Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Am An American Soldier

I was almost everything they could want in a soldier.

I had pride and honor. I was loyal. I would work hard to prove my worth.

I was disenfranchised with my home town, with my life. A high school drop out I needed a place to belong.

I told my wife after about a year in that I loved it. I didn't always agree with how things were done and I hated the war, but I could deal with that. I told her that I was going to be a soldier until the day I died or they told me I couldn't do it anymore.

There was just one thing that kept me from being what they truly wanted.

It wasn't that I questioned things. They could deal with that and my better leaders learned to use it. I would figure things out and notice things that nobody else would or could.

It was something that had been ingrained in my from childhood that kept me from being what they truly wanted in a soldier.

A love of freedom. True freedom, not democratic republic bill of rights constitution four more years pretend your free freedom. I was taught never to let anyone take away the rights that I had and to be willing to fight for the ones that I didn't have but knew I should.

And somebody crossed the line. I threw everything I had at him. I read the manual of courts martial and quoted obscure rulings and appendixes. I read DOD and Army regulations about everything. Every single time he tried to do something illegal I would do everything in my power to stop him.

He swore that I would never get promoted. That he would see to it that I was dishonorably discharged. That I would never get an award.

Well in the end I won.

I was promoted once after he told me that. I was honorably discharged for medical reasons. Right before I got out I received an award for doing his job while he was gone. The commander allowed it even though I was flagged due to pending discharge. He couldn't stop me from getting what I deserved.

After it was all said and done I had lost my sense of my place. The time when they told me I couldn't be a soldier anymore came far sooner then I wanted it to. But that's ok.

I found something in myself that no one can suppress. That beating core of life and freedom and justice and love that makes me who I am, makes me fight for my brothers and sisters of the world, makes me know that we may not win today but we can not lose. Even if the battle rages a thousand years we can not lose. Because we have that core and nothing can crush it.

I am an American Soldier
I am a guardian of freedom and ... life

Just not the way they wanted me to be

Peace and Unity

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

But Why Republicans?

I feel I owe some sort of reasoning as to why I bash on Republicans so much in my post. So here's my reasoning. It's just so easy. Anyone whose read most of my posts would note that I have taken out my rage against other political groups as well. Democrats are no more innocent in these matters. Republicans are just so insanely open with there ignorance and treachery that I can't help but wind up targeting them more often. So there you have it. I despise all politics equally, so no offense right wingers, you just make such a wonderfully large target.

Not a Serious Number

So I'm reading this article online today and a note at the top of the site says that the article have nothing to do with politics and are all about facts.


The first article I read starts off by saying that the people of Iraq are the most ruthless enemy America has ever faced and that this 'war' simply has to be won or they'll kill us all.

From there in goes into a discussion about how the loss of life is such a small percentage of life lost in other wars and to other factors and so it's really not a serious number.

Two things I have to say to you buddy.

If the people of Iraq are oh so hell bent on killing us all then why have they not tried in the past? I sure hope your not pulling the old "They attacked us on 9/11" routine because anyone left paying attention, even the pro side, knows that this is simply not true. The pentagon even said it's not true. Maybe you missed the major article that came out about the DOD finally admitted that before the war in Iraq there was no connection between Al Queda and Sadaam, Iraq, etc. Oh I wouldn't doubt that there is now. After all we lumbered in, told them that we were there to liberate them, and now refuse to leave and let them choose there own path. Preferring instead to make sure that the vote for the right people and that we kill off the ones that don't like us and others who happen to get in the way. Wow, we sure are keeping our nation safe by making more enemies. What logic would you call that? Oh yes, Republicanism.

Second thing I have to note on this. The number isn't small to the friends and family you jack ass. Having known some of those that have lost there lives and been injured, traumatized, etc. I can't help but think of some ugly ugly language I want to say about someone telling me that the number dead is small enough not to really matter in the long run. I know that more people die every year driving, and from cancer, and heart disease. You know what? Most of the people weren't forced into facing that death by commanding officers doing the president's bidding. (Well maybe certain medical cases but that's a whole other issue) So don't you tell me for one second that we shouldn't mind the loss of life because it's 'only' 4100+ of our side. Don't you ever fucking tell me that my friends lives were an acceptable loss because more of us didn't die with them.

You people love to say that you support the military and then you pull out some shit like that? Man I'd hate to see how you love your families. "Don't worry about your brother's death son, he was only 20% of the family." Come on now. Stop screaming from the soapboxes how much supporting the war is the only real way of supporting the troops while you demean and degrade those very men you say you're there for.

So many people can see past your nonsense. It leaves me hoping that you don't know how mixed up you are. I'm not even saying that from an emotional point of view. I just can't believe logically that anyone would say things like "I support the troops therefore I support them being killed" and "I support the troops but I think that the number lost is ok, cause it's not too high." Guess what? Behind all the gibberish about 'telling it like it is' that's what your saying.


I'm done for now, I'm gonna give myself a fucking ulcer if I keep this rant up.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Peace and Unity

I always feel like I can never say enough.

Like no matter how many times I raise my voice and yell and block traffic they will just keep doing what they're doing.

There has to be a better way.

Many who know me know that I am a huge fan of direct action. Having taken part in a protest in Olympia that effectively shut down a port shipping military equipment for hours a time and days on end I saw what effect these sorts of actions can truly have.

Here in Southern California where I currently reside I simply don't see these actions taking place. Many have argued that we just don't have the sort of support that one would need to truly have an impact in this way.

Well I say they're wrong. Building support by performing actions can be a wonderful way to attract people to contribute to a cause. There is no need to wait for them to come to you. Put your self out there and you just wait and see how many people come up to say that they want to help.

Some have also said that to perform such actions would present a bad face to the media or to the politicians. To hell with them both. They got me into this mess they are not going to get me out. Democrat, Republican, journalist, whatever. They have all shown a general disregard for truly stopping this brutal occupation. If they don't like what I'm doing, oh well. I'm not interested in making good headlines or connections. I'm interested in saving lives.

At some point everyone has to make a choice.

Do I care about "blank" enough to take my time and resources and so everything I can to stop it, start it, whatever.

If it takes until the day I die, I will help stop this war.

Short of violence and breaking various laws, this has to be what matters. This has to be what is on my mind, because this is my friends lives. This is other people's lives. This is a trio of nations whose health and welfare are at stake.

And I can't rest knowing that something can be done.

Peace and Unity

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Angry Veteran Comic #1!

And here you go, the first and oh so crudely drawn Angry Veteran Comic. More to follow and hopefully I'll get better at using Inkscape and Gimp and these will come out looking decent one day. And what better way to kick it off then to make fun of Republicans?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barry Goldwater Jr.

So I had very interesting experience today. I met Barry Goldwater Jr. He came into the office to meat the owner of the company I work for. So I did some looking into the man. He is very very good at hiding is personal opinions from public view. However, he has chosen to publicly endorse Ron Paul for president and while I have some issues with that man's stances I still like a lot of what he has to say. It is my hopes then that Mr. Goldwater is an opponent of the war in Iraq. He would seem to be having decided to support an anti-war candidate.

Unfortunately I was working when I was with him so I couldn't really bring up the topic I wanted to. There wouldn't have been time anyways as billionaire's (like the owner of my company) don't like to be kept waiting and I'm sure that Mr. Goldwater was on a fairly busy schedule as well. Otherwise I was raring to talk to him about Iraq.

I think I will now make it a goal to contact this man (he lives in a neighboring state so not too far) and see what he has to say about Iraq and about IVAW. If nothing else he would be an amazing person to have this sort of conversation with, even if he is a Republican. Searches for news related to him did show me that hardcore conservatives don't like him, which is a plus as far as I'm concerned.

All in all what I did see of him he was a nice man, very polite and not at all degrading in how he spoke or acted around me even though I am just a lowly worker bee. So for now I'll go with he's not a bad guy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Open Source Goodness: Reasons to Use Linux

So I know it's been a while since I posted something in regards to computers and what not. This will be my post for the week regarding the open source issues of activism. Also stay tuned because a regularly updated comic for the web site is on the way! Construction is still on going in terms of making this it's own hosted website. Unfortunately for all the Linux networking goodness that is my tech background. I have ZERO web construction experience and can't even format proper html. So if you have any web coding experience and would like to help out please let me know. Well here's your open source post for the week, enjoy.

This week I'm going to talk a little bit about some reasons why you should use Gnu/Linux instead of other operating systems like one that comes from Redmond. Some of the reasons are certainly are the personal side, but most are technical reasons that should be hard to ignore.

1. Linux is free. Really free. You not only don't have to pay for the software or the updates, but you can modify and use the software however you like. While that may be out of reach of anyone without solid coding experience it's still nice to know. It also means that many people already have. As a result there is a distribution for every taste and the vast majority of them don't cost a dime.

2. Linux is stable. Way more stable then other operating systems that make you pay. Gnu (which stands for Gnu is not Unix) is modeled after the Unix platform which has long been considered the most stable, secure, and powerful platform availible. Just like Linux, Unix comes in many flavors but they are generally propitiatory, closed source, expensive, and designed to work only with certain hardware. One notable exception is FreeBSD, a version of BSD that is open source and free to download. It's use is not for the faint of heart, however, and it generally requires far more system knowledge to use then modern versions of Linux do. (Ever wonder why MacOS is generally more stable then Windows? MacOS is a prime example of pay to use software based on BSD)

3. Linux is Secure. Of course there are still viruses and there are still security flaws and bugs. Just not like certain other operating systems that can hardly keep up with hackers. Oh yes, they don't keep up. Part of the reason why Linux is more secure is because less people use it making it a less valuable target. Of course this logic fades when you consider that Linux is the OS of choice for many networks, scientific computers, super computers, and development platforms. The other important factor is that unlike in a closed source project, bugs are discovered and fixed by the community (with an oversight process of course), this causes updates to be released far faster as well as more issues being discovered within a shorter time frame. You should still run anti-virus software and take other security precautions.

4. Linux is fun. Yeah it really is. The days of terminal only distros has long come to an end. Check out Compiz sometime and see how much fun it is to play with. Better yet try "The Mana World", "Super Tux", "Frozen Bubble", or "Metal Blob Solid" and see just how much fun Linux can be. These of course are just a handful of games available for Linux. There are hundreds if not thousands more, many of which are just as capable as similar games would be for Windows or MacOS. Of course any Windows based game you just can't do without can generally be run with Wine (Wine is not an emulator) which simulates the Windows APIs, registry, etc. and with some minor tweaking will allow you to run most popular games within Linux.

5. There's a Penguin. His name is Tux. He's awesome. He has games based on him (SuperTux, SuperTux Racing, etc.) and he's just darn cute.

6. With freedom of information comes freedom of society. Using open source software and operating systems contributes to a society that survives without restrictive patents, and copyrights that take information out of the hands of the masses. Information really is power and Linux helps us to take it back.

7. If you want to try Linux and you're concerned about the install I'll help you. That's right. If you're getting on this on the listserve and you live nearby drop me a line and I'll install and configure Linux for you free of charge. Pretty good considering my normal tech support fees hover around sixty dollars and hour, but in the name of true freedom I'll do it for free. Now you really don't have an excuse not to try it.

So there you have it. Seven good reasons to use the ultimate open source operating system. Join the Open Source Revolution.

Libertarians: Anarchists Who Hate Poor People

Libertarians are an interesting bunch of people. They are so far as I'm concerned Anarcho-Capitalists. People who value freedom of in all aspects including commerce. Now there's nothing wrong in and of itself of embracing freedom if commerce. It is the embracing of capitalism as the means of commerce that leads me to ponder there motivations.

Capitalism has two major opponents. Anarchism and Communism (For this article socialists and other such are included under communism as they are in fact simply lesser forms.). The traditional communist opposition to capitalism is that it is the means to oppression. Also commonly referred to as wage slavery, it seeks to keep the power in the hands of an elite few while the majority works long hours with low pay to support that power. Therefore communists see the down fall of capitalism as the means to liberation of the working class. Note that communists however do not want to do away with a monetary system or private property. They say that once the majority controls the commerce then they will be liberated.

The anarchist argument that I most hear differs signifigantly. There argument says that capatilsm commodifies life and humanity. For instance in our present system if you steal a car worth $25,000 and go to jail for 5 years the state has valued your life at $5,000 a year. Other instances of commodifcation include having to pay for food, shelter, and health care. Your life has a clear value to those who control the means of producing necessaties of life. Sexuality is commidified through strip clubs, pornography, and in a less explicit way, the gender dating norms that suggest payment for love and sex through dinners, gifts and trips to the movies. So many anarchists say that once capatilism is torn down it will liberate the people by seperating commerce from the value of a human life (or in some cases animal lives depending on the personal beliefs of any given anarchist).

So this brings us to libertarians. According to a handful of interviews I read regarding there beliefs taken from this week's TIME(r) magazine, they would like to see zero goverment interferece in there lives EXCEPT for protecting private proprty. Here is where the complication comes into play. Many of the them are anti-union, anti-socialized healthcare, etc. While this makes sense to a point it ignores some prime features of an ideal society. Unions are not goverment control. They are bodies made up of workers who seek to bettert here working conditiond and salaries. Even in a society without money unions would be needed to ensure that workers were working in a safe and fair envoirment. Opposing socialized healthcare is borderline. While this indeed does not fit in to the anarchist perspective of freedom in the long run many feel that we should be taking care of each other within the system in the meantime. Finnaly we come to protecting private property. This is the beating heart of capatilism. If I'm starving and you have more food then you need why should I not take some? In theory you should be willing to share, especially since I probably have a skill that you could use in return for the food. Libertarians, however, are not intrested in sharing. They seem to think that a system where everyone fends for themselves is ideal. Yet they must see that even in small collective societies where they feed and cloth and shelter each other they are in fact practicing a form of communism.

I feel a lot of these problems of varying opinions (which often leads to fierce emotions) are due to a lack of undertstandingi n each other. I wonder how many people would oppose the ideals of communism and anarchism if they were only given different names? If they were phrased a little differently, and therefore untainted by the propoganda that has opposed them for over a century. Propoganda that proetcts the ruling class. If I told you that you could have all the food you need, a free place to live that was comfertable, free healthcare until the day you died, and even a variety if luxieries to keep you occupied and all you had to do was work in a job that you were good at, I doubt that you would say no. If instead I said "How would like to be an anarcho-communist?" You would probably say no. It's the words that are poison these days, not the ideals behind them.

I reach my hand out to libertarians in hopes that they will see that we work towards a common goal in the end. People don't need a leader to guide them. We are smart enough, capable enough to guide ourselves. The day will come when the masses see that a capatilist government cares more about money and power then they do about them. Otherwise there would be no prisons. There would be less crime after all if no one needed to steal. There would be less violence if the culture didn't insist upon it. And anyone who was having issues that may lead to violence would be helped rather then ignored until the straw broke and then thrown to the wolves. This is not takign away individual responsibilty. On the contrary, this is forcing it. If you can help someone and in doing so prevent them or someone else from getting hurt then why shouldn't you? Becauset hey can't pay your fees? Because they can't buy your overpriced medication?

We the people have the power to form a society that loves rather then hates. That helps rather then hurts. The pieces are all there. We all have one piece and the puzzle can not be put together until everyone sees the picture.

Disclaimer: This is not a call for revolution or any kind of violent uprising, act, etc. The author abhors violence in all forms and seeks change through education not terrorism or other such ill-conceived notions of guerralism that only hurts rather then helps in the long run. "You can't blow up a social relationship" We can not oppose violence by the goverment and commit it ourselves. So please don't think that violence will solve any problems here. It just won't. Thank you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

An Exercise in Logic or Why Republicans Have no Sense of Reality

One of the things I hear the most from the right about anti-war veterans goes something along the lines of "They joined after the war started. They knew what it was going to be like. They should just stop whining." Note that this is the same logic that one would use to say that a man who had been i n gang in his youth shouldn't speak out against gang violence. "He knew the gang was violent when he joined it. He should just stop whining." See the similarities. According to many Republicans you aren't allowed to decide that you made a bad decision, or that you've changed your mind. Doing so makes you either a coward or a flip-flopper or both.

It seems odd to me that people from this right leaning side would read this and say "Oh no, that's not the same." Isn't it? The examples given use identical logic. Both involve someone joining an organization prone to violence where exposure to death and injury is likely. Both later decide that what that organization is doing/did is wrong. Both decide to speak out against it. The difference that Republicans would most likely quote is that the 'war' in Iraq isn't about crime like being in a gang is. Well that of course just starts an endless debate (endless because anyone left supporting this war must be insane or stupid or both, and you can't argue with a stupid crazy person) over the legality of the 'war.' Ok fine, let's pretend that the war is perfectly legal and we as a country are not just a lumbering giant of an asshole. The logic is still identical between the two. Right and wrong are purely subjective concepts. So whether or not you happen to think that gangs or the 'war' or anything else is wrong, it is up to the person making the decision to speak out to figure that out for themselves. This right to freedom of thought can not be suppressed.

So what do we learn from example one? That Republican's don't think it's ok to change your mind or reform a decision based on environmental input. Interestingly enough this also contributes to an explanation of the right winged resistance to evolution and similar concepts that require analyzing information rather then being spoon fed it by a minister. This also suggests that the far right prefers to have other people think for them.

The second example goes along similar lines. They say "We have to finish what we started. We can't cut and run because then everything would be a waste." This is argument compares to "I can't stop doing cocaine. I know it's damage my body and costing thousands of dollars that should be going to food shelter medicine and education, but if I stop using now then everything would be a waste." Note again how similar these arguments are. I know that this is causing harm but if I stop then I'll have said that all the harm already caused didn't matter.

No cocaine addict trying to quit is going to make suggestions like "Well I'll consult with my dealer and we'll start negotiating a time table for me to stop using, but expect it to be gradual and happen over the next five to ten years. During this time countless more damage will be done and money wasted, but if I quit all at once then my dealer may have a hard time finding new clients." Anyone saying that would be thrown into rehab faster then he could blurt out the entire paragraph. So why should this logic be reasonable when dealing with something that impacts millions of lives rather then just a handful? No one wants to admit that the human lives lost so far were lost over something that shouldn't be going on in the first place. They were. Saying this does not disrespect the dead. On the contrary admitting this means less dead in the long run which is something soldier's generally prefer. So who are we helping by staying in this mess? The estimated cost of the war is over five hundred billion dollars and growing by the day. That's one pricey addiction. And that's only the financial side, which frankly isn't what bothers me. Money is money. A plaything for the rich and a drug for the poor. No, the thing that concerns me is the over 1.2 million lives lost and the countless millions affected by this ordeal. Imagine a country occupied by drug dealers running around injecting people with heroin. No one would allow that to happen. In this case however, we have a few men at the top injecting the proverbial heroin into millions of people in three different countries.

There is no strictly logical refute to these analogies. Any argument would have to be based on either lies, mis truths, or subjective statements. When you can no longer provide a concrete logical argument based on fact (i.e. no subjectivity or opinion involved. So no exclaiming moral rights and wrongs.) then it is time to admit a wrong and cease activity. We are not going to cause further damage by stopping the 'war.' This is the same as saying a coke addict would only be hurting himself if he stopped using as soon as physically possible. Leaving Iraq quickly won't cause a seizure. It may cause a semblance of peace, however, and we all know that peace is not in the best interest of the 'dealers' of the United States. i.e. Haliburton, GE, Texaco, Bush et all, etc.

The question basically comes down to this. Are we as a nation willing to take care of ourselves and dictate our own futures based on logic and reason, or are we going to let the king think for us? No one tells me how to think and I highly recommend it. Thinking for yourself is better then cocaine and best of all it doesn't cost a dime.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More then War

This is about more then war
This is about more then peace
This is about a society
A people
And a dream

This is about more then money
This is about more then cash
This is about life
And freedom
And death

This is about more then food
This is about more then water
This is about the earth
And oceans
Growing hotter

This is about more then an election
This is about a fucking revolution

- Join the Open Source Revolution
"Free Information = Free Society"


Angry Veteran Comic???

I'm thinking about it. I can't imagine what it would wind up looking like though.... Stick figures with rifles and peace signs? Just maybe. Any talented comic/cartoon artist who feels like volunteering there services for this project please contact me via this website or the standard e-mail if your receiving this message through the list serve.


So the DNC and RNC are coming up and I couldn't be more excited about them. I doubt that I'll make it to the RNC, but I'm sure I'll have a blast at the DNC. There will be much protesting yes there will. I have a fairly decent camera that I configure for photo-journalism during last years protest at the Port of Olympia. So it is of course my intent to bust it out of it's dusty bag and take some amazing pictures of this years Democratic National Convention.

I will of course be bringing my laptop (assuming it's up and running, here's hoping) to the convention so expect daily updates from the scene of the crime. Unless of course I manage to get myself arrested. I have no intent of breaking any laws but that doesn't always stop the police from throwing me in handcuffs and taking me away.

Even if things do get out of hand as they did in 2004. I'm sure it will be a convention of note. It looks like it may just be 1968 all over again. Hopefully this time we get it right.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Robin Long Deported

According to The Canadian Press Robin Long has been returned to US Soil after losing an appeal to remain in Canada seeking political asylum.

This is an outrage. Canada has violated there own terms regarding asylum by returning personnel who could potentially face death for there political opinions. (The top penalty for desertion in the US Military is the death sentence) While I will have more coming on this as thigns progress I urge people NOW to start demonstrating in support of Robin Long and the other 50+ service men and women still seeking refuge across the border.

Soldier's don't just have a right to refuse illegal war, it is an obligation. No soldier should be penalized for refusing to participate in this bloody and senseless occupation.

Peace and Unity

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Four Freedoms

Have some time and want to read an awesome book by one of the founders of the free software movement? You can freely download and distribute the book so long as the copyright information and distributions permission information is retained in the file/book. It's an amazing read and in a few short days I'll be sure to publish a review here.

Get the Book Here!

New Blog Title, Same Blog Taste

To more accurately depict this blogs intentions and viewpoints it has been renamed "Open Source Revolution." This decision was made due to the dual approach of the author to activism. The first being your good old fashioned see you in the streets lets block traffic and raise hell approach. The second being through the use of the computer and the internet. I have said time and time again that I see open source software as net neutrality as essential to truly free speech and true freedom of information. To reflect my passion for all things open source the title has been changed. There is a minor chance that the title infringes on copyrighted material even though I searched around and found nothing to suggest that it would. If this turns out to be the case then the title will promptly be changed back.

Also don't forget to vote in this months polls!


Dissent within political organizations is nothing new. My question here is why are we letting happen within organizations that shouldn't be viewing there message as political?

The reason I say that many of these groups shouldn't be viewing there message as political is simple; human life is not about politics. The occupation of Iraq is not about politics. Health care is not about politics. Gay marriage is not about politics. Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Well gee mister veteran, I could have sworn all those issues were political?" Well maybe they are in Washington, but they shouldn't be among activist groups.

There is a fair amount of internal problems arising in groups that I work with. One of those groups has taken to moderating a troublesome member as of late. Now, I'm all for free speech, but I'm also all for constructive speech. If someone is attacking and insulting without posing a structured, logical argument to support there basis of opinion then they are merely wasting the groups time with there blind and empty rhetoric. There is of course the problem of deciding when such moderation is acceptable then. When does a group member cross the line and become problematic to the point of needing to be censored for the health of the group? Unfortunately this is not a straight forward question. It is a challenging decision to make in any circumstances. These sorts of decisions also inevitably lead to discussion about the actions taken. So even by censoring a member you are left with more time being spent discussing internal policy rather then performing constructive actions.

The other problem I am facing right now is group members opposing certain ideological backgrounds operating within the group. To explain further; there is a growing issue within the group on a national level of anarchists, socialists, and sometimes republicans being discriminated against on an internal political level. Anarchists are just too radical, republicans are just too conservative. You get the idea. This is hampering the groups ability to focus on it's primary objectives of saving thousands of lives overseas. Should a republican who has turned against the occupation be viewed as too conservative? I don't think so. What about an anarchist who opposes having decisions made for them and insists on a collective decision making process? Should they be views as simply too radical? One of the arguments I have been hearing is that the actions taken by certain people may taint the media or political image if the organization. Well excuse my French but bull fucking shit. I can't think of a single activist I have ever met or worked with who would think poorly of a group for including these sorts of individuals. If anything they would be applauded for being a non-exclusionary group.

Several of these problems have grown to a point where even my wife has become frustrated with the internal policy bickering. The amazing thing here is that she is normally quite tolerant of my ranting and raving (except at dinner time of course) and even though she was not directly involved in these disputes she recognized that they were becoming a source of increasing stress. Why bother working with groups that are only going to stress you out? It was a valid argument. If I could be doing these things on my own or through a group of my own design (in the works I'll keep ya'll posted) then why should I continue to tolerate a politicized mindset where we should be thinking only of our objectives? It took some serious pondering on my part. A decision was finally reached that a chance would be extended. If the conflicts continues unabated then the split would occur and I would keep on trucking on my own. "An Army of One" in the war against tyranny and oppression and the valuation of property and death over life and health.

Progress is being made. That's all that one can ask for. Focus on the goals and not on the means (well unless you oppose violent terrorism which I would have to say is a valid viewpoint and reason enough not to associate with a group. Violence is never ok, neither is hate or discrimination, but barring these factors) and reach towards a new world.

Join the Open Source Revolution

Monday, July 14, 2008

Terrorists and Other Such Fun

So I generally resist the urge to respond to pro-war bloggers and other such folks who have a tendency to get downright mean rather then pose thoughtful arguments to support there cause, but I have to say a little something about this one.

Anyone who thinks that 'support jobs' in the army don't involve potentially having to kill are delusional. One of the platoons I served in was a 'support' platoon and wound up doing convoy security in Iraq (without me, unfortunately). It would be a reach to say that those support soldier's never shot at anybody or killed anybody running those dangerous roads. This is not an uncommon situation. Sometimes (I have no data on how often) people with jobs that should not involve combat wind up doing it anyways. We all have to be trained in marksmanship and close combat for a reason.

Last thing I'll see here is that people who speak out against something there country is doing are not "fueling the fire's of the enemy" WOW. I think that everyone should have health care and food and shelter. Guess that means I love terrorism since our government doesn't support those things. I think that war should be a worst case scenario situation because I value ALL human life and not just American ones. Damn. I must be a terrorist. Seriously guys. I would suggest making the brain to mouth (or keyboard) connection but I'm betting that the brain is the problem here. I've never had this issue myself but maybe you should try looking for the 'on' switch. Try checking behind that bar code stamped on your scalp.

Fight The Smears

So I'm reading this article on The New Yorker's cartoon about the Obama's and it kind of hits me all at once. We are a country of fucking morons. Now I guess your thinking that maybe that's too harsh. Well the time has finally come for me where I don't think it is. Now I'm certainly not blaming your average every day man and/or woman for this development in our nation's history. I have long said that control of a nation rests in the hands of a controllable majority. No matter how vocal or aggressive an intellectual base is they can do nothing against an ignorant controllable majority. That is what we have in this country and it has been encouraged and fostered into being that way. Think I'm a lunatic? Check out the Obama campaign's website about political smears. Now I ask you this. Why should it really matter what religion this man is? Any takers? Let's assume for a moment that the rumors are true and that Obama is some sort of secret Muslim. Now what? I never saw a law or regulation in the country that says that you have to be a Christian to be president. (and given the nature of some of the last few who have flaunted there faith maybe the law should say it's not allowed) Still, this seems to bother people. 12% according to some recent polling. Wow, 12% of people don't just believe a blatant lie based on pictures of traditional African garb (point 1, the average American is culturally slow enough to think that any sort of 'turban' means Muslim), but they let it bother them. Of course this wouldn't be much of a problem if it weren't for one major thing.

By hosting websites like these and making a big deal of these issues in the press the Obama campaign has undermined it's message of change. It has done so in a very major way. Holding press conferences to tell people that they shouldn't worry because you're a good Christian and yes of course you'll wear your flag pin on your lapel, they simply tell the country and the world that fake ideals backed only by nationalism are more important then issues that affect peoples lives. I don't give a damn what religion a president is, or what he wears on his fucking suit jacket, or what church he belongs to. I care about what he is going to do.

The argument here of course becomes, well if he's a good Christian he'll do good Christian things. Right. Mr. Bush is supposedly a good Christian but last I checked torture doesn't fit into the ideals that Jesus taught. Neither does intolerance towards your fellow man. According to the bible Jesus taught love for all mankind. What kind of love do people have who take rights from men and women because they're gay? I'll take an atheist over a 'good' Christian any day.

Of course it all comes down to the same sad truth every four years. People will see the ads, and they'll be told lies, and they'll vote with there heart instead of there head. They'll vote for the one that looks like them, and talks like them, and acts like them. They'll vote for the one that will help them feel safe even when they're not. The one that will lie to them and say everything is ok right up until the bomb comes tumbling down on top of them. When you really look at it, this nation doesn't want a president that actually takes care of them, it wants one that tells lies and cheats and kills and keeps us all in our little bubble of fake freedom.

If freedom is living in a country where our government can spy on us without a warrant, where people who speak there mind are branded as 'traitors' and 'cowards' and 'commies', where property and money are held higher then human life, then I want nothing to do with this nation's idea of freedom. I will remain true to my own. My own idea of freedom is live and let live. You don't bother me and I won't bother you. If only that were the way of the world.

Peace and Unity

Friday, July 11, 2008

Comic about IVAW

Swedish comic little gamers runs a strip about IVAW at the America's Army booth. Comic is copyrighted property of the authors and since I didn't ask I hope they don't get mad at me if they find out I posted it here. You can see there comic at
There guys happy? Shameless promotion of your comic.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Spotlight on Ubuntu Hardy Heron: Part 1

Last week we talked about some of the Linux distros that are best for new users. My favorite of those is Ubuntu.

Ubuntu ( has a lot of features that make it an amazing all around desktop distribution. The current release Hardy Heron is an LTS (Long term support) release which means that for the desktop version you can count on support for 3 years and 5 years for the server edition (More on the server edition some other time). This ensures a stable operating system for years to come. Linux unlike Windows(r) updates fairly often. My desktop at home auto checks for updates every 24 hours and actually installs new updates (although only with my permission of course) about once every two or three days. Most of these security patches or bug fixes. Because Linux is open source you don't have to wait for some over paid tech guy sitting in a lab in Redmond to notice and fix problems. The community that supports the distribution helps take care of those things and as a result problems are fixed in days or weeks instead of months or years. Well enough about how awesome this system is, let's do something with it already.

1. Installation
You have three options availible for running Ubuntu on your desktop; Live, Install from Windows and Install from Boot Each has there own pros and cons, and you should choose the install that works best for you.

A. Live
Using Ubuntu as a Live CD is about as easy as it gets. I STRONGLY recommend that if you have no prior Linux experience or very little that you run the OS live first to see if you like it and if your going to have hardware problems (Some ATI graphics cards don't work well with Linux due to a lack of driver support from AMD, the company that makes them). To run Ubuntu as a live cd the first thing you have to do is download the ISO from Ubuntu's website ( and burn it to a CD or purchase or otherwise acquire an Ubuntu cd. There is no special ISO for this. All Hardy Heron desktop CD and DVD images can be used live. (Side note: If your not familiar with ISO files they are basically 'images' of a disk in a single archive file. To use them you select 'burn image to disc' from your cd burning software rather then 'burn to disk' this is very important. If the image is not burned as an 'image' within the software the disk will not turn out the way you need it to. For more information on this read your cd burning software's help manual.) Once you have the CD ready place it in your drive and reboot your computer. At this point you need to ensure that your computer will boot from the CD or DVD drive. There is generally a boot menu availible during startup by pressing either F9 or F12 or these settings can be changed in the BIOS (Warning: DO NOT tamper with the BIOS if you don't know what your doing.) Hardware specific instructions can generally be found on the manufacturers website. When the Ubuntu CD boots it will give you several options. Choose "Run as Live CD" and it will boot you into Hardy Heron. When running from the Live CD no changes will be made to your hard drive in any way. Poke around, see what things do and have fun. (WARNING: Certain programs within Ubuntu such as fdisk can and will disrupt your hard drive if used improperly, while the Live CD option is a great way to see if you enjoy a distribution don't run anything that is designed to make changes to the hardware or those changes WILL take effect. Live CDs are also great for running repair and diagnostics for just this reason but we'll cover that in a few weeks. For now play with the setting, the package manager, and some of the default apps like Open Office and Evolution just to get a feel for things) When your done messing around or for any other reason you want to go back into Windows(r) just restart your computer and remove the disk. That's all there is to it.

B. Installing from Windows
The first step for this installation is the same as the previous. Acquire an Ubuntu CD is whatever way you see fit. Boot your computer normally into Windows(r) and insert the Ubuntu CD. A window will pop up with some options. Select "Install from Windows" to start the process. There are a few options to select most of which are self explanatory. The easiest thing to do if your not sure about an option is to leave it as the default. Once the installation is complete reboot your computer. A menu will appear at some point asking you which OS you would like to boot into, Windows or Ubuntu. This menu will appear every time you restart the computer allowing you to easily switch back and forth between the two. (Note: If you plan on using both Windows(r) and Linux this is the way to do it. It is far more difficult to start with Linux and then install Windows and moderately more difficult to configure a multi boot with Windows(r) when installing Linux to the hard drive) Some caveats to this method. The maximum size allowed for the Linux "Hard drive" is 30Gb. While that should probably be enough for all the open source goodness you can handle it can be tricky for a first time user to access files from outside this virtual drive while in Linux. So if you have movies and music on your hard drive that you want to access from Linux it is often a bit tricky for a first time user to even find them let alone use them. Copy over what you think you will use frequently. The second caveat here is that your still stuck with Windows(r)! Maybe that's me being a little unfair but all that closed source programming makes Linux very sad. I know. I asked it.

C. Install from Boot
So you've decided to take the plunge and install Linux as your primary (or only) operating system. The installation process from boot is nearly identical to installing from within Windows(r). There are only two real differences.

1. Restart your computer and boot from the CD rather then running the CD from within Windows(r). This will give you a similar menu. Select "Install Ubuntu" and your on your way.

2. The partitioning step. If you don't have experience partitioning and formatting drives select one of two default options depending on what you intend to do. Selecting "Make partition from availible space" will do just that. It will resize an existing partition and use the extra space to make your Linux partitions. The other option "Use existing partitions" should be used with extreme caution. You will lose all data on your hard drive if you select this option, or any other option that involves deleting rather then resizing existing partitions. If your wary back up your hard drive before you install, this will save you a lot of headaches later.

The rest of the installation process is the same as installing from Windows(r). In other words pick the options that you want as they are presented to you and away it goes. Remember when in doubt use the default option.

SECURITY NOTE: When choosing a password for your user make it a good one. In Ubuntu certain commands, programs, and changes can only be made by first entering this password. This helps protect your computer from attack and helps limit the damage done by a successful attack. This is not a password you want to leave blank or easy to crack/guess. A good password should have no dictionary words in it and use an assortment of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special symbols. I once read an article on security that said "If you can easily recall your password it's not good enough." Take note.

Well that's all for this week. Next week we'll get to part 2, which will contain information on helpful programs as well as tips on configuring Ubuntu to work the way you want it to. Until then.


The post 9/11 GI Bill has officially become law although services may not be available until August of 2009. It is worth the wait for me. they wil now pay ALL tuition up to the highest price of a state school where you reside and pay you the married BAH rate of an E-5 in living allowance. I will finnaly truly be able to go to school. For once congress and Mr. Bush have done something right for those of use that served with honor.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

See Ya'll in the Street

So it's about 0230 and I'm sitting here behind a desk reading webcomics. Really I should be studying but I really can't at this point. The words have no meaning. I tried studying for about an hour and realized when I was done reading that I didn't remember a damn thing I had read. Anyhow, there is one hell of a range of webcomics out there. I'm prone to using which does a nice job of organizing comics by genre, popularity, etc. They even keep track of how often the comics have updated in the past. Not a bad site if you need to kill 8 hours in the middle of the night and your stuck behind a fucking desk in the lobby of a company you hate....

I suppose there should be some sort of point to this little article type thing here. Well... I suppose I can mention that as soon as I'm done working out a few things I will be moving the site to it's own domain. Contrary to what many of you may be thinking that won't mean less ads. Actually it will mean more ads because I'll be trying to recoup the fees I would have to pay. On a related note all profits raised through this site are donated to anti-war and other activist groups. So I'm not a total asshole.

Well I suppose I'm done for the night....

See Ya'll in the Street

Friday, July 04, 2008


Independence is not a declaration that needs to be signed
Its not a constitution that says it gives you rights
Independence is not having an election
Blue fingers voting for the right to occupation
Independence doesn't happen on CNN
As young soldiers march off to war again
Independence and laws simply don't mix
Passed down from on high to make people rich
Independence doesn't need police to protect it
It hangs around as long as you let it

Independence isn't given by presidents kings or czars
Independence is being free without anyone having to say you are

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Old Friends

I was just looking over some pictures of some of the folks that I served with over the 3 years I was in the Army. I wonder what they would think of me now? I would hope that they understand that what I'm doing I do mostly for them. Somehow, though, I know many would not approve. Sergent Major, First Sergent, they were good men, and good soldiers, but I doubt they would approve... Maybe it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but knowing this bothers me. I always wanted to be looked at as a good soldier. I did everything I could to be a good soldier. I supposed this question know is, am I still a good soldier? Many would say no. I would say that I am, I am only fighting a new battle now. Not that it matters to most folks what I say... even though it should... Good night all. Peace and Unity.

An Introduction to Linux for Activists (And Others)

So I have said that Linux is one of the keys to creating a truly free flow of information in the computer world. As such this is my first article on Linux geared towards the activist community. I'll start with a basic introduction and next week I'll start talking about some things you can do with it.

Brief History -
Linux is a free and open source operating system for computers. The term Linux itself actually refers only to the kernel (The core of any operating system is called the kernel) while GNU refers to the shell (the operating environment) that was originally developed to work with it. GNU came first. Linux came next. The two now exist in a happy union of software freedom ideals. But that's enough for the history of it all, if you want you can learn more at Or search for Linux in wikipedia.

Where to Start -
There is not just one kind of Linux. There are thousands of different versions availible. Some are called ENTERPRISE VERSIONS which generally mean that you have to pay for them. There are some very real benefits to using one of these version, but they are primarily designed for large business who need detailed support for a long time. We won't worry about these here. Most versions of Linux are completely free and all versions of Linux are OPEN SOURCE (The information on how they were made and the code used to do so is freely availible to anyone for any reason). Different versions are geared towards different uses. Some are made to be installed on servers, some on desktops, some on older computers with slower hardware, some on cell phones and other smart devices, some are even designed to act as nothing but a dedicated firewall to a larger network. So with so many versions availible to you where should you begin?

Linux Distributions for the First Time User -
Different versions of Linux are referred to as DISTRIBUTIONS or simply DISTROS. I have put together a short list of distros that are generally easier for first time Linux users to install/operate. The qualifications for the distros on this list are that they are easy to use, easy to install, well supported, and of course freely availible online from legal software sources. They are in no particular order.

1. Ubuntu -
My personal favorite. I have this distro running at all but one of my 4 computers at home. The only reason it's not running on the fourth is because it's out of commission. When it's back up it too will run Ubuntu. There are a lot of reason to love this distro. Especially if you are a first time user of the Linux system. First off it's based on the widely supported and secure foundation of Debian (Another Linux distro although not recommended for beginners). It also has the easiest installation process I have ever seen, for any operating system, ever. Answer the questions as they appear and at some point it installs. Easy. It can also function as a LIVE CD which allows you to try it out to see if you like it without having to install anything or change your hard drive in any way. Last on the installation awesome list is that you can install from within Windows thereby removing the need to partition or format any of your disk space. After choosing this option you can simply restart the computer and a new menu will appear where you can select if you would like to boot into Windows or Ubuntu. Last thing on the list is a REPOSITORY (A central location for packages which is used to easily install new software) of over 25,000 programs/plugins/etc. There is a solid chance that if you want a piece of software to do a specific thing that you will be able to find it through the easy to use Package Manager that comes with Ubuntu (More on that next week).

2. Fedora -
Not my favorite out of the bunch but still a very easy to use and very reliable distro. It's well supported as it's made by Red Hat (A company which also makes an Enterprise version of Linux). The installation for Fedora can be a little more challenging for those of you who are not great with operating systems work, but it's still a fairly simple process that uses a graphical display to guide you through. Like Ubuntu, Fedora can be used as a live CD and includes a repository with thousands upon thousands of packages. (Note: You need an internet connection to use the repository. This goes for almost of all versions of Linux and at the least, every one listed here). There isn't a whole lot I can say about this particular distro as I have only used it a few times myself just to see what it was like. I can recommend it for beginners, but if your looking for something to replace Windows, this is not it.

3. Kubuntu -
Ok this will be the only version of Ubuntu that I list separately. The only real difference between Ubuntu and Kubuntu is the graphical interface that's used by default. Ubuntu uses something called Gnome (Kind of like a Mac OS replacement) where Kubuntu uses KDE (More like a Windows XP/Vista replacement) If your looking for something that has the same feel and functionality as Windows, this is what I would recommend. Other versions of Ubuntu include Xubuntu (Ubuntu with XFCE another type of interface) Edubuntu (A special version made for schools) Gobuntu (Encourages the use of truly free, open source software. The version to use if your biggest concern is freedom of information) and Ubuntu Studio (Geared towards audio, visual production). Choose the one that best matches your needs. They are download able as ISOs from the official Ubuntu website (

4. Mandriva -
There's not much I can say about this distro as I have never used it. Not even once. However, I have often read that it is extremely user friendly and I recently aquired an install disk for it, so maybe I'll give it a try and come back and tell ya'll what I think about it. For more information check out the website above.

Well that wraps it up for what I recommend as the top distros for new Linux users. Next week I'll cover the installation process and some troubleshooting tips in case you get stuck. Until then remember that "information wants to be free." So stop paying Microsoft your hard earned money and free it!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Tale of Two Veterans....

This is a tale of two veterans. They never fought together, they never served together. In fact they served in two different countries. Those countries, however, are fairly intermingled economically although one of them doesn't like to admit it.

The first veteran served in the US Army from 2005-2008. His tour of duty ended abruptly and early thanks to a medical discharge engineered primarily by a certain person in his leadership. Veteran 1 never wanted to leave the service, he was mostly happy with it and he loved his job. It was something he was good at, and the pay was at least enough to live off of. But Veteran 1 got hurt, and his leadership would not allow him to get the help he needed to become an operational solder again. After fighting discharge recommendations for three months, he gave up and the process for him to leave began. Even though he had been officially pronounced to be unfit for duty at this point, his leadership still refused to allow him to get the proper medical treatment to recover. The situation worsened by the week as Veteran 1 pulled every trick he could think of to put pressure on the leadership to comply with treatment plans. He complained to senior leadership, he reported the offending leader to a number of authorities. Nothing worked. The leader even tried to have him thrown in jail one morning for refusing to discuss the details of his medical issues with him. Veteran 1 explained that he was not required to release those details and that the leader wasn't legaly entitled to know them. So the leader told Veteran 1 that he would be thrown in the post detention facility if he failed to comply. Veteran 1 refused to back down, calling the bluff, and was eventually dismissed and sent back to the doctors. Veteran 1 was discharged six months after the recommendation was handed to his command. The doctors had told the command that the process should have taken no longer then three weeks.

When Veteran 1 left the service he had no money and no home. He lived on other people's couches and floors for several weeks while working under the table as a general construction laborer. His pride pushed aside, he gathered together the funds he could and went to his parent's house. Veteran 1 currently works an underpaid job at a Fortune 500 company that has a brutal reputation and a history of violence. This is where Veteran 1 met Veteran 2.

The details on Veteran 2 are sketchy. He was in the Mexican Army for six years. He wouldn't say why he came to the US and perhaps he doesn't know. He speaks a fair amount of English and Veteran 1 speaks almost no Spanish. There conversations are awkward and strange. Sometimes five or ten minutes go by while neither says a word. At the company it is Veteran 1's job to monitor Veteran 2 while he cleans. Both of the veterans think this policy is racist. Both have remarked as such to each other as they walk around the building. Veteran 1 considers Veteran 2 a friend, but Veteran 2 talks to Veteran 1 as he imagines a black man would have spoken to a white man in the 1840's. With a tone and phrasing of inferiority. This bothers Veteran 1 because he considers Veteran 2 his equal. They also seem to have a lot in common. They were forgotten by the countries they swore to defend and wound up with shitty jobs after the fact.

We are one people. We are one struggle. We all fight the same fight in the end. It doesn't matter what country your from, or what your faith is, or what you used to fight for. In the end it's all just one big battle for freedom, justice, and dignity. At the workplace of Veteran 1 and 2 the battle has long been considered lost. But it will be fought again. It will be won. One day.

4th Brigade Comes Home

The unit that I was attached to through 2006 has recently returned from Iraq. That means I get to stop worrying about the friends that I have who still serve proudly under the sabers of 2/1 Cav 4/2 ID. The unit suffered 37 kia and over 400 wounded. Among them I knew 3 of those kia from that brigade and 3 wounded. I hope that I don't have to know anymore as more and more of my old friends continue there rotations into the sand.

Welcome Home Guys....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Volunteer Army?

Shouldn't you have the right to quit a volunteer army? I was thinking about that for a while today. There is the problem of bonuses paid for enlistment, but what if they simply restructured the system to be more like a civilian company. You get bonuses for how long you actually stay for, not how long you promise to stay for. This would avoid problems such as debt to the government as well (I was medically discharged and had to pay back the 9 months worth of my bonus that I didn't serve even though my discharge was of a full honorable status). This would also mean that the people in the army would actually want to be there. When I was in I always enjoyed working more with the people who loved the job. I myself may have had some problems with the occupation and what not, but I loved my job and would have gladly stayed on for some time longer if given the chance. People who don't really want to be there generally wind up getting in a lot of trouble and getting discharged anyways.

A guy I met who was in my brigade kept getting busted for smoking pot. When he was asked why he kept smoking it his reply was that he knew that at some point that would get tired of it and throw him out. This was his solution to avoid going back to Iraq. It worked. They eventually threw him out. But what if they hadn't? I would not want to be in combat with someone who really didn't want to be there. It could be literally bad for my health.

I have to think then, that the reason you can still get charged with desertion and awol and what not, and have that threat of jail time over your head is that officials know that very few actually want to fight this war. Especially more then once. So they have to force them into it, through stop loss, and threats of charges that could lead to capital punishment like desertion. If we are to be a decent society and treat our soldiers like they are still human beings, then these policies have to end. It is telling when a nation has to coerce and force it's military into combat. If we were truly fighting for freedom and justice these actions would not be necessary as many more people would gladly go and fight to defend these principles.

A volunteer army ought to mean that you can leave at will. Of course this would mean that you don't get paid and if you did it more then once then certainly I see a good reason to not allow that person back in to the service. Other then that as far as I see this could only benefit the military as those remaining would be more dedicated to the cause while those who would be a detriment to the mission wouldn't be there to get in the way. There would be no lengthy paperwork and appeals process so people who strongly disagreed with the reasons to combat could simply leave instead. Everybody wins. Well, everybody except those that beat the drum of nationalism above all other concepts like freedom. They would lose here, but I'm sure most of us wouldn't mind.

CCNA Certification

I am in the process of studying for my CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) so most of my time is being dedicated to that. As such expect the rate of post to decline a bit over the next month until I take the test.