Friday, December 31, 2004


Ungrateful Californians

[A light note of a fairy tale to break the gloom and depression of previous posts and offer some distraction from our sordid reality!]

A well-connected drug company comes up with a new wonder drug called Neoconide that researchers were confident would make people happy and live longer, as well as make the company a lot of money for a long time to come. Definitely a good idea and a noble cause!

This company manages to get the FDA approval to test this drug on California. Why not? Everything looked so good on paper. There was also a lot of what looked like historical evidence that made sense.

California was ripe. It was decadent. People were dying of over-indulgence in decadence. It was even governed by a manifestly violent person - who sometimes even acted as a weapon of mass destruction. There was a danger of the disease spreading to other states.

The drug was administered in shock therapy to the whole population en masse.

Unfortunately, this drug had some nasty side effects and led to the death of thousands of Californians: 15,000 – 150,000 – maybe more. No one knows for sure. The FDA didn't bother to monitor. What is the significance of a few 100,000 deaths when you are trying to save a whole state? Those people were dying for what we believe to be a good cause and an important experiment.

Life of other, surviving Californians became truly miserable. Everyone was affected: police, people in charge of power supply, hospitals, schools, businesses, factories, traffic… Criminals, now free from police harassment, went on a rampage. Others poured across the unattended borders into California to join in the free-for-all festivities.

Californians were naturally angry and many demanded an immediate stop to the campaign. Some sought to stop it through violent means. They targeted FDA paramedics and Californians who collaborated with them.

The FDA, prodded by the company, decided to fight back hard. They were convinced of the ultimate success of their drug. The Texas Cowboy Cavalry were called in. To them, all those Californians looked so much alike in those flowery shirts. They started shooting everybody that crossed them. They made matters worse.

The State was in a state of total chaos.

Texans were divided. Some felt what the Californians were going through and sympathized with them, but they were a minority and were helpless. Some were good people who knew in their hearts that what was happening was wrong, but had faith in the FDA's intentions and abilities to pull the thing through. Some simply did not care; California was so far away. But many, perhaps a majority, endorsed the actions of the FDA and did not understand what those stupid Californians were whining about.

Didn't they realize that they were living in hell before that drug?
Medicine is always bitter. Didn't they know that "Cure was Hell"?
All medicines have some side effects.
Yes, mistakes were made. But mistakes are always made whatever you choose to do!
If those mistakes were not made, others, probably worse, would have been made.
Did Californians expect the FDA to be God?
Good Texans were risking their lives to help them.
Didn't these people know what was good for them?
They are not worth it. Let's leave them to their misery.
Better still, let's nuke them!

Californians are so impatient and ungrateful for all the effort, the expenditure, the inconvenience the FDA and other Americans have gone through to help them.

But then again, Californians were always like that, some were quick to point out. Weren't they always decadent? Didn't they even willingly allow movie actors to govern them?

Stupid, ungrateful Californians!

[I hope that Californians are not be offended by this post. It is only a fairy tale, written under the influence of Neoconide.]

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year !!!

(Neoconide, lol).

The analogy misses the most important point.

A group of Oklahomans has returned to their historical homeland in Northern Oregon and violently driven hundreds of thousands of Oregonians from their homes.

Californians generally identify with the native Oregonians. Texans identify with the Oklahomans.

Neoconide may or may not work in extending the lives of Californians - but it definitely makes them unable to provide assistance to the Oregonians. And definately makes the ex-Oklahomans safer in their homeland in Oregon.

Was the purpose of the Neoconide campaign ever to help the Californians? Or was how the campaign was marketed to the more naive Texans who are paying for it?

From a Texan point of view, it would be a good thing if all or most Californians never recover - the fewer Californians recover, the less strategic threat they pose to the Oklahoman homeland in Oregon.

Well if we’re into fables, how about this - if you will pardon a longish post.

Our PM in NZ is a lovely lady, but she does sometimes have a foot in mouth problem. Around the time of the invasion of Iraq, she remarked that it wouldn’t have happened if Al Gore had been elected. Naughty Helen - no White House Xmas card for you! Now when, to this disrespect, you add that we were unwilling to join the Coalition on the Kofi Annan grounds that the war was illegal, that our anti-nuclear ship visit policy has annoyed successive U.S. administrations for 20 years, and that we have a Labour, and therefore leftist, government, it becomes clear that NZ is a prime candidate for a bit of pre-emptive invasion, to return us to the capitalist fold, liberate us from this evil woman, and bring us true democracy and freedom.
(Successive Labour governments here have actually implemented economic policies slightly to the right of Genghis Khan, and your main ally has a Labour government, but hey, your man George is not one to let a few inconvenient facts stand in the way of a good war.)
Wouldn’t be hard - our armed forces are run down to almost nothing. A small infantry division of 10,000 or so and an old carrier would do the job. But then you’d have to hold and exploit your conquest ...
You’d need somewhere for a headquarters while you fluffed around for a year trying to decide what to do next, and with your usual sensitivity would look for the most offensive possible site, probably the War Memorial Museum as it’s on a hill and easily defended.
Then you’d have to search Australia, not a pleasant experience, to find a shabby expatriate Kiwi to head up your interim puppet government.
Meanwhile the indigenous Maori people might not be too welcoming, having been colonised once already and not enjoyed it the first time. This intransigence would in due course lead to a tangi, or funeral, being blown away by some aerial cowboy on the grounds that it was a gathering of "suspected brown persons." General Kimmit would explain that this was "within the rules of engagement" and advise us to change the channel if we didn’t like seeing it on TV. And then your Robotroops would wonder why they got attacked every time they went near a Maori.
At least there wouldn’t be a language problem, as a lot of your soldiers speak recognisable English. Could still be difficulties, though - some religious zealot would notice that a lot of guys here describe themselves as "hookers," and decide to detain them on Moral Majority grounds. Since hookers are actually front-row Rugby forwards, large gentlemen with broken noses, uneven tempers and high testosterone levels, your Lyndie Englund interrogators could be in for a pleasant surprise.
Some other genius would notice that a lot of farmer’s mailboxes have little red flags on them, and you’d conclude that they are subversive Labourites, and trash their homes. (The flags are really to do with rural mail delivery, but what the heck, got to expect a little collateral damage on the road to freedom.) Then your Robotroops would get all resentful when they started being blown up by flocks of booby-trapped sheep.
Not a problem, call in the Marines to kill the pesky critters, all 50 million of them. You can just see them, blasting around the paddocks in their Humvees - "This is what we do, we’re real good at this." Baaah!
And your soccer Moms would watch Fox News and marvel at them ungrateful Kiwis who don’t ‘preciate your brave boys efforts to liberate us from them woolly terrorist critters ...
That’s more than enough, I guess - this could go on for hours.
Am I making my point?

A drug company comes up with an experimental drug called Neoconide that researchers hoped would cure individuals of a deadly infectious disease – baathisbola - a plague in which people bled to death. Baathisbola wiped out generations of educated, talented men and women. Many fled into exile, many were buried in graves, others hid within their homes. Years of quarantine decimated the country’s infrastructure. After a heated debate, the experimental drug was reluctantly administered to the population en masse.

The application of the drug led to the death of thousands. No precise estimate could be pinpointed since a percentage of the deaths could be attributable to the ongoing infectious disease. With the application of the drug, baathisbola triggered a reaction similar to a body’s immune system rejection of a foreign tissue or graft. A particularly destructive variant of the infection disease manifested itself by self-detonation.

While undergoing treatment, life for a small but significant and vociferous portion of the population living in urban areas was horrendously difficult. The effect on the population was reminiscent of a patient being treated for cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy, the patient would lose hope and being to believe the cure was worse than death.

The treatment was so wrenching and lives continued to be lost that a small minority attempted to convince others they were being poisoned. These zealots not only refused treatment, they sought to prevent their neighbors and families from accepting treatment. They lashed out through violent means. The population could not bring themselves to directly confront the violence since those who paid the criminals and those who recruited the foreign mercenaries came from among themselves.

Those who survived baathisbola, those who underwent the experimental, radical treatment to eradicate baathisbola were tired, frightened and at times, angry. A few became deeply cynical and penned fables.


All the people of the world surely will understand your words. But it seems for me that Americans will not.

It seems for me the only three words about Iraq that Americans is capable of undertanding is R. P. G.

It is a shame, but I think it is the cruel reality: Americans will only leave Iraq alone when enough R. P. G words are said by Iraqui Resistance.

Alvaro, please don't over-generalize. Not all Americans are the rabid, Fox News-viewing, mouth-breathing crypto-fascist Christians we are purported to be. Millions of us protested the lead-up to and subsequent illegal invasion of Iraq and continue to do so. More than 57 million of us voted for Kerry and/or against Bush.

I am ashamed of my country's Imperialist actions in Iraq (and throughout history) and am doing what I can to counteract them. Please don't tar me and my colleagues with the same brush as the fear-mongering NeoCons.

The trouble with Superduper’s medical analogy above is that Neoconide wasn’t developed specifically as a treatment for Baathisbola - it was a drug intended to enhance Americonitis, an unfortunate condition which causes delusions of world supremacy arising from excessive self-interest. Its efficacy against Baathisbola was only incidental, and is proving in any case to be much less successful than first imagined - the patient is likely to die from the treatment, as Fallujisimus is an inevitable side-effect of administration.
Doctor Circular

To Anonymous at 5:33 AM:

I think maybe you are correct and I am wrong. But, until this moment, it seems to me the only three words that are capable to open the eyes of the Americans are R. P. G.

And this is very sad.

Interesting Post about Arab poetry in A Glimpse of Iraq. Unfortunately all the West has to offer is the humble Limerick.

A Blogger called Abu Kahleel
Tried to tell us how Iraqis feel.
Then Circular got in
And made such a din
That the Blog became slightly unreal.

guess who

Eric Margolis, a generally pro-Western/pro-US guy who has been writing about the Middle East, Afganistan for as long as I've been on the internet pretty much shares my expectation for Iraq -

"So no true democracy, just US-implemented `guided democracy’ in Iraq, meaning a Vichy-style regime that keeps US bases, sells oil cheap, makes nice to Israel, and allows US firms to exploit Iraq’s wealth."

I can't imagine any different outcome with US forces currently occupying the country.

Interestingly, he believes the recent elections in Afghanistan may have been even less democratic than the elections the Soviets held in the 1980s.

"National elections in 1986 and 1987 confirmed Najibullah, Moscow’s man in Kabul, as president of Afghanistan. These elections were manipulated, yet they were still more open and fairer than the recent US-staged Afghan election.

"How can this be? The Afghan communists, aware they were in trouble, allowed some genuine opposition parties to run and even sought a coalition with anti-communist forces. But these groups – mujihadin, or `freedom fighters,’ as the west called them ( Kabul branded them `Islamic terrorists’) - spurned Najibullah as a traitor and quisling.

"In the US-run Afghan election, all parties or individuals opposed to the American occupation of Afghanistan were excluded. So only ethnic minorities, like Tajiks, Hazara and Uzbeks; bought candidates; and figures favoring collaboration with the occupation were represented."

Welcome to 2005 Iraq.

Well done, my friend.


I'm sorry that I have a poor sense of humor. There's not much I can do about it. I have already mentioned that this is a distinguishing hallmark of fanatics. I hope you will understand.

Bit late now, but for the record Fathom I wish to confirm that I, Circular, am indeed I, Circular, i.e. an elderly Kiwi cynic who finds a lot to be cynical about. I am not Abu Kahleel.
He's an elderly Iraqi cynic who finds a lot ...
Ah, forget it.
Definitely Circular

I admire superduper-p's ability to tell those people who are actually living through the "Neoconicide application", what it is they are experiencing on a day to day basis. Obviously I imagine he is in a far better position to tell them this, unlike those silly actually Iraqis.
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