Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Waking, Guns and Butter and my neighbor

I just finished listening to Guns and Butter at the KPFA archives. I had the time wrong on when we were catching the flight. (I was so tired last night.) I woke up this morning and did my usual slow morning wake up which consists (when I'm alone in bed) of stretching my arms above my head and pointing my toes straight, then moving my arms in one direction and my legs in the other, then the reverse. At which point, exhausted from my workout, I go back to sleep.

Truly, that is how I wake up. The radio will go off (I hate the beep-beep-beep of the alarm on the clock radio) and I'll wake up at some point when I hear something on KPFA that interests me. (It's usually music. I'm usually up between five and five-thirty, most mornings, which is a music hour for the station, but sometimes I will sleep in until Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari are talking.)

So this morning, Dona calls and asks if I'm on my way over. I had gotten the time so wrong. We were taking one of the first flights out. I've got the portable in my hand and, with my other hand, am turning on the shower while I tell Dona I think I can be ready in fifteen minutes and then drive over. She said to forget it and that they'd pick me up so I wouldn't break something rushing around to get ready.

So I wasn't able to get a tape from Toni of the show today and ended up listening to Guns and Butter via the KPFA archives. It is a really strong show and couldn't have come at a better time. Why? If you missed how Drunk Uncle took theories and turned them into "theory," listen to the show. You've got a variety of speakers and there's no way, unless you're Drunk Uncle, that you'll miss that point. One speaker, and I'm sorry, I didn't write down names, Betty's daughter wanted to play dolls, so we did that while I listened, was talking about Christie Todd Whitman and the air at Ground Zero. He has an internal report (that's probably led to all the reporting this week) and that's the perfect example of the truth movement. That report was passed to him because he would stand up. You heard from a number of law enforcement (I think they were all law enforcement -- I'll try to listen again and write some more about it) and it was a really strong show.

Rebecca asked me to write about something I'd mentioned to her. It's about a neighbor of mine. I said I was so glad to get away because I think my neighbor's about to kill his boyfriend. I doubt he'll kill him but there will be some loud door open, screaming down the hall scenes. How come?

Backstory. He's in his late fifties and a very nice man. His boyfriend is 18 and they've been together about six months. His boyfriend was a crack addict and they hooked up when the guy offered a show. My neighbor felt sorry for him (and was also turned on by him) so he invited him to move in and clean up his act. Which the young guy, let's call him Tom, more or less has done.

I don't butt in to other people's problems but my neighbor, whom I'll call Troy, has asked my opinion since the day after Tom moved in. I've been very upfront.

The first thing I told him is that when you're homeless, addicted to crack and need money and you only offer a show (Tom could look at him naked but not touch was the offer Troy had made), then you're probably not gay. And when you're in need of money that badly and not offering some sort of j/o, you're probably a little more than not gay.

But Troy wanted to believe things could work out and for awhile they did. Tom's usually able to stay away from crack for three weeks at a time. Since he refuses Troy's offers for rehab and won't do a twelve step group, that's probably what the pattern will remain. But they shared a bed and that's not my way of saying "had sex." They shared a bed for six months now and there had been some action. But not "all the way." (No penetration and no swallowing.)

Three weeks ago, Troy asked me if I'd noted anything different because Tom was "distant." Yes, I had. While Troy's at work (Tom has no job), there's a woman who's supposedly a cousin visiting all the time. This week, Troy finally accepted something might be going on. He's found out the woman isn't a cousin and confronted Troy.

The woman is Troy's girlfriend and Troy is "not gay" according to Troy. (Tom: "He seemed pretty gay when he was licking my nuts.") So for six months, Troy's been happy to take Tom's money for clothes, fun and food (and hinted he "needs" a car for the last month) but he told Troy that from now on, they'd just "share" the place and he'd sleep on the sofa. ("Share" doesn't include sharing the rent.)

So Troy's very hurt and I think he's going to be even more hurt. (I told him the following yesterday.) I don't think the girlfriend knows they've shared a bed -- Troy and Tom. I'm willing to bet Tom has told her that Troy's a friend who helped him out or something like that. Possibly that Tom has a crush on him.

I think Troy's about to get even more hurt. My advice was kick him out. He showed up with the understanding that he could 'clean out' and then go on his way. Then he realized Tom had some spending money and suddenly it was, "I think I might be in love with you." At which point, they were a couple. (And Tom made a point to present himself as part of a couple to all of Troy's friends.) They are not a couple and I wouldn't consider Tom a friend if I were Troy.

Troy's a very nice person and he doesn't like confrontations. So, how this will likely play out, is that at some point this week, Troy will finally realize how he's been used and something will set him off. He will tell Tom to leave and Tom will either try to flirt his way out of it or cause a big scene. If he tries to flirt his way out, that will be the last straw for Troy because he's already hurt by this. So I'm glad I won't be there to hear the shouting. I think it will get very ugly.

Troy's a wonderful person but too trusting. Or too trusting to be around little hustlers like Tom. It's wonderful that Troy's trusting. But it's a liability when someone wants to lie to you and use you. Troy wanted to kick him out when we talked but was concerned about where Tom would go? My response was that Tom's well being is something his girlfriend should worry about, that Troy should pack up Tom's stuff, change the locks and tell him to leave.

I also wouldn't be surprised, if Troy did that, if Tom didn't show up in a month or so begging to come back. Which wasn't my point in suggesting it. I just think his girlfriend's going to have a huge problem when she realizes that not only does he not work but, without Tom in the picture, Troy doesn't have any spending money. If Tom's living with her and expecting her to do all the things Tom was doing for him, I bet she'll send him packing fairly quickly. (Tom is very good looking and, except for some light porn, has never worked a day in his life nor does he appear to be willing to do so.)

So that was the story. Tom's always asking why Dak-Ho and Maggie and the rest make it up here (he's not into music so he knows he's never going to be mentioned in one of my CD reviews) and I told him that I'd started mentioning them in the reviews before I started this site. I wasn't sure he would want to be mentioned.

But we were talking last night, he came over after I'd blogged and we probably talked for an hour, and he said, "See, my life would make a good post." Hopefully, when he reads this, he won't think, "I wish I hadn't suggested she write about me." (But I have changed his and his boyfriend's name. And "Tom" is his boyfriend. He's a lousy boyfriend but he's a boyfriend. You don't sleep in someone's bed and do everything 'but,' then turn around and say, "We're just friends.")

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006. Violence and chaos continue in Iraq with the Associated Press estimating at least 45 have died and the United Nations estimating that July and August saw the death of 6.5 thousand Iraqis; a British prosecutor argues an admitted war criminal heard the sounds of torture and compared them to a a choir singing; Camp Democracy continues in Washington DC on Women's Peace day;
and Iraqi vet and war resister Darrell Anderson discusses a planned September 29th return to the United States: "I just want to put my uniform back on and then tell them no to their face that 'I'm not going to participate in your war. Do whatever you want to me because I'm right and this is how I feel.' I've never had the chance to do that."

AFP reports that the United Nations, noting the increase in reported deaths since the start of July, has estimated that "[a]t least 6,599 civilians were killed across war-torn Iraq in the months of July and August".

And the violence goes on.


AFP notes six dead and thirty-seven wounded in Samarra "when a suicide bomber carried out the bloodiest attack by ramming his car into the house of a tribal leader" and, in Baghdad, three dead from a "suicide bomber driving a truck" in an attack on "a police station near an oil refinery". AP notes that seven were killed in the truck bombing attack on the police headquarters and that a police officer and two civilians were killed in a mortar attack in Baghdad. AP also notes that a roadside bomb claimed one life and left "two more wounded in east Baghdad".


AP reports that "a U.S. soldier was killed Wednesday by small arms fire in northeastern Baghdad" (we'll note US soldiers' death in a moment).


AP notes the "mutilated" corpse of a police officer was discovered in Kut. Reuters notes 35 corpses discovered in Baghdad "in the last 24 hours"

Iraq in microcosm. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) looks at the farming of dates in Iraq and speaks to Iraqi farmer Aboud Ahdim Abbas Mohammad ("whose family has grown dates here since the 18th century") and "U.S. Army Maj. Marcus Snow, a member of the State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team in Dayala, . . . stockbroker from Lancaster, PA". Mohammad states his intent to remain in Iraq despite threats on his life and Snow can't stop raving about a desire for "better accounting, production and marketing practices . . . better packaging and transportion systems" and increasing the cost of exported dates by 10 percent. As malnutrition continues throughout Iraq (the alarming increase in malnutrition among children is only one population segment effected), the US occupation sees profit-motive and the people continue to go hungry.

Larger picture? Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report on the continued destruction of Ramadi and "collective punishment of civilians in several cities across the al-Anbar province". They report on those teaching and attending the University of al-Anbar where: "Nearly every week we face raids by the Americans or their Iraqi colleagues" (a professor) and "The infrastructure destruction is huge around the governorate building in downtown Ramadi." They also quote Fayiq al-Dilaimy, an engineer "who was on the rebuilding committee set up after the November 2004 U.S.-led operation which destroyed approximately 75 percent of the city" who states:
"Infrastructure rebuilding is just a joke that nobody laughs at. People of this city could rebuild their city in six months if given a real chance. Now look at it and how sorrowful it looks under the boots of the 'liberators'."

In England, a court martial goes on against seven British soldiers. One, Donald Payne pleaded guilty to war crimes yesterday. The BBC reports that Payne, while copping to war crimes, "denied a further charge of perverting the course of justice." Devika Bhat (Times of London) notes that the argument made today was that Payne "enjoyed beating his prisoners until they became a 'choir,' of pain". The BBC quotes prosuctor Julian Bevan telling the court martial Payne was the "conducter": "The choir consisted of Cpl Payne systematically assaulting each detainee in turn by, for instance, hitting in their stomachs, kicking them and punching them wherever on their bodies, causing them to shriek out or groan in pain, their various noises constituting the music".

As noted above, a US soldier died from "small arms fire" in Baghdad. This is in addition to ones noted earlier today. Prior to the one who died from "small arms fire," as David Rising (AP) notes, "the US military [had] announced the deaths of four other soldiers in Iraq. On was killed Tuesday by a suicide car bombing, which also wounded two other soldiers. Antoher two soldiers were killed Sunday -- one by small arms fire and the other by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. A fourth soldier, assigned to a medical task force, died Monday of non-combat related injuries in the capital." Those four, the one who died from "small arms fire" and "an American soldier was killed by a roadside blast northeast of Baghdad on Tuesday." The current total of American fatalities since the beginning of the illegal war is 2691. Proving that he can at least recognize an increase, Giddy in the Greenzone William B. Caldwell IV has noted the obvious --- "Attacks against U.S. troops have increased".

In peace news, Armina Ligaya (Globe & Mail) spoke with war resister Darrell Anderson who was "one of the first of about 225 U.S. soldiers to flee to Canada since 2004". Courage to Resist has noted that Anderson is planning to return to the United States. Anderson explains to Ligaya that there are options prior to his planned return to the US which could explain Canada granting him refugee status or approving his sponsorship claim (Anderson is married to Canadian citizen Gail Greer.) Anderson doesn't have hopes of either happening by September 29th.

Today is Women's Peace Day and NOW and CODEPINK are joint-sponsoring events at Camp Democracy which is where the Troops Home Fast ends today on Day 78. An estimated 5,023 people are participating today and people have grabbed one-day only, one-day each week and longterm fasts through the 78 days. In addition, The Feminist Wire notes: "Other activities on Wednesday include a discussion on how to end violence in Iraq, an update on the violence against women in Juarez, a panel discussion by military women, and a history workshop led by Howard Zinn."

Tomorrow (Thursday Sept. 21st) is International Peace Day and Camp Democracy notes: "We will encourage Camp Democracy participants on this day to engage in activities organized by the Declaration of Peace, including a press conference at 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. followed by an action at the White House."

Actions will be going on around the US (Corvallis Gazette-Times notes a gathering Thursday, Sept. 21st, at the Benton County Courthouse, 120 N.W. Fourth St., Corvallis, OR) and around the world.)

A complete schedule can be found here.

In California, Martin Snapp (Contra Costa Times) reports the the Berkeley City Council "unanimously passed a resolution supporting Lt. Ehren Watada, an Army officer who is facing a court martial for refusing to go to Iraq." George Coates (Berkeley Daily Planet) writes of Berkeley mayor Tom Bates: "Now Bates is up for re-election at a time when many high school-age students are learning that the U.S. military is monitoring their MySpace pages and targeting potential recruits. The plight of soldiers like Lt. Erhen Watada, the first commissioned officer to go AWOL from duty in Iraq, has also triggered fears that a national draft could be reinstated if the number of volunteer enlistments continue to decline as the war threatens to widen. Progressive Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring's effort to pass a resolution in support of Lt. Watada is important because if it succeeds the city will have deepened its stance against the war and candidates for mayor will have heard the message: Sanctuary for war resisters is a local issue that no serious candidate for mayor can evade."

More information on Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and