So the ex press-secretary jumps ship as well... and writes a book. This is one reason politics shouldn't be a career. It seems if enough power aggregates into the hands of a few most of we cowards will go along, especially those with career interests. No matter what harm may come we will not speak out until it is financially feasible. Of course it is too late and we are now left to history's judgment on these years of our trauma and shame. What comes next in this grand experiment? Will we now renounce the temporary false comfort of willful ignorance, or are the responsibilities of freedom too much to bear?
Here is a sincere apology to Brother Bush, for We the People should never have given you so much rope. Now We get to claim that we were deceived, and you Brother Bush get to twist in the wind. It is truly unfair, luckily we have the Good Book for moments like these...
*dons the collar of self-righteousness, pulls his bible from his breast-pocket, and declares...*
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
:: Damian B. 5/28/2008 [+] ::
Now that it no longer seems to matter even Peggy Noonan has completely turned her back on Brother Bush. For the record, I believe Ms. Noonan to be a person of intelligence and sincerity, unlike the people she has most recently supported, but this is life, and this is neither a bitter nor an "I told you so" post. In cases like this I would rather just be wrong, but here we are at a possible beginning of light, painful process that it is. I endorse no party or candidate, just Truth.
You all know what it is, it's that thing that nags at you at night. The thing that whispers to you that you are not doing your best, whatever that means to you personally. You will often be inclined to ignore it, to rationalize and justify your shortcomings, but you mustn't. It is a path to suffering for you AND others. I am as guilty of it as anyone, and so am woefully inadequate to explain what it is with logic or words or anything else. Fortunately I don't have to, because you already know, and the more trauma we inflict on ourselves and others the more obvious it will become.
It cannot be avoided. Vengeance, judgment, and fear all get passed back and forth, just as forgiveness, tolerance, and hope do. Please, take a moment with yourself and decide which side you are really on, and then live it... with the most absolute sincerity that you can muster. I promise to do the same, and when we all finish traversing our infinite paths we will meet at the end. As it was, is, and always will be...
:: Damian B. 4/25/2008 [+] ::
excerpt... "To begin with, the Constitution refers to cruel and unusual punishment. It is referring to punishment for crime. For example, incarcerating someone indefinitely would certainly be cruel and unusual punishment for a crime, but a court can do that when a witness refuses to answer ... as a means of coercing the witness to answer, as the witness should. And I suppose it's the same thing about so-called torture. Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to find out where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited by the Constitution?"
"...It would be absurd to say you couldn't do that. And once you acknowledge that, we're into a different game" Scalia says. "How close does the threat have to be? And how severe can the infliction of pain be?"
Hmm. Yes, that would be absurd. Good point there, except it sounds like a salesman's argument not a judge's argument. Because here's the thing, if we knew for certain that L.A. was going to blow up and we also knew for certain that "smacking someone in the face" would nix the whole thing, do you really think anybody is going to bust our balls for it. To argue against that would be a fringe opinion at best... Absurd you might say.
So after we put the condescending rhetoric aside all we are left with is, "...we're into a different game. How close does the threat have to be? And how severe can the infliction of pain be?"
No kidding. Here's where we have to step out of the T.V. and acknowledge that we will never know for certain that L.A. is going to blow up while also knowing exactly whom to "smack". It's a difficult line to draw, it always has been and always will be, no matter what the laws may say. So whenever our leaders stop putting emotional rhetoric above substantive debate we can talk about it.
Boom boom goes the drum. Headlines are just too sexy, so here's the eloquent quote from our foremost orator and representative to the world...
"We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."
He was discussing whether he thought Russian and Putin were to be trusted to be on the bus, as they say. Threat? Maybe. Uncouth child-like response to Putin declaring that Russia would not support any military action against Iran? I think so .
Osama who? Iraq what? Iran where? WW III when?
Here's a friendly reminder to remember that the world is a tad bit like a game of Risk where everyone is just trying to secure resources and stability. Geo-politics. Virtually all of the theatrics and reasons that nations go on about are really excuses and justifications for securing resources, because unlike in Risk the real world requires reasons and justifications to satisfy the peasantry and the ruling status quo. This is the "civilized" way, and it is indeed, much better than the old "rape and pillage" model. Unfortunately our president is very clumsy at it.
:: Damian B. 10/17/2007 [+] ::
Weird. From what I can tell the above headline comes from only this teeny bit of the whole 224 page tome of FBI erudition...
"The plane was chartered either by the Saudi Arabian royal family or Osama bin Laden."
Hard to tell if it means much, but what a strange thing for the Feds to be writing when the only way these secret flights happened under a total flight ban was through the highest channels of government. How the hell would Osama have arranged them? It's either dopey or sloppy. I hope it's dopey.
A fun aside to this is that the FBI themselves publicly denied the existence of these flights for about two years, along with the FAA and White House, until the troublesome Richard Clarke released the cat. Colin Powell then had this relevant exchange on Meet the Press...
MR. RUSSERT: The cover of Time magazine tomorrow, headlined, The Saudis: Whose Side Are They On in the War on Terror? — in this release from Vanity Fair magazine, “Former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke tells Vanity Fair that the Bush administration decided to allow a group of Saudis to fly out of the U.S. just after September 11 — at a time when access to U.S. airspace was still restricted and required special government approval. According to other sources at least four flights with about 140 Saudis, including roughly two dozen members of the bin Laden family, flew to Saudi Arabia that week — without even being interviewed or interrogated by the F.B.I.”
Why was that allowed?
SEC’Y POWELL: Well, I don’t know that that’s accurate. I don’t know the details of what happened. But my understanding is that there was no sneaking out of the country; that the flights were well-known, and it was coordinated within the government. But I don’t have the details about what the FBI’s role in it might or might not have been.
I don't think the FBI knows what their role was. It's a galling state of affairs when extreme incompetence and ignorance are the most comforting explanations.
Whoooeee! Lucky this fella had a video camera. You know Big Brother creeps me out like nothing else, but obviously the 'authorities' will not be deterred from surveiling us. So this is exactly what needs to be done, surveil them back and we will see the hypocrisy inherent in the system. Every time a woman or an old man gets tazed, we need video.
So fine, security cameras everywhere! But... they have to be in all of the interrogation rooms and on all of our politicians as well. Who's working for who anyway?
:: Damian B. 5/04/2007 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 ::
I'm just no fun anymore. The shrink said, "Relax, you're not going to save the world, you know. So just settle down, and it will all be over soon."
Then he pulled a gun on me... WTF!?
Anyway, I'm treating myself now. The news will just bring you down and destroy your capacity to produce and consume, but I am an addict so I went looking for humorous and otherwise harmless news. It turned out to be a good day for hilarious headlines, oddly enough...
It's hard to be cute and dramatic with the taste of bile in your mouth. Excerpt...
"Citing lapses in leadership and oversight as main reasons for the problems, the nine-member independent group concluded that the Defense Department was, or should have been, aware of the widespread problems but neglected them because they knew Walter Reed was slated for eventual closure.
In addition, the Pentagon made problems worse by ordering a hold-down on costs and expenses — dubbed 'efficiency wedges' — even as Walter Reed began experiencing an influx of thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
'Leadership at Walter Reed should have been aware of poor living conditions and administrative hurdles and failed to place proper priority on solutions,' according to the report draft released Wednesday."
Where does the largest military budget in the known universe go exactly?
Don't get me wrong, I'm quite certain Democrats or anyone else with the ambition to play us all as fools would do exactly the same sorts of things. Power corrupts? Every time. It's not that complicated. Luckily, we have one of the most brilliant systems in the history of man to prevent corruption from happening, but if the people willingly concede their right to govern themselves nothing can be done. Every decent person knows that politics are distasteful and boring, but attention must be paid. Support our troops, and just look at how ridiculous we have become. Of anyone in this whole country, why should they suffer? Because American Idol holds more interest than soldiers' welfare, and that's not just a snide comment, it's the plain truth. Irrefutable. We've plum lost it.
:: Damian B. 4/11/2007 [+] ::
Tee hee. Feels good to come back with a chuckle. Yeah, they're virtually all liars and hypocrites (though technically in this specific case Clinton was impeached for perjury not adultery). No news here, everybody knows it. Why is it then that so many of us think we can pick a 'team' possessed of absolute righteousness? It sometimes seems that you couldn't find a solitary person with an ounce of trust for anyone proclaiming political aspirations, but there they sit, living like royalty.
Being mortally short of omniscience, I don't fully understand the silliness of humanity, but it is clear that we are failing our obligation to ensure accountability in our public servants. All we can be bothered to do... on occasion... is vote them out, which just moves them along to the real money-making as a lobbyist, board member, or even better... defense contractor.
There I go railing off topic again. I am a preacher who hates preachers, and the joke is on all of us, tis true. I ain't mad at ya Newt. Let's just take this opportunity to learn that despite how much we may lie to ourselves and others, we are all woefully human, and "family values" do not talk themselves into existence. Is there really any mystery why America strays? You espouse uncompromising abstinence while committing adultery, and you aren't alone are you?
:: Damian B. 3/09/2007 [+] ::
Oh great, let the fetal stem cell farming begin... or not. Bush swears up and down that he's going to whip out that long neglected veto power of his. Why now? For this? Is he truly convinced that people will be aborting fetuses just to suck the stem cells out of them? I'm sure I'm missing something, but this was the reason spokesman Snow gave at the end of the above article...
"The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong," said White House spokesman Tony Snow. "The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research."
Murder?! I always had the sneaking suspicion that Arnold, Nancy Reagan, and Orrin Hatch supported murder. Now it can be laid to rest, because I too believe murder is wrong, for scientific research anyway.
Sorry Nancy, you're on the bus or... you know.
*genuflects at the altar of over-simplification and propaganda*
:: Damian B. 7/18/2006 [+] ::
I know this is a hot debate. It seems to reveal how truly desperate all of our politicians have become, that they trot out one of their most self-destructive (politically) distractions, just because it works. I guess it makes good theatre watching the political free-for-all, everyone turning on each other, trying to figure out what exactly on this green earth will get them re-elected. I though, am less entertained than confused, per usual.
Obviously laws are ridiculous if they aren't to be enforced. This is not a newly discovered philosophy, so I wonder... Why are there +/-11 million illegal immigrants here in the first place? Who lets them in and who hires them? Why do they hire them?
They hire them for profit, of course. Desperate, impoverished people come here illegally and hence work with no rights, for little. People who would obviously rather prosper in their own country. Some of us profit off of them, some of the rest blame them for everything. Remember that the party line is that the economy is doing great, meanwhile some citizens wish immigrants rounded up because our health and education systems are in disarray. What's wrong with the picture? It sometimes seems as if our country is being "liquidated." That is not the immigrants fault.
Point being, pass whatever laws you actually want to enforce, just don't blame immigrants for wanting to feed their kids if you are going to hire them. In most cases they work like dogs for scraps from our tables, and it is ignoble to treat them with contempt. If you disagree, let's call it what it is at least; "Dog eat dog," I'd respect you for that.
:: Damian B. 5/25/2006 [+] ::
Go ahead and take a little quiz, and see just how depressingly easy it can be to feel smart in America. If you can find Iraq on a map faster than you can name where the TV show CSI is set, you too are an american genius. Jumpin' Jahosaphats! That should be a joke.
These are our college-age (18-24) youths, near the peak of their mental agility, and fresh out of high school. If we weren't bloody invincible, I would worry about our future...
...ack! You know, I was just about to grind out a long, scathing, overly sarcastic post about all the people I know who would just love an education but haven't quite cleared the 'financial' hurdles to attend a 'serious' place of learning, but I have the tube going in the background and my favorite episode of The Simpsons just came on. You know the one where Homer (you know Homer right?) keeps doing ignorant and destructive things, which cause him to shout "No come-uppance! No come-uppance!"
No news here eh? You may notice the above link is to the second page of the story (they wanted me to register to go back to the first). I'd expect more from that great liberal rag, the Post. It kind of stunned me that they tried to bury it below the 44% that say gas prices are causing their families "serious hardship." I really hope no Sudanese ever see this poll, it's embarrassing.
Anyway, Bill Clinton's pissed that this isn't news. I'm assuming of course, we're not on speaking terms, but I can't believe I miss him. Maybe what I really miss is the notion of "balance of power." Completely disregarding large percentages (38% Approve, 60% Disapprove) of the population does not seem at all compatible with democracy. Some may disagree that this is occurring, but I will be as unconvinced as a six month old corpse in New Orleans.
Meanwhile our attention goes to Iran... These dudes are criminally insane.
:: Damian B. 4/11/2006 [+] ::
Excellent news being reported around the clock. Virtually every report also quotes the statement by the Christian Peacemaker Teams on this bittersweet day, though after reading it myself I have found that it has been quoted rather selectively so as not to spoil our mood of absolute righteousness, an example of which I found on the Drudge Report today, "Hostages rescued by military they call occupiers," was the headline of his link to this story. Editorialising aside, he quite fairly linked to the statement in its entirety on Pulse24.com out of Toronto. I'm a little wacky so I read the whole thing, and these "ungrateful christians" said quite a bit more than I was led to believe from the hundred or so reports I had heard throughout the day...
...“Harmeet, Jim and Norman and Tom were in Iraq to learn of the struggles facing the people in that country. They went, motivated by a passion for justice and peace to live out a nonviolent alternative in a nation wracked by armed conflict.
"They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers.
"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
“Today, in the face of this joyful news, our faith compels us to love our enemies even when they have committed acts which caused great hardship to our friends and sorrow to their families.
"In the spirit of the prophetic nonviolence that motivated Jim, Norman, Harmeet and Tom to go to Iraq, we refuse to yield to a spirit of vengeance.
“We give thanks for the compassionate God who granted our friends courage and who sustained their spirits over the past months.
"We pray for strength and courage for ourselves so that, together, we can continue the nonviolent struggle for justice and peace.
“Throughout these difficult months, we have been heartened by messages of concern for our four colleagues from all over the world. We have been especially moved by the gracious outpouring of support from Muslim brothers and sisters in the Middle East, Europe, and North America.
"That support continues to come to us day after day.
“We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq.
“During these past months, we have tasted of the pain that has been the daily bread of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Why have our loved ones been taken? Where are they being held? Under what conditions? How are they? Will they be released? When?
“With Tom’s death, we felt the grief of losing a beloved friend. Today, we rejoice in the release of our friends Harmeet, Jim and Norman. We continue to pray for a swift and joyful homecoming for the many Iraqis and internationals who long to be reunited with their families.
"We renew our commitment to work for an end to the war and the occupation of Iraq as a way to continue the witness of Tom Fox. We trust in God’s compassionate love to show us the way.
“Living through the many emotions of this day, we remain committed to the words of Jim Loney, who wrote:
"With God’s abiding kindness, we will love even our enemies. With the love of Christ, we will resist all evil. With God’s unending faithfulness, we will work to build the beloved community."
I myself am not a christian, despite being raised one. Why? Because I have met so few of the above christians, I became convinced that my entire understanding of the teachings of Jesus was dead wrong, for it seemed that the vast majority believed that Jesus only died on the cross because he didn't have a gun... You wanna convert me?
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Addendum: I just came across a most revealing discussion on the "ungrateful bastards" debate on GayPatriot.net. That's right, "... the Internet home for the American gay conservative." It truly does take all kinds. Anyway, follow this :link: Read the post and then commence the often painful process of reading down through the comments. Watch the bile fly for about 15 comments and then witness how it just... stops.
:: Damian B. 3/23/2006 [+] ::
Chagrin: A feeling of vexation marked by disappointment or humiliation.
Vexation: A state of being troubled; distressed.
No way to spin this state of affairs. I would like to be persuaded that this will resolve peacefully, but this Iran thing has been brewing ever since the invasion of Iraq and possibly before. I haven't forgotten June 2004, and two articles in particular...
Continuing the "port security" theme, the british weekly New Scientist reports...
"Engineers funded by the US military have created a neural implant designed to enable a shark's brain signals to be manipulated remotely, controlling the animal's movements, and perhaps even decoding what it is feeling."
Boy, that is wacky. Good thing it only works on animals... wait a minute... eh, forget it.
Technology presents us with some very interesting ethical questions, no? It will not be long before we will have to decide whether human "cyborgs" are ethically acceptable for more than medical reasons. It seems to me that technology has proven rather irrepressible, hence I assume that the melding of man and machine will come to pass. Just imagine how we would laugh at the olympic "doping" scandals of the past if we had to wrestle with mechanical "enhancements". Nothing would be the same. Being human wouldn't be good enough anymore, except for the hopelessly nostalgic, and when they no longer existed humanity would be considered simply inadequate. What would happen to the notion of competition? Would we be more equal or less? Would we have remote control pets with visual link-ups so we could spy on our neighbors? And if we had enhanced brains would we still watch TV?
Ha. You're killin' me. I still hadn't digested what he said yesterday. It's actually reprinted in the above article, nice one Fox. He said...
"I can understand why some in Congress have raised questions about whether or not our country will be less secure as a result of this transaction. But they need to know that our government has looked at this issue, and looked at it carefully." - G.W. Bush 2-21-06
I suppose what he should have said was, "My non-elected appointees made the decision, and Congress just needs to trust them. I say 'them' because I didn't need to know about it either. Our government has it covered."
The guy acts serious. How's he do that?
Anyway, I'm not one for living in fear, especially by choice, so the Arab discussion is not so much an issue for me. There is the obvious discomfort (well voiced by Frank Gaffney on military.com) with the fact that the United Arab Emirates is one of the few countries in the world with real ties to the World Trade Center, among other things, but I personally won't judge a whole people by the noisy fanatics in their midst for I would be righteously pissed if I were judged by Pat Robertson's holy cowardice. With all that comes the fun fact that the recently appointed head of the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, David Sanborn, was formerly a senior executive at... Dubai Ports World. Which brings me obliquely to my point of outrage... Democracy, stupid.
The president of the United States actually asserts that Congress (elected officials) should have no right to criticize the decisions of his appointees ("our government"). When he himself (elected official) didn't know about it. It doesn't matter what the decision is, if it was made without the knowledge of the Congress and therefore the People, and they strongly object. There is no issue in a Democracy. Elected representation is the cornerstone of our whole system, imagine that we would see the day that this would become another irrelevancy.
*climbs higher and higher atop the mountain, upon reaching the summit he places one foot atop a small boulder, raises his hand valiantly to the heavens and proclaims... "Republicans and Democrats everywhere... Lay aside your daggers and slip your fetters... Rise up... to become... something... else!"*
:: Damian B. 2/22/2006 [+] ::
They speak to us of courage when they are incapable of looking us in the eye and telling us what they really want. So we scrounge for memos. It seems a shameful state for a democracy, does it not? Yeah... a democracy, we hear the word daily, but what is it? Where does this paragraph from the above article fit in?
"The Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) was launched in 2002 with the mission of 'gathering information and conducting activities to protect DoD and the nation against espionage, other intelligence activities, sabotage, assassinations, and terrorist activities,' according to a CIFA brochure. Its TALON program has amassed files on antiwar protesters, according to a Pentagon official."
That's the Pentagon not the FBI. You would assume that keeping files on "antiwar protestors" would fit nicely into the FBI's domain, but of course that's not enough in today's world, and besides, there's too many prying eyes on the FBI. Nonetheless, we have this fancy new acronym and the TALON (military sense of drama) program, which We the People may agree or disagree with; the only problem being that We the People had no involvement and were willfully left in the dark. So, what is democracy? Does the government rule the people or do the people rule the government? Does a president/ senator/ congressman dictate or serve?
Ok, ok I've pushed the questions too far, I know. I mean, I'm not protesting or anything, I'm just sayin'. *slowly raises his open hands to clearly show that they are empty*
:: Damian B. 2/01/2006 [+] ::
I wanted to just post the whole thing here, but I didn't want the NSA to think I wrote it. Don't assume by that little quip that I'm against domestic surveillance, because really it would be a little flattering to have anybody read this junk. We can just think of it has always having the possibility that someone, somewhere is paying attention to us.
See, it's not so bad.
Incidentally, Jonathan Swift was an old crack-up. There was a time in Great Brittain when everyone was very worried about if the islands could grow enough food for the growing populations. Economists and the sort went wild with arguments of poverty and overpopulation. Swift submitted: A Modest Proposal. "Brilliant in it's simplicity," as those clever fellows say.
There may or may not be a theme here, besides my giddy infatuation with satire of course.
:: Damian B. 1/11/2006 [+] ::
So, Extreme Freedom hits home. Excerpt... "I never heard the word 'bomb' on the plane," McAlhany told TIME in a telephone interview. "I never heard the word bomb until the FBI asked me did you hear the word bomb. That is ridiculous." Even the authorities didn't come out and say bomb, McAlhany says. "They asked, 'Did you hear anything about the b-word?'" he says. "That's what they called it."
Now, I think the official story, as of now, is that he may have said something about a bomb after he was off of the plane. So this fellow wouldn't have heard it, but it stuns me that this whole scenario seems to be largely acceptable. You feel safe? Seriously? An American citizen has been gunned down in his own country, by his own "protectors", for what seems to amount to a mentally ill man's panic attack... That's not something an American can lie down for is it?
There are some who are of the opinion that you have to "break a few eggs to make an omelette," Well, you may quickly find that position untenable when it is your egg being broken.
The man's name was Rigoberto Alpizar, he was a fellow citizen with a wife and family, and he was guilty of nothing.
:: Damian B. 12/08/2005 [+] ::
"Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant.
Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats."
I may be in some freakish minority, but this sort of thing makes me physically ill. Never in a million painful years could you convince me that our founding fathers would not go into hysterics at this proposal. This is the stuff of bad science fiction. We are being conditioned for a heavy police presence, and "freedom-haters" everywhere are laughing their asses off.
I must quickly point out that this is an overall total, at this particular moment the number of detained is said to be around 14,500. Personally I don't put much stock in the numbers, the Defense Department doesn't have much incentive to tell the truth these days, but we can all agree that alot of people have been shaken down by us, a solitary nation. Somehow even this is a relatively minor offense against humanity when you remember that our 911 wounds and the exploitation of those wounds have led us into Iraq?!, where over 2,000 of our soldiers and between 25,000 - 125,000 (who the hell knows, it ain't our business to count these things) Iraqis have been relieved of their mortal coil.
Has your spirit of fear and vengeance been soothed yet? I hope so, because I desperately need a calm and sober mind to explain to me when the peace comes, perhaps I've just been mistaken about what the whole goal of this thing is. How does it really end?
The surprisingly ugly little man behind the curtain answers, "It doesn't... the circle of life/violence. If you ever find yourself so bored that you've already spent 3 hours watching grass grow... check out some history, any of it. Soon you may find that every lesson there is to be learned regarding the conduct of humanity, has already been learned a thousand times over. Somehow every generation believes itself to be the most brilliant that ever lived, so we shall ride the go-round until we jump off."
:: Damian B. 11/16/2005 [+] ::
There are some people in this country that just shouldn't be taken very seriously... Ok fine... Most people, including myself shouldn't be taken very seriously. Luckily nobody takes me seriously, but here are two fellas that a whole bunch of people rely upon for information and/or guidance spewing wrath and vengeance... against their own people. In our friend O'Reilly's case, even al-qaeda is A-OK as long as they're attacking San Francisco, and you bet your ass that this is the same man that chewed out the son of a 911 victim on national television. Kind of makes me wonder where his loyalties lie... ah yes, I remember now... his loyalties lie only with those who agree with him. A sadder clown, I've never seen.
And you Mr. Robertson! *both fingers shaking now* The most effective missionary work a man can do is to make his life an example. If all Jesus did was preach and buy big houses, you would not be where you are today, if you forgot. Your spineless inability to live with your fellow man discourages many from his faith.
And now my preaching is done, forgive me. Some things just shouldn't stand, unfortunately Pat Robertson and the like feel exactly the same way. I guess we all have to decide where we stand. Good night, and good luck.
:: Damian B. 11/11/2005 [+] ::
You may have read the articles about the leak of information about certain government "black sites" (see below). Needless to say, the GOP is suddenly very eager for a leak investigation... but wait... (quoting the above article)
"...CNN reported earlier in the day that Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) had said a Republican senator may have leaked information about the so-called black sites to the Post. Lott told reporters yesterday that he had been talking about another Post article. He said he was not talking about the article about the detention and interrogation facilities.
GOP aides conjectured privately that Frist’s delay in signing the letter may have been caused by concern over the possibility of endangering a Republican senator by calling for the investigation..."
Well just hold on guys, let's not be too hasty... romfflmmfao
Ehhh, anyway read the whole article for a more fair representation, and then watch and see how hard they really end up pursuing this thing. That will be your first clue as to where they believe the guilt lies.
:: Damian B. 11/10/2005 [+] ::
"House Republicans are looking closely at ending birthright citizenship and building a barrier along the entire U.S.-Mexico border as they search for solutions to illegal immigration..."
This is a debatable issue; being a descendant of immigrants who were luckily considered "legal," I am clearly better than these people *clears throat*, but frankly, this seems to be a proposal from a very selfish and fearful group of folks.
This is why... Many in this country have no qualms with making money off of these people's labor when they get the chance. People who are determined enough to come here only to face likely exploitation are the freeloaders? It's hypocrisy.
And before you get all narrow headed, I understand there are problems, but perhaps there are more enlightened courses... perhaps not...
P.S. I can't help but mention that the above article is from the Washington Times, a newspaper owned by the "Reverend" Sun Myung Moon, a korean immigrant billionaire who is extremely active in "conservative" politics, believes himself to be the messiah and future ruler of the world, and has even had a mock coronation ceremony on Capitol Hill. Truth is by far stranger than fiction, no? If you find all of this curious you can start here for an in depth look, including video of our politician's little ceremony with Mr. Moon (at the top). Believe it... or not!
:: Damian B. 11/04/2005 [+] ::
Where's the shame friends? Remember the outcry about the "Bumfights" videos? Those wonderful little pieces of entertainment created by our well-to-do youth that had enough entrepreneurial spirit to figure out that homeless men would beat each other up for a sandwich, and they could in turn sell the video for a tidy sum. Well, don't we have a wealth of righteous souls in this great country? Let's take just a moment to picture ourselves...
-Our government starts an optional war with shaky public support, hence a need to keep troop deployments and casualties to a minimum.
-Our government hands out scads of "no-bid" contracts to private companies, including "private security" companies such as Triple Canopy, Blackwater USA, etc., who hire and deploy former soldiers from impoverished countries all over the world to help fight our war for the unfortunately tempting sum of up to $50 a day. UP TO $50 A DAY. (incidentally, while trying to find the exact amount of our tax dollars that Triple Canopy has recieved I found a couple of private campaign donations to the Bush/Cheney campaign from a single individual employed by Triple Canopy with three slightly different job descriptions. Look here)
How does this sort of thing mesh with your morality?
:: Damian B. 11/03/2005 [+] ::
The above is an enlightening and easily digestible little lesson on economics. I thought Robert Kiyosaki was just an info-mercial hack, but here he is giving it straight; which, in the dark and twisted world of economics, is rare. Obviously when you are an established winner in the game, it isn't in your best interest to tip off the many losers about their state of exploitation.
So for those who may not know, the american dollar is not backed at all by anything of material value (gold, silver, etc.), and hasn't been since 1971. It's an illusion of value, and the above gives you a good overview of how this happened. Strangely though, he leaves the coiners of the currency, the Federal Reserve, undiscussed.
You may vaguely remember Article 1; Section 8; Clause 5 in the constitution... The Congress shall have Power to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.
Fairly straightforward, but on Dec. 23, 1913; during Christmas break, the congress "delegated" that responsibility to the Federal Reserve, a privately and internationally owned entity with it's only accountability to the US government being the fact that the President gets to appoint the Chairman. Nearly 1/3 of the Senate didn't even vote on it. I would point you there for a source of the continuing problem of insurmountable (very literally) debt from the top down, and strange currencies in general. There are many who are aghast at the whole thing. There is even an economist who has coined his own perfectly legal and backed by silver currency to fight against the Federal Reserve and their endless inflation.
So ponder for this fleeting moment, "What, who, and why is the Federal Reserve?" Then go look for yourself. Whatever you find, I promise it will be interesting, and someday maybe we all will possess the knowledge required to shed our yokes. Do not be intimidated, it's not nearly as complicated as economists and pundits would have you believe. Your ignorance is their bliss.
:: Damian B. 10/20/2005 [+] ::
:: Friday, September 23, 2005 ::
I'm late, too late. Sadly I'm not alone, but I have to revisit some quotes from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina lest we forget what a terribly strange people we are to have allowed one of the most noble forms of government in the history of man to descend into incompetence and indifference. Democrats and republicans have displaced "We the People" at every level of government, and here we sit looking at them dumbly. Our "public servants" live in splendor while some of us drown like rats? We need to get our hands around this thing, because things will never go well as long as we have a federal democracy of around 600 people instead of around 300,000,000 people. Don't take my word for it...
-"I must say, this storm is much bigger than anyone expected." -- FEMA Director Michael Brown, on CNN, Aug. 31
-"Excuse me, senator, I'm sorry for interrupting . . . for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people out here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated . . .
"And when they hear politicians . . . you know, thanking one another, it just . . . cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body in the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the streets for 48 hours . . ." -- CNN's Anderson Cooper cracking down on Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Sept. 1
-"It was chaos. There was nobody there, nobody in charge. And there was nobody giving even water. The children . . . they're all just in tears. There are sick people. We saw . . . people who are dying in front of you." -- CNN producer Kim Segal, describing conditions in the New Orleans Convention Center, Sept. 1
-"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well." -- FEMA chief Brown, Sept. 1
-"From here and from talking to police officers, they're losing control of the city . . ." -- CNN's Chris Lawrence, Sept. 1
-"We just learned of the convention center -- we being the federal government -- today." -- FEMA Director Brown on "Nightline," Sept. 1
-"Don't you guys watch television? Don't you guys listen to the radio? Our reporters have been reporting on it for more than just today." -- Ted Koppel's response.
-"Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job." -- President Bush speaking to FEMA chief Brown, Sept. 2
-"I'm satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with the results." -- President Bush, later that day.
-"Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." -- President Bush, easing the minds of the masses in Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2
-"What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this (slight chuckle) is working very well for them." -- Former First Lady Barbara Bush being the compassionate christian that she is at the Houston Astrodome, Sept. 5
"I understand there are 10,000 people dead. It's terrible. It's tragic. But in a democracy of 300 million people, over years and years and years, these things happen." -- Republican strategist Jack Burkman, MSNBC, Sept. 7
-"Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney. Go fuck yourself." -- Off-camera citizen heckling the vice president during a live interview on CNN and MSNBC
-"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." -- Rep. Richard Baker (R-La.), Sept. 8, speaking to lobbyists and quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Baker is denying the quote; the WSJ reporter stands by his story.
-"How, then, did we get here? How did the richest country on Earth end up watching children cry for food in putrid encampments on the evening news? How did reporters reach crowds of the desperate in places where police, troops and emergency responders had not yet been--three days after the storm?" -- Time magazine, Sept.12
We must pay attention. Voting based on advertisements and talking heads floating in a gargantuan cesspool of mass-marketing is not an enlightened, nor even a "civilized" society. Yes, the government is incompetent, but the fault is ours. We've been told...
"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action" -- George Washington
:: Damian B. 9/23/2005 [+] ::
That is a bit of a silly headline, but perhaps it should be made clear that the police didn't shoot the wrong man on purpose. Anyway, it's quite an article if all of it is confirmed. If it is, it would make the amended version of events uncomfortably different than what the London police originally claimed. Hrmph...
Freedom is starting to scare even me. Imagine when you sit down in the subway car and suddenly hear a pack of plain-clothes police officers screaming at you, and shortly thereafter sending seven bullets screaming through that strange look on your face. Eh well, I suppose it will someday become just one of those inherent risks that you assume when you get out of bed in the morning, like car accidents and terrorists.
That's right Virginia, WWIII is inevitable. As things stand now, that's all there is to it... a matter of time.
I know, such harsh and crazy things to say, but we can't beat around the bush anymore. No matter your political or religious persuasion it's time for us all to reevaluate our place in humanity and our responsibility to our future generations. This course that the world is on can not and will not work. The longer we ho-hum along, the further we spiral into peril, despite what every one of our religions taught us. There are over six billion of us and not a one wishes to die, yet we perpetually teeter on the edge of complete annihilation.
What the @$#! is happening here?
I guess a few bad apples really do spoil the bunch.
Don't let 'em do it. It's not the 1940's anymore.
"It is not known with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones" -- Albert Einstein
Such dark and depressing ruminations for a Friday evening, I think we should end with a song, and then forget about it until Monday... maybe it'll sort itself out. ;)
Kiss Me, Son of God by They Might Be Giants
I built a little empire out of some crazy garbage Called the blood of the exploited working class But they’ve overcome their shyness Now they’re calling me your highness And a world screams, kiss me, son of god
I destroyed a bond of friendship and respect Between the only people left who’d even look me in the eye Now I laugh and make a fortune Off the same ones that I tortured And a world screams, kiss me, son of god
I look like jesus, so they say But mr. jesus is very far away Now you’re the only one here who can tell me if it’s true That you love me and I love me
I built a little empire out of some crazy garbage Called the blood of the exploited working class But they’ve overcome their shyness Now they’re calling me your highness And a world screams, kiss me, son of god Yes a world screams, kiss me, son of god
:: Damian B. 8/05/2005 [+] ::
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.
"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," he said Wednesday. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."
Keep in mind also that we caught this guy before he pulled it off, and we did it in 1999, without a Patriot Act to protect us.
It boggles me to wonder how we sport "Live Free or Die" bumper-stickers whilst our personal records and property are perused at will. All of this and more in the name of... not dying? That's horribly confusing, so I propose we amend the saying to just, "Live or Die"... in fact, that sounds like a good campaign slogan.
:: Damian B. 7/28/2005 [+] ::
Naw, I didn't make it up. Apparently the New York Post reported this today (you have to register with them to read it online, and I'm not really that interested). Didn't take long after Downing St. memos, Karl Rove leaks, and near Iraqi civil war for us to regain our focus and resolve... on being frightened witless. We can't even trust our coke anymore?!
It seems a silly thing for Osama to do, perhaps he has more of a sense of humor than is portrayed. It would definitely cause a quirky little dilemna over whether to feel bad for the victims or not, especially for "republicans." That is, of course, if there were any politicians that would survive a contamination of the cocaine supply.
*insert drum strike and smilin', chicken-winged, sideways shuffle off the stage*
:: Damian B. 7/26/2005 [+] ::
Yeah, good ol' Fox. Ya love 'em, ya hate 'em. Either way, there's a link to some video of their coverage of the london bombings. Just pick your format above the transcript.
I personally enjoyed the gentleman that distinguishes between arab londoners and "regular" londoners. To be fair, I believe he was just a guest, but even more enlightening than that were Brit Hume's astute observations on market economics...
"I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy."
ROME - An Italian judge on Friday ordered the arrests of 13 CIA officers for secretly transporting a Muslim preacher from Italy to Egypt as part of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts — a rare public objection to the practice by a close American ally...
Oh those I-talians, they just can't seem to decide whether they're on the bus or under it. Don't make us bust ya upside da head wid a bottle of Freedom Dressing ya bitches.
So yeah, perhaps calling Amnesty International's report referring to "a new gulag," "absurd" was a bit of a stretch. You could have even called that report wrong, or factually incorrect if you wanted to, but it seems the Italians along with many others have something to say about whether it is in fact, "absurd."
Then again, who gives a shit what they say anyway. I wouldn't doubt that the Italian government has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists who are driving a wedge between us and one of our closest allies for the purpose of further isolating us and eventually... destroying our freedom.
If there be any justice, questions will be answered. These are strange times when tens of thousands of corpses do not warrant even simple answers. How does it slide? It just does. "Slicker than deer-guts on a doorknob," to quote the esteemed Balladeer/Narrator of the Dukes of Hazzard, Waylon Jennings.
:: Damian B. 6/13/2005 [+] ::
This sure hasn't gotten much play yet. On May 1 the London Times printed a secret memo (link above) containing the minutes of a meeting between top british officials including Tony Blair and a gentleman referred to as "C" who "reported on his recent talks in Washington." The meeting occured on July 23, 2002. We publicly claimed to be exhausting all diplomatic efforts until we invaded on March 20, 2003. That's nine months. So anyway you can read the whole thing thanks to a feistily free press, but here are some of the things "C" and others reported for the uninitiated...
(emphasis added for the extremely uninitiated)
"...There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."
"The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.<-Yeesh, they must have come to their senses and waited until after.
The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change."
It might be news. Or it might have been news in a day when personal responsibility and accountability mattered a tinker's cuss. That isn't even to say that you can be sure if this memo is authentic, but shouldn't someone want to know? Granted there are rumblings, but it seems like you must mount a massive grass-roots campaign to even get a chance to ask a question, which they promptly dodge. It's a slimy way to operate, and it fosters distrust. You are expected to prove that you have nothing to hide in your medical records or library lists, but your public servants needn't even answer simple questions. Eh well, I guess this is how it's supposed to be uh? Nothing to see here.
*slinks back to whatever seedy alleyway that the America-hating commies call home*
:: Damian B. 6/06/2005 [+] ::
I would hope that this is more a result of our esteemed president's limited vocabulary than of his actual beliefs. To call something absurd... well, let me dig out the dictionary...
Absurd: contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish.
So here's what he said:
Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, recently, Amnesty International said you have established "a new gulag" of prisons around the world, beyond the reach of the law and decency. I'd like your reaction to that, and also your assessment of how it came to this, that that is a view not just held by extremists and anti-Americans, but by groups that have allied themselves with the United States government in the past -- and what the strategic impact is that in many places of the world, the United States these days, under your leadership, is no longer seen as the good guy.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that is -- promotes freedom around the world. When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way. It's just an absurd allegation.
In terms of the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is. And, you know -- yes, sir.
Whew. He was asked a question about the Amnesty Int'l. report and his assessment of why our former allies are joining much of the world in outrage at our various indiscretions, and he answered by saying "absurd" four times. Not the most diplomatic tact, in fact in my most humble opinion if we could reincarnate Hitler as a chimp he would answer questions much in this manner, "It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is. And, you know -- yes, sir."
That bit has to give you a queesy chuckle if you have any affinity at all for basic grammar and/or things that make sense. I mean really, Amnesty International based some of their allegations on reports from people who had been detained? WTF, that's crazy. Not only that, but why were these people released? Were we just sick of feeding them, or were they innocent maybe? And did you notice the only fancy word? Disassemble... he says it means to "...not tell the truth." Apparently he knows more than one word for lying... Disassemble means "to take apart," but hey.
It's fairly well known that we detain people without due process and very much not transparently. This goes against our own principles, yet we call the world's concerns "absurd." The president himself cited our noble principles when criticizing another country...
Q The former head of Russia's oil company, Yukos, was sentenced to nine years in a prison camp today. Do you think the Kremlin went after him because he was a political threat? Are there any repercussions to U.S.-Russian relations as a result of this case?
THE PRESIDENT: I expressed my concerns about the case to President Putin because, as I explained to him, here you're innocent until proven guilty, and it appeared to us, or at least people in my administration, that it looked like he had been judged guilty prior to having a fair trial. In other words, he was put in prison, and then was tried...
So there you have it, bunch of mangled new english though it is. You too could piece together parts of this grammatical wreckage to prove any point that you wish. I don't know why I bother. Developing...
:: Damian B. 5/31/2005 [+] ::
ASSOCIATED PRESS "Residents of a historic retirement home for war veterans filed a class-action lawsuit yesterday against Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, asserting that the Pentagon chief has imposed excessive and illegal cutbacks in on-site medical and dental services..."
Boy, I can't wait to hear the right-wing extremists come down on these war veterans as a bunch of whining democrats or something... I think that's a joke.
Anyway, I'm sure most of us can agree that veteran's should not have to be suing anybody for anything. They should be about the most cared for people in the country by my reckoning. What we have though are food drives for soldiers families, and "Support Our Troops" car-magnets for donations, despite an astronomical military budget. Meanwhile, who gets pampered?
Explain to me how a person sits down to a fine meal and retires to a peaceful slumber, while the people who make all of their wild, and often misguided plans possible go without.
Indeed. In case it pains you to click a link the sign says, "The Koran needs to be flushed!"
The Rev. Creighton Lovelace had this to say... "I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong," said Lovelace. "I knew that whenever we decided to put that sign up that there would be people who wouldn't agree with it, and there would be some that would, and so we just have to stand up for what's right."
That kind of moral courage is rare, and quite frankly, inspiring. So, I'm making my own sign... "Baptists are queer!"
Ya like it? Yeah, you're right, it's infantile and gratuitously inflammatory. I suppose after consideration, though I still like the sign, I won't display it, because that would be rude.
“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” - Jesus Christ
"Do not impose on others what you do not desire others to impose upon you." - Confucius
"Let no man do to another that which would be repugnant to himself." - Hindu text(Mahabharata, bk. 5, ch. 49, v. 57)
"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." - Buddhist text (Udanavargu, 5:18, Tibetan Dhammapada, 1983)
"What is hateful to thee, do not to another. That is the whole law and all else is explanation." - Jewish text (b Shabbatt 31a; cf. Avot de R. Natan ii.26)
:: Damian B. 5/24/2005 [+] ::
"WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is working on a bill that would renew the Patriot Act and expand government powers in the name of fighting terrorism, letting the FBI subpoena records without permission from a judge or grand jury..."
Freedom is on the march... Anyone who accepts this 'Patriot Act' stuff is in dire need of a spine and maybe a hug. You can quiver, quake, and otherwise allow yourself to be 'terrorized' all you want, but don't impose it on me. That's freedom.
I've just had an idea. Why can't we designate a "security-free" zone, where we old-school freedom lovers who are willing to assume the inherent risks that accompany basic freedom can go live? The federal government will offer us no protection, we'll take care of it ourselves, or we will fail and the rest of the country can deride us for making a target of ourselves among the 'freedom-haters.'
Alright, so it's a terrible idea. Desperate measures as they say, but what the hell is going on here? What does something called the 'Patriot Act' have to do with FBI subpoenas, wiretapping, and searches? Is irony dead now too? Osama who? So many questions.
:: Damian B. 5/19/2005 [+] ::
:: Monday, May 09, 2005 ::
Every side claims the 'moral high-ground.' This is why you have to be very careful about how loudly you proclaim your self-righteousness. It would be awfully naive to forget that you will find equally self-righteous people on the other side, so you had better have at least some semblance of an argument to back up your position, or a really nice smile.
So we've arrived at today's anecdote...
Recently, in response to terrorist attacks, russian president Vladimir Putin decided to appoint local governors instead of having them elected. There was much irritation in Washington, and they proclaimed, "Bad Putin!" For once I was in agreement with my government, but we were doomed, our reserves of moral authority had long since vanished.
Putin, though perhaps a jerk, is not a jackass, so he invited Mike Wallace to Russia for an interview to air on 60 Minutes during the recent WWII 60th anniversary celebrations. He answered on the matter, ironically in the manner of our own politicians, by not answering the question and implying that it's none of our business...
“There was a time when the regional governors were elected, correct?” asks Wallace.
“Absolutely right,” says Putin.
“And, all of a sudden, Putin says, ‘No, no, no. I shall appoint the governors.’ That’s democracy?” asks Wallace. “That’s not democracy, the way I understand it. Now maybe, I’m just dead wrong.”
“You’re absolutely wrong," says Putin, laughing. "And you know you are. For instance, India is called the largest world democracy. But their governors have always been appointed by the central government, and nobody disputes that India is a large democracy.”
“Why did you change from electing your governors to appointing your governors?” asks Wallace.
“The principle of appointing regional leaders is not a sign of a lack of democracy,” says Putin, who then criticized America’s Electoral College system.
“In the United States, you first elect the electors and then they vote for the presidential candidates. In Russia, the president is elected through the direct vote of the whole population -- that might be even more democratic,” says Putin. “And you have other problems in your elections. Four years ago, your presidential election was decided by the court. But we’re not going to poke our nose into your democratic system because that’s up to the American people.”
Doh! And, yeah, he is fighting terrorism... as an ally of ours, which was his whole excuse for this in the first place. Tangled web eh?
"A hypocrite is in himself both the archer and the mark, in all actions shooting at his own praise or profit." -- Thomas Fuller
:: Damian B. 5/09/2005 [+] ::
:: Thursday, April 28, 2005 ::
Sometimes during commercials my mind wanders. Just last night I was watching something that I don't really remember - but I do remember that in the midst of a hiatus, a thought managed to slowly bubble up and burp out of the sludge that is my mind. It was a subtle but painful process, leaving me shaken.
You see, it came to me cruelly - during an advertisement for frozen mashed potatoes - I realized that the world was comprised of other human beings with thoughts and feelings. It was the end of a perfectly relaxing evening.
:: Damian B. 4/28/2005 [+] ::
"Scientists around the world were scrambling to prevent the possibility of a pandemic after a nearly 50-year-old killer influenza virus was sent to thousands of labs, a decision that one researcher described as ``unwise.''
Nearly 5,000 labs in 18 countries, mostly in the United States, were urged by the World Health Organization to destroy samples of the dangerous virus because of the slight risk it could trigger a global outbreak. The labs received the virus from a U.S. company that supplies kits used for quality control tests..."
People are funny people. I'm not implying that there is a whole lot to get excited about in this instance, it's just that you have to admit, that though humanity does action, mystery, and drama very well, we are truly lords of the farce... or perhaps we are just a little "unwise." ROTMFFLMMFAO
:: Damian B. 4/13/2005 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 ::
worms turn and flesh burns ghostly rhyme and reason
We come and we go, patiently stoking the fire until the compulsory call comes
those left behind will wonder, forced to ponder the eternal, What is happening?
We are stoking the fire So that those who arrive will have a warm place to be and those that depart will not have left a barren legacy
:: Damian B. 3/30/2005 [+] ::
There's a build-your-own conspiracy theory if I ever saw one. Whether you like the Bush administration or not, you'd have to admit that they have an awe-inspiring mastery of the 'Up Yours!' method. If you believe history, that approach usually ends badly, but only time can tell.
:: Damian B. 3/17/2005 [+] ::
Sure thing boss. Of course there was no advocacy involved, and anyone with any sense should immediately realize that you would never spend taxpayer money on fake newscasts for no reason whatsoever. I mean, we're running a large deficit here. To squander our very limited funds on subtle manipulations would be lunacy exemplified for a great and noble democracy such as ourselves. We are merely disseminating the truth for the sake of itself. That's just the kind of people we are, and it's worth every penny.
From Washington, I'm Damien Faux.
p.s. Because of recent events I must divulge, in the interest of full-disclosure, that though the use of 'we' may have given it away, this piece was paid for by the Bush administration. They approached me with $20 and a rather unofficial looking 'document' promising not to draft me, which was a bit of a slight considering Armstrong Williams got $240,000, but I had to recognize the lesser market-value of my own soul and get while it could be gotten.
Hey Mom! I turned a profit!!! *glows with a combination of pride and prejudice*
:: Damian B. 3/16/2005 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, March 15, 2005 ::
Usury: The practice of lending money at an exhorbitant interest rate.
New King James Bible: 35 ' If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 'Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. 37 'You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. (Leviticus 25:35-37)
Everyone's gotta have priorities. Our government's recent priorities? Class-action lawsuit reform, Social Security reform, bankruptcy reform, and as we speak it seems they've snuck some provision for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve into the budget to be voted upon in the next day or two.
However you may feel about these particular issues, are they your top priorities? I think not, but at least their gettin' things done eh. A nearby school district no longer has bussing, let alone extra-curriculars, and health insurance is more valuable than gold. These are basic priorities in a civilized and productive society. The aforementioned are the top priorities of a corporate oligarchy. Do you really have to be a tree-huggin' commie to believe that at least kids should get quality medical care and a well-rounded education? And why is it that the people who thump the Bible the hardest are such unabashed hypocrites?
Things confuse me. You may have it all figured out, but I fear I'm hopeless. Perhaps when I pass on and meet my maker; if he even pauses before casting me into the gaping maw of eternal damnation, perhaps he'll explain to me that he really never liked the meek all that much, and that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount was just a bit of youthful rebellion, but it's all a real gas to watch.
:: Damian B. 3/15/2005 [+] ::
Intro: "In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code."
It doesn't take too much of a smartass to ask, "Why is their so much hatred in the middle east?" Sure there are a load of reasons and debates about reasons, but we never seem to bring this stuff up when we're acting so confused. Wasn't that old "reaping and sowing" cliche from the bible?
Oh yes, I am the typical "Blame America First" hippie leftist. I would try to tell you that I simply believe in personal responsibility and common decency, but it would be a load of hogwash. The truth is that I just plain hate America. There's no real reason for it. I'm just kookie. So there it is...
:: Damian B. 3/09/2005 [+] ::
Baaadaaas! Who wants these nasties crawlin' around? Friggin' lasers and expanding plasma. These sure are excitin' times.
Whatever. Cruel farce life sometimes is. I think Yoda may have said that. What a depressing lie Democracy has become when a people who govern themselves must resort to sci-fi treachery to keep themselves and the world in line. One of the most idealistic styles of governing ever conjured from the human intellect has proven to be very human indeed. There could never be enough "checks and balances" to keep the most sleazily cunning of us from seeping in and corroding the foundations.
Without fail this seems to happen to every nation who prospers enough that the people become complacent. After the people become complacent, the government becomes more and more corrupt. As corruption grows incompetence grows, because it really doesn't take a degree from Yale to suckle yourself on the lifeblood of your fellow man. Shortly thereafter said nation usually finds out what an arrogant prick it has become when they collapse through whatever means and have to relearn it all from the beginning. 'Rinse and repeat' is the punchline to the Cosmic Joke.
It doesn't have to happen. We have to pay attention to them, all of them, and not just listen to 7 second soundbytes. Nobody wants to, but it's proven necessary time and again. It's what you might call your 'civic duty' since you govern yourself and all. Why don't you get to decide if you spend your money on a plasma weapon for pacifying crowds? For some reason a billboard I saw during the election season bubbles to mind. It said, "Remember. It's Your Money." What that really means is, "F*** You!"
:: Damian B. 3/03/2005 [+] ::
:: Thursday, February 24, 2005 ::
"As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know." -- Donald Rumsfeld
:: Damian B. 2/24/2005 [+] ::
There is something about a weapon such as this that is unsettling. Would anyone who isn't either wealthy or a politician want one of these in their neighborhood?
There is the occasion I'm sure that something like this would save lives, though angry crowds usually gather because they are... angry, and the are usually angry about something. In fact we would quite likely be british subjects if anything like this were possible 250 years ago. Goodbye to popular rebellion. But hey, we got 'em, so I have to admit that it makes me cackle with glee when I imagine what this thing could do if you cranked it up a bit. I assume it would be quite lethal, and even more intense than the movies.
:: Damian B. 2/03/2005 [+] ::
Is that what the survey says? Yeesh. Well, I guess it's only 1/3. What can you say about that? I thought everyone agreed that a 'free press' was a good thing, the main reason being that a 'free society' is impossible without one.
Wait... what the hell am I getting excited about? I've never known a solitary high school student that takes surveys seriously. They should have asked them to locate Iraq on a map of the whole world. That might be enlightening. Man, people have me too nervous these days, my neighbors are all terrorised, and I'm terrorised by my neighbors. I hope somebody's enjoying this.
I thought you may like to know that this philosophy exists. Isn't that the most mind-numbingly ridiculous thing you've heard today? Well, maybe not, but all the same if this line of "thinking" prevails it directly implies that there is not and never will be an end to this "War on Terror," because the only solution would apparently be complete and total eradication due to the fact that any discussion of grievances is decidedly out of the question.
All of this would explain our conditioning for perpetual conflict though. "Hey! Nobody ever said anything about an end," they will someday proclaim.
"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have seen." -- George W. Bush 9-20-01
"I don't think you can win..." -- George W. Bush speaking about the war on terror 8-30-04
Life's a bitch... that special sort of vindictive, manipulative bitch that would sweeten you up with everything under the sun only to provide herself the opportunity to marry you, murder you, and buy a house in the Bahamas with your best friend and your insurance money. Through tsunamis, war, and assorted devastation we persevere. Especially those among us who are blessed with an unflappable faith... in materialism and selective ignorance. They in fact continue to prosper through the ages. Life it seems, is their bitch. But that's alright, I mean we can't go around weeping and wailing our whole lives away over our wretchedness. There are even some who believe that there is something sublime to be found in the whole thing. Anything is possible I suppose...
So you've witnessed a cruel farce
Perhaps it was just a lark?
Though it may seem a little blithe
May I propose that it is... alright
In fact it's out of sight
That's all, that's alright
When the Sun had spun away
the bushmen used to pray
whyever, wherever it went
that it would return the next day
but you see... it was okay
For though day had passed to night
fostering a fitful fright
The light was merely out of sight
That's all, that's alright
I'm pissed. Perhaps in all senses of the term. Let's consult the Random House Webster's Dictionary for what it's worth.
Terrorism, n. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
Who is winning? My opinion is that we are losing, handily. We are like frightened children acting tough. It is a pathetic state of affairs, where we have even reverted to comic book rhetoric with the 'Patriot Act,' 'Dr. Germ,' 'Mrs. Anthrax,' and the 'Axis of Evil' full of 'evildoers' and 'freedom haters.' Wow. I'm tempted to show up at the local recruiter's office in a Captain America costume.
It's embarassing... 'Patriot Act'... What's the purpose of that name anyway? You tell me.
So anyway, it seems clear to me and a large part of the world that we are intimidated. I'm not sure if you could even argue against it. How are we intimidated besides the obvious instance of violence? Ah yes, with threats...
"The terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children." -- George W. Bush
"Another attack is a matter not of if, but when." -- Dick Cheney
"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have seen." -- George W. Bush
Alright now I'm nervous. That brings us to coercion and political purposes...
"You are either with us or you are with the terrorists" -- George W. Bush
"We can also go to the country on this issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America." -- Karl Rove
"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States." -- Dick Cheney
Hmmm. It seems we are being terrorized on a couple of fronts. We quake and we cower behind Big Daddy, "Protect us! Everything else is secondary." How sad. We of the self-righteous swagger are merely scared out of what little wits humans have been gifted with, and of all the people on earth there are but a handfull who have anything to gain politically from all of this...
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin
This is a gas, not that I condone spraying herbicide on your neighbors lawn for whatever reason. What got me was the last line of the article...
"Police are investigating the criminal damage and told the homeowner it will be investigated as a hate crime, which carries stiffer penalties."
Have you ever felt that kind of hatred? The kind of hatred that burns... and burns... until you feel like your eyeballs are gonna explode... until there is nothing on God's good green earth that could stop you from killin' a man...'s grass?!
I'll never be able to believe how little news we actually get through the television. You have multiple 24-hour 'news' stations and the three main networks all crankin' it out every single day. What do you get though? About 5 'major' headlines in roughly the same order from every one of them, repeated and analyzed over and over, no matter how incredibly mundane. Let's take a sampling from today...
MSNBC - Hurricanes
- U.S. pounds militant positions in Baghdad
- Catholic bishop indicted on child rape charges
- Oil nears $50 a barrel, hits all-time high
- Record producer Spector indicted for murder
- Pfc. England's court-martial set for January
FOXNews - Hurricanes
- US Bombs Sadr City
- Kennedy: US Less Safe Now
- Spector Charged with Murder
- French Bank Targeted in Oil-for-Food Scam
- Ex-Springfield Bishop Indicted for Child Rape
CNN - Hurricanes
- Insurgents attack Iraqi military targets
- U.S. commander: Bin Laden likely in Pakistan
- Pregnant soldier faces Abu Ghraib court-martial
- Bush, Kerry prep for first face-to-face debate
- Man convicted of keeping accidentally mailed wages
Those are the top six headlines as of five minutes ago from the websites of three of the 24-hour 'news' outfits. A lot of the rest of the news is still there, but sadly you most often have to get it yourself. It seems that our journalists today are largely 'career-oriented' types, though that doesn't really make sense for there are much easier and more lucrative choices for that sort of individual. So, what are they thinking? Are they gagged? Are they afraid to be labeled 'terrorist sympathizers'? You tell me. Or is everything kosher and I'm just buggin' out here? That would be really good to know. Developing...