Don’t Use Their Words

by bicyclemark

Just because the white house uses a word to describe something does not mean it is true.

Just because the white house says something is so, does not mean we should all run around repeating it as if it makes sense.

That said, repeat after me… “I… state your name… will not use the term SURGE, to describe the tactics of the Bush administration in Iraq which involve vastly increasing the amount of soldiers being sent into an illegal war, which has morally and financially bankrupted the country, even though it was already declared over and successful like 2 years ago. ”

Surge is their media-spin word. Like when they used to call rebels against the occupation – insurgents, and it seemed like every media outlet and citizen adopted the word as gospel. They invent these words to make everyone feel better about themselves and the immeasurable losses they have suffered because of an irresponsible and incompetant collection of so-called leaders. They invent these words to make you believe in them and talk like them and forget who it is you SHOULD be angry at and refusing to pay one more tax dollar for war, while demanding their resignation.

I went looking in the non-US press to see if everyone else has been duped into falling for the bullshit as well.

From the archives of Flickr

– Lets see, the German FAZ:

zusätzliche Truppen in den Irak zu entsenden

They seem to call it what it is… SENDING ADDITIONAL TROOPS…. they don’t adopt some catchy name for it, so it seems they’re not zombies.

– The French LeMonde:

acheminement de nouveaux renforts et recherche d’un consensus …

The putting into action of new reenforcements… again.. no S-word, no catch phrase.. they call it what it is.

and lastly, my favorite Argentenian Newspaper Clarin:

pedido presupuestario de la Casa Blanca para enviar hasta 20 mil tropas de combate adicionales a Irak,

..the sending of 20 thousand more combat troops to Irak. Pretty simple, no secret words there.

So it seems in my quick glance at some foreign non english press, there’s no translation for bullshit; in this case, that annoying word that the whitehouse is hoping you’ll use while forgetting what they’ve done to you and this world. Maybe step one in the path to liberation, let us all stop learning how to talk about the world from the white house, history tells us they are the LAST reliable source when it comes to truth and reality.

Hard to Defend

by bicyclemark

Greetings once again from the drivers seat of this car somewhere in Portugal.

Briefly, as my hands are cramping up and I predict the neighbors will call the cops or sic the dogs on me…

I have spent a decent amount of energy doing what some might characterize as defending the president of IRan. Of course its not that i want to defend him exactly, but I disapprove of how the media uses and twists his rather odd and conservative words. Most of all I think the media have done a poor job of reporting about him without using sweeping generalizations that adhere to exactly what the warmongers of America would like to hear: the same ol pitch about him being so dangerous that we must attack and bla bla bla.

But recently with the whole haulocaust deniers convention… I gotta say it was extremely hard to lift a finger to defend the man anymore. Not that i want the war mongers to get there way, but man… you work so hard trying to understand and explain a very ignorant man and poof… he holds one of these conferences.

Mayor of Tehran yay.

Finally with the recent election results in Iran I got the ray of hope and clear sign that I was needing to boost the “Iran is not the boogy man campaign”. The reformists made some big gains, which means anyone who says the country is out of control and dangerous, has to face the fact that actually the country has some terrible politicians but it also has some brave and politically able citizens who see things very differently and can take back power using the political mechanisms in place (even if it isnt easy).

Not that Americans are so easily fooled these days, I certainly hope not. But I also like to prepare for the worst, and I know that the worst involves military leaders who love to plot wars and sit back and watch them unfold would love for the reformers to disappear and for the hardliners liners like Ahmedinejad to take over and hold lots of loony conventions. But if you ever needed one, here’s a clear sign…. peace is the solution here and if you respect a country and its citizens, let them make change from within and respect their decisions.. don’t threaten to destroy them.

Time to turn the engine on.. its cold in here.

Blogging and Friendship

by bicyclemark

Couldn’t sleep last night. And I don’t sleep much at night anymore since crossing over into the world of freelancing. A mix of too many things on my mind and too many concerns about what the future will hold and how life will be.

But last night there was one fundamental reason: my best friend.

We used to call each other “my heterosexual life partner” because ever since our first year of college up in North Jersey, that’s how it was. As we progressed through college we both found ourselves knee deep in the political science department, both admiring similar professors and strategically ending up in the same classes. It used to be my task to bring candy just in case the man needed a little boost during class. And as those years progressed, we always lived somewhere near each other.. on campus, off campus, never a dull moment with my boy D.

As college came to end we both went to europe for a semester. Him, interestingly enough to Amsterdam, and myself down in Aix-en-Provence. Naturally we visited each other and took turns showing our respective international student worlds. Not soon after we both finished our student life in New Jersey and the man ended up working for a very prominent human rights organization in DC. Myself I worked as a waiter in NYC, with aspirations of either being a freelancer for the then-still-alternative Voice or flat out taking off to live in Portugal. Portugal won that contest.

It was around that time, 2001/2002 that I launched this here blog. It was a place for my opinions on current events, as well as for telling personal stories… like this one. And underneath it all, it was the perfect way to continue the daily conversations and debates that D and I always had have. In a time when no one had heard of a blog and certainly not this one, he was there commenting… sometimes the only one.. and in my eyes the most important one anyway. Years went by.. and this blog changed.. I changed.. moved to Amsterdam.. and he also made big changes.. climbing the DC non governmental ladder (or thats how I saw it). Every year I’d go back to Jersey…. and he’d offer to pay my ticket for me to come down to DC and spend some days with him. And so it has been.. year after year.

Blurry DC 2005

But last night threw me off.. tho perhaps I should have been more aware of things. As lately I’ve been attacking those that celebrate the results of the recent US elections. I try very hard to stick to very strict expectations for the country of my birth, obviously you’ve noticed that I hate stopping to celebrate anything when in my eyes.. things are so disappointingly far behind where they could and should be. Somewhere in there I forgot some things.. most importantly my buddy who has been working very hard on a campaign in Virginia. Yesterday it was finally announced the candidate for which he had worked so hard for had won. And here I was, making my heavy statements, denouncing the entire outcome… I hadn’t (and should have) considered that in doing so I was insulting his hard work. It’s easy to insult strangers in vague sweeping statements, and I certainly do it, but last night I got to thinking about D and what Id been saying lately. Nevermind arguements and values and words… I was utterly depressed to read the angry and condemning words of the man I still think of as my partner in this life.

So here I sit in Brussels. Took the long train ride to come see family and feel loved… because I was hoping to find answers or at least clear my head. But I couldn’t NOT write these thoughts and these feelings. If you read the comments yesterday than you’ll see the statement that he won’t be reading this anymore. I don’t know if its a coincidence but he hasn’t responded to any emails either. While I can picture him yelling at me for writing this and being so dramatic… I’m willing to take that risk just to have this out there and stated.

Having already said too much Ill stop here. The point of this is not to make someone like me more than him, or justify anything Ive done. The point is for me to write how sad I am because I may have just alienated one of my oldest friends and a constant source of inspiration.

bm162 Remembering Paul Wellstone

by bicyclemark

It has been 4 years since the sudden death of one of the most progressive and passionate voices the US congress has ever known. In this program, with help from guests from Carleton College, the school where Wellstone taught, we talk about who he was, what he stood for, and what can be learned from him.

John Schott, blogger & professor of new media, Carleton College
Karina Hill, videoblogger & grad assistant at Carleton College

Wellstone Action