October 31, 2010
Embedded video never seems to work here.
Feel free to share this widely. I made it, it will probably come down shortly after Tuesday.
October 30, 2010
Sometimes you just gotta take a break from observing the ever-present world stage of human tragedy and go out and have fun! So last week me and my two-year-old granddaughter Mena went over to San Francisco to see Hello Kitty celebrate her 50th birthday. According to a recent 7-Live newscast, this event was to take place on Justin Herman Plaza at 1 pm, and consisted of a mobile Hello Kitty store, some free gift bags and an opportunity to get your photo taken with Hello Kitty herself!
So we popped onto the BART train and took off.
Was the event crowded? Yes it was. We got there two hours early and there were already at least 200 people standing in line. One woman said that she had left her house that morning at 6 am so that she would be sure to get a gift bag. And everyone there was a huge Hello Kitty fan!
Demographics? Most of the fans there were adults — many of whom have loved Hello Kitty since childhood. And why not — what’s not to love? Guilty pleasure — I love Hello Kitty too. Many Japanese-Americans and Japanese turned out for the event. And most fans were women. Me too. And so was Hello Kitty!
The prices of things for sale at the mobile store were a bit on the expensive side. A commemorative T-shirt was $35, a small plastic coin purse was $12. Small stuffed animals were $28. Plus it took forever to get waited on.
However, a good time was had by all and we made lots of instant friends while waiting in line to get our photos taken with Miss Kitty. “But what about the gift bags?” you might ask. Only 50 of them were given out, plus they gave the first 50 arrivals a number (written on their hands) so that there would be no cutting in line. Rats. But I did get a sneak peek at the gift bags even though we had arrived too late to actually score, and they contained stickers, a note pad, a pencil and a small coin purse. I want one!
The Hello Kitty “Small Gifts” 50th-birthday mobile tour was a really fun event, mostly because of all the enthusiastic fans that we met — but also because we got to actually get our photos taken with a real, life-sized Hello Kitty. And she even patted young Mena on the head.
Moral of the story? Even a hardened reporter like myself can still succumb to “cute” — and that advertisers and promoters still have us where they want us.
PS: Mena went as a witch for Halloween this year — which reminds me of all the female Tea Party candidates who have been circling like sharks churning the waters during this election cycle: Sarah Palin, Meg Whitman, Christine O’Donnell, Carly Fiorina, Michelle Bachmann, etc. Remember back in the day when we women would have been honored and pleased to have so many female candidates running for federal office? I surely don’t feel that way now.
PPS: Speaking of honor, Glasgow Sunday Herald war correspondent David Pratt has just written a very moving article entitled “There is never an argument to defend the use of torture”. Pratt himself was tortured when he was reporting from Bosnia back in 1995.
“The gunmen who took me prisoner claimed to be Croatian militiamen, but were, in reality, little more than thugs and gangsters,” wrote Pratt. “During my short captivity, along with other civilian prisoners, I was bound and beaten with rifle butts before being singled out one night to be shot. To this day, I’ve never really been able to figure out what then followed – a mock execution or simply a case of my captors, who were drunk at this point – making a cock-up of trying to kill me.
“The last I remember of that night, was kneeling with my hands tied behind my back looking down into a ditch where others lay twisted and lifeless. Then there was the sound of a pistol being cocked before being put to the back of my head. A second later, there was an empty click and some mocking laughter before a thump on the back of my neck sent me to oblivion into the ditch where I later regained consciousness lying alone among a heap of bodies.”
The point that Pratt goes on to make is this: “At the end of the day, real democracies don’t do torture. In today’s war on terror, far from being a necessary evil, torture is plain evil: a morally reprehensible act that is in itself is a form of terrorism.
“No matter how much we try to justify it as a means to an end, in fighting today’s war on terror, it simply can never be so. Those states that advocate its use are little better than those morally bankrupt thugs at whose hands I, along with countless others, suffered in Bosnia all those years ago.
“As the French Algerian author, Albert Camus, eloquently put it: ‘Torture has perhaps saved some, at the expense of honor…even when accepted in the interest of realism and efficacy, such a flouting of honor serves no purpose but to degrade our country in her own eyes and abroad.’”
October 29, 2010
The Tattlesnake – Yankee Doodle Kydoodles and Other Yowling Yowfs of the Teabaggers Pox Americana Edition
“What then is freedom madness? God forbid. For freedom and madness exist not together.”
– Epictetus, “Golden Sayings,” No. XXIX
Non-corporate dissectors of the political scene, and Board Certified (in the Rand Paul sense) observers such as myself, have learned to read the stray tea leaves crushed beneath the corporately-financed circus wagon of this year’s New, Improved Tidal Wave GOP (“Democracy’s Detergent!”) and the occasional bits of actual useful information that drop off the Big Media buffet table of parboiled conventional-wisdom offal determined fit for the rustics by the over-paid ‘two legs good, two legs with money great’ crew that pounds a dismal beat between Beltway Washington and the glass canyons of New York.
A pattern has emerged as clear as the unblinking eyes of Karl Rove when he’s lying through his teeth; despite the noises made by national pollsters — whose questionable practices include antiquated techniques from the ‘one ringy-dingy’ age of rotary-dial Bakelite phones, and a habitual penchant for loading poll questions with such baloney as, “If you had to vote for a really fantastic Republican candidate or a Democrat who nightly dines on dogs and cats, which would you prefer?” or “Yes, I know it’s the headquarters of Koch Industries; I wondered how you planned to vote this election?”– it’s now plain internal polling done by the GOP has revealed that their bumble-brained Teabagger candidates are losing far and wide, and by more drastic margins than the MSM Silly Swillers of Echo Valley would have us believe. Hence, nearly a week before the actual election, we have Republican charges of ‘vote fraud’ and the vow that voter intimi – er – ‘integrity’ squads will be dispatched to those areas rife with denizens who made the poor choice to be born with skin darker than Sarah Palin’s and, unlike politely accommodating indigent whites in certain parts of the country, insist on voting against those who would gladly serve them up by the shovel to feudalistic Chinese-style capitalism.
Your Tattler could not avoid sketching out what these Teabagger ‘voter integrity squads’ might look like. Will they be in full 18th century drag from tricorn hat to knee-britches with silk stockings and ask questions of voters in the formal English of two centuries past? “Hark thee, fair citizen! Dost thou possess the required credentials to participate in this seemly exercise of democracy?” If so, I dost predicteth a spate of hilarity as laughing voters push by the costumed lunkheads, most probably thinking they are hawking the opening of a new Long John Silver’s rather than checking voter identification.
Of course, Ohio’s Republican House contender Rich Iott may dispatch his Nazi re-enactors to prevent any chicanery at the polls. Will they be dressed in complete SS regalia and posing their queries in a fake German accent, ala Col. Klink? “I must zee your papers now, schweinhundt!” This, too, affords too much room for risible ridiculousness, if not danger for the Nazi imposters – some unamused WWII vet might grab a rifle and take potshots at them from his wheelchair or walker.
But then, the Teabaggery may appear in yellow t-shirts with the affable “Don’t Tread on Me” embossed in acrylic on the front, accompanied by a gun strapped to their leg in one of those goofy Velcro thigh holsters. Sure, they seem to mean business, but the thigh-holster can be a knotty problem – if the straps are too loose, the pistol humiliatingly falls down on your foot and resembles nothing so much as a public depantsing; if the straps are too tight, it cuts off blood flow and the Teabagger tough guy is reduced to hopping around on one foot, trying to intimidate minority voters while restoring circulation to his numb leg. “Hey – Ow! Ow! – you got legal identification to vote – Ow! Ow! – here?” That path, too, leads to nothing other than comical YouTube videos and an excuse for some droll Jon Stewart barbs on The Daily Show.
But no matter what garb the Teabaggers don — whether it’s grim ‘Men in Black’ mufti like Joe Miller’s amateur-hour security guards in Alaska, or the simpler straw hat with hanging teabags stapled around the brim – the fact is that most Teabaggers hail from rural, caucasian areas of the country. While they are confident they intimately know the psyche of black people from long exposure to lawn ornamentation and Bill Cosby reruns, and no doubt believe they will be greeted in Inner City regions by courteous men and women emulating our gracious president, such may not be the case. I can think of several black folks of my acquaintance who would not take kindly to being confronted by some rude peckerwood demanding their papers. They would definitely not refrain from putting the ‘Mr. T’ in Tea Party, so to speak.
What’s more, if Hispanics are the vicious beheading drug gangsters the trembling Teabaggers have been told they are, how many of Beck’s Crusaders will want to hang around in front of polling places in Latino neighborhoods, waiting for the Machete of Death to fall? These Tea Partiers are, after all, gullible ante-bellum conservatives who are scared of almost everything, including any concept hatched after the Dark Ages, and unlikely to chance confronting the living representations of the actors Sharron Angle sticks in her Halloween Party TV ads.
There will be intimidation at the polls — the Teabaggers will be terrified into sitting in their vans with the doors locked, hunched down, trying not to wet themselves. This GOP ‘project’ will be as big a bust as Rove’s electoral math in 2006.
Add to that the number of voters who find criminally stomping on a passive woman’s head at a public event offensive, and you have an upset for the Democrats in the making, and the Teabaggers quickly jettisoned from the GOP ranks damned with the only epithet the cynical Republican elite consistently honors, ‘loser’.
Contrary to the news-cycle fantasies of Media Conventional Wisdom to which would-be president Rudy Giuliani succumbed, mostly a confection of giddy press releases, past performance, and inbred cocktail party jabber, the fanatical Teabagger GOP – a small minority never much more than empty rage, incoherent ideas, and shifting wind, financed by fools with more money than brains — peaked months ago and has been in decline ever since as Democratic candidates rose in even the archaic landline-phone polls that favor older, whiter, more rural, and more conservative voters – in other words, the core of the Tea Party movement. If the Punditocracy that has for the past year woven the fiction of massive GOP gains in 2010 were not so obstinate in supporting their own discredited imaginings, and getting a pat on the head from the large corporations that dispense their paychecks, they might look at this information from a different angle, and I don’t mean Sharron: Around the country, the Democrats have pulled even or ahead with the voters the desiccated, weakened GOP desperately needs to get elected.
Hang down your bulbous Chuck Schulz head, Charlie Cook.
Sure, it’s possible that Dems will stay home in droves to teach Obama some kind of obscure lesson, which is reminiscent of the story about the boy who chopped off half his foot with an axe for attention. He got the attention he craved – his family thought he was nuts and stuck him in a mental hospital, and he had to live out his life limping around with half his foot missing. And disgusted independent voters might decide to commit economic suicide by entrusting their futures to babbling goofballs like Angle and Rand Paul, and corporate vipers like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, and complete the job of obliterating our Constitution, rewarding the rich at the expense of the rest of us, eliminating social programs, and shipping what’s left of our jobs overseas or forcing us to work for slave wages.
Then, I’ll hang down my head, but I won’t be alone – millions of Americans, in a few years, will feel the full impact of Reverse Robin Hood Republicanism and be doing the same, and what’s left of America will depend on the thin thread of ink flowing from the president’s veto pen.
If it comes to that point, you’d better hope Obama doesn’t hold a grudge and decide to teach the country a lesson.
© 2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.
Kydoodle: To make loud, meaningless noise.
(From the book “Words” by Paul Dickson.)
Yowf: One whose importance exceeds [their] merit. Rich or influential fools.
(Coined by Gelet Burgess who also invented the words ‘blurb’ and ‘bromide.’)
October 28, 2010
“What’s a Kos?”: Write about Palestine & get libeled & banned
Last night I had been complaining bitterly to a friend because I had written a diary entry on the Daily Kos regarding injustice in Palestine and had gotten brutally libeled and then banned as a result.
“How come it’s completely acceptable to write diaries on the Kos regarding injustice in America and everywhere else in the world — but if you write about injustices happening in Palestine, you get libeled and banned.”
My friend just looked at me in confusion. “What’s a Kos?” he replied.
Well that certainly put things into perspective.
“The Daily Kos is a liberal internet website with over a million readers. It’s famous.”
“Never heard of it,” said my friend. Whew.
PS: Here’s a link to that diary entry that got me banned: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/26/913726/-Palestinethe-Daily-Kos:-Dog-whistles-Or-Google-Alerts. Scroll down and read some of the libelous comments attached to it if you want an instructive lesson on why requesting justice in Palestine may be very detrimental to your health. I get called crazy, nutty, silly, a conspiracy theorist, antisemitic, a piece of [dookie], hateful, whacked-out, loony, unhinged, etc. And someone even accused me of having twigs in my hair. Twigs in my hair? What kind of intellectual rebuttal is that?
These are the kind of almost-scary sleazy comments about me that I get all the time from various sleazy right-wing bloggers. But I certainly didn’t expect anything like this kind of nastiness to be dumped over my head by the readers of the Daily Kos, purported to be a liberal blog with excellent progressive creds.
The Kos even has a weekly column that relates some of the libelous wingnut comments that have been sent to its editor. Perhaps the Kos might consider putting some of its own readers’ libelous comments about me in that column.
And why didn’t the Kos ban some of its more offensive commenters — instead of just banning ME?
PPS: Here’s a quote from an article from the New York Times entitled “Smothered by Settlements,” regarding injustice in Palestine. How come the Times gets to write about injustice in Palestine without getting libeled or banned — but I don’t!
“….The only way to save the two-state solution is for the Palestinians to declare the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and to demand that the world community recognize it and its borders — as it did in the case of Kosovo.
“That would also mean supporting the right of Palestinians to struggle nonviolently to end the occupation of their state. Any future negotiations, therefore, would not be about the right of the Palestinians to have their own sovereign independent state, but rather about how to apply and implement that right.
This would be the true test of the state-building strategy of the United States and the donor community. It would be the real instrument to finally demarcate the difference between support for free Palestinian institutions in a sovereign and viable state, or footing the bill of occupation and using E.U. and U.S. tax dollars to maintain under various guises what will never amount to anything but an apartheid system denying Palestinians their human and national rights.
“If the world community turns its back on such a declaration of independence by using the well-worn and insulting argument that every step should first be verified with the Israeli government, then the message will be clear: Peace based on two states is no longer an option.”http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/opinion/15iht-edbarghouti.html?_r=1&ref=global
PPPS: Here’s what Reuters reports regarding injustice in Palestine. Now we need to ban Reuters too?
“A senior U.N. official condemned attacks by Jewish ‘settler extremists’ on Palestinians’ olive trees in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to ‘combat violence and terror by Israelis.’ Robert Serry, U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, also said he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers in the occupied territory since the end of Israel’s settlement freeze last month.
“Serry was speaking to journalists on Tuesday while olive-picking with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the village of Tormos Ayya north of Ramallah. He said settlers had destroyed hundreds of trees in the village in recent weeks. Palestinians began harvesting olives across the West Bank this month. ‘I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians,’ Serry said. http://alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE69P1NK.htm
(Photo is of one of the highly-recommended protective measures you might consider taking if you are planning to write on the Kos regarding injustice in Palestine.)
What do you call a Teabagger surrounded by a cheering crowd of drooling idiots?
What do you call an ignorant Teabagger with an I.Q. of 50?
A potential Republican candidate.
What’s the difference between an angry Teabagger and a terrorist?
You can negotiate with a terrorist.
What is the difference between a smart Teabagger and the Loch Ness Monster?
Some people claim to have actually seen the Loch Ness Monster.
Why do so many Teabaggers drive a Ford?
Because ‘Chevy’ is too difficult to spell correctly.
What do you call a burly 200-lbs. male Teabagger who stomps on the head of a 115-lbs. woman for carrying a sign he didn’t like, giving her a concussion?
A valuable campaign worker.
What do Teabaggers call an elitist?
Someone with a sixth-grade education.
Did you hear about the Teabagger couple who froze to death at the drive-in?
They went to see “Closed for the Winter.”
What do you call a Teabagger with 2 brain cells?
Where can you find a Teabagger hypocrite?
Throw a dart blindfolded at a Tea Party Rally.
What was the Teabagger psychic’s greatest achievement?
Reading the tea leaves forwards, for once.
What did the Teabagger say to the doctor when she found out she was pregnant?
“Are you sure it’s mine?”
How do Teabagger brain cells die?
Despised and alone.
What do you get when you offer a Teabagger a penny for his thoughts?
Change too stupid to believe in.
Did you hear about the lesbian Teabagger?
She kept trying to have affairs with gay men.
How do you confuse a Teabagger?
It’s impossible — they’re already born that way.
Where does a retired Teabagger go for medical treatment?
To the doctor, who is paid by Medicare, a government program initiated by liberal Democrats, that the damn socialist liberals better keep their hands off of until a GOP Teabagger candidate can get elected to abolish it!
Where does a retired Teabagger go for medical treatment after the GOP has abolished Medicare?
No Teabagger ever thinks that far ahead.
What do you say to a hate-big-government Teabagger who lives on Social Security?
The same thing his relatives say: “You’re crazy.”
October 24, 2010
I love to read — and murder mysteries are my favorite things to read in the whole world. So when a huge murder-mystery writers’ and readers’ convention came to San Francisco this year, I just HAD to go. And BoucherCon didn’t disappoint. For four whole glorious day, I got to absolutely wallow in the literary nuts and bolts of who-killed-who.
I got to ask Joseph Finder, a mega-blockbuster big-selling author who is also an expert on Afghanistan, “If you were to write a Who-Dun-It about Afghanistan, what would be the plot and how would you solve that particular mystery?”
Finder gamely replied, “I’d make it into a comedy of errors. The Afghan government is not doing what you think it is doing and everyone else is also being fooled.” Yeah, especially the average Afghan and us taxpayers — at this point, we seem to be playing the role of the corpse.
And I got to ask Martin Cruz Smith, “How in the freak did you learn so much about the inside workings of a Russian fish-factory ship?”
“Because I was no longer welcome in Russia at the time I wrote ‘Polar Star,’ I figured that I’d just go up to Dutch Harbor in Alaska and see if I could sneak onto a Russian factory ship there. Those ships are like a small floating piece of Russia. When I wrote the Russian government for permission to board one, they replied that there wouldn’t be one up in Dutch Harbor for another four months. So, knowing the Russians like I do, I immediately hustled right up there. And I was able to get aboard one and even take photos and make notes. But when the captain found out that I had come aboard, I thought I was going to be in big trouble — but instead he just asked me to join him for dinner.” Cruz Smith is welcome in Russia now, BTW.
But most important of all, I got to ask David Baldacci a most burning question: “How come, if you have sold millions and millions of copies of books that expose the CIA as basically an above-the-law group of paid assassins — and millions and millions of Americans have read your books — then how come nobody in America seems to be trying to put a leash on the CIA?”
“I don’t know why that is. But all I can do is to just keep writing and hope.”
For two of the four days that the BoucherCon was in San Francisco, I was forced by circumstances beyond my control to bring along my two-year-old granddaughter Mena. I myself was completely enthralled by BoucherCon. Mena, however, was totally bored. Sure, she tried really hard to be a good girl for me — but she’s a freaking two-year-old after all. She can’t even read Janet Evanovich yet let alone Laurie R. King, Lee Child, Rhys Bowen or Denise Mina (all of whom were there BTW — except for Janet Evanovich, unfortunately. I would have asked her to autograph all 20 of her books, which I currently own most of).
When I first arrived at BoucherCon, I noticed that approximately three out of four of the murder-mystery fans in attendance were middle-aged ladies. “Aha,” I thought to myself, “look at that! There are rooms and rooms full of possible grandmothers here! Surely I can get some sympathy for having had to bring along my granddaughter — and maybe possibly even get some help.” Sigh. What alternative planet had I been living on? These middle-aged-lady mystery readers were definitely NOT maternal.
And on the last day of the convention, they staged a fancy awards brunch in the Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom — but I was still stuck with young Mena. What to do? I brought Mena along. She sat quietly through a seminar featuring Susan Dunlop and Robert S. Levinson on the subject of writing books set in San Francisco as opposed to writing books set in Los Angeles — like the sweetheart that Mena really is. But when the time came for the super-finale fancy brunch, Mena staged one of those humongous uncontrollable scary melt-downs like only a two-year-old can.
So here’s Mena, rolling around on the floor of the Grand Ballroom, kicking and SCREAMING!
And here’s me, embarrassed beyond belief, trying to shrink into the woodwork and pretend that I’ve never seen this child ever before in my life.
And here’s a whole ballroom full of 1,000 middle-aged potential grandmother types — staring at me in HORROR, as if I personally had just bumped off Sherlock Holmes.
Finally, one (1) very kindly middle-aged lady did try to help, but by that time Mena was totally in wigged-out-semi-epileptic-craziness mode and practically bit her. OH NO!
At last some saintly waitress strode over and humanely handed me a cup of hot coffee — and Mena wore herself out. “Can we eat now?” Mena asked prettily, in that totally innocent way that only two-year-olds who are just recovering from the fit of a lifetime can pull off. “I’m hungry, Gaia.” I just be you are.
PS: I also scored a bunch of free books. And, what is even more important, I learned the names of a whole bunch of new mystery authors that I had never even heard of before. Prior to this convention, I had thought that I either knew about or had actually read most murder-mystery authors, but BoucherCon showed me that I only knew the tip of the iceberg.
PPS: The next BoucherCon will be in St. Louis in 2011. I would really like to be there because I totally loved the San Francisco BoucherCon. And so did Mena. I think.
To see photos of young Mena at BoucherCon, click here: http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2010/10/bouchercon-david-baldacci-martin-cruz.html
October 22, 2010
October 21, 2010
The other day, me and my family all piled into my son Joe’s car and drove down to San Jose to see the Dalai Lama in person. Not surprisingly, there were approximately15,000 other people there who had gotten the same idea as us. The San Jose Convention Center was jam-packed and sold out.
Have you ever tried to assemble almost your entire family at one time and in one place? Frazzling. But we did it — because all of us really wanted to go see the Dalai Lama. And driving to San Jose, getting lost a whole bunch of times and searching for parking within walking distance was even worse — especially with two-year-old Mena on board.
“Quick! Take a picture of the Dalai Lama with your cell phone,” I ordered my daughter Ashley — who immediately got busted by an usher for taking unauthorized photos and almost got her phone confiscated too. Oops.
“There’s Pierce Brosnan,” said my son.
Then Mena ran away from us, hunkered down under an exhibit table in the lobby and had to be dragged out screaming by a security guard. Then, once inside the venue, she immediately tore down the main aisle toward the front, yelling, “Dalai Mama! Dalai Mama!” like she was some kind of long-lost sacred rinpoche reincarnation finally about to be reunited with her mum. And she almost made it too — but a security team stopped her at the third row.
And I myself spent a goodly amount of time searching the venue for elevators and coffee — I don’t do so good with stairs these days and am probably the last person in my generation to succumb to the lure of caffeine addiction.
But finally we were all seated and the Dalai Lama started to speak — but I have no idea what he said because the sound system was lousy. “Humility, peace, love and compassion,” is my closest guess. Who knows. But by the time he finished speaking, all 15,000 of us audience members clearly felt like we’d just been calmed, soothed, mellowed out and given the gift of great hope. It was a truly awesome moment, well worth every hassle.
And as we drove out of the parking structure after this extraordinary and inspiring experience, I spotted a big poster near the exit that read, “Next Event — Sarah Palin”. And we were all immediately struck by the contrast in messages between the speaker we had just heard and the speaker to come. On this singular afternoon, the “Dalai Mama” had fired us all up with his universal message of peace, love and hope — and yet there, surrounded by the very same air that the Dalai Lama had just breathed, Sarah Palin would soon be trying to fire up people with her mean-spirited messages of violence and hate.
I will NOT be taking young Mena to go see Sarah Palin.
PS: I just read where only 1,200 people showed up at Sarah Palin’s event. Ha!
PPS: I dearly love the Daily Kos but writing there on the subject of Israel and Palestine can be truly tricky — because if you cross a certain invisible line regarding that subject, Kos readers will really yell at you (a lot): http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/20/912179/-Higher-standards:-What-if-Afghanistan-was-like-Palestine
“Even an OLDE fool could answer right. But how about a young Juan?”
One question quiz today, boys, girls and Mr. Williams.
- If Muslims make your flight scary and maybe a bit (Jet) Blue, shouldn’t you also be frightened for the kiddies if a priest is on your plane?”
Multiple answers mean you flunked because you’re a religious bigot.
…And the MSM double-standard on negative ads
One of the biggest gripes that the corporatists who rule Israel (sorry — nobody uses the term “neo-con” any more) have expressed lately is that so many Americans are now siding with Palestinians instead of with them. “And also how come you never hold any other countries in this region to the same high standard that you demand from us,” they complain. “Just look at the civil rights abuses in the Arab countries in the Middle East. How come you never get on their cases too?”
Okay. Here goes. Now I’m gonna get on Afghanistan’s case.
First of all, one of the major reasons that we don’t get on Afghanistan’s case as much as we get on the case of the corporatists currently ruling Israel and Palestine is that who the freak even KNOWS anything about Afghanistan?
What if we knew as much about Afghanistan as we know about Israel and Palestine? What would we think about Afghanistan then? Would our standards for Afghanistan be as demanding as our standards for Israel? And would we require the same solutions to problems in Afghanistan that corporatist-controlled Israel now comes up with? Hmmm.
What if it was as easy to travel to Afghanistan as it is to travel to Israel (or even Palestine) right now? Would we be getting as much correct information from eye-witnesses about what is going on in, say, Helmand, as we now get regarding what is going on in the West Bank? (Gaza is a different story. No one is allowed to go there. Not many people know what is going on in Gaza.) But who the freak ever travels to Afghanistan these days?
I myself have been trying to get to Afghanistan for the past three years by embedding with the U.S. military there — but with no luck. And do you know how hard it is to even GET to Afghanistan if you go there on your own? First you gotta come up with big bucks to fly to Dubai. Then at the Dubai airport you gotta get up at the crack of dawn to get in line at the Ariana Airlines check-in counter and elbow your way through a crowd of hundreds of Afghans who are, like you, also trying to get to Kabul. There are hundreds of people in the “stand-by” line, including you. Plus they don’t call Ariana the “Inch Allah” airline for nothing. Last time I flew Ariana, we landed in Tehran instead of Dubai — by mistake.
Flying into Kabul, you can still see ragged old airplanes and broken-up tanks lining the runway from back in the day, back from the Afghanistan-USSR war. And the airport’s baggage claim area? Craziness. Yes, even getting to Afghanistan is a big pain in the [bootie]. And once you are there? It’s not like they have grand hotels and tourist information bureaus at the airport — or even in town. And then you get mobbed by determined beggar children on Chicken Street — or perhaps even blown up. The ATM machines there are fortified with barbed wire, blast walls and checkpoints. Kabul is NOT Tel Aviv!
We all know that Afghanistan was brutally occupied by the United States under Cheney and Bush back in 2001, with lots of bombings and killings of civilians in a gigantic take-over that was pretty much illegal — no matter what the occupiers claimed. But the same thing happened to Palestine approximately 63 years ago. It was the exact same thing. So. What will Afghanistan be like in 63 years? Will there still be all that military occupation going on there like in Palestine today? And will us taxpayers still be paying for this occupation 60-odd years from now the same way that we now pay (and pay) for the occupation of Palestine? Yeah? Yikes!
In this respect, Palestine and Afghanistan are already very much alike — both of them have become military money pits that American taxpayers can’t seem to climb out of.
And there are other ways that Israel-Palestine is as bad as Afghanistan. In both Afghanistan and Palestine, money is being spent on weapons instead of medical care and schools. But, in that respect, America is pretty much as bad as Afghanistan and Palestine as well. You can’t make huge profits on medical care and schools– either there or here, not like you can selling weapons!
But enough of that. Let’s get back on-topic. How else can I get on Afghanistan’s case for being worse than Israel-Palestine? Well, I gotta admit that Palestine’s resistance fighters are pretty much wimps compared to Afghanistan’s Taliban. What if Palestine had radical Taliban-style insurgents fighting its occupation like the Taliban now do in Afghanistan? The Israeli corporatists who now run the Israeli government should thank their lucky stars that Palestinians are more patient and tolerant and not that violent and mean.
However, if the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine keeps going the way it has been going for the last 60-odd years — with land theft and torture and aerial bombings of homes and unjustified civilian deaths and destruction of civil rights and huge concentration camps — Palestinians may finally get desperate enough to become like the Taliban too. And, from what I can tell, the Taliban seem to be winning in Afghanistan.
But in some ways, corporatist Israel-Palestine is actually worse than Afghanistan. What if Afghan Christians were persecuted and killed like Palestinian Christians have been persecuted and killed for the last 60-odd years?
What if Afghan refugees, like Palestinian refugees, were never allowed to return to the place where they were born, to their childhood home — never ever again?
And what if Afghanistan were to suffer a bloody and brutal occupation like Gaza’s, with tanks and bombs and guns giving children nightmares every night? Oops, too late. In that respect, Afghanistan already has.
So. When Israeli corporatists whine that we get on their case more than any other country in the region, now they won’t be able to complain about that particular issue any more — because I just got on Afghanistan’s case!
PS: This week, Israeli corporatists came up with yet another weird thing to complain about. Israeli corporatists have now started complaining about JEWS. Yep, you read that right. The Anti-Defamation League, an American organization that is highly influenced by Israeli corporatists and tends to follow their party line to the letter, has just condemned “Jewish Voice for Peace” for being antisemitic! Huh?
According to Michelle Goldberg at the Daily Beast, “…the ADL has also shown itself willing to smear human-rights activists when it thinks Israel’s interests demand it. It is in this context that the organization’s misguided new report on the ‘top 10 anti-Israel groups in America,’ which includes Jewish Voice for Peace…has to be understood.
“The ADL’s list also includes The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition that aims ‘to change those U.S. policies that sustain Israel’s 40-year [sic] occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and deny equal rights for all.’ Among its member organizations are the American Friends Service Committee-Iowa, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-10-15/anti-defamation-league-list-tars-human-rights-groups/?cid=topic:mainpromo4 What? Quakers and Unitarians are now antisemitic too?
So. When is the Israeli corporatist government finally going to give up its assault on Muslim and Christian Palestinians’ civil rights and also their paranoid fear that Americans like me are all out to get them? Perhaps this will happen someday soon — but only if Israeli corporatists finally lose power in Israel, so that normal Israelis can finally stop worrying about all this corporatist intrigue and start getting on with their lives.
October 20, 2010
October 19, 2010
“Monkey see, Ms. Monkey Do Dos… again”
“Evolution should be decided on the local community.”
– The Masturbating Witch, Link
“GREAT idea! Just how far does the teabagger community propose to go back? Sloth? Paramecium? Protoplasmic goo goo?