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12/07/01: United We Stand Commemorative Pistol
This was lifted from the American Firearms website (http://www.amfire.com) :
Accokeek, MD (October 9, 2001) - Beretta U.S.A. is proud to introduce the limited edition 92F, 9 mm United We Stand Pistol, which features a laser etched gold American Flag and the words "United We Stand" on the slide. Production will be limited to 2001 units. In addition, each United We Stand Pistol will be laser etched with "1 of 2001" on the slide.
Beretta U.S.A. General Manager Steve Parsick announced that Beretta will make a donation from the proceeds of the United We Stand Pistol to the NY City Police Foundation and Survivor's Fund of the National Capital Region.
"The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have left many of our fellow-Americans devastated and in need of help," said Mr. Parsick. "We are proud to have created the United We Stand Pistol as a way to assist those who have been so effected by the horrific events of September 11th. The United We Stand Pistol was created as a testament to the American sprit, which will remain unbroken during this time of national tragedy."
Like all 92 Series pistols, The United We Stand Pistol features chrome lined bore, external hammer, integral front sight, and reversible magazine release. As part of the 92 Series of pistols, the United We Stand Pistol joins a class of pistols that have enjoyed unrivaled success by a multi-national roster of defense and law enforcement organizations.
Beretta, the world's oldest firearms manufacturer, is celebrating its 475th anniversary in 2001. The company produces and markets, worldwide, a complete line of firearms, clothing and accessories, including: field and premium grade sporting shotguns and rifles; a full range of pistols and military arms; knives; and an exclusive line of hunting and sports leisure clothing.
To mark its 475th anniversary, Beretta is celebrating the release of the book, "The World of Beretta, An International Legend," which was written by R.L. "Larry" Wilson and is now on sale. A Beretta exhibit is currently underway at the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, where about 100 historical firearms will be on display to the end of the year.
For more information about Beretta and its complete line, visit its website at www.berettausa.com
12/06/01: PACHINKO's EURO MENAGERIE OF LIGHTS, BOURBON & BJORK
PACHINKO just returned from their European tour. Here is a letter that Brech wrote to a friend that he said we could put up on our website.
what a crazy time we're having i prague... last night we drove 10 1/2 hours through the austrian alps to find ourselves in prague, at the end of our shorter and shorter tour(tho' tonite we may play a gig here)
we decided to blow the last of our profit at a glitzy czech night club, the drinks actually cost more than a dollar, so we knew it was nice. hard to believe, but bjork's drummer was there, a tall man, who much like us, liked to drink hard and party harder. i told him that i knew the old drummer from the sugarcubes, siggi baldurson, he said that he too knew him, that they were old friends. yessirreebob, that was our in.
i told him that all tour i had been telling people that i once took a shower with bjork, and that it was crazy to run into her drummer. he laughed and made a phone call and within 15 minutes bjork arrived, i guess she was at a nicer club down the street. he had told her of my tall tale, she thought it was hilarious and we set to drinkin', goddamn can that girl drink, and dance, too.
after about 20 beam and cokes(which she wouldn't even let me pay for) i got her out on the dance floor to do her thing, the world was a spinning menagerie of lights, bourbon, and bjork. the next part i think i blacked out, but somehow all of us ended up back at bjork's hotel, it doesn't need to be said, but it was swank. the stereo in that joint was nicer than the clubs', things got bumpin'.
bjork kept bringing up the story about the "shower incident", i think it might have been the bravery of the beam, but i told her we might as well go take one. she said that her husband was in the other room,.... damn, ..shot down, .. but when she saw my heart drop, she reassured me that he wasn't a jealous man, BAMM!!, i thought to myself. i practically had my pants around my ankles, sprinting for the bathroom, once again, it was swank.
bjork followed me into the shower(imagine what king hussein might shower in), but she wouldn't take off her bejewelled panties, i kept ribbing her and ribbing her about it and finally she gave in, it turns out that she had shaven her pubic hair into a letter, (from the looks of it one that doesn't exist in the english language)the first letter of her husband's name, a husband which happened to be the the drummer, .... i guess he isn't a jealous man.
11/30/01: ANNIVERSARY OF FRANKENCHRIST
Today is the 16th anniversary of the release of Frankenchrist by the Dead Kennedys. More controversial than the album itself was the packaging: The Shriners filed suit regarding the cover (pictured were some of the ridiculous little cars they drive); and a poster included in the album was later the basis of obscenity charges against Jello Biafra and Alternative Tentacles.
11/28/01: NEW WAR TRADING CARDS
(from TOPPS website:)
A NEW SERIES DOCUMENTING AMERICA'S GREATEST CHALLENGE
This high-gloss 90-card set contains biographical information on the civilian and military leaders entrusted to guide us through this fight, statistical data and photos of military hardware. Kids need to understand that the President (and his team) will keep them safe and that evil-doers will be punished. Our cards deliver the details in a medium with which they are familiar and comfortable. Each pack contains 7 premium quality trading cards and 1 sticker featuring flags and patriotic designs.
11/28/01: KRIST NOVOSELIC LAUNCHES Inclusive Democracy?WEBSITE
Dear Fellow Lovers of Liberty & Democracy,
11/28/01: BRANDON CRUZ's LETTER UP ON WEBSITE AGAIN FOR SOME REASON
About 2months ago we posted a letter that character actor Brandon Cruz sent to Jello Biafra. East Bay Ray complained to us that Brandon had received nasty emails due to us posting that letter, which contained his email address. One person sent Brandon an email threatening violence which wasn't cool, so we complied with Ray's pleading to remove the letter. However, every day people are emailing us wanting to get a copy of the letter. So, here it is. Without his email address. Remember kids, violence isn't cool.
Date : September 24, 2001
11/27/01: WTO TOILET SUMMIT ANNOUNCED
(Singapore-AP) -- Jack Sim wants to break the silence on the topic of toilets. He's the founder of the 17-nation World Toilet Organization. The inaugural W-T-O summit took place recently in Singapore. And the members have declared every November 19th from now on World Toilet Day. Sim says the day will be used to promote awareness of the need for good toilets. The W-T-O has released nine aims, including improving the quality of toilet environments and promoting better toilets for all people on earth. Korea will host the next summit. Many industry members say that country has the best but most expensive toilets.
11/22/01: WHY DOC DART (Crucifucks) GETS HATE CALLS AFTER 9/11
It didn't take long for Doc Corbin Dart to publicly express his ideas following the Sept. 11 attacks. Since that day he's posted signs on the front of his Okemos house such as : "U.S. terror in Iraq makes Sept. 11th a tiny mirror image," and "U.S. Troops terrorize as cowards from the skies. They should be in body bags."
The reaction has been just as quick. He's faced everything from rocks thrown at his window to visits from the State Police, who, he said, walked around the perimeter of his property taking pictures. All along, Dart said he has also received menacing phone calls. "The threats at first were rather veiled, but starting last Wednesday or maybe the week before that, the veils came off. They've been completely death threats," her said.
One of the signs on Dart's house lists a phone number, which is how he's received most of his threats. Tapes recorded on his answering machine contain messages such as: "I'll brace myself for a long, long time...but in the end I'm going to kill all of you...all of you dead." "I will kill you if I get the chance."
Dart said that because of his opposition to the actions of the United States in Afghanistan, many people assume he's Arabic. One caller left the message: "Here's an idea-how about you camel jockeys go back to your goddamn country, leave us alone and pray to your fake God."
"Everything that I'm doing has been under the heading of the Animal Liberation Front, because human beings are animals and they won't admit it," Dart said. "There's not much that separates us from animals except that they're awake and alert and most humans are asleep."
To Dart, it is a moral imperative to act out against suffering in the world. He cites the assassination of John Lennon as a turning point. "That's kind of when it started for me. That was the final straw."
After multiple arrests during the mid-1980s in the name of various causes, Dart said he sank into a severe depression that lasted for years. About three years ago, he said his depression lifted and he began to work on what he calls "mystical trances," which he said is the antithesis of meditation. It is through his work with trances that led Dart to leave this message for anyone who calls the phone number posted on the front of his house: "His name is the number 26...He is the Messiah...He has arrived at the mountaintop...And no one on earth can bring him down." "Someone with divine authority had to step in and stop the destruction of nature, and the out of control propagation of the human species," he said. And Dart believes he is that authority. "But it's hard for people to understand that because I don't look the part." He said that there is a purpose to the expression of his claims, and that the signs are meant to "call attention to the terrorism initiated by the United States."
"It's not a local project, and it won't be finished until I've had my own impact on foreign policy," Dart said. That impact, according to Dart, would include a realignment of the United Nations so that more powerful countries don't have stronger influence. Also, he feels that the United Nations should go in between the Palestinians and Israelis to stop the violence there and begin negotiations until a fair settlement is reached, "for the Palestinians in particular." But the biggest impact for Dart would be to help convince the United States to "pull all of its tentacles out of the Middle East, and perhaps make reparations to the Iraqi people and others," he said.
11/18/01: AUCTION TO BENEFIT DIAL HOUSE (THE CRASS HOUSE)
22 Nov - 1 Dec : Art and Music Memorablia Auction
The DIAL HOUSE TRUST BENEFITIn order to help the infamous punk band Crass repay the debts that they incurrred in the purchasing of the house they've lived in for over thirty years and utilize as a local community center, a bunch of artists, music makers, etc have donated works of art and an auction begins next week on eBay.
Participants include: Cynthia Connolly, Pat Graham, Maya Hayuk, Tortoise, David Tibet (Current 93), Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound), Alec Mackaye, Sean Meadows, Modest Mouse, Winston Smith, Savage Pencil, V. Vale, Jem Cohen, Glen Friedman, and a lot more. Read on for more info about this amazing house and its efforts to offer an alternate way of living in the 21st century.
ONLINE AUCTION INFORMATION
All the pieces exhibited and offered for sale have been donated by the contributors. The auction will take place from 21st November to 1st December on ebay.co.uk. All of the work will be displayed here at the roving eye gallery and there will be direct links to the auctions on ebay if you want to make a bid.
For a really fascinating, inspiring, and totally worthwhile read
about Dial House, see
11/10/01: Mumia Abu-Jamal on detentions
Mumia Abu-Jamal on detentions
What was the most common response heard to the devastation that struck New York's Twin Towers and the Pentagon on 11 September, 2001? For tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of people, especially those in their 50s or older, the carnage and destruction of the aerial attack of 11 September brought to mind the flying squadrons of Imperial Japan when waves of them struck Pearl Harbor on 7 December, 1941. Over 2,300 Americans perished during that attack. As is often the case, people are often right. While there were obviously dissimilarities (Japan was a nation, not an organization) the psychological impact was indeed similar: shock, fear, outrage, and a massive military and social response.
After the Pearl Harbor attack, the U.S. declared war by the next day -- December 8th. It also embarked on an internal war of sorts, against Americans of Japanese descent. Within days of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the media agitated against Japanese-Americans, as did the Los Angeles Times, which wrote: "A viper is nonetheless a viper wherever the egg is hatched - so a Japanese American, born of Japanese parents - grows up to be a Japanese, not an American." Racist editorials such as this paved the way for people like U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 9066, which removed tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast, and placing over 120,000 Japanese men, women, and children in concentration camps, over 60% of whom were American citizens.
While there are far more Arab-Americans in the U.S. then there were Japanese-Americans in the U.S. in the 1940s, over 1,000 Arab-Americans are being held in secret, unlimited detention, with no meaningful access to lawyers. The U.S. Justice Dept. recently announced that it will monitor telephone conversations between detainees and lawyers.
So, that (internment) hasn't happened -- yet. At the time of World War II, the U.S. government announced it was fighting totalitarianism, and demanded hemispheric unity. As a result, some nations, like Peru, waged virtual war against their Japanese citizens. The Peruvian government froze and confiscated Japanese assets, shut down Japanese businesses and schools, and black-listed the entire Japanese community. Under U.S. pressure, the government forced some of its Japanese citizens to flee back to Japan; 1771 others were deported to the U.S., where they were confined to ugly, dusty concentration camps, in Texas. *These were Spanish-speaking Peruvian citizens*, whose only offenses were having Japanese ancestry!
Can what happened in the 1940s happen now? No? Why not? What if another bombing were to occur? Who can say?
Copyright 2001 Mumia Abu-Jamal
"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve
neither liberty nor safety."
"All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation
ought to know that war is the surest and the shortest means to accomplish it"
09/17/01: Tamim Ansary on the Attacks
BY: Tamim Ansary
(Note: this was originally posted listing him as a Professor at Berkeley. We have just heard that is not a Professor at Berkeley, but someone with a lot of insight.)
I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps."
It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food.
There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already.
Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.
New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs.
But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand.
What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan.
Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first.
Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west.
It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?
09/14/01: MORE FROM MOORE on the ATTACKS
Across America Tonight ...
I am on the road tonight, the only way to get out of L.A. and back home to our daughter and our friends in New York City. Oddly enough, I have never driven across this vast country. My wife and I have now stopped in Flagstaff for a few hours sleep before moving on.
The sorrow and anger builds across America. Talk radio tonight was filled with calls for carpet-bombing every Arab country. Many want revenge, blood. But a surprising number of people have called for us to not add to the killing of more innocent humans. The rest stops and the convenience stores along the way were filled with quiet, solemn people, many of whom, like us, can get home no other way than by this four-day trip.
Our daughter is fine, mostly frightened by my desire to fly home to her rather than drive. Once again, I was outvoted 2 to 1. This is nothing new.
We have learned of more people we know who have lost their lives. Bill Weems, who worked as a line producer for us this year, was on the flight from Boston that crashed into the World Trade Center. He was such a sweet and decent soul. Such senseless madness.
The children of New York who are orphaned tonight ... what do we say or do? I will do my part -- anything, something -- as soon as I get to New York. But it will never be enough.
The firefighters of New York: they are on every other block, every day, and they are your best neighbors. Sitting out on the sidewalks in front of the fire stations, a good word and a kind smile to all who pass ... now, 350+ of them gone, having risked their lives to save the victims of a carnage they soon became part of.
A good friend from Flint is a clerical worker at the Pentagon. I have heard no word about her condition. I have tried contacting her family to no avail. Her son, Malcolm, worked on our show. I cannot find him. I keep getting tears in my eyes. Once she gave me a tour of the Pentagon, took me everywhere, and got such a kick out of taking me around this building I used to march on. Will our mutual friends who know Barbara, and know how she is, please write me? Please.
The man who occupies the White House cried today. Good. Keep crying, Mr. Bush. The more you cry, the less you will go to that dark side in all humans where anger rages to a point where we want to blindly kill. Your dad's and Reagan's old cronies -- Eagleberger, Baker, Schultz -- are all calling for you to bomb first and ask questions later. You must NOT do this. If only because you do not want to stoop to these mass murderers' level. Yes, find out who did it. Yes, see that they NEVER do it again.
But GET A GRIP, man. "Declare war?" War against whom? One guy in the desert whom we can never seem to find? Are our leaders telling us that the most powerful country on earth cannot dispose of one sick evil f---wad of a guy? Because if that is what you are telling us, then we are truly screwed. If you are unable to take out this lone ZZ Top wannabe, what on earth would you do for us if we were attacked by a nation of millions? For chrissakes, call the Israelis and have them do that thing they do when they want to get their man! We pay them enough billions each year, I am SURE they would be happy to accommodate your request.
But I beg you, Mr. Bush, stay with the tears. Go today to comfort the wounded of New York. Tell the mayor, a guy most of us have not liked, that he is doing an incredible job, keeping the spirits of everyone up as high as they can be at this moment. Being there for a city I believe he loves, his own cancer still with him, he goes beyond the call of duty.
But do not declare war and massacre more innocents. After bin Laden's previous act of terror, our last elected president went and bombed what he said was "bin Laden's camp" in Afghanistan -- but instead just killed civilians. Then he bombed a factory in the Sudan, saying it was "making chemical weapons." It turned out to be making aspirin. Innocent people murdered by our Air Force.
Back in May, you gave the Taliban in Afghanistan $48 million dollars of our tax money. No free nation on earth would give them a cent, but you gave them a gift of $48 million because they said they had "banned all drugs."
Because your drug war was more important than the actual war the Taliban had inflicted on its own people, you helped to fund the regime who had given refuge to the very man you now say is responsible for killing my friend on that plane and for killing the friends of families of thousands and thousands of people. How dare you talk about more killing now! Shame! Shame! Shame! Explain your actions in support of the Taliban! Tell us why your father and his partner Mr. Reagan trained Mr. bin Laden in how to be a terrorist!
Am I angry? You bet I am. I am an American citizen, and my leaders have taken my money to fund mass murder. And now my friends have paid the price with their lives.
Keep crying, Mr. Bush. Keep running to Omaha or wherever it is you go while others die, just as you ran during Vietnam while claiming to be "on duty" in the Air National Guard. Nine boys from my high school died in that miserable war. And now you are asking for "unity" so you can start another one? Do not insult me or my country like this!
Yes, I, too, will be in church at noon today, on this national day of mourning. I will pray for you, and us, and the children of New York, and the children of this sad and ugly world ...
09/13/01: CHOMSKY'S INITIAL RESPONSE TO TERRORIST ATTACKS
Today's attacks were major atrocities. In terms of number of victims they do not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and probably killing tens of thousands of people (no one knows, because the US blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it). Not to speak of much worse cases, which easily come to mind. But that this was a horrendous crime is not in doubt. The primary victims, as usual, were working people: janitors, secretaries, firemen, etc. It is likely to prove to be a crushing blow to Palestinians and other poor and oppressed people. It is also likely to lead to harsh security controls, with many possible ramifications for undermining civil liberties and internal freedom.
The events reveal, dramatically, the foolishness of ideas about "missile defense." As has been obvious all along, and pointed out repeatedly by strategic analysts, if anyone wants to cause immense damage in the US, including weapons of mass destruction, they are highly unlikely to launch a missile attack, thus guaranteeing their immediate destruction. There are innumerable easier ways that are basically unstoppable. But today's events will, nonetheless, be used to increase the pressure to develop these systems and put them into place.
"Defense" is a thin cover for plans for militarization of space, and with good PR, even the flimsiest arguments will carry some weight among a frightened public. In short, the crime is a gift to the hard jingoist right, those who hope to use force to control their domains. That is even putting aside the likely US actions, and what they will trigger -- possibly more attacks like this one, or worse. The prospects ahead are even more ominous than they appeared to be before the latest atrocities.
09/13/01: MICHAEL MOORE's INITIAL COMMENTS ON THE TERRORIST ATTACKS
I was supposed to fly today on the 4:30 PM American Airlines flight from LAX to JFK. But tonight I find myself stuck in L.A. with an incredible range of emotions over what has happened on the island where I work and live in New York City.
My wife and I spent the first hours of the day -- after being awakened by phone calls from our parents at 6:40am PT -- trying to contact our daughter at school in New York and our friend JoAnn who works near the World Trade Center.
I called JoAnn at her office. As someone picked up, the first tower imploded, and the person answering the phone screamed and ran out, leaving me no clue as to whether or not she or JoAnn would live.
It was a sick, horrible, frightening day.
On December 27, 1985 I found myself caught in the middle of a terrorist incident at the Vienna airport -- which left 30 people dead, both there and at the Rome airport. (The machine-gunning of passengers in each city was timed to occur at the same moment.)
I do not feel like discussing that event tonight because it still brings up too much despair and confusion as to how and why I got to live* a fluke, a mistake, a few feet on the tarmac, and I am still here, there but for the grace of* Safe. Secure. I*m an American, living in America. I like my illusions. I walk through a metal detector, I put my carry-ons through an x-ray machine, and I know all will be well.
Here*s a short list of my experiences lately with airport security:
* At the Newark Airport, the plane is late at boarding everyone. The counter can*t find my seat. So I am told to just *go ahead and get on* -- without a ticket!
* At Detroit Metro Airport, I don*t want to put the lunch I just bought at the deli through the x-ray machine so, as I pass through the metal detector, I hand the sack to the guard through the space between the detector and the x-ray machine. I tell him *It*s just a sandwich.* He believes me and doesn*t bother to check. The sack has gone through neither security device.
* At LaGuardia in New York, I check a piece of luggage, but decide to catch a later plane. The first plane leaves without me, but with my bag -- no one knowing what is in it.
* Back in Detroit, I take my time getting off the commuter plane. By the time I have come down its stairs, the bus that takes the passengers to the terminal has left -- without me. I am alone on the tarmac, free to wander wherever I want. So I do. Eventually, I flag down a pick-up truck and an airplane mechanic gives me a ride the rest of the way to the terminal.
* I have brought knives, razors; and once, my traveling companion brought a hammer and chisel. No one stopped us.
Of course, I have gotten away with all of this because the airlines consider my safety SO important, they pay rent-a-cops $5.75 an hour to make sure the bad guys don*t get on my plane. That is what my life is worth -- less than the cost of an oil change.
Too harsh, you say? Well, chew on this: a first-year pilot on American Eagle (the commuter arm of American Airlines) receives around $15,000 a year in annual pay.
That*s right -- $15,000 for the person who has your life in his hands. Until recently, Continental Express paid a little over $13,000 a year. There was one guy, an American Eagle pilot, who had four kids so he went down to the welfare office and applied for food stamps -- and he was eligible!
Someone on welfare is flying my plane? Is this for real? Yes, it is.
So spare me the talk about all the precautions the airlines and the FAA is taking. They, like all businesses, are concerned about one thing -- the bottom line and the profit margin.
Four teams of 3-5 people were all able to penetrate airport security on the same morning at 3 different airports and pull off this heinous act? My only response is -- that*s all?
Well, the pundits are in full diarrhea mode, gushing on about the *terrorist threat* and today*s scariest dude on planet earth -- Osama bin Laden. Hey, who knows, maybe he did it. But, something just doesn*t add up.
Am I being asked to believe that this guy who sleeps in a tent in a desert has been training pilots to fly our most modern, sophisticated jumbo jets with such pinpoint accuracy that they are able to hit these three targets without anyone wondering why these planes were so far off path?
Or am I being asked to believe that there were four religious/political fanatics who JUST HAPPENED to be skilled airline pilots who JUST HAPPENED to want to kill themselves today?
Maybe you can find one jumbo jet pilot willing to die for the cause -- but FOUR? Ok, maybe you can -- I don*t know.
What I do know is that all day long I have heard everything about this bin Laden guy except this one fact -- WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden!
Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA!
Don*t take my word for it -- I saw a piece on MSNBC last year that laid it all out. When the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the CIA trained him and his buddies in how to commits acts of terrorism against the Soviet forces. It worked! The Soviets turned and ran. Bin Laden was grateful for what we taught him and thought it might be fun to use those same techniques against us.
We abhor terrorism -- unless we*re the ones doing the terrorizing.
We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me. Thirty thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers!
We fund a lot of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent people, and we never let the human suffering THAT causes to interrupt our day one single bit.
We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador) that I suppose we shouldn*t be too surprised when those orphans grow up and are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause.
Yet, our recent domestic terrorism bombings have not been conducted by a guy from the desert but rather by our own citizens: a couple of ex-military guys who hated the federal government.
From the first minutes of today*s events, I never heard that possibility suggested. Why is that?
Maybe it*s because the A-rabs are much better foils. A key ingredient in getting Americans whipped into a frenzy against a new enemy is the all-important race card. It*s much easier to get us to hate when the object of our hatred doesn*t look like us.
Congressmen and Senators spent the day calling for more money for the military; one Senator on CNN even said he didn*t want to hear any more talk about more money for education or health care -- we should have only one priority: our self-defense.
Will we ever get to the point that we realize we will be more secure when the rest of the world isn*t living in poverty so we can have nice running shoes?
In just 8 months, Bush gets the whole world back to hating us again. He withdraws from the Kyoto agreement, walks us out of the Durban conference on racism, insists on restarting the arms race -- you name it, and Baby Bush has blown it all.
The Senators and Congressmen tonight broke out in a spontaneous version of *God Bless America.* They*re not a bad group of singers!
Yes, God, please do bless us.
Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes* destination of California -- these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!
Why kill them? Why kill anyone? Such insanity*
Let*s mourn, let*s grieve, and when it*s appropriate let*s examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in.
It doesn*t have to be like this*