On the Giving of Thanks

I have to apologize if this one comes off bitter, its not a tryptophan deficiency or being an anti-holiday asshole, but just some scatterings of thoughts that rang through my head as I was being wished a Happy Thanksgiving by those stateside. Honestly except for a brief mention by an expat this week (which I quickly forgot) and some Indonesians who spent time in the States, I forget that Thanksgiving was today.

For the first 36 revolutions of Planet Three around The Hyrdogen-Helium Orb I have had Turkey for Thanksgiving. Turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving, so much so that its often refered to as Turkey Day. When I was a kid I thought you could only get Turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas not realizing that the bird was available 365 days a year.

No longer a kid I have more adult traditions recently, Thanksgiving is usually marked every year by me drinking myself silly in 1st class on a Virgin America Airlines flight from LAX to JFK while watching Football. Land at JFK at 3:30 LIRR to Babylon walk in the door at 5:30 for dinner, engorge myself and pass out. Wake up Friday morning. Like a swiss clock every year.

I celebrated Thanksgiving today by going to work. This is note worty in and of itself as more and more Indonesians ask the question “Do you work?” I get the same question from my friends in the states. Truth be told I was asked that very question by my friends in the states when I was actually in the states so obviously I give off an aura of leisure.

How did my first meaningless Thanksgiving feel? Meaningless. The same feeling those in other parts of the world probably had during the feast of the Sacrifice.

This is understandable as Thanksgiving is, of course, traditionally associated with the America version and is not celebrated (save for the Snowbacks to the north) by any other nation on earth. There were always explanations behind how Thanksgiving started, the Pilgrims and the Indians before they started killing each other, and it becoming a national holiday by US President and Railroad Lobbyist Abraham Lincoln in 1863 in the midst of the slaughter between the states over Mr. Lincolns tariff, and not as commonly explained because Honest Abe couldn’t stand the thought of Black people working for free.

When I say shit like that (You know the truth) I usually have pejorative terms hurled at me, Conspiracy Theorist, Anti-Government etc. I never mind because I just choose to investigate things on my own, not accept a narrative as given to me. So a Conspiracy theorist is just a non Bullshit believer and It’s not that I’m anti –government its just that I am pro-awesome, and the Government sucks, but you never hear people in the media ask Government officials why they suck and if they are Anti-Piper. I’ve also never been much of a holiday guy, especially since I started waking up to reality as it truly is. That’s not a slight at other people’s beliefs that’s just a refusal to acquiesce my reality to others creations. What do I mean?

Say the word “Thanksgiving” and ask people what the first word that pops into their mind is.

“TURKEY!” will be at least 75% of the answers. This is by design. Somewhere (Probably those snowbacks in Canada) there are turkey farmers laughing their asses off.

Symbols are designed, carefully by people hell bent on manipulating you, to elicit a certain thought or feeling so that you can be controlled. That’s why corporations have logos. Its why religions have emblems. Its why countries have flags.

Most people are unwilling to seek and create their own interpretation of these symbols and will blindly accept definitions and connotations created by people whose job it is to easily manipulate populaces. This, again, is by design.

Which is why today didn’t mean much to me. I relocated to an environment where today’s symbolism held no meaning. I couldn’t be manipulated.

Now this is not to say that Thanksgiving is bad in and of itself, that you shouldn’t spend time with loved ones, or not thanks for some blessings you may have. Far from it, Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays. However it seems superfluous that only the people on a particular patch of dirt united by a flag and nothing else (Not a religion, nor philosophy, nor political affiliation nor creed) will give thanks on this one day a year, before trampling fuckers over a 50% off toaster in Walmart tomorrow.

So do ungrateful bastards like me give thanks? Every day. When I wake up at Noon till when I go to bed at 3:45 AM I give thanks not by verbally or mentally giving homage to my country, but by being a co-creator with my prime creator in this grand experiment called “Life”, and by using the Consciousness with which has been ensouled by said creator into this random collection of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus atoms better known as “Me”.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody. Everyday 🙂

Le Visage de la Terreur

Looking at the horror of the 7 coordinated attacks with 129 deaths and other injuries has once again thrust terrorism to the forefront of public consciousness.

France’s 9-11 said some commentators. Interestingly Lebanon had a 9-11 the day before (or a Pre-Paris, s’il vous plait) that no one mentioned. Why is this ?

Because not all terrorism is equal.

This of course raises an interesting question : what is terrorism?

You thought you knew the answer, did you not ? Wikipedia has an entire page saying there is no comprehensive definition that is agreed upon.

The US has several times codified such things :
Title 18 of the United States Code (regarding criminal acts and criminal procedure) defines international terrorism as:
(1) [T]he term ‘international terrorism’ means activities that —
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended —
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum”
Commenting on the genesis of this provision, Edward Peck, former U.S. Chief of Mission in Iraq (under Jimmy Carter) and former ambassador to Mauritania said:
“In 1985, when I was the Deputy Director of the Reagan White House Task Force on Terrorism, [my working group was asked] to come up with a definition of terrorism that could be used throughout the government. We produced about six, and each and every case, they were rejected, because careful reading would indicate that our own country had been involved in some of those activities. […] After the task force concluded its work, Congress [passed] U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2331 … the US definition of terrorism. […] one of the terms, “international terrorism,” means “activities that,” I quote, “appear to be intended to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.” […] Yes, well, certainly, you can think of a number of countries that have been involved in such activities. Ours is one of them. […] And so, the terrorist, of course, is in the eye of the beholder.

A man who was always fantastic with parsing language, President Clinton, had a very succinct definition a bit out of character for the rascal.

“Killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority” – Bill Clinton

Thanks Billy, we needed a working definition.

So in the end the word terrorism is just that : a word.

A word which is used to provoke the mind into cognitive dissonance forcing us to create a false division between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” violence depending on the source and target.

We are conditioned to consider certain types of violence as terrorism, but not others.

Brown people shooting white people? Terrorism.
Black people shooting White People? Not Terrorism.
White Kids on Ritalin shooting classmates in a carefully premeditated attack? Not terrorism.
Brown people setting off a bomb and setting off another Bomb for first responders? Terrorism.
US Military Double tap drone strikes on civilian populations in exactly the same manner? Not Terrorism

Drone strikes Wedding parties and Doctors without borders?

Well that shit isn’t terrorism. That’s Policy.

But if one takes terrorism in its widest sense of inflicting terror this includes all of the above and so much more.

Every SWAT raid on the wrong house.
Every targeted audit of an unfavorable political organization.
Every stop and frisk in certain demographical areas.

So terror is violence which the state can exploit for an expansion of its own power.

The state has a monopoly on violence. Hopefully not a monopoly on its language yet.