(May 23, 2005)
Radioactivity of DU, clearly marked... -- Gilles d'Aymery's Blips #18To the Editor:
Good piece on DU. I'm the producer of GNN's BattleGround. The "fields" that Stephen Marshall and I tested were not marked in any way. The first place we tested was the tank graveyard at the southern gate of Baghdad -- there were hundreds of vehicles there, and no warning signs of any kind. In the south, we found tanks in open fields near streams and herds of goats with no markings. We tested three locations, the graveyard, two troop carriers in an urban area of Nasiriyah, and a field south of the city -- we found highly radioactive vehicles in two. I also suggest you check out our book, True Lies, which goes much deeper into the issue. See: http://gnn.tv/articles/717/True_Lies
New York City, New York, USA - May 9, 2005
More on 9/11 Conspiracy -- Philip Greenspan's Will The Withering Shrub Recover?To the Editor:
I'd like to make a few comments concerning a small part of Philip Greenspan's column about whether Bush can survive, which is a quite nice read
Near the end, he talks about the possibility, raised by others, that the administration was involved in the 9/11 attacks. By now, three and a half years after the fact, with all of the information available on line, it's practically criminal for people to still harbor doubts as to the complicity of this administration. As a public service, out of the many sources available as to the evidence, I would like to offer a few URLs that I would urge anybody and everybody to visit. I would also encourage them to follow many of the links leading from the same. After reading these, even though I don't agree 100% with everything mentioned (make my belief factor about 98.9%), I don't see how any thinking person could possibly have the slightest question as to who pulled this treachery off.
Just as a foretaste, which is somewhat fleshed out on some of these sites, your readers should ask themselves some questions. Why is it that the government has suppressed so much evidence of what occurred? Why do so many people believe the government, without any visible proof to back up the propaganda? After the exposure of the lies about WMD, as well as every other lie told by people in the federal government, it's a miracle that anybody with any sense could possibly believe one word that tumbles out of these thieving murderers' pieholes. At the WTC, they whisked the steel off as fast as they could, and allowed nobody to conduct a forensic examination that would have determined whether the towers collapsed due to structural defects and/or weakening (yeah, right), or whether the steel was stripped from explosives. At the Pentagon, while the feds have, as that aide so famously put it, created their own reality, the FBI ran across the freeway within minutes of the crash, and confiscated three video surveillance cameras, as well as the film in them; all three (one atop a Citgo gas station, one atop a Sheraton hotel, and the other on a freeway overpass) were pointed right at the section of the Pentagon that was hit, and would prove conclusively what hit it. What could the motivation for such an act be? What would they have to hide? Think about it. If you had been at the Pentagon at the time of the crash, with part of the building in flames, etc., etc., would your first instinct be, "Oooh, I'd better get across the freeway and confiscate video cameras"? Not one frame of any of those videos has ever been released for public viewing, and anybody who thinks that they ever will be probably believes in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. And, as for the 19 Arabs who supposedly pulled this off, have you ever seen one frame of airport security video released with them on it? 19 Arabs, four different "jumbo jets," 9 of them, according to the FBI, searched for suspicion, not one of their names on any passenger manifest, and people still believe these bald-faced lies and fictions?
I can't believe that three and a half years after the fact, these people are still alive, much less running around plotting more death and destruction for the rest of humanity, after the tens of thousands of innocent civilians who have been blasted to pieces in Iraq by this administration. It's also quite touching to see the way Bush refers to people defending their own countries from foreign invaders. In Iraq, they're "terrorists" and "insurgents;" in America, they're "irrational vigilantes" (and you know damned good and well that Bush didn't come up with that phrase himself -- somebody had to invent it for him). At some point in the near future, his writers will have to come up with a pejorative term for the Russians who are becoming increasingly alarmed at NATO being pushed up to their borders, and the federal government's subversion of local/national governments in that region. To listen to Bush hectoring Putin about government abuses is almost enough to make a priest curse God.
Where's my "Proud to be an American" bumper sticker? And my "Support our Troops" ribbon magnet? It's time to open up a barrel of industrial-strength whoop-ass on them foreigners! Uh, another one, I mean . . .
San Diego, California, USA - May 9, 2005
1923 Fort Model T: 25 mpg; 2004 Ford Expedition: 12 mpg... It's called progress! -- Phil Rockstroh's Running on FumesTo the Editor:
As a poor farm boy driving a Fordson Tractor through the field in 1935 pulling a two bottom 12" plow I was utterly amazed at the atmospheric transformation taking place. A small but steady spiral of smoke extended into the atmosphere from the upright exhaust. It had a 35 horsepower engine if I recall correctly. We had a fuel storage tank on the farm located some 7 miles from town which held all of 32 gallons. Used properly the fuel would last several days.
Today we are used to seeing farm tractors ranging from 200 - 600 horse power consuming upwards of six gallons per hour, and pulling a soil tiller with a width of 40 to 50 feet while traveling upwards of six to ten mile per hour. If by remote chance a rabbit were in the large field he would have a hard time trying to escape with the approach of this monster.
At that time I wondered how Mother Nature would cope with the effusion of that small spiral of smoke.
Not an authority on fossil fuel, I understand that nearly one-half of all know and proven oil reserves have been consumed to this time. Added to our gluttonous use of fuel we now see the inroads by other countries trying to emulate our so-called labor-saving devices in the form of cars and motors of all types. Cars are our obsession, too.
Perhaps I'll still live to see the end of all fossil fuel. What do Phil and Angela suggest I do?
That six mile Road of Death started when I was a mere child and will be consumed by mankind largely identified: America.
Willard D. Gray
Sumner, Illinois, USA - May 9, 2005
Insane Asylum: Richard Macintosh's "Un-American" QuestionsTo the Editor:
Please tell Richard Macintosh that I can think of five people humanity would be better served by making Private Latrine Orderlies in the good old US Army in good old Baghdad, thus enabling them to lose the stigma of the dreaded c word. They certainly know how to spray shit everywhere, stinking up the world. Who might they be, you ask? Hello, the usual fucking suspects and one clinker -- G.Wanker Bush, Whatdick Cheney, Donald Duck Rumsfield, Karl Lightfoot Rove, and the praise the lord, send the money, man with the oleaginous grin, the clinker, Pat Twitweasel Robertson. These rats would fit right in with the homeboy rats in Iraq -- brothers under the skin, eh hoser. Sweet Jesus make it so Amen From the insane asylum located somewhere in the Gulag America.
Bend, Oregon, USA - May 11, 2005
John Steppling's Review of Swans' May 9 Edition
To the Editor:
"The new torture finds its purpose and meaning in itself; and in the approved forms of 'emergency' or 'show' trials, it becomes the fullest manifestation of state power."Swans asked Julio Huato for an analysis of his position on cooperating with Democrats. I am glad he took the time, but since my role here is to critique the articles, I am going to go ahead and do so.
Julio Huato's piece on working with Democrats seems to me to reinforce an argument against such work, not with. Here is Huato:
"The system is not only 'outside' of the people, in the form of a complex, ramified, and hardened web of legal and political institutions, but also 'inside' of them, in the form of civil-society formations and deep-seated collective assumptions and unconscious behaviors. (This hardened 'superstructural' reality is what -- in my understanding -- Gramsci tried to capture in his notion of hegemony.) Not surprisingly, frontal assaults on the system are likely to be frustrated. Just like we cannot subvert capitalism by merely refusing employment or not buying Coca Cola, we cannot demolish the winner-takes-all, two-party electoral system by withdrawing from electoral politics or clashing with it frontally."Ok, well, I agree that boycotting Coke doesn't do much, but a withdrawal from electoral politics certainly seems preferable to working together to elect John Kerry. Huato says political education without organizational ties is a waste of energy ---- uh, well, wait, because if these ties are to be Democratic, then one wonders, AGAIN, about what is achieved. And let's be clear here, there are virtually no differences between what the parties represent. Kerry and the Democrats are pro-war, period (and pro Capital Punishment, and pro-defense spending, and pro-corporate, etc). They voted for war and they continue to support the occupation. Enough said.
"Our participation -- it is argued -- props up the system and reproduces the political submission of the class. But political activity at the fringes of the country's political life is not an antidote to the perils of bourgeois electoral politics. In these times, fringe political activity -- like not voting -- is the surest way to reinforce the system. Socialists cannot help the workers escape the two-party trap by dropping out or forming sects, tiny islands of supposed ideological purity and unpolluted political decency, expecting people to join them on the sheer force of their propaganda. When the social conditions that support the two-party system are persistent, small groups of people cannot exorcise the power of the two main parties by staying on the margins."Nobody is insisting that socialists form tiny islands of supposed ideological purity, yada yada yada. This is a straw man and I suspect Huato knows it. One refuses to participate in this grotesque nightmare of electoral delusion not for the sake of purity, but to denounce the charade. All those Kerry voters...all the "he's not perfect but he's better than Bush" people really need to look back at democratic presidents who supported colonial war (hey, just go back to Clinton and Yugoslavia). I suspect those who reason weakly, like Huato, that one must work within the system to overthrow the system will always end up apologizing for the crimes of Empire in one way or another. Do democrats support Chávez and Castro? I don't, uh, think so. Do they want serious relief for workers? Uh, again, no. And on and on and on. (Here is a small example of the lack of difference. Oh, and this...the parties of death. If Democrats want war and destruction I see little reason to seriously discuss cooperation.
By the end of this article it seems to me that Huato is hedging all his bets. He asks if we should unite with democrats...and then says there are no easy answers. Huh? Well, what was this article about, then?
I give up. On to other matters...
Gilles's blips starts with a discussion of DU -- and let's remember who dumped all that DU on the Balkans.....a democrat (and this week David Hackworth died....the anti-war warrior of Vietnam....and he died of bladder cancer caused by Agent Blue....in another democratic war...are you listening Julio?). The toxic nature of Depleted Uranium has been proved, and evidence (as Gilles provides) is everywhere, and yet how much does one hear on mainstream news? Zilch, nada, nothing. (Refer to the WSWS article above....the same thing happens everywhere DU is used!!)
This takes us right to Philip Greenspan's look at the media and lies. I might argue a bit with some of Philip's points; namely the Bolton nomination and DeLay scandal(s). I doubt they will end up being hurt much by the revelations of misconduct. I mean, that is amnesia at work...that's how the public operates these days. Greenspan thinks, even if they survive they will be crippled. I wonder. Will they? Does anything cripple public figures anymore? If Blair or Bush were caught with a twelve-year-old alter boy, or wearing bras, or photographed kicking their dog --- would much happen? I mean if proof exists they lied about war and a hundred thousand people die....if it's proved torture was sanctioned, and nothing happens....then who the hell cares if Bolton chased an intern around a hotel corridor. I think Philip is right, though, in how he talks about Bush's approval ratings, and about what might be if John Kerry were Pres ---- but in the end the Empire lurches foward.....and "hurt" is a relative term.
This leads us to Jan Baughman's take on Bush and democracy. Approval ratings are down....and yet, what changes? What does "approval" mean, exactly, I wonder. Polls are quite disingenuous, and the questions are loaded in certain directions (as Anna Kuros pointed out in her last piece). Most Americans still assume a sense of privilege, a sense of superiority, and they are becoming "slightly" irritated with Dubya because (as Gilles's pal points out) he hasn't brought down the price of oil even after invading Iraq. Jan is quite clear, however, on the hypocrisies at work in all of this, and I guess I'm just in a crummy mood right now because I doubt any of these polls mean much of anything.
Here is a depressing little side note in the Guardian. And spring is here.....for the moment, anyway.
And this little note on my man Hugo Chávez -- keep in mind the democrats and their rhetoric about Chávez, which is pretty much the same as Condi the Dragon Lady and Rumsfeld the dog kicker.
Alright, Richard Macintosh asks a bunch of questions and gives all the correct answers in his latest. I wish Richard could be cloned and made into a high school teacher so we could place him in every school in the U.S. -- this might foment change. It is this kind of clear headed and uncluttered writing that is much needed, I suspect. Plus he gives us that great Debs quote at the end.
Finally, Phil and Angie. This quick overview of the American highway system, with another great graphic by Angela, touches on exactly why I don't live in the U.S. anymore. Poland and Eastern Europe have more than their share of problems, but one can still explore the woods and rivers of this region without paying endless ticket prices and without that sense of surveillance that hangs over one in the U.S. Last issue had a letter to the editor from a woman in Texas -- and it comes to mind here. Sleep without fear, she suggests (as the legacy of Bush)...well, see, I am very afraid when I sleep in the States...which is rarely enough...because of this looming quality of dread that is so pervasive. From interstate cheetos stops to the growing police state apparatus to the pathology of SUVs and the general economy of war and destruction and waste --- it all prevents sleep. Such jingoism is the knee jerk answer to one's own insomnia -- even if just an insomnia of the soul. Sleep with barbiturates...which is what half of America does...but they sleep, and stay asleep...all day long.
In Krakow the new bus station is apparently going to be, essentially, a new mall. The need for a new station was obvious, but, somehow, it has to come with 147 shops selling useless knock off brand trainers and t-shirts. Grotesque. Still, spring is here and things are wonderfully green, and there is some hope to be seen -- I had a conversation at the gym with a big Pole, a power lifter (and dealer in stolen cars, but never mind that), and he expressed how tired he was of hearing about the former Pope.....he said "Poles only celebrate when things are bad -- and they pray only to have bad things happen to their neighbor. He has a new car Lord, please have someone steal it." See, not everyone is fooled.
Krakow, Poland - May 13, 2005
[ed. Steppling is a LA playwright (Rockefeller fellow, NEA recipient, and PEN-West winner) and screenwriter (most recent was Animal Factory directed by Steve Buscemi). He is currently living in Poland where he teaches at the National Film School in Lodz. You can find more about his writing on his personal Swans' cove.]
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