Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hidden Attrocities?

CD in Play: Miles Davis, On the Corner. Fugazi, In on the Kill Taker.

Pat Robertson and his Murderous Compadre

How is it that I have never heard of Efrain Rios-Montt? (a link here also) He was the genocidal president of Guatemala who tried his best to exterminate the indigenous Mayan people. I came across his name on, investigative journalist, Max Blumenthal's blog. (a post from 13th August) El Salvador, Chile, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Columbia... all these I have/am read/reading about, but Guatemala seems to have been very conspiculously absent.
During Guatemala's 36 year civil war, the most horrific massacres occured during Rios brief term as president. (1982-1983) It is estimated that more than 200,000 Guatemalan's - again, mostly of Mayan descent and Catholic - were slaughtered by Rios Montt and the military. He had also pressed 900.000 citizens into becoming police informants. He built concentration camps for the Mayans. When 40,000 Mayans escaped into Mexico, Montt turned turned the military's guns on the camps. (read the report by the Commission for Historical Clarification)
Having just heard of Rios Montt, much of what I am writing here could be construed as plagerism. However, I will outline a few thing s in brief:

- Montt was a graduate of the School of the Americas, (now called Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) notable for its alumni of bloodied Latin American presidents, generals and military men connected to forced dissapearences, death squads, massacres, etc. The school has also been named the "School of Assassins" by its detractors.

- Left the Catholic Church after losing a 1974 election to a right-wing rival. He stated his loss was due to massive electoral fraud, which he blamed on Catholic priests with a 'leftist' agenda. In 1978 he joined the evangelical pentacostal denomination Church of the Word, becoming an ordained minister there. He is friends with Jerry Falwell and Marion Gordon Robertson - aka "Pat" Robertson of the 700 Club.
Nikolas Kozloff's aricle on "Pat" Roberton, Demeaner of the Faith, states that Robertson had flown to Guatemala within five days of the coup that set up Rios Mont as president to bless the new military government and extol its virtues on air on the 700 Club. Kozloff states that Robertson's show was reaching an estimated 3.1 million viewers in Guatemala at that time. Roberston apparently found Montt, "...to be a man of humility, impeccable personal integrity, and a deep faith in Jesus Christ." He also had done fund raising through the 700 Club in support of Montt's regime.

- Wikipedia's article mentions that Montt had apparently stated that the true Christian has a Bible in one hand and a machine gun in the other. Former US president Ronald Regan had stated after a meeting with Montt that, "President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. ... I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice." In most sources I have been reading, Rios Montt's attrocities are regarded to have been more severe than the much more publicized carange of Chile's former despot Augusto Pinochet. According to Amnesty International, Rios Montt's depradations against his own people, "were done in terrible ways: people of all ages were not only shot to death, they were burned alive, hacked to death, disemboweled, drowned, beheaded. Small children were smashed against rocks or bayoneted to death."

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition indeed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

CUFI: Scary S#*%

CDs in Play: Modest Mouse, Lonesome Crowded West.

Thanks to Gavin for pointing this one out to me. Democracy Now! ran a story on a new Christian Zionist group (Watch 256k Stream or 128k Stream), CUFI or Christians United For Israel during an interview with journalist Max Blumenthal. A great deal has been made of Radical Islam, Muslim Fundamentalists and the worldwide threat that they are suppossed to represent, however, little has been made of the dangerous extremists within the Christian Faith. These extremists pose a greater threat than "family values" and libertarian economics - they have an eschtalogical/apocalyptic agenda.
I suppose, for the casual Christian reader of this blog who didn't know me, I could possibly be written off as an unbeliever who hates Christians and has his own secular agenda. I am a believer and, though I have not attended church regularly since at least 1994, I am still very concerned about the direction that many in the Faith have taken. I am concerned about these people because their agenda is so essentially selfish.
CUFI seems to be aiming to use Israel to start the beginning of the end. Quoting the text provided for the story Amy Goodman picks up on this:

AMY GOODMAN: Max Blumenthal, I wanted to end on the issue of rapture. Last month, Harper's magazine reported traffic on internet bulletin boards, talking about rapture or end times, greatly increased following the outbreak of violence in the Middle East. One person wrote online, "I've been having rapture dreams and I can't believe that this is really it! We're on the edge of eternity!" Another person wrote, "I too am soooo excited! I get goose bumps, literally, when I watch what's going on in the [Middle East]!"

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, I was listening on July 21 to Janet Parshall, who’s one of the leading evangelical and Republican broadcasters. She can get Dick Cheney on her show in a heartbeat. And she said, “As soon as the missiles started flying between Israel and Hezbollah,” she said a voice just brimming with glee, “these are the times we've been waiting for. This is straight out of a Sunday school lesson.” So the Christian Zionists have a tendency to celebrate things that most Israelis consider tragic. You know, I question whether John Hagee agonizes over the dozens of deaths of Israeli soldiers. I question whether he agonizes over the Israelis, the thousands of Israelis who had to spend the last month in bomb shelters. I don't think he does agonize. I think what Hagee and the Christian Zionists want is to fight a battle to the last Jew.

Earlier in the interview Blumenthal states:

And if you look at what John Hagee (founder of CUFI) has written in his books, like Jerusalem Countdown, his most recent book, which cites 17 unnamed Israeli intelligence sources to claim that Iran is producing nuclear suitcase bombs and that Israel must engage in a "nuclear showdown" with Iran or risk committing national suicide, if you look at what he's written, he does have an Armageddon-based agenda. And so I think what this lobby does, it plays an instrumental PR role on behalf of the Christian Zionist movement in preventing legitimate criticism of their motives for supporting Israel, and they are bolstering what AIPAC is doing and possibly even radicalizing what AIPAC is doing, by providing them a grassroots base in the heartland.
The majority of America's 60 million evangelicals are premillenial dispensationalists. They believe that the end times could come at any moment, and they're looking for signs of that, so they're sympathetic to supporting Israel for these reasons. And so they provide a strong grassroots base. This is the Republican base. This is the only component of the Republican base that still supports Bush's policies in Iraq without question, unconditionally, and supports Israel's expansionism. While the American Jewish community is willing to, you know, stand for Israel and show solidarity for Israel, they also support a peace process, and they support a sovereign Palestinian state. But this group doesn't.
You know, for instance, Pat Robertson went on the 700 Club and said that Ariel Sharon's descent into a comatose state was punishment for dividing the land for the Gaza withdrawal, for pulling 9,000 extremist settlers out of a huge swath of land. And, you know, then last week, Pat Robertson was flown to Israel to pray with Ehud Olmert and go on the 700 Club and tell his viewership that the Lebanese civilians, the Lebanese society was harboring terrorists, and therefore, civilian casualties were justified. So they play a PR role on behalf of the extremist wing of Israeli political culture. They're very connected to people like Benjamin Netanyahu, who's positioning himself to succeed Ehud Olmert in the wake of Olmert's possibly imminent resignation. So I think there's a real danger here.

Having attended many different kinds of the churches in the past, I have seen first hand the desire for the end times to happen NOW. Bush once called the current crisis between West and East as a "clash of civilizations", referring to the book by Samuel Phillips Huntington, but I think it iis more like a "clash of the fundmentalists". This is, of course, an over-simplification as there is no more a united Islamic front (see Tom Porteous' article at TomPaine.com) than there is a united Christian front - and no matter what people like John Hagee or the overly paranoid might think, there is no united Christian front. The real threat to world peace and security is the way in which we in the West relate and treat the rest of the world.
Unfortunately, the way the West has dealt with the rest of the world has been with horrific arrogance, callousness and indifference. In order for Christians to support the on-going conflicts in the Middle East they mus accept, condone and encourage futher lying, deception, slander, libel and loss of life as either a righteous act or as a necessary evil. A popular phrase with Christians during the `90's was, "What would Jesus do?". Well, what would He do? Would Jesus condone necessary evil? Not the one in the Bible I have been reading. (NASB, if you are curious)
Can Christians support sin in order to further their own adgenda? Even if they aren't manufacturing the propaganda or pulling the triggers themselves, aren't Christian Zionists just as complicit for encouraging/demanding these sorts of actions to be taken in the first place? Who do these armegeddonists think they are that they can force the return of Christ, when it states that in the Bible the we shall never know the day and the hour of His return - that God is long-suffering so that none might perish? I don't know who they think they are, but I can I can tell you what they are and that is arrogant. Arrogance, by the way, is another sin.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dear News Media, F. You...

CD in Play: PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love.

So the ghoulish, irresponsible faction of the media (which sadly seems to be the majority of it) gets to, figuratively at any rate, slobber all over the corpse of poor dead JonBenet Ramsey all over again. After x number of years in the ground there still seems to be enough meat left on those bones to start the feeding frenzy all over again. Thanks, but no thanks.
The celebrity obssession is just getting to me. Here are other names I never want to hear again in my life: Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Ben Affleck, Madonna, Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Lindsay Lohan, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Aston Kutcher, Jessica Simpson, Angeline Jolie, David Beckham and his wife, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Pamela Anderson, that industry whore of a Limey from American Idol, P Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Combes and so on.
I could care less who's preggers, who's cheating on whom, about no-talent trust fund babies getting their way just because they have money. I am tired of the vapid, value-less, shallow world that you - the media - glorifys on a daily basis and the airhead, star machine sychophants who present it. (I'm looking at you Ben Mulroney)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Wrong Christie

CD in Play: Pink Floyd, More.

I don't think I mentioned this on my blog, however I did discuss this with a couple of other people and it seems a recent death needs some clarification. Doug Christie - defence lawyer for Holocaust deniers, Klansman and neo-Nazis in Canada - is not dead. The WWII veteran, who escaped a POW camp and hid in Romania with the Roma people (aka Gypsies), has defended the likes of Ernst Zundell, James Keegstra, David Ahenakew and Lady Jane Birdwood (a follower of British Fascist Oswald Mosley) and was the founder of the far right separatist parties Western Canada Concept and Western Block Party.
Sadly it was Dugald Christie who died on the 31st of July, 2006. Dugald Christie was also a lawyer and a political activist, but who worked to provide fair legal assistance of low-income persons instead. He offered free legal services and helped set up pro-bono clinics in Western Canada, via the Western Canada Society to Access Justice.
Christie started a fight with the BC Provincial Government in 1992 when, then NDP finance minister and later to be ex-Premier, Glen Clark had decided it would be a good idea to apply the Provincial Sales Tax to legal services. In 2005, the B.C. Supreme Court finally found that the law was unconstitutional in that it limited the "fundamental right of access to the court of low-income persons." The CBC story I am largely plagiarizing here goes on to state that "Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg ruled that British Columbians with annual incomes below $29,000 would no longer have to pay sales tax on their lawyers' bills. The judge also ordered the B.C. government to reimburse, with interest, more than $6,200 seized from Christie for unpaid sales tax."Christie was killed in Northern Ontario near Sault Ste. Marie while cycling across Canada to raise awareness of access to legal assistance. Sadly, this unfortunately dead lawyer really was a good lawyer.
I don't wish Doug Christie any ill, despite his despicable clients and politics. And while I realise that in a mostly democratic society even racist holocaust deniers, fascists and far-right lunatics deserve fair and equal representation in court, I do wish that Doug Christie could be more like Dugland Christie and devote himself to more worthwhile and noble endeavours.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bombs, Screams and Dieties - Oh My!

CD in Play: Tortoise, Millions Now Living Will Never Die.

A Few Links Worth Checking Out

Betty Ragan posted this on her blog, but I thought it was entirely worth repriniting here given my love of mythology. See Godchecker.

Pete Chattaway sent me a few worth checking. First few have to do with teh Wilhelm Scream, a hackneyed sound effect that keep sgetting recycled as a homage/in-joke. It needs to be put to bed for a very long time. See clips of the sceam at YouTube. Trust Wikipedia to have an entry on it. Actually, they have a second entry as well. And lastly, he sent me a link to New Scientist's online article on three possible new editions to our Solar System. The article also contains a cool vid file of a planet fly by.

This latest round of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon got you concerned? It should. Seymour Hersh apparently reported the New Yorker that White House Officials had planning this assualt on Lebanon for over a year. Hezbollah has been seen by some US officials as an obstacle to taking on Iran. He states that Cheney hopes to have Hezbollah taken out of the picture so the US can commence strikes against Iran. Democracy Now! has an interview with Hersh about these current events. Pretty dispicable given Cheney's history of dodging his own turn at National Service.
Here is a Wikipedia article on Hersh, including some questions about his credibility.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Introducing - Les Vlideog

Just a word to say that I have started another blog to post up Video clips, Les Vlideog, so feel free to drop by, watch a bit and maybe comment on the content. Will still be blogging words here, just not the video content.

Friday, August 11, 2006

From the Headlines

CD In Play: Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted.

Oooohhh Joy...

Bachelors aged 19 to 44 are more than twice as likely to die than their married male peers, while single people generally face a higher risk of premature death, a U.S. study suggests... The study's authors suggested that marriage gives a rough estimate of social connectedness. The findings suggest that people who never marry may be socially isolated and lack support from children or other relatives."
So, should I say my farewells now?

What is Old is New Again

CP story on Yahoo
"Britain Names 19 Suspects in Terror Plot as Pakistan Announces 5 New Arrests.
LONDON (AP) - British officials on Friday identified 19 of the 24 suspects accused of planning to blow up U.S.-bound aircraft in the biggest terrorist plot to be uncovered since 9-11, while investigators probed their movements, background and finances... The Bank of England said it had frozen the accounts of 19 people arrested Thursday. The men, ranging in age from 17 to 35, had names of Muslim origin, many of them common in Pakistan."

Funny, but over the last few years I have been told by Mid Easterners (Afghans, Pakistanis, Lebanese and Persians/Iranis) that Pakistan is a hotbed of radical Islam. An Afghani guy, whom I studied French with, stated that it was belief that Pakistan was going to become a major source of terrorist activity in the future. When I was talking about Muslim missionairies with my Kurdish co-worker he asked me if most of them had been Pakistani. I told him that they were (I believe all of them were actually) and he said that figured. He didn't elaborate too much, just that it didn't surprise him.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Vlideog XI - King Crimson

King Crimson, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Pt.II" at the Beat Club.

King Crimson was a huge favourite for years. Too bad all these old bands don't put this sort of stuff out for commercial consumption. Anyhow, these next Vlideog enteries are for Trent, Greg, Ken and Elijah. And yes, that is Jamie Muir with the set of fur wings you see.

Vlideog XII - King Crimson

King Crimson, "Easy Money" Central Park, NYC 1973

I should also state, for those not in the know, that my favourite period of Crimson was from 1972-1974.

Vlideog XII

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part 2" cover

An amazingly faithful cover of "LTiA Pt.2" by an unnamed Japanese KC cover band.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Vlideog - VIII

Isis, "In Fiction" from Panopticon

Reminiscent of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" in terms of camera effects. Big fan of Isis. I posted the link to their site before, but here it is again - LINK.

Vlideog - IX

Isis & Melvins (Live)

Isis are the perfect heavy band for me - dynamic, thoughtful, skull-shattering and ambient. Don't mind the Melvins either.

Vlideog - X

Isis, "The Beginning and the End" from Oceanic.

The song has been dubbed over live footage. Some people seem to believe that the song is actually live, but it is just too damned close to studio sound to believe. The end of the clip seems, to my ear, to be different in quality from the actual song.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

CD in Play: Radiohead, Kid A.

Well, I finally saw Linklater's A Scanner Darkly. I haven't read the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name (and there be spoilers connected to this link) it is based on, but my friend Gavin seems to think that it was fairly faithfully followed. I liked it quite a bit and find it sad that it didn't seem to open to a wider release. I know some of you out there are avoiding it because you aren't into Keanu Reeves or Winona Ryder - don't. I'm not particular fans of either actor, but they do a fine job in this film.
Actually, although he plays the main character, Reeves' Bob Arctor/Fred is almost a background part. The action centres around Arctor/Fred, but he seems much more of a passive participant: he's an observor who functions kind of like Willey Wiggins' character in Linklater's other rotoscoped classic, Waking Life.
Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson play addicts and have received a lot of praise for their performances, they should as they are very good in the film. Downey is a particular stand out as the treacherous, unstable Barris. I swear Barris' mannerisms are nearly identical to the mannerisms and vocal inflections of a friend of mine. Rory Cochrane (Dazed and Confused's über-stoner, Ron Slater) is also a stand out as the tweaker, Fleck.
The film is just as relevant today as the novel was when it was written back in 1977. The death drug of the film and the novel is called Substance D. (slow death) Dick was intimately aquainted with California's drug scene, having been an addict himself. I couldn't help but think of my friend's little brother, a meth addict, or the people I used to have to deal with in Burnaby. Addiction is the death of the soul, sucide by inches drawn out over a span of months, years or decades.
Wikipedia writes: "Philip K. Dick also gives the name of the species of the flower, which helps to show the relevant meaning of the story and the nature of both the drug and the character's struggle. The name is Mors ontologica, which could roughly be translated to "the death of knowledge of existence." However, it should be translated as "ontological death", or, "death is being itself"." Also, "This is further explained in the moving afterword, where Dick dedicates the book to those of his friends—he includes himself—who suffered debilitation or death as a result of their drug use. Mirroring the epilogue are the involuntary goodbyes that occur throughout the story--the constant turnover and burn-out of young people that lived with Dick during those years.
In the afterword, he states that the novel is about “some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did” and that “drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to move out in front of a moving car.”
At any rate, if you have the chance to see the film then do so.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Broadcast I

Broadcast, "Come On Let's Go" from The Noise Made by People.

I like Broadcast, they bridge a certain phase of British and American psychedelia with the modern UK electronic scenes. Plus they have cool looking videos.

Broadcast II

Broadcast, "Papercuts from The Noise Made by People.

Broadcast III

Broadcast, "Black Cat" from Tender Buttons.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Rejected by Don Hertzfeldt

A true classic. Peter Chattaway's brother, Paul, showed this to me back in 2002. I laughed so damned hard. It became a Hypernode reference point for that summer as well. Anyhow, here it is - Rejected.