands that give them what they want, each and every time. So they can affect some X amount of races - but if there's a massive 'vote the bastards out' sweep, they can only do so much.

What I am saying is that it won't be clear massive sailing all the way, at least in the CorporateMediaWorld.

Nevertheless, there are strong indications that nationally the Democrats will make major pickups. As in, Iraq sucks and people are pissed off, beyond the point of propaganda to hide it.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.
(supposedly sourced to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels)

Since I am only limited in my omniscience, the following prediction is particularly full of hot air.

National Prediction: Democrats Take House +10, Republicans Control Senate +1

Go to a more inside-baseball site to read more on this. I just think that the local littler races will fall Dem, while the larger targets will be worked hard by the Reps.

Minnesota Predictions

US Senate: Amy Klobuchar 57%, Mark Kennedy 45%, IP-Guy 4%, Mike Cavlan 3%, Right of the Fetus to Buy a Gun with Gold Coins (Constitution Party) 1%

Start with the easy one. Mark Kennedy is a creep, and people know it. Amy's personable and seems tough. While my hope is that Cavlan breaks 5%, the media blackout on all Greens militates against it.

Governor: Mike Hatch by a hair

Not much to say about this. Pawlenty is telegenic, but also a fucktard. Hatch's campaign? I've not seen it. Don't know if it's in the grassroots, but with his top-down management style, I somewhat doubt it. Hutchinson, who is propped up by people who (so far as I can tell) were liberal when they were younger, but can't quite sell out ALL the way (but they sure don't like real populism), gets crap. And deserves it! (Ooooh! My greatest accomplishment was that I tried to privatize the Minneapolis School System! And I failed!) (wanker)

Attorney General: Lori Swanson

Because the Democrats are going to do well in the state.

Secretary of State: Mark Ritchie

Because more people are ticked off about Mary Evil Fucking Kiffmeyer than there are Republicans who really want to make sure she can bias elections.

Speaking of which, as I'm trying to find out who the hell is running for State Auditor, I've just spent 10 minutes trying to track it down. MPR and the Strib, being bastions of democracy in action (NOT) don't have the race listed in their 'Election 2006' coverage. To be more exact: the Strib covers the US Senate, the Governor's and the US Congress races (and has a broken MyVote link, that gives you primary results and not candidate listings, which it implies it will...) and MPR adds the Attorney General's race. Whatever credit MPR might get for adding that one race is lost in its 'select a candidate' quiz, which ignores the Greens and others. Losers.

So I go to the Secretary of State's webpage, click on Elections, and try and find a list of candidates. NOT THERE! I then click on the 'Candidates and Referenda' link, and get - what, a list of candidates? Nope! Crap for candidates running (how to file financials) and that's it! Referenda? Roads and the constitutional amendment, which has a 'list of groups for, against, or neutral', which lists Citizens for Bigger Roads. And that's it. (Another reason to vote against the constitutional amendment.)

FINALLY, I go back to the homepage, and there's the charmingly titled 'State and Federal Candidates for Partisan Office Advancing to the General Election,' which takes me to... a list of candidates? NOPE! An Excel database download (Don't have Excel? Don't get to find out!) which lists all the candidates in a crappy format!

God, I'll be glad to see the end of this woman!

Where was I? Oh, yeah.

State Auditor: Don't know, but the best chance for the Greens to get 5%.

So if you want to see the Greens returned to major-party status, so the corporate media (and their MPR affiliate) will need to come up with a new reason to exclude them from coverage, vote Dave Berger for Auditor.

Congressional races: Two DFL pickups

I think that Wetterling's going to beat Bachmann because of Foley. I think Rowley or Walz will win, but not both. I think Wendy Wilde will give Ramstad the best run for a long time. Ellison will win. And I will celebrate. The rest of the pack are going to stick with the incumbent, even though Colin Peterson's a Torture Democrat.

State House and Senate: Democratic wins

Even without Matt Entenza's wife's money, the national mood and the creepiness of Pawlenty and Kennedy will give the DFL what they need to take over. Jesse Mortenson, the only Green running for one of these seats (in Entenza's old district) will get in the high 30s.

So there you have it! Nihilix's predictions! Enjoy!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Olbermann, again

Very nice, this. Maybe my local cable company has a 'Daily and Olbermann Only' package...

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats, now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the President who made things up?


Oh, I just thought I'd keep a musical theme going... this my third Numan thingy...

There are cracks in my ceiling. There are those in the US who wish they had a ceiling to have cracks in.

My cousin who went to Iraq is back. He's wealthy, and re-enlisted in his 40s. At least he put his body where his politics are. Damn glad he made it back.

The hands on the artwork in the corner of my basement are hands which allowed communication to occur. We also joined hands - well, enough of us did - to make a union.

Remember where you came from, what you've done, and what others do with what they have.

there was a young blogger named gary
whose legs were uncommonly hairy
he said to his dog,
"When young, I would flog
my feet with the wings of a fairy"

(this message brought to you by maudlin literary nihilix. enjoy)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Impeach for Peace Thursday October 5 11:30 Federal Building

Get off your behinds and into the streets Thursday.

Protest for Bush's Impeachment!
Oct. 5 - The World Can't Wait!
• Protest for Accountability
11:30am at the Minneapolis Federal Building, 300 S. 4th St

• Justice March
From the Federal Building to Hennepin Ave then onto Loring Park

• Musical Celebration for Peace & Justice
In Loring Park, 3pm to sunset, with favorite local and guest bands.

see the pdf poster

or just watch the youtube

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Iran, Foley, Fox, and the street thugs of the Right in the UK

Long day... recovering from last night AND other obligations... ahh, to have all my time free for computering. When I was 15.

This is the one that really creeped me out. You see, my contention is that the neo-fascists who are controlling the levers of power here will use violent paramilitaries to maintain their hold (once it starts slipping.)

In other words, they'll be sending their right-wing death squads out to fuck us up.

Never, you say? Fuck you, I say. As my last post pointed out, I'm not going to play that nicey-nicey game. And if you still think that the folks in power are nice, that they respect limits, that it could never happen: you're ignorant both of history and of the characteristics of authoritarian regimes. (And if you can't bear the thought that Wellstone may have been assassinated 'because of what that would mean about the world we live in', then wake up and smell the motherfucking cordite.)

And if my invective-laced prose doesn't shake you up, how about this (and I strongly recommend you read the whole thing):

Far-right UK website driving attacks on left-wing adversaries
Web of Hate
On the rightwing website Redwatch, hundreds of photographs of anti-war and anti-fascist activists are posted - with the message that they will 'pay for their crimes'. And now a number of those people have been attacked...

...The attack, which left the long-time union activist with serious injuries, was the latest and most violent incident in a campaign of intimidation that has been waged against opponents of the far right in the UK over the past five years. Like hundreds of people who have spoken out against the rise of the British National Party and other extremist groups, McFadden's picture and home address have been collected by far right activists and posted on a website called Redwatch.

The site, which has links with the neo-Nazi organisation Combat 18 and a host of European fascist organisations, is hosted in the US but registered and run from the UK. It lists the personal details and shows the photographs of anti-racists - many taken during protests against the British National Party - alongside the slogan: "Remember places, traitors' faces, they'll all pay for their crimes."

And while we're at people's pollyanna-ish views on the reality of power, we're going to attack Iran soon. In order to save the 2006 election for the current regime.

Arthur Silber reports:
If the fallout from the Foley scandal makes it appear inevitable that the Democrats will take the House, the Iran card may be the surest one, and perhaps the only one, that the Bush administration has left to play. I am certain that the sons of bitches who call the shots in the administration have no intention of letting some annoying, whining pipsqueaks (as they undoubtedly view them) peer over their shoulders during the last two years of their reign, as they attempt to ensure American and Republican domination of this country and the world for the foreseeable future.

But-wait-there's-more, a pissed-off retired military dude who says we've already begun the attack on Iran.
Retired Col. Sam Gardiner says we’re in Iran right now
By: John Amato on Monday, September 18th, 2006 at 4:45 PM - PDT

Col. Sam Gardiner says the US is already conducting military operations in Iran and a plan has been forwarded up to the White House. He broached this topic a few months back.

Gardiner: We’re conducting military operations inside Iran right now. The evidence is overwhelming. From both the Iranians, Americans, and from Congressional sources.

And as Silber points out, the fucking Democrats are rolling over in their military-industrial piles of cash, showing thier throats to the warmongers.
In the hysteria that would follow an attack on Iran, and in the ensuing, spreading carnage, enough people may well rally to the support of the administration to prevent the Democrats from making the required gains.

Have the Democrats been consistently and repeatedly speaking out in opposition to the administration's plans to bomb Iran, possibly even using nuclear weapons? No. Have the Democrats been building public opposition to such a criminal course of action? No. Have the Democrats been opposing the administration's plans in any meaningful way at all -- even though those plans have been absolutely clear for at least a year? No.

The trap has been laid. The time is rapidly approaching for it to be sprung.

And not one person of any national prominence has even a single word of significant opposition to offer. Not one.

And to top off the evil trifecta, we have the Ministry of Propaganda claiming that Republican sexual predator Mark Foley was a Democrat. Bill O'Reilly's show listed him as a Democrat. For real.

Lies, violent oppression, and war to save your asses. This is the true face of our American ruling system.

Monday, October 02, 2006

KMFDM and the Stormtrooper of the Mind

Fight the power
That chokes your speech
Fight the power
That makes you bleed
Fight the power
That propogates lies
To keep you weak
Keep you in line
Fight the power that reigns you in
Divides and conquers
Defines your sin
Fight the power
For one and all
Before the power swallows us whole


Another late night concert post.

How the hell do you write a feeling, an experience, sonic and somatic and endrocrinal?

Industrial shows have kicked my ass. KMFDM tonight, Gary Numan not too long ago, Prong in a converted u-bahn station in Germany in the 90s.

Now, the division of pagan/magical working into 'white magic' and 'black magic' is largely bullshit. Nevertheless, these shows manipulate 'red magic.' Red magic is magic of blood and body. It's magic of movement and anger.

I'm sick of passive responses to the heinous evil crap we have to deal with in this world. I think it's time to manifest some red magic.

And one of the first places we need to do it is in our minds.

I can feel it - blogging, reading, listening. The depth of the evil we face has made even banal moderation seem like a good thing.

The prime example of this is when we cheer on the CIA for standing up to being run over by the Bush regime.

I mean, this is the motherfucking CIA we're talking about!!! This is the organization that our government used to topple democratic regimes left and right during the Cold War when those darn foreigners kept on voting in people who did crap like nationalize oil or copper mines or what-fucking-ever. This is the CIA that, while they're playing palace politics with the radicals in the White House, have been running secret torture prisons and did you notice in Abu Ghraib there always seemed to be a CIA 'contractor' standing around and fucking giving orders???

Locally, take Colleen Rowley. Yeh, she'd be hellah better than that piece of crap John Klein. And yeah, she bucked the system when she blew whistles on Moussaoui and 9/11. She's still an ex-Fed. I don't know - maybe she'll be alright. (She was at the Stop the Merchants of Death show the night before last...)

This is running long, but a final example of banal moderation seeming like a good thing would be one John Kerry.

So we need to get the fucking blinkers off our heads, break through the crappy frames that bind us, and really really start thinking about what we WANT, not what is better than the shit we have now.

Free Your Hate

Silence is golden
Ingorance bliss
Better off not asking
What you'd rather forget

And as the vice grip choke holds
All of our freedoms are meeting their end
And for the wars they wage
Numberless troops lie wounded or dead

The beatings will continue
Until morale improves

Free your hate
Crusade in the days of rage
Perilous folly
Rise up against your fate
Free your hate
Crusade in the days of rage
Tireless cunning
Stampede and break your chains

Terror at gunpoint
Torture at large
Enemy combatant
Labeled a threat
Without trial or charge

Repetition of history
Messenger, prophet, martyr for god
All for once and for all
Reclaim your power
The tyrant must fall

The beatings will continue
Until morale improves

Written and Composed by: Lucia Cifarelli, Sascha Konietzko, Jules Hodgson, Andy Selway, Steve White

Sunday, October 01, 2006

When the right knows it's wrong: hiding itself for the general election

I was perusing the Guardian and this little tidbit caught my eye... (note: David Cameron is the Conservative leader in the UK)

Cameron echoes JFK in pitch for the centre
Gaby Hinsliff and Ned Temko
David Cameron will echo one of President John F Kennedy's most famous speeches today when he asks the British public to stop asking what the state can do for them and instead ask what they can do for each other.

In a bold bid for the political centre ground, the Tory leader will respond to criticism that he lacks big ideas by insisting that Conservatives through the ages have believed that individuals have a responsibility to others.

Which got me to thinking about how Republicans, or the right in general, will sugarcoat or otherwise stuff their real agendas and priorities when the audience is the general public.

Yeah, yeah, it's 'running toward the center' (or centre, as the Brits would have it) but given the gap between right-wing rhetoric at these points and the reality of how they govern, it's more dishonest than how Democrats seem to do it - which is to sell out to the corporatist, military-imperial complex and then they're in the center. Wheras the Republicans will do things like front their 2004 convention will all sorts of pro-choicers (Ahnold Schwartzenegger, Rudy Guliani) and then sit on Plan B contraceptives for as long as they can.

Back to Merrie Olde England - the Guardian, being a non-profit, and therefore less likely to be filtered (see Why We Blog) point out that first, this is the new media-friendly Tories, and when push comes to shove, they'll still put the rich before anyone else.

The phrasing - far removed from Margaret Thatcher's dictum that there is 'no such thing as society' - is reminiscent of JFK's stirring 1961 inaugural address, arguing that Americans should 'ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country'...

He faces continued pressure, however, from the right to offer tax cuts. John Redwood, the right-winger heading a policy commission on the economy, will demand lower taxes in a report also expected to back vouchers for nursery education, and even selling the road network into private ownership.

The last time we saw the true fangs of the US conservatives was the infamous 1992 Republican National Convention, where Pat Buchanan let the cat out of the bag. Buchanan, prefiguring today's no-holds-barred character assassination as well as ending one step short of endorsing the Racial Holy War (RAHOWA) of the neo-nazis. And Pat Robertson, in a fundraising letter, announcing the depths of his hatred of women and other transgressors...

The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America -- abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat -- that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country...

...Friends, in those wonderful 25 weeks, the saddest days were the days of the bloody riot in LA, the worst in our history. But even out of that awful tragedy can come a message of hope.

Hours after the violence ended I visited the Army compound in south LA, where an officer of the 18th Cavalry, that had come to rescue the city, introduced me to two of his troopers. They could not have been 20 years old. He told them to recount their story.

They had come into LA late on the 2nd day, and they walked up a dark street, where the mob had looted and burned every building but one, a convalescent home for the aged. The mob was heading in, to ransack and loot the apartments of the terrified old men and women. When the troopers arrived, M-16s at the ready, the mob threatened and cursed, but the mob retreated. It had met the one thing that could stop it: force, rooted in justice, backed by courage.

Greater love than this hath no man than that he lay down his life for his friend. Here were 19-year-old boys ready to lay down their lives to stop a mob from molesting old people they did not even know. And as they took back the streets of LA, block by block, so we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country.

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." - 1992 Iowa fundraising letter

I only wish the feminist movement - which is pro-choice - was as pro-gay rights, pro-religious tolerance, and anti-capitalist as Robertson claims it is.