Monthly Archives: July 2010

F*ck your “greater good.”

Not to belabor the point, but Wikileaks absolutely has blood on its hands. And if, as it has been reported, the White House voted “present” as the names of thousands of Afghani informants were released, the administration has blood on its hands as well. I’m hesitant to accuse the president of malicious intent, but I do believe that he just can’t be bothered with things that don’t pertain to his immediate agenda. He doesn’t sweat the details in matters of foreign policy and national security. He doesn’t believe in the war, doesn’t care about the war, just wants it to be over–why should he bother about some vicious, anti-American, self-important hacker?

Mr Gates, an ex-CIA director, said ‘one of the worse aspects’ was that the leak had breached the ‘sacrosanct’ relationship between the military and its sources.

‘Will people whose lives are on the line trust us to keep their identities secret?’ he added.

This is the most outrageous violation in the entire affair. The betrayal of people who are actually risking their lives is unforgivable. Informants must have the assurance that they and their families will be protected for doing the right thing. If we can’t promise even that, we’re no longer the country we claim to be.

And who’s this little prick?

Private Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence specialist, is under investigation for allegedly leaking other material, including a classified helicopter cockpit video.

It showed U.S. soldiers laughing as they gunned down Afghan civilians and two journalists in a firefight in Baghdad in 2007. He was picked up in Iraq, where he was working.

He is now believed to be the suspected source for the latest leaks, and has been transferred from Kuwait to the U.S.

Give me five minutes and a 2×4…

Coolest tattoo material. Ever.

This is the coolest tattoo inspiration EVER.

Valhalla Rising was the kind of movie I watched in the days before Mr. HG and the Bluebell. It was dark, strange, extremely northern, and kinda gross. Mads Mikkelsen was–again–strangely compelling as One Eye, and he never spoke one word. Mr. HG was not a fan of the film, but he says he didn’t hate it, and he sat through the whole thing without laughing or complaining. I was expecting more Ragnarök than a character study, but it was good.

There were a lot of silent shots and extremely graphic violence, and I’m still unsure if I am underthinking the movie, or if I’m “getting” it. But the cinematography is amazing. Shot in Scotland, the landscape made me cold and numb. The environment is as much a character as One Eye or the Boy. There were some shots of lush ferns that made me want to sink into them.

I’m going to receive the Pusher trilogy from Netflix in a few days, and I’ll let you know how I like it. I’m not sure I can get MR. HG to watch it with me though. I think he’s had enough of Nicolas Winding Refn.

Desert girl hearts the top of the world.

I’m going through a Scandinavian phase in books and film. I’ve really come to like Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s thrillers and I’m mildly obsessed with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. He’s such a versatile actor, and more than a little freaky-looking, (in a strangely compelling way). Tonight we’re watching Valhalla Rising, in which Mikkelsen sports the indigo warpaint tattoos that I’ve coveted for ages. I’ll admit, this was the main reason I was drawn to the film, until I realized that it was directed by the same guy who directed the Pusher series, about which I’ve only heard good things. The fact that Valhalla Rising is a dark, twisty Viking tale of the apocalypse only makes it better.

I’ll let you know how it is, but I’m 87.6% sure I will not be disappointed.

Interesting.

Interesting piece by Newt.

Discuss.

Things that make you go, “Hmmm.”

Although I’m still distracted by the robo-spam warnings from Future Me of Apple’s morph into the Alliance in the near future, (a future in which I am holed up in Mal Reynolds’ bunk–with Mal, of course–for as long as possible), there are other things to think about.

Like this.

I’m sure that the Japanese tanker just fell down some stairs or bumped into the seabed or something.

Oman’s coastguard said there was no evidence of any attack on the tanker and instead cited an earthquake.

“The boat was hit by a tremor …we have no information of an attack,” an Omani coastguard official told Reuters.

The Strait of Hormuz remained open and it was “business as usual,” an official from the Omani ministry of transport said.

Yeah, earthquakes are always causing explosions on ships. It’s crazy how often that happens. Nothing to see here. Nothing to worry about. Carry on.

In which I fail to censor myself. And care less about it.

The Wikileaks guy needs to be thrown into a foreign prison for an extended period of time. How can he, in good conscience, leak the names of Afghan informants? That’s beyond irresponsible, beyond disgusting, beyond reprehensible.

In just two hours of searching the WikiLeaks archive, The Times of London found the names of dozens of Afghans credited with providing detailed intelligence to U.S. forces. Their villages are given for identification and also, in many cases, their fathers’ names.

U.S. officers recorded detailed logs of the information fed to them by named local informants, particularly tribal elders.

Julian Assange, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, claimed on Monday that all the documents released through his organisation had been checked for named informants and that 15,000 such documents had been held back.

Imagine that–the douchebag lied. Shocking. The words I’d like to use to describe this cocksucker are completely inappropriate for this forum. So I’ll refrain from calling this self-righteous, self-indulgent little weasel what he is.

What a cowardly prick.

How do you like being a merchant of death, Julian? These people you’ve exposed, along with their families, are more than likely going to die. And they will die horribly. Their wives, their children–and it’s all on you. How’s it feel? No matter what you tell yourself alone in the dark, the coming deaths are your fault. They are on your head. The weight of their souls will always lie on you, you fucker.

You better hope there’s no justice in the afterlife, asshole, or it’s Tartarus for your cowardly ass. You a betting man?

“It’s all the same look! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton also struck down the section of law that makes it a crime for someone to fail to carry immigration registration papers and the provision that makes it a crime for an illegal immigrant to seek or perform work.

If I get stopped for a traffic violation, the cop is going to ask me for my license. If I don’t have it with me, I’m going to get in trouble. If I write a check at Target, I’d better have my ID. But if I’m an illegal alien living somewhere I shouldn’t, it’s illegal for law enforcement officers to ask me for ID even if I’ve done something wrong.

What the (cuss)?

Talk about transparent pandering. It’s disgusting. Infuriating. Maddening. I guess the next time I get stopped at 1am in Gila Bend on my way to Phoenix, I wonder if I’ll get away with declining to show my ID. I doubt it.

There is something seriously wrong with a country that outright refuses to enforce its own immigration laws. What’s the benefit? Cheap, exploitable labor in a time of high unemployment? That’s a brilliant strategy. A guaranteed voting bloc for the party that protects the rights of habitual lawbreakers? I thought only citizens were supposed to vote. Or is it illegal to ask voters for their ID too?

I will keep hoping that reason will prevail, but it’s not optimism that keeps me going. It’s sheer determination, really. But I’m not holding my breath.

Robo-spam.

So I’ve spammed everyone who’s ever had a passing email exchange with me. I’m sorry. I’ve changed passwords and that should be enough. If I start spamming you from my newer, primary email address (see right hand column), then I’m in trouble. I haven’t used the violetrix account in quite awhile, as I have all of my email forwarded to the newer hyacinth account. If I keep spamming you from the violetrix account, let me know. I’ll just delete the account.

Sorry, guys. I’ll try not to robo-spam you again.

Context.

I found Raymond Ibrahim’s work through Victor Davis Hanson’s website more than a couple but less than several years ago, and I’ve been a fan ever since. His analyses of the complicated goings-on in the Middle East are serious, scholarly, and damned informative. I try to check out his site a couple times a week, which isn’t enough, really. He’s a prolific writer.

Anyway, I came across this today, and I’ll admit that I felt a bit sheepish about a post I’d written last week. I was feeling so good about my multiculti tolerance, I completely overlooked one of the most obvious arguments for banning the burka: uh, criminals can hide under it. Duh, right?

I’m no less susceptible to the brainwashing of my public school education and my relentless appetite for what passes for pop culture than anyone else, and while I do believe that people have the right to whatever religion and religious practices they choose, Ibrahim’s right (and not just ’cause he’s easy on the eyes)–aside from being a symbol of subjugation and sexual discrimination, really bad guys can and do hide under the bedsheet to escape justice. Therefore, our PC sensibilities have slammed headlong into reality yet again. Ain’t it grand being a grown-up?

Ibrahim also makes a point that has been proven throughout history:

The burqa ban is ultimately a reminder that those religions that do not “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s” always will be at odds with secular societies.  Indeed, when it comes to Sharia mandates that conflict directly with secularism, the burqa is but the tip of the iceberg.

The prevalence of the burka in Western Muslim enclaves is an indicator of the increasing radicalism spreading throughout those communities, in spite of (or despite) the freedoms offered by the host countries. I was recently in my hometown of Yuma, Arizona, a rural border town of roughly 100,000 people, and I counted at least 3 women in various degrees of Islamic dress. In Yuma. I never met a Muslim–that I knew of–until I left home for larger cities. I knew Hindi families and Catholic families, but I can’t remember ever seeing a woman in a headscarf for religious reasons. Yuma is a hick town in a backwater corner of a big, mostly empty state (I still love you, Yuma), and yet radicalization has come.

Moreover, according to former Islamists, a direct correlation exists between radical Islam and burqas — that is, wherever there is an increase of the former, there follows an increase of the latter, which is seen as a physical manifestation of radicalism.

I am duly chastened, sobered once again by reality. It’s been known to happen.

Why?

Why didn’t the White House try to stop Wikileaks? For one thing, if the country sours on the war in Afghanistan, Obama is the hero for bringing our troops home. Perhaps I’m being too cynical, but I’m aware of historical precedent. Another reason could be that we’ve got a bunch of ineffectual pantywaists in office at the moment; career politicians more concerned with fundamentally remaking this country before they get booted out in November than they are about winning wars or securing the country.

Maybe Obama thinks Wikileaks is right, that the world does need to know America’s secrets.

Whatever the case may be, we are (cussed). This guy needs to be out of a job (his first real job, no less) no later than ’12.

What color are your roots?

What a bubbleheaded lady writer. I don’t know about you guys, but I think that I should be paid to write. Give me something to write about and I’ll give you the best damn piece on that subject. Or in that genre. Or whatever.

You want me to write about the social significance of retro-chic tea houses or the latest trends in hair color, and I still won’t ever, ever, ever sound as lame as Kathleen Parker.

Got your back.

I’ve been on a short vacation through several circles of Hell this week, (at least it’s warm!), but I’ve been meaning to say something since the whole Sherrod-Breitbart thing broke:

I support Andrew Breitbart. I always will, barring some sort of Mel Gibson-esque meltdown/psychotic break on his part. I like this post by Scott Johnson of Powerline, because I think Breitbart is a sort of latter-day Buckley. He’s fantastic, and the scope of his vision is staggering. Here is a man who is truly trying to change things–and from the Left Coast, no less! He’s freaking heroic. He didn’t check the full context of the video and someone got fired by reactionary, poll-driven politicians–there should be an apology. But does this mean he is untrustworthy, dishonest or discredited? Nope. If Dan Rather gets away with “forged but true” National Guard records, I think an actual man of integrity like Breitbart should get another chance. At least Breitbart wasn’t trying to ruin someone’s life, unlike Dan.

Keep your chin up, Breitbart. I’ve got your back, brother.

This might mean something.

Maybe this is a sign that the all-too-inevitable, forthcoming American “public option” is a bad idea. I mean, if the Brits don’t want it anymore, maybe we should be paying attention.

Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.

The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost because layers of bureaucracy would be abolished.

Imagine that–less bureaucracy and more control at the local level! It’s almost like centralized health care is bloated, ineffective and overpriced. Just like many of us said it was. Hmm.

Highly improbable.

image

As ridiculous as it sounds, the sun has finally shown its hot, scorching face for the first time today. Nearly 6pm and it’s no longer raining at the waterpark in Arizona at the end of July.

I’m not complaining about the rain. There’s no way we’ll get another day like this. Tomorrow’s going to suck.