Air Force Global Strike Command Image Celebrating Martin King’s 83rd Birthday
WASHINGTON — Monday the Air Force Global Strike Command Programming Division published commentary claiming that slain civil rights leader and proponent of nonviolence Martin Luther King would be proud of a team commandeering the military’s nuclear-capable assets. The command’s ethnic, religious and socioeconomic diversity, presumably deduces commentary author Mr. Warren Ward, would outweigh any concerns by Mr. King that the vast technological enterprise could capably end the lives of all people on earth.
Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team — comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion — standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the U.S. arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. . . [ellipses AFGSC's] Our team must overlook our differences to ensure perfection as we maintain and operate our weapon systems. . . Maintaining our commitment to our Global Strike team, our families and our nation is a fitting tribute to Dr. King as we celebrate his legacy.
This is not the first time that Defense Department officials have tried to co-opt the legacy of the slain civil rights activist to forward the cause of military operations following his death. At a press conference January 13, 2011, then Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson, who heard Mr. King speak in person, said, “I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.” Mr. Johnson acknowledged Mr. King’s opposition to America’s involvement in Vietnam but claimed that contemporary military theaters constitute involvements with which Mr. King would have had special sympathy.
In analysis of Mr. Johnson’s remarks, Terri Moon Cronk for American Forces Press Service wrote, “[Mr.] Johnson said today’s service members might wonder whether the mission they serve is consistent with King’s message and beliefs.”
Quoting pieces of Mr. Johnson’s remarks, Ms. Cronk continued:
“The question is not, ‘If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?’ The question is, ‘If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?’”
Johnson compared today’s troops to the Samaritan, who chose to help instead of taking an easier path.
“I draw the parallel to our own servicemen and women deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, away from the comfort of conventional jobs, their families and their homes,” Johnson said.”
“Every day, our servicemen and women practice the dangerousness — the dangerous unselfishness Dr. King preached on April 3, 1968.”
Mr. Johnson further said that day, “Those in today’s volunteer Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have made the conscious decision to travel a dangerous road, and personally stop and administer aid to those who want peace, freedom and a better place in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in defense of the American people. Every day our servicemen and women practice that ‘dangerous unselfishness’ Dr. King preached on April 3, 1968.”
That evening in 1968, while giving his famous “Mountaintop” speech, Mr. King allowed his imagination to expand on the text of Luke and ponder the motivations of those two Hebrews who ignore the victim of robbers.
Mr. King said:
It’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure.
If we expand on Mr. Johnson’s take on the “Moutaintop” address, and the former general counsel’s drawing a parallel between the robbers, Pashtun and dissident militias; U.S. service people and the Good Samaritan, Mr. King would have intended the Samaritan to search nearby hills to capture or kill the robbers so that they did not trouble another traveler. If Mr. Johnson’s metaphor for the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts is naturally expanded in light of Mr. King’s speech, whether apparent Afghan and Iraqi victims are genuinely seeking “peace, freedom and a better place” should have remained suspect to American service men and women.
Of course Martin King’s legacy borders on an intensely critical eye towards U.S. military involvement overseas, repeatedly denouncing those who would decry a role for America as the world’s “police men.” His actual statements reveal a man who talked in absolute terms about violence and nonviolence, not in relationship just to the Vietnam War but to humanity’s longer-term plight and condition. Also in the “Mountaintop” speech Mr. Johnson referenced was this claim by Mr. King:
Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.
A year before that speech, on April 30, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. King would lay out his specific rationalization for opposing the war in Vietnam, the conditions of which stand in the face of the conflict in Afghanistan and a global annihilation strike force, whose technological prowess dwarfs any of the late 1960s.
I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money, like some demonic, destructive suction tube. And you may not know it, my friends, but it is estimated that we spend $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier, while we spend only $53 for each person classified as poor, and much of that $53 goes for salaries to people that are not poor. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor, and attack it as such.
Mr. King wrote that the violence pervading America’s inner cities drew ferocity from the death tolls the U.S. government threatened or did visit on millions of people in Vietnam. Today the U.S. government has legislatively enshrined the practice of killing minor citizens without trial, and a tolerance for murdering children reigns in the new, glorified technological wonder of drones, which have since replaced the vast carpet bombings of Vietnamese civilians. Mr. King rejected those bombings as evil.
Mr. King further said:
As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young [American] men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action; for they ask and write me, “So what about Vietnam?” They ask if our nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence I cannot be silent.
He added, “[T]he Vietcong, or to Castro, or to Mao, as a faithful minister to Jesus Christ . . . [,] can I threaten them with death, or must I not share with them my life?” What Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and South Vietnam’s National Liberation Front had in common were much larger threats and actualizations of democide. Yet in the face of disenfranchised Islamist extremists, the Air Force Global Strike Command and Jeh Johnson would have the American people believe that Mr. King would have celebrated the maintenance and deployment of nuclear weapons, in addition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How could the legacy of a man, who leaned quite nearly into pacifism, be thought of as pro-interventionist war? How has his legacy been co-opted by the huge defense establishment of the United States? How has this symbol of defiance and subversion become understood as an enemy of a state’s enemies?
To this end Internet Chronicle readers should look to 20th century French philosopher Roland Barthes’ and his dissection in Mythologies of a piece of 1950s nationalistic propaganda, a cover of Paris-Match, a publication incidentally still in print.
African Soldier Boy on Cover of mid-’50s Imperial French Periodical
Wrote Mr. Barthes (see Page 116) in 1955, “On the cover, a young Negro in a French uniform is saluting, with his eyes uplifted, probably fixed on a fold of the tricolour [French flag]. All this is the meaning of the picture. But, whether naively or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any colour discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so-called oppressors. I am therefore again faced with a greater semiological system: there is a signifier, itself already formed with a previous system (a black soldier is giving the French salute); there is a signified (it is here a purposeful mixture of Frenchness and militariness); finally, there is a presence of the signified through the signifier.”
This week the Air Force has tried to contrast its organization’s relatively sexist and (internally) racist practices from the ’60s, Mr. King’s world, with that of today. Mr. King signified equality in a sense in the ’60s and in the modern ’10s. However, it is by forwarding this image of Mr. King as a symbol of equality that the Air Force’s article seeks to whitewash his image as a proponent of nonviolence, as an enemy of militarism, as an advocate against a philosophy of retaliation.
As Mr. King said in an April 30 1967 speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.”
Indeed, maintaining a commitment to one’s nation, to the exclusion of other nations, touted by Mr. Ward flies in the face of the Ebenezer speech’s “call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation” and “call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men.”
Anecdotes evincing the inappropriateness of the Air Force’s most recent appropriation of Mr. King’s legacy flow freely, including this example from Riverside Church, New York City on April 4, 1967, in which he unequivocally said, “War is not the answer,” speaking not just of the Vietnam conflict but war in general. He added. “Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons.” It was in that same speech that the southern reverend saw a fork in the road for human beings between “nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.” Violence and coexistence have no apparent ready place in the rhetoric of Mr. King.
Barthes, again in Mythologies, wrote: “[T]he signifier already postulates a reading, I grasp it through my eyes, it has a sensory reality (unlike the linguistic signifier, which is purely mental), there is a richness in it . . . the Negro’s salute” is a credible whole, at its disposal “a sufficient rationality. As a total of linguistic signs, the meaning of the myth has its own value, it belongs to a history, that of . . . the Negro: in the meaning, a signification is already built, and could very well be self-sufficient if myth did not take hold of it and did not turn it suddenly into an empty, parasitical form. The meaning is already complete, it postulates a kind of knowledge, a past, a memory, a comparative order of facts, ideas, decisions. When it becomes form, the meaning leaves its contingency behind; it empties itself, it becomes impoverished, history evaporates, only the letter remains. [emphasis, mine]”
With respect to the Paris-Match cover Mr. Barthes adds: “[O]ne must put the biography of the Negro in parentheses if one wants to free the picture, and prepare it to receive its signified.”
RICHMOND, VA. — “We just seen the opportunity, and I couldn’t pass it up. I had to own a slave,” said Internet Chronicle Publisher Frank Mason, speaking to clerical staff and press called to a conference at 1000 Monument Ave. With Jeff Schapiro from the Times-Dispatch busily taking notes, Mr. Mason continued, lamenting that he could only purchase a worker’s mortal flesh, “his gametes but never his soul.” He emphasized every syllable with a bang on the marble table top.
“God ain’t legalized that yet,” said Mr. Mason with a dry, wheezing laugh, before ejecting a runny stream of “baccy” from between tarred lips into a spittoon two meters away, carved apparently from a human skull.
“See that spitoon over there?” he said, gesticulating for reporters and Richmond business leaders. “That there’s a Czech. You can tell by the shape of the unity lobe.”
Editor of Chronicle.su — and lifelong friend of Mr. Mason’s — Kilgoar Trout complained that he was given no say in the matter. “Frank wanted to own a human being, he said. He said it’d make him feel powerful. It does.”
Lebal Drocer is a limited liability corporation. In God’s new America NAFTA and GATT have railroaded the communist unions that used to effectively clip and snip job creators. Those days are over. 1999 and Seattle came and went.
And they lost.
In addition to having assembled Virginia business leaders and various Saudi investors to show off what he called “his new Chinese,” Frank Mason told Internet Chronicle enthusiasts present that he was encouraging staff to obtain concealed-carry permits as soon as possible, and to fasten as many rails as possible to any “tricked-out rifles” staff might have hoarded in secret rooms in their basements. “That one’s putting a clampdown on on everything holy. Like my grandpappy used to say, Jesus won’t tolerate no clip with less capacity than days in his months,” adding, “And I ain’t talking about February!”
It was at this point that Raymond H. Boone of the Richmond Free-Press left the conference.
Editor Kilgoar Trout shared his concern that the company was moving too quickly away from the model of documenting the most frightening developments in cybersecurity and the out-of-control, privately bought-out surveillance state. “With this new venture into human trafficking,” said Mr. Trout to the publisher of Southside’s Community Weekly, “Frank’s really hijacking my religion of peace.”
WASHINGTON — Monday a D.C. Public Library representative contacted The Internet Chronicle’s Washington Bureau for a second time to explain that lawsuit-bait The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture had been “lost” in transit from the Virginia- and D.C.-based Defense Intelligence Agency. The representative offered what to her seemed to be an unusual failure to account for a book, one which The Internet Chronicle had requested on inter-library loan but which she now says will be purchased for the edification of D.C. Public Library patrons.
The book, written under the pseudonym Ishmael Jones, is by a CIA case officer, specializing in human intelligence, or HUMINT, who was subsequently sued by “the company” in 2010 after the book’s publication.
“Although ‘Jones’ submitted his manuscript to the Agency’s Publications Review Board as his secrecy agreement requires,” the CIA said in an October, 19, 2010 statement, “he did not let that review process run its course and instead published in defiance of the Board’s initial disapproval. He chose to violate a contract that he, and every other Agency employee, signs voluntarily as a condition of service with the CIA.”
“CIA officers are duty-bound to observe the terms of their secrecy agreement with the Agency,” Director Leon Panetta said, adding, “This lawsuit clearly reinforces that message.”
This reporter has requested The Human Factor in order to conduct background research on the greed and incompetence, its author says, that defines the CIA. The two phone calls weeks apart from the same library representative from the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Chinatown indicate the book’s loss in transit is unusual.
Pro-Manning Protesters Outside of Fort Meade Tuesday
WASHINGTON – Retired Colonel Dan Choike, the former commander of Marine Corps Base Quantico, at which Private Bradley Manning was held, took the stand Tuesday and shed more light on the public relations and mental health concerns surrounding the incarceration of the Army intelligence analyst whose “Cablegate” document provisions to WikiLeaks sparked a global conflagration, culminating in the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement. Senior Quantico Marine officers anticipated ongoing complaints about the private’s treatment, and disregarded repeated advice from base forensic psychiatrists that the private did not need to be on suicide watch. Outright disagreement continued regarding the facts of an incident in which Private Manning alleges he was forced to stand naked. Col. Choike claims that he was offered a suicide smock and a blanket but refused those coverings.
Defense attorney David Coombs asked Col. Choike if he “knew” that Private Manning was asked to “put the blanket [covering him] back” when ordered to stand up. First the colonel replied simply, “no,” before adding to the attorney, “You’re talking hypotheticals.” As this exchange proceeded the private watched with wider, more interested eyes than usual, biting his lips.
Black-and-white factual disagreement also exists as to whether Private Manning was allowed only 20 minutes, as opposed to a full hour, of “sunshine call,” time outside in shackles.
The commander consistently ignored the advice of two psychiatrists, and Captain William Hoctor and Colonel Rick Malone — Capt. Hoctor’s advice particularly because one of his patients had recently killed himself while in the brig only a couple of weeks into his detention.
Presented exhibits included a “standard confinement pillow;” a “suicide mattress;” a green “suicide smock,” a cousin to the straitjacket; and two nooses — one a peach-colored makeshift bedsheet noose, the other constructed from sandbag ties. While defense counsel were quick to chime in that Private Manning had used neither noose, later this week Private Manning would testify to having made the bedsheet noose during his initial detention in Kuwait, a time during which American politicians and media personalities were roundly calling for the prisoner’s execution. Col. Choike cited factors that encouraged him to disregard psychiatrists’ advice that Manning not any longer be required to be put on suicide watch, a condition that would necessitate his wearing a chafing, restrictive smock the private claims gave him rub burns. Col. Choike, now a civilian employed at Stafford, Virginia’s Technology Associates, said the “seriousness” of Private Manning’s charges, “strained family relationships” and “erratic behavior” contributed to the continuing suicide watch. The “erratic behavior,” testified Col Choike, included “playing peek-a-boo,” “erratic dancing” and licking the bars of his cell.
Incredibly defense counsel claimed that the bar-licking might have been due to sleepwalking caused by anti-anxiety agents given to Private Manning. Neither side offered any details on the specific prescription medications given to Private Manning, but Capt. Hoctor said that Private Manning’s medication could cause sleepwalking and allegedly the bar-licking.
Col. Choike said that, instead of Capt. Hoctor and Col. Malone, he deferred to the chain of command and specifically the judgment of a dentist in charge of the Quantico medical clinic.
Both sides agree that Private Manning communicated to a guard that if he really wanted to hurt himself he could do with his waistband or his flip-flops. Col. Choike said that that guard took the statement so seriously that he relayed the concern to Barnes. In Mr. Coombs’ questioning of Col. Choike, he said that Private Manning was merely commenting on the absurdity of his being on suicide watch, a status that denied him more comfortable bedding and underwear to sleep in at night. Col. Choike said that subordinates did not make him aware that Private Manning was smiling when he made the observation, as Mr. Coombs implied.
Upon being questioned by David Coombs, Col. Choike disavowed the tone of a Dr. Seuss-ian poem in an email by Marine Corps legal counsel Christopher Greer to Col. Choike:
“I can wear them in a box. I can wear them with a fox. I can wear them in the day. I can wear them so I say. But I can’t wear them at night. My comments gave the staff a fright.”
Brig Commander Col. Robert Oltman would respond to Lt. Col. Greer’s email by himself referencing “Green Eggs & Ham,” signing his name “Sam I am.” On Wednesday, when he took the stand, Col. Oltman said that it would have been irresponsible not to take what Manning’s “flip-flop” line as being serious. “You don’t joke about suicide,” Col. Oltman testified, according to Bradley Manning Support Group writer Nathan Fuller.
Given the generally high rate of guilty verdicts in military trials, and his own offers to make a conditional plea “by substitution,” Private Manning’s defense strategy over the next three months hinges on calls for sympathy based, respectively, on the length of his pre-trial incarceration (over 900 days), and the severity of his treatment during that time. Private Manning will try to cut deals in which each day of his upcoming will count for multiple days, depending on how much defense counsel can impress upon Judge Denise Lind the degree of unpleasantness in at least 23-hour-a-day lockdowns in a 6-foot-by-8-foot cell. Private Manning has called for a dismissal of his case due to a claim that his right to a speedy trial was ignored.
David Coombs and prosecutor Major Ashden Fein are locked in a chicken-and-egg argument on the relationship between precautions allegedly intended to prevent Private Manning’s suicide, and those measures’ ironic, potential debilitating effects on Private Manning’s state of mind. The private’s treatment faced such scrutiny that it was enough to elicit criticism from a State Department spokesman and a U.N. special rapporteur on torture. Throughout his hours of questioning Tuesday’s witness Mr. Coombs tried to highlight for the judge and the press in attendance a contrast in the levels of attention Col. Choike and his superiors paid to public relations management of Private Manning’s incarceration, as opposed to the prisoner’s actual treatment.
Observers to the first day of the trial included Maryland Green Party Senate candidate and attorney Kevin Zeese and Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who briefed multiple presidents on the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As the trial was on recess, waiting in the observers trailer next to the courtroom, Mr. McGovern communicated his confidence that there was a net social benefit to Private Manning’s leaking of secret-classified documents. Near and dear to Mr. McGovern’s heart is fragmentary order (FRAGO) 242, revealed via the Iraq War logs, which Mr. McGovern said was the brain-child of now resigned CIA director David Petraeus, who then served as the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.
Field reports, made available through Private Manning’s infractions, reveal a tolerance of detainee abuse by occupying U.S. authorities, in light of FRAGO 242, named in one May 16, 2005 instance as: “Provided the initial report [of abuse] confirms US forces were not involved in the detainee abuse, no further investigation will be conducted unless directed by [higher headquarters].”
A November 29, 2005 press conference provides an exchange in contradiction with this fragmentary order, during which then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chair General Peter Pace exhibited differing perspectives on the blind eye UPI’s Pam Hess said the U.S. military was turning to prisoner abuse by Iraqi security forces, who Secretary Rumsfeld opined were doing a “darn good job.”
General Pace said, “It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it. As an example of how to do it if you don’t see if happening but you’re told about it is exactly what happened a couple weeks ago. There’s a report from an Iraqi to [General Karl Horst] that there is possibility of inhumane treatment in a particular facility. That U.S. commander got together with his Iraqi counterparts. They went together to the facility, found what they found, reported it to the Iraqi government, and the Iraqi government has taken ownership of that problem and is investigating it. So they did exactly what they should have done.
Secretary Rumsfeld said, “But I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it. It’s to report it.”
To this General Pace offered contradiction, “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it.”
Ray McGovern published a blog post Wednesday that details his own take on Private Manning’s treatment, which takes much inspiration from The Guardian’s reporting on the revelations Private Manning brought to the eyes of the world. Secretary Rumsfeld did publicly urge the Iraqi government to investigate grisly examples of prisoner abuse, while insisting on deferring to Iraq’s own investigative mechanisms, citing the occupied nation’s “sovereignty.”
From The Guardian:
A man who was detained by Iraqi soldiers in an underground bunker reported that he had been subjected to the notoriously painful strappado position: with his hands tied behind his back, he was suspended from the ceiling by his wrists. The soldiers had then whipped him with plastic piping and used electric drills on him. The log records that the man was treated by US medics; the paperwork was sent through the necessary channels; but yet again, no investigation was required.
The court has ruled that Private Manning’s own motives or the effects of his leaks, as The Internet Chronicle has previously reported while attending a pre-trial session, are to have no effect on the outcome on his sentence or charges. As evinced by the private two consective nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, his motives have elicited widespread laud.
As The Internet Chronicle reported last April, David Coombs’ pre-trial arguments suggested the possibility that Private Manning may have exercised personal discretion in his choice of particular documents to hand off to WikiLeaks, leaving open the possibility that the private may have removed information to protect U.S. assets, techniques, tactics and procedures. However, as was reported, “the defense’s suggestions that Private Manning, Mr. Fein argued, had performed self-redactions to mitigate damage were not material; the defendant, he said, lacked the direct knowledge as well as the original classification authority (OCA) to properly make such an assessment [of what to leak].”
In conversation with Kevin Zeese in the parking lot of the Fort Meade base theater, long-time source Mr. Zeese contended that, had any harm come to a U.S. serviceman or servicewoman, as a result of Private Manning’s leaks, political pressure would have been too seductive to avoid placing this additional heat on the private, despite the State Department’s standard line, dating back to December 2010, that it does not comment on leaked classified information.
“If the government could show the documents Manning released caused direct harm they would jump at the opportunity,” said Mr. Zeese. “I would be surprised if they didn’t.”
A SAVAGE JOURNEY INTO THE FLACCID HEART OF STATE LEVEL POLITICS
One evening, I called the White House switchboard — the keypad sign-of-the-cross of (202) 456-2580 — while drinking and watching the news.
WH: Hello. This is White House.
Tyler Bass: Hello, may I please speak to the President?
WH: . . . [hangup]
Jesus, I thought. Why even post the number?
RICHMOND, VA. - Behind U.S. Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb meandered a mentally challenged woman, middle aged and extremely happy to see him. Happy just to be there.
Mr. Webb talked to some of his more able-minded and eager supporters with his back turned to the woman and myself, a member of the press. “There’s more where this came from,” said a glassy eyed supporter as he waved a check around over his head.
Another follower sporting a Webb T-shirt incessantly tapped the candidate, alerting him to the bizarre woman Webb actively avoided. She had begun calling out for him, by name, over the rabble. She became, by this point in the story, too difficult to ignore.
On August 28, during the opening fanfare at Webb headquarters located at Radford Ave., a Wall Street Journal poll showed Webb in the lead, despite now obvious associations with the mentally handicapped, enjoying a 1.3 percent advantage continuing upward momentum after the primaries.
“Jim! Jim!” the woman moaned as her chin quivered in anticipation. She wanted more than his attention. The candidate initially avoided contact with her because of her custom t-shirt: a picture of Sen. George Allen with the screen-printed words “The Real Macaca” below his grinning face. She gestured to her shirt and persistently motioned to attract her hero. Eventually, Webb politely greeted her, and said he could make no comment on her shirt because “the press was nearby.”
The woman’s shirt referenced a controversial and widely analyzed incident which took place in Breaks, Va. on August 11. The Webb team posted video footage captured by a campaign volunteer, Shekar Sidharth. The resulting imbroglio caused Sen. Allen’s poll numbers to plummet dramatically. In front of a small crowd of supporters, he said right into Sidharth’s camera:
“This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is, he’s with my opponent. He’s following us around everywhere. And it’s just great. We’re going to places all over Virginia, and he’s having it on film, and it’s great to have you here. And you show it to your opponent [read: Webb], because he’s never been there, and will probably never come, so it’s good for you to see what it’s like out here in the real world.” Allen mocked Webb for traveling to the West Coast instead to raise money from a “bunch of Hollywood movie moguls,” right before finishing. “So welcome. Let’s give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.” From there, our Junior Senator segued into remarks about the U.S. War on Extreme Fear.
Because Sidharth is of Indian descent (and a lifelong Virginian), the speech fueled accusations that Allen was appealing to base Appalachian provincialism. After a slew of apologies, Allen claimed he made up the term “macaca”, and – while the word by some academic accounts is one French colonialists use to refer to ethnic Tunisian natives – Allen’s francophone and Tunisian-American mother said she had to look the term up in her dictionary, where she claimed not to find it. Webb maintained that Allen knew what the word meant and that its use offended him, because Webb has never heard bad words before.
Jim Webb himself holds the distinction of having produced and written the trite story behind “Rules of Engagement,” a 2000 film the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee called at the time “the most vicious anti-Arab racist film ever made by a major Hollywood studio.” Hollywood studios would not again meet its own precedent of cultural insensitivity until the 2008 release of Hurt Locker. Apparently forgetful, or — more likely — completely ignorant of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre of hundreds of Native Americans (to name just one time and place), Webb said in a Sept. 17 “Meet The Press” debate, “African-Americans are the only ethnic group in this country that have suffered from deliberate discrimination, and– and exclusion by the government over generations.” He says that affirmative action programs originally had good intentions, but – when they support everyone except white people (especially poor white people, as Webb says) – they constitute “state-sponsored racism” equated with white Jim Crow laws.
Allen, on the other hand, opposes affirmative action unequivocally. In his youth, he had a penchant for the Confederacy, and as a delegate opposed a holiday honoring Martin Luther King, a view shared by the same U.S. government whose leaders wanted him assassinated.
Standing in the gravel parking lot of Barnes’ Manufacturing of Kenbridge, Va., I made meager acquaintance with Carol Watson, mayor of nearby Victoria. Soon, Allen’s extravagant campaign bus pulled up and his press secretary, Bill Bozin, with bleached, gelled hair and shiny black shoes, stepped out followed by none other than Allen himself. Senator Allen was a tall man with dark hair and a red face, presumably from drinking. He slouches slightly, presumably also from drinking. An impatient crowd gathered around the Barnes main office — the office was brown with vinyl siding about the size of a double wide trailer — when Allen appeared wearing cowboy boots, just like his hero, George Bush.
I stepped into Barnes’ office, who bored me with asinine accounts of business as usual in his lumber plant.
Allen asked if Barnes exported anything.
“Nope,” replied Barnes.
The senator wore a look of disappointment.
Allen asked him what he was dipping, as the two men pulled out identical tins of Copenhagen. He commented on how that stuff was grown locally. I looked down into my front shirt pocket to see if my package of Marlboro Lights sported a local manufacturer, but the Senator snatched them away. “Good product,” he said. “That’s made in Richmond.” With an assertive nod of the head, he then handed them back to me.
As I reflect on those blue moons, when I would, at times, pick half-smoked cigarette butts out of ashtrays to stave off panic attacks, dark realizations flooded my consciousness. UST, Inc., I recalled, the company that manufactures Copenhagen, is one of Allen’s largest campaign contributors.
During what’s known as the Homestead debate, Senator Allen once said, “The people [of Iraq], regardless if they’re Shiite, Sunni or Kurd, are grateful for America liberating their country.” But the answer Allen gave at that time alleged religious differences were dangerously fracturing Iraq’s national unity. “There will be some Sunnis who will not be grateful because everyone will get to have their say,” said Allen. Even if it’s the most ignorant shit you’ll ever have the chance to say, you’ll get to say it, unfortunately for Senator Allen Macaca.
When it came to Iraq, Webb could only refer me to a substantial amount of paperwork he said existed about the issue. As Allen insinuated that Sunni Muslims were suppressing fellow citizens, Webb said for a long time that it wasn’t our military’s business to fix the situation with occupation.
“We didn’t go into Iraq because of terrorism,” said Webb on “Meet The Press.” “We have terrorists in Iraq because we went in there.” During that program, the two candidates differ because Allen seemed to want long-term U.S. military bases in Iraq, while Webb sees those as irrelevant if Iraq does prove safe. If Webb meant what he said as true, one thing was certain: His son was serving in Iraq at the time.
The answers I got out of Jim Webb and George Allen regarding net neutrality outlined the quintessential differences between the two major parties. Allen said he wanted a “permanent prohibition” on “tax commissars” he believed makes online access a hassle through government Internet-regulation fees. “I don’t want people’s Internet bills to look like their phone bills,” he said, hinting at charges you might pay for going over your monthly phone minutes. But “if you legislate too much,” he added, “you will slow the growth.”
Jim Webb told me that he doesn’t want surfers to have to “pay all of those extra fees” that Internet service providers might attempt to charge others for special services. In short, George Allen thinks that government interference will mess up the speed of Internet growth, while Webb thinks it’s worth the time the Federal Communication Commission is putting into it now. The confessions of the latter align more closely with advocacy groups such as Save The Internet, which supports the FCC’s traditional definitions of net neutrality, but he did not volunteer the sources of the debate because he probably did not use any.
To name just one example, however, STI claims that sometime back in April, America Online was briefly blocking all customer emails that mentioned dearaol.com, a campaign opposing the company’s attempts to charge for the most reliable email services.
After the short Allen meet-and-greet, I hit the nearby streets. Stephanie Landry, employee of Kenbridge’s Moe’s Italian Restaurant said that the issues most important to her were abortion (against), gay marriage (against), illegal immigration, and guns.
“Where would you draw the line on guns, though?” I asked. “That is, between your run-of-the-mill shotgun and the nuclear bomb?”
“The nuclear bomb, I would draw that there,” said Landry with a smile, clearly avoiding my question.
Landry’s family inspires her views on immigration policy. “My Dad and I were talking the other day; a lot of the [working] Mexicans are sending that money out of Lunenberg County.” White people are more deserving of an income than nonwhites, I took her to mean at the time.
Down the block from Moe’s, I caught up with Lunenburg County resident Roberta Ricker inside a local library. She claimed that half of the workers in the county’s manufacturing plants were illegal immigrants. “Without Hispanics,” she said, “the manufacturers wouldn’t know what to do.” She was also worried about the progress of the No Child Left Behind Act. “Why be supportive [of the act] and then cut the money in the budget?” she wondered aloud. The Iraq War, she opined, is “unjustified” and “a drain on the economy.” As an educator to juvenile inmates, she also worried that the corrections system “isn’t working right.”
Later that day, I made my way back across the RVA expressway and to that rally. When I found a moment, I walked up to Jim Webb and asked him, “What is a terrorist?”
A long stare, and his pupils went small. His chest stuck out and he looked pissed. That long and intense stare felt somewhere between, “C’mon, you little treasonous punk – don’t insult this rally’s patriotism!” and “Dear God! Moral Decay has progressed so much that no one can tell the difference between good and evil.”
After a blank pause, he growled, “Why?”
“Well, we call a lot of people terrorists,” I said. “Some people call the United States terrorists. I was just wondering if you could give a transcendent definition.”
He replied that a terrorist is a “quasi-military person . . . who represents a cause and is not associated with a nation state.” It is my belief that his answer reveals a telling, if tacit, policy difference between his opponent and him. During the Homestead debate, Allen alone characterized Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. But because Hezbollah’s political leaders are elected, it does not strictly fit with Webb’s definition. To me, anyway, Hezbollah seems a lot like the Irish Republican Army used to be.
On illegal immigration, Webb told me, “Build a wall. Keep them out.”
The Democrats continued to rally that day, buying votes with free hot dogs, lemonade and goods brought out by volunteers. The crowd hissed when they heard Allen voted against the use of stem cells for scientific research.
One man became so spirited during the speech that he yelled out one or more of the Bush Administration’s actions was “bullshit”. Moments later, I caught up with him: Gary Agisin, an RVA native. I asked him about illegal immigration, and he told me, “We need more immigrants – it brings in more jobs.” Sure enough, he made a strange bedfellow with Webb.
In the crowd, I ran into State Senator Creigh Deeds, a man who just made an unsuccessful bid for State Attorney General, and started rambling hopelessly about legalizing marijuana. Then, my driver who accompanied me to the Allen event began to joke with Deeds about Allen’s Press Secretary’s high-maintenance fashion stylings. Deeds couldn’t resist teasing Allen: “He surrounds himself with gay men!”
The Human Rights Committee and Alliance For Marriage kindly urge your participation in the upcoming referendum on a state constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriages and unions.
Houston–SlaveTech Enterprises office monkey Harold Strafford the Third opened fire on his colleagues Wednesday after contracting a rare, unseasonable case of the Mondays.
Police responded with deadly force. “This is like no case of the Mondays I’ve ever seen,” said Officer Mike Fish. “Today is Wednesday.”
Mario Kline, 32, described the gripping moment Strafford decided to murder his colleagues. Strafford stepped Kline’s wounded body just before succumbing to a hail of gunfire by responding officers.
“He strafed down aisle after aisle of cubicles, pumping a frenzy of lead into anything that moved – and all the computers. Especially the computers. It was horrible. I had all my porn on there, and some people are dead.”
Shotgun blast after shotgun blast, Strafford killed four people and injured seventeen others. Among his victims were two office clerks, a member of upper-middle management, and the secretary who greeted him at the door. Each victim was shot in the mouth.
Strafford’s attorney, Leo Steinbrenner, told reporters his client was “under a lot of stress” Wednesday, and had no patience for people constantly asking him what was wrong. “He was just having a case of the Mondays,” Steinbrenner explained, adding, “Sure, my client acted out of line; sure, you can call it a murderous rampage. But in a bad job market, my client is a maverick. [emphasis added] You can’t say he isn’t thinking outside the box! Try to look at it this way: my client is a job creator.”
A note found on the gunman’s untouched desk exhibits total loss of control as Strafford ultimately succumbed to the will of his unsuppressed rage, and urge to create jobs:
USELESS ENVisioning a pick-axe in your fucking face of raw bone pure fury hatred “Bella Mew. Monday. Wednesday morning murderhate.” Little faggot daughter suck a dick find a man, try to escape this loveless land, I dare you little whore– Try to escape My murderous hand.
“Old Brutus,” SlavTech custodian, said Strafford confronted him in the middle of his killing spree. “He looked me in the eye and said I’ve got a lot of work to do – ‘after all this’ – cleaning up blood, and guts, and stuff. He said he had no hard feelings toward me, mostly because out of all the weed he ever smoked in his life, he said just about all fifty pounds of it came from me and my people.”
Harold Strafford, just moments before snapping into a psychopathic killing spree.
No word yet on how the family’s victims will cope with today’s brutal tragedy, but sources are already reporting intake of marijuana, alcohol and barbiturates to ease the pain of losing a father, a brother, a son, a daughter, wife, a sister, a close friend – all beloved office drones – all sacrificed at the hands of a case of the Mondays.
Our prayers and the prayers of Lebal Drocer, Inc. go out to the SlavTech Corporation whose untold suffering won’t be felt until Monday, when Human Resources must undergo the arduous task of listing several job openings on the Internet date rape site craigslist.org.
"It is also my pleasure to clean up after you, and mop where you miss, when you piss. Mypleasurepleasedrivearound."
This is the story of Tony Hoagland, and countless others like himself, whose pleasure it is to serve up Taco Bell products to your ever-widening asses.
A carload of Taco Bell patrons order Gorditas and authentic Mexican Dorito Shell Taco Supremes through a box in the menu. The driver half-heartedly thanks the loudspeaker as he reaches for his wallet. “My pleasure,” grunts the box. The people in the car look at each other, and back at the driver, who mouths the words ‘my pleasure’ as he creeps up to the drive-thru window. Tony Hoagland, 27, reaches out to accept the man’s bills and, without smiling, asks if he would like any sauce. Hoagland can barely contain his joy, but after serving hard time for involuntary manslaughter, he is known to keep a good pokerface.
Hoagland enjoys serving customers so much, in fact, that he can not wait for their responses before he can relate his feelings to them, so he pours out all thoughts at once.
“That’ll be twelve o seven please pull aroun’ and thankyoumypleasure.”
His manager explained: To the untrained ear, it sounds like he’s just used to saying it four hundred times per day, for eleven hours straight. But to seasoned beef specialist Erin McMahue, Hoagland’s heart is clearly in it. “He just really wants people to recognize the pleasure he and thousands of Taco Bell associates deal with on an hourly basis, at hourly base pay.”
Taco Bell, McMahue explained, is all about the customer, and as much as the customer enjoys passing Taco Bell products through his or her repleted digestive system, the pleasure belongs mainly to the employees who serve them, who have said ‘my pleasure’ so many times the sensation of pleasure is no longer recognizable and – should it arise – may bring with it other familiar feelings, such as fear and contempt.
Taco Bell employees are reckoned by chronicle.su physician Dr. Langstrom H. Troubedauer to be the most pleasure-sensitive breed of Americans in the Western Hemisphere, surpassing Army wives, plastic surgeons, “even porn stars.”
Police retake control of a VCU Earth Day protest Friday.
RICHMOND – Police were stationed in and around various Earth Day tents where, among celebratory tye die t-shirts, crappy artwork and hemp necklaces, small pipes were sold, a clear sign that the non-aggressive pot smoking community are somehow winning the war on drugs.
Tents were allowed, and musicians were allowed to play at the event as long as they agreed not to mention the #occupy movement. Some did, and were arrested for trespassing.
Arresting officer Leroy T. Roane said one man kicked, screamed and spat in the faces of VCU security who attempted to escort him off the premises. In response to the offender’s jeering, Roane replied, “I guess you can arrest an idea, if it is trespassing.”
Walker Reddington, a Senior at VCU School of Psychology, witnessed the incident and reached deep within her intellectual capacity to surmise a reaction when she said, “Most ideas trespass all the time.”
Reddington, who was high, said the smell of patchouli incense attracted her to the scene. “I’m pretty hungry, though, so I’ll probably leave,” she said, adding, “Also I don’t have any money.”
Some of the cheapest, lowest quality items available cost one dollar and proceeds went to plants, rocks and mother nature, for whom there is no practical use of currency.