Now *that's* a fine rant

I hardly mean to imply that George W. Bush is a delusional party hack whose aim is to rob and mislead us for the benefit of his friends. That idea deserves to be stated outright: George W. Bush is a delusional party hack whose aim is to rob and mislead us for the benefit of his friends. What I mean to imply is that his free ride on our backs was made possible by the clever solution Congress found to its conundrum back in 1917: a law that deems guilty of a federal offense anyone who knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail . . . any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States . . . or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat. . . .

and there's more!

Here are those tropes: the president is ignorant; the president is cruel; the president is a zealot; the president is a tool of the corporations; the president hides his agenda from the people; the president's agenda endangers the people; the president is a thief; the president is a madman; the president is a fraternity boy; the president is a warlord; the president is a drunkard; the president is a criminal; the president is protected by his cronies; the president is a smug prevaricator; the president should be removed from office.

and yet again.

True, George W. Bush is an ignorant, cruel, closed-minded, avaricious, sneaky, irresponsible, thieving, brain-damaged frat boy with a drinking problem and a taste for bloodshed, whose numerous crimes have been abetted by the moral corruption of his party cohort and whose contempt for American military lives alone warrants his impeachment

How has it profited the people for their writers to argue that a wealthy, comfortable citizen deserves a wealthy, comfortable retirement when we all know full well that he has earned confinement and conviction and perhaps even a request for that barbaric death penalty he so loudly supports?

alright, that's only halfway through the article. now I want to enjoy the article without having to switch tabs and post more quotes here.
Ashamed to be an american - capitolhillblue.com

I've been reading Capitol Hill Blue for a few days. Saw it on reddit and followed some links. It seems to be strongly anti-Bush. Which is a comfortable thing for me, although I'm surprised that I'm reading Democrats and agreeing with them :-). That's just a phase though, probably. With GW Bush and his gang working so hard to destroy America from within (and, this is the part I care about, killing and burning in the wider world at the same time, where they might hit me and mine by mistake or on purpose), it's possible to agree with people who are misguided on many other issues most of the time :-).

I tend to agree with a lot of the people at LewRockwell.com which tends to the libertarian, I think. That's a bit more comfortable. I'm not a libertarian myself, but I tend to that side more than to the Democrats on the left or the Christian/Evangelist wing of the Republicans (on which side there are just as many nuts *cough*Pat Robertson*cough*Falwell*cough*cough*, as there are freaks on the democratic far-left).

It's not that strange that I think in terms of U.S. political parties. I lived in the U.S. for a bit and am pretty familiar with their politics and politicians. I might be more familiar with U.S. politicians than the majority of american citizens. and all because I read the Washington Post for the Redskins news and the opinion section on world issues :-).

No nukes

I take it back. It's possible, but not likely that the U.S. will nuke Iran. It's almost certain that it won't nuke North Korea either. It's still possible. GW Bush has a bunch of nuts (including, possibly, himself) in his gang, but perhaps sanity is breaking out in the White House. In any case, it's much more likely that if they do intend to nuke (or actually do nuke), it'll leak and the whole gang will be lynched. So, merely out of self preservation, they probably won't nuke.

There'll still be tens of thousands of dead (maybe 90% of them innocent civilians) on the ground if the U.S. decides to go to war, but perhaps that war with Iran can be averted.

I was surfing along on Reddit, when I saw this discussion of why the U.S. is the target of so much worldwide resentment. There are many sub-pages (I think the summaries of those subpages should have more information, I almost didn't click on the header entries to go to the details) and I haven't read it all. So I don't necessarily agree with that. I don't know much about the authors either, so I don't know what kind of spin they're putting on things. Reading it will certainly be educational though, either because it'll point at uncomfortable truths, or because the details will be wrogn, exposing the mistakes in the discussion, or (more likely), it'll be some mix of both, exposing the reader's prejudices as the discussion works as a rorschach, although one tilted toward the truth rather than being purely random.

The list of coups arranged or supported by the U.S. has 35 or so coups listed. I'm aware of some of those, I wasn't aware there were so many. Nor do I know how deeply the U.S. is involved (possibly, on one or another it was just a fellow traveler, supporting friends). I'll need to read up, possibly from some other sources since the krysstal site might not be objective (likely it's not objective, everyone has an agenda, but possibly the data are objective enough, particularly if counter-checked against other sources).

Wow, the List of U.S. military interventions is too long, I lost patience counting them. Again, as above, more reading is required. I wouldn't be surprised though if the U.S. comes out far the worst.

I tend to agree with the base site's prologue though, that *The American people are generally a friendly, kindly and compassionate people. If they knew one tenth of what their governments get up to around the world and in their dealings with foreign governments and people, there would be an enormous outcry.*. On the other hand, those same people, nice as they are individually, are also to blame because they are just so apathetic, enjoying the benefits of their nation's bullying of others and hiding the inconvenient facts from themselves. And in so doing, they think far too well of themselves as if the glory of the Founding Fathers (whose glory was earned with genius, privation and war) was their own glory, when all they do now is bask in the comfort earned from bullying the rest of the world (and, to be fair, from the economic vitality of american workers, their willingness to work harder than any other first-world nation, and the resources of a large landmass, and the resources of those they can bully).

That's really too bad. The U.S. could still be a city on a hill, a beacon and a guide to the world. It's going to be decades though, perhaps generations, before the evils of the last century or so of expansion can be forgotten.


More U.S. prisoner abuse discussion.

I wonder if america will listen. probably not yet. It'll be another decade or so of bullying the world before anything good comes out of Washington. And it's likely that it won't be much good. America won't have learned anything. Or if they do, it'll be the wrong thing. That next time they should just nuke the enemy, or kill 1/10th of the population pour encourager les autres.

although I wouldn't be surprised if they nuke Iran and North Korea before ten years are up. It's the same old-same old. non-citizens don't count for much against a single american life. It's their right to make that choice, when they're attacked. These days though, it's the americans roiling up the world and sowing war.

The above is not a prediction, just an assessment of likelihoods. I hope it doesn't come to pass, but the character of the U.S. government, and the apathy of the american public to the pain they cause outside their country are not improved by wishful thinking.


Inspiring - damn, those spaniards have style

Now, see, *this* is style. FC Barcelona will put the Unicef name on their jerseys AND ANNUALLY CONTRIBUTE more than a million dollars to Unicef, inspiring. Instead of making money on the jerseys (other teams make many millions of dollars a year for the brand name placement), they're PAYING to put UNICEF's name on their jerseys.

That's so far from The hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy they're not even in the same moral universe. Of course there's also bill gates and warren buffet giving so much money to charity, that's also inspiring, except not really since they have all that money and frankly, they're so rich they don't even feel human.

I'd consider immigrating to spain. or other points in Europe. I really like New Zealand, which is why sol and I are actually working and spending and investing real hard-earned money to immigrate there (it's nothing like a sure thing, we are doing what we can though, and we're hoping for the best). The U.S. though, much as I love individual americans, and in fact, generally, the people of the U.S.A., no, the politics and government, and foreign policy of that country are just so far on the evil side of things that I would never immigrate there.

I wish happiness to those who decide to immigrate there, and to those who were born there or have already immigrated. It's not for me though. And again, I wish the U.S. would fall back to its borders and stop threatening the rest of the world. Or if it wanted to do good, it could go to Darfur and do real good, instead of actively creating terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan (and, likely, in the near future, in Iran, looks like George W Bush is spoiling for another fight so that the Republicans can campaign on GWOT and patriotism again, all this while he destroys his own country from the inside).


Atis season, Lanzones Season, and Camiguin Diving and fun

It's Atis season in the Philippines and I'm in hog heaven because of it. It's important to choose good atis (generally, large/fat scales) because the low quality atis aren't fleshy inside and are no fun to eat. I love the fruit. It's very sweet and satisfying when fleshy. It's a bit expensive in Manila, but then that's why salaries are higher here too, to compensate for the high prices and the general misery of city life (not that much of a problem now, since I'm very happily married, we're excited about the baby and I just don't go out. Home is wonderful (as is fast internet.

I just saw a post that said that Atis seeds are toxic (pounded into a paste, they are used to kill head lice). Fortunately I've never been tempted to swallow Atis seeds (not the case with lanzones and santol).

It's also Lanzones season. And it's going to be Lanzones Festival on Camiguin. Sol and I both wish we could go. We can't though, she's into her 8th month of pregnancy now and I don't think they let you on a plane at that late stage. Not that we could afford to go anyway, work is crazy (but great fun), and we couldn't Dive on Camiguin anyway, we miss diving at the unfished reserves on Mantigue Island and off White Island, and sol hasn't been to the great dive site off Sunken Cemetery yet. Maybe in May. When we were taking our advanced open water diver course, we had our night dive at

Tangub bay
That was great fun. I didn't realize that there would be so many lionfish (even mating lionfish!) at Tangub at night, and we saw a lot of shrimp (easy to see at night, their eyes shine, hard to see in the daytime since they're almost transparent), sleeping/non-moving fish, and a very large cuttlefish which, when it got irritated by us shining lights on it, inked up and zoomed away so fast we could hardly see it.

This is from our

pre-wedding dive (the morning of the wedding, my mom thought we were nuts diving in the morning and marrying in the afternoon :-) at Mantigue island.

I miss Camiguin. Before I met sol, I lived in Cagayan de Oro and I'd go to Camiguin every weekend. I'd buy some fruits at the fruit stand and drive up to

Katibawasan Falls
and eat them there.

For our wedding, we had

Friends and Family
with us. Lots of fun at the waterfalls and all around the island, including

White Island where, I think that's Paco snorkeling across my brother-in-law's perfect picture, I think this is where Paco was following the giant purple sea slug which was sliding along the shallow bottom there

All right, this appreciation of the lovely Atis is getting away from me now. time to end it here :-)


clogged head

I've been, too slowly, recovering from the head cold, fever, chest cold, cough that I developed last week. Apart from the main problems, I was also dizzy much of the time. Still am, really. But things are getting better. I'll probably be able to go to work tomorrow (Wed). I'd like to go to work TODAY, but sol suggests resting until all the symptoms are gone. And, much as I'd like to work today, I can't contradict massive common sense. Ah well. Tomorrow.

The thing with a clogged head (haha, clogged sinuses, dizziness and the clogged headedness that all feels like) is that I can't even work remotely. Well, I could, but I doubt if the results would be any good.


St Luke's visa health tests

Sol and I spent five days or so going to the St Luke's diagnostics facility in Ermita. We're applying for immigration to New Zealand (prettier, less stressful than the U.S., among the least corrupt countries on earth, it's going to be a great place to raise a family). As part of that process, we both had to undergo a bunch of tests. I got some extra tests added on, so we had to spend more time there.

St Luke's has the best blood extractors I have ever met :-). Everytime I've had to have blood taken (including when I gave blood for my stepfather's surgery, when the med techs were very, very good) there's been a problem. At St Luke's too, there was a problem. It seems I have thick skin (the needle gets dull as it goes in) and the vein is shy (it moves away from the dull needle). But the med tech was very good. She stuck me in the right, the vein didn't like it, she stuck me on the left arm, and that worked very well. She was done before I knew it.

Overall, the service there is very good. One of my friends didn't like the way the staff told her where to go, but I think she was just being over sensitive. It's a very efficient system. I would get upset too if the system were inefficient, with to-ing and fro-ing in illogical and wasteful movements. But they really do have a very efficient system. Everyone knows exactly what to do, and they do it very well. Everyone is always pleasant too. As well they should be. I'm sure that St Luke's contract with the American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand embassies for providing health screening services is very lucrative. I'm sure they put their best people there.

The system is also designed to be secure. As, again, it should be. Naturally, they don't want the records to be tampered with, or the doctors to be reached and influenced. They've got good safeguards in the system to make such tampering very difficult (nothing is impossible).

I had a hell of a time producing phlegm for the sputum test though. The doctors are very thorough and they added tests which, while someone else might have considered them unnecessary, if viewed objectively, were clearly easy to justify and not merely a matter of padding the bill (every test added to the costs, fortunately, we could cover those costs). I'd had lung damage a few years back, from a motorcycle accident. The doctors saw something suspicious in the lungs and, despite the knowledge of the accident, they ordered extra lung X-rays and the sputum test anyway. This was for detecting tuberculosis. Again, reasonable, and I have no quarrel with the choice. It would have been nice to have been spared, but it was understandable to have had that added on.

But again, I had a hell of a time producing the sample. One has to cough and produce sputum or "plema" from the lungs. And I had no lung problems (it had been perhaps 5 months since I last had a cough). I just couldn't produce anything. On the third day though (three samples are required, on consecutive days), I finally produced a good sample. I'd gotten a cold and a cough, perhaps from the cold airconditioning at St Lukes and at work, but also from being in the rain for a short while after work. So finally I coughed up something that looked like brains and that satisfied the medtechs.

All in all, I'm happy with St Luke's. It's a very good hospital, they have very, very good people there. It's expensive, but for this, and for things like Sol's ovarian cyst removal and upcoming giving birth, it's worthwhile.