Empty Days

Saturday, May 01, 2004

So what - we're still better than Saddam ::

The POW abuse story is spinning hard - now UK media came up with their own photos of similar treatment of pow's by British troops. As I've noted in a previous post, it's not like it's fucking news - it's been going on ever since the invasion, the "news" each time is that the press gets some actual photos to publish, not just "accounts" or reports from various military investigations of some "isolated abuses".

The truth of the matter is: there's been a flurry of these stories throughout the year, except that none made a very big wave because there was no imagery to show. That's it that's all. People just dismiss "accounts" and don't want to believe. Images are harder to argue against but take a look at what sort of conclusions a pro-war mind will arrive at, no matter what you throw at him (and that's a "moderate" example or so it thinks):
"The liberators are worse than the dictators," Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, told Reuters in Dubai. "This is the straw that broke the camel's back for America." Reuters, whose reporters sampled opinions in several Arab countries today, said Mr. Atwan's comments were typical.

Of course, they were typical before the photos were released, too. It's not as if rampant brutality is something the Arabs are unaccustomed to. This sort of thing is shocking to a Western audience because it's abberant. Treating prisoners of war reasonably well is a practice exclusive to the West, one that doesn't go back all that far even in the West, and one that's occasionally violated even by Western soldiers. The difference, of course, is that we punish soldiers who do this type of thing. No one else does.
Yeah, that's the vintage argument "but we're still better than Saddam". And how lovely is that bit about Arabs being practically immune to brutality from too much habit? Just lovely. That's what those GIs thought, exactly: "hey, let's give it to 'em, they're used to this anyway and we're still so much nicer than Saddam, aren't we? And, hey, they're not even western anyway and they do it too. The bastards!"

And check out how this logic develops (from the comments to the above post):
How accustomed Arabs are to brutality is not the issue. How (hopefully) unusual the sadism is for the Americans (and apparently the British too, if those photos are real) is not the issue. Morality is the issue. The soldiers engaging in that brutality reflect on the armed forces and the citizenry from which they come, just as heroic and honorable actions of soldiers reflect upon the nation as a whole. I have been hearing stories about those prisons for some time, now. I fear that this may be widespread.

Posted by 1MaNLan at April 30, 2004 08:29 PM Permalink

1MaNLan: It's almost certainly not widespread. It wasn't widespread in WII or Vietnam when we were using amateurs. This conduct is against all the training professional soldiers receive.

On a practical level, sure, this reflects on American soldiers. But, on an intellectual level, it shouldn't. This sort of thing happens with cops. It happens in fraternities. There are a few bad apples, etc., etc. Other soldiers saw the conduct, were outraged by it, and reported it. Other soldiers still will prosecute and sit on the jury. These guys will be punished by the system that they've dishonored.

Posted by James Joyner at April 30, 2004 09:01 PM Permalink
Bad apples? Those fun-loving, cool gals and boys in the photos look like bad apples to you? Not to me. They look totally average-american, they're actually nice people - I could bet on that. The whole point of this goddam story is that we're not dealing with rotten bad sadistic characters here: we're dealing with typical americans whose mind is severely screwed up by a few ideas that don't match - "we're superior and we're liberating those goat-fucking scum from themselves, they should be grateful; and in any case they're inhuman terrorists, let's give it to them, not their place to complain."

In other words, since they're not western why treat them by western standards? That's the logic here. The only way you gonna be able to defend this logic is by dropping out the "we're better than Saddam" clause - it's a bit too much to ask from the military to uphold high humanitarian standards when the whole ideology of this invasion is based on a fundamentally racist notion: that we're there to "liberate those vile Arabs from themselves".

As to the glory of "professional training" system, that's bull - soldiers are trained to kill and obey their superiors. That's it that's all. Which is what those candid Gi's in the pictures did - they obeyed their chain of command, and those "shady civilian contractors", also part of the same system. The only thing they should be punished for really is for taking those pictures - I am sure they disobeyed some regulations by doing that.

Once the warmonging "good americans" drop their false humanitarian pretenses for this war I will start respecting what they have to say - drop that "we're better than Saddam" bullshit and start focusing on why you're there already.


Another example from the same chap of the same thinking - regarding Ted Koppel's Nightline special (putting faces of dead americans). Jim Lehrer's News Hour runs the pictures of US casualties every single day - not a peep was heard from the pro-war crowd, no doubt because PBS is not too much of a big national network that can actually reach a substantial number of people.

Here's his logic and it's just mind-boggling:
While there is some reason to think that personalizing the deaths of our soldiers will undermine support for the war with a public that hasn't seen significant combat losses in a generation, I don't think that's the main concern. Conservative suspicion that the elite media have contempt for them and their causes is not totally without basis. If Fox News were having this special - or even C-SPAN - I would believe it was motivated by a desire to honor the fallen. When ABC News does it, that rationale is hard to swallow.
Yeah, FoxNews is of course the only credible source out there - the one "patriotically motivated", truly conservative, that never even needed any arguments at all to start promoting that war in the first place. Oh yeah. If a brazen propaganda network full of unchecked lies is what conservatives stand for, I don't see how they would deserve anything but suspicion. If "conservative" means never questioning the governments' actions and swallowing any sort of official party bullshit without so much as a peep, then indeed the very word deserves nothing but contempt - for stupidity, credulity, and narrow-mindedness. Sorry to break the news.

Equating patriotism with idiocy is not the best way to promote respect - in "elitist" media or anywhere else. But this part is perpetually lost on war-lovers. See no evil, hear no evil - that's the motto.

Not that I love ABC so much. But they've yet to stoop so low as FoxChannel.


Finally, have a look at this UK pow abuse story that just surfaced - also with photos:
May 1 2004
Rogue British troops batter Iraqis in mockery of bid to win over people
By Paul Byrne

A HOODED Iraqi captive is beaten by British soldiers before being thrown from a moving truck and left to die.

The prisoner, aged 18-20, begged for mercy as he was battered with rifle butts and batons in the head and groin, was kicked, stamped and urinated on, and had a gun barrel forced into his mouth.
I don't understand why we should get so insensed at "arab terrorists" putting knives to a hostage throat (remember the three japanese?) - after all this.

Listen, folks - let's ditch all that "we're better than Arabs" crap. Ok? Peace.

Truth and common sense, ladies and gentlemen. The truth is that we're not "better" - we're just there because some idiots back home think we're better. And common sense - let's just turn the whole goddam country to Iraqis asap. Because those Iraqis, "though Arab and uncivilized", have long realized that we're just arrogant assholes messing up with a wrong part of the world. I mean, come'on - how stupid you gotta be not to realize that, especially when you're on the receiving end all the time? Jesus. Let the assholes back home blather about superior values of superior freedoms and social order. It just doesn't look that superior on the ground.

As Lt.Smash so aptly put it:

THE UGLY TRUTH of warfare is that there are no "knights in shining armor" who will always fight for Good.

Yeah. Get outta there already, Lieutenant, before your boys get to match and outdo Saddam and his friends. That's what happened in Vietnam in the end - for some strange, strange reason :-0


Collection of wide-coverage links here and here.

And this is a good summary of the whole situation: Racism at Core of Iraq Invasion (via Je Blog).

Friday, April 30, 2004

Whiter than the lily

There is a storm raging in the liberal blogosphere regarding those obscene pics from pow abuse in Iraq by nice 'n cheery US GI's. So. Among all the outrage I found a comment of interest, so I'll just reproduce it here:
Democratic Underground Forum
1492713, Not only military culture.
Posted by berry on Thu Apr-29-04 02:04 AM

I remember, though not well enough to name everyone, that some people were floating the idea that torture was OK when that was the only way to get info about an impending terrorist attack. I do know that one of the proponents of this was Alan Dershowitz from Harvard Law School. I think he even wrote a book about this. But surely there were others of like mind. I'm pretty sure it was discussed on the Abrams Report, and probably elsewhere. Does anyone else remember this?

This goes along with the argument that the CIA shouldn't have had restrictions placed on it after the Church Committee reports. The hawks and neo-cons want to allow hiring "unsavory" informants and assassination as one of their tools of trade. Well, this is moot, really. Even the pResident talks freely of assassination of "our" enemies. The public dialog (if such it can be called) has long since crossed over the line IMO.

Also, there was at least one case of deaths of prisoners in Afganistan that resulted from locking them into metal containers (I think like the ones used in shipping). It made me think of boxcars and Nazis. But I've not heard anything since of how that case was handled.

No wonder BushCo* was so anxious to resist the World Court, even going so far as to threaten to invade Holland--indeed passed a law to that effect--if any member of the US military was brought before the court in the Hague. They KNEW there would be atrocities. Or, if not, they were strangely prescient.

I missed "60 Minutes" tonight. I do hope I can view it--even with dial-up? Anyway, thanks for posting this. One needs to know.

It just occurred to me--contrast these laughing torturers with the much decried dancers-in-the-streets (such glee in the face of tragedy offered as proof of their depravity by all the admin spokespeople). I don't suppose, though, that even now this WH will rethink its division of the world into good v. evil, its "justification" of any means to achieve "good" ends. This is very, very bad. (Words fail me.)
Well, since I am in Canada we were treated here at some point to a rather shocking documentary about this story from early days of the take-over of Afghanistan. Here's the gist of it.

As you know a lot of operations were conducted by Special Forces together with "friendly warlords" from the north of the country (I think Uzbek or something like that). Well, the Special Forces used a pre-existing jail in the North for interrogation and detention of all the Talibans rounded-up by the friendly-warlords. At some point the biggest warlord of the North did a successful battle and encercled something like 5-7 thousand Talibans in the countryside. Btw, it was the same Uzbek warlord who just recently moved to overtake one big northern city in Afghanistan, if you remember (he essentially rules that area in any case, but refuses to be represented in the Kabul government).

Well, his guys took the Talibans prisoner and asked US Special Forces at the jail in question what to do with them. The US guys said - bring them over to our jail here. But the warlord didn't have enough trucks to ship so many Talibs. So he just loaded about 2-4 thousand Talibans in those typical metal freight containers, packed them really tight because there weren't enough containers, and trucked them for hours across the desert under blazing sun. And of course these men started dying from suffocation. So they screamed from inside and the warlord's men just shot at the containers so they would shut up. At one truck-stop a witness said he saw one of those sealed containers with bullet holes and blood running from it like it was full of squashed tomatoes.

Other witnesses from among the warlord's forces later said that when the containers arrived at the jail and were met by US forces it became clear that most of the men inside were dead or dying. So the point of the story is this: US Forces did not want to mess with this at the jail and they told the warlord to just drive the containers into the desert and just finish off everybody in the containers. The reporter went to the site and found lots of squeletons in the shallow sand-grave there. And local witnesses to attest the story. Between 2-4 thousands Talibs perished that way.

The problem with doing anything about this regarding the role of the US Special Forces (who were aware there weren't enough trucks to ship the prisoners, and who later decided to cover up the whole thing by asking the warlord to just kill everybody) is that no witnesses in Afghanistan would testify to this openly - they all asked to conceal their identities.

Afghanistan is under US control and the US can commit whatever abuses it wants or condone whatever abuses done to "serve its interests" as long as it's against "the enemy". Guantanamo Bay is a less gory shadow the same thinking, btw.


It is amazing that this story even got out somehow - and I don't know if the documentary was shown in the States. It was in Canada and in Europe for sure.

This is why this whole bullshit american propaganda about liberation and "american beacon of freedom" is such a pile of shit - it is designed to fool americans themselves and other nitwits around the world as to what is being done in their name, especially on the question of "why" it's being done.

Too many people refuse to understand that it has nothing to do with "spreading freedom" - it has to do with American security and it has no connection whatsoever to humanitarian concerns for whatever non-americans out there.

This is why US troops abuse Iraqis or whoever else branded as enemy. It's not because those soldiers are so utterly bad and rotten, on the countrary, they're just ordinary idiots - it's just because they can't bring themselves to see these non-americans as human beings. To them they're just incomprehensible scum ("Feddayin", "Terrorists", "Thugs" and all the other robot labels). And by definition something less than human is not entitled to human rights. The moral code stops working - because they don't see humans in front of them. Is this so hard to understand?

Is it so hard to understand that the US Special Forces gave the order to finish off those Talibs and hide the facts? They obviously figured something like: those are enemy anyway, so why bother.

Time to forget that "liberation" crap, don't ya think.

Flashback to a picture gotten all wrong

This is from an american site advertising the War in Iraq "for humanitarian reasons". Yeah - that's from before the war, when nobody had a clue and everybody saw all this as a bed of roses with a few saddamit-sodomite thorns-in-the-side. Oh boy, it looks really ridiculous today. Look at this "humanitarian argument" for instance:

On 19/02/1999 Saddam's security men in Najaf assassinated the great scholar Mohammed Al-Sadr after preventing him from performing 'Friday' prayer in the town of Kufa. He was criticized by Saddam himself because he demanded the release of political prisoners in Iraq and demanded freedom for the people.

His two sons Mustafa and Moamal were also assassinated with him at the same time.

The Scholar Mohammed Al-Sadr with his four children. Mustafa and Moa'mal were assassinated with him on 19 February 1999

Recognize that guy on the far left? Yeah. That's the young Al-Sadr, the one who is giving hell to USA in Najaf at the moment. Boo, ingrateful bastard! We came to liberate you, and you can't even appreciate. This rabid formerly-persecuted dog clearly deserves a stick up his ass!


On the other hand, this site features a really good map of Iraq. Not sure it will fit here, but I'll try:

For latest strange developments in Iraq go to The Agonist.

War, sex, and torture

[ Update: full gallery of screenshots from the 60 Minutes II report, also video link ]

It's rare that we get graphic depictions on what's going on bellow the radar in a country subjected to a military occupation. The CBS story about sex-filled abuse of Iraqi POWs (see pictures here and here via BodyAndSoul) by those brave and chubby US gals and boys made for big news but, hey, that's not really a wake-up call - it's just a peek at reality, the kind of banal, atrociously banal reality the media are not prepared to handle with all the whiter-than-lily ideologies and propagandas they're set up to churn out.

Not long ago there was an article in the British press from a Brit field-commander in Basra criticizing the US military for ham-handed approach to Fallujah and Iraq in general. He accused Americans of viewing Iraqis as untermenschen and being effectively racist and thus incapable of making a difference between friend and foe among "natives". Well, that's quite true - and the CBS story is just another proof of that fundamental fact. What's not true on the other hand is that Brits are any better in that respect. How about this story from last summer - and don't think it's never been repeated since:
Staff in a British photo-processing shop have handed-over photographs to the police that indicate British troops tortured and sexually abused Iraqi prisoners of war.

One picture taken in a warehouse shows a man stripped to the waist, while suspended from a rope attached to a forklift truck. A soldier driving the truck is apparently laughing at the man?s plight.

Another picture seems to show an Iraqi man being forced to perform oral sex on a (white) man.

A third picture shows two Iraqis apparently being forced to perform anal sex. A fourth picture shows two naked Iraqis cowering on the ground.
Sounds familiar? Yeah. Compare to the US performance currently under review:
The CBS News program reported that poorly trained American reservists were forcing Iraqis to conduct simulated sexual acts, among other things, in order to break down their will before they were turned over to others for interrogation.
Mr. Myers said the accused men, all from an Army Reserve military police unit, had been told to soften up the prisoners by more senior American interrogators, some of whom they believe were intelligence officials and outside contractors.

"This case involves a monumental failure of leadership, where lower-level enlisted people are being scapegoated," Mr. Myers said. "The real story is not in these six young enlisted people. The real story is the manner in which the intelligence community forced them into this position."

Mr. Myers represents Staff Sgt. Chip Frederick of the Army Reserve, who has been charged in the case and who was interviewed by "60 Minutes II." He complained of a lack of training and admitted that dogs had been used to intimidate prisoners.

In one photograph obtained by the program, naked Iraq prisoners are stacked in a human pyramid, one with a slur written on his skin in English. In another, a prisoner stands on a box, his head covered, wires attached to his body. The program said that according to the United States Army, he had been told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted. Other photographs show male prisoners positioned to simulate sex with each other.

"The pictures show Americans, men and women, in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners," states a transcript of the program's script, made available Wednesday night. "And in most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing or giving the camera a thumbs-up."

The CBS News program said the Army also had photographs showing a detainee with wires attached to his genitals and another showing a dog attacking an Iraqi prisoner. The program also reported that the Army's investigation of the case included a statement from an Iraqi detainee who charges that a translator (or a "civilian contractor"?) hired to work at the prison raped a male juvenile prisoner.
Whoohaaa! Bring them on - we'll rape them for you.

As the CBC commentator judiciously remarked, the same thing occured in the Canadian military in Somalia (where they were surrounded by an incomprehensible and obscenely poor negro population - they didn't know who was attacking them, and who it is they were there to "protect" - peace-keepers turn bad when there is no peace to keep, to say the least) and Italians had similar scandals in that same Somalia - and for the same reasons, I might add.

And then I vividly remembered those damning descriptions of Serbian-run concentration camps for Muslims in Bosnia, where the guards indulged themselves in exactly the same exactions: forcing male inmates to have anal and oral sex with each other, mock-raping them with various inanimated objects, emptying a fire-extinguisher into an inmates mouth etc etc etc. Yeah. The media portrayed this as part of Serbian ethnic-cleansing campaign - and their basic contempt for those Bosnian-Muslim untermenschen.

Sounds familiar? I thought so.

And then I remembered some similar report from an Israeli prison where a guard personally raped a couple of Palestinian inmates - and was court-marshalled I guess, but what I remember most about the whole incident is that the guy was a family man with something like 5 or 6 children. "Gee, pa?" "But, son, those Arab bastards are not men, they're not even human, and - they really really asked for it!"

So, what's the deal here? Heh - that's just the military for you. Thank God police departments in our own homelands are somewhat better regulated (somewhat). But if you gonna fight in foreign lands that's what you gonna get - and with much less supervision. It's a free-for-all, folks, it's war - the law is obsolete, and the moral law especially, since the enemy is everywhere and deserves to be fucked in the ass.

A country under military occupation is really just one big prison - for war, torture and sex.


In view of which it is particularly galling and somehow instructive to read this:
A Plea from a Marine in Iraq
By Robert Nofsinger
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 27, 2004

Hello Everyone, I am taking time to ask you all for your help.

First off, I'd like to say that this is not a political message. I'm not concerned about domestic politics right now. We have much bigger things to deal with, and we need your help.

It seems that despite the tremendous and heroic efforts of the men and women serving here in Iraq to bring much needed peace and stability to this region, we are losing the war of perception with the media and American people. Our enemy has learned that the key to defeating the mighty American military is by swaying public opinion at home and abroad. [...]
The Marines and Soldiers serving in Iraq have gone through extensive training in order to limit the amount of innocent casualties and collateral damage.

Yet, despite all of this, our media consistently sides with those who openly lie and directly challenge the honor of our brave heroes fighting for liberty and peace. What we have to remember is that peace is not defined as an absence of war. It is the presence of liberty, stability, and prosperity. In the face of the horrendous tyranny of the former Iraqi regime, the only way true peace was able to come to this region was through force. That is what the American Revolution was all about. Have we forgotten? Freedom is not free and "peace" without principle is not peace. The peace that so-called "peace advocates" support can only be brought to Iraq through the military. And we are doing it, if only the world will let us! If the American people believe we are failing, even if we are not, then we will ultimately fail.

That is why I am asking for your support. Become a voice of truth in your community. Wherever you are fight the lies of the enemy. Don't buy into the pessimism and apathy that says, "It's hopeless," "They hate us too much," "That part of the world is just too messed up," "It's our fault anyway," "We're to blame," and so forth. Whether you're in middle school, working at a 9-5 job, retired, or a stay-at-home mom you can make a huge difference! There is nothing more powerful than the truth. So, when you watch the news and see doomsday predictions and spiteful opinions on our efforts over here, you can refute them by knowing that we are doing a tremendous amount of good. Spread the word. No one is poised to make such an amazing contribution to the everyday lives of Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world than the American Armed Forces. By making this a place where liberty can finally grow, we are making the whole world safer. Your efforts at home are directly tied to our success. You are the soldiers at home fighting the war of perception. So I'm asking you as a fellow fighting man: Do your duty. Stop the attempts of the enemy wherever you are. You are a mighty force for good, because truth is on your side. Together we will win this fight and ensure a better world for the future.

God Bless and Semper Fidelis, 1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger USMC Ramadi, Iraq
And in case you're really confused, this is the same type of thinking that eventually ends in cheerfully sticking a broom-handle up an Iraqi ass. Strange? Not really - since it's all about winning the war at home in the first place. While the "enemy" is out there, lurking, and some abstract "Iraqis" are still in need of being liberated as hard as possible for the good of the world.

I kid you not.


Actually here's an additional insight - Baltimore Sun investigates the reaction of the military families to the CBS story. Revealing quote from a long article:
"A lot of us have known about the arrests and the court-martial, but everyone knew to keep their mouths shut," said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of hurting her relative's military career.

She said that some local families had hoped that early reports mentioning only the 800th military police unit would keep reporters from discovering its connection to the 372nd. "It only takes one person to spoil the reputation of the whole" unit, she said of the desire to keep the connection secret.

She said that one soldier whose picture was on 60 Minutes II last night -- giving a thumbs-up sign next to an Iraqi prisoner -- had her photo displayed at a local Wal-Mart as part of a Veterans Day display.
That's exactly what I am saying. Let us not be appalled, it's just everyday life: propaganda on the face of things, yet all concerned know and hope it remains hidden. Yeah - "we'll rape 'em for you".

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Nothing going - and why would it?

Turns out I will not participate in that drug-trial after all because... I am too fucking skinny :-0

I don't feel skinny and actually I feel pretty much in perfect shape as far as height/weight are concerned. But I suppose with the dosage of drugs these people are intending to feed us, I might just die if there's not enough fat to absorb most of that crap. Anyway - no money for me any time soon, thank you very much.


This leaves me all the time I need to start looking for another apartment. I already tried it last year and couldn't find anything remotely affordable. I don't see how this might turn out different this year - absent a miracle or some rental epiphany in the middle of the street.

God. I probably need to emigrate to a smaller cheaper city but that will leave me without any human contacts whatsoever and in totally unfamiliar and hostile surroundings - I happen to hate the country I leave in and changing cities won't improve that. Fucking shit. The single reason I can't go anywhere is because everywhere I go I get to hate it so bad. No salvation there. No salvation in myself either.

Fuck this life and whoever put me through this stupid misery. If death is even worse than life, then fuck twice over whoever made it to be that way. I have a hard time really believing in God but I am almost forced to since there must be somebody out there to blame for all this shit.

Nameless Fuck. Screw Thou, Bastard.


Sleeping pills are the best way to go, it would seem:
PHNOM PENH, April 28 (Reuters) - The step-brother of Britain's late Princess Diana has died after an apparent overdose of sleeping pills in Cambodia, where he has been since early this month, police said on Wednesday.

Adam Shand Kydd, 49, arrived in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation as a tourist on April 2 and was paying $1,300 per month rent for a luxury home in the capital, Phnom Penh.

He was found dead on Monday evening after his maid contacted the police.
"We think he could have died from overuse of sleeping pills," Prak Nhat, an autopsy police official, told Reuters. "No one killed him."
Shand Kydd had been complaining about headaches for days and had told his maid he was having problems sleeping, police said.

His body was handed over to the British embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.
04/28/04 01:23 ET
"Overuse"? Yeah sure. What a fucked up family. This is just another glaring example that no matter what you do, whether you become a princess or a waitress or whether you are the brother of a princess or a waitress, if you are fucked you'll remain fucked and nothing will ever change that. Goddam fucking cage. Golden or not. Glad this poor fuck found his way out.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

So here's the official word for the present empty decade:

"What the Japanese were to the 1990s, the Russians are to the Noughties," says a spokesman for Harvey Nichols...

Sounds bizarre but I guess it merits the name.

Bits and nuts

Well, that was some eventful day by my standards.

First I had a violent row with the janitor which was also hilarious - he went completely berserk and proceeded to show me his naked ass - I think he never outgrew his 12th year, and this is the kind of thing you can always expect to surface in a "debate" with this guy. How does a plumbing issue relate to a naked ass? Exactly. That's how you "make an ass of oneself", in the truest sense. I laughed a lot.

Right after which I sent a registered letter to the landlord threatening litigation. I hate legal shit, I think I've made this clear enough lately, but sometimes you have no other recourse - even if it might be a losing battle you have to fight it. The alternative is to sit there on your ass and let the landlord do exactly nothing. I have not the slightest clue as to why they're so intent at not fixing that broken fridge. Are they so bored they itch to go to court? Could be. I am truly thrilled, oh wow, what a mystery.

And then I went to have a medical in view of that drug-trial thing I'm planning to do, and the doctor told me I likely have a kyst in one breast - which is consistent with the intermittent pain I've been experiencing in that area. Well, time for cancer or what? I wouldn't be very surprised: I am a heavy smoker, I lead an unhealthy, anxious lifestyle, and I am the standard age to have a nice little statistically wide-spread cancer. I'd like to die soon but the problem with that sort of malady is that it makes you go through a few years of pure suffering before you actually get to die. Some fucking fun ahead.

Well, what else?

Of course the prospect of spending some time with a lot of strangers in a confining space (very much like prison, in my opinion) is kind of stressful - but it makes me reflect on life a lot. It's uncanny to what extent I am a freaking odd-ball in this human crowd out there. But this is just my perception. The truth is - a lot of people who go for these drug-trials are somewhat out of the loop and oddballish, trying to make ends meet and stuff like that. Many are on welfare, many are just immigrants who are not on welfare but very near so, others are just self-employed and such.

The problem I have with people is that it's kinda hard for me to tell them about my life - because I have no life, in the most literal sense. The fact that I am on welfare does not begin to describe it. Life is imagination - it's you idea of life, and hopes and perspectives that go with it. That's where I can't click with people - because their mental landscape is so entirely not in my range, or mine in theirs.

And this causes a great difficulty and strain in communicating for me. Because I have to guess their mental landscape and somehow invent an ad-hoc simulation of something similar, find a common ground and common topics, so as to have a simple conversation. I get tired from this effort, truly tired, physically and mentally. Maybe it's because I am trying to hide my facts and realities so much which is a strain. Or maybe I don't have enough curiosity and warmth to listen to other people display themselves. The assumption that I have nothing to share, nothing in common with the vast majority of people is the real barrier - and this barrier is what shapes my whole life, actually.

I know fairly well that when I have something going for me, something I feel good about, I also become far more open and generous with just about everyone - but it's been a few years since I've felt that way, really. At the moment it's just one black nothing and I can't really pull myself out of it. No perspective and no hopes to open up my mind, and my heart.

Bad shit, basically. Like I said previously, there is no point making friends if you have no mental space to invite them in.

Monday, April 26, 2004

The story of Sibel Edmonds, the FBI translator who supposedly "had seen information that proved there was considerable evidence prior to September 2001 that al Qaeda was planning to strike the US with aircraft." She is now being subpoened to speak up, by the WTC victims' association.

The White House is trying to silence her from speaking publically - again. I wonder why they would do that - if they're so sure no evidence for this kind of thing can possibly exist :-0

It's been brewing up endlessly and Edmonds is apparently determined to prove all of the WH denials to be one giant lie - but I am pretty sure that even the details she is eager to reveal will not shake public opinion. People are too happy to believe their gov "has done everything in their power" etc.

It's like with Richard Clarke - he had very pertinent evidence to the contrary and it convinced no one who didn't want to be convinced. End of story.

Justice is blind, truth is harmful

Those who have had to go through the court system know that truth is the last thing that will get you justice. This is something every lawyer knows, and no layman wants to believe until he sees it for himself - and gets burned for the first time.

The legal system is based not on seeking out of truth and achieving fair judgement but on the seeking out of the most believable presentation. Lawyers are taught to present facts in the most compellingly believable way - oftentimes, the actual truth of the facts is neither compelling nor believable and it turns out that a well-supported lie appears far more effective than stating plain truth.

People who try to defend themselves without a lawyer often fail because they bet on truth - forgetting that a well-placed lie that is impossible to disprove can easily overturn every fact as if it never existed. Perjury is a perfect weapon - and it's not the Bible that gonna stop a liar. Why not lie if lie is effective and cannot be disproved? Obviously, honest people are at great disadvantage when faced with the legal system - not having the guts to lie and misrepresent facts is a great weakness and the verdict usually goes against the honest and the morally upright.

Presentation is everything. Those who are capable of mounting a whole show to convince a jury or a judge of their suffering are those who reap the rewards. If you've been prejudiced but are incapable of staging a convincing show, with abundant tears and heart-breaking pleas, to "prove the effect" of such prejudices - then you're probably better off not seeking justice at all in the first place. And you're better off not expecting it either if you're being accused of crimes and intentions you didn't commit - if you're not a good actor, or if your dignity prevents you from going all soapy and teary-eyed, or if you're not forcible and articulate enough: you're doomed. And that's the extent of that glorious system of justice that's supposed to be based on truth and facts.


I've seen some american investigative report about the trial of a young woman accused of murdering her husband. And this is just one example out of thousands - this one had the dubious privilege of being televised. The woman inflicted nearly 200 knife wounds to her hated husband and buried him in the basement. She looked frail and not a violent type (unlike Courtney Love - or rabid bitches of that sort). There was every reason to believe that this murder was not premeditated and that the woman was certainly not in a normal state of mind when she did that. Her defence was truth - but unfortunately the truth of certain extreme states of mind is not believable to the everyday reason, and the jury decided against her. The clueless fucks in the jury seat believed the prosecutor - who painted a gross, B-movie style portrait of a viciously vindictive female who tortured her fat lovable hubby before killing him and then cold-heartedly tried to conceal all evidence while going about her normal routine as if nothing had happened. She couldn't even prove her husband was abusive - because she did not report abuse to police and tried to hide it from the whole world. Which is actually a good explanation of why this woman was not able to extricate herself from this vicious relationship and was ultimately driven to madness and murder: any "sensible" person in her place would have reported all abuse and just left the guy for a better life. Don't ya think?

The suffering and hopeless despair that drives ordinary law-abiding people to kill their abusers and the suffering that the murder itself occasions - those are things "sensible" folks in the jury just can't understand. They think in terms of soap-operas and the most obscenely simplistic hollywood psychology that got nothing to do with reality. Reality and the truth of reality is much too frightening and too damn sick to get through to dumbass fucks like that. So much for "facts" and "common sense" - and "justice".

May God spare you, reader, from having your life decided by idiots and the idiot court-system that is so contemptuous of human reality. Faith in the justice-system as the guardian of truth is a grave mistake - an illusion that may cost you dearly.


A year ago there was another famous case where a woman suffering from post-partum psychosis drowned all her children in the bath-tub - the jury of clueless morons condemned her to life in prison for 1st degree murder.

The fact that there was no motive on earth for her to kill her children other than mental derrangement, that her distraught husband did his best to defend her, did not bother the "sensible" fucks in the jury seat.

Dostoevsky, in his Diary of a Writer often discussed similar cases - in his day and age the jury-trial system was still a new thing and was hotly debated for its merits and failures. He reported a case of a pregnant woman who threw a 6 year old step-daughter of hers out the window - ostensibly because she hated her husband and his child by extension. She was condemned and sent to hard labor in Siberia. Dostoevsky points out that the jury forgot to take into account the fact that she was pregnant - and that pregnant women are sometimes subject to abnormal states of mind. As he put it: "it looks like a clear-cut case - but was it all really that simple? Reality is often far stranger than fiction."

As we can see there are inherent and fateful flaws in the trial-by-jury system - and the biggest flaw is narrow-mindedness and stupidity of most jurors. Wonderfully portrayed in the film "Twelve angry men" - it took a giant of reason and insight in that hopeless crowd to overturn a wrong verdict.


This whole outburst was sparked by a phone call I made today to the office that regulates disputes between tenants and landlords. It's still about that broken fridge. I told them it's been well over two weeks now and that I wrote to the landlord and nothing happened - they told me that if I went to court with this I would have to "show" to the judge what sort of "grave prejudice" not having a fridge caused me :-0

I mean - what the fuck? The owner is required to provide me with a fridge, it's part of my monthly rent, and I have to "show" how not having a fridge for half-a-month "harmed" me?

The woman I talked to even described what kind of arguments I'd have to provide as part of the "show of prejudice": if I had children I could describe the suffering of the little ones from not having any milk, and she said "prejudice" is harder to "show" for single people :-0

Then she asked me what I considered a reasonable span of time for a fridge to be replaced or repaired... How about two weeks?? She didn't seem convinced. Then she suggested I rent a fridge from some company and charge the landlord for the expense. Yeah. After that I will urgently need to adopt some really young children to show and prove in the court that I was in fact prejudiced...

I mean, good grief - damn I am lucky it's just a fridge! And what if my whole fucking life depended on such idiots as that moronic bitch on the phone - or in the jury seat? I rather not think about that.

And the same thing is happening in Russia

I should also note that exactly the same distrust and even loathing of the liberal media has occured in post-Eltsin Russia - the ostensibly pro-western pro-democracy media have discredited themselves by supporting a gov that caused tremendous chaos and suffering to the population while labelling itself as thoroughly democratic (Eltsin and the rule of the mafia).

One explanation of Putin's popularity (which is genuine, while dissent is virulent yet minor by comparison) is his emphasis on law and order - even at the price of free speech and democracy. The country is too ravaged to care.

Compared to Eltsin, Putin is a semi-dictator. Restrictive, anti-free-speech laws are passed by this government almost daily. The latest project involves prohibiting all discussion and debate of homosexuality in the media - "because it's abnormal and undermines national character" or something like that - truly medieval stuff. Just recently a law was passed prohibiting large gatherings and demonstrations in public places. We won't be seeing any more of those communists marches with outdated flags and insignia. But it also means no demonstration against the gov could be legally assembled. These are the kind of laws that are passed these days and no one can stop this trend - all critiques of the gov in some media outlets (television is already off bounds) remain thoroughly ineffectual and there is no one in the Duma (parliament) to oppose any of it either.

Yes, Putin won a second term. Putin is a dictator and intends to establish himself as one. Let us hope George W. Bush does not win that second term - because he sure will do his own thing more thoroughly then, and no one would be able to do squat about it either.

Most notably, the media won't be able to.

Democracy and Media

People are asking what's going on with the role of the media vs pubic trust vs government in USA.

This Friday on NOW, Bill Moyers was interviewing Greg Dyke of the BBC (director who was made to resign in the wake of the Hutton report). A very interesting discussion it was. The two of them tried to figure out the differences between american and british big media - especially the BBC as opposed to american commercial networks. You better read the transcript of that conversation for a full overview. But the basic gist of Greg Dyke's account was that BBC is actually a publically funded organisation (not government funded) and in the British mind BBC represents the public versus the government and not the other way around. Which goes to explain why BBC - as opposed to american networks - did not promote War in Iraq but rather questioned the government's decision and arguments, and thus provided a space for debate of a national issue. He also maintained that in the case of the Hutton report, the British public believed the BBC and not Lord Hutton who whitewashed the government:
DYKE: Well, I think governments inevitably try to put across the best case for their policy. And that's what they were doing in this case. Now, whether you should do that with intelligence documents I think you have the discussion. There is an argument that if you're going to put out that sort of dossier it should have included the case for and the case against.

MOYERS: In a war, what is the role of an independent press?

DYKE: It can't be to just accept the basis for going to war, per se. It has to be to question that.

MOYERS: Is it's obligation to put on those who do question it?

DYKE: Yes, I mean, again I read some statistics. Here of the number of pundits, I don't know if you knew, who were used during the war. The number who were, who argued against the war were five or six out of hundreds and hundreds. Now in Britain, we were putting on people who argued quite consistently against the war.

MOYERS: And you were accused of being unpatriotic for that work? Or does your audience accept that? Does it want it?

DYKE: The audience is no problem. The politicians are the problem, as one saw. I mean, the audience, I think, are used to that. They expect it. The politicians in those circumstances think you're unpatriotic. I was here a bit during the war. And I was quite shocked by a lot of the reporting here during the war. It seemed to me that a lot of your commercial broadcasters had abandoned impartiality.

MOYERS: Yeah, some put on flags and wore them. Had flags behind them on the set.

DYKE: Sure. Now that would have been unthinkable in the UK. Unthinkable.

Remember there was a million people took to the streets of London to protest, you know, the war. This was a society completely split down the middle. And the BBC, in those circumstances had the duty to try to report both views. Now, of course the government of the day doesn't like that.
In fact the BBC criticized the war and thus appeared as effectively opposed to it. I had a contact in England at the time who preferred to watch FOXnews around the clock. He was staunchly pro-war and enjoyed being a dissenting minority, I think (since most Brits watched BBC). Basically the media control minds - what you think is what you watch. US would have never gone to war if the US media did not espoused the gov's pov so entirely - with all the lies and all the half-truths. End of story.

Now all the talk is about how people in USA don't believe the media anymore and how it's not representative. Here's a lengthy article on this problem at the PressThink about why Bush and his WH appear so successfully dismissive of the press. But I found a commenter there summed up the whole situation in a few clear statements:
But perhaps its weakness is in speaking a language Americans recognize as theirs. Bush is challenging the press: you don't speak to the nation, or for it, or with it.

Very interesting. I think many of Bush's critics -of which I am one - underestimate what Bob Woodward calls his "emotional intelligence," or his ability to understand what's on the mind of "Joe Public."

Critics wanted to hear Bush admit in the press conference that the Iraq project is not working and, more importantly, his plan for fixing the problems (I did not understand, however, why reporters persisted in trying to get him to personally admit "mistakes" in an election year - by framing it this way, the press appears as a vicious persecutor, not as a seeker of truth).

But Bush understands intuitively - which polls have since borne out - that most Americans don't want to hear about a plan or about Bush's mistakes; they want to be assured of their leader's resolve. That's because most Americans, according to the new PIPA poll, believe that Iraq is the cornerstone in the "War on Terror" (a term the press has wholeheartedly adopted) and therefore there's really no question about the staying the course.

To me, the fundamental issue is why they believe such things. Is it because they're not sophisticated enough to distinguish between Saddam and Osama? Or is it because the press uncritically passed along the adminisitration's case for invading Iraq, which was conflated with the al Qaeda threat?

I believe it's the latter. The press dug the hole in which it now finds itself. By lending credibility to the invasion, it's in no position to question the premises now. The public is not demanding answers because it doesn't see the questions. Bush is therefore correct in saying that the press is not representing the public, because the public doesn't believe Bush has done anything wrong.

Posted by: Grant D. at April 25, 2004 01:32 PM
That's all you need to know really. I subscribe to every word of it and I am probably not alone. How the fuck are you gonna play the fair referee and how are you gonna question anything and be believed again if you've sold out from the beginning and promoted all manner of official bullshit without so much as a peep? Where was that national debate on a national issue of first importance?


This is commercial networks. And this is confusing fear for patriotism. And all that gutless slovenly sucking up to powers and ratings and hype. Everyone wanted so bad to have an embedded reporter. CBC of Canada did not have an embed - the Pentagon punished Canadian media for not being pro-war. Heh. Thank you very much. It sure was entertaining to watch NBC and ABC and CBS embed reports. But consider the price. I still vividly remember Dan Rather patriotically updating the nation on the progress of its valiant military - and I also remember the visible and palpable tension and almost hate that transpired between Dan Rather and Ed Bradley who was invited to comment in studio on some whatever event. Yeah - Bradley was chocked and gagged and Rather was lying his head off and not blinking.

Some price.


Actually, the above comment at PressThink attracted some outraged replies which I think are representative of just how thoroughly successful the neocon pro-war propaganda has been in american media. As I said, my contact in England who was subjected to 7/24 of FOXchannel came up with similar convictions and it was never a question of lack of intelligence. What you watch is what you think:
Grant D., the arrogance of this is breathtaking:

"To me, the fundamental issue is why they believe such things. Is it because they're not sophisticated enough to distinguish between Saddam and Osama? Or is it because the press uncritically passed along the adminisitration's case for invading Iraq, which was conflated with the al Qaeda threat?

I believe it's the latter. The press dug the hole in which it now finds itself. By lending credibility to the invasion, it's in no position to question the premises now. The public is not demanding answers because it doesn't see the questions. Bush is therefore correct in saying that the press is not representing the public, because the public doesn't believe Bush has done anything wrong."

No matter how you sift it, you think Americans are either unsophisticated dolts or are empty-headed dolts who can be told what to think.

The third alternative is that most Americans know how to use the resources at their disposal -- the internet -- to discover the truth the press have no interest in. People do see the questions; when they hear the answers, they realize that the ones from the press are biased and politically correct hedges that are dangerous to America's health. Therefore, what's the point in asking the press for the answers? Thus, Bush is right; the press no longer have the muscle of an earlier age, and he doesn't have to answer their questions.

This is the age of bloggers fact checking the press and forcing changes and corrections. If President Bush wishes to talk to Americans, he surely doesn't need the unreliable and untrustworthy press to do that.

Posted by: Helen at April 25, 2004 02:04 PM

Well said, Helen.

Grant, your words are an example of the reason that the Democrats are in the process of being turned out of power. You won't admit to the possibility that someone might honestly disagree with you. No, it someone sees things differently than you, then they are either stupid ("not sophisticated enough to distinguish between Saddam and Osama") or mislead ("swallowed the adminisitration's case for invading Iraq, which was conflated with the al Qaeda threat").

Of course, it is neither. But you are, in fact, the stupid one here. Here's the real truth:
The American public sees that al Qaeda and Saddam are/were just two manifestation of the same threat. You are so sophisticated and nuanced that you only see the individual trees that happen to be burning at this moment. The people see that the forest is on fire, and have no interest in the state of whether any particular tree is on fire or not.

Posted by: ray at April 25, 2004 02:29 PM

For a virtual caricature of the liberal mindset, scroll up to the comments by Grant D., which evidence a shocking inability to understand the War on Terror and Iraq's role in it, and no appreciation whatever of the public's ability, by contrast, to comprehend these things quite accurately, thank you very much. Then again, I'm assuming it was not intended as satire, but who knows.

Posted by: Byron at April 25, 2004 02:54 PM

Great analysis of our President's dead-on perception of the role of "lamestream" media today, glad I read this. And the thread here has been excellent as well, some very good points. I'm not going to pile onto Grant since that's been covered here. But his comments reallly do illustrate the prevailing attitude among those who, for whatever reason, simply do not get it. I'd bet if you asked Grant and his friends if they think the US is actually at war, they'd either hedge about it, or flat-out deny that we are. And that, to me, is the main reason behind why someone like Grant can make statements like that. It's not truly real to them for some reason, almost as if the videos of the planes smashing into the WTC were computer graphics-generated "clips" from some hollywood special effects house!

Posted by: Alan at April 25, 2004 05:24 PM
This is properly fascinating. The sentences I highlighted are not just isolated tid-bits of a rather spectacularly skewed information. No - these are threads of a whole system of beliefs and it is based on countless tid-bits of similarly skewed information that has been distributed and accumulated into a mountain that is not going to budge any time soon.

The outraged tone is actually very interesting: obviously these are dearly held beliefs, sacrosant and deeply urgent ("America's health", "threat", "War on Terror"). Bush and the neo-con clan were tremendously and obviously successful in tapping into the all-american fear and awe after the 9/11 attack - arguments don't really count when you're directly threatened, terrified and enraged. "America is at war" - all you need is point out obvious enemies. Saddam has always been an enemy. It was a piece of cake to insert Iraq in the proposition.

Successful propaganda always taps into pre-existent psychological realities. The neo-cons were right not to wait with their war - they caught the moment and beat the iron while it was hot. What can the born-again liberal-media do about it now? Not much, it seems.

Pictures of the April 2003 invasion of Iraq - taken by a US soldier. Includes dismembered bodies but mostly burning tanks, camels and palm-trees.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Went to get myself some black tea and noticed a strange gathering in the area - hippie-like folks and lots of bicycles. Turned out it was the opening of a new baba-cool cafe - protect the environment while smoking weed or something like that. We already had a similar coffeehouse open up in a French trendy area but I am not sure what happened to it - it was called Marie Juana :) The police promised to raid and they probably did too. In any case, it is hard to see how you can safely smoke weed under licence in this town.

But it's not just weed. It occured to me that I share a lot in common with these people - pretty much the same ideas and outlook, except I am not radical about it and I don't really follow the dress-code that goes with all this. As a result I don't look the part - and because I don't look the part, there is no immediate recognition, and no possibility of trust or communication.

It's an interesting fact to reflect upon. People are like dogs - you need to sport a certain style to get recognition and "familiar smell". Dogs emit various odors, people sport various clothing styles. If you're too much of an odd-ball you are looked upon with suspicion by about everybody. So in the end it's up to you - if you want to connect with a certain range of people, adopt and exhibit signs that they will clearly recognize as familiar. Otherwise - just piss off.


I remember some conservatives at some rally were mocking the fact that the so-called "anarchists" all dress the same. That's true and it might look like a contradiction in terms. However this is the nature of social groups. Conservatives can't very well dress as anarchists and expect to be recognized by their own crowd. In the end all dress codes, flashy or not, are just silly - yet necessary. Try to get a job at a corporation headquarters without an impeccable suit and tie and a proper hair style - good luck to you.

But these are truisms. The more interesting part is the rare occasions when some people are able to defeat the barrier of non-recognition and enter a group without submitting to its dress-code. Could you tell you need to be a near-genius or a born-leader to do that?

A russian proverb says: "you're welcomed by your robe, yet are judged by your smarts". True enough - and some folks are sometimes able to forego the robe part altogether.


Of course the dress-code is just part of many other codes - that are implied by default. If you dress like a punk and don't know the linguo and all the necessary concepts you're off your mark. It's like being in the military - you're not just given a uniform, you're given a whole language of concepts and skills that go with it.

Basically you need to learn a culture.

My higher self

Yes, despite evidence to the contrary I do have a higher self - which also acts as an alter ego, when I get really confused as to what's driving me exactly. That happens often and I may as well say - it's a permanent state. I am not aware as to what drives me at any given time. But there are conflicting signals coming from everywhere and I am switching from higher to lower almost in the same breath, and back again.

There are higher aspirations in all people, especially in the criminal and the downtrodden. For some reason, this is less obvious with those who walk on even ground - perhaps because at that level it is important to keep appearances, which are then assumed to be of higher nature. There might be a confusion here though.

That's one of those ideas dear to Dostoevsky. He was a strange man in that he kept jerking the rope and trying to pull out those supposed "real drives" - and pointing out confusions. As I've noted previously, Dostoevsky was not only a conflicted personality, he was an all-around hater. He hated and vehemently loathed people and things - he despised easily and never forgave an offense. In fact, he would elevate that offense into something of a universal woe and fight against it ferociously and without mercy. He hated Jews, Germans, Polacks and the French. He barely tolerated Brits. He pretty much loathed most of his contemporaries and intellectual peers unless they agreed with him on every point. In this storm and hurricane of vehement hate and loathing there were glimpses of "higher things". Things he admired and thought worthy. That included children, criminals and some ideal specimens of the common people. And also some of his friends and family. All in all, most of the things and people he admired were either thoroughly abstract (like art or historical figures) or thoroughly familiar (like friends and family). Everything else was out of range.

Dostoevsky abhorred pretense, especially intellectual pretense. He loved to expose duplicity and "mere appearance". He basically declared that the vast majority of intellectuals are poseurs, spreaders and believers of their own great untruth. He tirelessly "exposed" and condemned what he called "the universal man" - or the abstract humanist, or the abstract socialist, or basically everything abstract and ungrounded in nature and custom.

If this sounds like George Orwell, that's because there are very obvious parallels.

And at the same time... Yes, at the very same time it was probably something he was fighting in himself, given the above facts of his personality. Perhaps the greatness of the man consisted precisely in this monumental combat against himself - and "understanding everything" through being infected with all the ills of that everything. The great soul-searcher who makes the world into his private battle-ground. Well, I am not saying anything new here - the man was a genius. Sometimes evil and petty, and superbly unashamed of appearing precisely as is. Indeed, fighting pretense involved exposing his own underbelly and not being ashamed of being unseemly and seemly at once.

But Dostoevsky too lied a lot. And loudly. The search for the higher ideal resulted in some incredibly corny outbursts. I am not judging the man - being corny happens to lots of people who are entirely devoid of any talent, so let's not quibble about genius here.

But how do you strive for purity while revelling in the darkest muck?


I tried to locate Dostoevsky's "Diary of a Writer" online (in english) and of course found nothing. The search yielded one hilarious result: "Buy the Diary of a Writer at Walmart.com". I am planning to buy my next pair of cheap jeans at Walmart - I never expected it would also offer some recondite specimens of foreign literature. Whaddya know.

Now, the absence of The Diary of a Writer online will probably force me to do an ad-hoc translation of the bits that struck me recently as really pertinent to the current debates raging in politics and society at large. In a sense it's a fucking waste of time: translating something that already has some official and elegant translation - so instead of engaging on a boring and laborious effort, I'll amuse myself by using the most colloquial language that I use in this blog for my personal pleasure and ease of expression.

Heh. I don't think Dostoevsky would mind - his own language is pretty lively though he sure has some style I can't possibly match. I won't even try - you've been warned.


And how does all this relate to my higher self? Well, I just threw a pile of dishes out the window - it's silly and petty and not high (well, no) in any way. I need some academic endeavor right next to this, you know. To strike a balancing note - boing!

Mr. Invisible

Finally, a concise answer to a silent question I've been asking myself - how can John Kerry ever defeat Bush if it's nearly impossible to figure out who the man is and whether he's got any ideas of his own :-0

Almost two months after effectively clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. John F. Kerry still faces a major task � introducing himself and his candidacy to many American voters.

Kerry, his advisors and political analysts agree he remains unknown to large portions of the electorate, despite extensive media attention during the primaries and his regular presence on the campaign trail since his last major Democratic rival left the race in early March.
New polls, meanwhile, have found that about two-thirds of Kerry's supporters back him simply because they do not like Bush; in contrast, most of the president's supporters plan to vote for Bush because they admire him and his policies.
Indeed. I don't know why the fuck some people "admire" Bush, but I sure understand why it's so hard to admire Kerry - he's non-existent or invisible, or both. And I have to wonder whether it's got something to do with his personality - maybe he's so cautious and letting his campaign people test the water before dipping his toe, that he's actually got pretty much no initiative or strong ideas of his own. Or this initiative is constantly over-run by cautiousness. Either way, there is something fishy about this whole situation. A stronger personality would have become a bit more visible by now, it seems to me.


I decided to do something crazy and just emptied the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes right through the window. Heh. Besides the drain-pipe is clogged so I unscrewed the goddam bitch and had a mini-flood of stinking stagnant shit that's been in there. Still, it will take a while before I can unclog the pipe due to lack of really big plumber tools that are needed to disassemble the goddam thing and clean it properly.

I feel somewhat crazy at the moment. Due to a violent British hired-killer film I just watched - but that was just an inspiration.

So, what's next? Well, I feel capable of causing untold damage to untold property but I don't think I'll act on these happy-trigger impulses just yet. The whole thing is hilarious and I intend to keep it that way - in the hilarious category. Next May come what may.

Strangely enough, the thing that really invigorated me today was a journalistic article by Dostoevsky - it clearly showed that things haven't changed since mid XIXc, to a disconcerting degree. Perhaps the man was speaking an eternal truth - or perhaps there are some things about society that are eternal whichever way you speak about them.

Not that it got anything to do with dirty dishes :-0

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