Runcible Blog

Questioning Kerry

I wonder why Senator John Kerry is getting so much support these days as he begins his run for the presidency. I think people are just glad that the Democratic party has a voice, but I wouldn't be so quick to jump on Kerry's bandwagon. While he may seem liberal, I think he is liberal only when it suits his political goals. He voted against the first Gulf War but seems to have changed his tune on Saddam this time around by voting to relinquish the authority to wage war that congress is supposed to have in favor of letting Bush run wild. He also voted for the Homeland Security Act, which 40% of Americans feel won't have an effect on safety. Let's not forget about Total Information Awareness. Kerry may say all the right words to gain Democrat support, but he still wouldn't do anything as politically risky as voting against this upcoming war with Iraq. So he can mumble all he wants about how badly the president is handling the situation, but Kerry didn't do much to change anything. There are some things about Kerry's recent, rather long-winded speech that bother me. Here's a contradiction if I ever read one:
Americans deserve better than a false choice between force without diplomacy and diplomacy without force. I believe they deserve a principled diplomacy...backed by undoubted military might...based on enlightened self-interest...

What does that mean?

We need to illuminate an alternative path to a futile Jihad against the world...a path that leads to deeper integration of the greater Middle East into the modern world order.

The gist of his speech is that he advocates a strong globalization effort, particularly in the Muslim world. It sounds like a massive, far-reaching project. And although he says we wouldn't be imposing our ideals on anyone, it sure does sound like it to me. This quote concerns me:

Regrettably the current Administration failed to take the opportunity to bring this issue to the United Nations two years ago or immediately after September 11th, when we had such unity of spirit with our allies.

It sounds like Kerry, if he were president, would've been pressuring Iraq shortly after 9/11/01. Does anyone else think that's a scary thought? There hasn't been any evidence that Iraq was directly involved in the terrorist attacks, and support for a war with Iraq is pretty low just about everywhere in the world, yet Kerry is advocating using that tragedy to gain support for pursuing an unrelated issue. If Bush had gone after Iraq immediately following September 11th, every American would be scratching their head in confusion. For his part, it seems as if he isn't as belligerent as the Bush administration, which is a plus. But Kerry is more willing to have America take charge in international issues. Under him, we would have a "war on terrorism", a "war on aids", a "war on Muslim poverty", a "war on anti-globalization", etc. His speech completely ignored domestic policy, which is disconcerting in itself. How can we attempt to meddle with all of these global problems while our own economy is going down the drain, and there is such a large divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots"? It's noble that Kerry says he wants to fight AIDS in Africa, but what about health care in U.S.A? It might earn him points to say that educating poor Muslims will be a priority, but don't forget the messy American education system's problems. I find it hard to believe that America can solve all of these problems without making compromises. If Kerry is going to be committed to doing something, fine, but let's not make it a half-assed effort in order to earn points in popularity polls. Kerry's final lines are garbage:

"America's resolve to bear the burdens and pay the price of leadership so that we may, as President Kennedy said on a cold January day long ago, 'assure the survival and success of liberty'"

"Bear the burdens"? Please. Yes, it's the White-Man's Burden to "globalize" the poor Muslim heathens (and get a mighty nice deal on their exports, like oil). America's foreign policy has been mildly self-centered at its best and downright nasty at its worst, and I have no reason to believe that Kerry's policy would be any different. While Bush may want to go into foreign countries with guns blazing in order to protect and increase American interests, Kerry is just as greedy -- except he would prefer to slip through the back door while no one is looking. Before Kim Jong-Il can say "Holy che-gi-ral (shit)!" , there'll be a McDonald's on every corner of Pyongyang. Look forward to Kerry continuously playing up his "war hero" image and increasing the comparisons to John F. Kennedy as the presidential race moves into full force. Finally, let me remind everyone that John Kerry is a member of the Order of Skull and Bones (along with Bush). Now, far be it for me to cry conspiracy, but it's a known fact that this group is a self-serving, power-crazed, secret society. I do hope that someone grills Kerry on the topic one of these days.

Spam helps me lose weight

This latest installment of my favorite spam is just what I've been waiting for -- an all-pizza, no-exercise diet! And if I can lose 22 pounds like the email says, why, that would bring me down to 113lbs! Then I can pursue my modeling career! Yay! Thank you, bulk email!!

To: Me
Cc: (other people with similar email addresses)
Subject: Eat pizza, watch TV ... and lose 22 pounds
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 12:26:55 +1100

Hi !
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You're probably asking yourself, "Ok, so how does this stuff actually work?"

Power Diet Plus contains Lipotropic fat burners which are scientifically proven to increase metabolism and cause rapid weight loss. No "hocus pocus" in these pills - just RESULTS, RESULTS, RESULTS!!

Here is the bottom line ...

I can help you lose 10-15 pounds per week naturally, without exercising and without having to eat rice cakes all day. Just try it for one month - there's nothing to lose, and everything to gain. You will lose weight fast - GUARANTEED. That is my pledge to you.

Wait a minute. If there's nothing to lose, how can I lose weight? Is that saying that I'm gaining a loss in weight? Zha??
And it's pretty cool that I can lose 10-15 pounds per week. If I continue with the program, in just over two months, I'll vanish into nothingness. Send me them pills!

Old News

This is somewhat old news (Sept. 2002), but I thought it was an interesting article and still relevant to our upcoming Gulf War II. The Bombing of Afghanistan as Reflection of 9/11 and Different Valuations of Life by Marc Herold. From the article:
A weak president was able to turn this into the quick-fix of a revenge attack upon Afghanistan. A quick response was also desired by our culture with its penchant for the fast, the instant, the get-to-the-solution. A strong president would, instead, have stood tall and demanded the patience and resolve of the American public in tracking down the criminal perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, using the combined powers of the international intelligence communities.

There are those who would criticize the author for neglecting America's loss and focusing entirely on foreign deaths, but as the author states, "I have chosen, today as we remember, to focus upon Afghanistan because it is the lesser known of the twin tragedies. It is the 'Other' tragedy." If the mainstream media had done it's job of reporting the facts and providing a balanced story, there would be no need for articles like these. Here's a fancy graph: graph

"To say that the civilian deaths from aerial bombardment are unintentional is sophistry, because if there is a probability that the bombs will hit civilian targets, then ipso facto the civilian deaths are not unintentional. This is tantamount to saying that a drunk driver who did not intend to kill someone in an "accident" should be set free for lacking of such intention...aerial bombardment always already intends to kill civilians, despite the best intentions of military planners."

The above quote reminded me of a recent cable news anchor interviewing a retired general or some other "expert" and mentioning "...a war with Iraq could mean possible casualties..." Hello? "possible casualties" in a war? Of course there will be casualties, and lots of them! The problem is that Americans are largely blind to all the death that war brings. Even in the last Gulf War, the media was kept far away from the front lines, and most of the war footage was coming from the DOD, particularly all the video game "smart"-bomb cameras. Don't think the military isn't carefully controlling what we see. In an article entitled What Bodies?, Patrick Sloyan describes one battle in Iraq and the ensuing cover-up by the army. It is a literal "cover-up" -- the "Armored Combat Earth" movers' jobs are to go through the battle field and plow over all the dead bodies. Think about that. Finally, back to the original article:

"Washington's war on terrorism is primarily a euphemism for extending US control in the world. Following its bombing of Iraq, the US wound up with military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar. Following its bombing of Yugoslavia, the US wound up with military bases in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia. Following its bombing of Afghanistan, Washington appears on course to wind up with military bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and perhaps elsewhere in the region. Thus does the empire grow."

By all accounts, the "clock is ticking" toward a war with Iraq(even though the president originally said there was no timetable...). It may be too late to stop the clock, but it's important for Americans to see the real toll on human life that war takes and the priorities our culture (not to mention the culture of terrorism) places regarding the value of one person's life over another's. Do life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness not apply to the rest of the world's civilians?

Save your pennies

I was wandering around Newbury Comics today for quite a while and ended up not buying anything. I figured it would be a better idea to save my money. Stevie Wonder can wait. Well, that was a short entry.