Jim Varagona

Category: iraq

>Diabeto’s End of the Year Extravaganza

>So yeah, it’s been about a month since last posting. We moved into our new digs and had to go on borrowed internet to check messages until a few days ago when it finished moving here. The move itself was rough considering the last day occurred during an ice storm. We went throughout the night moving into a place without power due to falling frozen tree limbs.

Now things are settled, so we hope. With the new year, change lies ahead for everyone. It really seems like there’s been a push to tie up loose ends before the end of the year though. It’s odd to hear that Saddam was executed and then see flags at half staff for the days following. The death of former President Ford threw the balance of the news off a bit, but it was nice to hear about a fine President instead of all of the crap that our current leader is doing or not doing.

Today, the last day of the year, we learn that another “milestone” has been hit in Iraq. Our 3000th soldier has been killed since the war began. I love the smell of freedom on the march. Meanwhile Bush weighs his options, since “staying the course” didn’t work for 3 years of death and destruction. What happened to the Iraq Study Group‘s recommendations anyway? I realize those folks weren’t military leaders and all of their suggestions may not have been feasible, but at least they were trying to find a solution. Their recommendations included diplomatic means which are foreign to our current administration. If all else fails, throw more boys into it and hope for the best, eh Georgie?

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Photographing babies is a fun job, but it’s downside is resembling that of previous positions. I’m driving way too much and being compensated too little for the work. I do get to go from trailers to $3 million mansions, but the entertainment value of that doesn’t help my finances. I do get a kick out of kids exploding green poo and rolling around in it during the naked baby shots however, but I still get no bonus from those occurrences.

My insurance from this job still won’t kick in for at least another two months. I attempted to get insurance on my own to fill in the blank period, but apparently I am uninsurable to every company because of my condition. Well, not exactly. I could pay $475 a month for coverage, but that’s about a third of my income.

I have already spent the past few months without coverage, but stocked up on insulin pump supplies beforehand. Two days ago they ran out. Now for the first time in over 5 years, I am back to taking injections. It’s weird to not have the pump connected to me at all times. I’m used to adjusting the position of it throughout the day, but now I feel naked.

If I stick with this job and get its insurance, it is not the most affordable. Do I stay for the needed medical insurance and let my income suffer, or once again jump ship to find greener pastures? It’s a pain in my ass and even more so since I began shooting insulin into it again.

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I’d like to wish everyone the best new year possible. I foresee more excitement and volatility in my life and in the world, so we shall see. Hasta luego.

>9/11 To Me, and the American Crutch of Stupidity and Convenience

>5 years ago today, my father, who normally would be at work, had the day off. He woke me up by telling me that we were under attack. He told me that planes had crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. I jumped out of bed to watch it on television.

Shortly after I turned on the television, the south tower collapsed. Of course, I don’t have to go into detail. Everybody’s seen the destruction and chaos from that day. Many compared it to something we had only seen in movies, because there was no precedent for it, especially in our country, the land of the free, home of the brave.

As much as I couldn’t turn away from the footage that day, I still had classes to attend. I questioned whether or not to attend my Elvis class. Obviously, this was more important than Elvis. Who knew if we had more to fear that day? I did go to my Elvis class, and we watched “King Creole”, but you could tell that we were all somewhere else. During our couple of breaks, the students wandered in a common area, watching the non-stop coverage on screens spread throughout the building.

I had another class on Political Philosophy that night. How fitting. We discussed whether or not we should be there. It was decided that we would go over the current class material, then discuss the events, and leave after an abbreviated class. When I left, I went right back to the TV. In fact I had snagged my mom’s pocket TV as I ran out the door to school. I stood outside, waiting for a ride, and watched the coverage, flipping from network to network. I watched the planes disappearing into the buildings again and again. At one point on FOX, they had showed some of the jumpers, which was criticized, but it was real and happening.

That period of time put me in a daze. It had only been a little over a year since my brother had passed away. We didn’t lose him to a disaster like this, but I kept thinking of the loss of anyone associated with the folks on those planes and in those buildings.

It made sense to go after the bad guys in Afghanistan, but how much progress has been made. A recent AP report states: “Despite about 20,000 U.S. forces fighting al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and about the same number of NATO troops, and billions in aid, a resurgent Taliban resistance has shaken the country, while corruption has stymied development.” While we brought “freedom and democracy” to those people, which I dispute, we certainly have not brought stability.

And why Iraq? Bush and Cheney have been saying in recent interviews that it is central to the war on terror, but it was completely preemptive, especially considering all intelligence stating Iraq had WMDs was proven false. Apparently since Saddam had tried before, that was enough to go after him next, even though not much evidence of WMD production exists after the first Gulf War. We instead now have spent hundreds of billions (Congress has approved $432 billion to date for Iraq) and lost over 2,600 men of our own, not to mention hundreds of dead contractors, hundreds of foreign soldiers, and thousands of dead civilians. That’s the price you pay for freedom, I guess, even when you’re fighting people with no connection to those that instigated war in the first place.

Even though the other two in the “Axis of Evil”, Iran and North Korea, pose more of a real threat to us now, we have no man power to do anything about it. Suddenly sanctions and diplomacy sound a bit better, but that D-word won’t be had with nations that harbor terrorists. It’s been said before, but a terrorist to one nation is a freedom fighter to another. Our leaders even portray ourselves as “fighting for freedom”, a very dumbed down catchy slogan that doesn’t really give much detail. It’s good enough for those that have to work over 40 hours a week (with sometimes low wages) to feed their families, eat fast food because it’s fast and convenient (but a killer), and vote (when we feel like it) based on 30-second TV spots that a lot of the time are paid for by interest groups and have little factual basis. If it’s fast and simple, it’s more convenient, and we’ll take it. No one questions reasoning much anymore.

I’m not one to agree with or quote Andy Rooney much; old men with bushy eyebrows and hair growing in tufts from their ears have that effect on me. This past Sunday on 60 Minutes though, he said something that everyone and their mother should barrage each other with forwarded emails over (kidding, maybe).

“The disaster on September 11th…was manmade. Death by design. Some people who hated Americans set out to kill a lot of us and they succeeded.

Americans are puzzled over why so many people in the world hate us.

We seem so nice to ourselves. They do hate us though. We know that and we’re trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it I suppose but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn’t make so many people in the world want to kill us.”

I doubt that will happen anytime soon, but it’s a great idea, and really simple if you think about it. It’s just outside the box for a lot of people that think bombing the shit out of people will make them greet us as liberators and bring peace to the world.

John and Yoko put it well…

>Iraq War Blues

>The following is a song I wrote last year about the war in Iraq, which will never end. I just dug it up and thought I’d share it. It is obviously influenced by Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Johnny Cash.

The Iraq War Blues
A couple of years ago
and a few days before
someone got the idea to go to war
freedom for these men
by killin’ some of those men
who do we kill first?
women and children

All these bombs flyin’ through the air
some of ’em goin’ to we don’t know where
all because he hate me
who? I don’t know
why? I ain’t sure
shock and awe ’em
that’ll be the cure

We’ll send our boys over to here and there
to fight an enemy that’s everywhere
Iraqis, Afghanis,
Shi’ite..I don’t know
mission accomplished
let’s take it real slow
people are dyin’
but our way’s the way to go

Fahrenheit nine one one
everybody grab a gun
and some duct tape
and a can opener
code yellow
code orange
code red
get it through your head
a Dick and a Bush are callin’ the shots
We’re in good hands
like Allstate

We’ll they’re doin’ it now
and they’ll do it again
the fleecing of America
plucking from our mother hen
so send some more of our boys over
and send some bodybags back
just don’t take pictures of their coffins

I’m gettin’ tired now
I’m gonna not vote
I love my country

copyright 2005-2006 Jim Varagona


Additional Links

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>Death TV

>

Yep, he’s dead.

Yep, them too.

And we see this on the national news too. I wonder how parents explain that to their inquisitive children.

I mean I like that bad guys are dead. Yay. And I guess since our government is known to lie to us a bit, it is good that they have proof that they accomplished something, but it is still a bit weird.

And why is it that when you are watching the national evening news, bombings, murders, and other brutal, bloody events overseas are shown uncensored, even when innocents are involved? Here, our local news may be filled with murders and accidents, but they at least they use a tarp and body bags, especially when a doctor throws himself and his boys from a balcony to protest his rocky marriage, from Alton, Illinois, by the way.

I don’t know what kind of precedents we are starting here. I mean I know we live in a sick world, but there is some gray area created here that I cannot figure out. Why is it okay to show the dead of others and not our own? If we do it out of respect, why not give them respect? If we act like it is so horrible that terrrorists show off the kidnapped and murdered, why do we show off their dead and allow our soldiers to have photos of torturing their people?

What a world, what a world.

Speaking of the dead, a woman from St. Peters, Missouri, which isn’t too far from me in the STL, beat her dead chihuahua’s breeder with the corpse of the dog. Apparently at 5:30 in the morning, she broke into the woman’s home to get a new dog, since hers died so soon.

The breeder wrestled the woman out of her house to the front porch, where the woman then hit the breeder over the head numerous times with the dead puppy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, citing police.

This is what someone should have had a camera ready for and aired on TV. I’m sick of pointless war and terrorism.

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