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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 05/02/2010 - 05/09/2010
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, May 08, 2010

I'm outta here [UPDATE]

for those few who may be paying attention, you'll notice i haven't posted since last wednesday... i periodically lose motivation and/or momentum when i can no longer abide the dearth of good news... well, that's not entirely true... there's always good news when i bother to find it but it generally is good news on a micro, very personal scale... that doesn't make it any the less significant or valuable but, being the big-picture guy that i am, i'm looking for the BIG good news stories and those seem to be damn few and far between...

so, with the motivation and momentum problem, i'm now tossing in another reason for a lack of posting... this afternoon, my son and i are headed to london where we'll meet up with a london-based friend and colleague to spend a few days kicking around things like westminster abbey, the tower of london and other such tourist attractions... but the big deal starts on wednesday when the three of us fly to glasgow where my daughter and her roommate are flying in from the u.s.... there we pick up a car and set off to explore the outer hebrides islands of scotland for two weeks before swinging back inland through inverness and edinburgh... i visited the latter two cities many years ago and have very pleasant memories but i'm really pumped about the hebrides... something about the far northern latitudes, the long, long days and the spiritual quality of the air and the light i think will make it a most special time...

stay tuned for pics but pro'ly not very many posts...

p.s. the volcanic ash cloud spewing forth from iceland is currently causing transatlantic flight delays as planes are re-routed further north or south, adding as much as an hour to flight times... our route from san fran to london follows a far north route anyway so i'm not anticipating a problem at this point, but we'll see won't we...?



so much for "no problem"... the flight from san fran to london is on a 5-hour delay and that's on top of the 4-hour layover that was already built in to the original schedule... sigh... 9 hrs. sitting on our butts in san fran... guess we oughta consider taking the bart into town...

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I must be prescient

this morning, i sent the following email to a friend...
is it beyond the realm of possibility to even imagine that, given just how incredibly profitable war, terrorism and massive surveillance are for a select few, that the u.s. policy of carrying out random predator drone attacks carried out by anonymous people sitting behind electronic consoles 10,000 miles away, attacks that seemingly come from nowhere and are entirely unpredictable, attacks that inevitably kill many innocent civilians on a daily basis, just might be intentionally provoking a terrorist response, thus insuring that there's no end to it...?

barely two hours later, i read the following in the new york post...
It was payback.

The Connecticut man charged yesterday with the botched Times Square car bombing confessed to trying to slaughter innocent people in retaliation for US drone attacks that wiped out the leadership of his beloved Taliban, The Post has learned.

"his beloved taliban"...? oh, puh-le-e-e-eze... give it a rest...

that was followed by this in wired, commenting on the post article...

The tabloid, relying on anonymous “law-enforcement sources,” says that Shahzad was an “eyewitness” to the unmanned “onslaught throughout the eight months he spent in Pakistan beginning last summer.”

In a video made prior to the attack, the Pakistani Taliban leader Qari Hussain Mehsud said “the attack is a revenge” for “the recent rain of drone attacks,” and for the slaying of extremist leaders in Iraq and Pakistan.

There have been an estimated 121 American drone strikes in Pakistan since early 2008. The death toll, by some calculations, is over 1,000 people. Counterinsurgency and counterterror experts have warned that the drone strikes risked creating more enemies than they offed.

can you even imagine what it would be like to live in constant fear of death raining out of the skies at any minute...? i know i can't...

right now, i'm listening to kids running around madly outside in full-bore sugar hype after downing soda and cake to celebrate my grandson's 11th birthday... what if, suddenly, they were taken out by a drone strike targeting our next-door neighbor who had been tagged as an al qaeda supporter...? how would i feel...? how would i react...? i wouldn't be just sitting around wringing my hands, i can tell you that much...

we blithely sit in our consumer-fueled, faux paradise and condemn people around the world for all sorts of things and the truth is, we don't have the slightest fucking idea what we're talking about...

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Here we go...

absolutely as predicted...
NYC officials push for dramatic expansion of electronic surveillance

New York officials say they could stop attacks like the attempted Times Square car bomb by expanding a controversial surveillance system so sensitive that it will pick up even suspicious behavior.

New York is already a heavily policed city, with 35,000 officers and a counterterrorism bureau -- the first of its kind in the country -- partnering the FBI.

But Saturday's failed terrorist bomb in the Times Square tourist hot spot has provided the authorities with a new argument for expanding a sometimes controversial security blanket of cameras, sensors and analytical software.

not all bets are sure things, but this one ain't one of 'em... i would have given the last hair on my already-balding pate that this headline would be following in lockstep with the times square incident as sure as night follows day...

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Oh, shit...! Major bummer...! [UPDATE: be VEWY AFWAID]

just what we need... another terrorist scare to keep us all cowering in our barcaloungers while we hand over more of our freedoms to our courageous leaders whose only desire is to keep us safe... yeah, right... what a load of bollocks...
The failed car bombing in Times Square increasingly appears to have been coordinated by several people in a plot with international links, Obama administration officials said Tuesday.

The disclosure, while tentative, came as the White House intensified its focus on the Saturday incident in New York City, in which explosives inside a Nissan Pathfinder were set ablaze but failed to detonate at the tourist-crowded corner of Broadway and 45th Street.

Emerging from a series of briefings, several officials said it was premature to rule out any motive but said the sweeping, multi-state investigation was turning up new clues.

Separately, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs also characterized the incident for the first time as an attempted act of terrorism. "I would say that was intended to terrorize, and I would say that whomever did that would be categorized as a terrorist," Gibbs said, sharpening the administration's tone.

Another U.S. official, recounting a conversation with intelligence officials, said, "Don't be surprised if you find a foreign nexus. . . . They're looking at some tell-tale signs and they're saying it's pointing in that direction."

i was in chicago yesterday doing something that i've been wanting to do for a long time - giving a talk on afghanistan... there's nothing i think is more worthwhile than taking the fear and mystery out of that country and getting people to think a little more deeply about all the propagandized bullshit we're fed constantly through our so-called "news" outlets... by sharing my personal experiences and highlighting some of the wonderful afghan friends i've made, if i succeeded in removing just a teeny bit of people's fear, i will consider my time well spent...

but it seems our government is hell-bent on keeping us groveling in fear... without any degree of certainty, our leaders are already hinting that dark, evil, foreign terrorist forces are now at work in our midst and we must be afraid, very, very afraid... why can't they just keep their fucking mouths shut until they have incontrovertible proof rather than dribbling out all this shit about "appears to have been coordinated," "attempted acts," "turning up new clues," "intended to terrorize," and "pointing in that direction"... what they're really saying is that, at this point, it's all conjecture... maybe they have some solid clues and maybe they don't but, ferchrissake, stop dangling that shit out there... the only purpose it serves is to feed our society's sick, voyeuristic need to collectively gasp, shudder, remain glued to our tv sets and sit back while those who have the most to gain from such a situation continue to "do what's best for us"...


ooooooooo... more tewwowism...
An FBI-led terrorism task force has taken over the investigation of the failed car bombing in Times Square because of indications it was connected to international terrorism, a senior law enforcement source said Monday.

i don't mean to make light of this but, fercryinoutloud, stop hypin' it, will ya, at least until the facts are in...

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They're the top dogs and we're a bunch of fire hydrants

jim hightower talking with bill moyers...
I'm saying pretty clearly that I see the central issue in politics to be the rise of corporate power. Overwhelming, overweening corporate power that is running roughshod over the workaday people of the country. They think they're the top dogs, and we're a bunch of fire hydrants, you know? Out here in the countryside. And they can do what they want to with us. What's been missing is what can we do about it? And those people in Iowa, by the way, are not alone. There are people in Minnesota doing that, people in Oregon that I know. People in Texas. All across the country.

It's about the long haul. And the target is not government, it's those who are pulling the strings of government, which are those corporate lobbyists and the money that the corporate executives and now corporations directly can put into our campaigns.

i think hightower is only partially right... for one thing, it's not the central issue only in politics, it's the central issue across the globe in every area of human existence... for another thing, corporate power is only the tip of the iceberg... there are unbelievably wealthy elites that sit largely invisible behind the corporations, the banks and world governments that, for all practical purposes, get their way with little to no opposition... as the old saying goes, we have to drive stakes through the hearts of these blood-sucking vampires if we don't want them continuing to hunt us through their vale of perpetual darkness...

the populism hightower advocates is a good start but we have to take it further... populism has to be rooted in the common good... i think hightower gets that, at least if this quote from him is any indication...

Everybody does better when everybody does better.

the real vampire we have to slay is the twin-headed, hideous monster of unfettered capitalism and social darwinism...

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