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Agam's Gecko
Monday, August 16, 2004
 
THE GECKO SEZ:
Hey! Yo! I'm back! Dat ole Agam didn't even give me a chance last month -- and now this month he's been so irresponsible toward his 4 loyal readers dat even dis lil' jing joke is feelin' ashamed. First week of the Singha-khom (da lion month, ya know) he takes off for quiet time in the country at Wichienburi, and den last week he goes off to Koh Samet along the Rayong coast! What a shirk, I tell ya! Ok so it wuz a 4 day weekend for the Great Mother's birthday (Her Majesty was 72, so in addition to being National Mother's Day, it was extra special cuz of the 6 cycles... and you've been payin' attention to earlier explanations about dat, natch!), and all this means dat ole Agam just hasn't been payin' attention much lately. [and just between you 'n me, he must be seriously pissed at the Beeb these days, cuz he didn't even bother to take his shortwave]

Any-who, they just got back from the east coast and 'gam wuz lookin' a little stressed for having driven for the first time in like, 10 years, and what better time to get into it again but at the end of a major holiday weekend when 14 million people are racing back into the Big Mango. So he came in, turned on his confuser for me and just said, "Go to it, little guy!" Dat's the one thing I can't do by mylittleself, is turn the darn thing on. Keyboard tapdancing I can handle fine, and the old boy kept some notes and links he saved at the beginning of Singha, so you'll get your (already 2 week out-of-date) fix with gecko-like elaboration this time, yo!

RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL ANYBODY-BUT-BUSH CONVENTION
Yeah, ok... Democratic Party convention. Looked more like the anybody-but-Bush convention to me, though. Here's the secret recipe, from a letter writer to the New York Times, listing the chief ingredients of the stew. Seems about right to me:
To the Editor:

Here is the recipe John Kerry's speechwriters used for his acceptance speech: 40 percent, Vietnam service; 35 percent, an attack on George Bush; 5 percent, tell George Bush not to attack him; 20 percent platitudes; 0 percent substance. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Serve with thousands of balloons.

Jason Hochstrasser
University Place, Wash.
July 30, 2004
Hat tip: JustOneMinute

REPORTING FOR DUTY, SEND ME
Did you know, that John Kerry was in Vietnam? He even got medals! Say, why don't you Americans, like, elect him president or somethin'! Ain't dat enough already? Ok, so it's maybe a bit hard to tell when geckos are bein' sarcastic -- I didn't mean it! I and Agam watched some of dat Democritter show, and as for Big John's big moment, it creeped me out, man. This is important stuff, a critical point in you humans' history and maybe even your survival too -- and this dour, ponderous hound-dog like person wants to lead you and inspire you forward into ... what? What's his plan? It's too secret to talk about yet, so Jason Hochstrasser had it about right, I thought. Except maybe it was 35% Vietnam service and 25% platitudes, but who's counting. Whatever, it was zero percent substance. Really. The clue was the opening line: "I'm John Kerry, and I'm ... (dramatic pause) ... reporting for duty." Groan! Downhill from there! Check out what Agam found on the QandO (Questions and Observations) blog the next day, picked up by someone known as Jon Henke:
"I didn't really want to get involved in the war," Kerry said in a little-noticed contribution to a book of Vietnam reminiscences published in 1986. "When I signed up for the swift boats, they had very little to do with the war. They were engaged in coastal patrolling and that's what I thought I was going to be doing."
I just bet he was being a lot more honest about all this stuff in 1986, than he is now running for Prez as a self-proclaimed highly decorated war hero. After his big 55 minute moment, things actually did seem to go downhill when the party wrapped up. Big John and his lovely billionairess accompanied Little John and his wife for the latter's wedding anniversary traditional lunch at Wendy's. Now that sounds like a wonderful and authentic southern family tradition, except that it offered an opportunity for the billionairess, the highly cultured and multi-linguistically talented Theresa to display her unfamiliarity with what the common people eat. She pointed to the photo of a cardboard tub of something called "Chilli" on the menu, asking the servant staff what "Chilli" is, before deciding to try it. Hey! She made sure to impress everyone at Fleet Center with her six languages, but never heard of chilli con carne. Well, duh! Obviously it's mostly beans, with a little meat, that's what the poor people eat. But never fear, T. H-K! You only got's to pretend to eat that common people food! For there were 19 five-star lunches waiting on the bus -- picked up earlier at some tony joint at the yacht club -- consisting of Shrimp Vindaloo, Steak Salad, and about 14 other courses.

While the cosmopolitan Theresa was nibbling photogenically on her kidney beans, husband Big John was schmoozing the Wendy's patrons, zeroing in on a small group of young guys who happened to be US Marines, two in uniform and two in civvies. The photo op here was a killer for our war hero, as it caught him poking his finger into the chest of one young uniformed guy who appeared for all the world to be barely holding back from decking the presidential hopeful! After the celebrities were gone, the Marines all expressed disgust at being used in that way, stating that they do not like Mr. Kerry one bit, fully support President Bush and his Iraq policy, and indeed were on the way over there soon themselves. Strike two for getting close to the grassroots folks at Wendy's. Oh well, hype is on the way, as they say. Big John is getting a reputation for his efforts to always have a camera close at hand, the easier to capture that "hype-able" moment. For example in the dangerous Vietnam missions, he usually had his trusty 8 mm. at his side (and no, dat ain't no weapon calibre).

In an article in the online Weekly Standard, Stephen F. Hayes makes note of the experience of one Bill Keller -- who was once a columnist, now executive editor of the New York Times.
In a previous column Keller had, in his words, "mocked" Kerry for "pulling out a movie camera after a shootout in the Mekong Delta and re-enacting the exploit as if preening for campaign commercials to come." Kerry's staff protested that characterization and invited Keller to watch the film in question with Kerry. Keller did. And on September 7, 2002, he wrote...
"It is so innocent," he said by way of introducing his youthful cinematic effort, adding a little defensively, "I have no intention of using it" for campaign purposes.
At the time of that writing, it was unclear whether that footage would form a part of the film shown at the convention, which would be used to introduce the hero himself. It was.

We were curious about the "Swift Boat" guys that Big John had been prancing around with in Boston, reenacting their old days with a speedboat in Boston harbour. A lot of veterans who knew Big John during his four months of glory days in 'Nam, have put up some of their reasons why they consider him unfit for leadership, on their website Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Agam and I spent the better part of a day reading most of what they have put up there, and guess what? Big John is using a photograph for his campaign, showing 19 of his fellow swift boat skippers at that time, and only one of them supports him to lead the United States. For more than two months, they have tried to get Kerry to stop using this photo of them to promote himself. See the picture, with more explanations here.

The Swift Vets have an interesting transcript of a debate between one of their members, and Big John himself, back in 1971, on the Dick Cavett show. Agam was pretty excited to find this, because he says he used to watch Dick Cavett during his lunchtime back in those days. However, part of this was most distressing for this jing joke though, as it appears that if Lt. Kerry had gotten his way back then, why I would have probably been born under the evil communism right here in Thailand! And that would have been just fine for our war hero! Why, now that I think of it, His Majesty might have been murdered just like the Lao king was, there could have been killing fields and bloodbaths, and surely Her Majesty the Queen wouldn't be having her 6th cycle celebrations last week either (and that means no Mother's Day either, sniff). But all that seemed not to matter to our young war hero 33 years ago, as he advocated a 'get out immediately' policy, and never mind what happens to the South East Asians as a result, criticising the very idea of trying to achieve even a partial non-communist result for any country here. Just hand it all over to the Maoists, eh John?
It is still committed to the idea totally of a non-communist regime, and I think that that's unrealistic in terms of the political forces that are at play in South Vietnam. In fact, in all of Southeast Asia.

[...]

MR. KERRY: The true fact of the matter is, Dick, that there's absolutely no guarantee that there would be a bloodbath. There's no guarantee that there wouldn't. One has to, obviously, conjecture on this. However, I think the arguments clearly indicate that there probably wouldn't be.
That was spoken before the eventual pullout, before the Vietcong swept into Saigon and the rest of the parts of the country which would rather not become communist slaves, and of course before the bloodbath and violent purges that followed.

By the way, a nice picture is found on the Swift Vets' site, showing an old photo of terrified villagers when the Americans came to town. Of course when he came back from 'Nam with his medals, Kerry became most famous for his shocking descriptions of how all his "band of brothers" were war criminals who raped, killed and mutilated innocent people routinely. Perhaps that's why so many of them are a bit annoyed at the "War Hero, reporting for duty" ploy. Check out that village visit photo, and note the looks of terror on the kids' faces.

UPDATE: Hey, good old C-SPAN just told me they were going to play that old Cavett show with Kerry and O'Neill this morning. Cool!

MOORELIES ARE MOORE-IFIC!
We were not really planning to offer this link to Michael Moore's Playboy interview because it's just a long and tedious rehash of all his canard-laden talking points, and even the wealth of examples of his foul mouth and weak intellect don't really make it worth the effort to read. But it's just a handy place that I can cite at the moment, among the many places that he had openly claimed to have interviewed Richard Clarke -- the terrorism "expert" employed by both Presidents Clinton and Bush. One of the issues is the false impression Moore endeavours to leave viewers of his "movie", which is that the dastardly Bush White House let a whole bunch of tricky Saudis -- including some bin Laden half-siblings -- fly out of the country while air traffic was still grounded. In fact Richard Clarke OK'ed the flights, which happened after air traffic wasn't grounded any more, and the FBI interviewed and cleared everyone to their own satisfaction, no rules were bent, and so on. By the way, Osama's dad had a very large number of wives, and so Osama has something over 50 half brothers & sisters -- none of whom seem to have anything much to do with him. So it wasn't quite as sinister as our rhino-hipped celebrity wants us to think. But anyway... in the above Playboy article, he says of Clarke, "I interviewed him for Fahrenheit 911 months before his book came out." However, in a piece in the Wall Street Journal, Scott Simon actually spoke to Mr. Clarke about this, and writes that:
Moreover, said Mr. Clarke, "He never interviewed me." Instead, Mr. Moore had simply lifted a clip from an ABC interview.
It's an interesting little piece, "When Punchline Trumps Honesty". [Mr. Simon hosts NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday" and is the author of theforthcoming "Pretty Birds," a novel about the siege of Sarajevo.]

So, yet another easily proved lie from the fearless auteur, fawned over at the Democritters big bash, hobnobbing with ex-Presidents and hoped for Presidents-to-Be. Oh, oh, one more! Agam wuz right -- remember how either Tom Daschle or Michael Moore had to be lying about the warm, male-bonding hug that they supposedly shared at the F:911 premiere? My human wuz right, alright. Moore is the one who wuz lying about it. Imagine having to lie about being hugged -- it's kind of sad, really! Hopefully he will do for Big John what he did for General Wes.

SEVEN MINUTES?
And it looks like it might be happening already. First it was the Aug. 1 terrorism warning, which was apparently derived from one of the recent Pakistan arrests of some al Qaeda people. Uncovering specific surveillance on specific buildings and institutions as potential terrorism targets, and the usual suspects complain that the information is made public? By which I mean Howard the Deaniac! Weren't all the Bush haters just a few months ago whining that the authorities were too slow to act on limited intel, too reluctant to tell the public everything that they knew? Cynical about the admin's claim that their intel was not specific enough? Now they get specific stuff out of Pakistan about casing specific buildings for attack, they go public with increased alert level for just those places and areas, and they get whined at again by Deano -- and Agam and I both heard him -- saying he was suspicious. Not of the terrorists who want to kill him, but of the Bushies fooling around making political hay out of passing along a sensible warning.

Look Deano. Just tell everyone exactly when would be a suitable time for terrorists to get arrested, or info to be made public in the interest of readiness and safety, so that you won't be suspicious. Hmmm? How about that by now well known negative bounce from the John-boys convention party, eh? Generally you could expect a positive bounce from all that attention -- they'd be hoping for 10-15%, they'd be marginally satisfied with 4-5%, but you got -- by several polls' reckoning -- a slight negative effect. Isn't it a little bit suspicious about the timing of these negative bounce polls, I mean right after your convention and everything? Those neo-cons are ruthless, I told ya! They fight dirty, man! What about that hurricane in Florida -- SUSPICIOUS ? A convenient photo-op for Bush in a state he needs to win -- COINCIDENCE ? "I think not," the Deaniac might say.

Then next came the revelation that some of the documents found in Pakistan about casing those potential terror targets, were a couple of years old. Some even before Sept. 11, 2001! Hey, we know these guys are serious, and they're into long term planning. And never mind that the full story showed that some of the stuff was gathered earlier, and it was updated right up until this spring, of this very year. Nope, that's not the headline spin at all -- old info, they're tricking us with old info, more tricky lies from the Bushitler Shrubby McChimp gang. Get serious! But no matter, that spin was good for a day at least.

And of course when the hubbub over that was over, and everyone had had their fill of laughing over John Kerry's NASA bunny-suit picture, he comes charging back with ... wait for it ... one of Michael Moore's very own talking points! Yes, it's the Seven Minutes of Inaction! America was under attack, and President Bush was reading My Pet Goat! Of course he did, he's a moron, right?

Except that no, he wasn't reading My Pet Goat -- the children were reading from a storybook, and one of the stories in the book was My Pet Goat. A minor thing, but it just shows how every little thing gets twisted around to maximum effect in the effort to make cheap points. So what's the stupidest-sounding story in the book? And we'll have Bushitler Chimpyburton reading it instead of the second graders, because obviously he wants to know what the goat does next instead of the boring old World Trade Center, right?

Sorry, Michael Moore's neurotic rambling illogic was rubbing off on me a bit there, I'm ok now. But anyway, the shocking thing is to see a "serious" figure like Big John Kerry is supposed to be, taking his cues from a lying propagandist jerk like that. According to CNN, John Kerry says:
"Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whispered in my ear, 'America is under attack,' I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had something that he needed to attend to -- and I would have attended to it."
Well. Bravo for you, O brave War Hero. The teacher at the Booker Elementary second grade class was full of praise for Mr. Bush's calm handling of the situation. Knowing that all sorts of communications etc. would have been under way at the time, probably work on several options for the president's next move would have been in progress, there was nothing to be gained by the President leaping to his feet and rushing around in a panic just for the sake of looking busy! It would have frightened more than the kids -- I bet none of the media present knew about the attacks yet. If he had cut a second grader off in mid-goat story to rush out of the room, it would have been full media panic ... and that would have scared the hell out of the poor little darlings. Anyway, their teacher was very grateful that Mr. Bush didn't do any of those things that Mr. Moore and Mr. Kerry wish he had done.

But what did Mr. Kerry do, on that sunny September morning? Why, according to his own words to Larry King on CNN:
Kerry: "...And as I came in [to a meeting in Sen. Daschle's office], Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid were standing there, and we watched the second plane come in to the building. And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table and then we just realized nobody could think, and then boom, right behind us, we saw the cloud of explosion at the Pentagon..."
That would be the Daschle who didn't hug Michael Moore, the Boxer who referred to the Madrid terrorist attacks of last March 11 as "a rail accident," the Kerry who is reporting for duty, and I have no idea about Harry. That little nugget, courtesy of Red State. Now, according to researchers of various blog sites, the second plane hit the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. The other plane hit the Pentagon at 9:43 a.m. That is 40 minutes, rounded off to the nearest minute. By Kerry's own words, he and his fellow senators sat there for forty minutes, realizing "nobody could think."

MORE MOORE-ISMS
A sharp Australian, Queensland's Tom Knox, decided to spend a minimal amount of thinking power, and apply it to another one of lard-ass' cheap laughs:
The movie Fahrenheit 9/11 asserts the children of US congressmen are under-represented in US forces in Iraq.

There are 300 million Americans; 130,000 US troops in Iraq; 535 congressmen and women; and at least five children of congressmen serving in Iraq.

Thirty seconds of intellectual effort shows that children of US congressmen are very over-represented in Iraq; but 30 seconds is way over the capacity of admirers of Fahrenheit 9/11.
Via Tim Blair.

BDS - IT MAY BE CONTAGIOUS
But the good news is, it may be curable. And the first step appears to be an easy one -- if the patient is willing, then cure seems quite possible. If you wonder suddenly whether jing jokes are now dispensing medical news, then let me reassure you. If you gots any physical health questions, well then don't axe me! This is a day for US politics from start to finish, yo! Cuz ya know, dat stuff matters even to little freedom-loving geckos on the other side of the planet. And since me & 'gam haven't been pullin' our weight lately -- in the give 'em interesting stuff to read department -- I think he'd like me to pass along this thought-provoking little piece from Esquire mag. It's written by a fellow called Tom Junod, who sounds about as far from a neo-con warmonger as you're likely to find anywhere, and poor Tom is evidently suffering from an advanced case of BDS -- Bush Derangement Syndrome. But the good news, as I mentioned earlier, is that the prognosis is excellent because he hasn't closed his mind, and is willing to consider -- as he subtitles his "Case for George W. Bush" -- i.e., what if he's right?

What-if, indeed. There's hope for us all yet, if the "Left" can again learn to question assumptions and resist falling into easy, pat slogans, the way this guy is capable of doing. A lot of folks just don't get it, in a real way, that there is a war going on. Not just in a certain place or country, but more like the Cold War. It's happening everywhere at once, hotter in some places and colder in others, but it is happening now. America is not the enemy, and George Bush is not attempting to conquer the world for cowboys. But don't take the word of a jing joke on that -- and don't take the word of massively bulky film propagandists either. If you find yourself loving to hate George W. Bush, the way Tom Junod confesses he does, this piece might resonate. If we feel that, sure Saddam was a nasty sadistic fellow, or sure terrorism is a bad thing, right? Or yeah, of course genocide is bad..... but ... It's that but that we really have to watch out for. That there is one nasty old but, a dangerous and deadly one. I vote for kicking it right out of the sentence altogether.

Oh, and if ya needs more interestin' stuff to read, of course both me and 'gam would be more than happy, the next time you visit and we haven't been doing our job, if y'all just click on over to some of the boys in Iraq via the sidebar, just to check how they're doin'. Ali, Omar, Mohammed and Zeyad just inspire us no end over here.

THAI GOLD
Hey! Hey Yo! First Thai woman makes Olympic Gold! Weightlifter Udomporn Polsak makes history. Chai-yo!



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