Thursday, February 28, 2008


There’s a great website that all people interested in government illegalities and inconsistencies should know about. It’s called “Wikileaks” and so explosive does it seem to U.S. Government authorities that a judge recently tried to close it down by issuing an injunction order to the service provider which issued the domain name. That means that you can no longer access Wikileaks by going to BUT, you can go to and find the same information. Hurray for unfettered access to the internet and all those who provide it.

To give its flavor, here’s a little item that appeared in one of the documents at Wikileaks, the one containing U.S. Rules of Engagmenet (ROE) for Iraq. The document mentioned that U.S. forces can chase suspect enemies from Iraq into both Syria and Iran. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed-Ali Hosseini, immediately objected: "Any entrance to the Iranian soil by any U.S. military force to trail suspects would be against international laws and could be legally pursuable," the official IRNA news agency quoted Hosseini as saying.

Of course, the United States does not bother to be restrained much by international law. But it is deeply concerned about its lawlessness being publicly bruited about. It immediately called the leak of its classified document on Wikileaks “irresponsible.”

“While we will not comment on whether this is, in fact, an official document, we do consider the deliberate release of what Wikileaks believes to be a classified document is irresponsible and, if valid, could put U.S. military personnel at risk," said Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, spokesman for the command. (all quotes from article by Bi Mingxin, Feb. 12 Xinhua, as seen on Wikileaks.)

So there you have it. War crimes or invading other countries in contravention of international law are perfectly ok to U.S. officials. But leaking the classified rules (or even documents which someone BELIEVES to be classified) which allow such crimes—that is somehow unfair and irresponsible. Brave New World anyone?

Lawrence DiStasi

Monday, February 25, 2008

On Patriotism

The conservative assault on Barack Obama has already begun. Recently, Michelle Obama, the candidate’s wife, spoke about this being “the first time she has been proud of America.” The Right jumped on this like a rabid dog. “She doesn’t love America!” “She’s another liberal who wants to only knock our country.” And John McCain’s blonde, botoxed wife passionately observed that she, unlike Michelle, has loved America all her life. We were to get the message: John McCain loves America too, in a white way, a respectful way that no black man ever could because like Michelle Obama, we are meant to infer, black Americans have a grudge against America. And every American knows they have a right to that grudge, given the disgusting way they’ve been treated since being enslaved here; which is why they can’t be allowed to say it.

Nor is his wife’s comment the only patriotic deficiency being totted up against Obama. CNN reported on Feb. 24 that “the Ilinois senator does not wear an American flag lapel pin,” and has been observed “failing to put his hand over his heart while singing the national anthem.” Omygod! Not only is this upstart crow an African, he doesn’t conform to the standard of loudly proclaiming his patriotism with flag pins and the childish hand-over-the-heart gesture that has become de rigeur among politicians and other blowhards trying to prove their super-patriotism. And Americans gasp in disbelief. Doesn’t wear a lapel flag! Doesn’t put his hand over his heart! An apostate! A savage! No doubt an atheist who drinks latte as well!

And we have to ask (especially after the latest, a photograph, possibly altered, showing Obama in Africa in white headdress looking like an Arab terrorist) is this country ever going to get over this orgy of jingoistic bullshit? Are Americans ever going to look beneath the puerile gestures and proclamations of undying love for USA! USA! to see that those who indulge in such pathetic gestures are the ones who should be investigated to see what it is, exactly, they are trying to disguise? Could it be, for example, that George W. Bush’s super-patriotic stance is designed to cover the war crimes he’s been committing in our names since he first took office? Could it be that he’s trying to cover the fact that he was AWOL from his reserve air force unit half the time; invaded another country without cause or provocation in violation of international law; approved torture techniques in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions; approved spying on his own countrymen in violation of the Constitution? Could it be that all the fools who wear lapel pins in Congress are covering up their crimes: taking bribes from lobbyists, adding pork to legislation to pay off their bribers; going along with the corporatocracy in funding the most bloated war machine in history not to protect “the American homeland” but to protect the foreign business interests of the oligarchs who control them?

For my money, I applaud Obama for not wearing that stupid lapel pin, for not indulging in that schoolboy hand-over-heart gesture. Perhaps we finally have an adult running for president, a man who would prefer to focus on finally seeing to it that America, in Martin Luther King’s words, finally lives up to its creed: that all men, even those who don’t salute the flag of empire, are created equal. That all women, even those who are un-blonde, deserve a time when they can, at long last, proclaim their pride in an America that has, in recent years, more often made them ashamed. Perhaps that would initiate a patriotism worth the name.

Lawrence DiStasi

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's Gun Control, Stupid

Another week. Another senseless shooting at a college campus. Another young man with a history of mental illness--the kid with the unpronounceable name spent time in a mental institution after high school because he'd become unmanageable--who is able to simply go into a gun shop and buy the most lethal weapons available. No real background check; they only check to see if the person has a criminal record. Steven Kazmierczak didn't. So he was able to buy a glock pistol and a shotgun to add to his previous handgun arsenal.

Then he showed up on campus and started to kill geology students at random.

Now clearly the guy was mentally ill. But I am stunned by the most common comment: we can't stop this type of thing. We're all vulnerable. Some crazy wants to do this, it's impossible to stop.

Well yes. Always assuming that the crazy lives in the United States of America, where morons in the National Rifle Association are able to gut any meaningful gun control laws by appealing to the Constitution's Second Amendment. We have a right to bear arms, they shout. And Charleston Heston takes his stand menacing anyone who tries to take his gun away--from his "cold, dead hand." They'll have to kill me first.

No one wants to kill Moses. No legislator is brave enough to challenge the gun control lobby. So Steven Kazmierczak is able to buy his guns and blast away. After all, it's his second amendment right. Is that so? Does the Constitution give Americans, even crazy ones, the right to shoot randomly, lethally, with the best weaponry available, at perfect strangers? Apparently so. After all, it's in the Constitution (though in fact, the Constitution gives the right to bear arms only to militias).

And Americans say, What can we do? Only a moronic nation would allow this to go on. Only a nation controlled by idiots would defend the right of such people to kill. Only a nation steeped in killing itself would allow its crazies to slaughter innocents and call it freedom. Will such a nation ever wake up? Learn to read its own founding document? The signs are not good.

Lawrence DiStasi