Thursday, August 30, 2007

“We are poorly developed primates, these people, my friends, the Jews and the Palestinians of the Holy Land. We beat our fists against our chests a lot to assure our enemies, and no less, ourselves, that we haven’t lost an ounce of macho. But we’re not man enough to be human beings.… Like little boys delighting their family with precocious displays of bonehead locker-room masculinity, every act of war that we the Jews or they the Palestinians perform, is met with a chorus of cheers, blessings, learned explanations and justifications from supporters across the world. Every half-hearted tic we take in the general direction peace is hooted at from home, condemned to death by the self-styled keepers of the faith at home, who will shout it down the initiative if they can, or literally shoot it down if they must.

The choice is simple, and we are persuaded to make it early. If we make war, we are loved by our own side as the little boy who has done as his family or his rabbi or sheikh, would have him do. There will be compliments on his devotion, his guts, his savvy, his clarity of thinking, his willingness to act. Try to make peace, however, and your own side will be the first to emasculate you. How could you know so little, they will ask. How could you risk so much?…

Holy men of this place teach chapter and verse that war is right and proper, that peace is worse than surrender, it is contrary to the will of the one God of these two peoples. The Mideast conflicts, in particular the 1967 war, have warped religious Judaism and fundamentalist Islam beyond recognition. … We have been taught, both in the Israeli and Palestinian narratives, that uprising and warfare are the path to freedom. But we are, both of our peoples, now slaves to the consequences of our uprisings and our wars. It is time for a redefinition of courage here, a new conception of heroism, one that recognizes that the risks of compromise are fully as necessary as the readiness to fight. It is time to fight the idea that manliness and moral authority grow out of the barrel of a gun.…”

— Bradley Burston, writing in Tuesday’s Ha’aretz
Marc Perelman in the Forward reports that the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith’s (ADL) “description of the Ottoman massacre of Armenians during World War I as ‘tantamount to genocide’” has set off a conflagration as “Turkish, Israeli and American Jewish officials held frantic consultations … in an effort to defuse a diplomatic crisis” — one that doesn’t need to exist because, aside from the ADL’s understatement (not simply tantamount), there are more important things besides diplomatic relations and public relations “crises.”

But what brings this matter to the level of moral depravity is what the ADL has done, “issuing a statement opposing a congressional resolution recognizing that a genocide took place and by sending a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing ‘deep regret’ and the desire to ‘deepen our friendship.’” This is a straightforward betrayal of Jewish ethics and human rights in the name of propagandizing for the Israeli Government and its ties with the Turkish Government, mostly military (“diplomatic”). Shmuel Rosner ruefully adds that this is “the always controversial Israeli position … choos[ing] Realpolitik over moral purity.” The Forward editors inquire as to “the point of fighting for a Jewish state if it will not act in a Jewish manner,” a painful question indeed. As a short-term remedy, Abraham Foxman must step down now. He’s for defamation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It’s not at all surprising to see anti-Bush attitudes from someone using one of the New York Times computers, as the now-essential WikiScanner has shown (“jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk jerk”) but, to be honest, one would expect Al Jazeera to descend to a similar level of juvenile pranksterism, i.e. “America: blah blah blah” or some stupid shit like that on the “United States” page. Oh no, it’s worse. Here’re some enlightened comments about Israel from… well, someone using one of the Jazeera computers:

Israel is only created in 1948 after the Jews fled from the hands of Hitler. The Jews did to the indigenous people of Palestine what Hitler had done to them. Jews were the first people to start the terrorist attacks in the region. They have stolen the land of the Palestinians. Jews believe that they are chosen by God and that they are better than other people.”

Some real hateful ignorance coming from somewhere at that station. (Imagine if someone at, say, CBS or CNN or Fox mused about whether the Wiki is “a Jewish propaganda site”!) Thanks a bunch, Virgil Griffith. (Added to Wired’s list.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

John From Cincinnati. Canceled. Dammit. Only a million other viewers will agree.

Monday, August 20, 2007

At least it won’t hit New Orleans.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Been away for awhile, and will continue to be until it feels right to talk about something at all important. Thought to let you know.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Let us count the ways, in rough chronological order: 1) Fraudulent and deceptive casus belli; 2) criminal manipulation of (international and domestic) intelligence services; 3) commission of aggressive war and invasion without justifiable cause or pretext; 4) failure to stabilize or establish peace upon cessation of hostilities, and 5) further criminal embezzlement, favoritism and fraud; 6) routine violations on a systemic scale of international humanitarian law and 7) widespread, unclear rules of engagement backed by an unaccountable, byzantine chain of command; 8) wanton employment of torture and abuse toward prisoners, wrong-headed alone in the name of actionable military intelligence to rationalize it; 9) radical de-Ba’athification decrees in the early occupation period that inexorably have led to the wholesale exemption of the Sunni bloc from political representation, much less the encouragement of the Sunni resistance; 10) the ever-present lack of any meaningful exit strategy; and 11) the establishment of permanent bases* closely mapped to petroleum refineries (notably Kirkuk and the northeastern fields) and transport routes… etc etc.

Meanwhile, a soldier (one Jesse Spielman, private first-class) receives a 110-year sentence for the rape-murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl: compounding the crimes of the above, committed not by the discretion of soldiers but under their orders, missions and operations through the systemic, executive decision to invade and the subsequent, over-arching events and failures done by the military command under the direction and orchestration of civilian planners and ideologues who wear no uniform. How thus many sentences should belong saddled unto the backs of Mssrs. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Bremer and Franks? For the sake of argument, each of the above is of equal deleterious and destructive value; and each receives a relatively light punishment, say, one-fifth the imprisonment given to this one soldier. At the very least two hundred years, then, in total: for each of the five named right there, perhaps in descending order (Bremer and Franks getting the least share, Cheney-Rumsfeld the most). To be clear, this is a very modest, bare-bones fair sentence; emaciated justice, you could say, since there is no weighing of the crimes, many are omitted, and the punishment is meted out to five actors at the very top, three of whom are ex-officio.

*The Chicago Tribune first broke the story in 2004, quoting Robert Pollman, an Army brigadier general, as saying that the project “makes a lot of logical sense.” Further, in corroborating the story the Christian Science Monitor adds, “Polls find that 80 percent of Iraqis … want US armed forces to leave their nation,” on top of which our permanent occupation encampments of freedom “could stir up more opposition” (i.e. more names in the small boxes of the back pages, not to speak of the suffering and misery our policies are doing to them). Chalmers Johnson, an international relations specialist and a former Navy officer, would likely see this as of a piece with what he called “the military-petroleum complex” (USF Center for the Pacific Rim, Pacific Rim Report No. 33, March 2004) of bases ringing and radiating outward from the Caspian region and the Central Asian sphere of the former Soviet satellites — including our Mideast protectorate in the Saudi kingdom, for which the “enduring bases” in key Iraqi cities may serve as a useful (colonial) replacement.

Friday, August 03, 2007

This writer (i.e. blogger) does not demand any guarantee to either provide punditry or make sense, nor is any type of certifiable lunatic. Warning: some of my thoughts on turning twenty (posted below) in the approaching days may sound like it; just a dent in the eternal wall of inquiry, one could say. At least this blog lives true for a strange singular moment to its own name. [Enjoy, if that proves possible.]

impossible to describe after all so many things are beyond description
lives are so short and yet there are so many of them it is up to question whether everyone’s experiences are unique as all world history will yet repeat
obsessive ramblings are so easy to reproduce though it often feels fleeting
what are these psychotic people pretending they try and pose the right way and will not even realize ever what they do or why but it’s good for now we have no ideas
fit to print wall of paint lines in love like sieves you filter the good and bad and then weigh the final balance in time it all sorts itself out nothing ever changes
everything is changing all too fast it oftentimes seems that change is everything
all there is and all that there will ever be what should never be somehow persists
timeless and time-stamped so much structure to the free-form idiosyncratic dispositions of never mind never think never say never
cracking up or falling down it is hard to articulate the tearing away at the seams of reality panic turns to short flash picture start full stop
patterns emerge especially where none exist it does not seem to look like how it really is until too late too soon not the right time when will it be coming into focus captures the moment living in that frame shift the register
self-consciously piercing through windows opened when the door is closed
minds are not at peace they talk among themselves sometimes violently but not me
streams of consciousness get rerouted past the horizon
you don’t even know the faces of tomorrow or that which you can never see
sheer oceanic enormity rolls back across the rock of ages the surface eroded but invisibly warping the hallows of persistence of memory all the world memory staged fabricated invented the necessity when do you get it all set and sorted out
no use filling up with fact they get mangled and thrown into the mix of templates
ancient dreams will not broadcast crushing ignorance past histories the totality of lived ideas can’t even describe the pained metamorphic humanity
these years have a failing to return every misstep walks its way backward
better pack your things leaving home how many mis-connected souls go back
universes condemned not to know down to the small things beyond reach
morning light clarity of day not fast enough things that think too much what do you have to say about that
unable to withstand the flak useless to attempt futility of resistance in spirit of free expression individual right universally achieved going unaware no we’re not happy
the whole world crumbles spinning in madness and confusion so much good left little drops of comment infinity of sublimity and misery share the road obey all posted signs keep back five-hundred feet observe caution and all holy days
overwhelming and ineffable in pursuing truths and irrefutable comprehension
lying eyes belie the truth solidity to pure air you’re not actually breathing sheer oceanic enormity of time thinking things six billion existing living within every two set eyes seeing through itself as atoms
right and fact namely to name but what content contained there its truth and justice not respective hard to tell
it is ultimately contestable people tend to disagree and time has a tendency to slip falls fast and gone complexity need not breed confusion but some make life harder than it is so obviously surreal
minded toward a convolution of thesis in dominant ideological narratives moral clarity and socio-political enlightenment no ideas worth repeating yet all histories will repeat in time
that multitudes of mystery repeating myself already had to stop felt compelled repellent signal
flicks to green spark and blue funnel things no one will ever know frustrates everyone but somehow people make their own peace even if they never see it at hand

(Good night.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

“…a student at Pace University in New York City has been arrested for a hate crime in consequence of an alleged dumping of the Quran. Nothing repels me more than the burning or desecration of books, and if, for example, this was a volume from a public or university library, I would hope that its mistreatment would constitute a misdemeanor at the very least. But if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce, that is entirely my business. When I check into a hotel room and send my free and unsolicited copy of the Gideon Bible or the Book of Mormon spinning out of the window, I infringe no law, except perhaps the one concerning litter. Why do we not make this distinction in the case of the Quran?”

— Christopher Hitchens, writing in Slate (July 30); would it unduly piss him off to say Amen to his words?