Saturday, February 26, 2005

Realignments

What the wingnuts don't get and, it seems, neither does the White House, is that opening conflicts in Afghanitstan and Iraq have caused other nations to take a look at their security situations. I commented over at another blog (I forget which; short-term memory thing) on this the other day.

Many nations see the U.S.' conflicts for what they are, essentially a land grab in the heart of Middle East. Nobody but the 51% of us believes this 'spreading democracy' bullshit. They know that Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Tajikistan are all jumping off points for the U.S. military to impose Washington's will in the region.

To counter this, nations in the area will look to neutralize the U.S. threat by realigning with other allies in common cause. India soon, growing by leaps and bounds, will see a large increase in its petroleum consumption, just as China is now. Have we noticed most of the OPEC nations are pumping at nearly full capacity as it is? Well, yes and no.

It seems that Bush knows, otherwise he wouldn't want such a large presence in the area, wouldn't be sucking up to Prince Bandar (Why do you think he pulled U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia?). The Chimp might be a failed oil man, but he's still an oil man. He knows what it takes to get the shit out of the ground and he's got to know about the economic forecast. Do you think the only reason we went to Iraq is becasue Saddam 'tried to kill mah daddy'? No, Iraq is sitting over the second largest oil reserve in the world. He's smart in that way. He knows oil will be harder to come by in the future and he's gonna secure his piece of real estate. If he would have just come out and say that, maybe I'd have supported the war in Iraq. What Dim Bulb didn't think about was that others would figure it out.

What do you think other oil-dependent nations see? Do you think they're like the brainwashed sheep in this country? They're all going to act to assure their flow isn't reduced to a trickle as U.S. demands require the lion's share of the supply. Do you think they'll let us get away with it?

China is fast becoming a superpower and their oil demand is fast approaching ours. I'm certain their leaders see the same forecast and they have two options. Look to Siberia, which may have larger resrves than the Middle East but are exponentially more expensive to mine, thanks to the cold, or compete with the U.S. for the Middle East reserves. A U.S. presence in Iraq (military bases), and our close alliance with the Saudi royal family, could be deemed as threat to China's national security.

India, on the other hand, has been making overtures to Iran, unprecedented joint naval exercises took place late last year. They too have to look outward for their energy and an Iran/India alliance in the future could be profitable for both. India, for a possible source of petroleum should supply tighten, and Iran, for an ally against U.S. domination of the region.

There are also minor regional players, serving to complicate the equation. Syria, fearing for its security, has already formed an alliance with Iran against U.S. interference thanks to saber-rattling by Washington. Not a threat to the U.S. military but, partnered with Iran, able to keep the situation in Iraq unstable for years into the future, drawing more and more American capital toward counterinsurgency duties.

As our deficits grow, more and more money is directed toward our warfighting capability. Economically, we cannot maintain this pace. It won't be long before the bottom falls out. Look at what happened to the dollar this week on the news that the South Korean central bank moved more of its reserves out of dollars and into Euros.

The dollar is getting weaker and our military is stretched thin. Were I an opposing general, I'd say America is almost ripe for the picking. What say the Chinese attacked Taiwan? What say the North Koreans attacked South Korea and Japan? What if both scenarios occurred at once? In what position would that leave our military and our economy? Could we afford it? Could we field the army required? Looks like with 45% of our troops in Iraq being Guards and Reserves, we can't. Not if we're faced with an army that doesn't respond to 'shock and awe' the way the Iraqi army did. My dad fought the Chinese and they were formidable 50 years ago. Now they have nukes. So do the Indians and Pakistanis, so do the North Koreans.

From my experience in the world, I believe this nation's leadership has left us exposed, both militarily and economically, and put this country in a vulnerable situation. When Bush took office in 2001, no nation could threaten us. Now, four years later, powerplays by other countries considered unthinkable then are now within the realm of possibility. It would not take much to topple what has become a hollow empire and if we're not careful, someone might give us a fatal shove.

Update: 15:50:

Via SH from AlterNet:

[. . .]

China has begun to negotiate directly with our largest long-time oil suppliers to lock up future supplies. Canada is currently our largest supplier. Virtually all Canadian oil pipelines go south to satisfy the energy needs of a thirsty U.S. Midwest. That will soon change. Chinese and Canadian companies are negotiating to build a pipeline from northern Alberta west to British Columbia. Murray Smith, Alberta's former energy minister candidly observes, "The China outlet would change our dynamic."

In December, China signed a deal with Venezuela and neighboring Colombia to construct a pipeline linking Venezuelan oil fields to ports along Colombia's Pacific coast. This will allow China to bypass the U.S.-dominated Panama Canal. Venezuela is our fourth biggest supplier of oil. Congress has asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the potential impact the Chinese pact might have on our oil imports.

China is protecting its energy interests with a string of military bases and diplomatic ties from the Middle East to southern China. Recently, it signed a 25-year oil and gas deal with Iran. Currently, about 80 percent of China's oil imports pass through the Straits of Malacca. China views that sea corridor as under U.S. Navy control. It is investigating the construction of a canal across the Isthmus of Kra in southern Thailand that would allow it to bypass the Straits.

[. . .]


I might be an idiot mechanic, but I know how the world works.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Kicking the handicapped

Via Jill at Skippy:

With little fanfare, the Bush administration is proposing to stop financing the construction of new housing for the mentally ill and physically handicapped as part of a 50 percent cut in its housing budget for people with disabilities.

The proposal, which has been overshadowed by the administration's plans to shrink its community development programs, affects what is known as the Section 811 program. Since 1998, Section 811 has helped nonprofit developers produce more than 11,000 units of housing for low-income people with disabilities, including more than 700 in New York State.

[. . .]


NYT.

The Fascisti at work. This is classic. Marginalization of those deemed unfit. What will happen when these programs disappear completely? Don't belive me? Wait until next year's budget. More and more, the burden will fall on family members and institutions.

[. . .]

This time, the federal government would discontinue financing housing for people with spinal cord injuries or psychiatric illnesses who are not necessarily homeless but may live in nursing homes or psychiatric hospitals.

[. . .]



You don't think medical insurance will pick up the tab, do you? Wait until they determine these people pose too much of a burden on the nation[1].

On July 14, 1933, the Nazi government instituted the "Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases." This law, one of the first steps taken by the Nazis toward their goal of creating an Aryan "master race," called for the sterilization of all persons who suffered from diseases considered hereditary, such as mental illness, learning disabilities, physical deformity, epilepsy, blindness, deafness, and severe alcoholism. With the law's passage the Third Reich also stepped up its propaganda against the disabled, regularly labeling them "life unworthy of life" or "useless eaters" and highlighting their burden upon society.

[. . .]


How are we doing it here, you ask? By attempting to change the Constitution to declare homosexuals sub-human. By refusing to support programs that help the poor (minority races) and disabled. By scapegoating people who don't share their 'culture-type' as the cause of all the problems in the U.S. 'It's the illegals, coming here and taking our jobs', or 'the blacks expecting handouts', or 'the gays trying to recruit your children'. When our elected representatives advance a culture of hate and marginalization, these pearls become accepted wisdom [cough]. Why do you think Bush's 'ownership society' and 'personal responsibility' memes play so well? They're code words for 'fuck everybody who doesn't look like, speak like, or worship like us. Once that mindset is in place, it's not a far slide to this[1]:

[. . .]

Just a few years later, the persecution of the disabled escalated even further. In the autumn of 1939, Adolf Hitler secretly authorized a medically administered program of "mercy death" code-named "Operation T4," in reference to the address of the program's Berlin headquarters at Tiergartenstrasse 4. Between 1940 and 1941 approximately 70,000 Austrian and German disabled people were killed under the T4 program, most via large-scale killing operations using poison gas. (This methodology served as the precursor to the streamlined extermination methods of the "Final Solution.") Although Hitler formally ordered a halt to the program in late August 1941, the killings secretly continued until the war's end, resulting in the murder of an estimated 275,000 disabled people.

[. . .]


This happens slowly, over years. The foundation has been laid by this administration, not to the degree of Hitler, but four more years of this and more Right-wing nutcases (Sen. Frist, for instance) just waiting to take the reins of power just might allow it to happen here.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Gonzo From The Grave

There's been a lot of articles about Hunter S. Thompson since he croaked himself last week. I'm a big HST (both of 'em!) fan, so I rounded up a few for you.

From Democracy Now, an obit and interview with HST on Bush, Iraq, and where our nation is headed:
HUNTER S. THOMPSON: That's the answer, I think, for your question is why is the public buying into it. Another reason is that the fear which I -- that's why I tried to address or at least rave about in the book. Fear is an unhealthy condition, living in fear. And as we clearly have been for two years now, it makes the population more obedient, particularly if they're willing to give up their freedom for security. More obedient, more easier to control, and it's, well, it is very much like Nazi Germany.

Remember the old good German syndrome?

We used to ridicule it, the good Germans who just went along with it because that's what the Fuehrer wanted.

And much, much more. Good article.

The Nation reprises a 1965 article: "The Motorcycle Gangs: Losers and Outsiders"
Ever since World War II, California has been strangely plagued by wild men on motorcycles. They usually travel in groups of ten to thirty, booming along the highways and stopping here are there to get drunk and raise hell. In 1947, hundreds of them ran amok in the town of Hollister, an hour's fast drive south of San Francisco, and got enough press to inspire a film called The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando. The film had a massive effect on thousands of young California motorcycle buffs; in many ways, it was their version of The Sun Also Rises.

The California climate is perfect for motorcycles, as well as surfboards, swimming pools and convertibles. Most of the cyclists are harmless weekend types, members of the American Motorcycle Association, and no more dangerous than skiers or skin divers. But a few belong to what the others call "outlaw clubs," and these are the ones who--especially on weekends and holidays--are likely to turn up almost anywhere in the state, looking for action. Despite everything the psychiatrists and Freudian casuists have to say about them, they are tough, mean and potentially as dangerous as a pack of wild boar. When push comes to shove, any leather fetishes or inadequacy feelings that may be involved are entirely beside the point, as anyone who has ever tangled with these boys will sadly testify. When you get in an argument with a group of outlaw motorcyclists, you can generally count your chances of emerging unmaimed by the number of heavy-handed allies you can muster in the time it takes to smash a beer bottle. In this league, sportsmanship is for old liberals and young fools (Is he talking about Dems v. Reps? - ed.). "I smashed his face," one of them said to me of a man he'd never seen until the swinging started. "He got wise. He called me a punk. He must have been stupid."

Good article, but not terribly accurate, at least to this California wild motorcycle man. It led to HST writing his book about the Hell's Angels.

Reminiscences of HST by several people, including Sonny Barger and Rosalynn Carter, in Salon. You may need a free site pass.
Sonny Barger, Hell's Angel:But as time went by, Hunter turned out to be a real weenie and a stone fucking coward. You read about he walks around his house now with pistols, shooting them out of his windows to impress writers who show up to interview him. He’s all show and no go. When he tried to act tough with us, no matter what happened, Hunter Thompson got scared. I ended up not liking him at all, a tall skinny, typical hillbilly from Kentucky. He was a total fake. Hunter got along with some of the members better than me.

Ben Fong-Torres, journalist:There, the last sight I remembered was Hunter, in Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, carrying a case of Roman candles in his left arm. With his right hand, he was trying to light a match, so that, in the darkness, he could read the directions on the box.

Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady: What we did not know at the time was that writer Hunter Thompson, who was visiting that day, was captivated by what Jimmy said. He had been sitting in the back of the audience, quietly sipping Wild Turkey bourbon disguised as iced tea.

Fucker got around, didn't he?

An article in the Globe and Mail about soaring sales of HST's books since his death? (Good career move?-ed.)

A buncha good links at TalkLeft.

I can't find HST's website today. It may have been taken down or whatever. If you are interested, here's one run by an HST aficionado.

Thompson just entertained the shit out of me over the years. He made me laugh. He made me cry. He made me think. He scared the shit out of me at times. We need another one like him. Adios, amigo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

More on Los Mojados

I disagreed with some comments Fixer made in his post on illegal immigration, so I thought I'd jot down down my rebuttal in an awe-inspiring work of fact and logic. As I researched this deal, what turned out to be awe-inspiring was the sheer volume of material on it: There's websites, blogs, books, movies (dramas and comedies both), organizations, opinions pro and con, government and civilian, good and bad, caring and hateful, agreeing with me and disagreeing with me, in English and Spanish. There's even a board game. God only knows what I didn't run across. Absolutely amazing. Anyway, there was so much stuff out there, I decided to go with my carefully thought-out opinions like I was gonna do in the first place.

At this point, I'd better say that for the purposes of this post, I'm going to use Mexicans as examples because, even though there are illegals here from every country on the planet, Mexicans are the only ones who can walk all the way from home (most Canadians wouldn't bother), and, right or wrong, are the ones everyone means when they say "illegals".

On the theory that you say something nice or nothing at all (Gee! For a fat girl, you don't sweat much!), I'll start with what I do agree with Fixer on.

Yes, illegal immigrants are here illegally. Duh.

Yes, they should go back where they came from and try to gain legal access. I'm a softy on this. I think we should give 'em a ride to the border. Our border, not their border, unless they come from an adjacent country. I understand from all my research that some of them, in fact, do.

Yes, they overtax social services that we all pay for. The illegals that get paid on the books actually kick in their payroll taxes (assuming the employer doesn't just steal them) and since they don't file and can't collect SSI with a phony number, the government gets to keep their money anyway.

Yes, there's criminality amongst 'em, but probably about as much as the population at large. The real criminals in this deal are the coyotes , the suppliers of transportation, phony ID, and the employers who call La Migra on Friday to come get the workers so they don't have to pay them.

Yes, they can be a blight on the landscape. Yes, they hold down wages and take jobs that most Americans would just as soon let them have, and some good ones besides.

All those things and more. Now here's where I differ from Fixer: These people are here with the tacit approval of our government and employers, large and small. The people who make the rules have made the rules to sound good, but they have no interest whatsoever in enforcing them. Quite the contrary, the illegals are invited , sometimes even contracted for, to risk life and limb to sneak in here and work cheap and/or off the books, mostly with no benefits or rights, because the employers don't have to care about them, they are interchangeable, and they don't complain about poor wages or working conditions because they're afraid to. Some employers won't hire Americans, because Americans are more likely to bitch and blow the whistle to the authorities and make the employer spend his money on non-essentials like safety provisions, health care, and other things required by law. In short, the overhead is less and that translates into profits.

Here's what I'm gettin' at: I think, since we can't seem to live without these folks, we are morally bound to fix 'em when they're sick or injured (working conditions, remember?) and educate their kids.

We had Proposition 187 on the ballot here in California some years back. It was touted as the solution to all the public costs attributable to illegals. What it did was refuse them health care and refuse their kids access to public schools. That's it. It picked on the easy targets, sick people and kids. I thought that was disgusting and mean and voted against it. It passed overwhelmingly. It has since been overturned and was never enforced anyway. It was just plain wrong.

We talk a lot on this blog about the hypocrisy of our enemies (not too strong a word, I think) in talking the "moral values" talk, but not walking the walk. We rail at their intolerance and ignorant small-mindedness. Well, I'll step up to the plate.

What kind of society refuses people who need a doctor? I think a strong moral value is to take care of people in need, especially "the least amongst us". These people are here because we hire them, don't forget. The health care system is broken, anyway. If the illegals were gone tomorrow, poor and uninsured people would still have to use the emergency room for their primary health care at horrendous expense to us all. I don't see this as a problem that is going to be resolved anytime soon until we overhaul the profit-based health care system. When we do, it'll be better for everybody.

If we're going to use these people, we owe it to them to fix them when they're broken.

As far as their kids going to school, I think the last thing we need is a bunch of uneducated kids, and later on, bored young men and women with not much to look forward to, hanging out with nowhere to go. That's a recipe for trouble. Also, most states have a requirement that kids be in school 'til they're a certain age. As far as kids born here of illegal parents, they're citizens and have every right to be in school. That's the law.

So what can we do about it? First, go read my previous post or go directly to Cynthia Tucker's editorial. If we make it so there's no jobs for 'em, they'll quit coming. Simple, really. Or make them able to come here legally with a guest-worker program. I realize something has to be done, but it ain't gonna happen as long as the politicians have their hands out to corporate interests.

Another point on which Fixer and I agree is this: Change the laws or leave 'em the same, but enforce them. Right now, the suits are pissin' on our legs and tellin' us it's rainin'.

Quit patronizing, oh, just as a far-fetched example, restaurants that hire illegals, and tell them why. Here's how you can tell: Prior to being seated, go in the kitchen, look at all the workers, close your eyes and yell "Manos arriba! La Migra!" . Then open your eyes. If the people are still there, they're here legally and it's OK to eat there. Yes, I know I'm a smartass. Point is, until we all realize that we get benefit, such as cheaper meals, from these folks breaking the law, illegals and employers both, then we're complicit and OK with the deal and are part of the problem.

One of the main things I took from my web research of this deal is that illegal aliens are worth Big Bucks to people on both sides of the fence, pun intended. But that's for another time.

Recommended reading, click for reviews:

Lines and Shadows by Joseph Wambaugh

Coyote by Ted Conover

Sunday, February 20, 2005

A Culture of Secrecy, Lying, and Fear

Since we're on the case of media fellating the lying White House and our accelerating slide into Buscism, here's an article by Charles Lewis of The Center for Public Integrity that you really ought to read and print for reference.
"Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." – George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

Sometimes the persuasion becomes less subtle. For example, when the Center for Public Integrity obtained and prepared to publish online the secret, proposed draft sequel to the USA Patriot Act, known as "Patriot II," we got calls from the U.S. Justice Department beseeching us not to publish.

Over the years, those unhappy with my investigations have tried just about everything to discourage our work. They have issued subpoenas, stalked my hotel room, escorted me off military bases, threatened physical arrest, suggested I leave via a second-story window, made a death threat personally communicated by concerned state troopers who asked that we leave the area immediately (we didn't), hired public relations people to infiltrate my news conferences and pose as "reporters" to ask distracting questions, attempted to pressure the Center's donors, and even brought expensive, frivolous libel litigation that takes years and costs millions of dollars to defend.

Over the years, I have investigated and interviewed members of Congress, presidential candidates, judges, captains of industry, government spooks, labor union presidents, crooks and terrorists, FBI agents and Ku Klux Klansmen, billionaires and the homeless, brilliant thinkers and the mentally deranged. And it is fair to say that I have been lied to by people in virtually every part of the United States, in swank marble buildings, smoky bars and dusty local jails, eyeball-to-eyeball and by phone, fax, email and hand-delivered letter, in all kinds of imaginative ways, almost always with a straight face.

The line between truth and falsehood – between the facts and a veneer of verisimilitude – has become so blurred as to be indistinguishable. Increasingly, what the powers that be say has become the publicly perceived reality, simply because they say it is so.

At a time in America's history when discerning the truth is more elusive-and more essential-than ever, the mainstream news media seem increasingly incapable of playing their traditional watchdog role and digging out lies and inaccuracies.

The world of journalism is in a crisis that goes well beyond the spate of recent, highly-publicized scandals involving fraudulent or poorly reported stories. The country has witnessed Sumner Redstone, the chief executive officer of Viacom, home of CBS News and its hallowed legacy of journalistic excellence dating back to Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, publicly endorse an incumbent president on the eve of a national election-something once considered unimaginable. Over the years CBS and many news organizations have become hollow shells of their former selves, letting go of hundreds of newsroom people and positions in order to achieve ever higher profits and corporate consolidation. The result? Less investigative reporting, reduced scrutiny of those in power and, ultimately, a more easily bamboozled populace.

What does it all mean? For the most part, there is little appetite for investigative journalism. For the "suits" who control what we read, see and hear, besides potentially alienating the political power structure against their own company or industry, thereby possibly jeopardizing millions of dollars in future profits, this edgy enterprise journalism is not efficient or cost-effective. It simply takes too much time, requires too much money and incurs too many legal and other risks. Forget whether or not this is fair or accurate, or relevant given the civic obligation broadcasters and publishers have to the communities they ostensibly serve. It simply is, and it helps to explain why today we have so little independent, critical reporting and why instead we are mostly fed a steady diet of pap from morning to night.

That seismic date in our history, Sept. 11, 2001, enabled those in power to strengthen the prerogatives of the Presidency in the name of national security, giving rise to a new politics of fear which has severely diminished what the public can know about its government. The Bush administration came to power already overtly hostile to openness and the public's right to know. In its first months, for example, it unsuccessfully attempted to ensconce George W. Bush's gubernatorial documents in his father's presidential library, outside the state's sunshine disclosure laws. The White House has tenaciously and more successfully kept from the American people information about public policy meetings on public property between energy company executives and top federal officials. A respected reporter's home telephone records were secretly seized in order to ascertain his next story and his confidential sources.

Since 9/11, the country has seen a historic, regressive shift in public accountability. Open-records laws nationwide have been rolled back more than 300 times-all in the name of national security. For the first time in U.S. history, the personal papers of past presidents now may only be released with White House approval. A Justice Department "leak" investigation of the White House regarding an Iraq war-related news story has degenerated into a full-fledged witch-hunt against the news media and the First Amendment, with reporters facing imprisonment if they don't reveal their sources.

I think the piece is a good overview for reference purposes and background.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Blackmail

The citizens of Left Blogstonia (©Rook) are finally getting around to looking at Gannongate the way I did.

[. . .]

The Homeland Security angle: How can someone who is so suceptible to extortion and blackmail get so close to the (p)resident? God knows what he could have been coerced into doing to keep his 'cover'. Why was he included in the distribution of the Plame memo? Who does security checks at the White House? If the Secret Service vetted this guy, the (p)resident better start walking around in body armor and a helmet. They suck.

[. . .]


Lambert at Corrente today:

[. . .]

NOTE It would be very interesting to know if blackmail—it wouldn't have to be very explicit—had anything to do with the mystery of Gannon's continued access. Personnaly, I'd think that a closeted married man would be the most vulnerable...

[. . .]


Now, during my military career I held a top secret security clearance. When I was with SOCOM, I was privy to shit that could have started a major war. When I was with SAC I dealt with our nuclear arsenal. They never stopped impressing upon us the fact that our actions in our private lives would leave us open to blackmail. Doing drugs, homosexuality, were especially important on their list, adultery too. There were, they said, enemy agents (Soviet) always looking for American military members who could be turned to work for the Soviets.

My point being that subterfuge of the 'Gannon' sort is a security crisis. I don't give a shit he's gay, don't give a shit he's a prostitute, what I do give a shit about is the potential for blackmail, not of 'Gannon', but of other high-level White House officials. Those who gave him access. Especially with the anti-gay culture in the government right now. Especially with the amount of money floating around within the Beltway earmarked for political influence.

As our distinguished, esteemed colleagues at AMERICABlog, Kos, and World O'Crap have suggested, 'Gannon' quite possibly had a sexual relationship with someone at the White House. I wonder what that person would do to keep his job? I wonder what that person would give to keep his job? Did 'Gannon' blackmail this person to gain access to the White House in the first place? Why isn't anyone asking these questions beside the Lefty Blogs?

Armstrong Williams and the others, now 'Gannon'. It's one thing to use the press to push the White House agenda, those ethical questions are for another post. It's another for high-level government employees to put themselves in a position to be blackmailed. Those that deal with sensitive secrets could be swayed to divulge them (did someone say Valerie Plame?), or those dealing with policy could could be coerced to change it in favor of one group or another. When the government puts itself in this position, it affects the security of not only the Presidency, but the nation. This is unconscionable and another on the long list of crimes this administration and the Republican Party have committed against the people of the United States.

Immigration

This might make me unpopular, but I've never been one for personality contests anyway.

I might sound like a Repubican, but I got a problem with illegal immigration. Since we've been talking about policy, this is one I got a problem with. I know, I know, I should be tolerant, I'm a Dem. Fuck that, know why? IT'S AGAINST THE LAW!

I don't give a shit whether you're from Latin America, China, Europe, the MidEast, I don't give a shit, you broke the fucking law when you entered this nation by subverting the process. Don't get me wrong, I think it's terrible, some of the conditions these poor people have to live under in their home countries, but the law is the law.

And every gain received relating to this crime should be forfieted. No, they can't have driver licenses. No, they can't have health care. No, their kids can't get an education. No, their kids born here do not get citizenship. Know why? Say it with me. They are here ILLEGALLY. What don't people get about this?

Look at it this way. If you're busted for dealing drugs, the government takes everything, house, cars, anything they figure you've purchased with money derived from your drug dealing. Same with the organized crime statues. Remember RICO? Why do we treat illegal immigration like is some type of 'victimless crime'? We bust people for soliciting hookers, we bust 'em for smoking dope, why don't we bust 'em for sliding under the wire?

Have some compassion, you might say. Fuck 'em. Know why? My parents came here from other countries. My wife's grandparents came here from Russia to escape the Pogroms. Know what? They did it legally. They came here taking the chance they'd be turned away at Ellis Island or the West Side piers. They took the little money they'd saved and squirreled away, packed everything on their backs, and came here in search of the dream. They put up with the medical exams, the lines, all the bullshit to be allowed into this country, and then became citzens when they were able.

Yes, I got a very big problem with illegal immigration. I got a problem because they don't pay taxes either. Come to my neighborhood and look at all the single-family houses being turned into 2 and 3 family apartments illegally. Guess who picks up the tax deficit? Fucking me. Guess who doesn't have kids in the school system? Fucking me. Guess who pays close to $8000 a year in PROPERTY TAXES alone? Guess who doesn't have sewers or sidewalks? Fucking me. Know why? Because I'm paying to educate the kids of illegal immigrants who don't pay taxes, who live in illegal apartments whose landlords are paying the taxes for a single-family dwelling. Sure as hell use the fuck out of community services though. I'm tired of paying other peoples' way. I gotta support the Jesuslanders with my taxes, problem enough, but they're legal Americans and that's the way the system works, it pisses me off that I'm supporting people who are, in effect, criminals. If they want me to do that, lock 'em up and I'll support them they way I do the rest of the convicts. 3 hots and a cot.

Then there's the problem of security. Strip an Islamic terrorist and a Mexican illegal down to their birthday suits and guess what? I dare you to tell 'em apart. Aren't terrorists one of our major concerns here? Isn't that why our boys and girls are fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq? How is it that 8 million people can just walk across our southern border with impunity?

In my town, on Valentine's Day, a 16 year old girl was stabbed to death by the father of her baby. The father was deported back to his native Honduras last year as a sex offender for having sex with her when she was 15 and impregnating her. He made it back in the country and went to her house and killed her. Yeah, it's an indictment of our so-called Homeland Security. Look at how they had the nuke squad out in Boston a couple weeks ago when they thought one was smuggled in from south of the border.

And I hear from the White House that there are jobs Americans don't want to do. And I hear that allowing illegals to do the work keeps prices low for 'real' Americans. So that's the nation we've become? Let's exploit the Brown Men? Let's allow them into this country, illegally, pay them as little as possible, treat them like shit, so we can profit from their labor. Didn't we fight a war over this about 150 years ago? Amongst ourselves? Didn't we finally settle it about a hundred years later?

This problem is coming to a head, or will be soon. Whether it be the security of this nation, something the people in Washington talk a lot about, or the morality of what we're letting happen with a wink and a nod, or the illegality of the act, this has to be dealt with. I'm all for letting anyone who wants to come to this country become a citizen, if they do it legally. That's what America's all about. This nation is a wonderful tapestry, made up of peoples from all over the world, each with their own language, history, and culture, and that's why this experiment called democracy has worked so well here. It's the one commonality all the immigrants who came here share. The yearning to live free and chase the dream. My parents had it and my wife's grandparents had it, and so did the hundres of millions of other immigrants who came here in the past 400 years.

It's time for a new immigration policy, that's obvious, and it's a far more pressing concern than Social Security. I don't hold any animosity toward our Latin American neighbors (or anyone who wants to immigrate from anywhere), they are my neighbors and friends. I just want them to do it legally. I want this country to be safe from real terrorists and I want the gaping holes in our nation's borders closed. I want the residents of this country safe, and the folks trying to sneak in here too. How many die every year in the Arizona desert? I'm sorry that they live badly at home, and I'm sorry the U.S. doesn't do more to help them out in terms of foreign aid and incentives instead of fighting wars of conquest, but that doesn't give anyone the right to break the law and then be rewarded for it. Imagine the reaction if we allowed burglars to keep what they stole? It's the same thing if we allow people here illegally to remain, and then receive the benefits of this great nation while others must take their chances and deal with the bureaucracy of legal immigration.

Either that or throw the doors wide open. I don't care. If that's the policy then fine, but make the same rules for everybody, the same standards for everybody because, after all, that's what America's about. Equality. Ain't it?

Update: 07:30:

Eponymous has something related. Remember what I said about exploitation?

Iwo Jima

On 19 February, 1945, U.S. Marines assaulted the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima.

Iwo Jima (Sulfur Island) is an eight square mile island in the Volcano Group of the Bonin Islands. It is approximately 660 miles southeast of the Japanese home islands and is considered part of Tokyo Prefecture.

In 1945, Iwo Jima lay directly astride the air route from the Mariana Islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam from which B-29 bombing raids on Japan were due to commence. The three Japanese airfields on Iwo Jima posed a danger to this effort, but in U.S. hands would provide a base for fighter escorts and a safe haven for B-29's in trouble.

Iwo Jima was bombed in preparation for invasion for 74 straight days. It was the longest sustained bombing campaign in history up to that time. Naval gunfire was poured on the island for three days.

All of this bombardment and shelling did little or no good, other than disrupting internal Japanese communication lines. The Japs were not on the island, rather they were in it. They had constructed an elaborate network of tunnels and caves that terminated at fighting positions, blockhouses, and bunkers on the surface. Some of the underground works looked for all the world like multi-story apartment buildings and consisted of barracks, hospitals, and storage spaces and were intricately interconnected from one end of the island to the other.

110,000 Marines of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions were present in 880 ships, the largest invasion of the Pacific War up to that time. The initial assault was carried out by 70,867 Marines of the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions with the 3rd Division in reserve. They went up against 21,000 Imperial Japanese Army soldiers.

It was a hard fight and lasted for over thirty days, although the island was declared secure on D+23. The Japanese had interlocked, pre-registered fires on virtually every square inch. The Marines, many of whom never saw a live enemy, had to root them out inch-by-inch, cave-by-cave, with the "blowtorch and corkscrew" method of throwing explosives at close range and then using flamethrowers. Both sides used mortars and artillery to devastating effect. Rifle, machine gun, grenade, bayonet, and hand-to-hand duels were common, at very close range.

The famous flag raising photo by AP correspondent Joe Rosenthal atop 556-ft. Mt. Suribachi was taken on the fourth day of the fight and is considered to be the most famous photograph of WWII. Three of the six flag raisers were killed on Iwo Jima.

When all was said and done, more than 6000 Marines died and 20,000 more were wounded. Only 1000 Japanese survived, and some held out for months.

The capture of Iwo Jima is credited with saving the lives of over 20,000 B-29 crewmen.

Iwo Jima was returned to Japan several years later and today is a Japanese Coast Guard base. Many old U.S. Veterans visit there every year to try and put their past behind them in their waning years.

The other night on PBS, there was a show called "The Perilous Fight" which included a letter from the mother of a Marine who died at Iwo Jima to his chaplain. It went something like this: "We spent eighteen years raising our son. The Marine Corps finished the job in eighteen months. They tell us he died for liberty. It was a mighty poor swap."

In my possession is a tablespoonful or so of black volcanic sand from Red Beach on Iwo. When I look at it, I think of the young lives that were snuffed out there, and I try my best to do honor to their sacrifice.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Speak State-Approved Truth Or None At All.

From USA Today:
CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."

As criticism of the war and its aftermath intensifies, Amanpour joins a chorus of journalists and pundits who charge that the media largely toed the Bush administrationline in covering the war and, by doing so, failed to aggressively question the motives behind the invasion.

On last week's Topic A With Tina Brown on CNBC, Brown, the former Talk magazine editor, asked comedian Al Franken, former Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke and Amanpour if "we in the media, as much as in the administration, drank the Kool-Aid when it came to the war."

Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour's comments: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."

CNN had no comment.

Hitler muzzled all but the "state-approved" press through fear as well.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Stupidity

John at blogenlust:

[. . .]

The assassination of a political leader. The forming of alliances. Where have I heard this one before?

Along with Steve Soto, I can't quite tell on what grounds the Bush Administration is going after Syria for the assassination of Hariri. It seems forced and over the top, and when combined with our recent saber rattling towards Iran, a little unnerving. I'm still not sure whether Bush is audacious and stupid enough to start another war (a much bigger war), or whether he is just ratcheting up the rhetoric. I'm also not very confident that he can do the latter without also starting the former. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


Note to John: Yes, he is.

So, Syria and Iran are moving closer together, thanks to (p)resident Dicknose and CondoLIEzza and their stupid threats. Now let's see . . . Iraq is sandwiched between Syria and Iran. The borders are relatively porus. If I were an Iranian or Syrian 'insurgent', I think I found a way to bedevil the Americans. Why not send our people into Iraq to harass the American supply lines? Why not try to form an alliance with the Shi'ite majority in Iraq? Do you think the Shi'ia majority (remember the 'democratic elections' last month) might be convinced to throw the Americans out? Could a 'Greater Persia' be somewhere in the future? I'm pretty sure both eventualities will come to pass.

And more on the stupidity front from DemVet:

It was a common article of faith, I seem to recall out here in the left side of blogtopia (y! sctw!) that the whole Mess in Mesopotamia would become THE recruiting ground for al-Qaeda in the middle east. Well, hate to say "I told you so" but...

[. . .]

. . . "Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists," CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.


I guess that Goss either says things like this when he's pretty sure that Preznit Rhetorical Retard is out cutting brush or asleep. Because talking like that could get his ass sent to the old CIA directors home unceremoniously...why, you'd almost think that someones policies might have been at [gasp] fault. A mistake might have been made. Wait for it, Elizabeth, I'm comin' to join ya...the rapture is here!

[. . .]

Because you know, the terrorists have no idea that there are others like them so, shhhhh, don't let on we know. Putz.

Truly, Rumsfeld is an imbecile. I'm guessing that he's still referring to them as "dead enders", and refuses to believe than any will stand up to him and Beloved Leader.

[. . .]


When people operate in a vacuum for so long, they begin to believe that everybody does. That's why they can spout bullshit at us (Iraq, Social Security, etc) and believe we'll swallow every bit of it, every time. They think, and the MSM (Murdoch Seduced Media - ©TCF) further's the theory, that people won't connect the dots and figure out what Chimpy Inc. is trying to do to this country.

Unfortunately, 51% of this great nation is swallowing the bullshit whole. I'm just waiting to hear 'evidence' that Syria and Iran are connected to 9/11.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Vieques: Personal Memories

This is my world-famous published poem that appeared in the March '99 Leatherneck: Magazine of the Marines. I got ten bucks for it, so now I'm a pro. Ha!

Island Memories

Of all the places in the world
That I have ever seen,
None can match the splendor
Way down in the Caribbean.

From the bow ramp of an amtrac
Or a helicopter's side,
We were thrilled to exit still alive
From the death-defying ride.

With the skeeters and the cattle
Always at our beck and call,
We trained on field problems
In late summer and the fall.

From the jungle, swamps and sand dunes
Through Garcia's whitewashed gate,
We cried in pain and washed ourselves:
Cold showers were our fate.

At the slop chute known as Sweeney's,
Where we slurped Black Label down,
We sat high atop the tables
When it rained, or we would drown.

From the comm shack in the valley
To the chow hall oh so dear,
Messmen put Thanksgiving dinner
Upside down in our mess gear.

Not much to do while walking post
At the CP on the hill,
But I very well remember
Giving officers a thrill.

As they came out of the O club,
Singing drunkly past my post,
My finger let my bolt go.
It got quiet as a ghost.

At long last, or so it seemed,
We got a liberty call.
To Isabel Segunda on a six-by,
To try and have a ball.

Starched khakis and boondockers
Was the UD that we wore.
A good meal and real liquor,
We all were searching for.

All us snuffies made it back,
Some of us in trucks.
MP's brought back the others,
After they ran out of luck.

Then came the day for all of us
Which nothing else could beat.
We headed out to re-embark
Back on our gator fleet.

I see it plain as yesterday,
O'er thirty years and more,
When we were young, we had the luck
To grace Vieques' shore.

9/11 Cover-Up

Robert Scheer writes on AlterNet:
Would George W. Bush have been re-elected president if the public understood how much responsibility his administration bears for allowing the 9/11 attacks to succeed?

For the last three years, administration apologists have tried to make the FAA the scapegoat for the 9/11 attacks. But it is the president who ultimately is responsible for national security, not a defanged agency that is beholden to the industry it allegedly monitors.

The terrible fact is that the administration took none of the steps that would have put the protection of human life ahead of a diverse set of economic and political interests, which included not offending our friends the Saudis and not hurting the share prices of airline corporations.

Given this shocking record of indifference on the part of the administration, it is politically understandable that it tried to prevent the formation of the 9/11 commission in the first place, and then for five months prevented the declassification of key sections of the final report. Commission members, including its Republican chairman, Thomas Kean, stated in the past that there was no national security concern that justified keeping those sections of the report from the public.

And let's be clear: The failure to fully disclose what is known about the 9/11 tragedy is not some minor bureaucratic transgression. Not since the Soviets first detonated an atomic bomb more than half a century ago has a single event so affected decision-making in this country, yet the main questions as to how and why it happened remain mostly unanswered.

Even worse, what we do know calls into question our government's explanation that a diabolical international terrorist conspiracy exploited our liberal, naive society. What has emerged, instead, is a portrait of an often bumbling terrorist gang allowed to wreak havoc because the top tiers of the administration were so indifferent to the alarms, which former CIA Director George Tenet described so graphically: "The system was blinking red."

Had the business-friendly administration put safety first and ordered a full complement of air marshals into the air, over the obscene objections of airlines loath to give up paid seats, nearly 3,000 people might not have died that day. And had the president of the United States taken some time from his epic ranch vacation that August to order a nationwide airport alert, two bloody wars abroad, as well as an all-out assault on civil liberties in this country, probably would not have happened.

Indeed, the 9/11 commission was not allowed to get near that story: It is an unnoticed but startling truth that the basic narrative on the tragedy derives from the interrogations of key detainees whom the 9/11 commissioners were not allowed to interview. Nor were they permitted to even take testimony from the U.S. intelligence personnel who interrogated those prisoners.

When the truth and governmental transparency are arbitrarily trumped by the invocation of national security, the public is simply incapable of making informed decisions on the most crucial decisions we face – starting with whom we elect as our commander in chief.

I didn't leave a hell of a lot out of that one, but go read anyway.

I would not, at this time, allege that Bush knew the specifics of the 9/11 attacks. If he did, I would be proud to harness up and put the cane to the four horses that would draw and quarter him. Small horses. I'd use Humvees, but that would be too quick.

I do accuse them of covering-up the truth. They have a lot to hide in all areas and are very good at it.

I will say, once again, that ideology trumps reality and the interests of the American people with this bunch. Incompetence, ineptitude, hypocrisy, lies, cover-ups, secrecy, meanness and wrong-headedness not only abound, but seem to be demanded by the majority of my fellow citizens who have bought into Bush's bullshit.

Why? What do they think Bush is going to do for them? National greatness? We had that, and he's destroyed it. Make them all rich? Bwa-hahahahaha! Maybe the "ruling class", at their expense. Make them feel all warm and safe? That may be it, but it's just another lie.

What is the flaw that keeps these idiots from seeing what's right in front of their faces?

Here's my message to the Retard Right: When you've got your head in the sand is the time these bastards are going to butt-fuck you. Well, they're doing it and you think it's a prostate exam.

The stench of hypocrisy 3

David at 42:

Writing for the right-wing media advocacy group, Accuracy in Media, Cliff Kincaid dismissed the controversy as "laughable," insisting Guckert's only "crimes" were "that he was too pro-Republican, attended White House briefings, and asked questions unfair to Democrats." And at Power Line, the conservative outpost that wrote relentlessly about CBS's troubles with its Bush National Guard story last year, the site has confessed bewilderment about the Guckert controversy. "I can't figure out what the story is," wrote one of Power Line's contributors . . .


Faux ignorance and willful dismissal of a contentious issue that would have this sort of wingnut in a screaming convulsive dung-flinging hissy-fit had it happened under a Kerry administration won't make it go away.

[. . .]

That is the issue, wingnuts; you can stick your wailing and whining about non-issues and gay-bashing right up your clamped asses. Shut the fuck up. You lot don't get to even dare utter any noise about gay-baiting.


He's absolutely right, but the sheer, obvious hypocrisy is lost on the Wingnuts. You heard it since this story broke. Howie and Wolf were the first in line (via Digby).

BLITZER: I used to be a White House correspondent for many years, sat through numerous briefings. There are plenty of journalists that wear their politics on their sleeve, liberals, conservatives. What's wrong with journalists having these kind of views, being advocacy journalists, if you will?

KURTZ: I personally don't think there's anything wrong with it, as long as they make clear what their views are, as Jeff Gannon clearly did.


I wonder if someone gave these two hacks a gift certificate for Gannon/Guckert's services? And I don't think this is all blatant hypocrisy. I think a large dose of blatant stupid. Thanks to Pam (so I didn't have to do it) for rounding up these Wingnut comments:

"Yeah it's amazing how fast they go to this when trying to destroy a Republican... almost as amazing as how fast they go to racist caricature when confronting a black conservative."

"That is an out and out lie; in fact, he said just the opposite. I just checked the link .. The Raw Story is nothing by trash. Plus they have been on a witch hunt of gays (I'm not saying Gannon is) The two guys that run that site are far far far left loons."


Have any of us forgotten the Lewinsky matter? While I don't condone Clinton's actions, Ol' Monica the Mouth was a credentialed member of the White House staff, not some 'mystery woman' fellating working under an assumed identity. She wasn't a pro, just a starry-eyed kid who had the opportunity to blow The Most Powerful Man in the Free World (Were I single at the time, and Hillary wanted a moustache ride, I would have dived right in). Gannongate is hypocrisy in many guises.

The Homeland Security angle: How can someone who is so suceptible to extortion and blackmail get so close to the (p)resident? God knows what he could have been coerced into doing to keep his 'cover'. Why was he included in the distribution of the Plame memo? Who does security checks at the White House? If the Secret Service vetted this guy, the (p)resident better start walking around in body armor and a helmet. They suck.

The cedibility angle: Not that the White House has much credibility among the 'unmandated' 49% of us, but do you think this story stayed here? What do you think the rest of the world says about our archaic views on homosexuality, good ol' regular sexuality, abortion, religion, and almost everything else. I love the Wingnuts who say that it doesn't matter what Europe or the rest of the world thinks. Just the fact that you're on the Internet, communicating just as easily with people from your hometown as Uzbekistan. The world is smaller and the actions of our nation affect many more people than they did in the past. It's far easier nowadays to piss in somebody else's pool. From our British friends at The Guardian:

Fake reporter unmasked at White House

[. . .]

Jeff Gannon, who represented a rightwing site owned by a Texas-based Republican activist, had been a regular at White House briefings since 2003 but aroused reporters' suspicions after posing ideologically loaded questions.

[. . .]


It's one thing when other nations think our policies are fucked up. They can deal with that by diplomatic and economic means. It's another thing altogether when they think we're stupid, incompetent morons. This country was always known as a bunch of 'can-do' folks. We might have been idiots at times, but when we put our minds to it, we got the job done. To wit: WW1, WW2, Man on the Moon, etc.

Seems like everything we've touched in the last 4 years has gone to shit. American jokes are gonna take the place of Polish jokes soon.

"Hey, why'd the American fall out the tree?"

"Why?"

"He was trying to rake the leaves. Ha!"

Guess what? If you're not the go-to guy, eventually you get left behind. Guess who the next go-to guy will be? Europe. Keep a glancing eye on value, Dollar vs. Euro, and you'll see what I mean. If your only response to international turmoil involves either B-52s, a naval barrage, Abrams tanks, or Jarheads crawling all over the place, people are gonna look somewhere else for leadership. They're gonna look at us as they did at the beginning of the last century. As petulant teenagers who need to be shown our place and be supervised until we grow up. The Europeans built modern civilization and, instead of looking to them as the wise old uncle who's 'been there and done that', we treat them as if they are senile old fools who make a new friend every time they look in the mirror.

This Gannongate bullshit is just another nail in the coffin of the go-to guy known as America. Instead of the shining beacon of Democracy, we have become the poster boy for hypocrisy and ineptitude.

Monday, February 14, 2005

As Things Fall Apart, Lie and Lie Again

Gee, I guess we're not the only ones who have surmised that Bush lies every time he opens his mouth, and makes up new lies to cover up old ones. Paul Craig Roberts writes in CounterPunch:
Suppose you are the party responsible for invading a country under totally false pretenses. Suppose you had totally unrealistic expectations about the consequences of your gratuitous aggression.

What do you do when, instead of being greeted with flowers, you find your army is tied down by insurgents and you have no face-saving way to get out of the morass? If you are the moronic Bush administration, you blame someone else.

You see, the facts that the US invaded Iraq on false pretenses, killed and maimed tens of thousands of Iraqis, shot down women and children in the streets, blew up Iraqis' homes, hospitals and mosques, cut Iraqis off from vital services such as water and electricity, destroyed the institutions of civil society, left half the population without means of livelihood, filled up prisons with people picked up off the streets and then tortured and humiliated them for fun and games are not facts that explain why there is an insurgency. These facts are just descriptions of collateral damage associated with America "bringing democracy to Iraq."

The Bush administration, which already held the world record as the most deluded government in history, has now taken denial to unprecedented highs by blaming Syria and Iran for its "Iraqi problem." Why didn't Americans realize that it is dangerous to put a buffoon in charge of the US government who hasn't a clue about the world around him, what he is doing or the consequences of his actions?

What is the point of the Bush administration's bellicosity when it has been conclusively demonstrated that the US has insufficient troops to successfully occupy Iraq, much less Syria and Iran? The American people should be scared to death that they have put in power such deluded people.

Are Americans going to fall for the same set of WMD lies a second time? Are Americans going to deliver up their sons, and perhaps daughters as well, to be drafted and sent to the Middle East to be killed and maimed for no American cause?

The US Treasury is empty. The once "almighty" dollar is tottering. The US military is stretched to the breaking point. Former allies look askance at America. Hatred of America has reached an all time high.

The Bush administration must bring its policies in line with its means before it leads our country into greater disaster. The Bush administration and its deluded sycophants must stop poking fun at "reality-based" experts and listen to a reality-based message.

There is no possibility of the US imposing its will on the Muslim world. By its behavior the Bush administration is confirming Osama bin Laden's propaganda and breeding more terrorists. Much better to address the causes of Muslim discontent--America's enabling of the Israeli government's mistreatment and dispossession of the Palestinians, and America's export of "culture" that glorifies the sexual promiscuity of women.

What, King Abdullah wonders, will be the next unintended consequence of the moronic administration that the American people in their superior wisdom and virtue have seen fit to empower in Washington. "If our aim is to win against terrorism, we can't afford more instability in the area," warned the king prior to the ill-fated US invasion of Iraq. "It's the potential Armageddon of Iraq that worries all of us."

It should worry Americans, too.

My answer to King Abdullah, whom I like, is this: Whatever happens in the world, or to America, because of the lout Bush and his cabal, was the choice of 51% of its electorate. A bunch of retarded suckers have sealed the deal. There was only one issue in the election: Bush himself, and enough people bought his line to elect him, although his cohorts may have "enhanced" the count somewhat. We all have to suffer as one nation for the actions of a misguided and misled (small) plurality. That's democracy, and Bush is determined to spread it around even though he has no idea how to do it other than by military means that have been shown to be monstrously cruel and ineffective. We will survive this asshole, even though we may be in way worse shape when we emerge from the darkness. I feel sorry for the rest of you.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The 600lb. gorilla

I was watching Little George this morning (like I do every Sunday) and it was good to see Sam Donaldson again. I'd give a testicle to see him back at the White House, but I'm sure Snot "Lyin Sucka" McClellan wouldn't credential him in any case. He's no 'Jeff "Jerk-Off" Gannon'.

Anyway, Sam's on there today with the two resident idiots and pieces of furniture (Cokie "What-a-waste-of-a-good-looking-woman" Roberts and George "What-a-waste-of-my-good-air" Will), and they're talking about George Bush's policies (Social Security, Iran, North Korea, Howard Dean).

Will and Roberts tut-tutted Sam at every turn. Sam was his old self and called it right. On Howard Dean, Sam told them that Dean was a breath of fresh air for the Dems, and the right choice for the job. The Wit twins, Half and Nit, basically blew it off, saying Dean was the choice of the 'fringe' and that the Democrats should come closer to the center, both gushing over how Tim Roemer would have been the better chioce. Roemer is another one (like Ol' Joementum) who's afflicted with the hideous condition known as zellmilleritis. Sam, taking out his big brass ones for all to see, told them they were wrong. Heh, nice to see some ball from a 'journalist' (Sam is, but not many others are).

Thing is, and maybe I'm a good judge of body language (or maybe I just have my tinfoil hat on) that Half and Nit knew Sam was right. They know how wrong they are, how wrong the crap they're spewing really is. You could see it in Sam's eyes too, looking the two of them over in disgust as if to say, 'what the fuck happened to you two?'

It's the fucking 600lb. gorilla. These once-reputable journalists know they are mouthing Republican Talking Points. They know what they are saying is outright wrong, know that they are going against every ethical principle they were taught in J-school, and they can't look a principled professional in the eye when he calls them on it.

Thing that bugs me is, why?

Why would people like Roberts, who has first hand experience within the system, compromise themselves? Generally people give up their principles for a reward of some type. Where's the reward here? Is it their job? Is the corporate news monolith so powerful that these people fear speaking the truth for fear of losing their jobs? Do Will and Roberts really need the money so badly? Are they being bribed by the White House? Clearly, so many within the 'journalism' community cannot be donning blinders for idealogical reasons, can they? And why hasn't anyone pressured to look the other way come forward? Is there no one who'll stand up for their principles?

Jesus H. Christ, Stephanopolous and Donaldson brought up the 'Gannon' thing and those two just brushed it off. Seems to me that they don't value their reputations enough to be grouped into the same journalistic level of competence as 'Gannon'. Either that or they don't want to make any noise for fear people will look into their 'personal' lives.

Why is it that the Lefty Blogosphere can hammer this to death and I have yet to hear one television news organization give this more than a passing aside? Why won't anyone talk about the culpability by omission on the part of the so-called news media. Why is it the only ones connecting the dots are the people paid for their 'opinion' as opposed to true investigative journalism?

Don't tell me these people don't see this nation going down the tubes. What could be worth the silence? What do they stand to gain by not pointing out the inconsistencies in Bush policy and its public statements? When we answer that question, we wil know why the once-free press has allowed us to travel down the road toward Fascist dictatorship.

And then we will know whom to hang when we storm the gates.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Talking Points

Gillard has a bunch of 'em:

. . .See, there's a double standard here: anything the little racists say is cool. Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry can run the upscale race and reason rag known as the NRO and no one will ask if they go too far.

[. . .]

Every other day on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart makes a joke about how inept the Dems are. We need to cut that shit out as well. When the GOP was fucking up, no one made jokes about it. We need to start defending how the Dems are seen. The days of being a patsy are over. We need to hammer people when they say that crap. You are as you are seen. If you see patsies, that's what you are. You think Harry Reid is someone's patsy?

[. . .]

It's time to express exactly how angry we are. No more Mr. Nice Guy with people who want to harm us. If Beinart wants to be a PNAC butt boy, fine, but he's no liberal.

It's time to clean out the nest of Vichy Dems and those useless fucking liberals who won't fight. The too PC to breathe crowd. The colonic and vegan dog crowd. Those people can join the circle jerk at the Greens and have endless meetings about meetings.

[. . .]

Funny, while Bush is dismantling social security, where have the Greens and Nader been? Holding their dicks? Feeding vegan dog chow to their starving pups? Exactly why haven't they been eager to join the fight? They talk a good game, but when a real fight is here, one which can't be lost, they have nothing to say. They're as helpful as the dishonest and dogmatic PETA. Anyone who says meat is murder is a cretin destined to lose anyone in their audience past the age of 21.

[. . .]


Time for the Dems who have their faces on the tube to start picking this up. Time we kicked Lieberman and his type out on their asses. And it's time we put the screws to our so called 'allies'. We'll come back, and if the Greens want us to include them when the paradigm shifts, they'd better cover our backs now. Let's get with it and let the congressweasels know where we stand.

Update: 07:10:

Seems like now's the time to jump ugly on the wind machine.

From Ol' Yella:

The Manchester Guardian calls it like they see it....

Headline: "Fake reporter unmasked at White House "

While the US media struggle to find a way to spin this so it doesn't look like a fake reporter being unmasked at the White House, it's starting to appear that Karl Rove didn't just get caught with his pants down on this one. More like his trousers were hanging on a nail in another room somewhere.

When the only defense of "Jeff Gannon" that I have seen is "You poopy-pants liberals are MEAN!" I start to think that the Republican Noise Machine is stuck sitting by their fax machines waiting for orders. [my emphasis]



The time to hit the enemy is when they're disorganized before they can regroup.

Update: 07:45:

Digby:

[. . .]

The Poor Man has more on this topic. It's getting very strange in the blogosphere. I cannot for the life of me figure out why the right is so angry when they just won the whole thing.

Unless, of course it is really as Lincoln said:

"...what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them."


It's not enough that they own the entire political landscape. Apparently, their frustration that we refuse to agree with them is so strong that they are having some sort of emotional collapse. We must place ourselves avowedly with them.

Well, people in hell want ice water, too. It's not going to happen.


Update: See The Forest has some thoughts on this too.


Go follow the links. We're getting into their heads. While my experience with psyops is limited and 25 years old, that old squid CAFKIA at Meanderthal might be able to come up with some strategies to use this to our advantage. Either that or he'll tell me I'm barking up the wrong tree.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Rapture Index

Jon Carroll of the Ess Eff Chronicle has a good take on a subject that has a lot of the phony christians all a-dither. I left out some, so go read.
Let us consider the Rapture Index. This is a real thing prepared by serious people. If it makes you laugh, you have not gotten the memo. You probably have not read any of the 12 volumes of the "Left Behind" series, the best-selling books in America today.

Those Left Behind are those who did not experience the Rapture, which is an instant in time when all the truly holy people are taken directly to heaven, leaving their clothes in small neat piles behind them. The rest of the ungodly losers are left to deal with natural disasters and wars and the armies of the Antichrist, after which they die in various colorful ways while the ranks of the saved watch with compassion tempered with an understandable sense of satisfaction.

The Rapture Index is based on 45 prophetic categories, things like drought, plague, floods, liberalism, beast government and mark of the beast. "Beast government" is apparently the European Union; the news that the EU is looking for a new president is seen as a sign that the end time is drawing nearer. The latest "mark of the beast" is a plan by the Antichrist that will result in said mark being implanted in the right hand or forehead of unbelievers. The relatively high number of this indicator is explained thusly: "Wal-Mart is falling behind in its plan to bar code all products with radio tags." There are some parts of this belief system I have not yet grasped.

The Rapture is a good thing, and therefore floods, famine, drought and all that are also good things because they portend the coming of end times. Even liberalism is a good thing, because there need to be a lot of Christ- deniers for the end times to come. (Among the prophesied Christ-deniers: the pope. That part is pretty much played down in the pamphlets.)

The end times begin when Russia (also known as the ancient nation of Gog) and Iran join forces to attack Israel. Before this can happen, however, the old temple must be rebuilt. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians is necessary for that to happen, so the Rapture Index sees the peace talks as a good sign. Not as a good as the tsunami, but definitely positive.

I am not the first one to notice this. The environmental Web site www.grist.org has been covering it; Bill Moyers also wrote a column about it (preserved by truthout at www.truthout.org/docs_ 2005/013105F.shtml). Alas, the quote attributed to James Watt, the secretary of the interior under Ronald Reagan ("after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back"), is not verifiable, although it's been reported many times. Probably the liberal media again, taking time out from promoting the homosexual agenda.

So read the Rapture Index. Consider its implications: One of George Bush's core constituencies is actively praying for environmental degradation. Its members are in fact praying for the end of the world, because the end of the world is the beginning of the fun part of salvation.

Let's look at the new budget through this lens, which is (I emphasize) neither fanciful nor satirical. Money for clean water: down. Money for the cleanup of old nuclear sites, including the massive job at the Hanford (Wash.) Nuclear Reservation: way down. Number of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management acres open for logging: up. Amount of territory in Alaska declared OK for oil drilling: way up.

You might even consider the impact of the Rapture on deficit financing. Who cares how much debt we accrue? Christ will come and forgive it all. Why not borrow against the future to pay for the present? The future is gonna be a whole different deal. We're just placeholders for God's own totalitarian state.

For us secular humanists, us gay-marrying, porn-reading, prayer-mocking harbingers of doom, all this seems incredible. We are still in the reality- based paradigm; we have not yet crossed over into the faith-based paradigm. In the faith-based world, the apparent inconsistencies within the Bush administration fade into nothingness.

Millennial Christians have somehow convinced themselves that the founding fathers would have approved of all this because they were all old-time Christians following that old-time religion. Because Rapture theology was mostly cobbled together in the 19th century based on very selective readings from parts of the New Testament, it is unlikely that the founding fathers believed anything of the sort. Not important: Once again, I'm indulging in reality-based thinking.

Like the prophet said: Fasten your seat belts.

That last sentence is very important: think of all those un-manned cars careening about! Thoughtless pricks. Hey, if they had a thought in their little pea brains, Bush wouldn't be president.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Vorsicht, die Untermenschen kommen*

[. . .]

White men should "run, not walk" to wed "racially conscious" white women and avoid being out-bred by non-whites. Latinos are "rising to take this country away from those who made it," the "Euroamericans." Muslims are "human hyenas" who "smell blood" and are "closing in" on their "weakened prey," meaning "the white race." Blacks, Coombs sneers, are "saintly victims who can do no wrong." Black solidarity and non-white immigration are imposing "racial revolution and decomposition" in America.

Coombs describes herself as just "a freelance writer in Crofton, Maryland." But this is one writer who's a bit more well-positioned than she lets on.

Marian Kester Coombs is married to Francis Booth Coombs, managing editor of the hard-right newspaper The Washington Times. Fran Coombs has published at least 35 of his wife's news and opinion pieces for his paper, although his relationship to her is not acknowledged in her Times bylines.

[. . .]


From the Southern Poverty Law Center via Atrios.

Another part of the White House propaganda arm. Ms. Coombs also writes for other outstanding publications.

[. . .]

Most of Marian Coombs' especially inflammatory writings have appeared in white supremacist venues such as The Occidental Quarterly, which ran her glowing review of a book on "racially conscious" whites by Robert S. Griffin, a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. But the Times has published its share. [my emphasis]

[. . .]


The defense rests, your honor.

Update: 14:45:

Via Jesse at Pandagon from the LA Times:

More than 200 scientists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have been directed to alter official findings to lessen protections for plants and animals, a survey released Wednesday says.

[. . .]

"The pressure to alter scientific reports for political reasons has become pervasive at Fish and Wildlife offices around the country," said Lexi Shultz of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

[. . .]

One scientist working in the Pacific region, which includes California, wrote: "I have been through the reversal of two listing decisions due to political pressure. Science was ignored — and worse, manipulated, to build a bogus rationale for reversal of these listing decisions."

More than 20% of survey responders reported they had been "directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information."

[. . .]


They've either bought or intimidated the press corps and now they're putting pressure on the scientists. Tell me how this differs from Nazi Germany?

Update: 15:20:

Rude Pundit says it far better than I can:

[. . .]

But despite the exposure of its most obvious cheerleader, we'll still have a press corps that is, at the minimum, deferential to the whims and words of the White House without any follow-up, without any accountability. With or without Gannon/Guckert, that ain't stopping any time soon. Propaganda is most effectively spread when it's presented under the guise of objectivity. [my emphasis]


You have to go read the whole post.

*Caution, here come the subhumans.

Free Speech v. The Neighbors

This news article appeared on KCRA in Sacramento:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Nestled in a quiet Sacramento neighborhood is a very loud political statement that is testing the very foundation of the right to free speech.

Hanging from a house in Land Park, a soldier's uniform in a noose dangles from a rooftop. The words "your tax dollars at work" are scrolled across the chest.

In a community full of patriotism, this view of the war in Iraq has not gone unnoticed.

"Unfortunately or fortunately this is protected speech by the First Amendment ... so there is nothing we can do about it," Sacramento City Councilman Rob Fong said.

KCRA 3 received a call late Wednesday morning from the homeowner saying that a group of people had torn down the display. He said that what he did was not illegal, but what was done by the people who removed the display was.

While you are reading the article, you can vote on how you feel about the protest. Do it so you can see the results. Make up your own mind how they make you feel.

It's still your right to make an act of free speech in protest, even if it's offensive to others. It's also the choice of those offended whether or not to break the law to deal with it. I think whoever trespassed and stole the display felt that law enforcement would be on their side and not pursue this very diligently, and they are probably right.

I happen to think that our troops are being used like a condom during Fleet Week. If it were up to me, they wouldn't be in that fucking sand pit to begin with. I wouldn't have used the same symbolism these folks did, even though I tend to agree with it, because it's not going to have the intended effect of turning people against this stupid Imperial War. It'll just turn the sheeple against them. It was their choice, and choices have consequences, sometimes unintended.

There's also the matter of perception. For instance, if someone displayed a Swastika with an eye toward protesting encroaching fascism, that would be one perception. I wouldn't like the display very much, but once it was explained to me, I would leave it be.

If they displayed it in agreement with Nazi ideals, that would be another perception, but once it was explained to me, I wouldn't tear it down. It would burn along with the house.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Ministry of Propaganda

Yup, I start ranting about the Nazis and something else happens to make me believe there will be jackbooted Thought Police in the streets before this is over. I am so glad this was exposed. From the website of another reality-based New Yorker:

Dear Mr. President:

In light of the mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies, I feel compelled to ask you to address a matter brought to my attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter (article attached), a local newspaper in my district, regarding James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon) of Talon News.

According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly credentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel.

[. . .]

Since that time, two more members of the media have been found to have received money from your Administration in exchange for their vocal, yet undisclosed support of Administration policies.

And just this morning we have learned that "Mr. Gannon" has resigned his post at the, so called, Talon News amid growing concerns over his controversial background and falsified qualifications. In fact, it appears that "Mr. Gannon's" presence in the White House press corps was merely as a tool of propaganda for your Administration.

Mr. President, I am sure we both agree the White House Press Corps is an honored institution in America that should be beyond the scope of partisan meddling, and that a free and independent media is the cornerstone of our success as a democracy. Likewise, I am sure we can both agree the American people have the right to expect that journalists who question their President everyday are experienced, independent, and perhaps most importantly, unbiased in their approach.

[. . .]

Respectfully,

Louise M. Slaughter

Ranking Member, House Committee on Rules


Other Dem bloggers are all over this, but WTF (as usual) is dead on:

[. . .]

Jebus. Moral clarity, huh? Never mind the fact that Rove and company used this guy like the gay prostitutes he pimps for, but they gave daily access to someone from a fake news service using a pseudonym and having no journalism credentials or qualifications, and called on him in press conferences almost every day. How very #ucking unethical.

[. . .]


The brainwashing has begun. How come none of these 'investigative' reporters bit into this? I mean, this asshole was in the midst of them. They're a bunch of fucking cowards whose spines crumbled at the same time the Twin Towers did.

And while we're at it

Since my post seemed to strike a chord with people (I wonder why that is), and since I'm always telling folks that I'm waiting for my draft notice to come any day (I tell my boss that he and I are gonna be working in a motor pool in Kuwait), I thought I'd relay this little story.

My grandfather (German) fought in WW 1 in the German infantry. He was decorated with the Iron Cross 1st Class and the Knight's Cross for valor during a gas attack. For the rest of his life, he carried the scars from British blister agent.

In 1943 at the age of 45, in the middle of the night, there was a knock at his bedroom window. Two local men, guys my grandfather had known all his life, were there, dressed in the gray uniform of the Wehrmacht.

"Hermann," the higher-ranking man said. "Come, you are on the list."

"Where?" he asked as my grandmother joined him at the window.

"To Kaiserslautern," the other man said. "They need men."

"I did my part, more than 25 years ago," my grandfather told him. "They pinned a medal on my chest."

"The army needs men in Russia," the first man told him. "You are on the list."

"I won't let him go," my grandmother said. "The army has my son and my daughter already, and Irene (my aunt) is a little girl. I will not let him go."

"The Gestapo will come for him, Maria, and he will surely be shot," the man explained. "At least, he has a chance to survive if he comes with us."

I should point out that by this time, the average German knew the war was lost. They knew it when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the Americans declared war. Defeat was set in stone (according to what my grandfather told me) when Hitler went into Russia. Like the people in power here, 60 years later, Hitler paid no attention to the lessons of history. One day, I'll relay one of my grandfather's stories about the Russian winter and the muddy spring that followed. It got to the point where the artillery troops just shot their horses and abandoned the gun when they got bogged down in the mud.

My grandfather packed a small bag, kissed his wife and his young daughter and left with the two Wehrmacht officers. It was two years before they heard from him again, alive, chased from Moscow back through Berlin to finally just leave when they all knew it was lost. He was captured as he tried to walk home from his unit's last location. Ironically, thanks to his age, an American officer decided he wasn't worth keeping as a prisoner and just turned him loose.

I'm 42, and it sure looks like they 'need men' in the Middle East, especially if we enter another front in the 'war on terror'. For all those people who tell me I'm crazy, that I'd never be recalled back into the Air Force, just think about that night my grandfather got the knock on his bedroom window.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

They learned it in the schools

I remember my mother telling me about the year (August 1936) she returned to school after summer break to find Hitler's picture hanging in every classroom. She came home that day and told her mother (my grandmother), who dutifully marched up to the school with my mom the next morning. The conversation with the headmaster went something like this:

Grandma: "Why is that little bastard's picture hanging in all the classrooms?"

Headmaster: "It is a directive from Berlin."

Grandma: "Berlin or Moscow?"

Headmaster: "Careful, Maria. Do not compare our Leader with those Communist savages."

Grandma: "Or what, the Gestapo will take me away?"

Headmaster: "The Gestapo does not question 'real' Germans. Just go home, Maria, and do not make a fuss. Do you want Ella (my mom) to have a rough time in school this year?"

Grandma: "Who does he (Hitler) think he is? He is nothing but a painter who thinks he's Jesus. And if anything happens to my daughter, you will answer to Hermann's (my grandfather) shotgun."

It wasn't long after that the local priest, who spoke out against Hitler, was removed from his position and 'transferred'. The next priest figured out that as long as he parroted the party line he'd be left alone. That helped later on, when the 2 Jewish families in the town were hidden in the church (4 years) until the Americans arrived. (Note to Americans: Not all Germans of the time were Nazis.) It wasn't long after that the synagogue in the next town (the only one that served the region) was closed by order of the Landeskommissar. People learned quickly enough not to question 'The Party'.

It was also about that time that my uncle joined the Schutzstaffel, Hitler's SS. He was gung ho, caught up in the German nationalist fervor that was gripping the younger generation. We'll leave it that he and I don't talk much because he's still a Nazi and I'd cut his throat as soon as look at him.

My mother and my grandmother told me this story as I was growing up, and my aunt confirmed it when I was there in 2003. Oh yes, the Germans see the similarities between Bush and Hitler far too clearly.

My point in telling you this bit of family history is because they brainwashed the children. When Hitler came to power, history taught in the schools was revised to reflect an Aryan tilt. The children learned that Germans got the short end of the stick thanks to the Allied Nations after World War I, or the Jews, or anyone else they could scapegoat. Guys like my asshole uncle, who couldn't find a job during the depression and needed someone to blame for his problems.

Maybe I'm more sensitized to it because of my family history, I don't know, but if anybody tells you we are not moving quickly toward 'Reich', they're either blind, unaware, or lying to you. Hopefully, reading the paragraphs above, you were struck by how similar things have become. It's one thing to convince most of the people to vote for you, but when you start indoctrinating the children, you're planning to be around for a while.

Let's talk about school vouchers. There is one motivation for getting kids out of the public school system and into the parochial. Control. When the kids learn creationism and revisionist history as fact, and everyone who does not believe in your version of Jesus is a heathen, you've begun to create the next generation of foot soldiers. When children learn that anyone who doesn't agree with the 'Party Line' is a traitor, you're creating the next generation of executioners. Think about the madrassas of the Middle East and then think about the Christian schools in this country. And let's not forget the Hitler Youth.

The Party Line is that liberals, gays, non-Christians, and people unlike the 'average American' are the cause of our problems and that means it's only a matter of time before these groups are silenced and rounded up. Think it can't happen here? It's already begun, motherfuckers.