Thursday, April 05, 2007

MIHOP is bigger than URHOP

I'd been cautiously optimistic about a Barack Obama candidacy. But now, I know that he has no interest in the Truthtm. At his Austin rally in February, he was confronted by one of the courageous activists of the Student Scholars for 9/11 Truth. Given the opportunity to speak on the pressing subject of the 9/11 coverup, what did Obama say? "You know, I think we need to investigate a whole range of options, although I have to be honest, some of the issues you guys have raised I'm not entirely confident are the truth."

So many people don't believe that the destruction of the WTC was brought about by our government. But it's so obvious.

The planning by the US government for perpetrating the 9-11 'attacks' started much earlier than anyone believes. Mathias Rust*, you know, the guy who landed a Cessna 172 in Red Square back in '87, was a plant. As part of a conspiracy between hard-liners in the Kremlin and Pentagon, who both realized that American paranoia was key to sustaining a military industrial complex in both countries (Russian paranoia can pretty much be taken for granted).

Now, the Korean and Vietnam wars were, as everyone knows, carried out with the express purpose of undermining American post-WWII confidence and instilling the appropriate fear of Russia and the Red Menace. However, Vietnam was a miscalculation, which became clear during the Carter administration as American self-confidence sagged so low that Americans were actually begining to lose faith in the cold war, and support for unilateral disarmament - disasterous for both US and Russian military industry - was threatening to break out into the mainstream in the US.

Thus Reagan was brought in, with his "Bear in the Woods" ads and resurrection of the B-1, B-2, M-1, Trident, Minuteman, the 15-carrier navy, and the ultimate military-industrial coup, SDI. Unfortunately, he was too effective, and swung the pendulum too far in the other direction. The cold war became untenable, because America was now clearly too strong. Simultaneously, the Russians began their own misguided adventure in Afghanistan. That campaign was aimed at undermining the confidence in the Big Red Machine, to spur support for subsequent expansions in Soviet military spending. As with Vietnam, this was also too effective.

It was already clear that civilian terrorism was the key to both problems. Military un-fucking-vincible? Easy, introduce 'asymmetrical warfare'. The US/Kremlin power brokers had been tinkering with it in South America for years, as a sort of R&D project, but hadn't figured they'd need to parlay it into a replacement for the traditional cold war.

Now, it is our air force that instills the most confidence in Americans. So a really terrifying attack against America would have to penetrate our air defences. The early experiments in American-soil terrorism, the first WTC bombing and the OKC bombing, had induced yawns in most people. Sure any asshole could drive a bomb up to anything he wanted. It didn't bring the terror.

But they'd already planned for this. A really terrifying attack would have to come from the air. But it could be too clear that they were staged if people didn't already kind of believe that civilian flights could penetrate a really tight air defense. This is where Mathias Rust comes in.

How better to plant the seed of mistrust of air power than by having a some euro-loser land an airplane in Red Square?

It couldn't be an American, because if a plucky American teen had done it, people would have assumed that he'd won through with faith in God, a picture of his sweetheart, and a can-do attitude. It would just reaffirm our faith. But if some German nihilist can put down his collection of Kraftwerk and Autobahn LPs long enough to climb into a Cessna and land in Red Square as some sort of ironic post-modern statement, then maybe - just maybe - even OUR air defenses could be penetrated in such a way.

This was the key to making the American public believe that a bunch of godless Muslims could be responsible for destroying a landmark that we didn't really care about anyway.

*image of Rust from, used under the GNU free documentation license.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fire, Indeed, is the Cleanser

Say what you will about the state of civil liberties in this country, but some people are just not poster children for personal responsibility. So it is with Robert Daniels, an American who grew up in Russia. At age 26, he found that he had contracted an extremely drug resistant strain of tuberculosis (XDR-TB). Tuberculosis is a very contagious disease, but in the US is generally treatable with antibiotics. Occasionally, strains resistant to general antibiotics pop up, and patients must be treated with so called "second-line" antibiotics. Now in Russia, and a few other places, strains that are resistant to these second-line treatments are turning up. So it is with Mr. Daniels.

So he came back to the US, in hopes of finding better treatment. He started his treatment, and took a job locally in Phoenix. He wasn't healthy. He had lost 50 pounds, and was coughing constantly, and every cough was expelling droplets laden with this extremely resistant and deadly bacterium. Then his doctors found out that he was going out in public without a mask.
“Where I come from, the doctors don’t wear masks,” he said. “Plus, I was 26 years old, you know. Nobody told me how TB works and stuff.”
Public health officials then took the unusual (but not unheardof) step of placing him in involuntary quarantine.

He's upset.

I sympathize, and certainly have mixed emotions about involuntary quarantine. But then again, don't be a moron.

The following is an IM transcript (edited for flow and brevity) wherein Sandy and I make light of his situation.

lunchstealer: Daniels said he realizes now that he endangered the public. But “I thought I’d come to a country where I’d finally be treated like a person, and bam, here I am.”
sandy:{insert he-shoulda-known-about-gitmo joke here}
lunchstealer: Seriously. Couldn't he have just gone to Finland?
lunchstealer: I mean, they'd probably have drop-kicked him into a Fjord, but they'd have been terribly polite about it.
sandy:"hey, no problem, ha ha, but we're gonna put you in de fire-water for cleansing, K? Ha! is Finnish joke. We gonna burn you instead."

Hat tip to Hit&Run for the original link.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Blades of Awesome

Blades of Glory

Blades of Glory's main premise is that Will Farrell and Napolean Dynamite are ice dancers. Sure, they dress the plot up with some arch-rivals- that-must- band-together- for-a- triumphant-comeback buddy-picture window dressing, but that's secondary. The real point of the movie is to have funny people wear funny costumes and prance around on the ice. This it delivers.

Invariably, this will be compared to Talladega Nights, Farrell's previous sports lampoon. And there's no doubt that there was more exploration of male sexuality, the social contradictions in NASCAR's move from redneck-backwater to mainstream sporting event, and American parenting and family structure in Talladega Nights. Blades of Glory is far less ambitious - aiming almost entirely for slapstick appeal.

But Blades works in one way that Nights does not - pacing. At just over 90 minutes, Blades of Glory has clearly had a lot of padding cut out. There are jokes in the commercials that don't make it to the screen, and that's a good thing. The movie works best on ice, and the directors have just barely enough dialogue and story development in between skating scenes to establish some sense of humanity in the characters. But unlike Nights, which had some long laugh-free spells, this film doesn't get bogged down in it. They give you just enough that you are rooting for the dysfunctional protagonists by the end, but not so much that it distracts from the men prancing in funny ways.

You won't see too many people stretching their wings. Will Farrell, Amy Poehler (of SNL fame), and Will Arnette (GOB on Arrested Development) deliver on their core competencies, but you won't see anything new from them. John Heder (Napolean Dynamite) is again playing a delightfully clueless and socially inept man-child, but brings some freshness to it - he isn't out of ideas yet. Jenna Fischer (The Office) is still playing a Pam-like sweet-girl-all-grown-up but again branches out a little bit. The nice surprise is Craig T. Nelson, who's intentionally lampooning his old "Coach" tv persona.

Filmed in - 2 beers. You don't have to be lit to enjoy this movie, but a couple of beers won't hurt.

Depth Gauge - Big puddle. No one would go to a movie that combined Will Farrell with figure skating and expect social commentary. It's not actually stupid, but highbrow it ain't.

Long-story-short - there were at least two times where I was hoping for something lame so I could rest the muscles in my face - they were starting to hurt. If you're in the mood for laughing at a stupid movie, this is the one for you.