Empty Days

Saturday, April 24, 2004

The saga of the broken fridge continues :) As I haven't heard a peep from the janitor in the whole week it is safe to assume he is trying his outmost best not to do anything at all as long as he can help it. In other words, the little bozo is trying to upset me out of my mind. Well, too bad for the bozo, because I've decided I have no reason to get upset - fuck your fucking fridge, you know. Instead I am meditating on the ways and means to apply pressure on the landlord so he complies with his obligations - which are also his prerogative: otherwise I could just get a technician myself and send the bill to the landlord.

There has to be a way to do that in some legal way. I've posted a letter to the landlord the other day, as a first step. On Monday I will have to make some calls to find out what else I can do. The only way to do anything about this is to prove facts - which means having access to the repair company service-call records to assertain that a problem was reported, a technician dispatched, and course of action recommended - and on which dates it all happened. It goes without saying that the janitor would never give away such information of his own will. Who can force him (or the landlord, by proxy)? It'd be grand to get a municipal inspector over here to do some knocking over - or maybe some other semi-official personality. Since the janitor is a lying cocksucking bitch, and since I live alone and have no other witnesses to rely on, there remains the service-company and the technician who did the check-over.

The idea here is simple: a janitor is a representative of the landlord and if he refuses to do his duty and honor contracts, then the landlord should bear responsability and get a sensitive knock on the head - and there must be a way to do that, otherwise all contracts are fucking void.

Well, I am rotten with legal stuff but sometimes it's inevitable and justice must be pursued. The problem of course is that getting justice the legal way requires a lot of nerves and waste of energy - for nothing much in the end than the satisfaction of having taught some fuck a lesson.

Is it really worth it? Vindication and blah-blah. And if you think these lessons make a landlord (or a janitor) any more compliant - you're wrong. A bad landlord will stay as bad as ever and even worse sometimes just to get even, and this is tenfold true for a bad janitor who is even less accountable under a bad landlord.

The end-result? I'd love to find another flat :-0

Friday, April 23, 2004

On the role of high ideals in Realpolitik

After Billmon's blog editorial on "the state of the nation" in USA, here we have a National Review editorial on the same subject - and bombasting away at those who question current policies and their executors. Ostensibly, the idea is to discredit "leftist myths" about american actions in the world. While this might be a good idea, it really turns bad and unconvincing when all you do is try to portray the bright side and act as if the dark side was never there to begin with.

I'll pass all the stuff that bears easy rebuttal (precisely on account of consistently omitting the bad stuff - so all you need to do is put together the totality of facts and Hanson's theory immediately falls apart: simply because it doesn't look bright enough in the full light of actual evidence). One superb example of this:
Perhaps the absurdity of the politics of the Middle East is best summed up by the recent visit of King Abdullah of Jordan, a sober and judicious autocrat, or so we are told. As the monarch of an authoritarian state, recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual American aid, son of a king who backed Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War...
Well, does this sound like a damning accusation to you? Yes indeed. Now, if this is a damning accusation, what do we do with the obvious fact of USA supporting both Saddam and Bin Laden when it suited its interests? I think we have a problem here - the whole of Hanson's article is based on this convenient and methodical "forgetting to mention" the other side of the medal. Therefore who does it aim at? Well, it aims either at very uninformed readers (who've simply never heard of some of those "ancient" facts of USA politics - and there are quite a few of those, let me tell you) or it aims at readers who are as ready to "forget" as is Hanson himself. In which case I don't see what this article is there for except yet another dab at old-time propaganda - we're all good and they're all bad :-0

But here's the reason I decided to respond to this hopelessly bombastic op-ed:
On the bright side, there has not been another 9/11 mass-murder. And this is due entirely to our increased vigilance, the latitude given our security people by the hated Patriot Act, and the idea that the war (not a DA's inquiry) should be fought abroad not at home.
This war was always a gamble, but not for the reasons many Americans think. We easily had, as proved, the military power to defeat Saddam; we embraced the idealism and humanity to eschew realpolitik and offer something different in the place of mass murder. And we are winning on all fronts at a cost that by any historical measure has confirmed both our skill and resolve.
This is precisely the reason this war is such a big problem for such a lot of people, as opposed to the invasion of Afghanistan - it should be noted. Hanson pretends not to see the difference: piling everything together as he does throughout, in hope of building a case by obfuscating facts and inconvenient contradictions. Yet this difference is crucial because it clearly shows the truth of the matter.

Simple question: why did USA invade Afghanistan after 9/11 ? The answer is obvious and there is only one answer: because the terrorists who torpedoed WTC had their base in Afghanistan's Taliban country (Al-Qaeda = The Base). The Taliban themselves expected it would happen, and so did the rest of the world. I don't recall anyone having a problem with that - except for the Talibs themselves of course as they are being chased around to this day, together with Osama.

But Hanson wants it to be a multiple-choice question and inserts the most tenuous and untenable proposition that clearly and forcibly goes against most blatant facts: according to Hanson USA went to Afghanistan to finally rid the Afghani of the hated rule of the Talibs. Oh really. Suddenly, the tragedy of WTC made all of America go humanitarian and decide to liberate the poor oppressed Afghani :-0

This is a lie, ladies and gentlemen - and every american, and every non-american, if you put the question to him, will tell you that this is *not* what motivated United States of America to invade Afghanistan and force Pakistani's military dictator to comply politically and militarily.

There is only one answer - as stated above. Unambiguous.

The case for war in Iraq was built upon relentless media drilling into american heads that Iraq was another Afghanistan - a clear and obvious Base for those same terrorists that traumatized the american nation on 9/11. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a lie. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was not in any way a base for Islamic terrorists - it was a rogue state. No evidence was ever provided to justify this lie - nevertheless it took hold in the all-american mind through the simplest propaganda trick: if the media say so, if the WH says so, it must be so. Notably, this rhetoric did not convince anyone outside of United States. Hence staunch popular (and not just governamental) opposition to this war throughout the world.

To cover this blatant lack of evidence, the case was "incremented" to include candy-eye humanitarian rhetoric that appeared so utterly secondary in the obvious case of Afghanistan (precisely because it was too obvious to need additional justification): the USA was going after the brutal dictator Saddam to give the selfless gift of freedom to Iraqi people.

This is a lie, ladies and gentlemen. The truth of the matter is that United States of America went after Saddam because he was too much of an unruly dictator - and not because he was a brutal dictator - and least of all because anyone in the post-9/11 America was truly sorry for the lot of the remote and unknown Iraqi people. Americans are not terribly enamored of Arabs - the sudden wish to liberate some "goat-fucking dirty Arabs" and give them a selfless gift of freedom sounds preposterous at best. This was never the reason, as so many near-fascists sites in the pro-war blogosphere show so well. The unique reason for this war was and is the desire to establish a pro-US regime in Iraq - make it into an American Base in the heart of the Middle-East.

Whether Iraqis will get to enjoy some sort of feedom or anything else in the process is of secondary concern.

This is the truth. And that this simple, uncomplicated truth needs to be coated in bombastic hypocrisy and pseudo-humanitarian concerns is the damning evidence and accusation against those who continue to perpetrate lies to their own people - since they can't very well deceive anyone else.

The actual argument for the war sounds like this: we need to create a political and military base in Iraq and forcibly put a pro-american regime in place; if this can be done with american-style democracy, that's great, it would make for grand propaganda for our pretty suspect good intentions. If not, we'll be ok with any type of regime as long as we can easily manipulate it (unlike Iran - yet Iran is no worse a dictatorship than Saudi Arabia, in case you still think USA is really after dictators).

Bush and his eager cronies actually believe their own lies when they talk of "beacon of freedom" and "liberating" some selected "oppressed Arabs" - while talking of waging war on terror "abroad not at home". In the Middle East this peculiar mental confusion is called "American freedom" - as opposed to actual freedom.

Freedom implies the possibility of dissent and opposition - not only to your own home-grown dictator but also to the big dictator from abroad: who intends to dictate to you your thoughts and actions and hold you forever in bond for his supposedly selfless gifts. There is nothing moral or grand about dictatorially imposed "freedom". There is little selflessness or humanitarian concern in wanting to subjugate whole nations.

Realpolitik posturing under the mask of High Ideals is hardly any more appealing than blatant Realpolitik acting in its own name. Say it loud and clear: we want to make an effective dominion of Iraq, whether it wants it or not. We'll force it to comply - whether it wants it or not. We'll play the stick and the carrot, we won't leave because we can't leave until our real goal is reached.

If we can't establish a compliant state in Iraq - we've failed and compromised our own precious security. End of story.


Once the pseudo-humanitarian mask is removed, the hard facts remain: it is in the global interest of the West to see the now-destroyed Iraq rebuilt as a pro-western and stable regime. There is no question at all as to whether United States constitutes the lone super-power representing the interests of the West as a whole around the globe. That it represents these obvious interests under false pretenses is despicable and the fact that it wants to do it all by itself is outright dangerous.

Who will save the US if it shoots itself in the foot and paints itself into a corner in Iraq?

This is the scariest question yet - and it still awaits an answer.

Needle in my arm

No, not that kind of needle. I've signed up again to participate in some drug-study to make some cash. I loathe these things but it's a quick way to update your budget. The funny part is that I have plans for this wad of cash - like getting out of the city for a short while at least or update my rusty bike or buy a fucking pair of jeans. Something meaningful and soul-saving, you know. But the funny part is that there is every chance that as soon as I get this wad of cash after walking around with a needle up my arm for a few days and staying in really confining surroundings - well, as soon as I am outta there and cashing in my cheque I will have dental problems: like my front teeth deciding to rot to the root right at that moment and, lo and behold, all this load of cash will go directly to the dentist.

Because one thing I am trying to hold on to despite ongoing destitution are my front teeth. Without front teeth you're out of society and out of life and out of hope forever - there is no going back, it's a fucking total disaster to sport no front teeth. Frankly, socially speaking it's far worse than castration, amputation and all other bodily losses. Having no teeth writes you off to the lowest possible level - you instantly become suspect of massive drug-addiction, having done time, vagrancy, disorderly conduct in late-night bars and god knows what else. While the actual reason for having really bad teeth maybe something as innocent and irreversible as your mother having been really low on calcium during that unfortunate pregnancy that resulted in you being around "for no particular reason" (kudos Forrest Gump) - as it has been in my sorry case. But that's something you can't prove. In fact, there is virtually nothing you can prove once you're toothless and still too young for it to look acceptable. Basically - rather get a tattoo right in the middle of your face and say "hi, I am Manson".

I'm laughing in advance about teeth coming in the way of my life-saving projects as it happened in the past and every time with uncanny regularity for a fortuitous thing like that. Whenever I was finally able to make som extra cash, it all immediately went to the dentist. I may as well bet the whole proceedings on that particular prospect coming out of the dark-blue.


There was a guy on PBS at some point who wrote a book called "The Working Poor" - he's a professor and he's been following some really low-income people for years to try and find out why the fuck these low-income people never seem able to get out of their dorky jobs and get a life. Well, his general conclusion was that the so-called "working poor" are really just crazy folks. He never said that directly of course, but he meant it and for a reason: because life shows that the reason you're poor is because you're crazy. And no matter how hard you work or how many jobs you hold or what incredible professional classes you take to get some skills and credibility - in the end, you always go back to the bottom of the ladder because there is something wrong with you. In fact, there is such a load of things that are wrong with you from the start that it's practically a hopeless idea to ever get past that - and it certainly does not depend in the least on how hard you work or even whether you work at all. That's the paradox and the crux of the matter. And I entirely agree with this general conclusion because I know this life and these people inside out and I can tell you right now that this is exactly the reason the poor remain poor - it's just the way it is and no amount of job creation and so-called "opportunity" can vanquish that factor. Which is that you're crazy.

Well, I remembered this guy and his book because in it he describes some of the million of problems that "plague" the poor while they're trying to get out of their respective holes. For instance he gave the story of some really optimistic entreprising woman who held two or three jobs so she could go to college part-time and get a degree; and when finally she got her degree she could never use it to get a good job. Why? Heh. It's hilarious. Because while she was working and studying herself to death she got big problems with her teeth and had to have the whole lot pulled out and the denture that she got didn't fit and she couldn't get a proper denture for lack of funds. So in the end she had this big college degree and no teeth, and no company would accept her without a shiny smile, you know. And that was the end of her struggle for "a better life" - all on account of bad dental disaster. Which just goes to tell you that "opportunity" and "college education" and all that get-it-right dunk are a fake idea when it comes to real life solutions. In real life you need to look the part you wanna play - that simple. And what goes into that particular look is pretty much a whole life-time of effort and social grooming. Crazy people can't pull it off for the obvious reason that they're crazy. The non-crazy can't pull it off because they get to look too weird through a life-time of tribulations - and that too is branded crazy.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Rock the boat - until it sinks ::

Extremely keen though pessimistic summary of political turmoil gripping USA from Billmon of Whiskey Bar (via Oldman1787):
Both Ends Against the Middle.

Some commenter at Kevin Drum's blog expressed something I've been thinking about: the middle-america is entirely oblivious to what is happening in Iraq and the whole rest of it. Foreign policies, no matter how deeply mired in home blood, are ever remote from american mind. As Billmon quips in his masterfully truthful article:

And now that the truth has become unavoidable (except, of course, to the ever clueless American voter)...

That's the bottom line in the end. That more Canadians (for instance) worry and query about war in Iraq and what it does to the States and the world than the very bulk of american public - an almost supernaturally disconnected, stupefied public.

"Americans for sanity" (a coalition of reason dreamed up by Billmon and other like him) is thus something of a doomed affair - sanity has never risen upon closely guarded ignorance, and America is a country of blissful ignorance, glorifying and revelling in its ancestral myths. A thousand Osama Bin Ladens could not jerk it out of its slumber. And when world-wide policies are being sold to such a public through a toy-like mindless media it buys everything without questioning. "Sane Americans" are a rarity when it comes to foreign policy - if only because most simply couldn't care less.

A forcible national draft could perhaps wake up this ridiculously gullible nation into some belated thinking - and possibly even questioning. Too late this would be but perhaps better late than never.

A national draft is a calamity. America desperately needs a truly national calamity re Iraq etc. Only then will it start to rub its sleepy eyes and realize that, indeed, "now that the truth has become unavoidable..." - it's time to face it.

Until then Billmon's desperate pleas will remain unanswered. A few professors at a conference are clearly not enough to stir some serious waves. Billmon wants something of a revolution - and indeed only a revolution, a massive blow, could over-rule the current destructive trends of USA as a rash and clueless super-power.

USA has set itself up for failure. It will get it - the sooner the better, it would seem.

A homily for the living dead

I don't think I'll muster suicide this year - as well as a number of other larger-than-life projects.

On the other hand, I am having terrifically scary dreams - not the cheap kind of scary with gore and paranoid chases. No, it's rather the suffocating kind of scary where you might very well wake up in a coffin and the world is pretty much reduced to something like a coffin - from which you are scrambling to escape but, oh well, cannot.

When I think of a job in a highrise - the corporate dream perpetrated on all of the world these days - I am ready to puke. It's the vomit reflex. It is a sad and horrible fact of my entrenched existence that all the comforts of the common world provoke my aversion. People are ready to lay their life on the line for this kind of dream, for the glittering mall and the fancy oyster, while it chokes me to death. To say that I am not in synch would be an understatement.

Perhaps I am not in my right mind after all. When the whole world says one thing and your mind says something else, that's alienation - classical.

The failure of imagination to extricate oneself from an over-powering nightmare otherwise known as the picture of the world. I certainly did not paint that picture - yet at the same time it is all distinctly mine and there is nothing to suggest that it is shared by anyone else on the entire globe. Interesting. I'd like to know how the mind is supposed to overcome its own creation.

So far there are no strategies for exit. Nothing to support such strategies. No inner army, not even a small militia, to use the Iraq war imagery. Perhaps powers that be will finally have mercy on the goddam fullness of my days and puncture that bulb in a gracefully accidental move. Maybe I'll write to Santa Claus to request that little knock of destiny as the dearest holiday wish I ever held.

Sweet dreams.

Dostoevsky was quite a philosopher, I have to say. Reality does not exist outside of ideals. Kill your ideal and you kill reality - rendering it meaningless beyond toleration. I suppose that's what happened.

It does look very much as if the whole trick was to find that one word that would throw the door open - a sort of unimaginable, obscenely simple "Sesame", that you can't find for all your wit unless it is given to you in a highly improbable and frankly arbitrary communication.

Which is why I am regularly switching the channel off whenever I happen on one of those "my team won" hollywood movies that prize some sort of idiotic effort of will in an idiotically obvious direction - the never-ending story of cheery success in a cheery world where everything is laid out in advance - the aim and the path, the orbits and the heavenly bodies. Or a pair of foul-smelling sneakers. The sweat of victory. It does reek.

"Those who know how to solve the riddle of life" - that's in the opening paragraphs of Dostoevsky's House of The Dead (a tale of his imprisonment in Siberia). Quite a suggestion. It is perhaps telling that I have to go a 100 years back to hear some sense - as opposed to the useless chatter of the latter-day gurus. Look at this, what pile of meaningless crap:

In modern life, we each get to choose how to act and whom to be. This freedom can also be a curse, because we must make our choices based on approaches to doing and being that may be persuasive but are often in conflict. Our choices are centered on the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we are told; our challenge is to find good ways to choose among contradictory stories.

If this sounds familiar, that's because this is what passes for understanding these days. "In modern life". We "choose". Heh. Like hell we do, brothers. What a monumental, heedless, hopelessly ineffectual lie. Part of the corporate highrise and the glittering mall composite. Eat it - and be happy.


The truth is however - once you fall out of the orbit, and lose your stinky sneakers, you just drift into vast wide space and there is nothing there. Nothing to choose from. You don't even know who the fuck you are and where you are and least of all why. That's the time when you get to ask questions that have no answers. You can't really have a debate since there is nothing to debate about. It's all one big void and you melt into it and never get back.

Heh. Those who know how to solve the riddle of life. Those who never knew there was a riddle. And after a long hiatus I have to remember that nervy bastard Wittgenstein who was full aware that the whole trick consisted in finding a way to stop asking questions. The poor man - he never found a way. Because it doesn't depend on your will or your wit. You keep asking because there is no choice.

You can't stop until you are finally given a dime to stand on. You can't find it. It is given - or with-held.

So I guess I'll write to Santa Claus after all, as there doesn't seem to be any higher instances willing to listen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I still don't have a fridge. The temperature has mellowed dramatically - it feels more like May already and trees are burgeoning with greenery ready to erupt. I hate Philippinos - those little ugly fucks trying to make up for their slovenly little miseries on my back. Put a slave in a power position and he will think he's a dirty fat king all-mighty. That's the kind of janitor we have here. Anyway - fuck the fridge and fuck this place twice over. The owners are arrogant selfish jews of the worst kind - always trying to spare a buck on people's backs. The rich are truly despicable and so are their fucking ugly sycophantic slaves.

Guess I am angry. Not that I expect people to be decent - that's really too much to ask of this crowd.

Great relief in reading Dostoevsky who was perhaps the angriest writer who ever lived. We need angry people with talent - always. Otherwise the only way is to smash in somebody's face. Better words than swords, what do you say?

Holocaust Industry in action

Say what you will but there is something profoundly wrong with this: Company to compensate Jews who fled Iraq.

Great timing - let's milk out some cash while the US is still in the country :-0

And who, pray, will compensate those insignificant Palestinians who fled Israeli take-over of their land and are forever barred from returning? Jews should stop riding that pay-us-we're-eternal-victims horse - it looks ugly and it's fucking out of credit.

The "Holocaust Industry" as described by N.Finkelstein is a well-oiled machine by now for extracting compensations from about anybody, it would seem. And then you wonder how it is some people still believe in international jewish conspiracy - the "World Jewish Congress", right.

The art of setting yourself up for world-wide loathing.


Update. Here's an interesting post at Belgravia Dispatch where it is recalled that UN has been trying to set-up a compensation process for the displaced Palestinians as part of the peace-process but has no backing to do so - yet, here above are all the needed "precedents".

Basic even-handedness is akin to basic decency.

Another striking image of war - you can make it good, you can, if you're not set-up for failure all the time by really bad policies.

Yet another explication of the Columbine shooting - why those kids did it etc. Interesting. The driving point of the article is the description of a homicidal psychopath - strangely enough, it looks almost exactly like the mentality of an average angry teenager. Meantime very few teenagers actually realize their mad cravings by going out and shooting a lot of people. Not because they're sorry somebody might actually die - but because it's a suicidal mission to say the least.

Many teens are suicidal and angry - not so many of them actually kill themselves or engage in heedless violence.

So let us just say this whole psychopath business is not the last word as yet - a neat description of common symptoms that doesn't quite reach to the bottom of it.

Iraq and UN

As per reports from Russian press (via Arab tv's) Fallujah is again being bombed - back to war. Remains to see what happens in Najaf. In the meantime Basra has 3 police stations blown-up with scores of dead and wounded. Reuter says British forces couldn't immediately approach two of the stations as they were stoned away from the scene :-0

What's going on? As always, nobody really knows.

Meantime, an internal CPA memo released to full light provoked great interest - not because of what it had to say (read it and you shall see) but because nobody ever hears what's going on inside the CPA exactly. In any case, it gives a pretty good idea of what CPA people think - and it's not terribly encouraging.

Ironically, all the relevant names of IGC members and other Iraqi power-figures are edited out, so we still don't know who is who - and are not supposed to ever find out, it would seem.

A journalist who received the memo via a "western intelligence officer" has his thoughts to offer and supplies some additional infos. The whole thing constitutes a rare peek into realities on the ground - and not just from the street perspective (Iraq blogs and such).


Meantime there is a really big scandal occuring regarding investigation of UN's oil-for-food program during imbargo on Iraq - and the startling highest-level corruption that it entailed. That's pretty impressive, mind you. I still have a lot of respect for middle-level officials from UN who actually accomplish things on the ground, but the top ranks and the institutional corruption stink to high heaven and it's time it came to full light. Because that's how you get to reform something - you bring out all the stink and it provokes an explosion. It's extremely hard to reform the UN - because it's the epicenter of state-level corruption for all the states involved. And it can't really police itself since there is no one above that collection of states. USA says it's time to disband UN altogether and it wants properly nothing to do with it. I doubt this posturing will resolve the problem - given that the USA itself is hardly above that sort of top-level corruption. Basically, I have to wonder what the fuck can be done. The brand EU in Bruxelles is itself a brand-new hotbed of corruption and has been exposed a number of times already. I wonder what happens to NATO with all of this - it's hard to imagine it is white as lily by comparison.

On the other hand, if the USA dropped UN completely, it would probably force the UN to reorganize under a purely European command. In that case I have to wonder what would become of NATO. As was shown time and time again, NATO constitutes the effective military backing of UN, and NATO is really controlled by the US. Which is why UN is always inefficient when US decides not to back whatever UN tries to do here and there. Rwanda or the Balkans, for example - Europeans seemed either totally unwilling or totally unable to do anything on their own until the US said "let's do it" (and it took a while).

The curious fact is that it's not so easy to figure out which it was: unwilling or unable. Or both.

Back in the Cold War days, UN was de facto the political boxing-ground for various hit-and-run diplomatic battles between the two camps. It was already deeply and profoundly corrupt back then - because of its nature as a political basketball. Now there is only one camp and by the nature of things it is not all one anymore. European Union has emerged after the end of Cold War - as the other camp. And it's not terribly organized as yet - because it lacks a clear enemy it can rally against. So far the anti-gravity force-field is provided by the USA with its lone super-power status. And the basketball is now the Middle-East.

So the question is really this: will Europe be able to organize itself into a cohesive political and military force and hijack UN as its power tool (as it's been trying to do most recently), or will the USA be able to bring UN back under its total control? No clear answers so far.


Of course US-only partisans will use this scandal to claim once again that UN is just totally not needed in Iraq. Heh. If it were so, Bush would certainly not be clamoring for UN mediation. If this guy could truly dispense with UN, he'd do so. But he can't. Because a US-only approach hasn't worked so far - and even failed pretty badly, and we are in the process of seeing it fail under our own very eyes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Perhaps I should note (as if it weren't plain and obvious in any case) that I am not striving for "fair and balanced" opinion in this blog - and I exaggerate a lot too, and the infos I relay are sometimes wildly inaccurate.

So if you feel that I am being offensive or stupid, it's probably because I really do sound that way. This is irresponsible of me, I know, but the beauty of the whole thing so far is that I just don't feel I need to be too responsible - after all no bloody popular revolution will be started if I exaggerate and get angry more often than not.

The deep truth behind declared opinion is just that I don't know - and can't do a thing about any of it in any case.

So, what's the point of knowing and finding out? Not even peace of mind. Being right? Who cares - if it's the kind of right you'd rather not see at all. I think in the end the main goal is a sort of perverse peace of mind through knowing "why" such and such goes bad - even though it will still go bad whether you know why or not.

So much for intense response to current events.

Ignorance is bliss - or death - depending where you are

Just caught a bit of a lucid and totally heart-rendering european-produced documentary about the build-up of "security problems" in Iraq throughout this year (called Saddam's Revenge). A damning recap of what lead to the present situation. The juxtaposition of american blue-eyed good-will, their utter blank-slot ignorance and incomprehension, and the powerlessness of the Iraqi local leaders to help them out of this stupidity at least a little bit to make things go right for once - for better trust and cooperation. It's just too fucking sad.

You can't do much with good-will if it's set in ignorance. And I really don't know what Americans could do to improve that - they really and truly do not get it. And they have no clue they don't get it. And they keep stepping into all sorts of shit, and doing stupid hopeless mistakes simply because they just don't know any better.

The problem is - when you're totally wet behind the ears, you need to learn through all the mistakes you are bound to make. Yeah. That applies nicely to individual cases - I am not sure it's such a great method for whole armies invading a totally foreign country. The Brits sure know Iraq and Arabs a bit better - and they paid a heavy price for that knowledge. I guess Americans will have to pay it too, the hard way.

I've been reading Russian press lately. It's worth noticing how much resentment and contempt towards Americans in Iraq there is - and it's not really baseless. It's not like Russians love Arabs so much - it's just that they imagine what it would have looked like if Americans decided to "save" Russia from communism once upon a time and actually invaded the country (not just through financial-political levers as they did in fact). Heh. The mess would have been so monumental it practically merits a science-fiction treatment. The reality is - while most Russians back in the soviet times would have loved to have middle-class homes and two cars to boot as "an american way of life", they'd just loathe to have american soldiers meddling in their country. I mean - it's hard to describe what hatred such a presence would have provoked - while the americans would have been congratulating themselves on "liberating" this poor people from oppression :-0

Total disconnection between realities of a country and dumbass ideals.

Just as right now, after 10 years of free-for-all "democracy" that turned the country into a monumental collection of slum-towns with 1% of the population grabbing and sitting on all the wealth, most Russians equate "democracy" with boundless obscene poverty, raging thievery, and the law of the jungle. And guess what - the pro-western sentiment in Russia is somehow reduced to that 1% and even less, considering that some of that 1% are those perennial home-grown thieves and high-rank muggers. Democracy and free market just don't sit well with most people at the moment. I can't say it was totally unpredictable. It's either one or the other at the moment. The powers that be have chosen free-market and drastically reduced "democracy" - it's just safer that way. And it will stay like that or worse for a long time now.

And how do you think this is different in Iraq? Given that the whole damn country keeps a K-47 in every home it gotta be much worse than that. No amount of dumbass goodwill can prevent this piece of land from blowing up completely at some point and then rapidly turning into yet another rabid dictatorship - when you have to choose between relative peace and raging lawlessness, the solution occurs almost by itself. And how are you gonna keep that peace if you're a clueless american and you understand exactly nothing about anything - except your own shining high-ideals?

I do wish it were otherwise. But it's not. There are no doubt some uncanny fast-learners in the US military out there - but somehow I don't think they're in the majority or can significantly change the overall gist of it. After all, when your commander-in-chief is a clueless moron there is really nothing much you can do but go and obey idiotic orders. And watch your soldiers die - and see the whole thing explode no matter what.

You know - it's really much easier to be more or less of an optimist until you are made to take a really close look. This is why US is swarming with bombasting optimists - since there's practically no in-depth information as to what is really happening in Iraq. Unpleasant, in-your-face stuff is not welcome and is not broadcast.

Alright, I am through with this shit.

I wish I never saw this documentary, at least I'd have that little shred of misiniformed hope to cling to. Not anymore. And I dread to see what will be in that other too-well-informed article tomorrow...

Monday, April 19, 2004

What about love - who knows

I've seen a rather interesting film the other day - by a french guy but staged in London and with an all-british cast. Called "Intimacy" - about a guy who silently bangs an unknown woman, who turns out to be married with children. The guy himself is divorced and lives in permanent loneliness. Basically this is a film about extremely lonely people who are pretty much lost in their personal situational prisons but are trying to make out nonetheless - to fill the void, so to speak.

One remarkable feature of this movie is the portrayal of sex: I found it admirable and uncanny, compared to what we are used to in cinema. First of all, all the sex is filmed direct as is, without any editing to the upper body or shying away from hard-core occurrences, or mellow music. That's what I call "unblinking camera" - not voyeuristic in any way yet fearlessly prosaic. All people, except teenagers, know that actual sex is not about gloating over private parts, cum, and close-ups - it's about body-contact with some spark, hopefully and not always. And that's what this film managed to show somehow: including episodes of oral sex, pretty convincing erections and slipping-on condoms, banging away, rolling around and all the rest. And it felt like the most natural thing in the world - as it should, for pete's sake.

I guess that's the new euro-cinema - they're definitely quite a bit more relaxed about facts of life out there, as opposed to hollywood and such. But still this film is different in that it doesn't stress sex as the focal point of the universe (as many French films tend to do) - it's a component of loneliness and life-searching, not the cure of all woes.

The real subject-line of the movie is thus existential in a down-to-earth kind of way - life is a pointless affair because no one really knows what to make of it and how to survive. People get by - they get into things, and can never get out. Relationships fail, hopes fail, some hopes are hopeless from the start, but you cling to them anyway and get by. It's a damn sad film.

Very life-like.

Endless plots - world-wide festivities

The UK police appears to be very active on the anti-terror front these days. Not long ago a bunch of plotters with explosives were arrested in and around London (which triggered an arrest in Canada as well which proved valid - a world-wide plot, no less, and we are growing used to such). And now this. Quite more spectacular than anything I've heard from the US homeland police lately (maybe they're more secretive? or maybe they can't find people to arrest? dunno):
LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - British police foiled a series of suicide bomb attacks at a Manchester United soccer match with the arrest of 10 people in anti-terror raids on Monday, the Sun newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The paper quoted an unnamed police source as saying the suspects had bought tickets for seats around the club's 67,000-capacity stadium for their premier league match against Liverpool on Saturday.

"The plot involved several individual bombers in separate parts of the stadium," the source told the paper. "If successful, any such attack would have caused absolute carnage."

Ten people were held under anti-terror laws in a series of dawn raids involving 400 police across northern England on Monday.

Police and the Home Office (Interior Ministry) declined to comment on the Sun's report.

"We cannot get into a running commentary on the intelligence and information behind police and security service operations," a Home Office spokeswoman said.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Whatton, of Greater Manchester Police, said he was aware of "extensive speculation about possible targets."

"As with any counter-terrorist operation, we will not confirm or deny any targets," he said in a statement.

The Sun said the arrests were made after months of eavesdropping on mobile telephone calls and surveillance by British and American authorities.

Anyone planning an attack at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium would have risked being frisked by security guards or police on their way into the ground.

An attack during the match -- one of the biggest games in the English soccer calendar -- would have been broadcast live around the world. The clubs are third and fourth in English soccer's top league.

Britain is on high alert for attacks after the Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people on March 11.

London police chief Sir John Stevens has repeatedly said an attack, most likely a suicide bombing, is inevitable.

Police arrested eight men and seized half a tonne of fertiliser often used in bomb-making in raids across southern England on March 30.

04/19/04 19:25 ET
Goddam intense struggle out there. The Brits (MI5) are in serious negotiations with moderate leaders of the Muslim community to help them unravel these plots - they really need some massive cooperation on the inside now.


And in the meantime - remember in those Madrid arrests, some of the plotters blew themselves up while being surrounded in an apartment building? Well, one policeman died in it as well. And the incredible thing is what's been reported lately: that some local terrorist-sympathizing fucks exhumed the cop's body, dragged in through the fucking cemetery and set it ablaze - in a sort of mini-rehearsal of Fallujah. The difference being that it happened in Spain.

The Spanish should really crack down on those fucks in their country - too many Maroccans doing whatever they want out there. The UK is doing good, but Spain must do better - at least to protect their own cops after burial :-0


Which actually reminds me: here in Canada we also have those freshly arrived arab radicals and these guys are burning Jewish schools and giving a bad name to this stupid country here - out local neo-nazis pale by comparison. The police should really do something special to focus on these guys and stamp them out. Not to mention that we have so many Al-Qaeda cells here it almost looks like Hamburg.

I do believe we have a world-wide war on terror going on. And for some unspecified reason none of this is originating from Iraq - on the contrary, it seems radicals are actually diverting their energies to go and fight there, instead of flocking to Europe in throves. Pretty absurd.

Iraq: anti op-ed

Don't really understand what's going on in Iraq - in reality and behind the scenes, as opposed to how the media "portray" it. You can always count on the western press to misinterpret everything because of mere ignorance - and, really, reporters are not exempt, their stuff is naturally superficial and you can't really blame them for being out of their depth through and through.

I can excuse mere reporters but I can't excuse big op-eds posing as knowledgeable and dishing out tremendous drivel. May they all choke on their morning muffin while typing in their latest pile of crap. Opinion-makers - for clueless idiots.

So let's just assume we know next to nothing of the real state of affairs and let's bravely walk in blindness and darkness and hope not to fall through the ground while we so march.

What is clear so far is that the real and actual Iraq War has just begun - it's been boiling right under the surface for exactly a year now and the whole thing just exploded and it will certainly have long-lasting consequences for all involved.

Let us put on our fool's caps and see what transpires.

Sunday, April 18, 2004


Once again, the best news-sources on the events in Iraq are being put together at The Agonist while Juan Cole continues to provide meaningful insight into the avalanche of superficially reported infos. Look at this for example, via Juan Cole's post on the forseeable implications of Hamas leader's assassination by Israel today (which comes right after a Bush-Sharon meet) on the collapse of talks between US and Al-Sadr in Najaf:
Iraq sparks Kosovo police fight

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Serbia and Montenegro, April 17 (Reuters) - Two Americans and a Jordanian have been shot dead in
Kosovo after emotions over Iraq apparently boiled over into a gunbattle between members of the U.N. law enforcement mission.
Pretty crazy. If peace can't be achieved between americans and arabs on a UN mission, I have to wonder how slim the chances are for americans to ever make sense of Iraq. Check out this US Army Times article on how Marines feel about Fallujah inhabitants at the moment (via OTB).

I wonder if US will decide to attack Najaf - in the same spirit they bombed Fallujah because it harbored insurgents. But hey - americans are being told all Sunnis are goddam baathists, right? Right - bomb 'em. So now al-Sadr is just a terrorist bad guy and needs to be bombed too, no matter what it entails. I really won't be surprised if US went after Najaf the way they went after Fallujah - sadly there is little sense to expect from that particular military, they seem pretty goddam blind out there, and that won't change any time soon. Here's a pretty example and this comes from a perfectly pro-coalition Baghdad blogger:
One aspect of the recent troubles has been the solidarity amongst Iraqis. Last Friday the local mosque used his loud speaker to announce a collection for the people of Falluja. The locals managed to fill a van with medicines and some foods. this scene was repeated all over Iraq. So much so that a doctor in one of the Falluja hospitals appeared on TV a day later saying he has no more room left even in the hospital back garden to store more medicines. But one incident at the main Adhameya mosque made me feel sad. They made a huge collection of donations and were about to load it all on a trucks when the Amercians turned up suspecting some of the food sacks must have hidden weapons.. They ransacked the entire consignment leaving all food and medicines strewn all over the floor of the mosque. You can imagine how what appears to be a prudent security measure to the Americans leaves Iraqis, especially the ones who made donations feel. The solidarity was refreshing to see though. There are people opening their doors to refugees from Falluja and Baghdad churches making money collections.
[Abu Hadi 15/4/2004, 3:20 pm]
Meantime pundits back home keep blathering about those polls "suggesting" that more of the Iraqi population is actually very favorable to americans being there. As the arab-savvy Col Lounsbury remarked - you have to remember that Arabs are inclined to tell you what you want to hear, which is not a good thing if you gonna rely on polls.

And the US guy in Baghdad who was actually conducting those polls and training Iraqi pollsters described rather well to just what extent the whole thing has been an experiment rather than genuine opinion-sampling.

Ignorance is the mother of all evil - much more so than purposeful evil sometimes.


And here's an interesting peek into what Iraqis see, as opposed to us outta here:
I am also plugged into the local grapevine. A system of rumors which exaggerates every event and tends to freely change the names of places etc.. Also been watching lots of Satellite TV, of the Arab variety. The first night of troubles in Falluja was interesting to observe. Al-Jazeera managed to smuggle inside Falluja one of their ace Egyptian reporters. A rather over excited character who painted a picture of World War III.. with much of his reporting dedicated to describing his own bravery in being there.. I think he is angling for a pay rise if you ask me. Al-Hurra, USA's answer to Al-Jazeera insisted on laying on an all night long fashion show. Al-Iraqiya, our local station insisted on showing 3 full length football matches! Al-Alem, an Iranian government sponsored Arabic station, focussed on long debates about young Mr Al-Sadr's escapades.. Seems they like him! MBC, the Saudi owned station concentrated on entertainment showing the Arabic version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". Egyptian and Lebanese stations played it safe with pop music.

Meanwhile we had 2 press conferences by the Occupation Authority (it's now official folks). We have a General by the name of Kimit who has less charisma than a cardboard shoe box appears in full army fatigue and repeatedly replies to questions by either "I have no information about this sir" or "I will cover it in the next press conference". I really don't dig this obsession with secrecy Americans have. Just what is the big deal if they admit to losing a soldier in an ambush or admitting to causing collateral damage? They are immune from any court proceedings anyway. The result is Iraqis and Arab satellite TV's start to make up their own theories about what is going on.. resulting in a complete disconnect between occupier and occupied. Take another example.. Reconstruction.. Thanks to lack of publicity, most Iraqis regard the last 12 months as a waste of time.. almost all say "the Americans have done nothing for us".. yet behind the scenes and in almost total secrecy there are 1000's of projects being executed. Just why they are so news shy beats me.
[Abu Hadi 10/4/2004, 5:30 pm]
Kinda enlightening. That's why Al-Jazeera is so popular in the Arab world - because it's there where it's happening. While US-controlled local Iraq tv and CPA conferences are providing no information. Not even about their own reconstruction projects. Amazing.

Btw, this blogger is a UK citizen - that is a returning exile, that is much more westernized and aware than the vast majority of locals. No use to poll that guy.

Some more off-hand bullshit from big media

I disagree with this vehemently - some empty head at NYT is now blaming Powell (in the wake of Woodward's book) for not resigning on the spot when he supposedly failed to weigh in against the get-Iraq drive in the Bush House. Supposedly Powell's high-profile resignation would have entirely disrupted the whole war-on-Iraq build-up.

Sure. Like hell it would have. Powell is the only reasonable alternative in this government of lunatics. Had he left early on, we'd still have the war and, what's more, there'd be no one in the gov to try and correct the self-defeating course there. Powell is a good soldier - and he stayed out of duty to the country, while being surrounded by lunatics and faced with a moron for a head-of-state. Poor man. Lesser dissenting bureaucrats quit - he would have too, if he had less weight in the gov.

And in any case - you can't and shouldn't take Woodward's book at face value. It's a certain extremely speculative version of events - and there is not much in it that sounds solid enough (at least from newspaper accounts) to claim that's exactly how things happened and who did what.

This article, which seems to be based on the book pretty much unquestioningly, is a puff of hot air - no critical sense whatever and wild useless theories being produced on the spot - for a purpose unclear.

/ 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 / / 11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003 / / 11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003 / / 11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003 / / 12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003 / / 12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003 / / 12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003 / / 12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004 / / 01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004 / / 01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004 / / 01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004 / / 01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004 / / 02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004 / / 02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004 / / 02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004 / / 02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004 / / 02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004 / / 03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004 / / 03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004 / / 03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004 / / 03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004 / / 04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004 / / 04/11/2004 - 04/18/2004 / / 04/18/2004 - 04/25/2004 / / 04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004 / / 05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004 / / 05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004 / / 05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004 / / 05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004 / / 05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004 / / 06/06/2004 - 06/13/2004 / / 06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004 / / 06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004 / / 06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004 / / 07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004 / / 07/11/2004 - 07/18/2004 / / 07/18/2004 - 07/25/2004 / / 07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004 / / 08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004 / / 08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004 / / 08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004 / / 08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004 / / 08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004 / / 09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004 / / 09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004 / / 09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004 / / 09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004 / / 10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004 / / 10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004 / / 10/17/2004 - 10/24/2004 / / 10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004 / / 10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004 / / 02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005 / / 02/27/2005 - 03/06/2005 / / 03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005 / / 03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005 / / 03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005 / / 04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005 / / 04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005 / / 04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005 / / 04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005 / / 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005 / / 05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005 / / 05/15/2005 - 05/22/2005 / / 05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005 / / 05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005 / / 06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005 / / 06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005 / / 07/03/2005 - 07/10/2005 / / 09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005 / / 09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005 / / 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005 / / 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005 / / 10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005 / / 10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005 / / 11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005 / / 11/27/2005 - 12/04/2005 /