Travelin South Is Good for the Sole

On the Amsterdam to Brussels snail-rail train this morning, I couldn’t avoid hearing an American couple across the isle. Nice little couple, in their 50’s, presumably travelling around Europe for the first time. They talked during the whole ride, it was exhausting. I put the volume up on the K’Naan album and luckily a hip-hop artist who grew up in Mogadishu can overpower the never ending child-like observations of Mr and Mrs Jones. Or Smith. or whatever.

Photo Hosted at Buzznet.comBut I did listen to alot of their observations, and some of it was interesting. They kept talking about what “was smart about european design” and what they should have in their homestate cause it would help with whatever problem they have back in Plansboro or boringsville Pennsyltucky. No offense to the Pennsyltukians, I’m sure you could teach the world a thing or to about something. Maybe.

So they did actually provide inspiration. Instead of just sleeping the whole ride down through the Netherlands, I looked out over the fields and the cities and I thought about the history of this place. How much things have probably changed yet if I look outside, the year could just as easily be 1955, if you cancel out the train that Im on, the mp3 player in my ears, and the whole wheat bagel I just ate. (who could find a bagel in 1950’s europe?)

I’m not a person with any religion, but I do love having 2 days off for easter. It’s always a weekend that reminds me of my familia; the A-Ren, and all the fun of being with them for holidays. But hey, here in the low countries, I have an equally great tradition from the past 4 years, of spending these days with my cousins in Brussels. Photos and vlog will be up soon, when I’m done eating pie for breakfast and lunch.

And since the photos aren’t uploaded yet, todays is of a dear friend who’s moving back to her island in the atlantic for the next 6 months.

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One of these Taylors is a Sociopath

Actually I don’t know anything about Charles Taylor the Republican House Rep from North Carolina. I just found it fun that he shares a name with the ex-Liberian president now on trial.

Charles G. Taylor, American-Liberian. Meaning born in Liberian but having American roots in his family. I know it’s common human rights protocol to condemn him as a warlord, but can I just say – this man fascinates me to no end.

Photo Hosted at Buzznet.comNaturally if your family was hacked to pieces by his soldiers, you probably don’t want to hear this. But all the killing aside, this man is much more than a warlord. His behavior has been described by the BBC as that of a “showman” for his tactics during various moments as president where he would appear in distinct costume (military uniform or all in white) and his use of religion to justify his decisions (sounds familiar).

I’ve read the interviews over the years while observing his actions. With the reports coming out of the first days of trial, I’ve started thinking that perhaps Taylor fits the profile of a sociopath. I’m Portuguese from New Jersey, which makes me automatically qualified as an amateur social worker, so lets use the sociopath checklist on Taylor:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
  2. evidence suggests — CHECK.

  3. deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
  4. – seems to be his specialty. Check.

  5. impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
  6. – not sure, but the fact that he got caught – check.

  7. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
  8. he started lots of wars, and he’s pretty aggressive in interviews. half-check.

  9. reckless disregard for safety of self or others
  10. the scores of dead and maimed would prove this one true. Check.

  11. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain steady work or honor financial obligations
  12. money has repeatedly gone missing under his care. Check.

  13. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
  14. well, he has collapsed on the ground and begged forgiveness from god. But during this trial he seems completely withoout remorse. So this ones hard to tell. Half-check.

I’ve said it many times before. The world needs an army of psychologists to be rapidly deployed wherever people are suffering or have suffered. They can evaluate the situation, work out the collective and individual issues that lead to conflict, and identify the leaders that are mentally unstable.

Shit, I just noticed there is additional criteria for classifying a sociopath. somebody get me Taylor’s childhood behavior record, I’m on the job.

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More Opium for the Masses

Danish cartoons… Danish cartoons... Danish cartoons.

I bet Denmark never felt so important as they do right now. Apparently it’s the new center of the universe.

Lots of blogs will be writing about it. Newspapers certainly won’t shut up about it. And unemployed, poor, angry, irrational, passionate, religious people have been driven to violence over it.

Danish Cartoons.

Thing is, it’s not the cartoon I want to comment about. It’s not how we should intepret the Koran or what free speech is either.

What disappoints me, besides the fact that, sorry my Danish readers, Danmark isn’t the spokescountry for me or the rest of Europe. Nevermind that. But when I look at how passionate, how driven, and how in-a-frenzy many people are over these comics, which depicted a religious figure in an offensive way… and then I think about how the American public barely reacted, when their government lied to them about going to war, planted a spy at the new york times to promote their policies, outed a CIA agent.. all using the media…

Part of me wishes the West had such energy, such passion. Instead of the misplaced anger and hatred always revolving around religion and images… I wish people took to the streets in overwhelming numbers in the US.. and stayed there, boycotting, marching, refusing to get back to life-as-usual. But no. Instead… it’s not in the US. It’s in the middle east and amongst certain muslim populations. And it’s not about life and death and lies and manipulation. It’s about cartoons and religious images. DANISH cartoons. ho-hum.

ps – If it were charicatures of figures from the Jewish religion they’d be declared an anti-semetic newspaper. If it were Catholic’s being maid fun of, an apology would have been issued before you can say Pope Benedict. Every religion is chock full of angry idiots, the double standard just makes it worse.

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Fine I’ll Talk About The Pretend War

I’m just gonna list a bunch of points tonight, because I’m generally annoyed with the story that everyone seems to just buy into about some guy named Bin Laden and his request for a truce. I hate talking about what every other Tom, Dick, and Harriet is blogging about, but tonight I’ve got to be a lemming:

1. There is no war on terrorism. Call it what it is, another farce like the cold war where people are manipulated by fear and believe that they will be destroyed, and then send troops to various countries to kill other people and in the process also get killed, or otherwise torture and be subject to mental anguish that will plague society for generations.

2. Just like numerous political and business leaders make big money on this farce that destroys lives and countries, so too do these groups of what are known as “terrorists”. It’s a symbiotic relationship as pointed out in the most important documentary you can ever watch – muslim fundamentalists are dependant on the same factors as neo-conservative militants: manipulation through fear and religion, deamonizing a certain group in global society, acquiring financial and other assests through activities related to using violence or waging war, etc.

3. Just because someone claims they did something, doesn’t mean they did it. Whether you’re talking about fucking the prom queen or destroying the trade center, it does not prove you did it, just because you appear in a video tape saying so. There must be a proper investigation based on evidence, proof, FACT. (in either of those two examples)

4. Pictures, especially video, do not always tell the truth. You can certainly create whatever character, look, voice, etc. that you wish fairly easily with all the resouces available to the average crazy or non crazy person. If someone tells you Al Jazeera has a tape from AlQaeda and the CIA confirms it… why do you believe it? Has the CIA never lied? Could Al Jazeera be wrong? Or is it the fact that yahoo news, CNN, and Scott McClellen (a man who should be on suicide watch considering all the guilt he lives with)… is it because these entities report about it? Or maybe because Tony Pierce reports it… cause everything on his blog is true. Right? When did the world get so dam easily convinced about things that they no longer require REAL TANGIBLE proof for crimes and other deeds?

5. The “war on terrorism” is the ultimate gift from the gods for countless politicians of many parties, worldwide. They make entire careers and fortunes off of it. It doesn’t matter if tomorrow every rebel fighter in Iraq or Afghanistan suddenly came out of hiding naked with their hands over their heads — they will not give up this war business, cause it’s far too profitable to give up.

Now seems like a good time to watch Wag the Dog again. “He just ended our war!”What, how can he end our war, its not his war to end? ” We he did it, I saw it on television, so it’s over.”

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