September 17, 2007

why you complaining, talk!


Elyce Adams, Lapse, 2007

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"2. George W. Bush

"So here's the plan: at the time of the November election we had 130,000 troops in Iraq. Then we had the mighty surge, which added around 30,000 more troops. And now, thanks to Gen. Petraeus's testimony, George W. Bush has rather magnanimously decided to wait one year and then withdraw the 30,000 extra troops, bringing us back to where we started.

"Essentially, this is because Bush thinks that the occupation of Iraq is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

"We're not losing the war on terror, because week after week we kill dozens of 'Al Qaeda members,' Anbar province is oh-so-peaceful again, (pay no attention to the assassination of that important sheik last week) and, er, that's it.

"But we're not winning the war on terror, because that would mean we'd be able to pull our troops out of the meatgrinder and bring them home.

"In fact the war on terror is just right. We're winning, and victory is around the corner, but it's a long hard slog and we can't pull the troops out because if we don't fight them over there we'll have to fight them over here. So we'll just have to keep the troops in Iraq and throw ten billion dollars a month down the toilet until we a) kill every last terrorist, or b) get Raptured, whichever comes first.

"Just one slight problem - at last week's Senate hearing, even General The Sun Shines Out Of My Butt Petraeus couldn't work up a gleam on this turd, no matter how hard he polished. Here's Sen. John Warner (a Republican, by the way), trying to find out whether the war in Iraq is making America safer.

"SEN. WARNER: Are you able to say at this time, if we continue what you have laid before the Congress, this strategy, that if you continue, you are making America safer?

"GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq.

"SEN WARNER: Does that make America safer?

"GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, I don't know actually. I have not sat down and sorted out in my own mind.

"Hmm. If he couldn't fudge a 'yes' out of that, we really are in deep shit."

* Howard Zinn: Can We Handle the Truth? excerpt:

"Even less likely to enter the history books are the atrocities the United States commits overseas. High school and college texts usually deal at length with the three-month Spanish-American War, portraying the United States as liberating Cuba from Spain and admiring Theodore Roosevelt's exploits with the "Rough Riders." They rarely pay attention to the eight-year war to conquer the Philippines, a bloody affair that in many ways resembled the war in Vietnam. The United States killed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in the war, but U.S. casualties were under 5,000. In 1906, an American military detachment attacked a village of Filipino Muslims ('Moros') on one of the southern islands, killing 600 men, women, and children. This was the Moro Massacre, which drew an angry response from Mark Twain and other Americans.

"In his capacity as vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League, Twain wrote:

"We have pacified thousands of the islanders and buried them, destroyed their fields, burned their villages, turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors, furnished heartbreak by exile to dozens of disagreeable patriots, and subjugated the remaining ten million by Benevolent Assimilation.

"Those of us who were of age during the Vietnam War remember the My Lai Massacre of 1968, in which a company of American soldiers fired into groups of unarmed villagers, killing perhaps 500 people, many of them women and children. When I spoke recently to a group of a hundred high school honors students in history and asked who knew about the My Lai Massacre, no one raised a hand.

"My Lai was not a unique event. A U.S. Army colonel charged with covering up the My Lai incident told reporters: 'Every unit of brigade size has its My Lai hidden someplace.'

"And if the word massacre means indiscriminate mass slaughter of innocent people, is it not reasonable to call the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki massacres, as well as the firebombing of Tokyo and the destruction of Dresden and other German cities?

"In Ignazio Silone's novel Fontamara, about peasants living under Italian fascism, an underground resistance movement produces leaflets in order to disseminate information that had been suppressed and then simply to ask: 'Che fare?'-'What shall we do?' ('They have killed Berardo Viola. What shall we do? They have taken away our water. What shall we do? They violate our women in the name of the law. What shall we do?')

"When our government, our media, and our institutions of higher learning select certain events for remembering and ignore others, we have the responsibility to supply the missing information. Just telling untold truths has a powerful effect, for people with ordinary common sense may then begin asking themselves and others: What shall we do?"

* Picture of the only known public statute of Frank Zappa. Created by sculptor Konstantinas Bogdanas, well known for his massive sculptures of Communist figures. Zappa covering stairway to heaven.

* First Call: the caribbean open for Super Furry Animal gruff Rhys, and former Grandaddy Jim Fairchild. The Caribbean start promptly at 8:30 pm. Rock and Roll Hotel, H Street, NE, Washington, DC. $12.

* "The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chess-board, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem... I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists." -- Marcel Duchamp.

While in Brussels last week, had drinks at Greenwich Bar, a chess bar (with old falling apart but still wonderful art deco bathrooms) where Duchamp was twice defeated by an 11-year-old named Bobby Fischer.

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