Monday, June 28, 2004

HERE'S AN ADVERTISEMENT (Hey, I'm a capitalist too -- although I do draw the line at evicting little old ladies, running sweatshops, buying Congress, stealing the White House, corrupting the Supreme Court and committing genocide for fun and profit):

Here is a blog for the best travel novel on the planet (you may have to cut and paste to get it to work):

"Travels with Amy" features stories about traveling to Tibet, Egypt, Cuba, China, probate court and Disneyland!!!! Also a story about seeing Michael Moore speak on the Falls Road in Belfast:


5:30 pm, Falls Road, Belfast: No one in Belfast really knew who Michael Moore was. They had mostly just snapped up the chance to get free tickets. But I knew exactly who he was and I wanted to see him. The other Americans I was with didn't even want to chance it. "It will be impossible to get in." I went to there anyway. If nothing else, I could stand in the graveyard next door and listen to Mike speak. I'd be in the presence of good company too -- the hunger strikers were buried there.

"Anyone have any extra tickets?" I asked everyone in line. Fat chance. There are 300 people at least standing in the que waiting to get in to see Michael Moore. But gotta give it a try anyway. I walked up and down the line.

"Hey," some guy said. "My mate couldn't make it. Want my ticket?" Oh God yes. Score! Score! I'm in! No cemetery wall for me! God damn!

"Michael Moore is a real hero in America," I told the stranger next to me. Seeing Michael Moore in Belfast of all places. On my last day here. Karmic Reward!!!!

"My name is Donnie Morrison..." Said the first guy onstage in the outdoor theatre. Oh goodie. He's that excellent poet who spoke at The Rock pub on Thursday. He read a really great poem. Then, "Without further ado..." Mike comes on stage. Standing ovation! i guess the word of who he was had finally spread.

"Now I'd like to finish what I started to say at the Oscars..." Yea! Mike's daughter graduated college and he asked her where she wanted to go. "You can go anywhere in the world for your graduation present. Chose a place."

"Belfast!" she said. "And Derry."

Mike then introduced Gerry Adams. "Back in the time when there was an actual law against having Gerry Adams' voice heard on the BBC, I thought I'd make a show with Gerry Adams' voice played by Charleton Heston or Mickey Mouse." Burst of enthusiastic applause for Gerry.

"When I was in London, they took me to a football game. It made American fans look mild. They were all singing. All the time. Together. On key too! We're all, `What the fuck is this?'"

At a press conference earlier, the BBC asked Mike for his solution to the problems in Northern Ireland. "We just get some priests with garden hoses going through the Protestant areas saying, `I baptize you in the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost' and that would be that. Plus Catholics have more sex than Protestants and get more days off!" Big laugh from the audience on that one. "Everyone should be allowed to practice their own religions without getting punked on."

The American public is actually a very progressive liberal people. They believe in labor unions, pro-choice, etc. They just don't have any leadership. The American public did not vote for Bush and do not like him. They rallied behind Bush after 9-11 even though he ran away at first -- first to Louisiana then to Nebraska."

Once the Iraq war started, "You didn't want to say anything that might hurt their children who are over there." But the economy is in the sink and most Americans plan to vote Bush out in 2004.

"When people hear the truth, that people were lied to again and again and again -- that's how good the Bush White House is that they can put these lies over -- they do not appreciate being lied to." You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time....

"I can't walk down the street in America without people vying to shake my hand." They know they were lied to. Halliburton, the mobile labs blowing up helium balloons -- that the WMDs were mass balloonery.

They work on our fears. "Osama bin Ladin is the big monster. We heard this day after day. Osama bin Ladin is everywhere." Now one Congressman calls him "Osama bin Forgotten."

"You can't scare the world's largest superpower with one man as a replacement for the Soviet Union. So you gotta get a bigger enemy. So the Bush administration came up with the Axis of Evil." They wanted to start with Iraq but North Korea kept fouling it up.

Mike then read from his new book, Dude! Where is my Country? "The War on Terror. How can you declare war on a noun!" Your chance in America of dying in a terrorist attack is one million to zero. In 2001, it was one in 150,000. It was one in 5,000 to die in a car accident. "But no incredible programs were revealed on CNN against car accidents. No! A mass psychosis has overtaken the country." We gave up our liberties just because someone gave us an orange alert. "There have been model airplane alerts. Al Qaeda may be setting forrest fires they told us. `Lions, tigers, bears!' Everybody run for your lives!' What happened to our bullshit radar? Their plan is to rule the world. It sounds like a movie script. Ashcroft, Bush, etc. have seized the moment. The have to sell it to us." Well maybe that's not exactly what he said but I was writing as fast as I could.

"In 9-11, they found a product they could sell to the country. Osama. He did it. We'll protect you. All you have to do is give us all your money and all your rights and shut up."

The right wing has to keep the people distracted by war. "Bush plans to run his entire campaign with `I won you a war. And another war. And another war.' As for Osama, they always define him as an Arab. Not as the multi-millionaire that he is. How come they never say, `Watch out for multi-millionaires!' Why don't we round up all the multimillionaires and deport them?"

Mike was on a roll. The Irish audience was starting to catch on as well. "What do you call the doubling of homelessness and joblessness in the last two years but acts of terror? Fear is the only thing we truly need to fear. The right wing believes in something. They're up at the crack of dawn trying to figure out how to screw people. The left needs to get their act together. My hope is that things will get so bad that Americans will vote for anybody other than Bush." 85% of American young adults do not know where Iraq or Israel are but 11% couldn't find America on a globe either."

As to the Northern Ireland question, he came at it from the point of view of basic human decency. "Everyone should have rights. The peace process should not be slowed down or reversed just because we have an idiot in the White House. The lesson of history is that sooner or later the unjust will have to fall."

Mike then asked a very important question. "What will happen to the other side if there are equal rights for everyone?" The other side usually doesn't rise up in rebellion! Women when given the vote didn't rise up and overthrow the government. Justice is always a good thing. "Human beings are good at our core. Perhaps a hand will be extended instead." We must get rid of fear.

"The BBC litany that the IRA must give up their arms is bullshit. What are we asking for here? An election? How scary! `Mike, before you go on tonight, you must denounce the IRA.' So we offered two free U2 tickets to anyone who would bring in their guns. We even called the RUC offices!"

The ultimate evil is state terrorism. Britain, shut the fuck up. Put down your guns. Leave this island. Let the people have free and open elections. "With majority rule also comes minority rights. Full and absolute and protected rights. And we have to give up these show trials of the Columbia Three." They were Irishmen who went to Columbia and were jailed for some totally made-up reason, saying they were IRA terrorists. Actually I think they were just human rights workers or union reps or something totally upright and praiseworthy.

"Think about the people of England and Scotland and Wales. They knew that the Iraqi war was shit. And if you recognize lies all the way over in Iraq, then they should recognize lies here as well."

I even asked a question. "If we don't get rid of George Bush soon, we Americans will be going through what the people of Belfast went through fifteen years ago. We must dump him. The future of our country depends on it. So. How can we evict him? You have to be elected to live in the White House. It's a violation of his lease, the United States Constitution, for him to live there without being elected." Mike's answer was that it was very unlikely that the current Congress would evict -- or even impeach -- Bush. I also threw in a plug for Dennis Kucinich for President. Moore mentioned Wesley Clark...and Dean.

Mike went to Palestine during the First Intefada in 1988. He described it as "one of the most despicable living situations there is." Belfasters, knowing what it is like to be under siege for wanting equality, support the Palestinian freedom movement.

At the end of his talk, Mike got another standing ovation. They also gave him a statuette. "Here I am, receiving the Belfast Academy Award!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

How to get our troops safely home from Iraq: Make them happy!

Let's say that you are some poor GI schmuck, over in Iraq, fighting an unjust war, torturing cab drivers, watching your buddies' legs get blown off. "To hell with this," you are thinking. "I got no beef with the Iraqis. George Bush is the one who is raking in all the bucks on this war. Let HIM come over and fight it."

Tomorrow you are scheduled to go blow up yet another bunch of Ragheads, most of whom are women and children. Some of said Ragheads might not be happy about their wives and children getting barbecued and they probably might want to fight back. And despite Bill O'Reilly's dreamworld assessment of Iraqis as being "prehistoric," the average 30-year-old in Baghdad is a college graduate. These guys are formidable opponents.

You are very worried that by this time tomorrow you too might be toast.

You e-mail your mom. "Mama, get me out of here! This is a stupid, wrong-headed war. I don't want to die. Not here. Not now." Oh, Lord.

If I were that soldier's mom, what would I do? I'd say, "Son, do what you gotta do. Just get back home. I did not spend twelve whole miserable grueling hours in pain and labor to give birth to you just to have you die in some unjust and brutal attack on a country whose population is 49% children. Tell them you're gay."

And he did. And all his friends did too. And thus began the famous "Out-of-the-closet, I-love-Lavender" sit-down strike by our heroic troops in Iraq that finally ended that insane and bloody genocide -- as GI after GI told their sergeants, "Hey, man. Guess what. I'm gay."

Since the armed forces had already discharged thousands of enlisted men for being gay, the Pentagon leaders had no choice but to discharge them too and the entire American army in Iraq -- pansies and dykes to a man -- were finally sent home where they belong.

Moral: If leaders can't lead, true American patriots must lead for them. So. Troops. You know what to do: Praise the Lord and pass the mascara!

Monday, June 21, 2004

Be careful what you wish for: What would REALLY happen if Bush invaded Cuba?

I just returned from Miami, where I talked with several Cuban Americans. "George Bush should invade Cuba too," said one Miami resident. Okay. Let's suppose George Bush did authorize the invasion of Cuba. What would happen? To get an idea of what would be in store for that island nation, let's look at what has happened to other countries that Bush has invaded. If he follows his current Modus Operandi, what would happen in Cuba would very likely be the same thing that has happened in Afghanistan, Haiti and Iraq; Shock and Awe followed by corruption, drug dealing, torture, insurgency -- and incompetence.

"If Bush invaded Cuba, it would become free and democratic," said one Miami Cuban. Not if you check the stats. Bush's record so far? Haiti is now being governed by torturers and tyrants. Iraq is now being governed by torturers and tyrants. Afghanistan is in the hands of warlords (aka torturers and tyrants). Not to mention what happened in Columbia, one of Bush's other Latin American success stories. Or in Argentina.

Compared to Bush's sad and shabby foreign policy record, Fidel Castro, with his insistence on free health care and free college education for all, is looking better and better. Would Bush give free education and health care to Cuba? We don't even get it in California!

In addition, many Cuban-Americans still have relatives back in Cuba. If George Bush did authorize an attack on that island, what makes them think that their relatives would be safe?

Cuban-Americans from Miami had better be careful what they wish for. Do they honestly think that, under George Bush, they would be gaining their island paradise back? That their relatives will be there to welcome them? What makes them think that?

Halliburton will own the island, not them.

However, Cuban-Americans will finally be able to visit their relatives. They will be able to see them hooded and naked at Guantanamo of course -- but more likely Bush will have found an even better place for the relatives. They will be peacefully residing at Christopher Columbus.

For those of you who are not familiar with Havana, Christopher Columbus is a famous cemetery. It's the place where you bury your dead. Moral: It's okay to hate Castro. But be aware: A Bush invasion would be much, much worse.

Monday, June 07, 2004

I remember Reagan: The man who ordered the killing of Berkeley gardeners

Can you imagine? In 1969, at People's Park, I actually got out there with a pick and a hoe. Me! We took a vacant lot in Berkeley and turned it into a garden. Then Ronald Reagan ordered troops with shot guns and tear gas to go after us. "They've killed James Rector!" we cried. Ronnie didn't care. The same man who turned in his colleagues to Senator McCarthy during the 1950s witch hunts was at it again.

The only thing good that happened from the Reagan governorship (California has still not recovered from it) was that Berkeley residents got to hold a wonderful memorial for our fellow fallen gardener. Now they are holding a memorial to Reagan. I would just LOVE to be a fly on the wall when Ronnie Fabulous tries to explain the death of James Rector to God.
Incompetence & blood lust: The REAL reasons I think Bush planned 9-11

I am working on this idea -- that 9-11 carries the stamp of the Bush/Rumsfeld Modus Operandi. This idea rings true -- but it needs facts to back it up with. Any ideas? Let me know (but only after we get back from our cruise; the one that Ashley's troop earned by selling 40,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies!)

Here are some possible ideas to research and follow up on:

* One thing that sticks out about the 9-11 attack is Bush's and Rumsfeld's brilliance for planning stuff that involves death and killing -- and their total indiffererence to mercy, compassion and follow-up planning.

* Shoddy preparation (go to ANY 9-11 website if you doubt that one!) Lackluster carry-through (Read the 9-11 commishon report!) This has the Bush and Rumsfeld stamp. For instance, preventing the sacking of Baghdad and its occupation were totally overlooked. AND someone forgot to plan what would happen AFTER 9-11 too. The goat book? Come on.

* Then there's stuff like the hijacker's passport that survived the crash. That's too much like the Niger cake forgeries -- documents that conveniently just showed up.

* The various media attacks on the 9-11 families after they started investigating? So much like the attack on Clarke et al when they started getting close to the truth.

* What about that guy Vreeland who worked for the Penagon and said there were six more attacks planned -- if the first was not sucessful. Define Bush, Rumsfeld and the PNAC's definition of sucess?

Anyway, here is what I got so far:

In an article in the New Republic, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski describes the Bush administration's invasion and occupation of Iraq as being "justified by falsehoods, pursued with unilateral arrogance, blinded by self-delusion, and stained by sadistic excesses."

Now doesn't that just describe the falsehoods, inefficiency, sadistic excesses and unilateral arrogance of 9-11? Think about it.

Incompetence? Rumsfeld planned the war on Iraq. Could Rumsfeld have planned the attack on the World Trade Center as well? The M.O. is certainly the same: Ego, lots of loose ends, in bed with questionable Arabs and plenty of "sadistic excesses".

Incompetence? Just consider the skills level of John Ashcroft. According to Senator Patrick Leahy, "preliminary findings of the 9/11 commission suggest that counterterrorism simply was not a priority of your Justice Department prior to September 11th."

According to Senator Leahy, "Problems ranged in your department from an understaffed foreign translation program, woefully inadequate information systems, cultural attitudes that frustrated information sharing across agencies. Just one day before the attacks, on September 10th, you rejected the FBI's request to include more money for counterterrorism in your budget proposal." Was Ashcroft involved in 9-11? Or was he just really, really incompetent?

Incompetence? As for George Bush himself, he certainly qualifies for incompetence. America's economy has tanked and half the world hates us since he moved into the White House. "Sadistic excesses?" The man certainly does love to blow stuff up (remember his childhood hobby -- blowing up frogs?). Plus Bush is the king of falsehood -- just ask any school child, veteran or expert on WMDs.

But would Bush qualify under the category of unilateral arrogance and self-delusion? Guess who stated "God told me to invade Iraq."

Perhaps I am being too hard on the boys? Let's have a (competent) court of law put them on trial and find out.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

My very first thought on 9-11: "What has George Bush done now?"

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was waiting for an elevator in downtown Oakland. A man ran up to me and cried, "They've just attacked the World Trade Center! The twin towers have been completely destroyed."

My very first thought was, "What has George Bush done now." A man who would steal an election, corrupt the integrity of the Supreme Court, cancel the Kyoto treaty, come out in favor of slavery at Durban, lead us into the worst depression since 1929, cheer on Enron as it gutted California and support every petty tyrant in the third world was, in my eyes, capable of anything.

In that first week after the WTC attack, I desperately tried to get to New York City to help out. All the planes were grounded (except of course for the Saudis) and so I consoled myself with putting out an anonymous flier denouncing George Bush as being (at the very least) asleep at the wheel. Stealthfully and surreptitiously, I posted my little Tom Paine broadside on the nearest telephone pole -- and ran like hell, afraid that at any moment I would be caught, jailed and sent off to Siberia (They hadn't yet invented Guantanamo).

Then a few of us stalwarts got on the web. Me and Tina and Roz and Gary and Lori and Kelly and Rita and Joe. From all across the United States, we found each other somehow. "Have you read what is in the Patriot Act?" we asked. "Did you know that Bush is planning to invade Afghanistan?" And "How did `terrorists' get their hands on US-made weapons-grade anthrax?"

Soon others began to join us in questioning George Bush's motives and skills. Paul Krugman. Molly Ivins. Dennis Kucinich. Helen Thomas. Michael Moore. Finally even the New York Times got on board. But none of us, even in our wildest dreams, could ever have possibly imagined on that sad day back in September 2001 what incredible lows America would finally sink to -- or that we would end up having a genuine Napoleon-complex nut case in the White House, roving through the halls of that esteemed symbol of America's honor with his hand thrust inside his jacket and muttering "I am the ruler of the world."

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

God, The Rapture and Vera Casey

"What will your God be doing on June 11?" I asked George Bush.

"We will be closing down the Vera Casey Parent-Child Center in Berkeley. And, of course, occupying Iraq."

"But why?" I asked. "I thought you guys were pro-life."

George looked at me like I was the veriest fool. "You are just not getting it, Jane." Obviously not. The Vera Casey Center offers excellent child care services to teen mothers who chose not to have abortions. It should be a pro-lifer's dream! They should be funding it right and -- gulp -- left. Instead, the Bush administration's Scrooge-like grip on the educational purse strings of America is causing the center to close down on June 11.

George was kind enough to spell it out for me. "Ever since the Garden of Eden," he said, "Mankind has sinned. Born into sin." Okay. "You pop out the womb? You're a sinner!" Aha. So as long as you don't have an exit strategy, you're okay?

"Congratulations. You've grasped the concept. Fetuses rule, real folks drool." So perpetual war, global warming, capital punishment, no Medicare, slave-labor economics and closing down the Vera Casey Center are all part of God's plan?

"Exactly. You gotta cut the wheat from the chaff. Kill off all the sinners. No pain no gain." And what, pray tell, will be the gain?

"The faster everyone dies off, the sooner I get into Heaven." Okay. Lord knows that America is now a nation committed to securing The Rapture (as well as the national treasury) for George Bush. No sacrifice is too great! "Bring it on."

However, should you still be apostate enough (and treasonous enough) to believe that Good Works (not mass murder) will get you into Heaven, please send money to help save the Vera Casey Center -- c/o the Berkeley Unified School District, 2134 Martin Luther King Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

For further research into The Rapture and what it means to us Americans, I highly recommend an article by Joe Bageant, entitled "The Covert Kingdom; Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Texas" at