Archive for September, 2010

29
Sep
10

KLAATU BARADA NIKTO

File this one under “Huh?” with the subheading “Wait… what now?” In a shockingly underreported story run by Reuters this week it was revealed that the atomic arsenals of the United States and other countries have been infiltrated by aliens. And not the kind that try to sell you oranges on the freeway on-ramp. From Reuters:

“Witness testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to an ongoing and alarming intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplicably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby.  Six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man will break their silence about these events at the National Press Club and urge the government to publicly confirm their reality.

One of them, ICBM launch officer Captain Robert Salas, was on duty during one missile disruption incident at  Malmstrom Air Force Base and was ordered to never discuss it.  Another participant, retired Col. Charles Halt, observed a disc-shaped object directing beams of light down into the RAF Bentwaters airbase in England and heard  on the radio that they landed in the nuclear weapons storage area. Both men will provide stunning details about these events, and reveal how the U.S. military responded.”

If anything, this really makes me disappointed in the preparedness of the armed forces. A UFO being in the “nuclear weapons storage area” is an event which should be followed by alarms, barking dogs and machine guns firing. Fighter jets should be scrambled. Helicopters should be doing strafing runs. Kiefer Sutherland should be torturing someone. But apparently they just asked everyone not to talk about it.

Martin Sheen and some hippies show up at a nuclear weapons facility and they start shooting. The Romulans actually land a ship inside and start tinkering with atomic weaponry and it doesn’t sound like they did a whole lot. And, haven’t been doing much of anything for sixty years. The Reuters piece goes on to say:

“The group of witnesses and a leading researcher, who has brought them together for the first time, will discuss the national security implications of these and other alarmingly similar incidents and will urge the government to reveal all information about them. This is a public-awareness issue.

Declassified U.S. government documents, to be distributed at the event, now substantiate the reality of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites extending back to 1948. The press conference will also address present-day concerns about the abuse of government secrecy as well as the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons.”

Firstly, I know that nuclear weapons are impressive… to us humans. My guess is that a species which has mastered space travel has weapons that make our crude atom-splitting devices look as primitive as a wooden club. Secondly, human arrogance always assumes that alien visitors would even be interested in us or this planet.

Personally, if I had a spaceship I wouldn’t have much interest in Earth. Why would I want to hang out with humans and their internal combustion cars and largely-unused brain capacities? If I could visit the epicenter of the universe then why would I spend my evenings hovering over farm fields in Iowa? If I could visit strange new worlds and interact with the oldest and most intelligent creatures in existence then why would I want to repeatedly stick a probe up Whitley Strieber’s ass?

For that matter, why would the United States Air Force let so many of their highest-security personnel talk publicly about the most important information in human history: that we are not alone? The optimist in me wants to say it’s because they were taken completely by surprise when so many brave men stepped forward to tell their stories, and the truth cannot be hidden in a great and free society like ours.

The cynic in me, however, points out that our government imprisons people for treason when they so much as discuss the shit they spray on a stealth fighter to make it invisible to radar. They locked up a guy from the State Department once because he sold Korean War-era missile schematics to Israel. My guess is that the REAL secrets are things we’ve never even heard of. This UFO stuff helps keep people from asking about the things our military is REALLY doing.

The Klingon in me, however, is pretty certain that we need to build a giant fence around our solar system and arm it with lasers and flamethrowers. If visitors from another world are willing to violate our airspace and territorial sovereignty then who knows what else they’re willing to do to us.

An alien is an alien, after all.

29
Sep
10

C.O.B.R.A!

I’m a big believer that the “War on Terror” has always been a bunch of bolognas. I don’t think anything has changed since 9/11. The same people in the world are blowing things up and we’re blowing up things in the countries where these people live. Terrorism has pretty much been the same since 1988 when it kind of hit the big time.

On December 21st, 1988 Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer, helped smuggle a bomb aboard a Pan Am flight traveling from London to New York. The explosion killed all 259 people onboard and 11 more on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Why would he do something like that? According to Wikipedia:

“The motive that is generally attributed to Libya can be traced back to a series of military confrontations with the US Navy that took place in the 1980s in the Gulf of Sidra, the whole of which Libya claimed as its territorial waters. First, there was the Gulf of Sidra incident (1981) when two Libyan fighter aircraft were shot down. Then, two Libyan radio ships were sunk in the Gulf of Sidra. Later, on 23 March 1986 a Libyan Navy patrol boat was sunk in the Gulf of Sidra,[68] followed by the sinking of another Libyan vessel on 25 March 1986.[69] The Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi, was accused of retaliating to these sinkings by ordering the 5 April 1986 bombing of West Berlin nightclub, La Belle, that was frequented by U.S. soldiers and which killed three and injured 230.[70]

The U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) alleged interception of an incriminatory message from Libya to its embassy in East Berlin provided U.S. president Ronald Reagan with the justification for USAF warplanes to launch Operation El Dorado Canyon on 15 April 1986 from British bases[71][72] —the first U.S. military strikes from Britain since World War II—against Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya. Among dozens of Libyan military and civilian casualties, the air strikes killed Hanna Gaddafi, a baby girl Gaddafi said he adopted. To avenge his daughter’s death, Gaddafi is said to have sponsored the September 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan.[73]

Anyone who grew up in the 1980’s will remember Momar Khaddafi. What I don’t remember is him being a real-life Cobra Commander. And when you hijack airliners to avenge your daughter’s death you have definitely achieved supervillain status. And he’s even got his own sort of post-80’s Gene Simmons look going.

In a plot that would make Major Bludd bubble and blush, Quaddafi orchestrated the release of the mad bomber himself. After spending 8 1/2 years in a British jail for blowing up Pan Am 103, Megrahi was released into Libyan custody when he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. He was given three months to live. That was over a year ago. Luckily your Congress is on the case. According to BBC NEWS:

“A hearing on the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is set to get under way in the US.

Democratic senator, Robert Menendez, will chair the session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

It will examine the circumstances of the release by Scots Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill – in particular claims of links to an oil deal involving BP.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee aims to examine claims that BP played a part in securing Megrahi’s release in a bid to safeguard an exploration deal with Libya.

The oil giant and both the British and Scottish governments have denied this and will not be represented at the hearing in Washington.”

Of course they won’t be represented. BP would rather just taunt us via satellite feed from a secret island base somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. To put this in terms any 11-year-old boy can understand, Cobra Commander made a deal with Tomax and Xamot to sway a British court to release Zartan in exchange for drilling rights in Libyan waters.

Then, Dr. Mindbender created Serpentor who rose from the dead and wrought havoc on GI Joe. And that’s pretty much when GI Joe started to suck for me, personally.

And while it says volumes that Britain was willing to give Zartan up, it says even more that Libya wanted him back. It speaks phonebooks-worth about the Libyan people who greeted him home a year ago as if he had just won the goddamn Olympics.

I’m sure Mohammar Gaddaphi has an army of genetic supermen protecting him. And I bet he has the coolest escape plane. The leader always has the coolest escape plane. But, HISS Tanks or not, I think we owe it to ourselves to do everything possible to make sure something terrible happens to this guy. But there’s oil involved. And whenever oil is involved the rules of logic and coherence are overruled. Until then, the fight for freedom wherever there’s trouble will have wait for another day.

27
Sep
10

WOULD YOU VOTE FOR YOUR BOSS?

I’m a big believer in the idea that nothing in life is complicated. JFK was killed by a lone narcissist with a rifle. 9/11 was committed by cave-dwelling religious nuts. Both Kristin and Sue Ellen shot J.R.

Last week the GOP rolled out its “Pledge to America”, a straight-to-video sequel of their 1994 box office flop the “Contract with America”. And hey, by golly, you know that Johnny Boehner who wants to be Speaker of the House? Why, he’s just an everyday guy like you and me. Aw shucks. Here’s what he had to say on CNN:

“I’m a small business guy who stumbled into this political arena. And when people talk about my relationship with the business community, I’m sorry, I am the business community. That’s who I am – the – the heart and soul of me. And when I see government, like I did as a small employer, choke the goose that’s laying the golden egg, that’s what drove me here, to fight for a government that allows the American people and the private sector to be the – the engine of opportunity for all Americans,” said Boehner.”

John Boehner’s idea of a “small employer” is Target. And when he says that he represents the American business community it means he represents people like, well, your boss.

I’ve had a lot of bosses in my life. Some of them were genuinely nice people. Some of them not so much. But I don’t believe any of them were evil or insidious in some way. Your boss at work is just, well, different. From an anthropological standpoint. And you have to ask yourself, if your boss were running for elected office would you vote for that person? Do you think the kinds of policies your boss would champion would be beneficial to you and your family and your fellow workers?

Your boss is, in all statistical likelihood, one of the primary sources of stress in your life. They might be cool and easy to get along with. But they wield an unbelievable amount of power over your life. And, this is a person who would lay you off in a heartbeat if it meant getting a promotion or a bigger bonus. Or even if it meant keeping their own job. The workplace is like life in the wild and your boss is simply higher up on the food chain.

So would you seriously vote for this person?

There is an entire political party devoted to your boss and the way he or she sees the world. They’re called Republicans. And I’m not just pissing and moaning over here. They’re quite upfront about it. According to their own Wikipedia page:

“Republicans are generally opposed by labor union management and members, and have supported various legislation on the state and federal levels, including right to work legislation and the Taft-Hartley Act, which gives workers the right not to participate in unions, as opposed to a closed shop, which prohibits workers from choosing not to join unions in workplaces. Some Republicans are opposed to increases in the minimum wage, believing that such increases hurt many businesses by forcing them to cut jobs and services, export jobs overseas, and raise the prices of goods to compensate for the decrease in profit.”

Who would support paying someone less than $7.25 as a livable wage? Your boss. That’s who. Who would advocate stripping the government of the power and ability to enforce workplace standards? Your boss. That’s who. Who ultimately puts company profit over your welfare? Your boss. That’s who. And it’s not because he or she is the “bad guy”. It’s because he or she is not like you or me.

There is a party that supposedly represents people like you and me. And they do, when they aren’t trying to be more like Republicans. Believe it or not this party currently controls both houses of Congress and the White House. And when they’re not acting like a bunch of pussies they get some cool things done. Like setting a minimum wage or giving money and power to a federal agency like OSHA. Under this party’s governance you and I tend to get a bigger piece of the pie.

And you know who wants to vote them out of office this November? Your boss. That’s who.

24
Sep
10

Do not stand at my grave and weep;

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on the snow,

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the mornings hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush,

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there, I did not die.

-anonymous

13
Sep
10

IT’S THAT SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

I’ll be perfectly honest with you, as opposed to imperfectly honest I guess, it was almost 5:00 PM Saturday before I realized it was September 11th… Day. And I was kicking myself because I do this every year. And I can never remember if 9/11 is one of those holidays where you get drunk and cook food or get drunk and curse your enemies. I think there’s a parade too. Or something. I don’t know.

I don’t “get” 9/11. I mean I know what happened and it was horrible but frankly, I stopped thinking about it a long time ago. Probably around the same time I had to start using change to buy gas because we gave all of our money to the Iraqis.

At any rate, 9/11 was like 40 or 50 years ago this past Saturday. Liberals mark this occasion to argue that nobody should ever go to war ever and wouldn’t it be great if people everywhere could just, ya’ know, smoke a bowl and chill out. And they’re not entirely wrong. Conservatives, on the other hand, use this day to express their belief that we should kill everyone on the planet earth and then go to Walmart and buy stuff because it’s good for Jesus and the economy. And I suppose they’re not totally wrong either.

I mark this day (when I remember it) to say that I believe there are still lessons left to be learned. And we haven’t learned them yet.

STOP BUILDING THINGS SO HIGH

We should know by now that to call something “the biggest in the world” or “unsinkable” usually means that thousands of people are going to die. Nature hates that shit. And I understand that the Twin Towers were brought down by crazy people. But, I count religious nuts as natural disasters. So, whether it was a freak hurricane or a bunch of sexually frustrated guys from Saudi Arabia, those towers were coming down at some point. The heart of America’s financial might should be a three-story building with a statue of the guy from Monopoly out front.

PATRIOTISM IS NOT A GOOD THING

I’m going to get a lot of flak for this one. Of course if I didn’t then nobody would pay attention to me. Anyway, consider that our rampant post-9/11 patriotism ended up digging us a hole from which we probably won’t emerge for centuries. Patriotism got George W. Bush re-elected when by all rights he should have joined the other one-term Presidents in the tampon disposal bin of history. And while we were all waving American flags and screaming about puce-colored terror alerts Social Security was being raided to fund the invasion of Iraq. And why did we invade Iraq? I don’t know either. The point is that patriotism is history’s most toxic cocktail: one part angry mob, one part rich people in power and three parts self-deception. Serve with a twist of unilateral self-righteousness. I remember getting shitfaced on those during the first Gulf War.

WE’RE ALL A BUNCH OF IDIOTS

It seems just like yesterday that people in fucking Kansas were shrink-wrapping their houses and stockpiling canned food. Fox news got people in the most obscure, irrelevant parts of America convinced that Osama Bin Laden had a map of their hometown in his cave. Terrorists strike at huge cities like New York precisely because they represent the highest levels to which a society can aspire. That’s why people in rural Indiana or Texas are pretty safe. Then again I’m sure the people of Fallujah or Tikrit felt the same way and yet we flew halfway around the world just to bomb the shit out of them. So who’s stupid now? Seriously, who?

STOP HELPING PEOPLE

People should fend for themselves. Period. Whenever America tries to help anyone in this world it ends badly. Somalia. Haiti. Vietnam. Now we can add Afghanistan to that lovely bouquet of failure. We show up with food, medicine and an unbending foreign policy and people start shooting at us. Fine. Go to bed hungry, world. Die of the common cold or Polio. You’re going to bitch and moan at us either way so fuck you. People in America aren’t treated half as well as people in America treat you. I don’t see the Army Corps of Engineers fixing bridges or building schools in my hometown. Ungrateful bastards.

SECONDHAND RELIGION IS JUST AS DANGEROUS AS RELIGION ITSELF

This is the real bitch of the bunch if you ask me (and you inevitably will). People don’t become suicide bombers or invade other countries because they read about Einstein or Galileo. Science teaches us to think. Religion teaches us not to. And the last thing we should be teaching hateful, uneducated people (here or anywhere else) is that god thinks they’re special. That’s like handing a loaded gun to a five-year-old and telling him that he’s the most unique person on earth and god will forgive whatever he does. I think the possibility exists that god doesn’t like this planet or the people who live on it.

So, another September 11thmas has come and gone. Was I wrong to put up a tree this year? I don’t know. They say it’s just another cliché. But the kids liked it and I guess that’s all that matters. So now I’m going to put on that sweater I got last year, drink some eggnog and sing “The Twelve Days of September 11th” with my family. And, I bet that’s a Yule Log under the tree with my name on it. Happy Holidays!

10
Sep
10

REST IN PEACE, JOURNALISM

Both of my parents are newspaper “journalists”. Old school. For them, “journalists” are the only ones qualified to report the day’s events. Anyone else who dares to do so is a charlatan. A fake. A threat to society. Let someone untrained in the ancient, secret arts of “journalism” report the news and civilization will crumble and a new dark age will fall upon us.

I have an old friend with an MA in journalism. He is a successful producer for a primetime network TV show. He once lamented to me that journalism was dying.

As of yesterday, 3:00-ish, it passed quietly into the afterlife. A memorial service is planned for this weekend in which I not only plan to burn a copy of Edward R. Murrow’s biography, but I’m going to cook a steak over it. I was going to use Walter Cronkite’s biography but it has a distinctly maple taste to it and, frankly, it’s better suited to cooking pork products.

Here’s the story in a nutshell (nutcase, actually).

An illiterate racist Christian preacher from the South said that he and all four-and-a-half of his followers were going to burn Korans on September 11th of this year. Apparently, this was to mark the anniversary of… something. I don’t know. Naturally, the “journalists” of the world jumped all over it and made it a global news story.

World leaders everywhere, including President Obama, chimed in on the situation and the flames of controversy grew. Every news outlet from the New York Times to Al Jazeera ran the story non-stop. It seemed that global warfare would be imminent. U.S troops in Afghanistan and Iraq were going on alert, bracing for what was sure to be a wave of Muslim suicide ninja warriors driving light cycles and brandishing phasers.

The delicate balance of human civilization rested in the hands of one man: Crazy Illiterate Jesus Man. We all waited, hoping this one man would flex his all-powerful muscle and save us from Armageddon and fire and… flaming Armageddon.

Then, Crazy Illiterate Jesus Man decided he wasn’t going to go through with it. He held a press conference and said that President Obama had called him personally to beg him not to do it. He said that the imam of the New York Islamic Center (erroneously called a mosque) had agreed to move the location of his structure if he agreed not to burn Korans. Ghandi actually rose from the dead and paid him a visit along with the zombified remains of Martin Luther King and St. Paul the Apostle. He, like them, was a man of god and social justice. They appealed to him on that level.

Crazy Illiterate Jesus Man had held the world hostage and in the end, the world blinked. Most of us will only dream about having that kind of power. None of us will ever be so morally perfect that we wouldn’t use it.

Except that none of this actually happened. President Obama did not call him. The imam of the Islamic Cultural Center in Lower Manhattan (erroneously called a mosque) made no such promises. In fact, the imam had no contact whatsoever with Crazy Illiterate Jesus Man. He had no intention of moving the Islamic cultural center (erroneously called a mosque). Crazy Illiterate Jesus Man was, for lack of a better term, full of shit.

But the world’s journalists ate it up with a spoon. For several hours they reported it as fact, presuming that if it were untrue then surely one of their own would actually put forth the effort to find out. But nobody did. So they ran with it.

With “journalism” dead, anarchy will now reign across all forms of media. People like me now rule the vast wasteland that was once a morally and ethically perfect universe. One day, thousands of years from now, the simple people who inhabit this planet will look up in wonder at the rotting husks of our once great society.

“Those people let ‘journalism’ die.” They will whisper quietly to each other as they toil in the fields. “Go about your work or Crazy Illiterate Jesus Man will come for you in the night”.

So, until then, good night. Good luck. And remember: No gnews is good gnews.

09
Sep
10

WE’RE GOING TO INVADE MEXICO

A few weeks ago I did a post in which I suggested, in all seriousness, that we should invade and occupy Mexico.

I didn’t mean “Let’s bomb Mexico” the way your idiot neighbor who still has a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on his car does. I mean more like the way we invaded and occupied Iraq… just competently. And without fabricated intelligence. And without torturing people. Oh yeah and without letting mercenaries gun down civilians left and right. And without alienating the entire world community and undermining our own moral stature. Shit. I’m off topic now.

A healthy and functioning democracy in Mexico would have a direct impact on our country. And, I believe, for the better. If Mexico enjoyed law and order and had an economic infrastructure that was aimed at employing people and raising their standard of living then they might not want to come to this country illegally.

And it’s not because I think brown people should stay on their side of the border. In fact, if Mexico became an actual country instead of being our hemisphere’s version of Somalia, we might not need a border. Both of our economies would benefit from free and open trade where people from one country could travel freely into the other and spend money. And before you start screaming and whining about “Europeanizing” North America, consider that we’ve been doing it with Canada for about as long as our two countries have existed. There’s a reason Canadians are not illegally entering our country by the millions. They like it in Canada.

Well, wouldn’t you know it but the U.S. Government has finally listened to me:

“Hilary Clinton has sparked a diplomatic row with Mexico by likening the country’s drugs war to a Colombia-style “insurgency”, a charge angrily rejected by Mexican politicians.

The US secretary of state pointed to the use of car bombs, a tool once favoured by cartel-allied rebels in Colombia, as evidence that Mexican drugs gangs “are now showing more and more indices of insurgency”. Her remarks came as the third mayor in a month became the latest victim of violence in Mexico.

Her comments were dismissed in Mexico, but raised fears there that Clinton was preparing the ground to implement a Mexican version of Plan Colombia – a controversial anti-drug programme in the late 1990s involving US troops working with the Colombian army against the dominant Medellin drug cartel.” – The Guardian

I never imagined Hillary would take my pillow talk seriously. Then again, she didn’t take the warnings about my panther-like prowess seriously either. See those bags under her eyes? Totally my fault.

President Obama has already ordered the use of Predator drones along the border. And, some unconfirmed reports by local media are claiming that we have already used Hellfire missile attacks in taking out cartel leaders. Not surprisingly the Mexican “government” rejected the comparisons to Colombia as well as any suggestion of using American military assistance. According to BBC NEWS:

“A Mexican government spokesman rejected Mrs Clinton’s analogy. Speaking in Mexico City, Alejandro Poire said the only aspect that the Mexican and Colombian conflicts share is their root cause – a high demand for drugs in the US.

Mr Poire also denied that the presence of drug cartels was tantamount to an insurgency, insisting that “all the efforts of the Mexican state were going into fighting criminals”.

Hear that striking silence? That’s the sound of Mexico’s full resources going into fighting the drug cartels. Consider that we’ve been supplying the Mexican “government” with American weapons for decades. Also, consider that the cartels currently blowing the shit out of everything are using those very same weapons. There’s a connection there somewhere…

Most liberals are going to start decrying the use of force because that’s what liberals do. It’s one of the few reasons I don’t count myself among them. I’m not crazy about military force either, but it is a tool. And when you have a tool and something needs fixing, well, it only makes sense to use it. And, let’s face it: Mexican drug gangs will rape and shoot you regardless of your political leanings. It’s the age-old paradox about a free society like ours. You have the right to be a pacifist and reject violence. However, other people have to fight and sometimes die to protect that right.

The other age-old paradox, of course, is the tough female politician who turns into an absolute pussycat after a few whispered nothings and a pearl necklace.