Saturday, February 26, 2005

"You, Say... Fallujah; I, Say... Zarqawi..."

Sat, Feb 26, 2005

Iraq: 'We Are Very Close to Al-Zarqawi'

Yahoo! News - 1 hour, 19 minutes ago Middle East - AP
By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraqi interim government announced the arrest of a man it described as a key figure in the country's most feared terrorist group and expressed confidence Friday it was tightening the noose around his leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.



July 15, 2004

Seymour Hersh's ACLU Keynote Speech Transcribed

"I don’t want to suggest to you that we’ve ever been propagandized by our government [laughter], but it’s very convenient..."

"I don’t want to suggest to you that we’ve ever been propagandized by our government [laughter], but it’s very convenient. It’s very convenient to keep on telling the press that Zarqawi’s — my favorite one is that nice kid that was beheaded, remember. The guy that beheaded him had a hood over him. He was described very confidently by the American establishment government as Zarqawi. Well, if they can see through hoods..."

"He’s a Jordanian, and many of the comments that have been alleged to have been in his name are not made by him. In other words, the suggestion is that he’s a composite figure. He’s very convenient..."




White House Has Lots of Mouthpieces

Published on Wednesday, February 16, 2005
by Press & Sun-Bulletin, (Binghamton, New York)

"Keep in mind that before these frauds were exposed, we learned that the administration had hired professional actors to impersonate reporters. The actors were taped reciting material touting administration programs, and the tapes were then shipped to television stations for use as "news" reports."


Thursday, February 24, 2005

T.R.U.E. - B.L.O.G.

Timeless Real Unedited Excessive Bloggers Love Our Gods


Soaking back the world in 17"...


It's safe to see from here, and fairly silly if you look up close enough...

I'm watching Democracy NOW!, a 1-hr daily news show, and catching up on things in more depth since it's been a while.

It's freaky...

Bush's Uncle made $450k off the war, and a spokesperson for the company admitted to the Los Angeles Times "Having a Bush doesn't hurt."

Especially for no-bid contracts.


"The company's Vice Chairman and Chief Executive said: "The increasing likelihood for a prolonged military involvement in Southwest Asia by U.S. forces well into 2006 has created a fertile environment for the type of support... products and services that we offer." (Yay!)

People are having trouble with "No Child Left Behind"...

Actually, it's just politicians having trouble talking about having trouble so far, and what they wanna say is great... it's just... well... you know.

They let the soldier who shot that wounded unarmed Iraqi off, "not enough evidence" from the embedded reporters fine camerawork. I think at least a slap-on-the-wrist would be appropriate... possibly up to The Australian Boot.

(Can someone tell me why I get Parking Tickets?)

NYC is holding it down, keeping Wal-Mart out: badaass.

Y'all have the right to be loud - g'wan... throw ya middle-one's up!

"I got a hundred-one's, a hundred-flips, and I'm from New York... New York..."


12,000 Germans from Mainz (pop. 300k) protested Herr Bush's visit.


What a brilliant defence of your sovereignty.

Largely invisible...

But brilliant.

I'm glad someone had a flashlight.


I just read an article by Thomas Walkom called "Uncle Sam's Steely Glare", that said an obscene amount of our personal info is being accessed by The Department of Homeland Security - both Canadians and Americans, including domestic and international flights. A few Canadians recently found out the hard way, and because "watch-lists" don't officially exist, they can't complain to anyone.

"You have just taken a detour through the Twilight Zone..."
- Rod Serling

But Canada is opting out of the pigheaded-in-space U.S. Missile Defence Program, which, beyond all the B.S. "will it work?" red-herrings, is among the most blatant and brilliant corporate cash-grabs I have ever seen.

(Think: latest Star Wars films + a lot more incomprehensibly wasted time, money, lives, bad acting and story.)

(In fairness, the Military has no plans for Jar-Jar Binks... So we call this one a pick'em. Heyoooaahhh...)

The Brits are punishing 3 soldiers who abused detainees.

Go Brits Go!

Just... go a little further mates, you know what I mean?

I mean...

It's funny how you can't stay with little people in big sitches...



How much does this suck for poor Tony B?

He thought he was working with Don Corleone.

Turns out it's really Scarface.

"All I Have... is My Balls, and My Oil!!!"


I like Tony, you really get to know him on Prime Minister's Questions in any episode - it's a format where he gets randomly peppered with tough impromptu questions from all parties in the British House of Parliament - including some from his Party that can be critical, but usually help him out. It's not sodium penthathol, and other Parliamentary systems have it, and it seems reasonable for a mere one-hour a week to get Timeless Real Unedited Excessive Blair Laying Out Gamely...

No Biggie?

It hasn't been done in the U.S. since Bill Clinton answered every cute reporter's questions with a hotel-room key...

...BUT, at least he answered them!

In contrast, the Germans cancelled a "Town Hall Meeting" because Bush's people wanted all the questions vetted first in writing.

Now, the cancellation ain't a big deal because "of course that's what you should do"... but rather someone actually having the tiny Plutocratic balls to cancel on principle instead of just white-wash lying later.

Go Germans... would all cities or countries do that?

Or just go "that's what you do these days?"

Who makes the call?

How can we say "Props Homie, stay G-G-G-G-4-German'd Up!"


I wonder if I need a licence to hand "props" out...


BTW, Is all this "normal" now?


Of course we say: "Yeah? So?"

That HAS to be cool...

That HAS to be an easy choice in a difficult world...

That HAS to be an option where everyone has a right to enjoy themselves for every moment of their lifetime.

Or should.


So, I guess the question is of first principles, and why life feels a grind for so many - and I'm not talking objectively in a true-poverty sense, but rather emotionally in a "How do you feel a lot?" sense, as I've seen and heard and felt it. This certainly doesn't dominate my thinking, but it does irritate often enough to be irritating.

And yet, we live with it, defaulting to "that's the way It is, He is, She is, I am", as we casually redefine dignity as the nobility of silent vanity. In fact, it's in fashion to "live and let live", or misuse that statement in sucking back a mass apathy-idiocy martini, where we're shaken, not stirred.


If you're smart enough to help someone you know who is not happy with their B.S. self-immolation and you know you can help them understand the B.S. part, you have an obligation within concentric-circles of personal importance to Shawshank through any shitstorm to make it work for both of you.

Besides, indulging their B.S. won't make them fun to hang with anyway.

"ALL Practical Philosophy must boil down to individual happiness."
- Black Krishna


Some of the dinosaur bones of our once proud collective pride can be seen in Self-Help Books, which seem addictive in (and of?) themselves. I though the idea was to read maybe a couple, and then be cured enough to use that time once spent reading to enjoy life in another fashion. I've had several recommended by the same people over time, sometimes in parallel memetic succession.

(I guess what that says about me depends on your respect for the books... I always see them sold as a short-term-means to a long-term end, which rarely happens. But, I also always appreciate any advice from someone who has no reason to be a prick...)

Still, sometimes I look at the re-proselytizer's like:

"You keep saying you got the cure."

"And then you keep saying that about a different cure."

"What kind of game is this?"

"You Gaslightin' me???"

"That's it, I'm outta here."
- Homer Simpson's Brain

I see it as a rush, kind of like The Planacea...

Unfortunately it's not an individually defined one, so the collective fealty to an idea or image keeps people from tailoring helpful advice constructively as they fit themselves into both the problems and solutions, while at the same time collectively amplifying idolatry...

Learn the terms, mantrafy well, serves 8 weeks.


I think that'll do...

Oh wait, I forgot, it's Black History Month.

So, we have Jason Ziedenberg, (?), Executive Director, Justice Policy Institute, with some thoughts:

"The report shows that while Latinos and African Americans make up about four out of ten Texans, they represent more than seven out of ten Texans in prison. This is of interest to us in the United States, because one out of ten people locked up in the entire country are locked up in Texas. The report also shows that most of the growth in the drug prisoner population in the state was made up by incarcerating African American people, and that over the time that the Texas drug incarcerated population grew 12-fold, eight out of ten new drug prisoners were African American."

Uhhh... thanks... Jason.

And, Juan Gonzalez, (?), host and President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, you would like to add:

"Astoundingly, as I saw the summary of the report, you indicate that there was a 360% increase in the number of African Americans sent to jail for drug offenses, while there was a 9% decrease in the number of whites sent to jail for drug offenses. Any idea why that enormous disparity?"


Umm... that's... umm...

Jason: "Yeah. The report shows that there is more African American men of all ages in the prison and jail system in Texas than there are African American men of all ages in the higher education system in Texas. That's from a piece that we did in the year 2000. I think much more importantly than that was the finding from Princeton University which showed that nationwide, African American men in their 30s were more likely to have a prison record than they were to have a bachelor's degree. That's based on the work of a Princeton academic. And this is based on our policy choices. We have chosen to build more prisons in this country. We have chosen to elect officials that have decided that's the way our financial resources are going to be spent, and we have got to hold them accountable to what we want to be better choices about how our resources should be spent, and how we want to treat people that end up in our systems".


Either it's endemic or systemic.

Either you're a racist or a realist.

Either way it's an epidemic...

Don't tell yourself or anyone else otherwise...


Need... some... hip hop...



Wednesday, February 23, 2005

BKBA - 24 Hours in America: Or Why I Gave Up On Democracy

(Throwback blog...)

November 3, 2004

24 Hours in America: Or Why I Gave Up On Democracy

I can’t believe it. I went to bed late on election night, I woke up, I passed out, I woke up, and I saw “Kerry Concedes”… I can’t believe it. As I watch coverage of his house near Fanueil Hall on CNN, waiting for him to leave to concede, I recall in real-time right now, what the last 24-hours have wrought…

I’m in Boston to visit a friend, and witness this historic election first-hand. Getting across the border was rough for me and other Canadians, and a U.S. customs officer browbeat me as part-guidance counselor and part-prison guard. But this beautiful city brightened my mood, and optimism was high here in his hometown with the Red Sox breaking “the curse”, that Kerry could break through to the American public. But this isn’t about Kerry, it’s about Democracy, and while certain values are timeless, this version for export is definitely a new breed, and can have lasting consequences for the world.

After emailing while listening to “The Essential Bob Dylan” for most of the election-day afternoon, it was time to get social. I hit a bar around the corner for a pint and free bar-food, as my Canadian dollars were getting stretched a little thin after a week. The election was discussed, but the last and most significant conversation I joined was between two locals arguing about police actions after Game 7 of the ALCS, or when the Red Sox fans celebrated coming back from 3-0 down to win 4 straight games and beat the hated Yankees. Tragically, this was also when a young girl was shot in the eye and killed by police. One guy was arguing “the crowd” was responsible, including torching a car; the other guy said that the police were “testing” new riot-gear equipment ordered for “security”, and clearly overreacting. I stepped in and admonished the former for always using the word “crowd”, noting that it denies focus on the individuals responsible, and that if a guy was acting crazy in this bar and the police stormed in and shot the three of us to get him, it wouldn’t be worth it. Also, while car insurance would get the owner a new car, the girl’s parents would not get a new daughter. He conceded, the latter guy was happy, and we all glumly and silently reflected on the state of the world before I left.

I made my way to Copley Square, where the Kerry rally was being held. Police were everywhere, and I asked one if once I passed the initial barriers I could still grab a coffee somewhere. He looked at me like I was an idiot, and vaguely mentioned it was possible. I continued on, grabbing a Kerry "7-Election” cup from a 7-Eleven, I love that joke. As I approached the rally I was shocked by how it was dispersed, as a giant square area where the day before I’d stopped to hear jazz students practicing was blocked off for no apparent reason, wrecking the view and unity of the back of the crowd where I stood. I couldn’t figure it out, as this group of people wasn’t even “protesting” anything to potentially act violent. There were simply there to cheer, and much like any concert, giant holes cut into the crowd are usually unnecessary.

(1:36 pm - I just saw Kerry smiling, waving and leaving his house. I can’t believe it.)

I met an 18-year old local Bay State student, and he and I chatted about why we were here and what it meant for all of us to brave the light rain threatening. I’d learned a fair bit before coming here, both in the mainstream and independent media, so I gently shocked him with the odd anecdote of what is being done in the name of security – and what is being done irrespective of security but given no coverage in the media. A couple of girls near us were busily downloading data on the election on their cellphones, and it wasn’t good, as Kerry was losing for hours. We chatted as well, and both girls were teachers at a school for young offenders who loved their jobs while recognizing the difficulties. In the distance The Black-Eyed Peas, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi, and others played their hits, while the girls honestly discussed how the building blocks of fascism were clearly in place, and worried about the future.

A couple of hours later we made a trip to the Wendy’s for a snack, and in the line for the washroom I met a guy who was on the “recall” list for Iraq over the next 4 years. He was in the Coast Guard so he was a lower priority, but he considered going to Canada to avoid fighting in Iraq, and after identifying myself as a Canadian I encouraged him. After 5 hours at the rally, well after identifying the importance of a physical presence representing America in support of Kerry, I bailed around midnight. With no Kerry in sight and dubious chances of a result being announced, I said goodbye to my new friends after we exchanged emails.

Back at my friends place watching CNN, I was amazed at how simple the commentary was on the results, and how the discussion was edging towards how impressive the Bush showing was, so far. They were very careful in explaining their lack of bias, keeping the last state that mattered Ohio “green” as too-close-to-call on a screen covered with “red” (Bush) and “blue” (Kerry) states. While provisional ballots were discussed, the one idea repeated was having faith in the system despite the differing tallies on how many ballots there actually were, allegedly between 140,000 and 250,000. How the greatest democracy in the world can have a state that doesn’t know how many pieces of paper they collected in “the most important election in a generation”, boggles the mind.

(1:56 pm – I see Kerry and Edwards on stage. I can’t believe it. But, like a car accident, I have to watch. Excuse me.)


(Okay, they’re nice guys, and even I got a little teary over their nice-guy-ness. But, unfortunately, it’s never been proven better: nice-guys finish last. Also, how come he didn't say how many provisional ballots his lawyers found in Ohio when he said there weren't enough for him to win?)

For several hours on CNN and the other networks on election night, I watched, and no one discussed the suppression of votes. No one. No one discussed the moral responsibility of the leaders of either party to send the message to their supporters to stop. No one. No one wanted to examine in detail the flaws of the system. No one. All this is conveniently ignored or breezily brushed aside in the desire to crown a winner. No one cares.

As the Ohio results became confirmed save for the provisional ballots, the Bush campaign was already declaring victory, and that it was “impossible” for the Kerry campaign to win. Before the provisional ballot numbers were even confirmed, it was morally reprehensible to declare victory, and start the public relations campaign of asking for a concession to “heal” the nation and call for “unity”. With what has been universally accepted as a massive case of election fraud in Florida in 2000, any “pain” the country would feel for a few days is something the country should have the stomach for.

Eventually Senator Edwards came out and said all the votes would be counted, and since one side wanted to call the election early, I’m glad at least the other wanted to call it fairly. Still, the public has a curious relationship with the media being “critical” these days, and even though 2/3rds of newspapers supported Senator Kerry, having long-ago punted on the truth-yard line, their endorsements were likely meaningless in the outcome. So now the media are generally supportive of what they think the public wants instead of challenging them with critical information or analysis, and they viewed any “challenge” to the voting results with skepticism, and forewarnings of election fatigue: no one cared to even wait a day or so to properly count the ballots. Without the media backing them and by extension the public, no one cares to look into the massive evidence of Third World-style election-fraud, and it is no surprise that the Kerry/Edwards campaign took just enough time before caving to make it seem like they took just enough time.

(3:02 pm – President Bush has arrived on the stage to give his victory speech. Again, like a car accident…)


(A strong speech by the President, who used pregnant pauses well to allow supporters time to applaud, and discussed the revitalized economy and strong international ties among other areas. I wonder if he gets the BBC? It would help. Or hurt. Or neither.)

The lack of political will among the people to question authority, question decisions, and demand more from the press, is astounding. Watching CSPAN the other night, I saw British Prime Minister Tony Blair defend himself in the crosshairs of Parliament during “Prime Minister’s Questions”, which he does for an hour each week, and it reminded me how there is simply no need to hear what this President thinks on a regular basis – until the election. Even then his people love the fairy tale, they love to hear that news isn’t bad, and a steady diet of that fails to ensure the news remains news. For the mainstream press, after abrogating their right to criticize it seems they’ve lost it permanently, and have since moved towards daily hagiography, aiding in massaging the messages provided by the Bush administration into even more digestible forms. After all, they’re in a war, and this war could last years…

There is no desire in this representative democracy to have peoples representatives question the President, or administration, with their constituents concerns. There is no desire for anything but good news and bad TV shows, and America is clearly rallying around this war-time President. There is no desire in the press or public to learn more about “terrorism”, despite the fact that everyone acts like an expert on it all the time, using it to explain why he or she is voting for Bush, and ripping into John Kerry for being weaker on “terror” since he’s never been President. When entire regions of the world are branded “good” and “evil”, there is only one primitive solution: brutal force. Even historic conservatives have punted their deepest held beliefs in fiscal conservatism, foreign policy isolationism, small-government, private morality, and others, in the face of the flimsiest of fears unsupported by facts, and a President who so far hasn’t alleviated those fears – and in fact may be making them worse. Shrinking freedoms for minorities and dissent are also acceptable in the face of fear, and considered steps backwards in any other democracy – and frankly, any other form of government. There is no desire for peace, and President Bush has been given a clear mandate to “stay on the offensive” as expressed by the press beyond those who voted for him. Senator Kerry negotiated peace in Vietnam and Nicaragua… but again, there is no desire for peace.

And finally, that’s why I gave up on democracy after seeing the world’s role model in action: I thought the goal of democracy was to bring peace. If this new American democracy is what is being sold to the world through economic or military intervention, then I give up, and suggest we all look for something else.

BKBA - Eminem: Mosh with Marshall McLuhan Mathers

(Throwback blog...)

October 29, 2004

Eminem: Mosh with Marshall McLuhan Mathers

I can quote the late Marshall McLuhan about as well as the average person: “The medium is the message.” I can’t do any better than that, but I don’t think I have to.

I think I get it.

I also think I get Eminem, who is the “enfant terrible” of the music world not just because of what he says – many artists have said worse, but because of how many people listen, especially impressionable young people. The dangers of his music were in the passion and clarity that define his angry messages, allegedly inciting homophobia, sexism, and violence, while expanding the boundaries of free speech. But with his latest video “Mosh”, the new danger? Inciting “votred”. He clearly hates President Bush, he wants you to feel the same, and he wants you to vote with that hatred.


As hip hop’s ambassador to the world – and record sales don’t lie, he is the biggest medium to promote music originally used to give voice to black ghetto youth. It’s generally agreed that he is among the best rappers in history, and like Tiger Woods in golf, he’s helped raise the profile and earning power of the entire hip hop culture. After three multi-platinum albums, a hit movie, clothing-line, and record label, he’s also giving back in a way he never has before: he’s getting young people to act. Is he biased? Yes. Is he wrong?

Sue him. He’s used to it.

His new song covers a variety of conscious hip hop responsibilities, in attacking government lies, the suppression of black voters, and sending youth to fight a war in Iraq the U.N. calls “illegal”. In saying “Come along, follow me as I lead through the darkness…”, he’s leading a young cynical America by using their language, and he’s probably one of the few people over age 30 to still “mosh”, or dance in wild abandon bouncing off others in a “mosh pit”. And make no mistake, he is leading as the only character in the animated video who appears as himself, with a beautifully rendered army of racially diverse youth marching to the polls in the visual solidarity of hooded black sweatshirts.

Eminem has thrown down the gauntlet, and is using himself as the vehicle for his political message. His credibility is based in part on his ability to make good music, and for better or worse, that can also be used as a judge of intelligence. In a “bling bling” age of often soulless commercial hip hop, the soul of his music has always been a potent cocktail of anger and frustration, with ultimately hopes of a cathartic redemption. He’s always been emotionally naked, but never so nakedly political, and instead of kids choking on Chomsky and other intellectuals celebrated in tiny academic circles, he’s making it simple: I’ve never been madder, I’ve never challenged a bigger authority, and I’ve never asked for your help, until now. In saying “Let me simplify the rhyme just to amplify the noise”, he’s doing what many great thinkers in history have done: make the complex simple.

There is no better means to move the masses, and for his audience, there is no better medium for the message than Eminem.

BKBA - "When I Stare Into The Abyss... I Get... Dizzy..."

(Throwback blog...)

October 28, 2004

"When I Stare Into The Abyss... I Get... Dizzy..."

Why go to Boston?

Who gives a shit.

Why not.

"A secret, psychotic, society, somebody-save-me;
Addicted-to-drama, so even mama, couldn't raise me..."

- "What If I Die Tonite?", 2Pac

"I'm no fool, just a darkie with a death-wish."

- BK

Cherubically clean-shaven, bespectacled, and blandly devoid of fashion sense on my person and in my luggage, I set off. In the bus station, a young, devout-looking, bearded and ethno-skully'd Muslim stares at me eating a $1.69 Whopper Wednesday's Whopper, until I finally returned his lengthy and curious stare, which he broke. A couple of hours into my $191 and 14-hour Greyhound journey, we arrive at the U.S. border. Tensions rise among fellow Canadians, and even the bus-driver has an authoritative urgency about his voice. There's something unsettling about reaching customs at 1 am, when they have time to kill.

In line discussing the weather, sports, travel, and deliberatly-light politics (dangerous segues I end immediately) with a 20-year old white kid and a 30-something Haitian emigre, the Haitian spoke in French to a couple of black ladies who'd been specially separated and made to wait on a bench. We knew not their issue, and neither did the Haitian, or at least he brushed it off at the time. I'm glad I spoke to the guys: I had an airport customs form given to me I'd filled out that they didn't, and it included my passport number, which I was prepared to say I'd committed from memory. I had my passport but didn't want to use it, as it contains Visa's from around the world, and from places theoretically much more suspicious than Toronto. Since only 14% of Americans have passports, and arguably the majority of those are richer and more educated than border guards, I didn't think mine would be viewed favourably: how do you answer questions honestly about why you travel, other than saying "'cause it's fun dammit!" They didn't have the customs form, so I planned to keep it and my passport to myself unless asked for them, and use my driver's licence and birth certificate as proof of citizenship - another reason I didn't fly. As back-ups, I also had credit card statements, a jury-duty form, bank statements, pay-stubs, a health-care card, drivers-licence-renewal form, a bland-accent capable of higher-octaves, and other official Canadiana.

My turn was next, and the "good cop" customs-officer at the desk and I began breezily discussing the Red Sox win and ensuing party. I showed my home-grown knowledge by mentioning the possible resurrection of Harry Caray, and how my dad used to say to our American relatives during the Blue Jay's heyday: "Ha! Our Americans are better than your Americans!" As he turns to his computer-screen and jokes that it was actually a television to watch the game, my face relaxes into a naturally worried state, one caught by a small camera pointing right at me sitting on the desk. I wasn't guilty, but I wasn't sure if that was the burden of proof being sought these days.

After being cheerfully waved through, my next encounter was with "bad cop", a giant bald white-guy who looked like he got bored of torturing small animals as a child, and moved on to small children. His mini-me doppelganger stood ten-feet to my right on suspicious stand-by, tapping the William Tell Overture on his gun. It was time to switch from confident Canadian to groveling pussy, and inside my Polo Sport boxers I felt smooth like a G.I. Joe.

As He began to go through my giant green backpack, He irritably comments on the difficulty of the job. I suggest a zipper on the side He could use that would gut it like a fish, advice He ignores until later. He asks me some tough questions, as part prison-guard, and part guidance-counsellor. I'd stated that I was unemployed and had been discussing making the trip to visit a friend for a while, so now that I had the time it was as good a time as any. He irritably asks if I'd mentioned this to the previous guy, and was disappointed by my answer: "Yes, and he said that while I could look for a job in Boston I couldn't take one, but the thought hadn't crossed my mind." Still, with coldly-curious concern He then asked how I am supporting myself, to which I replied my savings: He cautioned I couldn't do that for long. He then asked why I quit my job, to which I responded I didn't like it. A stroke of good luck hit, as I had forgotten to secure 380-grams of schwag and bland business cards, which He found in a secret compartment in the top part of my bag, and which I remarked I was surprised to see. As He slowly flipped through all the business cards and found one with my name on it, He confirmed it was me, and moved on.

He then asks what kind of job I'm looking for, to which I replied I was applying for a few jobs, but wasn't sure. He then asked me again more forcefully: "What do you want to do!?" My reply betrayed the confidence of a broken-man, as I responded: "Honestly, I'm not sure."

Then He found an older full-notebook in the bottom of the green bag, which he held up triuphantly before flipping through the pages with a great and malicious zest: "What's this!?" I fumbled for a reply: "well, see... I write... you know, I write poetry, songs, stories... I mean... I don't want to say "I want to be a writer", because, well... you know... I mean-- um... well-- you know..."

As He stopped looking at the book, and He looked up at the flailing faggot floundering for words, He rolled His eyes, and took mercy upon him, and finally pronounced: "You're done." Mercifully, I looked upon His benevolence, and said: "Thank you sir", packed up, and moved on. It was a good thing he'd found the red-herring-in-a-black-book-in-the-main-green-bag, for if he'd found the green-book-in-the-red-backpack-in-the-green-backpack-under-red-T-shirts, the one filled in the last two weeks with among others the B-word (that rhymes with "push"), and the F-word (that rhymes with "fuck"), it is quite possible I would've received an all-expenses-paid trip to Syria.

(Don't know if I would've seen much in the hood though, nah mean?)

Now I've gotta ask myself: do I burn the books? Mail them home? Shove them up my ass for the return trip? Fortunately I've got a week to answer this delicate question, none of the options are appealing.

As we board the bus and leave with what seems like slightly less human cargo, we made our way towards a rest area in Buffalo, where a stranded 29-year old Native lady flirting with me guesses I'm a 20-year old: you gotta love them cougars. Over coffees and smokes we shared our recent stories: a 25-year old from Panama studying English in Toronto had been taken in the back, I mentioned I had a similarily stylish set of hip hop/skater-threads like his that I'd left home for just this reason; a 22-year old slim goateed Muslim kid on his way to Florida to look at universities, remarked, to put it succinctly: "Still?"; and so on. The Haitian was in a good mood, as we'd discussed most warm-weather people naturally are, and we said goodbye to him as he was staying there to catch a flight. Later, as I switched buses in Albany, in leaving I said bye to the 20-year old white guy, and clasped hands with a handful of dark-skinned people I'd either met or exchanged volumes with through glances.

We all knew our rights under God, and we all guessed our rights in America.

There is an uncomfortable malaise here, and a sullen mean-spiritedness about those in positions of power. It seems power without discretion is fashionable, rules and civility are impediments to a necessary control, and control is accepted to combat fear. While both political correctness and Devil's advocate-accuracy demand I say not all 300-million people are like this, anecdotal evidence exists. From the stares that only those who've experienced racism can understand; to my bus driver in Albany opening the door and then shutting it again when I reached for my backpack; to the same Native woman who'd been promised a job out of Buffalo in Europe that she left her beloved Philly for, only to have them not show up; to a simple respect for human instincts and feelings over incontrovertable empirical evidence. Races of all races dismiss charges of racism at their own peril: these people are here, and to live in fear of them is to live in fear of your own country.

What does this mean? I can't argue it with you, I don't have the time, patience, or will to overcome dismissive caveats. Besides, I don't know what it means: only you do.

There's another article called "Handguns and Hand-Rolled Cigarettes" in the offing, I hope, to delve into who watches the watchmen, we shall see. Meanwhile, if you're still here I hope you enjoyed this journey, and if you didn't, I hope you still think it was worthwhile.

BKBA - The Re-Awakening of Young John Kerry

(Throwback blog...)

October 22, 2004

The Re-Awakening of Young John Kerry

I recently realized I liked John Kerry, after realizing that I wasn't supposed to. On television he seemed verbose, and yes, a flip-flopper, as the soundbite evidence was compelling. And sure, he did 20 years in the Senate, but could he speak to the common man? Compared to President Bush's strong binary clarity, it was embarrassing to hear Kerry's nuances disappear into incoherence. He also seemed to promise to do everything the same as Bush, except "better". I wondered: how the heck did this guy get out of the Primaries?

I recently watched a young Lt. Kerry's 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and was shocked by his calm confidence in speaking truth to power. A 27-year old with three Purple Hearts, he knew he wasn't going back to Vietnam, and yet he unselfishly sabotaged his long-desired political career for one purpose: to save the lives of American soldiers. No matter what you think of his position you cannot fault his passion, nor the passion he inspired in his men. Kerry lead them to defy the Nixon White House, winning veterans the victory of visibility they deserved, and a voice to explain the real human cost of going to war the country needed to hear, and one still relevant today.

So, who is John Kerry?

Today, we see a man who’s been wading through the Senate-sludge of passing complex legislation, with age and bi-partisan bridge-building having softened his youthful self-righteousness, as he learned to compromise with Republicans. He's a logical extension of himself as a young man, and easy target for critics: thoughtful begat ponderous; eloquent begat rambling; concerned begat "liberal"; and so on. Still, as a child of privilege and millionaire lawyer with a billionaire wife, he didn't have to commit to a life of public service, so he probably really wanted to. But, I wondered: where is the man who bravely served in, and then bravely condemned, a war that’s now universally recognized as a mistake? Is he beholden to special interest groups? And how exactly does one bribe a billionaire?

In surviving his Senate seat by serving conservatives tax-cuts and liberals social programs, Kerry is now an extremely political animal, careful with words and deeds, responsive to his electorate, and infuriating his most liberal supporters, who decry his voting for the war despite 70% of the country then supporting it. Contrasted with President Bush's private and public career of power unchecked by the need to compromise, and you can see how the history of each man contributes to their current personalities. Bush is obviously more self-assured quicker, relying on his famous instincts; Kerry is obviously more reflective, reviewing solutions before taking action. This close to the election it's a public wash, as both men trade carefully researched barbs for the widest spectrum of soundbites. But the broader question remains: who would make a better President and Commander-In-Chief?

Unbelievably, this may also be a simple question of what you prefer: war or peace? We know Kerry has a historic aversion to war, and as President he can’t betray his youthful feelings on Vietnam or government honesty about war as a last-resort, without suffering brutal public repercussions. We also know Bush says the country must "stay on the offensive to win the war on terror", and with the all-volunteer army exhausted by Iraq and growing slower than expected, plus many countries supporting terror and stockpiling WMD's, the only possible way to stay on the offensive is by using a draft.

An older and wiser John Kerry has put himself under the biggest spotlight in the world, and thus in the prison of his younger and brasher public opinions. He knows intimately the price of war, the options for peace that were ignored in 1971, and the ones being ignored today. He has been leading and fighting all his life, surviving both Vietnam and his reputation as a radical protestor to become a highly unlikely candidate for President. If America really needs to fight, he's had the years of practical military and political experience to win. He's now come full-circle, once again caught in the middle of war the world condemns as a mistake, and with a greater obligation to voice his opinion. One has to believe that if elected President, a young John Kerry will re-awaken, and on the grandest stage in the world resume his lifelong mandate: win the war when necessary, but whenever possible, win the peace.

BKBA - My Dear American Friends: A Letter from a Canadian

(Sorry - I've been busy, here's a couple of throwback-blogs...)

October 19, 2004

My Dear American Friends – A Letter from a Canadian

I am writing to you as a Canadian, and I am writing to say that I love America. I’ve been to over 50 cities, and will continue to visit often despite an exchange rate that has me paying 50% more for my McDonald’s value meal.

I love it because no matter where I go, I meet great American people. As a young male of East-Indian descent, and shortly after the tragedy of 9/11, I traveled to Wyoming, the “whitest” state in America, and loved how warm and friendly the people were in Basin, a small town of 1500. I had a great time jawing and joking with local businessmen over a hearty lunch of middle-American portions, as they mocked the high crime rates in big cities like my hometown Toronto, while I countered with their tales of hungry bears heading down from the hills to rummage through their fridges. (I guess you could call this one a pick 'em!) It was good-natured fun, and the Americans I met were exactly what I’d hoped for – curious, confident, and compassionate: “Who the heck are ya? And frankly, how the heck are ya?”

Maybe the rest of the world hates you, but I don’t. The America of my dreams is still, despite obvious problems, the best country in the world. Residing in Canada, or America’s little brother, the inferiority complex only spurs me to a goal billions of people worldwide share: if I can make it in America, I’ve made it everywhere. Also as a place to raise a family, the culture of concerned citizens rallying for a cause is a role model for affecting social and legislative change everywhere, and I’d be happy to give my kids aspirations to succeed and enjoy the best the world has to offer right at home. Your values are defined and refined in a unique ongoing experiment of 300 million people, and you've thus succeeded in defining the values of the world: tolerance, justice, peace, liberty, and opportunity. If you have an issue with someone, you have two choices: ignore them, and go about your business; or trash-talk, confident in your opinion and the value of free and fair discourse. As a safe-space for everyone to co-exist barring violations of John Mill’s most basic "harm principle" (I can swing my fist until it hits your nose), America is a place where the most extreme views can either be discarded or massaged into legitimacy, thus affecting the social evolution of the world.

Which brings me to my problem. I miss you guys. I really do.

I miss knowing I could visit a country pleased with its place in the world, and hopeful for the future. Today, I see a paranoid America, and what looks like an unhealthy environment to live, work, or raise children in. Today, it seems people believe they are happier when angry, a huge problem that’s paralyzing progress.

On that note, I have some suggestions. I know Americans don't like to be told what to do, so consider this friendly advice, take it or leave it, that's all I ask. I also know in these partisan times it's fashionable to dismiss information if it doesn't come from a preferred source, so I'll state my discourse is apolitical, but still temporal, and so current criticism is simply the result of comment on current times.

1) "My Fellow Americans..."

This line made famous by successive Presidents is a call to unity, with the understanding that all Americans need to work towards the same goal of building a great country. Even in disagreement, a united America is a stronger America.

Today, the dangers of moral absolutism destroying this unity are huge. It seems opinions are separated on right wing and left wing lists, and as soon as one disagrees a red flag goes up, with an internal white noise that blocks out hearing anything else. Much has been made of this, so I'll put it as simply as possible: if a million Americans organize to deliver a specific message, or frankly if half the country takes a position on any side of any debate, it's worth listening to, at the very least to honestly understand their basic ideas.

You do your fellow Americans a huge disservice by dismissing their position as inherently worthless, and their passion may be a signal they have something important to say. Unless someone isn't confident in his or her own opinion, it only helps to learn the other side, and if your opinion remains unchanged you have more certainty you're right. If this polemic keeps up what's going to happen after the November election? A tyranny of the slim majority? This should be the concern of an infant democracy and not the world-leader in defining it, and especially on national issues, with the right to free speech comes the responsibility to listen as well. You are not electing a "class President" but rather the President of your entire country, and it doesn’t appear many of you are currently considering your choice from a national perspective.

Besides the big picture, people often pass on any bit of hearsay that floats into their heads: “facts”, rumors, gossip, tips on health, stocks, cars, homes, and other fairly innocent nods to what they may or may not have heard or remember correctly. It then only makes sense to listen to your fellow Americans heartfelt and at times throughly researched ideas, replacing blind antagonism with a tolerance for your differences.

Finally, on information, thanks to the work of concerned citizens using new technology and the internet, we know more today about what we don't know than we ever have before. Noting the recent and admitted lapses in judgment of members of the mainstream press, some of it may be worth looking into.

2) "The War On Terror..."

This is the issue that defines these times, and it's generally agreed that while a necessary evil, a quick resolution is preferable. So please, for all our sakes, go get Osama.

I know he hasn't been around much, he hasn’t attacked the homeland in years, and he stopped making those threatening short films as an evil combination of Clint Eastwood and Snoop Dogg. But unless you've already caught him and are quietly securing information, he's still your number one bad guy. America will not be safe until the man who murdered nearly 3000 people is captured or killed, and logically, capturing or killing the head is the best way to destroy Al-Qaeda, the world’s most dangerous terrorists and the biggest current threat to America.

So why haven’t you caught him? If “Bob” blew up your house and killed members of your family, you wouldn't work your tail off to chase a similar criminal named "Rob". You would go to the ends of the earth to eliminate the proven threat to your family first, and would not rest until he's brought to justice. After 3 years of half-heartedly looking for Osama, when even President Bush said “I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run”, and before we see the $500 home-security suburban-electric-fence arrive at your local Wal-Mart, I would love to finally see my American family and friends breathe a sigh of relief, two-hundred-billion-tax-dollars later, knowing you got your man.

3) "The American Soldier..."

There is no one I trust or respect more than a soldier, someone who's willing to kill and die for my country. And I will gladly echo the most non-partisan of sentiments: God-bless the highly trained, dedicated and honorable young men and women working to secure the liberty of not just America, but the rest of the world.

However, it is important to understand what’s happening as opposed to merely supporting or condeming the war on terror, and I’ll do my best to add another perspective. While I have never served in the military, I know some principles are perfectly analogous to other areas: corporations, organizations, committees, sports teams, and other social structures with a hierarchy can only succeed if they have competent leadership at various levels.

Unbelievably, the Pentagon says they have a 9000-page document calling the leadership in Iraq a mess, and tracing the blame up to the top brass. The abuses at Abu Ghraib prompted this investigation, with soldiers as young as 19 allowed or encouraged to have grotesque moral lapses just as they are learning how to become adults. No one should need to babysit even these “young” adults, and with a chain of command as experienced and disciplined as that of the U.S. Armed Forces, the breaching of Geneva protocols simply for the fun of it should not happen.

As despicable as these actions are, I don't blame the soldiers. I know I can't even play a decent game of football without confidence in my coach's game plan, so I can't imagine how they track insurgents in Fallujah, conduct interrogations, or kill strangers in a strange land. With no clear enemies or objectives like in World War Two when the Nazi's wore uniforms and documented their atrocities, everyone in Iraq is either a suspected terrorist or suspected of helping them. If forced to carry out random detentions or torture against potential civilian targets, it only makes sense to de-humanize captives completely, inevitably leading to human rights violations. These young men and women are not evil; they are simply using a terrible coping mechanism to help follow often confusing orders in a war they can see they might lose, including the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

Both the American abuses and the Iraqi uprising make perfect sense. The Pentagon has already cited intelligence sources for numerous failures in the war on terror, and evidence isn’t gathered before making an arrest like the police normally have to do in America. So it’s obvious that in the nighttime raids on homes to round up young Iraqi suspects, the majority of those arrested, whether it is necessary or not, are innocent. Everyone in Iraq, on both sides, knows this. If the same thing was happening in Lubbock, Texas, it would more shocking if patriotic locals didn't fight perceived oppression, and if every 13-year old kid who saw his 18-year old brother dragged out of his house didn't start searching in his fathers closet for a gun.

In any war, both human and inhuman responses are, unfortunately, quite natural. With over 1000 dead American soldiers and tens of thousands of dead Iraqis, it is time to resolve this awful situation quickly.

Finally, on the soldiers, where are their voices? It seems the media is obsessed with long-retired veterans opinions on the military service of Bush and Kerry, as opposed to hearing from those serving today. While it is important to judge the credibility of a Commander-In-Chief based on their military service, many recollections are politically biased and over 30 years old, arguably losing credibility under any standards of legal testimony or statute of limitations in the world. That debate is still valid, but should be put in perspective: there are over 135,000 young American men and women currently serving in Iraq, and out of respect for their sacrifice we should demand to hear what they have to say.

That's it from me, and with all my heart I wish you best of luck building a peaceful and prosperous America. I'm looking forward to my next visit.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Craziest Shit I Have Ever Seen


This is the craziest shit I have ever seen.

His evidence is compelling, his conclusions are insane.

Now, be forewarned: if you don't like crazy shit, don't see this.


What's the point? Why get shook for no reason?

Don't worry about it, you really don't need to, I've got some fun stuff coming up.

If you need to be intellectually satiated to avoid this in good conscience, here you go: he's a wacko and conspiracy theorist, and this is 2 hours long.




If you're still here and have some time to kill, this ain't a bad way to kill it. First you'll be screwed up, then you'll be fine, then the fact that the world makes no sense will make more sense.

Hope that makes sense...


P.S. I just saw "The Aviator", it's great.

In fact, you should really see that instead...