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10/10/2003

 
this is just too perfect:

The head of Cuba's diplomatic mission here, Dagoberto Rodriguez, said Thursday that Bush should "stop acting like a lawless cowboy" and "start listening to the voices of the nations of the world."


isn't this exactly what conservatives have been warning against all along? you pinko spinmeisters out there have erected the perfect firewall for third world butchers to cower behind. i'm sure you're all broken up about it, knowing how desperately you guys hate castro *giggle, giggle*

anyway, bush is going to bring an end to the dictatorship of the, uh, proletariat and quell the glorious revolution which, over the past half-century, has turned cuba into the worker's paradise it is today. oddly enough, this will coincide with the dethroning of el presidente. weird, huh?

the move, the AP story tells us in the very first words of the very first sentence, is a transparent attempt by the bush administration to "please a key Florida constituency."

dontcha just love how only republicans have cynical political motivations? when clinton played saxophone on arsenio hall, for instance, it was only because the he couldn't keep the music bottled up inside him any more. when he scribbled down some union-friendly regs or wired a few more billion to the inner-inner cities, it was because of his heartfelt sympathy for the plight of the working man and poor african american, respectively. kosovo had nothing to do with impeachment, and though those cruise missiles he launched in iraq did temporaly coincide with some particularly juicy lewinsky revelations, this, i assure you, was purely coincidental.

who cares why bush knocks off castro. so long as he's gone.

locdog's $0.02




 

libs sympathize with iraqi killers



yesterday in the fray, i ran a simple poll on the recurring attacks in iraq. i did this not because i wanted to know the vera causa of these attacks--the fray would be the last place any sane person would look for the true cause of anything--but because i wanted to see the correlation between one's pre-war views, and one's thoughts on the ongoing violence. what i found, while not very surprising, was certainly interesting enough that i thought it worth sharing with all of you. note that this unofficial little poll was limited to the fray and its results extend to the fray only. i take these respondents to be fairly typical of the fray poster in general (take my word for it), and i take fray posters to be fairly typical of your average politically active/informed person. but whether or not there is any correlation between these results and the outside world is up to you. i for one wouldn't be the least bit surprised if there was.


twelve people responded to the poll. i'm unfamiliar with the pre-war views four of them, gary1, biteoftheweek, dionisius, and thebigO, so i'll have to leave yinz guys out. sorry. (if you're wondering why i didn't simply ask respondents if they were hawks or doves, i was afraid that they might catch on to what i was really after and skew their answers.) the remaining 8 respondents are listed below. i've lumped them into two groups, hawks and doves, representing their positions leading up to the beginning of the conflict in iraq. if anyone feels i've stuck them in the wrong group, then this was purely unintentional on my part, and you have my apologies. note that although i did not respond to my own poll, i've listed myself among the hawks.

hawks

RWJones
Ender
myself

doves

MichaelRyerson
Geoff
butterscotch
Splendid_IREny
historyguy
TheBrewmaster

results

ladies first:

ryerson gave a virtually useless laundry list of possible motivations "in no particular order," but "freedom fighter" batted top of the order all the same.

geoff is concerned with anecdotal evidence which suggests that those who weren't in hussein's camp to begin with might be starting to sour on us, but overall he attributes the violence to "religious fundamentalists...Baathist hold-outs. And criminal opportunists."

butterscotch acknowledges that religious fervor may play a roll, but is more concerned about the "many people whose lives have been touched by the american invasion," people who "wish harm on America/ns...to avenge the death of a loved one."

splendid_ireny doesn't beat around the bush: the "Iraqis" want to give the "American occupying forces" the boot. by that, he/she/it seems to mean all iraqis everywhere, or at least the vast majority of the iraqi population. the ones actually doing the killing are "those who are loyal to Hussein or those, who despised Hussein and now seeing Americans engaging in torture, albeit in milder forms (pistol-whipping and tying bags over heads of suspected Hussein loyalists), are pissed off."

historyguy gives us a history lesson: "Suppose an invading/occupying army arrived in your home town, killing several thousand of your countrymen on the way in...It wouldn't matter much to you that steps were taken to minimize the number of deaths...Of course, it did happen here during the American Revolution, and it's the reason we have a second amendment." harmonizing nicely with ireny's take on the situation, historyguy sees the american army as the moral equivalent of the red coats, the killers as the moral equivalent of our nation's founders--and he even manages to get in a few shots at our boys and girls in uniform, casting them as boorish thugs: "they don't speak your language, aren't trying to learn it, are known to have led to an increase in the local prostitution business, and have no understanding or respect for they way you live your life." did i detect a hint of implied racism in there as well?

thebrewmaster simply gives us some quotes from the iraqi people in "their own words":

"They started killing our relatives and friends and our brothers, and of course, we had to start to give it back," Mohamed said.

"At first when the Americans came, many people said: `Welcome. They are our friends.' Then most Iraqis saw how Americans kill Iraqis, day after day. They make more and more enemies here."

"We don't like Saddam; he was a dictator," Fahdawi said, as US jets and helicopters patrolled the skies and small arms fire chattered outside. "But the Americans, they handcuff us, they put us on the floor in front of our wives and children. It's shameful for us."

"They mean to kill as many Iraqis as possible," Jumaili said, fighting back tears at the funeral of his cousin Beijiya last week. "All the tribes are suffering. This is murder."


if he in any way suspects that these views are not representative of the majority of the iraqi people, he makes no attempt to indicate it.

and now, the gentlemen:

ender thinks it's the usual suspects:

For those at the top, it's the fame/fortune/power lifestyle. From there on down, it depends on IQ:

Smart guys become recruiters, bomb makers, propagandists (it's a living).

Average guys buy into the propaganda and need the money or are just greedy. Plant a roadside bomb, snipe, inform (easy money, power trip, adrenaline rush and for the true believers, honor).

Dumb guys get brain washed. Their reward is a bunch of virgins.


rwjones points out a $5000/head bounty on american soldiers, and figures that the killers "are not so much anti-American as they are just bounty hunters."

personally, i would attribute the bulk of the attacks to a mish-mash of desperate regime holdouts, and terrorists from within/without iraq. i would be surprised if there weren't a few bounty-hunters or charles bronsons out there, but i don't think they form a significant portion of the ranks.

conclusions

overwhelmingly, the doves tend to sympathize with the killers rather than their targets. four out of five of them have views consistent with the modern-day analogue to the american war of independence version, with only geoff stating that while this paradigm, if embraced broadly throughout iraq, could present a major problem, we don't appear to be there yet.

the majority of the doves saw the killers not as a desperate few, but as the embodiment of the will of the iraqi people, who they believed to be full of pain/rage at the rape of their homeland by an invading force.

the hawks, on the other hand, attributed the killings to far more cynical motives. exploitation of religious fanatics, i.e. terror, regime loyalists, criminals/bounty hunters, etc. none of the hawks indicated any correlation between the actions of the killers and the will of the iraqi populace as a whole.

clearly, the doves perceived the killings in iraq as either justifiable (as in self-defense/war of independence) or at least highly mitigated (as in revenge.) the hawks saw them as the result of perverted motivations/criminal ventures, hence immoral.

make of this what you will.

locdog knows what it says to him




10/09/2003

 

THREE men in THREE days?



but she draws the line at hunky mega-millionaire superstar athletes. uh huh.

locdog's got two words for ya: reasonable doubt





10/07/2003

 

un f---ing believable



if this doesn't constitute a violation of decency standards what does?

locdog wonders when it was, exactly, that american culture hit rock bottom




 

don't share a television event with america



i'm driving into work this morning sipping my coffee and listening to sgt. pepper's on my cd player. the cd ends, and i switch on the radio. it's a commercial, of course, one of those formulaic radio ads that made them put cd players in cars in the first place.

the commercial is for the struggling abc television network, which is owned by the struggling disney corporation. they've had loads of good news lately: rush's faux pas on espn, miramax's new tarantino flick described as the bloodiest american movie ever made, abc's perennial bottom-dweller status. and then john ritter dies. one of abc's only hits loses its star, and it's not like the show had a whole lot else going for it. or so they tell me. i've never watched the damn thing, don't watch network television in general besides sports, and don't really see why anyone would want to.

anyway, there's wacky, bouncy music clattering on in the background as an announcer tells us in his wackiest, bounciest voice about the mischief some guy named jim gets himself into on tonight's episode of "according to jim." he's been caught cheating at a church bingo game, you see, and much hilarity will ensue. you can laugh at him if you tune in. then the whole mood of the commercial suddenly shifts. it's like my car somehow made a perfect right-angle turn at very high speed or something. the music is now a dreary, melodramatic bit that, in the opinion of some ad exec, conveys "grit" or "intensity" or "street," but which is really sorta corny. the announcer, who is now all business, informs us that "nypd blue" is the best cop drama on television. we can find out why by tuning in to tonight's episode. "but first," he says...

but first, the music crashes from gear to gear once more, like a worn-out old mac truck. the black diesel belching from the stack couldn't be any more noxious than what comes next. speaking over a lilting guitar melody that's supposed to sound "bittersweet," or "sentimental," or "inspirational," or some combination thereof, the announcer says "but first, share a television event with america. john ritter's final episode of '8 simple rules...'" his voice, which was evidently selected for its ability to convey the entire range of human experience in a thirty second radio ad without cluing anyone in to the absurdity of such an attempt, now sounds as warm and fuzzy as a lint-ball shoved up your nose.

that is, he said something like that. i don't remember what it was, exactly, because i was so repelled by what i was hearing that my body's immune system must have prevented the poison from sinking in too deep. i do definitely remember that this was going to be something called "a television event" and that i was supposed to "share" it with the entire nation. it was unclear whether abc wanted to alert me of an opportunity to finally come to terms with the havoc they think john ritter's death wreaked in my life, or to warn me lest i be the only poor slob in america not able to participate in what they expect will be the water cooler chit-chat in every office in america tomorrow morning. a little bit of both, i guess. nice of them.

as i drove on, i formed a mental image of an abc network exec calling someone who actually cared about ritter's death. he's calling them because, hey, why get on a plane if you don't have to. "john," he is saying "would have wanted us to continue." i need a shower.

have you ever seen network? remember the part where peter finch aka howard beale says

I have decided to kill myself. I'm going to blow my brains out, right on this program, a week from today. So, tune in next Tuesday, that should give the public relations people a week to promote the show. You ought to get a Hell of a rating out of that--a fifty share, easy.


it's at the beginning. remember the part at the end where william holden aka max schumacher says

You're television incarnate, Diana. Indifferent to suffering. Insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War. Murder. Death. All the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You're madness, Diana. And everything you touch dies with you...but not me. Not as long as I can feel pleasure, and pain, and love.


and do you remember the part in the middle, where beale, now pumped by the network as the "mad prophet of the airwaves," implores the people

We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true. But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds--We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube. You eat like the tube. You raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness--you maniacs! In God's name you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion.

So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I am speaking to you now. Turn them off!


the "events" in your life don't occur inside of a glowing box, folks, and for some unfortunate people, the death of john ritter was a lot more than a ratings stunt. remember that. and don't let abc tell you to grieve over something that doesn't matter a hill of beans in your life. they're just trying to sell you a remedy for a malady you don't have. you can only get it by taking their cure. remember that, too.

locdog is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it any more