War

What is it to understand a war? The brutal history of the last century of conflict hides itself in cold documentary. The price of the millions who’ve died,fighting,civilians,cultures and families. The personal connections to a generation now gone,leaving us without intimate tales of heroism and fear. Stories that hit us in the gut and heart,make us bleed and soaked in mythic moral ambiguity. We have Glen Beck and outrage. Strength over all.

We aimlessly utilize our massive armed resources,capable of complete and unquestionable decimation,then get lost finding reason. We leave women and children struggling to survive while the world watches the middle east drown in savageness. Our priorities are war. Efficient destruction. Remote pinpoint death. Our failure is to bring meaning,to define success,and leave a wake of moral emptiness. We create new generations of terrorists. We are blind,disconnected,and callous towards those living with our God-like War Machine and its unmeasurable reach. We demand those people acknowledge our distant rightiousness. We discard any criticism. Defer to our obvious moral superiority. Those who don’t agree can’t be helped. We barely notice the massive undercurrent of renewed vows of hatred,promises to climb up our ivory tower and make us hear,once again,the consequences of our moraly justified actions.

Americans,isolated in our beautiful country and idyllic freedom,easily cast aside foreign advice. Our pride is our most glaring weakness as our strengths so numerous and recognized.

We take pride in our military,our patriotism and nationalism. We take pride in our uniqueness,in everything that makes us separate and different from old Europe. We truly embody the cowboy spirit. The lone hero. The individualism. The self-determination.

But I don’t want this to devolve into an argument about how we argue. We have to search for a deeper reasoning about each other,rather than rallying pawns around those simplistic and irrational ideals. We have to learn something from each other in this debate,or we will all pay.

There is no reasonable definition of success in war. Immediate objectives are achieved and positions are taken,held,advanced; but the momentum of violence spreads out from the impact in all directions. It is as easy to say we succeeded in Iraq as to say we have failed. Imagine a debate in which the entire concept of winning was absent; then consider what we accomplished in the Middle East and what the consequences of those accomplishments were. Things that are so easily labelled with Victory soon fade into complex chain reactions of violence and power,energy policy and humanitarianism,vibrating directly into the hearts of people in places like Iran.

Iran may be the pivot point upon which we find meaning in our wars in the Middle East. It provides a counter-point to our own zealous ego,a polar metric with which to measure our impact. Many Americans view Iran as two: the freedom-seeking youth and the terrorism-sponsoring old,a simplistic and meaningless account of our isolated pride. Iran will become,if it is not considered so already,the sole superpower in the Middle East with the ability to legitimately counter Isreal. And while Americans hold fast to our view of our "enlightened ally",we build up the foundations of disillusioned arab extremism. We are,after all,in their back yard,giving vast resources and condoning a bitter neighbor. Without our veil of righteousness,our motives must stand on understanding the end of our means. Our job as aggressors is not simply to justify them,but to bring a better alternative.

Our purpose on the anniversary of 9/11 will always be to prevent the blind massacre of civilians in any country for any self-proclaimed cause. We must hold ourselves to a higher moral imperative and seek the universal justice our religions,morals,and constitutions demand. The world cannot afford another holy war waged by doomsday citizen-soldiers who give up knowledge for unspoken righteousness.

September is the last of days of summer,when each night gets a little cooler than the last,and we grasp at the last few degrees of heat before the cold sets in. It’s 7:00pm at Thief Wine bar and outside is quickly growing dark. The cool smell of nostalgia mixes intimately with the blustery snow in the annual cycle of life,death,and rebirth. That time of football and politics. The dusty funk when the furnace kicks on for that first time. Throughout which I tend to the chaotic mess in my basement cave,blaring music and news at any hour,hell-bent on finding some meaning to the amount of suffering we all induce on this little planet.

tools of the trade.

The Analogy

Analogy is both the cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target),and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. In a narrower sense,analogy is an inference or an argument from one particular to another particular,as opposed to deduction,induction,and abduction, where at least one of the premises or the conclusion is general.

When we call Obama or Bush Hitler,we’re making an analogy. For an analogy to work,it must have a shared understanding of the premise of the argument: people have to know why the analogy works.

This becomes clear in the obvious format (where analogies lose all humor value) of "Obama’s Health Care proposal" is like "Hitler" because of X,Y,Z. Adding the whole "because" clause in there really ruins the fun of the analogy because it explains its basis: the fact that it has a generally accepted and obvious shared premise.

Of course,if it doesn’t have a shared premise,then the "because" clause comes in quite handy in explaining what was supposed to be obvious,your premise – thus proving that you have failed in your analogy. There is no shared premise. It has also destroyed any humor content therein.

So,you can skip the analogy portion of the argument,since it wasn’t all that funny anyways,and skip right to the because clause explaining the basis for the argument,which should clarify a few things on all sides.

I love this picture.

The Last Lambs Show: Friday at Garibaldi

At long last; we’ve spent the last magazine preaching the gospel of Saint Jasper Oppenhemier against the rotten failures and dark days of America. No more kicking against the pricks of government. No more brutal jokes or hyper-offensive jabs. No more fucking Ann Coulter in the wrecktum on company time. No more brutal fantasies about Sarah Palin and her moose. The Bush Era is gone,and we’re stepping down. Do what all burned out husks of politicians do,when they’ve finally reached The End. Write a book or some crap.

 

Time to move on.

Maxtone Witherball has suffered a severe stroke in his tympanic membrane. He gushed a mixture of oil,alcohol,and black blood out from deep within his bassist skull,draining his brain of its required bourbon and momentarily caused him to lose all reason,and decide to move to New York. He will be missed.

Cole Hammond mysteriously disappeared,leaving behind his rusty-stringed guitar and traces of sublime violence against the last pitiful remnants of local discredited pundits. It is believed he has gone on some sort of personal sabbatical fearing Friday’s show.

The remaining members have no plans to quit the industry of loud, guitar-driven vicious and violent music or leave the world of politics and social criticism. But the bounties are out on our heads,and there are those looking to cash in….

– Stetson McWinchester

The Milwaukee Tow Lot

When your car gets towed for expired registration,there are some things that must occur for you to retrieve your car. A pole being inserted into your anus shouldn’t be one of them,but sadly,it is:

You have to fill out a registration application and pay the tow lot for the application fee. Actually,as I found out,that’s not exactly true. You have to give the tow lot a check or money order with the application. Then,they mail the application and the check to the DMV, and give you your car. I did this on March 16th.

Of course,that doesn’t actually mean you get your car registered. You have to go register your car,write another check and pay the DMV for your registration. Apparently the idea is that then you run back to the tow lot and get your application and check back and trash it. The tow lot is supposed to tell you this according to the damage control specialist I talked to on the phone on May 7th. However,in reality, they suggested that most people drive illegally anyways. Therefore,they don’t really bother explaining to the criminals and low-lifes that frequent the tow lot.

What you normally do is expect the DMV to get the application and check, process it,and get your sticker in the mail in a couple weeks.

Unless they never receive the application and payment. In which case, you call the tow lot like I did on May 7th and ask them where the application is. They say they mailed it. I call the DMV,who says they don’t have it,and that they’re already working on applications received on April 25th. Then I call the tow lot back to act like an angered, profane criminal to complain about this grave injustice.

Which is when I was told about the criminal element that are the main patrons of the tow lot. I could have avoided all this if I had registered my car. Sure,which is a good excuse for you to not do your job: you deal with criminals. It’s unfortunate my situation has slipped through the cracks – my fault,of course. I’m a criminal. There’s nothing I can do – the tow lot says they mailed the check,the DMV says they don’t have it. This is _your_ fault now. Accountability diverted.

As a side note,the DMV was much nicer and more helpful than the tow lot in this whole debacle.

I noticed a few weeks ago that the DMV finally cashed the check I wrote for my registration when my car was towed. I went in today to register my car,but Lo! I could not,of course,marking the 4th or 5th time I’ve tried. The reason: there’s a late fee on my application (the emissions place doesn’t take late fees,only the DMV does). The DMV didn’t receive my payment in time.

So,I call the DMV and ask them specifically what date they received the payment. This,of course,leads to more confusion.

"When was the check mailed?"
"I don’t have that information,just the date on which we processed the payment."
"So you don’t know when it arrived?"
"No,all we have is the postmarked date on the envelope."
The audible sound of me slapping my forehead.
"OK,well,what’s that date?"
"May 15th."
"Great,thank you!"

I pull up my logs of when I called the tow lot and harrassed them the last time. May 7th. What a coincidence. Time to call the tow lot. After some introductions,I ask about my registration application. I don’t mention that it’s already been processed by the DMV.

"It should have been processed if all the information was correct on the application."
"And if it was?"
"Up to 10 weeks. It looks like your application was mailed out."
"When?" I snicker.
"… It’s not here in the notes. It’s usually right here. Hm… Let me pull up the database,can you hold please?"

"We mailed it out on March 26th."
"Really? Because I just talked to the DMV and they say the postdate is May 15th."
"They have it?!" Yeah,you see how I got you there? "… Well,we mailed it on March 26th."
"No you didn’t."
"Look,sir,I can only tell you what I see on my computer screen here."
"Well,the DMV says the postdate is May 15th. You’re saying that USPS lost it for 4 weeks? Cuz that happens a lot."
"I can’t tell you anything else. If you want to take it up further,you should talk to the city attorney."
"The city attorney? Really… ok."
"Or you can talk to my manager. You’ll have to bring the postdated envelope. I don’t know what’ll happen."
"OK,I can set up this fight between the tow lot and the DMV. What’s your manager’s name?"
"David Lawrence."
"Great. I suppose you wouldn’t like to give me his phone number?"
"Oh,sure! 286 5974."
"Awesome. Thanks,Linda."

So I call Mr. Lawrence,but his phone goes to voicemail. I leave a message explaining my situation. He calls back within 2 minutes,after what presumably is the time it takes for Linda to inform Mr. Lawrence that a really inconvenient asshole is about to call him about some check dates or something.

"Hi,Mr. Clay? How can I help you today?"
"Well,you see,I’m trying to figure out where my application check-"
"Yeah yeah,I got your message."
"What are you going to do about it?"
He quickly cuts me short again and business-speaks something and says "I’m not sure what happened but I’m going to send you a check for the $10. Normally,we send those applications out within 2 or 3 days. What’s your address?"

I hope I caused $10 worth of fucking annoyance. Ruined someone’s day over some petty fee. I wish this was over a $.50 fee instead.

Trees

God created the Earth. It had some trees. Right after God created the Earth,if you were to cut down a tree,how many rings would it have?

The Economic Faith of Risk

The economic crisis is now an ongoing example of the outcome of miscalculations by investors and bankers of how the market functions without regulation. As a whole,the country voted for this deregulation and any warnings were ignored and discounted. The housing market still boomed. Those subprime mortgages were bundled into securities. Those securities got triple-A ratings from credit agencies. At that point,we made the decision that the inherent and obvious risk in subprime market was ignored. Now we can all see the effects of this miscalculation,and we pay the price for our mistake in foreclosures,unemployment, executive suicide…

Now apply this dismissal of risk and its mistake to something like EPA,FDA,and Monsanto. We ignore and discount warnings,vote deregulation into office and justify corporate control into conflict of interest positions as free market sainthood. What if that mistake comes around? What will that look like? Instead of foreclosures and unemployment,maybe we can watch people die off in droves.

Quayle removed regulation from FDA control and brought in Monsanto to run policy,a policy that continues today. GMOs in corn syrup.

There’s a religious faith towards deregulation,that the corporate will is unquestionably just. This is the religious argument against science: that faith trumps knowledge,that science can be disregarded if there’s a dissenting opinion; "the jury is still out." The fundamental problem with this argument is that it destroys science: if you can pick and choose your scientist to suite your desired outcome, you can no longer follow the scientific process for gaining knowledge. You are left as a consumer of hand-picked knowledge,limiting the complex diversity of the world around us to a narrow scope that fits nicely and securely into your own worldview.

And you can hide that inherent risk.

Global warming,peak oil,geneticly modified food… the jury is still out. The problem is that when the outcome finally arrives,it may not be the one you expect. It might start looking more like your apocolypse rather than the safe conservative utopia that must be the outcome of human endeavor. If there was a scientist that said doing some action will kill your children,and another says that it won’t,and the cost of believing either is free, how is it rational to ignore the risk?

The risk is still there, whether you believe the outcome or not. To ignore it is to accept its consequences.

Remember deregulation? Even hippies have guns now.

There’s too much corruption,hypocrisy and bigotry in America. The demands of the few continually outweight the needs of the masses. Our democracy for the past 12 years has severed family bonds down the middle and embedded loving factions against each other. The trenches have been dug deep. Which all seems pretty standard for American rhetoric these days. Except that I’m talking about the citizens,not the politicians. Every opponent now must pass some threshold of idiocy before legitimacy is achieved. Yes,its fun and shocking to use words like "Fascism" and "Oppression",invoking important historical causes in hopes to stir the emotion of like-minded fools and shut out the opposition. It is far out of fashion these days to do something so dull and ineffectual as read a book about these subjects. And notice how often this country falls into the generational cycles of big government,deregulation,social upheaval,and protest…

First off,what does Burnanke expect to hear after wasting an hour spewing meaningless,obvious phrases like "The fundamentals of our economy our strong?" You have to take a brief moment from coughing up the coffee you were trying to choke down while listening to this to seriously ask what that meant. Seriously,one moment. Take a good cross-section of America and ask them how they feel about the "fundamentals of the economy" and even a gardening aging hippy losing his home and 401k will pull out that dusty shotgun to shove in your face and ask you in the nicest way possible to get the fuck off his property. The CEO who just gave up his bonus certainly isn’t prancing around his unsellable $2,000,000 home watching his options plummet. Only the fake public face of appeasement that is Our Government has the sickening audacity to say something so meaningless and stupid.

Of course they’re doing it for you. If they told you the reality of it, you’d just go shit yourself and run around like idiots,blowing each other’s heads off and hording giant cans of cheese-flavored high fructose corn syrup from the local grocer for the upcoming self-induced apocalypse. Because you’re sheeple.

A few people noticed when Obama signed off on the executive right to warrentless wiretaps and complete government immunity,making Bush Doctrine look weak and spineless. I quote from the Department of Justice brief: "[We] acknowledge the need to defer to the Executive Branch on matters of foreign policy and national security and surely cannot legitimately find ourselves second guessing the Executive in this arena." I was taught somewhere in grade school that the fundamentals of our government were based on the concept of Checks and Balances,that the Three Branches of Government,no matter who in this country can remember them,provide a mechanism to prevent systematic oppression and corruption from those in power. Never mind what the fathers of the constitution thought,we seem to have lost the most basic principles of political science,sold them off and grew up into a much colder,more difficult world where it was easier to latch on to big,dumb and simple things and vote for them. Vote for Christ. Vote for War. Vote for Equality.

This,of course,is lost on these new Teabaggers who declare independence from Obama and Big Government citing that distant false light of Republicanism under Bush. No,this is Fascism. Socialism. Because we spent like there was no tomorrow,pretended that we were small government pro-business,declared ourselves good patriots and fought blindly against evil. Now its tomorrow and the check is due and we’re all staring around with stupid looks on our faces wondering why we have to pay.

This is deregulation,OK? Can we remember this from now on? When the good times return and the hawks come in slick suits and whet our whistle with the promise of Bigger,Better,Faster: The Supreme Efficiency of Business!!! The Slow Contempt and Waste of Government!!! can we look back on the days when those who knew of Great Things in investment vehicles like credit default swaps!!! triple-A rating scores!! securitized mortgage pools!!! Make your dick bigger!!! and remember how it all turned out in the end? Remember the fraudulent criminals that went free with a big check from the taxpayers who believed them? Those that believed Government was slow,but Business was next to Godliness. You wrote that check in the 80’s,90’s,and under Clinton and Bush. Now it doesn’t really matter who’s in office – you owe,buddy America.

We could have let the market tank. Left GM to fail,let AIG collapse,turned the other cheek to Wamu and take everything down with them. Its such a monumental failure across the entire financial industry that the consequences are too daunting to comprehend. Its fairly certain that with that much capital simply gone from the entire system that there’d be runs on banks in every small town and major city as people fled with what’s left of their cash and measly retirement funds tied up in fraudulent securities. Naturally, there’d be those who could survive such a tragedy. They’re called The Rich. You and I,however,would not have that cushion of cash to fall into a smaller house. And that’s our investments. Now consider manufacturing industry and exports. The dollar drops and America can’t keep up. China buys out more cheap American companies. Think of all the things that you do every day that tie into the greater economy via imports,exports,investments,short-term loans for business,oil and transportation. These aren’t easy things to analyze in the face of large-scale banking collapse. Which is why Burnanke dribbles out his meaningless speech and everyone else clings to ignorance,assuming the alternative – whatever it is – is therefore better. The more meaningless it is,the more it ignores those troubling consequences,the better. And fuck the weak.

There is room now in American politics for some piece of these moronic,disorganized teabaggers. The indepedent voice of America is growing from a negligable voting percentage to a low-noise roar of disconent,no matter how incoherent. I think both parties see opportunities in this underground movement,though I’m not sure they see the better part of it. One approach is to herd the angry mob with whatever slick political appeasment they can light on fire and carry as a torch out in front. The other is to seriously consider the independent movement as legitimate and stop the intrusion of legislation into the personal lives and choices of its citizens.

It starts with removing religion from legislation. Ohh,hard first pill to swallow,eh? Without the protection of Goverment invading into Their lives,how can you be sure that you’ll be free to live yours? Said the one pig to the other. Can’t do it? That’s too bad. You should probably put that box of fake tea down,get back into your SUV with the Bush 04 sticker on it and go back to being a True Believer Bush-Era Republican, and stop using the independent movement as a costume for a better anti-Obama message. That sticker came with a thing called irresponsible spending that you simply neglected because we were doing the right thing! and you believed in it! Now a Democrat is in office doing what a Democrat must do after War and Deregulation have come home again. Its probably wasteful and pricey,but he’s following a plan that worked before – invest in everything you can and something will scores big.

Ah well. Get government and legislation out of social and moral policy. Implement fair market principles,not free market that manipulates government and benefits the biggest at the expense of not only the people,but small business. And for God’s sake,keep teabagging where it belongs: in the sleazy motel with that awful hooker you keep buying.

Is this hypocricy or shit rising?

One dissenting voice in the Senate is Republican Sen. John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the presidential race. The Arizona senator called the bill "generational theft." "We’re laying multitrillion dollars of debt on future generations of Americans," McCain said on CBS. "I can’t support such a thing."

John McCain. FUCK YOU asshole. Maybe we could just GO TO WAR AGAIN. We’ll just kill off the next generation rather than owe them anything. Perhaps making new American flags to drape over caskets that you don’t show on TV was a booming business in AZ,you ass-stain.

We’ll just throw this shit on top:

Bush Faithful Rewarded With Jobs

Bush made more than 100 such end-of-term appointments to a constellation of presidential boards and panels,such as the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission. Half of Bush’s appointments after Election Day were filled by donors who gave a total of nearly $1.9 million to Republicans since 2003