Monday, October 29, 2007

there is not one fucking chance

that this little gem is a coincidence:
regarding the blackwater "lower level" immunity deals:

"The courts have made it all but impossible to prosecute defendants who have been granted immunity since the appellate court reversals of the Iran-contra affair convictions against John M. Poindexter, a former national security adviser, and Oliver L. North, a national security aide, who had each been immunized by Congress."

As some that considers the iran contra affair among the absolute lowest points in american history except for the intentional selection of the same bastards to come in and do it all over again by the same bastards that had them do it in the first place.

note to the bastards: hide behind whatever kissingeresque BS or jesus made me do it lie you want to proffer, you are evil bastards and you are ruining my country without my permission. I WILL NEVER FORGET. I WILL NEVER FORGIVE.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

punks on the street

so mary and i ran into some punks on the street in front of slims (on our way to see the sleeping states). me, i love punks. so i asked 'em what I consider the quintessential punk questions:
1) do you have any songs 3 minutes or over?
2) how long between songs?
3) when do you write your set list?
4) what's the longest tour you've been on?
5) how many people are in your band?

they got the questions right! then they gave me their CD. it's pretty good. they're called the publiquors - they're drunks, duh. but hey, what you'd gonna do in sonoma county? aside from 1 kinda emo song and 1 pop-punk song (the latter of which is actually pretty good) they're what I like in punk music - honest, angry, irreverent and sloppy.

so here's my plug:

the 3 live songs are pretty good, the pill popper song is great. and if you can make it through the intro to "same old shit" it's totally a radio worthy punk pop song.

I wonder if they'd re-record it...

twere ever an evil dead

salim's recent post on the rather awesome word lexiphanes (i work with a few) put me in a rather good mood today. not only did i learn a cool new word (not the first from slim no doubt) but whoah, what sweet and subtle joy did I get from the subtle zinger from bob monkhouse included on the lexiphanes page from the word of the day site:

"They laughed when I said I was going to a comedian. They're not laughing now"

This kind of joke is one of my most favorites because it wraps so much up into it. One gets the sense that the entire life of the teller is epitomized by it - in just two sentences! funny, sad, funny all at once.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

just overhead

no, really:
mother to child:
"yes, I was a jedi. before you were born"

Monday, October 15, 2007


great quote from the primary source of the new Barbet Schroderer film:

"...I think the war against terrorism is a fiction. Terrorism is a weapon, not an entity unto itself. During World War II I was in the artillery. There was French artillery, there was also German, Russian, American artillery. There was no single enemy called artillery. To declare war on terrorism is simply stupid. It’s like going to war against the artillery.”

Thursday, October 11, 2007

on genocide

As most folks in my somewhat large circle know I am of Armenian descent on my dad's side. Possibly a smaller group, though quite large still, know that I love Turkey; the two trips I had there, staying with or at Cheryl and Jonathan's place at the time were great. The people were awesome, the culture was awesome, the history was awesome - I found it pretty much perfect except for a few completely disconcerting things:
1) When I said I had just come from Yerevan, Armenia (where I had been doing some economic research) multiple people asked me where it was. For the record Armenia shares a border with Turkey. I know, many people from the US might not now where Canada is, but we were in Istanbul, which is basically the New York City of Turkey.
2) The police torture people. You can actually hear people screaming "IMDAT!!!" from inside police stations, which are guarded by police with machine guns. Basically they fuck with homeless kurdish kids. It's pretty messed up. Everyone I knew said whatever you do don't engage the police for any reason. No eye contact, no conversation, no nothing. Way worse than the US in that regard. really.
3) Turkey is a millitary state. Really. It's not uncommon to see tanks or other heavily armoured vehicles around, and lots of weapons on people with official looking capacities. While I was there I in a car that was stopped near the airport. Passports checked, car searched. the works. I asked why to my host and he said "probably they thought we could be communists" (he had long hair you know, and I had a beard at the time).
4) There is an amazing and a bit terrifying reverence for Kemul Ataturk and the turkish flag. We have this flag thing here too, but it's even more extreme there. While I was there a Briton was stabbed to death on the street for running the turkish flag through his crotch whilst taunting some turkish football fans (the European Championships were going on at the time). I actually thought this was kind of funny - like, you hooligans have no clue, it's not just football, it's a whole different level of national pride than your average Briton could imagine.
The ataturk thing is scary though. All I can say is that you'd have to imagine Americans being so gung ho over George Washington that to disparage him for being a slave owner could get you killed on the spot or actually jailed (go back to point 2 above).

Point number four seems to be a byproduct of the secular state, and distinct to Turkey because its economy hasn't developed to the point where it's been able to move past the blood based national identity that swept the world as part of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a result nationalism is wrapped up rather tightly around some foundational principles in a way that's pretty unsustainable, especially with an open press (not that there is one) and the internets.
Turkey teeters, more than many countries, on an awkward point between the communists (well, people claiming to be communists/socialists/workers' party types) and the religious parties. The military keeps this in check, but not well, as one can imagine...

...which brings us to:

The reaction to the US house committee on foreign relations' vote recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
The NYTimes had a photo of a workers' party protesting the US for being imperialist as a result of this vote. ummm....a house committee's vote on a non-binding resolution is imperialism? And sense when did the workers care about how one defines genocide from almost a century ago? This photo to me was so emblematic of the tenuousness with which Turkey exists as a great nation.
I am Armenian, my family came to the United States just a few years before the genocide and all of their family that stayed died. We no longer exist as a family in what had been our home for generations. end of story. I don't harbour any ill will towards Turkey for this. Nation building is ugly. Not all Armenians feel the same way, especially in Armenia. The two countries don't even have a physical bridge between them. Nomadic Kurds wade across the river between the two countries as migrant workers during harvest seasons, but not much else happens except for misinformation and generations worth of resentment that doesn no one any good.

So what does all this mean? Well, from a foreign policy perspective, a lot, but for all sorts of dumb reasons.

Turkey was originally our ally against Russia, but now the motivation is less military support than oil. Originally my thoughts on this subject were: so what, let the Kurds form their independent state in northern Iraq and just deal with the fallout from Iran and Turkey alike, but one look at the pipelines shows that this is a naive worldview. Turkey controls both hydro and pipeline paths in the area and they could easily crush a nascent kurdish state by simply stopping the flow of the formerly Iraqi oil in a heartbeat (assuming the flow stops in other directions, which is likely). Why does any of this matter? Lately I've been taking the opinion that Armies need oil and that's the only reason we have these problems, I'm not sure the economy actually has all that much to do with it, it's a damned resiliant thing.

So what do we have? This is what I think:

Washington needs to spend some time figuring out how to divide Iraq in a way that gets Kurdish oil to the gulf. I suspect that means some sort of DMZ or federal corridor to the gulf could work, but not easily. That's some 500+ miles with some very angry neighbors. We've gone and screwed ourselves with Syria, Iran, Jordan is still a possibility but has similar DMZ issues, and for both Jordan and SA, you're already basically to the gulf anyway in terms of distance. So what are we talking about? quashing a resolution that means nothing but a slight undermining of the nationalist propaganda propping up a secular military regime? Well, maybe. It would not be the first time the US has lied about history in the name of "progress".

None of this of course respects the Kurds for what they are: a people really without a "country" ever, and finally a chance (at least in their mind) to have one. I am not positive they'll get what they want out of this particular scenario, but if history has proven anything, it is that the Kurds are a resilient people. I've seen 'em and they are. Weathered, in a way that's both driven and resigned at the exact same time.

Personally, I find it all silly. None of it changes history, but all of it doesn't bode well for the future. If anything the best option is probably EU membership. Turkey's military will repress religious extremists that pose a real threat. They've done this with the Kurds, they'll do it again; but someone should tell them that they are making the situation worse by vilifying a neigbhor with no ability to do harm to them simply to prop up the ideals of their original nationbuilding efforts.

What a shame for those of us that don't care and would rather just go on enjoying all of these places for their actual greatness. how's that for a happy outlook on things on Eid? sheesh.

Monday, October 08, 2007

in which chicago is hot and rocks

was in chicago for a brief visit, supposedly assisting califone during the intonation festival at the MCA. it was good to be back, but i felt like missed seeing a lot of people.

mary had a nice birthday, we saw jim becker play twice and joe adamik play three times, hung out with a sick shiela, windish for a good bit and at at the wishbone twice!

as for the MCA, well, sadly it was just WAY too bright in the tent to do visuals, which was really unfortunate given the subject was the intersection of art and rock. aside from making me feel bad for not buying those prints from richard kern some years back (has it been 15 years already and if so how old does that make marilyn manson?), it was an okay show.

interestingly, whilst i was complaining of the heat (it was hot, like, sweaty hot in a way I haven't experienced in years) apparently the were canceling the chicago marathon because people were falling over left and right.

poster kids were early, but good (sadly I didn't see all of the show), califone started rough but got much better, flostradamus was pretty entertaining, but we had to leave early, and of course the eternals were great live. i really like wayne and damon - good peeps, good roots, good rockers.