The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Kill Him!"

"He's a terrorist." "Kill him." The last comment was PROBABLY aimed at Ayers, but no one asked a follow-up question at that Palin ralley. In my mind, that's approval. The McCain campaign is not just thrashing, it's thrashing in some very dangerous directions. I'm sure that those who found no harm in the various Fox News verbal grotesqueries don't see them here, either.

My frank opinion: there are about 20% of people on either side of the political spectrum who are tone-deaf and color-blind to anything contrary to their party or position. If you don't find this loathsome, and the fact that Palin and McCain said nothing in return infuriating and insulting, you're one of them.

Consider it a test.

#

The Kettlebell circuits program is just wonderful. Using a 16K bell keeps one from generating maximum strength, but by moving crisply, you are definitely generating rotational power, as well as shock absorption up the wazoo. And the patterns of motion are complex enough that you are working a SKILL rather than "just" exercising. Gives a different meaning to the exhaustion. I'm doing three 30-second sets of three different exercises, followed by thirty seconds of rest, then repeat for three overall supersets. compressing the rest periods makes it VERY difficult to hurt yourself as stress increases, because your coordination breaks down with fatigue long before you are using enough weight to damage joints or tendons. But muscular and CV endurance? Wow. And some of the combos demand serious hand-speed. Which is actually more a function of RELAXATION than tension.

Great fun. In combination with Tibetans, djurus, and a bit of yoga afterwards, the entire workout requires less than 30 minutes, and kicks butt.

##

Have to get the last draft of "Father Steel," my Hannibal script, out the door by four tonight. This is the point where I print a copy, go over it on paper, input the corrections, read on computer, print, and start over again. It seems to allow me to write with minimum stress. I notice different things on paper than I do on the screen, and vice versa.

It's said that professionals find patterns that work for them: habits of work, syntax of progression. You work and work, and over the years find that if you do things in THIS or THAT order, you consistently get better results. Others, of course, have fun doing it a different way every time.

How about you guys? Do you have specific patterns that you engage to produce results time after time? A daily ritual? What is it, or what is your approach to creative work design?

##

Oh, yes. Talking to the trees. I promised the story of what happened to me. Well, the workshop was held in the mountains north (I think) of Atlanta. There was a wooded area nearby, so I walked out until I found a tree that looked kind of friendly, leaned my head against it, and sobbed my eyes out. "How can you do it?" I asked. "Whether people love you or hate you...whether it's cold or hot or raining, or snowy...you're still the same tree. I don't know how to do that."

And in some way that it's difficult to describe, the tree answered me. "I'm just a tree, man," it said. "My roots go down, my branches go up. This is all I am."

And I got it. Everything more than that was b.s. And about a minute later, someone came walking by, and I WATCHED as my armor slid back into place. Had to care what they thought. Had to "look good." Had to put on my "Steve" mask. It was fascinating to watch. THAT is the price I pay to carry my ego around. My fears. My past.

In life, you can either have a shell, or a spine. You're safer with a shell, but you don't feel life as much. You are more vulnerable if you only have a spine...but you can feel the rain on your face. I spent the first half of my life developing a shell that would protect my ego. And now I'm working to peel it away. Don't need it. Don't want it. Have to hold off on the real work for another fourteen years (Jason needs his Daddy) but I'm still peeling, just more slowly than some.

One day at a time.

#

I don't pretend not to be partisan. I do try to be fair. The blogosphere is buzzing about the 12-minute Obama ad about the Keating Five. Yes, McCain was exonerated. But the point is that McCain and Palin were attacking Obama by association. That opens the door to counter-attacks along the same line, in my book. And Obama has been criticized for striking back, as if sitting on his hands and politely losing would be somehow the morally superior position. What a joke. In a martial parallel, the art of Aikido emphasizes evasions and re-directions over strikes. But contrary to what a LOT of lower-level Aikidoka think, Ueshiba incorporated strikes into his art, but began to minimalize them as time went on, because his senior black belts would flinch away from him when he struck at them, giving him the momentum he needed to perform the technique. The truth is that "pure" Aikido, with no striking at all, would be ALMOST impossible to work, unless you were completely superior to your opponent in every physical and mental quality. You have zero room for error. Leading your opponent's "Ki" is much easier if you stick your fingers in his eyes first.

So far as I can see, the Obama campaign spent last week warning the McCain campaign to back off, and were ignored. What some people suggest is that he should:

1) ignore the attacks, so that they will, supposedly, rebound onto McCain. And can someone give me a specific instance of this approach working in an analogous situation?

2) Defend himself without attacking. Anyone who advises this approach has never been in a fight. You CANNOT merely play defense. Eventually, your opponent will find a hole, and clock you.

##

No. What Obama is doing, and what I figured he would do, is a version of the Rope-A-Dope--allow your opponent to expend his energy, as you test his mettle. Then when he wants to withdraw to allow localized muscular fatigue to ebb, you attack. So far as I can see, McCain has said: "if you knew someone. If you were in the same room with them. If you had any dealings with them at all, you are the same as them." Fine. It is totally legitimate, then, to attack along this line. Remember: it is impossible to attack without opening a line of vulnerability. I believe that both Clinton and McCain BADLY underestimated Obama, and are paying for it now.


26 comments:

Brian Dunbar said...

"He's a terrorist." "Kill him."

What rally and when? Is there video?

Steven Barnes said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/06/mccain-does-nothing-as-cr_n_132366.html

Recent College Grad said...

Thank you so much Steve. I was waiting all weekend for your take on this disgusting ploy. Saying the word terrorist is a loaded word, considering all the "Obama is a secret Muslim" crap that has been embraced by the fearful voters in America. This only plays to that rediculousness. And they knew exactly what they were doing by quoting an article that was read with about as much attention as Palin's vetting processes. I'm so distressed by the failure to see the same shadows of eight years ago. Bush was a family values governer with little or no political experience prior too. His confidence/ignorance have lead to a lot of marring of our image in the world. We don't need any more cowboy diplomacy motivated by oversized egos, ignorance of issues outside of your personal scope, and what can only be described as miguided faith. Sometimes it makes me want to keep my hand lowered when the Christian tally is taken, as it is increasingly seen as a badge of ignorance and intolerance, when the real message was supposed to be love, for yourself, your neighbor, and even your enemies...

Brian Dunbar said...

He's a terrorist." "Kill him." The last comment was PROBABLY aimed at Ayers, but no one asked a follow-up question at that Palin ralley.

My frank opinion: there are about 20% of people on either side of the political spectrum who are tone-deaf and color-blind to anything contrary to their party or position. If you don't find this loathsome, and the fact that Palin and McCain said nothing in return infuriating and insulting, you're one of them


Thanks for the link.

1. The description of what the guy who yelled 'kill him' at Governor Palin's rally: I assume it happened - who heard it? When? Did the candidate hear it? We don't know.


2. In the first video (Governor Palin) the guy is yelling 'treason'. Then the video cuts out. I have no idea what she did after that.

3. The second video (Senator McCain) the guy is saying 'kill him' (most probably - it's fuzzy but I am listening with headphones). The description of what McCain does is accurate. I wonder if he did hear what he said: where is the audio being recorded from? I had to re-run the video three times to make it out.

I am not apologizing - I'm trying to do something that ain't easy in 2008: retain a sense of balance.

I think the HuffPro post is only giving out half the story and slanting their news - but this is no surprise.

So: to the a**holes in the crowd: you're rude, crude and ugly. Didn't your Mom teach you manners?

Someone needs to hit you with a stick until your attitude changes.

Brian Dunbar said...

Saying the word terrorist is a loaded word, considering all the "Obama is a secret Muslim" crap that has been embraced by the fearful voters in America.

I'm wondering what you call a guy who blew up buildings and tried to murder people for political reasons, if not a terrorist.

And who embraces the 'Obama is a muslim' thing except a bunch of loud-mouth yahoos? Embraced by the fearful voters? You're stretching a point, I think.

suzanne said...

NPR's story
on Ayers

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95442902

Obama's Links To Ex-Radical Examined

recent college grad said...

fearful voters...

I didn't mean that every voter in america is fearful, but there is a significant portion of americans that bought into the muslim idea. It's not just a few loud mouth yahoos. And just so its not misconstrued...a significant portion doesn't mean majority...it doesn't even mean plurality...but its a measurable group

As for the whole bombing accustations...the man was a founder of the group, but do you honestly expect people to believe that if there was any direct tie between Ayers and those bombings that he wouldn't have been charged?
Where's the evidence he was involved beyond being a member of the group? Radical elements do not always represent the whole group, I need only point you in the direction of people who bomb abortion clinics...does that mean founders and leaders of the right to life movement are terrorists themselves?

I'd say an equivalent terrorist exercise could be considered the economic and ecological warfare perpetuated by some of the current administrations oil friends. Money to fund "scientific tests" rejected by a majority of climatoglogists to blind people to the real impact of global warming trends, the constant push for drilling in protected territories with no benefit for anyone but those same companies, and the legal fenangling to dodge the money Exxon should be paying for its negligence in the Valdeez incident just to name a few

And even if Ayers is guilty, which honestly I don't think anyone has concrete evidence either way, and he may be, at which I thoroughly condemn him and his actions. Terrorist is still a loaded word meant to inspire fear and hatred when mentioned alongside the name of political opponent, its a despicable fear tactic akin to dragging my generation into a pathetic and unwinnable war scenario, and to cram down our throats the continuation of public losses and private profit that has become the "free market" of large scale american businesses

Dan Gambiera said...

Consider how carefully they vet the audience at a Republican Presidential rally these days. Consider that this happened in quick succession at both events.

I see two possibilities. One is that there's a couple of guys currently enjoying the hospitality and unfriendly attention (to the point of proctoscopy) of the Secret Service.

The other is that they were plants designed to excite the Faithful.

My guess is #2

Brian Dunbar said...

do you honestly expect people to believe that if there was any direct tie between Ayers and those bombings that he wouldn't have been charged?

I don't expect people to believe anything but the facts.

Ayers was guilty of bombing (NYPD headquarters, US Capitol, Pentagon) and was charged. Charges were dropped in '77 due to prosecutorial misconduct.

Guy was a terrorist.

Brian Dunbar said...

Consider how carefully they vet the audience at a Republican Presidential rally these days.


That is untrue for the one rally I'm familiar with: My wife got tickets simply by calling the GOP office in Oshkosh. When she got to the door they weren't checking the tickets - just come on inside.

Steve Perry said...

" ... and *that* one ..."

Man, if you ever needed an indictment of how a man really thinks, there's the line.

And that one.

Racist? Probably not. Aggressive and demeaning? Oh, yeah.

Pay attention folks. One of these men is going to have the power to push the button. Consider who you want to have that power. I think McCain would nuke Russia in a heart beat.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Anonymous said...

"Charges were dropped in '77 due to prosecutorial misconduct."

So the system says he's free? Why would you want to keep punishing him, let alone Obama?

Kukulkan said...

"So the system says he's free? Why would you want to keep punishing him, let alone Obama?"

Hmm. Someone rapes my daughter and the case is dismissed because the evidence was obtained illegally. What do I do? I **** the bastard.

Ayers has admitted in his book to several bombings:

"Ayers participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the United States Capitol building in 1971, and The Pentagon in 1972, as he noted in his 2001 book, Fugitive Days. Because of a water leak caused by the Pentagon bombing, aerial bombardments during the Vietnam War had to be halted for several days. Ayers writes:

Although the bomb that rocked the Pentagon was itsy-bitsy - weighing close to two pounds - it caused 'tens of thousands of dollars' of damage. The operation cost under $500, and no one was killed or even hurt." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ayers

Umm, that is a terrorist. Whether or not Sen. Obama's ties with Ayers are significant is a different question. But Ayers is indisputably a terrorist. He went free not because the government couldn't prove he was guilty, but because of prosecutorial misconduct. The fact that so many people poo poo this issue is unbelievable to many people -- call it a litmus test.

Josh Jasper said...

From the Washington Post :

Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media."

At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."


Real charmers. By he way,

CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened.

Thirty-nine percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-four percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-seven percent saw it as a draw.


and

CNN Post Debate Poll: Obama 51%, McCain 38%

I thought McCain did better this debate. Looks like I'm out of sync with undecided voters.

recent college grad said...

There you go
Prosecutorial misconduct got him off? Then there should be a way to hold him accountable for his actions, even after prosecutorial misconduct. I thoroughly condemn his actions in that regard. Violence is never an acceptable political avenue, the man is a terrorist by the most basic definition. Obama still was not a part of those actions, and has never condoned them. I still stand by my assertion that mentioning the word terrorist is akin to emphasizing his middle name "Hussein" when speaking of him. It's meant to appeal to the most base and detestable qualities of human nature. Fear and subsequent hate of what is feared. A civilized and educated society should be above being manipulated by fear, especially by its leaders, or prospective leaders.

Steven Barnes said...

I'm not sure I'd use the term terrorist. Political dissident using violent means to attack the infrastructure, sure. Maybe a worse crime. I don't know. But a terrorist is dedicated to using violence to disrupt the will of a people to continue an action--a little different. So...criminal behavior? Yes. But terrorist the way we've come to use the term: part of a coordinated movement that needs to be combatted with military action? That doesn't quite wash with me.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

It's possible that Palin didn't hear the man saying "Kill him". However, she certainly should have made a statement by now that she's opposed to assassination and to calling for assassination.

A minor thing, but did anyone else catch that the media-hating Palin cited the New York Times as a reliable source about Ayers?

Brian Dunbar said...

But terrorist the way we've come to use the term: part of a coordinated movement that needs to be combatted with military action? That doesn't quite wash with me.

I can see that.

When I used the term I was thinking of guys and gals who dress as civilians and use violence to achieve political objectives.

IRA, Red Army Faction, PLO .. those guys.

Perhaps we've narrowed the definition a bit much - a Basque who blows up a police station is a terrorist but he's Spain's problem, and we're not sending the Marines after him.

Steve Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Perry said...

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. The British -- had the term been in vogue -- would certainly have considered the hiding-behind-the-trees colonials terrorists.

I'm sure the Arabs in the 1940's considered the Jews in the Holy Land terrorists.

Yeah, I know what I mean when I point at it, but I expect the Basques don't think of it the same way, nor do the Tamil Tigers, nor the Palestinians, nor --- well. Pick a faction.

Brian Dunbar said...

The British -- had the term been in vogue -- would certainly have considered the hiding-behind-the-trees colonials terrorists.

We can't go back and ask them [1] but .. probably not. The Colonials were organized, uniformed and under arms - an army.

Terrorists / freedom fighters are unorganized and dressed like civilians.

[1] now there is a possible hook to build an SF story on - time travel to see what General Howe really thought about the American Revolution

BWisdom said...

i'm not sure that Obama's the only one they underestimated. His campaign manager has got to get some deep credit.

Steve Perry said...

Ah, but European wars in the 18th century were fought with armies that played it by understood rules. The opposing forces would march onto he field of battle, stand in ranks, and fire away. Cities were won when one army surrendered.

(Probably more men died in wars from disease than bullets or bayonets until well after the American Civil War.)

There were times when the Colonials did this tin soldier face-off, but also times when they unsportingly fire from hiding, ambushing the superior numbers of redbacks, even shooting them in the back.

As I recall my history, the British thought this practice rather against the rules, and had they won the war, would have extracted a price for such dastardly deeds.

The term guerilla warfare didn't come about until later -- early 19th century.

Brian Dunbar said...

Ah, but European wars in the 18th century were fought with armies that played it by understood rules.

Sure. But the British had already fought wars in North America where the European rules were not adhered to.

I don't care what my 3rd grade history book says, being sniped from behind trees could not have been that startling to the British.


The term guerilla warfare didn't come about until later -- early 19th century.


The term, yes. The practice had been around for a while.

Steve Perry said...

Right. And if you were a "civilized" nation conducting your war, you frowned upon the sniping from behind the trees. I don't think it is much of a stretch to figure that the attitude then toward such "cowardly" foes might well have been what it is in Iraq every time a roadside bomb goes off and takes out a truck full of soldiers.

Terrorism is one of those loose terms that gets adjusted by whoever is using it. And my comment stands -- one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

It always depends on whose ox is being gored, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Probably more men died in wars from disease than bullets or bayonets until well after the American Civil War

The historians say that WWI was the first one where more men died from enemy action than disease.