Tag Archives: God

Do As I Say

Today the Pentagon announced that it was dropping war crimes charges against five detainees at Guantanamo Bay after the prosecutor who was to try them resigned, and accused the military of withholding evidence that could clear the men. Of course, because our government is making up the rules for the war on terror as it goes along, with little regard for the human rights we supposedly esteem, new trial teams have been appointed for the men while, according to published reports, the military reassert their case. It is likely that the men will be charged later and forced to face the kangaroo court that the current administration refers to as a military tribunal.

Jose Padilla is an American citizen who was declared an enemy combatant after being arrested on U. S. soil. He was held without any charges being brought against him for over three years. After being convicted by a Florida jury he was given a seventeen year prison sentence. When he was eventually charged in a civilian court, none of the accusations leveled against him were related to the alleged, domestic dirty bomb plot he had initially been detained for.

When I visited Gitmo many years ago before the first Gulf War I looked beyond the wire fence that surrounds the U.S. Naval Air Station, and I saw a barren panorama spread out before me. Today there is prison where I stood and looked out through the wire, and the men held captive there are predetermined as enemies of the state.  Like the naked land that stretches out beyond that fence, the future for those being held there is as bleak as the landscape.

In the directive issued March 28th, 2003, that details the Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, it specifies that captors should “not relate terrorism to Islam”, and that “it is inappropriate to equate any religion to such heinous activity”. After the Abu Ghraib abuses in Iraq that came after it, the directive has the appearance of being mere lip service despite the fact that Cuba is a long way from the Middle East.

At Republican rallies, back here in the United States; the Democratic rival is announced derisively as Barack Hussein Obama, his middle name making the implicit connection to TERROR. In television ads that are running infrequently due to the McCain campaign’s depleted war chest, republicans continue to infer a link between Senator Obama and domestic insecurity, sticking with dogged determinism to the strategy that got them into such a mess. I guess you dance with the one that brought you.

Believe it or not, all human’s are created equal and are entitled to a speedy and fair trial, and we are all still welcome to exist regardless of what we believe is God. These things aren’t solely an American birthright though, everyone who lives should share these entitlements, and more, simply because we are human. America cannot hold the World up to a standard that values human rights if we think that our citizens have more of a right than people in other countries. Either all men are created equal or not, and if we cannot match our actions with our words then maybe we should be saying something different.

Dark days are ahead if we do not get a handle on the systemic hypocrisy that plagues us after the last eight years of Bush. We could wind up with even more troubles than we already have. No one wants to live in a world where government employees eavesdrop on private phone conversations, and then joke about the strangers personal lives while on a coffee break.

Joe Biden said something I agree with, that growing up in his neighborhood; if you had a problem with someone you said it to their face. I would go the Vice Presidential nominee one further and say, don’t feed me a line of crap and glad hand me to my face, if you know that you are going to turn around and do the exact opposite. Because of America’s diminished standing and influence around the world after the last few years, I hope that everyone feels exactly like me on November 4th when they go out and vote.


Please Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself

Growing up in The Bay Area, The Tubes were one of my favorite bands, and long before I ever became one myself, their song White Punks On Dope was anthemic for me. Back in the day, it wasn’t their over the top stage show which included; gigantic pills with legs, soft core porno cheerleaders, platform boots so high that KISS wouldn’t go near them, and a maniacal ring master who called himself Quay Lude, that compelled my adoration.

Music starts working its magic at your ear hole and if it doesn’t happen there, then all of the fake blood, and laser lights, and satin spandex in the world isn’t going to turn things around.  To this day, the bands that I really love make it happen with sound, and when they can add some wild theatrics to the mix, that’s just gravy.

By the time  I returned to the West Coast in the early nineties my buddies from high school had discovered The Grateful Dead. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the traveling circus that the Dead had become by that point, it is difficult to convey with words what these shows were like. The best way I can describe it is that they took rock and roll as far as it can go each and every night, and that those of us who were  lucky enough to have been there for the ride relished every damned minute of it.

At the Dead shows the audience wore the costumes and acted like fools, while onstage the boys in the band took the crowd on a ride that felt like sex on a roller coaster. Not only was everyone high at the shows, we were all high on the same batch of drugs. Jerry eventually died of a heart attack in a rehab center while trying to cure himself of his heroin addiction, but at those shows he played that music as though charged by God himself with the task.

Eventually I lost my mind and my innocence all in the same night at one of those shows. Knowledge is a tricky business, and I have spent the majority of my adult life yearning for the ignorance of my youth. Once something is known, it can never become unknown to you again and on one fateful night I learned that the old adage is true, you really cannot ever go back again.

Humans are stubborn, and as one, I have proved to be quite tenacious when desire wells up within me. It is not surprising that I continue to refer to  the blissfully mindless days of my youth as good old ones.  Thanks to you tube, nostalgic dalliance is right at our fingertips and wasting the day away remembering the moments that were has become an international pastime.

I suspect it would be a strange feeling to randomly encounter myself in a video of an event from my past that has long since been forgotten.  I know that it was pretty wild when my brother’s face filled my computer screen unexpectedly not long ago, causing me to leap excitedly up from my chair like a maniac before I called everyone in my family to validate the reach of our brave new world.

It turns out that Grateful Dead Parking Lot was filmed by a couple of guys named Chris Corsello, and Mike Patterson who lived on the same floor in the dorms over at Cal State Sacramento as my brother. Bill isn’t even the same guy anymore as the one who appears at 4:54 in the video wearing a tye dyed “Space Your Face” tee shirt that I had bought just prior to melting down, and that he inherited from me.

He has kids, and is a business man, and he likes guns and expensive tequila, and he is not going to be stoked about this post. Back then it was all duuuuuude, and sweeeet, and totally maaan. Nowadays the guy is all business and that’s the way it has to be when you have three kids and a mortgage.

Somebody said something about the penalty for not recollecting the past is that you are forced to repeat it over again.  Thanks to technology we are able to relive history on demand regardless of whether or not we can remember it, and sometimes those images from the past don’t jibe with what we have become.  We have created a situation where our past can return unannounced and sometimes the version that returns to us is the one that we wanted to forget.


Pat’s Pretzel Logic

You have got to love Pat Robertson, a man worth a cautiously estimable 200 million dollars,  because he thinks that Christians in America are subject to “abuse and discrimination and bigotry”, “more terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history”.  Now obviously this is not even close to being even remotely like what is actually true, but never the less, the guy has enough people that agree with him that he can say any kind of ridiculous thing that comes into his head and money pours in regardless. It is a pretty sweet racket that he has going actually,  and if people are stupid enough to throw dough at the guy, who am I to hate on his ill gotten and lavish lifestyle?

Sometimes the thoughts that form in Pat’s head escape through his mouth providing the reasonable people with some comic relief, like when he told us that  Planned Parenthood was nefariously teaching our children the ins and outs of beastiality, along with “everything that the Bible condemns”.  After the horrors of September 2001 Pat sagely informed the world that the tragedy had taken place because, among others things, American government at it’s highest levels had,  “insulted God”. Pat assured his reputation as a crackpot when he asserted that homosexuality and Satanism are synonymous with one another, that “the two things seem to go together”.  Suffragists took umbrage when he suggested that feminism was merely a guise for an agenda that encourages women to, “kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians”, but Pat doesn’t care what anyone thinks especially not women because according to him their place is where he, a man, says it is.

The sham news department for the Robertson founded Christian Broadcasting Network posted an article on their website asserting that voters feared voting for Barack Obama because it would mean that he would be “instantly assassinated” upon receiving the Democratic nod, (http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/311019.aspx). One woman interviewed in the article claimed that she would not vote for the Senator from Illinois because she didn’t want to be “responsible for signing his death certificate”. It is common knowledge that Mr. Obama has a Secret Service detail that is comparable only to the one that accompanies the President.  Self righteously suggesting that reserving support for the man is the best decision, because the white powers that be in America will never let him survive, is akin to the reasoning that rationalized slavery as appropriate and segregation as necessary.   

Rudy Giuliani seemed pretty stoked when Pat Robertson, who openly called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, endorsed his doomed, one trick Presidental bid. Tonight pundits are speculating on the demise of the aforementioned candidate, and certainly the candidate himself is scratching his head, wondering how things could go so wrong with the support of such an influential and well regarded partner like Pat Robertson and his willing followers. The possibility exists that despite the continued stream of revenue that continues to flood CBN and fill Robertson’s pockets, the actual influence of the one time candidate has obviously waned and might even be the kiss of death for a potential occupier of The White House. No one knows for sure why Giuliani’s campaign ultimately failed, though his singularity of purpose could be blamed, I like to think that by hooking his cart to Robertson’s falling star he helped to hasten the demise of a campaign that was doomed from the start. 

Pat Robertson is neither demigod nor prophet and the things he says undermine the credibility of his sanity, giving the impression that he lives in a world where God has a voice that it uses to deliver bad news. With people like Robertson spewing nonsense, the world  will continue to be divisive place and humans will continue to focus on their differences and not on shared similarities. On the up side, with Robertson’s ilk roaming around , the ambitions of the ill fated will always have something other than their own shortcomings to blame for their failures. 

All Pat Robertson quotes came from here: http://en.wikiquote.rg/wiki/Pat_Robertson