Sunday, May 28, 2006


Here's a Memorial Day post of some Kurt Vonnegut stuff (without permission, of course):

From the chapter "When I Felt The Bullet Enter My Heart"

"We are gathered here, honor...children dead,
all dead, all murdered in war. It is customary on days like this to call such
lost children men...I do not say that children at war do not die like
men, if they have to die. To their everlasting honor and our everlasting shame
they do die like men, thus making possible the manly jubilation of patriotic
holidays. But they are murdered children all the same."

Here's the part that always got me:

"And I propose to you that if we are to pay our sincere
respects to the hundred lost children of San Lorenzo, that we might best spend
the day despising what killed them; which is to say, the stupidity and
viciousness of all mankind.

Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns..."


And that passage led me to extrapolate the song "Already" from it:

When I felt the bullet enter my heart
I felt more like casualty than hero
Though that's not how you'll remember me
How will you remember me?

Glory glory hallelujah
Don't let anyone fool you
A beating heart's more glorious than a purple one

If I had my way there'd be no Memorial Day
Or armies to fight in
Or boundaries to fight over
If that sounds naive, then that sounds naive
Consider that there's no blood left in my brain

Then I had this dreadful thought...

I will miss
I will miss
I will miss
I will miss everything

I'm already dead

Fighting For Slavery

And then these lines occurred to me last night and this morning. Didn't have much of a chance to flesh them out, but here they are:

No one ever says you're fighting for slavery
For tyranny, hegemony
That would just be uncool
So they convince you it's for liberty
For freedom, democracy
Who are they trying to fool
What are they trying to pull

One More Memorial Day Thought

And I've mentioned this on the blog before, but it bears repeating. My paternal grandfather was Lt. Col. in the 5th Army and was stationed in Italy during WWII. Long story short, there was a hard winter and he didn't get the winter clothes he had requested, so his men suffered and he felt responsible. He suffered a nervous breakdown and was sent home.

That's the basic story that I've heard. The family didn't talk about it a lot, and I don't think that my grandfather himself ever once mentioned to me the war or his role in it. So that's all I really have to go on, what I've been told a time or two about what happened.

By all accounts, my grandfather was never the same after that. Of course, I wouldn't know the difference since I came along a good 25 years or so later.

And I guess that's why it was always somewhat creepy to me to hear my grandmother say "I love the military." Not that my grandmother was creepy or anything--quite the contrary, she was actually very cool. But she had this inexplicable good feeling for the military, even though war screwed up her husband. I guess it's kind of like the "Laptop Bombardiers" --when you're not the one fighting, you think the fighting is pretty cool.

But my father, who escaped Vietnam only by having had an inherited bone disorder that left his hip less than ideal (but perfectly useful), was not into that at all and didn't want me playing with plastic "army men" or even toy guns. So he helped break the military career path of our family (his father and grandfather were West Pointers), for which I am thankful.

And now, with my own son, I must concur with Truckstop Honeymoon's great tune "No Child Of Mine": "no child of mine/is gonna die for the oil man...I will sacrifice no child of mine/it's too high a price to pay for/nothing but a ribbon to hang upon my door."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


So I'm looking at the online editorial page of my hometown newspaper and see a letter from a guy who's upset about the "Da Vinci Code." He spouts the usual mumbo jumbo about how the founding fathers and the Pilgrims and on and on meant for America to be a Christian nation.

Then he uses a quote from Jedediah Morse, who he says is the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code. I immediately thought, "I thought Samuel Morse invented the telegraph." Well, it turns out that it was Samuel, not Jedediah. But in my reading about Samuel (Jedediah was his father), I learn that Sammy Morse ran for mayor of New York on the Nativist ticket and agitated in favor of slavery.

So I'm like, here's this nutcase writing in to the local paper spouting some nonsense about Christian nations and why aren't Christians more upset and he quotes Jed Morse thinking he's quoting Sam Morse and I'm like--this must not stand.

So the guy also used quotes from Benjamin Franklin about prayer and God will safeguard this nation or whatever, and I'm thinking "didn't Franklin like to get it on with hookers" or something. So I look that up, and it turns out that there's some dispute about his consorting with prostitutes, but that it's an indisputable fact that Franklin had an illegitimate son. Oh, and I also came across this letter in which Franklin says he has his doubts about the divinity of Jesus.

So I'm thinking, this guy who's written to the paper probably isn't aware that Morse dug slavery and Franklin fooled around out of wedlock and wasn't sure if Jesus was a god or not. So I wrote a response to his letter and I was pretty happy with it and I emailed it to my wife for her to look at. She wrote back and said it was cool, and I was all set to email it to the newspaper, but then said to myself, "Why start shit with this guy over this?"

Life's too short to sit and straighten out everybody's factual errors and faulty reasoning. So I'm not sending in the letter, I'm just printing both of them here.

Here's the original:

America is losing its moral fiber
By Jack Faust

A consistent, insidious attack upon the moral fiber and foundation of our nation has been in effect for about the last 40 years, and has met barely a whimper of resistance from this nation's Christian population.

With the recent release of "The Da Vinci Code," yet another attack has been launched upon the veracity of the New Testament.

Irrefutable evidence shows that this nation was not only founded upon this faith, but it has also been sustained by it. The United States was a young nation carved out of the wilderness of the North American continent by Christian pilgrims, established in the name of God, for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, according to the Mayflower Compact.

The founding fathers warned that our nation and government could not stand without the support and reliance upon the pillars of Christian morality.

George Washington observed that religion and morality are indispensable supports to political prosperity.

John Adams stated: "It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principle upon which freedom can securely stand."

In an 1836 American history book, Noah Webster wrote: "Our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is in the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion."

I add finally this prophetic warning from Dr. Jedediah Morse, inventor of the telegraph and the Morse code, who said: "Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican form of government and all the blessings which flow from them must fall with them."

What was once recognized as a vital component of American government and culture is rapidly disappearing with little resistance. The Christian community seems to have relegated itself to some kind of meek subculture rather than becoming salt and light in the midst of moral decay.

I conclude with words from Benjamin Franklin, who observed: "God governs in the affairs of men. We have been assured ... in the sacred writings, that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."

A final word of advice from Franklin: "Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow."

May God save and continue to bless America.

Jack Faust, a resident of Seminary, is a Community Columnist for the Hattiesburg American.

Here's my response that I'm not sending...

Jack Faust might want to reconsider which founding fathers and well-known Americans he quotes in defense of the myth that the United States is a Christian nation that should be upset about “The Da Vinci Code.”

For example, he correctly attributes a quote to Jedediah Morse but mistakenly refers to him as the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code. Morse’s son Samuel is actually the man usually credited with the invention of the telegraph. Samuel Morse was also a defender of the un-Christian institution of slavery, writing in his1863 book “An Argument on the Ethical Position of Slavery” that “Christianity has been most successfully propagated among a barbarous race, when they have been enslaved to a Christian race. Slavery to them has been Salvation, and Freedom, ruin.”

Faust also quotes Benjamin Franklin as saying that “without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel." However, Franklin also said in 1790 that he had his doubts about the divinity of Jesus, which happens to be one of the themes in “The Da Vinci Code,” the movie Faust finds so appalling.

Surely Faust would not have us enslave members of our population just because Morse defended the idea or question the divinity of Jesus just because Franklin did. Yet the words of these men are what Faust selectively uses as “irrefutable evidence” to try to demonstrate that the United States was “founded upon this faith” of Christianity. If that’s true, then I’m a great-great-great-great grandson of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Great article from that says what I've been saying for a while now: Leave other countries alone and then they will leave us alone. It's very simple and here's a sample:

Iran was an incipient democracy in 1953, but Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh — chosen by an elected parliament and hugely popular among Iranians — angered the West by nationalizing his country's oil industry. President Eisenhower sent the CIA to depose him. The coup was successful, but it set the stage for future disaster.

The CIA placed Mohammed Reza Pahlavi back on the Peacock Throne. His repressive rule led, 25 years later, to the Islamic Revolution. That revolution brought to power a clique of bitterly anti-Western mullahs who have spent the decades since working intensely, and sometimes violently, to undermine U.S. interests around the world.

If the Eisenhower administration had refrained from direct intervention against Iran in 1953, this religious regime probably would never have come to power. There would be no nuclear crisis. Iran might instead have become a thriving democracy in the heart of the Muslim Middle East.
Let's face it, our empire is killing us. It's killing thousands of other people too, but the empire is sold to us as something that's good for us. I mean, we already know it's not good for "them"--our subjects, I mean to say. Of course, we pretend we're "stabilizing" regions and "protecting" freedom and bringing "democracy," when really no such thing is happening.

But how is our empire literally killing us, you ask? Well, it seems to me to be a rather circular argument--we have this economic empire in which the dollar is the world's reserve currency but we are always having to fight to protect our currency's status as the coin of the realm. I mean to say, it's circular in that, because we're an empire, the global hegemon, we have to fight to remain an empire.

If we weren't trying to be an empire, which is the antithesis of democracy and the incubator of war, we could be what we were always intended to be: a place where freedom is protected and encouraged, happiness is pursued, and the general welfare is promoted.

American Theocracy

Oh,'s a couple of relevant quotes from Kevin Phillips' "American Theocracy" that got me thinking about all this:

"...the Bush administration knew that the oil-peak crisis probably posed strategic dangers far beyond those publicly acknowledged. The dollar's role as the world's reserve currency was also tied to oil. Besides which, seizing Iraq as a military base-cum-oil reservoir would allow U.S. troops to be pulled out of vulnerable Saudi Arabia, where their presence was breeding discontent and terrorism [p. 69]."
And another, in the section "Defining American Petro-Imperialism":

"...petro-imperialism--the key aspect of which is the U.S. military's transformation into a global oil-protection force--puts up a democratic facade...and seeks to secure, protect, drill, and ship oil, not administer everyday affairs. Still, the way in which the United States has begun to organize its national security and military posture around oil is...unprecedented in scope [p. 78]."
Doesn't that make perfect sense? We will fight to the death and use nuclear weapons in order to maintain our access to a finite energy source, mainly because powerful people profit. And the rest of us do the fighting and the sacrificing of our civil liberties and our livelihoods. It's a wonderful plan for the few, and an atrocity for the many.

Good night.

Ummm...that's it? If anything, this newly released footage seems to prove that it was a missile that hit the Pentagon, not Flight 77. True, there is something white and vaguely phallic entering from the right in the two videos, but only the power of suggestion that it's a "plane" would make you think it's a plane. It doesn't look big enough to be a jumbo jet, if you ask me.

Alex Jones at Prison Planet seems to think (hat tip to Techno Slavery and MC Sly-G)that the release of this video is part of a Pentagon psychological operation to set up a strawman for the government to knock down. I think he might be right. So I'll say this about the Pentagon video: there's something there, but a jumbo jet? Doesn't look like one to me.

Or Was It A Plane?

But, now that I think about it, the squad car that appears to drive up the lawn after the impact gives one an idea of the scale involved. The trees on the horizon aren't obscured as much by the car as they are by the "plane"--let's call it a "projectile." But the car is not in the air and the projectile is. So that would account for more obscurity of the horizon trees.

It Doesn't Really Matter

As Alex Jones again points out, whether a plane did hit the Pentagon or not, it doesn't do any damage to the argument that 9/11 was not what the official story makes it out to be. What about the collapse due to fire of 3 concrete and steel buildings into their own footprints on the same day, which has never happened before or since?

As I write this, it seems clearer to me that Jones is right--this is a straw man intended to cause 9/11 Truth seekers to express their vindication about there being no plane at the Pentagon and then show them and the movement to be fools with future "newly released" video from better cameras and more angles.

So long story short, these new videos neither validate the official story nor invalidate the arguments of the 9/11 Truth movement.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Joe Scarborough was just addressing this on his show, and I can't believe I could actually stand to sit and watch that guy for more than two seconds, but he was making perfect sense.

And the problem with the database is that it's too big. Why in heaven's name would the NSA need to collect data on 200 million Americans? Are we all suspects? The net it casts is too wide--dangerously wide.

Don't forget that this program, and as-yet-unleaked ones just like it, are NOT about stopping terrorism. They are about control of the populace. They are about blackmail--"Senator, we have the records of your phone calls to the Bunny Ranch; do we need to go public with this or are you going to see it our way." This program is about intimidation.

It's a dangerous progression (didn't want to say "slippery slope")

Big Brother is truly upon us. Don't we see? First, it's we have to check your bags coming in and out of transit stations and in and out of sporting events. Then it's you have to take your shoes off (at least) to get on a plane (if you're not on the no-fly list). Then it's you have to sign a list to buy legal drugs. Then it's you have to let your phone records be given to the government. What the hell will they want next?

We have to stop this before what's left of our civil liberties is gone. This cannot be allowed to go on. To borrow the words of Bush 41, "this must not stand."

And we shouldn't be intimidated by rhetoric like the former Bush employee spewed on Scarborough Country, i.e., "we haven't been attacked since 9/11," or "we are at war," or "this is part of the president's inherent authority, so he doesn't have to present it to Congress or anyone else."

That is how totalitarianism creeps in. And in this country, it's through creeping. Totalitarianism ain't a toddler anymore. He's in his late teens at least and he's growing up fast...

...because Bush said they weren't.

In an AP story that I got off the wire (don't know if there's a link for it), the first sentence says this:

The White House says the domestic spying it carries out is "lawful, necessary,
and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks."
Which is how we know that the domestic spying is illegal, unnecessary, and doesn't protect Americans from terrorist attacks. I found that last part the most laughable--monitoring phone calls by American citizens (supposedly just to create a database of calling habits, not listening to conversations) has nothing to do with preventing terror attacks, because terrorist attacks are caused by antagonizing other countries. Like Iraq, for example. So they can be prevented by not doing such things. Since he took office (and especially since the Iraq invasion), Bush has been creating the perfect conditions for blowback and more terrorist attacks.

He is a madman that no one likes and is a mortal threat to the Constitution.

Have a nice day...make sure to say hello to the NSA when you call your grandmother in Slidell...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Read the Ahmadenijad letter sounded pretty reasonable to me--not the ravings of a madman. Is it an accurate translation? I would guess that it is, because it does make him sound so reasonable.

He explained Iran's grievances against the West and America in particular:

The brave and faithful people of Iran too have many questions and grievances, including: the coup d’etat of 1953 and the subsequent toppling of the legal government of the day, opposition to the Islamic revolution, transformation of an Embassy into a headquarters supporting, the activities of those opposing the Islamic Republic (many thousands of pages of documents corroborates this claim), support for Saddam in the war waged against Iran, the shooting down of the Iranian passenger plane, freezing the assets of the Iranian nation, increasing threats, anger and displeasure vis-à-vis the scientific and nuclear progress of the Iranian nation (just when all Iranians are jubilant and collaborating their country’s progress), and many other grievances that I will not refer to in this letter.

Now of course, Paula Zahn and Bill O'Reilly and their clones will never mention these facts to their audiences. Nor will "real newsmen"--the Brian Williams of the world. It's as though these things either didn't happen, don't matter, aren't worth talking about, or some combination of all those things.

For some reason, putting Iran's desire for nuclear power and yes, nuclear weapons in the context of their history makes no sense to the popular media--that shit doesn't get ratings, I guess. Meanwhile, they are more than happy to put everything Bush (or anyone else) does in the context of this being a "post-9/11 world." You know, because no history matters except ours and no one should be expected to remember anything about our history except 9/11, because that was just a horrible day.

And Ahmadinejad sounded like he watched "Loose Change" or something:

Reportedly your government employs extensive security, protection and intelligence systems – and even hunts its opponents abroad. September eleven was not a simple operation. Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services – or their extensive infiltration? Of course this is just an educated guess. Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret? Why are we not told who botched their responsibilities? And, why aren’t those responsible and the guilty parties identified and put on trial?
But my favorite stuff is on page 5 (in the pdf file linked above). My favorite stuff is page 5. Here's a sample:

The question here is “what has the hundreds of billions of dollars, spent every year to pay for the Iraqi campaign, produced for the citizens?”
As your Excellency is aware, in some states of your country, people are living in poverty. Many thousands are homeless and unemployment is a huge problem.
And then he asks a series of rhetorical questions which can all be answered "No" as far as the Bush administration is concerned.

Did we manage to bring peace, security and prosperity for the people or insecurity and unemployment?
Did we intend to establish justice, or just supported especial interest groups, and by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship, made a few people rich and powerful – thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty with theirs’?
Did we defend the rights of the underprivileged or ignore them?
Did we defend the rights of all people around the world or imposed wars on them, interfered illegally in their affairs, established hellish prisons and incarcerated some of them?
Did we bring the world peace and security or raised the specter of intimidation and threats?
Did we tell the truth to our nation and others around the world or presented an inverted version of it?
Were we on the side of people or the occupiers and oppressors?
Did our administration set out to promote rational behaviour, logic, ethics, peace, fulfilling obligations, justice, service to the people, prosperity, progress and respect for human dignity or the force of guns.
Say What You Will...

...about Ahmadinejad's motives for the letter--call it Machiavellian realpolitik or whatever. I'm just saying that all that aside, most of what the letter says is reasonable and rational and is perfectly consistent with the philosophy of our culture and our nation. I know you can't really divorce it from its timing (considering the fact that the Security Council is considering sanctions--but it's also the first state letter from Iran in 27 years) and other political considerations, but I guess I'm thinking what the letter will sound like 15 years from now after the invasion of Iran went horribly awry and we're just coming out of a worldwide depression caused by Iran's manipulation of oil prices and what not. I think that then, as now, the letter sounds perfectly agreeable and deserving of a swiftly courteous and considered reply from our Dear Leader.

What of the oil bourse?

It's hard to find info on the coming Iran oil bourse, but I think it's closer than ever to starting up, and (eventually) threatening dollar hegemony in the process.

Here's some links to info about it:

Oil the reason behind latest tension with Iran
Oil Into Euros?
Iran sets up euro-based oil bourse

And here's finally something from the reputable, reliable Reuters:
Iran sees oil bourse in two months

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I'm a bit late with these comments about Stephen Colbert's historic comic performance on April 29...but I've been sick and trying to get to bed early...

I don't see how anyone who doesn't work either a)for the Bush administration or b)for the media couldn't see the sheer, exhilirating hilarity of Colbert's performance. I say it goes down in history as one of the baddest-ass, ballsiest, most fearless, dead-on, deadly, acidic, satiric, and oh yeah--funniest comic bits in the world.

Forget Carlin and Bruce and Hicks and Kaufman--they're all brilliant and legendary. But this Colbert--magnifico! Right in their faces! Right under their noses! Many a truth spoken in jest!

750 Laws

All hail King George the first...or since he's a Jr...isn't he really the second...but his father wasn't a king...oh well--all hail King Dumbya! But seriously, this story about how Bush's signing statements have led him to bypass laws passed by Congress could not be more frightening. As we all know, Bush has never vetoed a single bill--it turns out that he never felt he had to because he just added signing statements to his signature that direct the rest of the executive branch to ignore the parts of bills that he thought trampled on what his interpretation of his constitutional power is.

And that's the scary part--the dictatorial part--his signing statements are based on what he thinks his constitutional power is. But if you got a even a D in a civics class in junior high, you know that that ain't how it works here in the good ol' U.S. of A. We got checks and balances...or we're supposed to. I mean...ideally, we wouldn't be a one-party government and Congress would...I don't know, hold hearings or...order investigations or something...


Got word from Techno Slavery that "Loose Change" and its creator Dylan Avery are going to have a higher profile in the next few months as the movie may be shown in theaters, there may be a show about it on Spike TV or MTV or something.

I did some reading about the movie today, specifically about criticisms of the movie. Like Wikipedia itself says that some people think the fact that Wikipedia is used as a source in the movie is questionable because of the nature of Wikipedia.

I'm not going to argue for or against Wikipedia (I think it's accurate--and I have found that if the accuracy of an article is in question, that is stated in the Wikipedia entry), but I will argue for "Loose Change."

Here are the parts of the movie that really changed my mind about the official 9/11 story (which I never really questioned until I saw the movie):

1. The video footage from the Pentagon: There's no plane, there's nothing--just an explosion. You cannot see a plane hitting the Pentagon in the five frames of footage that were released. We know (and they know we know) more footage exists, why won't they release it?

2. The nature of the WTC buildings coming down (and the fact that they came down at all): I never knew that there were other buildings that were comparable to the WTC buildings that had been hit by planes or burned for hours on end and never fallen down. In fact, neither before nor since 9/11 has any building comparable to the WTC has ever collapsed neatly into itself (or collapsed at all) due to fire. Yet on that one day, 3 buildings came down? And you can see in the videos where what looks like detonation charges are going off before the destruction from the top gets to the lower levels.

And Building 7 is the most damning to me--Larry Silverstein is on camera saying that he decided to "pull," that is to say, "demolish with explosives" Building 7 on 9/11. The type of neat demolition that is clearly displayed with Building 7's collapse is not achieved in one day. Silverstein couldn't have watched what happened all day on September 11th, watched Building 7 burn a little bit, then call in a demolition team that afternoon to set up explosives to bring down the building.
There would've been no way to get a demolition crew out to the WTC on Sept. 11--it was chaos down there.

That necessarily means that the building was mined with explosives for a controlled demolition BEFORE Sept. 11th. Why? Who the hell knows? Maybe in case the planes missed the towers? Maybe because a lot of important records were kept in Building 7 that some powerful people would want burned to a crisp? I don't know, but it's clear that Building 7 was brought down in a controlled demolition that was obviously planned for before 9/11 and since all three buildings fell neatly into their footprints just like in a controlled demolition, it makes scary, yet reasonable sense that the twin towers were also rigged that way.

3. There was no plane in Shanksville, PA. No bodies, no plane wreckage, no nothing. The scene looked almost as if something had been planted there in that field and a story concocted to "explain" it.

I can see how people bought into the official story as I did. That day was overwhelming, and I was watching it on TV from the comfort of my living room (though I had been scheduled to go to CMJ in New York that Thursday). All day long, there was, as you would expect, a barrage of reports on TV covering this aspect or that of the events, and they all basically jumbled together.
But one overall picture emerged, that all the reports began to include, and that is that it was the work of terrorists, and more than likely it was done by Osama bin Laden.

But I had to go to work, like everyone else, and couldn't follow TV reports all day. By the end of the day and into the days that followed, I pretty much accepted the story that al Qaeda did it, and that was that. I didn't hear the reports from the Pentagon and from Shanksville in real time saying that there were no planes and little to no wreckage. I didn't see those until I watched "Loose Change."

Like I say, I accepted the official story--it sounded plausible at the time. Everyone was just so hysterical and nationalistic about it, as I recall. I read some stories about it, but nothing that questioned the official story. I wasn't a news junkie then like I am now. I pretty much thought, "I know what happened, why read a bunch of depressing stories about it?"

So when I saw "Loose Change" and its inclusion of the reports from Sept. 11 of reporters saying there was no plane and no bodies in Shanksville, I was amazed. I was kind of ashamed of myself for not paying closer attention. I had been led to believe that there was clear-cut evidence of a plane crash in a field and all that, when in fact, there never was any such evidence. That's when I realized I'd been a sucker. And it was uncomfortable to realize that, but I figured that there was no time like the present to quit being one.

And that's all I can come up with off the top of my head...I'm still a little under the's only 9:20 and I can barely keep my eyes open...