Monday, December 15, 2008

The Bottom of Our Shoes

Bush's surprise visit to Iraq, turned into a surprise on him. An Iraqi journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, a correspondent for Al Baghdadia, tossed his shoes at Bush. The ultimate insult in Iraq, it means the recipient is considered lower than dirt. Mr. al-Zaidi is now being held by the Maliki government although it is unclear what law he has broken.

Bush, glib as always, commented that the shoe was a "size 10." The shoe would have had to have been Shaquille O' Neal's (size 22) to have matched the world's disdain. But the Decider doesn't get it. He's been living in a brush bubble in Crawford.

The media seems to be missing the message in this story. The U.S. press seems to be covering the story primarily as a filler. Mostly, it is approached as a bizarre type of human interest story. As I write this, Contessa Brewer is asking on MSNBC if the shoes were his own or if he brought in an extra pair. What next, a penetrating discussion of the brand of shoe? An Iraqi journalist commented that al-Zaidi has "ruined his career."

Nothing could be further off. Muntader al-Zaidi has likely already become a household name throughout the Middle East and soon, throughout the world. The story here is that someone has finally had the nerve to express the outrage the Bush Administration so richly deserves. George Bush has nearly destroyed the world and he must be remembered as such.

Bush's current effort to rewrite history must not be allowed to pass. For eight years George Bush has shown complete disregard for the opinions and people of the world. He has shredded the Constitution, claimed the powers of a king and ruined the reputation of America in the world.

As al-Zaidi threw his shoes he proclaimed in Arabic, "This is a gift from the Iraqi's, this is the farewell kiss, you dog!" On the second shoe: "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." Muntader al-Zaidi spoke for the Iraqi people and that is why thousands are now in the streets of Baghdad protesting his detention.

Those of us who have opposed Bush as he lied us into war, opened prisons to circumvent U.S. law (Guantanamo), rationalized torture and generally dared an impotent Congress to stop him, now are coming to terms with the fact that he has gotten away with it. I used to think there would be leaders who would step forward to oppose him, that his crimes would eventually be exposed, even that he might have to answer for his crimes against humanity before a War Crimes Tribunal. Now, it is clear that he will return to his silver plated life and a village in Texas will regain its idiot.

Muntader al-Zaini has shown us the way. The Iraqi insult of the bottom of the shoe must become our own. No need to throw it, just show it. Should any of us be so unfortunate as to find ourselves in the presence of the "W", present the bottom of your shoe, and hold it as high as you can reach.

British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs

  • 11 workers killed in initial blast
  • Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
  • 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
  • Gulf Fisheries Industry
  • Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
  • Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)

Worst Oil Spills

  • Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
  • Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
  • Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
  • Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
  • Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
  • South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
  • France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
  • Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
  • Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
  • Source: Mother Nature Network. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.

Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)

  • 1957 Windscale, UK
  • 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
  • 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
  • 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
  • 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
  • 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
  • 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
  • 1989 Griefwald, Germany
  • 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
  • 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
  • 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
  • Source: Benjamin Sovacool

Mining Disasters (Under Construction)

  • China 1942 - 1549 deaths
  • France 1906 - 1100 deaths
  • Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
  • Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
  • South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
  • Source: Epic Disasters Website
  • Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.

OIL IS OVER! - Resources

  • Hibbert's Peak - "The" source that explains why Oil is Over.
  • Tragedy of the Commons -Garrett Hardin
  • The Land Ethic - Aldo Leopold
  • Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight - Thom Hartmann
  • Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching


  • The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
  • The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
  • Demian - Herman Hesse
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
  • The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
  • Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
  • The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
  • The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
  • Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
  • The Quiet American - Graham Greene
  • Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
  • We - Yevgeny Zamyatin


  • John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
  • Patti Smith
  • The Clash - the only band that matters
  • Billy Bragg
  • Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
  • Art Blakey
  • Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
  • PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Michael Franti (Spearhead)
  • Public Enemy
  • Ray Charles - the Genius
  • Bob Dylan
  • Velvet Underground
  • Flaming Lips
  • John Doe & X
  • The Beatles

opiate of the masses

  • God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
  • The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
  • No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
  • When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
  • If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
  • Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
  • God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer