The Friends of California Libre...

11 November 2005

Sunlight Seen from the Bottom of a Trench on Armistice Day

Greetings, friends,
I woke this morning to the loud buzzing of low-flying aircraft, and like a dream a squadron of World War II AT-6s came over my house. I was suddenly reminded of the brutal memoir Empire of the Sun, where English author J.G. Ballard recounted spending the war in a Japanese POW camp as a teenager. When the Americans were first able to bomb the airfield next to the camp, then sent in a squadron of P-51 Mustangs, and young Ballard screamed at them, "Cadillac of the sky!" Even the AT-6s, small trainers, shook the house; that's a war holiday for you. I've enclosed a photograph for Nigel Bess and other young men to study.

First, two messages for my female friends, especially my innocent young goddaughters: take note that the contraceptive PATCH is getting a big warning label because of its overabundant estrogen and tendency to cause blood clots, and so alternatives are recommended.

Also, there is also good news if you are trying to get access to the "Plan B" morning-after contraceptive, which our newly-minted Christian FDA has blocked for several years now; you can get prescriptions online at this site:

Refer to this article for further information:
Dr. Pill to the Rescue
By Lynn Harris

Meanwhile, my friends in France are probably fed up with over two weeks of rioting in the suburbs, although it is hardly a surprise to me and I doubt it is for them. At least they have a sense of humor about it; see the enclosed weather report courtesy of M. Adam. For less joking and more substance:
Rioting Spreads to 300 Towns in France
By Angela Doland
The Associated Press

Perhaps this will bring down another center-right French government, but I would be surprised if the Africans and Arabs rimming the large cities of Europe will see much good come out of it.

Anyway, if I could get out of Los Angeles this weekend, I'd certainly want to be staggering around the USC-Cal game in Berkeley, where I could drink as much beer as I'd like with chummy strangers from two of my alma maters, and even attend a pre-game SC rally at the Greek Theatre, where Bishop Desmond Tutu inspired me to start a personal war with South Africa twenty years ago. As I am every day reminded at the Central Library how stupid people are, I miss the university, where on game day smart people are permitted to wear the stupid disguise for an afternoon. So I won't know who to root for tomorrow.

Now here's something interesting; in one American state the Christians preach their own type of stupidity:
Kansas School Board Approves Controversial Science Standards
By Jodi Wilgoren
The New York Times

On the flip side, in Dover, Pennsylvania, no less than eight members of the school board were voted out for doing something similar (thanks, Andrea):

In rebuttal, our favorite televangelist, Pat Robertson, warned the people of Dover that they "just voted God out of their city"...and they'd better watch out, 'cause Pat's God is a mean, ornery fellow:

Now I've got to admit, I don't mind Pat cursing small towns or suggesting certain foreign leaders be assassinated. I mean, free speech is the American Way, right? I just wish Pat would put his money where his mouth is and go after these people himself. PAT ROBERTSON - ALIAS would be a big hit for ABC, a new reality show where pistol-packin' Bible-thumpin' Pat gets to travel the world, imposing the will of his God at the point of a gun.

Anyway, all this talk about beer and God and killin' must mean it's Armistice Day again, one of America's four big "floating holidays", the others being Independence Day, Christmas and New Year's Day, representing the only things important enough to take off a Friday for: war, freedom, God and a hangover. Here we call it Veterans' Day, although if I were a soldier in any country I'm not sure I'd want to have my holiday celebrate the Armistice of 11 November 1918 (11th hour of the 11th day of the 11the month...blah blah blah...and wasn't it the 11th minute? What-ever!), which merely set everyone up for the slaughter of World War II. I'll accept Armistice Day for what it is: a commemoration of the last time the military was able to call a ceasefire before the politicians took over and institutionalized TOTAL WAR.

In that spirit, file this one in the "so ironic it makes you sick" category: the assholes who decided to demonstate their religious devotion by blowing up a wedding reception in Jordan managed to kill Moustapha Akkad, a Syrian film director from LA, among 55 others. Moustapha Akkad produced and directed a DeMille style epic about the life of Mohammed with Anthony Quinn back in the 1970s called "The Message", and two years later he co-produced the original "Halloween". They also killed one of his daughters for good measure. Is there no possible way we can get all these fuckers to agree to a time and a location, Osama and Pat Robertson and the 700 Club and all these nimrods in the Middle East, along with Dr. Crouch's Christians and half the population of Mississippi, just to duke it out, mano a mano, send them all to fucking Siberia so the rest of us can sit in cafes and drink pastis and ENJOY LIFE??

My particular let's-get-pissed-off-for-the-holiday mood has nothing to do with the somewhat pathetic rioting in France, nor is it practice for Christmas, the most pissed off holiday of the year. Maybe it started when I finally saw "Cold Mountain" via Henry's satellite dish last week. I'd read the book after some Southern writers I respect made it sound just the rebuttal to Gone with the Wind that we "hill people" had been waiting for. Reading the book was a personal experience not worth belaboring here, and besides there are only a few people (all Southerners with a taste for high drama) I could ever recommend such a heavy book to, for it was a fight to the end. In the most terrific fashion it reached deep into the pain of the Civil War, centered on the tensions in the "Up Country", the mountains of the Carolinas where my own family settled. Unlike the proper English plantation of the Low Country, the Up Country was populated by the Scots-Irish, the "scum of the earth". I've always been proud to call these people my own, but they are not a friendly sort, as those of you who remember the travails of Davy Balfour in Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped can attest. These people, the Lowland Scots, were molded into superb killers by 500 years of history. Protestants, they became good at killing English invaders and Catholic Highland Scots alike, until they were transported to the "plantation of Ulster" in Ireland, where they became talented at killing the Irish. Then many of them fled that poverty for America, where they migrated through Pennsylvania into Appalachia, where they learned how to kill Indians and Frenchmen. When the Revolution began in 1776, they were not interested at first in a war that was encouraged by the wealthy coastal slaveowners, but in the Carolinas the Scots-Irish found a new group to kill as they split into Whigs and Tories and killed each other, the one place in America where the Revolution became a bloody civil war. Then they killed more Indians, British officers and Highland Scots mercenary soldiers, in a sense fighting a war they'd fought a hundred years before back in Scotland. While all the cities where occupied by the British, these mountain people won the Revolution. The Yankees in the mountains did it to the British at Saratoga while Boston was occupied, and after the British occupied Charleston, my people in the "Up Country" did it to the Brits again in South Carolina....twice (King's Mountain and the Cowpens, if you're writing it down.) I read a whole book once just about the Battle of the Cowpens, just down Thicketty Creek from where my distant cousin John Champion lived, and that was also a fight with a book I could only recommend to my Southern friends. After the Cowpens, the Carolina militias and the Continentals lured the bulk of the British army down into Virginia and penned them in at Yorktown, where a wealthy coastal slaveowner named George Washington took all the glory thanks to the French, who bravely turned back the British Navy at the Battle of the Two Capes, and in the South this debt to the French is not forgotten.

You don't learn about how the Scots-Irish won the Revolution today, or much about the Revolution in the South in general, because of what happened over the next 100 years. Except in the urban areas, the people of the North and South came from very different cultures, and the slaveowners in the South did not comprehend that the North, which was profiting even more from slavery than the South, could somehow turn against that cursed tradition. The real Civil War, the horror that nearly destroyed self-government in the South, began long before the Civil War with the Yankees, when the Scots-Irish drove out the Cherokee during the Georgia gold rush of 1828. Greed and hatred destroyed the South, slavery, gold lust, the constant feuding between the Scots-Irish and the suspicion between them and the wealthy plantation owners in the Low Country. This is the background of Cold Mountain, and naturally I was more than a little pissed off that very few people reviewing the novel and no one reviewing the film understood this. To the casual eye it seemed way over the top (and not a little disconcerting watching Nicole Kidman play belle), but that's the nature of the beast. People in Appalachia DO forecast the future by looking at clouds and down wells with mirrors, and if I realized anything from watching this movie, it's that the war (and in the South it will always be The War) was ours to lose and lose it we did, and rightly so. I don't need a history book to understand the incredible destruction we brought down, because I can watch my ancestors move away from the poverty and murder again and again, from Carolina to Alabama, and then after the war to Texas and again to Arizona. So that's my Veterans' Day rant, and to hell with "the South shall rise again", because that's just exactly what Yankee snobs love to hear, as they lovingly restore all the nice buildings and mills in New England that came right outta the slave state.

Phew, well, here's a soldier's dilemma on Veterans' Day: good news! The towelhead who accused you of beating him just escaped from prison and the case against you will be dismissed. Bad news, he was one of the assholes who tried to blow New York off the map:
Pentagon: Top al-Qaida Operative Escaped
By Alicia A. Caldwell
The Associated Press
Fort Bliss, Texas - A man once considered a top al-Qaida operative escaped from a US-run detention facility in Afghanistan and cannot testify against the soldier who allegedly mistreated him, a defense lawyer involved in a prison abuse case said Tuesday.

That in mind, I think this goes without saying:
Why We Should Pay War Reparations to Iraqis
By Bob Schildgen
The San Francisco Chronicle

But the idiot Christian non-soldiers in charge want to rack up even bigger debts:
Bush Threatens Sanctions, Even Force, against Syria
By Maggie Farley
The Los Angeles Times
US Severs Most Contacts with Syria, Officials Say
By Farah Stockman and Thanassis Cambanis
The Boston Globe

Why should they respect the lives of foreigners or their own soldiers, when they have no respect for us?
Officials: Bush Picks Alito for Supreme Court
The Associated Press
The FBI's Secret Scrutiny
By Barton Gellman
The Washington Post
In hunt for terrorists, bureau examines records of ordinary Americans.
New Pub-Casting Chief Completes Right-Wing Coup
By Timothy Karr
Media Citizen

They don't even respect the people of God that put them in power (thanks, Geri):
Anti-War Sermon Brings IRS Warning
By Patricia Ward Biederman and Jason Felch
The Los Angeles Times

But GOOD NEWS, friends, because their time to pay the piper is drawing nigh:
CIA Probe 'Not Over' after Cheney's Top Aide Indicted
Will the Bush Administration Implode?
By Tom Engelhardt
By Sidney Blumenthal
Bush has so thoroughly destroyed the Republican establishment that no one, not even his dad, can rescue him now.

Bush's rule by weasels was doomed from the start (thanks, Mike):
Karl Rove's Dying Dream
So much for the permanent Republican majority.

We of the guilded class showed these scum who's in charge this week:
Labor Victory on Both Coasts
By Jo-Ann Mort
California Voters Defeat Abortion Notification
By Michael R. Blood
The Associated Press

But even here in California, there is no room to get cocky; if you look at our results, you see that only the good people of Los Angeles saved the bacon of our liberal friends along the northern coasts of the state. If you click on the link to "maps" on the right side of this page, you can see the results of our recent election county by county, and there's that red swath painting the whole Christian Central Valley:

Just when you thought things were changing, the beast in San Diego and Orange and Bakersfield and even Ventura, traitors! almost managed to impose their fealty to the Terminator on a statewide level. Curse them!

In the rest of the world, the fight is on!
Right Lite: The Death of German Conservatism
Amid the post-election noise in Germany, one salient fact has been
getting little play. German voters don't trust political parties to
the right of the center. It's been a long time coming, but its time
to write the obituary of German conservatism.
By Charles Hawley,1518,376015,00.html
The International Criminal Court Divides the Americas
By Lamia Oualalou
Le Figaro

And the Feds have reason to worry, because not too many countries are even trying to keep up with them as the world's number one war criminals:
Torture: It's the New American Way
By Rosa Brooks
The Los Angeles Times
US Denies UN Group Access to Detainees
The Associated Press
Cheney Plan Exempts CIA from Bill Barring Abuse of Detainees
By R. Jeffrey Smith and Josh White
The Washington Post
Vice President for Torture
The Washington Post Editorial
Negotiators on Torture Bill Feeling Heat
By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press
Only US Seeks to Justify Abuse: Human Rights Watch
Agence France-Presse

We turned back the weasels in Louisiana:
Prevailing Wages to Be Paid Again on Gulf Coast
By Griff Witte
The Washington Post
Rule was waived for post-Katrina work.

Anyway, that's about it for this week's rage. I've got to say, it's been very pleasant...from Miss Light opening her gallery to Ana and Duncan's lovely party on the beach, with the crescent moon and Venus hanging above the Pacific like an omen. But the outside world really stinks...I mean, now I find out that even Superman is a dick (thanks again, Mike):

Finally, perhaps our problem is that these evil people are just a bunch of "energy vampires" (thanks, Robert):

Vive le screed!

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