Dispatches from Boulder the Damned
Friday, September 10, 2004
"You have to watch TV. It's great! Every New Year's I make a vow to watch more TV." - Ann "Home Alone On New Year's Eve" Coulter
On this day in 1990, Africa takes a giant step backward. Liberian president Samuel Doe is stripped naked, beaten, and tortured to death. The process is captured on videotape, which soon becomes West Africa's most-watched snuff film. Prince Johnson, who led the rebellion, chews one of Doe's ears after tearing it off. This cut down investment in the new regime, I'd wager.
The Bush camp, caught again in a clear fabrication, is putting a lot of emphasis of the fact that one of the documents produced by the White House has a superscript 'th' and 'st' as in 4th and 1st , which they say required technology that couldn't have been done in the early 1970's.
But I had a manual desk typewriter in 1978 that could. I think they were separate keys. I loved that thing because of the large type. So I can only assume that such things could be done. That doesn't mean it isn't a plant, just that it's wrong to say the technology did not exist then. It did. This raises the question of how an 'expert' could not know this? An expert could not be so ignorant. So there is a lie about experthood or a lie about superscript in manual typewriters. A lie, in any case, to cover up another.
Of more interest is the slow leak of information, always followed by insistence that this is the last of them, and then more. Always more. Nixonian to the nth degree.
Kinda like 'missing evidence' that would tend to exculpate the accused, thus removing a tendency for small fry to rat out their superiors. This, too, is taking place. As well, the Army says the CIA kept more Iraqi prisoners from the Red Cross - a violation of law down to the social club level and in direct contradiction of the Geneva Conventions - than it has admitted.
This isn't like Vietnam. This is Vietnam on the homefront all over again.
And young Samantha Spady of Nebraska, who apparently led a repressed if academically successful life there, had apparently become a world class partier at CSU before she died of alcohol poisoning, they think, last weekend. On her own website, she detailed her determination to get zippered and documented her past achievement of that condition. The fraternity building in which she died has been deactivated by their national and thrown off campus. They'd had many problesm, alcohol related, in the past.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
From Wonkette, currently my favorite blog, the new Kerry Campaign Headquarters Chart of Particulars. Although nobody is giving high marks to Kerry at present, they're all lining up behind him now, not out of a sense of right and good but against a definite wrong, hypocritical, and dangerous administration. My hatred of the GOP at this point, sharing some with genetic idiot Zell Miller, makes me somewhat unbalanced myself. The many disguises of selfishness that permeate that party at present disgusts me. I cannot help it.
"Bush did cocaine at Camp David during his father's administration! That's it? That's it? I mean that's it?"-- Rush Limbaugh, on new Kitty Kelly book
Rush apparently doesn't feel the anger towards drug use and drug users he once did. For people who get upset about sex in the West Wing, illegal drugs - the purchase of which kills Americans - should probably get Rush more angry when used by the children of the President at a secure location at taxpayer expense.
Not only do we have written evidence Bush didn't serve well or at all in any state Air National Guard during those periods he said he had, we now have evidence that certain of his superior officers were pushing others to "sugarcoat" - their word - Bush's reports. Being in the Guard wasn't easy enough, one supposes. He was entitled. He was a Bush....
"60 Minutes" interviews the Texan who got a lot of rich people's kids into the Guard during those years. He's a Democrat, though.
The day after The Rocky Mt. News revealed the CU Regents are trying to keep the Grand Jury report from being made public, everyone else in the media pulls in a day late and a dollar short. As of this morning, the Denver Post, which has been covering this well, hasn't even noticed. Quite bizarre, all this.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
So, Bush did lie about his service. And the military, which knew he'd failed to serve, did nothing about it. The Boston Globe finally broke all this open, and the White House has had to retreat and retrieve the Watergate neologism: 'misspoke.' This is the word Watergate conspirators and deniers used for what the rest of the English speaking world called 'lying.' The GOP is misspeaking yet again.
Turns out, the military gave Bush a bye he didn't deserve: he failed to honor his written committments, his pledges, he counted on his name to deny him punishment and he was correct. His Dad being head of the CIA might have helped, I don't know...... This is the olde family, Olde Boy, olde money network that laces New England and elsewhere; the WASH establishment either corrupts or infuriates its scions to greater and less extents. Sometimes both.
Molly Ivins is dead-on today. That's a shock, of course.
The titanic struggle here in Boulder is over. The tectonic plates of political strength have adjusted, and Mark Ruzzin is the new mayor of Boulder. Shocked beyond comprehension by this wave of change (there are squirrels in Boulder who have known no other Mayor than Will Toor, who stepped down....), the Transition Team announced plans for the changeover.
Exhausted by the struggle, or perhaps to catch Fox News at 9, City Council Members nearly forgot to swear the new mayor in, and hear out the Transition Team's estimation of when their task would be completed. Estelle Chumm, Team Leader, told the hushed Council that the name plates would be switch after OSHA and EPA reports were completed and mailed, and thought, given all the changes that go with the switching of such an important office, that their work would be done by 2100 hours. A written report was requested, Councilman Eldridge stood and thanked the Team, and the suction caused by the speedy exit of everyone knocked a pamphlet to the floor. Sic Transit Gloria.
On this day, thirty years ago, Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any crimes committed during Watergate. Nixon never admitted he'd committed any. Ford lost his own bid for re-election in two years because of this, standing up to the nation when many thought they needed revenge and justice for Watergate when Ford knew they wanted revenge for a lost war and to stomp someone. He was correct in so doing, and he should be recalled for that. And thanked.
Also, in 1989 President Bush I signed the American Disabilities Act which set in motion all that construction in court houses and government buildings to allow folks in wheelchairs to access their rights and participate in government like everyone else. Yup, swung into action on that right away, didn't they?
Judas. Can the CU Regents get any more stupid? Get any more clueless in estimations of their own standing in the public's mind? The Regents want the Grand Jury's report kept secret??? Unbelievable. If there is a remote chance of that happening, there ought to be an investigation of the competencies of whoever suggested that. This is corruption and incompetence so pervasive it's rather stuttering. There is no, zero, reason beyond their immense vanities and social standing to have concieved of such foolishness. Even if the Jury report weren't a damnation of them, which it is, keeping it pretend secret (the leaks are out) by asking a judge makes it look like it is, and makes it far worse when all is revealed, and .........what the hell are these featherweights drinking?? And this decision was reached with legal counsel? Are you kidding? That's moronic.
So odd, again, that this is only in the Rocky Mt. News and not in The Boulder Daily Camera, the Post, or the Daily. So odd.
At CSU, a young woman has died, apparently of alcohol poisoning, and was left for twelve hours till her body was found. Five times the amount of alcohol in her body than if she were merely 'drunk.' Five times. Let's be honest, nobody unencouraged, especially inexperienced kids, could do that without 'help.' Without encouragement. This is manslaughter in effect if not in law, and given that she was underage......well, someone ought to see time at least.
I've been convinced for years that these alcohol and drug laws create such a climate of hypocrisy and selective enforcement that the damage done to respect for law by the young supercedes whatever benefits there might be on paper to having them on the books in the first place. And now, all the parents who'd sue everyone in sight if it were their child who died are using attorneys to protect their conspiritorial offspring in this sad mess.
I'm old enough now to see the babe who was Ms. Spader, when not so long ago....well, okay, a long time ago.... I'd have seen a Babe. What a pointless, revolting loss of a child, a kid. Young woman to some, kid to me. Died alone in a strange house and nobody knew.
At best, nobody knew. How is that possible?
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
"A handful of people have tried to destroy our city by going up and yelling at visitors here because they don't agree with their views...That's exactly what the terrorists did, if you think about it, on 9/11." -- NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Thanks, now we understand. 1.) Thousands constitute a 'handful.' And 2.) exercising peaceful protest is equivalent to killing three thousand people. When you get confused, all you have to do is ask the people in charge. Isn't that nice?
But enough. A return to eloquence, as Our President intones yesterday: "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country." You've read the joke about outsourcing the Presidency to India? Why not? Oh, look it up, for goodness' sake. Google it. I can't do everything for you, ya know.
Boulder is a-twitter with the impending election of the new mayor tonight. Will it be Mark Ruzzin, who got the most votes??? Or Tom Eldridge, who's Deputy Mayor and been around forever???? Stay tuned to Channel 8 tonight as the tension builds as the titanic struggle for this........job of overpowering unimportance, barely above Official City Council Facilitator and Useful Glad Hand. Some powers to the office, but hardly of any importance, often the case when you have a City Manager and a powerful staff.
I still find it odd that the municipality with the highest likelihood of catastrophic flood - Boulder - has a City Manager, an office that was created to prevent future flood-type horrors after the Johnstown Flood in the 19th century. It was concluded that elected pols didn't respond to the need of the people but rather those wealthy contributors who had, in Johnstown's case, built and ill maintained an artificial lake for fishing and hunting held in by a weak dam. Forget...was it 2000 people killed? A lot. A whole lot.
Boulder, of course, continues to build large, expensive, and often government buildings right along the creek, which was under something like fifteen feet of water in the 1890's, the last hundred year flood event which is maybe, maybe not, now precluded by Barker Dam in Nederland, itself recently bolted to bedrock so it wouldn't lift up and away.
In light of all the terror warnings about dams and power stations and general mayhem, I've often wondered how much a crude torpedo would cost to construct, and if it would be sufficient to bring down Barker at spring flood time. Because, you know, it's just a propelled munition launchable from a flatbed truck, or floated in and pointed in the right direction, like a toy boat with remote control.
Would tear Boulder a new one, literally.
I know that the theory is that private enterprise/capitalism is far more efficient than government/socialism because of competition and just plain ole' American know-how and individualism. For the most part, I agree, but after decades of examples of certain areas combining the two mindsets providing world class corruption and stratospheric profits, it's time for a re-fit. Or, as the U.S. Army is finally acknowledging, a retro-fit.
By which I mean that the Halliburton contract is being redone and sections will be up for competitive bidding - most for the first time - in those areas in Iraq currently serviced by Kellog, Brown, and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary providing the food and succor to ....... well, who, exactly? Surely the MRE's aren't provided by them, are they? Officers? Construction guys? Traveling salesmen? Who?
In any case, here is a case of a company just given a ton of cash and told to provide things. It isn't capitalism, it isn't competitive, it isn't efficient, it isn't even honest, and yet the proponents of this rip-off get to pound their chests and pretend like they've just succeeded in the world of business, are giants of capitalism, and somehow, against all fact, pretend they aren't beneficiaries of socialist institutions like the military.
The incompetencies of bureaucracy and wastes back then look pretty good compared to this feeding trough of greed. At least, to the observant taxpayer.
In reality, they've succeeded in the world of nepotism and family connections, which may be the 'real' world, crossed upon the fact that entities whose virtual sole employers are the military cannot be said to really be private in nature. I'm quite curious as to how they can be more efficient than the military itself, because when you factor in all the paper cost, and the missing and unrecoupable outlays, and the constant investigations of companies whose trustworthiness must rank, at this point, next to nothing, it could not be cheaper for KBR to feed our guys. It simply could not.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is casting doubt upon the remarks of the US lately, that bin Laden will be captured in time for the election. Most curious: that the remarks were made at all to no beneficial purpose other than political here at home, and that Pakistan contradicts it.
Richard Cohen gets it right.
Ominous day in pop music. In 1978, Keith Moon of the Who died from an overdose of anti-alcohol medication. Four years previous, Mama Cass had died in the same apartment. Cass Elliott has been gone thirty years? Judas. Well, the Beatles broke up thirty four years ago....... Anyway, Moon was an excellent drummer, and The Who was never as good without him even though their biggest hits were to come.
And eight years ago, rapper Tupac Shakur was shot four times in Vegas. Whether there actually was a violent war between the two coasts' rap communities or if that was a publicity angle gone wild, the fact is that none of the murders considered part of that war have been solved, nobody imprisoned.
Ah! The Washington Post has evidence - proof - that the Pentagon and Albert Gonzales have been lying about the Iraqi prison torture: the White House Memo now considered mere 'talking points' for torture apparently was implemented.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Brazil shows us the way! Sorta.
In a move the Bush administration is sure to envy, politicians in Portuguese speaking Brazil are trying to get a regulatory body together to control journalists. To quote the New York Times: Under the legislation, the council would be empowered to "orient, discipline and monitor" journalists, who would be obliged to register with the body, and their work. Penalties for violations of the council's rules or rulings would range from fines to revocation of a reporter's official registration, which in theory would prevent the offender from working in the profession. Hardly anything evil could come of that, eh?
The problem here is that the Media has had social climbing tendencies. It wanted to be, not only in Brazil and in the United States, a 'profession,' that its practitioners would receive adulation and respect by announcement of their presence. That word has had its meaning distorted through the years. The word means that a guild of workers professes to be of a certain quality of competence, and professes this to both the public and to the state, which verifies its claims. Hence, doctors, lawyers, architects can be assumed, if licensed, to have abilities of a certain level.
But journalists in the United States, and those to be like the United States, have a major problem. Being approved or licensed by the state is a violation of the First Amendment, wherein there shall be no law regulating the freedom of the press. This guarantees the Daily Enquirer but it also gives us The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and The Weekly Standard.
The carrot here is that the supporters of Brazil's new regulatory entity refer to it as if it were a Labor committee, just something to keep people in line. But it isn't. It's clearly designed to prevent investigations into corruption and government malfeasance. Beware: it's coming here in one form or another. Despite Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal, there are those not satisfied that self censoring by a fat and happy media will save the day for authoritarianism.
Just when you think the Miss America Pageant has reached ludicrous lows of unimportance difficult to imagine, they surprise you. Now, in an organization not familiar with the term 'metaphor alert', the contestants for the meaningless honor were gussied up in 1950's outfits and photographed. And boy, do those young women look happy, what?
In Kansas City, six dead women have been found in an 18 block area since Thursday. In a quote of understatement or perhaps callous stupidity, police said: "The neighbors in that area, they have reasons to be concerned, ....but I don't think it's something to cause great panic. They just need to be vigilant." You think? Really? And do you also think these dead people are, you know, black? And that the officers are white? Seriously, I'm trying to get a fix on this. Just how callous, cruel, and stupid are these guys, anyway?
This isn't all that far from Wichita, is it? Why no, not that far.
In a nephew's hometown of Jackson, Wyoming, a grizzly bear took on bicyclists and dogs and pepper spray. Somehow, it doesn't sound like a grizzly, based entirely on zero personal experience myself but many comics and television shows. A black bear, maybe, but a grizzly? A mystery, surely. If I were attacked by a diminutive bear cub of any sort weighing five pounds, I'd vacate and be in Santa Fe on foot within the hour, so I'm casting no aspersions, but all bears must seem like grizzlies when they're after you.
In Europe, bears are proving cranky as well. Wonder what form the 'solution' will take? Hm. Would it involve - Oh, I don't know - guns? Thirty bears wandering the village would tend to make anyone somewhat upset, though. Not like it's a recent development of Wood Bros.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
In the depths of Democratic paranoia, which I periodically share, there was, some months ago, the theory that Osama bin Laden had been bottled up and would be melodramatically caught/killed in the weeks before the election to put Bush over the top. Given the inexplicable bump Bush got among people who didn't actually listen to the GOP conventioneers, and Kerry's inability to come out and clock Bush the Sitting Duck, the fear is fact based. Kerry is not doing well at the moment.
But now, indications are that the GOP October Surprise Machine, initiated by Reagan's duplicity in getting the hostages released after Carter's ouster, are back on track. GOP functionaries are now saying that bin Laden indeed will be caught within the next two months. This, though, because 'the framework is in place' and the Pakistanis are cooperating. I can only hope that if there is any evidence that this purported capture was in any way delayed for political benefit, that the correct conclusions are drawn. Unlikely.
Still, bin Laden's capture would be gratifying, because there would have to be a trial. His proved death would simply be a coup.
On this date, in 1972, the Munich Olympics hosted Palestinian atrocities against Israeli athletes. Nothing since has improved the world's image of the Palestinians, which they still don't understand.
Three years later, Manson moron Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate Gerald Ford with an empty gun she forgot to properly cycle.
Fifteen years later, brain trust LAPD chief Daryl Gates, in his testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, said "Casual drug users should be taken out and shot." Given the vast majority of current and former casual 'drug' users, especially in LA, a warning light ought to have gone off about the future relationship of the LA police to its community. Didn't. Rodney King: destiny awaits.
Hurricane Frances, while horrible for those in Florida, was over hyped. Open question if winds of 100 knots sustained for five hours is worse or not than winds of 180 knots for two, but due to the corrupt building industry in Florida the state is probably rubble by tonight. At some point, people are going to require better practices that would allow often expensive buildings to survive these predictable storms. Pretty stupid we do not, do not enforce existing law, allow the same people to profit from the rebuilding all the time.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Sadism is its own reward.
Children? That's for heroic freedom fighters, struggling to return the world to 1380 with themselves at the apex. Today, we now learn that 350 people, only 100 of whom were arguably adult, were killed in the latest example of Islamic idiocy, this time in Russia. "Fathers will bury their children, and after 40 days (the Orthodox Christian mourning period) ... they will take up weapons and seek revenge," said Alan Kargiyev, a 20-year-old university student in the regional capital Vladikavkaz. Oh, yeah, this will work out well....
A Marine convicted of prisoner abuse got off easy, they say, with sixty days hard labor and demotion to private. But he got to stay in the Corps. The man is a prison guard in civilian - if that's the word - life. Having been in the American Tortugas, beaten daily and cursing life as I lived on the diet of scorpions and mold, I know what it's like to be in the U. S. penal system, and the sadists that run it......
No, I don't. I spent four months in jail and two years in a half way house and four more on probation. It wasn't easy, and I hated it, but it was nothing, really. Boredom was the biggest issue.
But I did see what giving life and death power over people does to those who wield it. It isn't pretty in general and it isn't healthy to either party. Law and Order types make big deals about the minds of 'evil doers' and feel much better dividing the world between 'us' and 'them'. Once you see how minimum wage employees in half way houses work over time, or sheriff's guards with their peep holes in showers and women's holding cells, you'll be less likely to be able to differentiate, and at some point you become willingly complicit in what surely, without question, with mathematical certainty will eventually happen.
A problem you don't have in Russia, today. Over 200 people, mostly children and their parents and teachers, were killed by the sick, cruel, and sadistically stupid Islamic militants who tried to hold the children as hostages to get their peers out of jail for Chechnyan violence. Really, the way to score points in the world is to take children as hostages and kill them. Works every time. Actually, now that I think of it, has it ever 'worked?' Even if at the initial incident governments crumble and give in, doesn't it only fan the flames for revenge? And so it goes on......
But by any case, this was sheer sadism, cruelty for its own reward. Keeping children in terror and discomfort and dehydration with 18 bombs over their heads, boy that makes you want to convert to Islam right now, doesn't it? And the general silence from the centers of Islam is encouraging, isn't it? And sure, people who'd do this sort of thing really deserve their own country, don't they? I mean, look at the high standards they'd impose.......
This isn't to say Russia isn't and hasn't been a thug to them. Or that, in the dim past, they had and have a point. But they've blown it now, as surely as the Palestinians lost all warmth from the world in general at the Munich Olympics, as surely as America has at Abu Grahib. We have the power and the resources to do good and we will again, but these guys? I doubt they have the will. All they know, all they understand is revenge, and honor, and a thousand different slights on their manhood, all self inflicted but blamed on others.
Like Islam everywhere outside the West and in some places in the West, it is a dying patriarchal and feudal mindset that cannot deal with the world as it is heading, cannot provide for its own people, cannot offer anything but violence to philisophical discourse. This from the religion that was once the light of the world.
A young mother strokes the brow of her dead child in one of these photos. She is alone, not reacting or acting out as others are doing around her. She looks calm and composed. In shock. Somewhat confused, perhaps thinking the child will awake. Son of a bitch, the people who did this, to no end, to no purpose that could be called constructive. Sadism for its own sake.
One man wears a Tshirt with the US flag. That's the sort of thing people used to do more of, because they knew we brought out the best in ourselves and others. We're losing that. Without that, we're them.
For example, on this day in 1991, 25 workers were killed when a fire destroyed the Imperial Foods food processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina. Most of the victims -- predominantly single mothers -- died of smoke inhalation because the rear exit had been padlocked by management to prevent employee theft. The Imperial plant had never once in its 11-year history been inspected by the state. The owner, Emmet Roe, later received 19 years in prison for the 25 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Rather than install a camera or suffer the theft or, you know, pay a reasonable wage. And somehow, I can't help but wonder if Mr. Roe ever availed himself of these women.....
Get poor, desperate people, pay them shit, tempt them beyond ken to steal, then lock them in, see what happens. Sadism. Cruelty. Not much different from prison guard mentality, a set of stupid criteria that produces tension which could be alleviated by some decency.
Of course, the same can be said about our abuses in the Iraqi prison initially made famous by Saddam. But now, on top of all else, it turns out that Navy SEALs beat that prisoner to death who was photographed on ice, apparently assisting the typists and traffic cops who somehow ended up taking care of people they hated and who, clearly, scared them. Having inappropriately trained people act as interrogators and prolonged guards is just really stupid. And dangerous, for everyone.
The Washington Post follows up on the FBI probe into charges that current and former employees at the Pentagon and in Dick Cheney's office passed classified information on Iran to Ahmed Chalabi and Israel. But now the names are Neocon Nebula: Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle. This, it is superfluous to note, is treason. It is superfluous, isn't it?
In 1976, George W. Bush on this day was arrested in Maine for drunk driving, making him the equal of Dick Cheney, who had several drunk driving tickets in the early sixties in Wyoming. Hardly anyone got arrested back then for drunk driving, so these guys must really have been off the wall to attract attention.
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