Sunday, February 20, 2005

Fundamentalist Christianity, fascinating. These people actually believe the age of the world is twelve thousand years old. I swear to god. Based on ...what, I asked them. 'Well, we looked at all the people in the Bible and we added 'em up all the way back to Adam and Eve, their ages, twelve thousand years.' ... Well how fucking scientific. Ok. I didn't know that you'd gone through so much trouble there, that's good. You believe the world is 12,000 years old? 'That's right.' Ok, I've got one word to ask you. One word question, ya ready? 'Uh huh.' Dinosaur. Ya know, if the world is 12,000 years old, and dinosaurs existed, and it existed in that time, then you'd think it would have been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point. 'And though Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth but the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus with a splinter in his paw. And oh, the disciples did run and shreek, 'What a big fucking lizard, lord!'

     Bill Hicks - Revelations

Ok, first thing first. Kim, ignore this post. You're a sweetie, but I've been on a Bill Hicks kick lately. The the last line of that quote had me laughing my bloody ass off for a good three minutes solid, so I had to post it.

Guess you had to be there.

I just watched this Military Channel (I think that's what it's called) show about the United States military involvement with the Columbian government in regards to bringing Pablo Escobar to justice. I didn't know this, but apparently (a) the U.S. commander in charge of our forces disobeyed orders by engaging in a firefight with Escobar on at least one occasion, (b) the commander and his troops were not immediately removed, (c) our forces on the ground were aware of death squad-like actions by the group they were training, (d) had solid reason to believe that the group they were training were passing on CIA intelligence to native vigillante groups that were killing suspected Escobar employees and (e) Escobar himself was executed after being rendered unconscious in a firefight.

The most this pseudo documentary made of our government's complicity in murder was that the U.S. diplomat to Columbia expressed concern that the actions of the troops might cause an "international incident." The special forces were pulled only after the subsequent vigillante killings of "five [suspected] Escobar associates every day" and even then, our forces were allowed to stay in-country and continue working for another 30 days pending the arrival of more conventional troops. It was during this time that Escobar was executed.

Put another way, U.S. forces engaged in warfare without Congressional (and therefore citizen) approval, oversight or accountability. U.S. forces trained and then subsequently observed (by way of autopsies) at least sixty instances of Columbians accused of criminal involvement being killed assassination-style and still did not disengage their involvement with the Columbian government.

The ethical question of training forces engaged in dozens of assassinations without any legal process (even by their own admission) never came up in this show. At all. I'm not saying Escobar was unworthy of being killed. Frankly, I don't know enough about it all to say. But I can say that the involvement of our troops being knowingly and willfully engaged in training native forces to kill people accused of crimes even though that target has been disabled and rendered harmless is criminal itself.

I wonder how many people came away from that program feeling uneasy about it.

I've been thinking a lot about how society itself represents a sort of local maxima problem. We try to solve issues that plauge us as a whole in some manner which is very likely not the optimal solution. For example, we threw millions of dollars at a campaign centered around the words "just say no." Since the beginning of the so-called war on drugs, the cost of heroin (when adjusted for inflation and purity) has dropped 6,000%. In other words it isn't working.

Why do I bring this up? Because I have to wonder about how we're told to look at things. Not just the way we're expected to live our lives, but that's my current focus. Go to school, maybe chill out a bit between college (regret not living enough if you skip this part, regret being a slacker if you don't), then a career. If you're one of the truly lucky, you'll find something that doesn't bore the everloving shit out of you after doing it for 45 years. Do that until you're 65, fight a lot of politicians to keep what you've paid for (read; Social Security), then die. I've been thinking this way for ...I calculated it, actually: 11,738 days.

Maybe this model is good for society. It isn't working for me. Maybe a better plan is to find out where people suffer and focus your effort there.

Ella and I sometimes discuss how this society likes to keep women focused on crap like beauty and weight just so they stay distracted enough to never notice their chains. Well maybe there are a lot more caste systems in place to facilitate those in power staying that way than we realize.

US > Europe > Industrialized Nations > Third world
Males > Females
Mega rich > wealthy > middle class > poor > homeless

Effluvium gravitates to the lowest geographical coordinate, I guess. Maybe everyone else is happy clawing up that pile of shit.

I'm not.

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