Send via SMS

Monday, April 03, 2006

Not getting any? Don't blame yourself! Blame liberals!

While visiting Newsmax, I noted this advertisement: "Men -- do you hate rejection by women? Discover forbidden attraction secrets the LIBERAL MEDIA does not want you to know!"

Good lord. Are conservative males really that insecure -- and that dumb?

Years ago, men's magazines used to carry hilarious ads in the back: "Guaranteed -- 100% AUTHENTIC spurious PENIS ENLARGEMENT!" What kind of fellow was dumb enough to shell out for such a product? The same kind who reads Newsmax.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

George W. Bush, Barbara Bush, and Aleister Crowley

Few people understand that one of the most notorious individuals in British history may have contributed to the lineage of our current president. Aleister Crowley, a.k.a., "The Great Beast 666" -- the infamous practitioner of "sex magick" whose motto was "Do What Thou Wilt" -- came to know a great many remarkable people, including the maternal grandmother of George W. Bush. "Know," in this case, may be taken in the Biblical sense. Evidence points to the disturbing possibility that he was the true father of Barbara Bush, the former First Lady and mother to George W. Bush.

The story may seem difficult to believe at first, until one learns more about the social inter-relations that tied together these unlikely parties. Specifically, we must focus on a fascinating woman named Pauline Pierce, born Pauline Robinson -- whose third child was named Barbara.

Most sources divulge little about this woman. We learn more about her husband Marvin Pierce, the president of the McCall Corporation, which published McCall's magazine and Redbook. He married Pauline, a beautiful young socialite, in 1919. Their first child, Martha, was born the next year; the second, James, was born in 1921. At this time, Aleister Crowley inhabited what must have seemed a very different world, as he embarked upon the great communal experiment of the Abbey of Thelema in Italy.

Pauline, however, had a hidden side -- what we might call (without intending any judgment or insult) a wild side. We get a whiff of it from this Wikipedia entry:
W magazine once described her as "beautiful, fabulous, critical, and meddling" and "a former beauty from Ohio with extravagant tastes"...

Rumors that Pauline had an affair with Dwight D. Eisenhower have never been verified... Still, gossip tabloids from the '40s often associated her with prominent men in politics and film.
I have not yet been able to acquire independent confirmation of the Eisenhower liaison, although I personally see no reason to doubt that it existed. However, we may well have reason to believe that she began her "experimental" period before the 1940s.

A sixth-level initiate within the OTO (the Ordo Templi Orientis, the mystical society that Crowely came to head in the 1920s) first set me down this research path by revealing that Pauline Robinson had befriended an woman named Nellie O'Hara, an American adventuress who, at some point during her European travels, met the famed writer Frank Harris. Despite his advancing years, Harris still maintained a reputation for sexual excess that rivaled Crowley's. During this period (1919-1927), Nellie and Frank Harris lived as man and wife, although they could not actually wed because Harris' second wife was still alive and would not grant a divorce.

Harris and Crowley were good friends. Not only that: At this time, and not for the last time, Crowley was very much the proverbial "friend in need."

During the Abbey period, a Crowley follower had accidentally died during a magickal ceremony. The incident created a firestorm of unwanted publicity (the sensationalist British press labeled Crowley "The Wickedest Man in the World"), which prompted Mussolini's government to expel Crowley and his followers from Italian soil. By 1924, he lived in poverty in France, where Frank Harris kindly took him under his roof. This arrangement inevitably brought Crowley into contact with Nellie.

Crowley's diaries, to which I have been given access, clearly indicate that he depended on Harris for financial assistance:
January 3rd 1924 - "No luck about cash yet: but F.H. promises 500 fr to-morrow - so that I can bolt to Paris. One step onward to the Establishment of the Law of Thelema.
The money soon ran out, and AC (as his associates called him) soon had to ask his friend for further assistance. At this time, Harris was writing his multi-volume "erotic autobiography," My Life and Loves; he also purchased a newspaper, The Evening Telegram. But he lacked the resources and management skills to make the enterprise a success, and soon found himself in a financial position no better than Crowley's.

Despite his parlous economic circumstances, Crowley focused his attention on sex magick. Not many years previously, he and a follower named Jeanne Foster (a.k.a. Soror Hilarion) had conducted a sex-magickal rite designed to give birth to a child destined to carry on Crowley's work. I have not been able to determine whether he conducted similar experiments with Nellie, although given the polyamorous proclivities of all the parties involved, one should not discount the possibility.

Nellie's friend Pauline no doubt scandalized her social circle by traveling to France on her own and leaving two very young children in the care of nursemaids. However, her correspondence with her friend -- whose life in France with a famous literary figure must have seemed quite glamorous -- can only have inspired a sense of wanderlust. Her husband, increasingly bound to his duties with the McCall Corporation, did not share this spirit of adventure.

Thus it was that four individuals came together: Frank Harris, Nellie O'Hara, Pauline Pierce, and Aleister Crowley. Anyone who has studied Crowley's life will understand that what happened next was, in a sense, inevitable.

Crowley's diaries for this period record the initials "PVN," a cryptic reference to his favorite sexual position, which some of his partners found distasteful. (The letters derive from the Latin for "By way of the Infernal Entrance.") This is a common annotation in the records of Crowley's magical practices. We also find the strange initials "ECL." After researching the matter for some time, I have come to the conclusion that this is a reference to the practice known as "Eroto-Comotose Lucidity."

Before proceeding, I should emphasize that the year 1924 has a special significance in the Crowley chrnology. At this time, he is said to have undergone the "supreme ordeal" connected with his attainment of the Grade of Ipsissimus, the highest magickal achievement within his order. The exact nature of this ordeal remains mysterious. I believe that an important clue can be found in his description of the rite of Eroto-Comotose Lucidity:
The Candidate is made ready for the Ordeal by general athletic training, and by feasting. On the appointed day he is attended by one or more chosen and experienced attendants whose duty is (a) to exhaust him sexually by every known means (b) to rouse him sexually by every known means. Every device and artifice of the courtesan is to be employed, and every stimulant known to the physician. Nor should the attendants reck of danger, but hunt down ruthlessly their appointed prey.

Finally the Candidate will into a sleep of utter exhaustion, resembling coma, and it is now that delicacy and skill must be exquisite. Let him be roused from this sleep by stimulation of a definitely and exclusively sexual type. Yet if convenient, music wisely regulated will assist.

The attendants will watch with assiduity for signs of waking; and the moment these occur, all stimulation must cease instantly, and the Candidate be allowed to fall again into sleep; but no sooner has this happened than the former practice is resumed. This alteration is to continue indefinitely until the Candidate is in a state which is neither sleep nor waking, and in which his Spirit, set free by perfect exhaustion of the body, and yet prevented from entering the City of Sleep, communes with the Most High and the Most Holy Lord God of its being, maker of heaven and earth.

The Ordeal terminates by failure---the occurence of sleep invincible--- or by success, in which ultimate waking is followed by a final performance of the sexual act. The Initiate may then be allowed to sleep, or the practice may be renewed and persisted in until death ends all. The most favourable death is that occurring during the orgasm, and is called Mors Justi.

As it is written: Let me die the death of the Righteous, and let my last end be like his!
If he did undergo this "ordeal" in 1924, then we must presume that his key associates of that time -- including Nellie and Pauline -- functioned as his assistants.

Pauline returned to America in early October of 1924. On June 8, 1925, she gave birth to a girl named Barbara. Barbara Pierce married George H.W. Bush, who eventually became the 41st President of the United States.

But who was Barbara's father? The chronology indicates that it could have been Crowley, but it could just as easily have been Marvin Pierce. The truth regarding Crowlean sexual rituals is disclosed only to the highest initiates of the OTO, in a document misleadingly titled "Emblems and Modes of Use."

Is Aleister Crowley the father of Barbara Bush? Even she may not know for certain; indeed, I have no way of knowing whether she has ever been told that this possibility exists. However, more than one person has noted the resemblance -- and this resemblance is not just physical. Many will recall the former First Lady's haughty and thoughtless remarks in the aftermath of the Katrina disaster. Those "in the know" were reminded of Aleister Crowley's similar reaction to the loss of life which occurred during the ascent of Kangchanjunga, an expedition he commanded: "This is precisely the sort of thing with which I have no sympathy whatsoever."

I leave the matter for the reader to decide.
Fascinating, JC, and enticingly plausible, given the predilections of the Bush clan and their nearest and dearest.

The resemblance is uncanny, isn't it? Do we have a photo of Pierce?
This really is intriguing. She really is The Bad Seed!

Kim in PA
Damn Joseph, she really does look just like him.

April Fools, back atcha!
Is the fact this was posted April 1, 2006, have any significance to the wonderfully crafted tale?
The head of Crowley's order is a high ranking General at the Pentagon.

Please tell us this is NOT an April Fools joke!
If memory serves, the current head of the Ordo Templi Orientis "worldwide" is or was a professor at the University of Texas in Austin. His "magickal" name is Hymaneus Beta; you can find the real name if you do a little digging.

Beneath him is the national leader, a fellow in California who goes by the name of Sabazius, whose web site is here...

I used to know his real name but cannot recall it offhand. He is not in the military.

The third in line is Bill Heidrich, who lives in Northern California and is pretty approachable. You can find his email address on Google. Since he seems to function as the group historian you may want to write him if you have any further questions. Be polite.

There are others who claim that the OTO organization described above is not the REAL OTO -- but you'd have to be nuts to care about these accusations and counter-accusations...
This post appeals to deepest, darkest wish-fulfillment fantasies. I'm less concerned with DNA "fact" than with philosophical and poetic truth. Joseph, you nailed it! ;-))
Since no one else is asking, I will. Does this make Bush the antichrist?
Actions speak louder than genes, unirealist.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Take note...

Check in later today for an interesting new piece of investigative research.


Much as I dislike Hustler (I've no problem with porn per se, but Hustler annoys even me), I've always rather liked Larry Flynt. Here's why.
Mr. Bush: You Must Leave Office Now!

Get out, Mr. Bush. It's time to leave. We won't ask why you're leaving, whether it's because of incompetence, corruption, treason, criminal negligence or whatever. We just want you to resign and take that war profiteer Dick Cheney with you. We are sick and tired of the Vice President's corrupt cronies at Haliburton getting no-bid contracts to clean up the messes you have made.

Don't try and lie your way out of what happened in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Along with everything else, you were too slow to muzzle the press, to slow to set up your spin machine. Americans have at last seen the truth with their own eyes. They will not be deceived again.

You stole your office both in 2000 and 2004, and consequently have no legitimate claim to it. You lied us into a war that not only has killed 2,000 U.S. troops and 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children, but also tied up our national guard when it was desperately needed here. You have gutted our civil rights, defunded the Treasury and put the American people at poverty's doorstep.

Now, with the help of Hurrican Katrina, you have allowed New Orleans-a major city in your own country-to be destroyed. Don't deny it. FEMA's National Response Plan makes it clear that the federal government must be help accountable, not state and municipal governments. In any case, it was you, Mr. Bush, who defunded the levee project that would have protected the Crescent City and its citizens.

We are done with you. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
As long as you're telling the truth, Mr. Flynt -- when will we get the full version of the Gordon N./Vicki Morgan thing...?
He doesn't care to put too fine a point on it, does he? Bluntness is refreshing in these days of mealy-mouthed prevaricators and cynical spinmeisters.
Ok, Joseph, explain: what is the Gordon N./Vicki Morgan thing?
BTW, Larry Flynt is da bomb.
sofla said:

Vicki Morgan was the paramour of Mr. Bloomingdale, the scion of the store family of the same name, and the inventor of Diners Club charge cards. He was in the Reagan kitchen cabinet, and the foreign intelligence advisory committee.

Memorialized in a roman a clef movie called 'The Inconvenient Woman,' starring Rebecca De Mornay in the 'Morgan' role, briefly, Bloomie cut her off her lavish stipend and housing at his wife's insistence, he ended up dead overseas, buried without an autopsy even before the news was announced, and she ended up quite dead herself. Then her (or her accused boy friend's?) attorney said he had tapes of Morgan with Bloomie and various members of the Reagan administration in flagrante (leather and whips and stuff). When the judge commanded the attorney produced the tape, he changed his story, denying he had ever had such a thing.
Bush Step Down! And Take Your Program With You!

ht tp://

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the statement to which Howard Zinn, Alice Walker, KurtVonnegut, Martin Sheen, Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda, Lewis Lapham, John Conyers and Cynthia McKinney subscribe.
Heh. I rather like Larry Flynt, myself, Joseph. He's a funny guy, and a good liberal, no matter what you heard.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Friday, March 31, 2006

The return of slave labor

"At the age of five years to enter a spinning-cotton or other factory, and from that time forth to sit there daily, first ten, then twelve, and ultimately fourteen hours, performing the same mechanical labour, is to purchase dearly the satisfaction of drawing breath. But this is the fate of millions, and that of millions more is analogous to it."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

Do a little reading about working class living conditions in Europe in the 19th century, and you'll come away with the impression that capitalism works only when subjected to a reasonable degree of regulation. Without such limitations, the natural instinct of the owners is toward peonage and slavery.

As if to prove the point, Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher today suggested that severely-underpaid migrant workers should no longer do the grunt work of agriculture. Better, he thinks, to force the prison population to perform such tasks. Why pay even a sub-minimum wage when you can use slave labor?

Many "Christian" conservatives make no secret of the fact that they hunger for a return to the South's infamous "peculiar institution." Do a little research into Dominionist theology and you soon will see all necessary proof of their intentions.

Regulated capitalism produced the booming economy of the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson years. Unregulated capitalism leads to chains around ankles and human beings on the auction block.

Analogy: While nobody likes to see flashing red-and-blue lights in the rear view mirror, imagine what our cities would look like if no cops patrolled our streets and no laws governed our drivers. The only people who would dare to operate a car would be devil-may-care thugs like Vin Deisel's character in The Fast and the Furious. Regulation makes the roads safe for everyone to get to work and to the grocery store.

If the only rule is the will of the stronger, we shall return to the days of master and serf. Which, it seems, is precisely what some Republican leaders want. Why should Bush and Cheney care if this nation's economy falls to tatters? On the day after Ragnarok, they will be the only ones with any money in their wallets.

On the other hand, I could countenance Rohrbacher's suggested use of slave labor -- on one condition: The first prisoners sent out to pick fruit must be Ann Coulter (after her conviction for voter registration fraud) and Rush Limbaugh (after his conviction for drug abuse).
"If the only rule is the will of the stronger, we shall return to the days of master and serf..."

But of course it's not the stronger we have to worry about--it's the more devious and the more sociopathic. Those are the ones who have taken over our government and our corporations. People like Cheney and Rove, who have proved supremely skilled at ruthless bureacratic infighting, and utterly incompetent at everything else.

Strength is consistent with courage, fidelity, integrity, honesty, and kindness. These traditional virtues have been either expunged from our culture, or stripped of all legitimacy.

Nixon damaged this country in far worse ways than even John Dean recognizes. He debauched the currency. And once your money--your means of economically valuing things--is based on a lie, all other measures of value are dragged inexorably down with it. Ultimately, the legitimacy of reality itself is denied. And that, my friends, is where we are at now.
The dirty little secret of capitalism is that, without a steady stream of state subsidies and socialization of losses, the system goes off the rails - to the detriment even of the very rich.

This was the lesson of the Great Depression, and it was well learned. The trouble is, the form of that subsidy in the U.S. of A. is military spending. Which makes perfect sense: the public has no say over where the money is goes, it riches a narrow sector of the economy and doesn't disturb the existence of a permanent underclass ready to work cheaply and not vote.

So we get the best of all possible worlds: socialism for high tech industry, capitalism for wage earners.
Post a Comment

<< Home

I almost don't want to post this...

...because we all know what what happens every time the dreaded acronym WTC7 appears on any web site. Is it possible to discuss 7 World Trade Center without the "bomb-in-da-building" zealots seizing upon any excuse to proselytize the faith? My purpose here is to discuss another mystery.

A few years ago, the brief New York Times report that the CIA had offices within that structure intrigued me, so I tried to find out more. Those findings deserve some presence on the net, even if the matter does not, in the final analysis, carry tremendous weight. What follows below the asterisks is yet another chunk from my yet-unpublished piece on WTC7 (the final version of which will have complete footnotes):

* * *

The Spooks of 7 World Trade Center

Of all the government agencies which called 7 World Trade Center home, one name rivets the attention of parapolitical researchers: The Central Intelligence Agency.

Only those “in the know” can say which of the building’s offices housed the CIA. That famed three-letter acronym did not appear in the lobby directory, nor did it appear on any phone bill sent to that address. The Company did not advertise its presence in New York City because the CIA’s charter prohibits domestic operations. Of course, the Agency’s interpretation of that charter may differ from yours or mine.

According to James Risen, the New York Times journalist who broke this story, “The agency's New York station was behind the false front of another federal organization, which intelligence officials requested that The Times not identify.” I was not a party to this deal, and I have never understood why the American taxpayer should remain forever ignorant of data which foreign intelligence organizations must consider old news. Two sources – one of them a private detective based in New York City – have informed me that the CIA has often used the Defense Investigative Service (DIS) as a cover when operating within the United States. In 1999, the DIS changed its name to the Defense Security Service, or DSS.

Of course, the scuttlebutt one hears from private detectives sometimes proves off-kilter, but in this case the suggestion makes sense. The Defense Security Service (DSS) is the agency of the Department of Defense charged with “clearing” individuals entrusted with sensitive military information. Many civilians undergo these background investigations, which are a routine fact of life for anyone who wants to work in an industry related in any way to defense. To establish a job applicant’s trustworthiness, DSS agents pry into credit histories and criminal records, and will even interview friends and family members. The goal: Weeding out individuals who show signs of instability or susceptibility to foreign influence.

One does not need much imagination to understand why the CIA would view DSS/DIS as an excellent domestic cover. If (presuming you are an American) someone showed up on your front step, flashed CIA credentials, and started asking intrusive questions about a friend’s personal habits, you might well become anxious or indignant; the scene could even end with a shouted reference to George Orwell and a slammed door. But if that same visitor showed DSS credentials, you would probably go out of your way to cooperate – after all, you would not want to ruin your friend’s career prospects.

The DSS web site lists the service’s field offices. In the state of New York, offices are located in Westbury, Syracuse, Liverpool, Rome, and Griffiss Air Force Base; no mention of any past or present office in New York City proper. News accounts of the disaster do not record either DSS or DIS as a tenant of any building in the trade center complex. Yet in the fall of 2001, the Southwest Bell SMARTpages online directory listed a phone number for the “US Defense Investigative Svc” at 7 World Trade Center.

Perhaps someone forgot to tell CIA about the name change.

An official told reporter Rizen that CIA personnel vacated these offices “soon after the hijacked planes hit the twin towers.” This version of events places the evacuation order after 9:06, the time of the second strike, even though most other building tenants left immediately after the first strike at 8:48. The account, if accurate, conjures up a grimly amusing image: Were the intelligence professionals the last people in the building to figure out that they were under terrorist attack?

The New York Times report raises the question of classified material falling into the wrong hands:
The recovery of secret documents and other records from the New York station should follow well-rehearsed procedures laid out by the agency after the Iranian takeover of the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The revolutionaries took over the embassy so rapidly that the C.I.A. station was not able to effectively destroy all of its documents, and the Iranians were later able to piece together shredded agency reports. Since that disaster, the agency has emphasized rigorous training and drills among its employees on how to quickly and effectively destroy and dispose of important documents in emergencies.

As a result, a C.I.A. station today should be able to protect most of its secrets even in the middle of a catastrophic disaster like the Sept. 11 attacks, said one former agency official. "If it was well run, there shouldn't be too much paper around," the former official said.
The implication here is that CIA personnel destroyed scads of documents during that all-important 49 minute period between 9:06 and 9:55. One wonders why they would bother. Why not simply leave and lock the doors? After all, according to the official chronology, fire had not yet broken out within 7 WTC -- and even if smoke alarms were already ringing, no-one should have expected a building collapse. Nothing of the sort had ever happened before.

In all likelihood, un-shredded classified materials were left inside the building, and went down with the proverbial ship. A federal judge gave the CIA jurisdiction over the building 7 clean-up operations, no doubt to prevent sensitive documents from falling into the wrong hands – presuming that any such documents survived.

The fact that the CIA gained this jurisdiction bears upon a related matter: Remarkable caches of gold, drugs, and arms were stored beneath the WTC complex. Since much of this material rested beneath structures other than 7 World Trade Center, we shall deal with this issue in a separate chapter. (Some conspiratorialists will tell you that the existence of this underground trove somehow “proves” the intelligence community’s complicity in the attacks. This argument -- if it can even be called an argument – resists any attempt at logical analysis.)

* * *

Forgive an in medias res ending. One day, I really must finish that book. And now is the time for certain readers to do precisely what they were asked not to do; no doubt, they will take umbrage at my accusation of fanaticism while providing evidence of same. If you must, you must. Take it away, bomb-brigadiers...!
I don't know what the modern use of the CIA NYC station is, but during the 1950s, it was a location for recruiting people with needed language skills. (Note that it wasn't in WTC7 during the 1950s)
Joseph, I hope you will quickly pull together your work in a preliminary version, perhaps for a magazine or web article. It would be a valuable contribution to the WTC lore, and would expose your blog to new readers.

A cogent presentation on WTC7 appears in the last few pages of Dr. Griffin's essay "The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True," which you can read here:

What interests me about WTC7 is the controversy surrounding the investigation. FDNY brass claimed there was major structural damage, but photos don't show it. The ASCE/FEMA report says fires brought the 47-story building down but they can't explain how.

NIST's preliminary report resurrected these reports of structural damage, but NIST's final report on WTC7 has been postponed many times.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Late-breaking news on the RFK assassination

Cannon here: Thanks to Gary Buell, I stumbled across an interesting document pertinent to the RFK assassination, brought to you by the good folks over at the Smoking Gun. The information amounts to little more than a tale told at second- or third-hand -- but, as we shall soon see, we may be able to track down a first-hand witness.

This FBI memo from August of 1971 summarizes an interview with a lady named Lila Hurtado, who, in 1968, had worked for one William R. Huntington, an interior decorator "to the stars" who kept an office on Sunset Boulevard. (The text makes it clear that he was gay, a fact which may be relevant.) Huntington told her of a tape recording made by a friend of his, an attorney named Ronald Buck who owned or ran a club called The Factory.

A side note: A little googling reveals that a club by that name still operates in West Hollywood; apparently, it caters to a gay clientele. I don't know if that was the case in 1968, or even if we are dealing with the same place.

Back to our story. According to Hurtado, Buck had made a secret tape recording of several "wealthy individuals" hobnobbing with bigwigs from Washington. These worthies were "gloating" over the deaths of JFK and Martin Luther King, and discussed plans to deal similarly with Robert F. Kennedy, who was then running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Buck later played the tape for Huntington, who called Robert Kennedy. (How did he get the number? Probably via Peter Lawford, who was one of Huntington's clients.) RFK personally heard the tape while in California, and responded: "I can't do anything about that until I become President."
Hurtado learned from Huntington during this time, the names of three individuals who had attended the private party; however, she could only recall the name of a Mr. Hunt, who was a millionaire from Texas.
This would seem to be a reference to H.L. Hunt, a racist fanatic long rumored to be the money man behind the assassination. (Incidentally, Ken Russell's Billion Dollar Brain features a hilarious caricature of Hunt.) The idea of old man Hunt showing up at a private party held in a gay club is more than a little odd -- but, as noted above, I don't really know what sort of patronage The Factory attracted back in '68.

Huntington later claimed that he had received threats on his life. He died of a heart attack in 1971. Hurtado, his confidant and the teller of this tale, began to feel that she might herself be in some danger. Thus, she made contact with the FBI.

An interesting story -- but, alas, no more than that. The tape would be good evidence, if it still exists. Even a first-hand "earwitness" would benefit the credibility of this account. Might such a witness still exist?

Hurtado listed the names of several individuals who, she believed, might corroborate her story. One of these names struck me as familiar:
Lea Perwin (phonetic)
Ronald Buck's former Secretary
now employed with Diamond Jim's in Los Angeles
"Diamond Jim's" was the name of a chain of ritzy steak houses in Southern California; as it happens, my mother worked for this firm in the late 1970s. At first, I wondered whether this connection might be the reason why the name "Lea Perwin" struck a chord.

Then it hit me: "Lea Perwin" may refer to the woman who now styles herself Lea Purwin D'Agostino, known to the criminal class as "the Dragon Lady," a nickname she is said to relish. (I believe she married a man named D'Agostino.) Now a respected Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles, she became famous through her aggressive prosecution of director John Landis in the "Twilight Zone" case. I would not be surprised to learn that her legal career began with a stint as a secretary to a well-known lawyer.

I'll let you know how this tale develops...
Ah, Joseph. You're a good egg. Yes, do keep us posted. We like the history, and the reality. It's great.
Yes Joseph, thanks. Fascinating that tidbits continue filtering out these many long years later. Gives me hope the truth will prevail. Eventually.
Very good,Joseph. I look forward to Part 2.
Joseph, do a search for Lila Hurtado at NARA and you will get 32 hits.

She authored a long manuscript titled "The Judas Movement" which is available (although expensive at 50 cents a page). Item 27 is interesting: "Lila Hurtado speaking
under hypnosis."

By the way, the first 100 pages are free, so if you or one of your readers has never ordered from NARA before, it would be interesting to see some of these documents.
The FACTORY in Bev. Hills-1968, was
owned by BUCK, WAS NOT a gay club. It
was a private disco for movie stars.
PETER LAWFORD was a regular.
Forgive my ignorance of '60s eara night spots. I've found out more about the Factory. It was owned by a number of famous people -- including Lawford and Paul Newman and Buck. More to come...(presuming folks are interested)...
Post a Comment

<< Home

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Two women

Any true gentleman will rush to the aid of a lady in need. I would like to introduce you to two women who could use your help, even if all you can offer is a kind word.

1. Viva Nancy! Nancy Skinner -- early progressive talk show radio host and partial inspiration for the entire Air America experiment -- is running for Congress in Michigan's 9th District. Yes, she's raising funds -- and yes, I know that you, like me, may be tapped out to the point of eating meatless pasta. But do her a favor -- do yourself a favor -- and watch her video. Its a compilation of her appearances on television throughout the early years of the Bush administration, when she spoke out against war and tax cuts for the wealthy at a time when doing so won her no friends.

She was phenomenal in combat. Not only that: This video compilation reminds us of just how wrong -- and how utterly ARROGANT -- the right-wing pundits were at that time. I defy anyone to watch this presentation without wanting to grab the nearest tire iron to smack the smirks off the faces of those ignorant sunsabitches.

If you live in Michigan -- and even if you don't -- support Nancy Skinner.

2. If you live in California -- and even if you don't -- support Debra Bowen. She's the California state legistlator fighting to overturn the reign of electoral misrule instituted by the Arnie-appointed Secretary of State Bruce McPherson. This is a national issue: If McPherson succeeds in his evil scheme to Dieboldize California's voting booths, no Democrat will ever again win the presidency.

But that's not the only evil scheme up Brucie's sleeve. Bowen has uncovered a new plan: McPherson, taking his cue from Katherine Harris, has instituted a new voter registration database, designed to "weed out" the poor and the homeless. (And there will soon be plenty of them, once the housing bubble bursts.)
More than 14,000 new voter registration and re-registration applications just from Los Angeles County were recently invalidated under this new stringent set of regulations — and other counties are seeing similar results.

This is a 43% rejection rate! In fact, virtually all of these applications would have been accepted before Secretary McPherson rolled out his new statewide voter registration database. Typically rejection rates are 1-2%. This is outrageous.
By the way, Bowen will be on the Al Franken show between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. this Friday. The topic will be keeping the vote clean and non-computerized. Much as I admire Franken, he hasn't always been good on this issue, so let's hope she can turn him around -- or, better still, electrify the audience.

Perhaps I should end with a nod toward a third courageous woman. As I've noted on a couple of previous occasions, Lydia Cornell hopes that her piece on Ann Coulter will win the Koufax award for best blog post. Alas, voting has closed. Even so, Lydia deserves all the good will she can get, since she will soon become the target of an epic right-wing hate campaign, due to her new book on Coulter. My prediction: The hatemongers try to portray Lydia -- a sweet-natured mother of two, and one of the few genuine Christians -- as a scarlet Hollywood liberal, "out of touch with mainstream America" -- just as they will try to paint the venom-spouting, hard-drinking, bed-hopping "Mistress Ann" in hagiographical hues. That show could prove quite entertaining!
I have looked at your lead for two days: Any true gentleman will rush to the aid of a lady in need. I would like to introduce you to two women who could use your help, even if all you can offer is a kind word.


Not that the women you mention aren't worth paying heed to.

It's your condescension that annoys the hell out of me. These women are running for political office. I find your idea that they, because they are women, deserve some special kind of velvet-glove treatment offensive.

You may think it's gallant, and charming of you to see them as "ladies" in need.

It's annoying, Joe. Tell us about their platforms and issues if you like, but come to their aid because they are women (gack! "ladies"? Give me a fucking break! I hope they or their people have been in touch to say bug off, but they probably haven't. It's up to me to tell you that your hand-kissing at a party would be cute...but in politics? You gotta be kidding. It's annoying.
Dear Joy,

You are way over the line on your criticism about Joseph coming to the aid of these deserving women.

I wanted to think Joseph for putting in two words and helping these women raise interest and money.

Particularly Debra Bowen who is facing a huge war chest by Arnold appointed CA Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.

Women still get paid something like 65 cents on the dollar to men on average. More often than not, many women are still financially dependant on men.

Yes, women still need more help than men in many areas, including getting elected to public office, especially if they don't have rich husbands.

thank you Joseph

Katie, not your average liberal in SF
Sorry you were offended, Joy. A true gentleman hopes never to offend a lady.

Good thing I decided not to go with the original version of the opening. It went something like this:

"I like to think of myself as a gallant sort of fellow. The sort who opens doors for a lady. The sort who, when not destitute, insists on paying for the meal. The sort who generally avoids applying shackles or hot wax without permission..."

That seemed needlessly digressive, so I edited.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Debate and distraction

Why are mainstream Democratic politicians so afraid to stand up to an unpopular president? Because even when on the ropes, conservatives still decide which issues will predominate. They still frame the debate.

Right now, the administration remains mired in unending scandals. The economy is in a perilous state. Global warming could destroy civilization. Gas prices continue their escalator ride. Oil may indeed be peaking. Iraq devolves into civil war. Bush has responded to the crisis he created in that country by calling for replacement puppets. Our ill-educated and ill-treated troops on the ground have concluded that all Muslims are the enemy -- an attitude which, predictably, has fathered a number of atrocities. On the pretext of preventing Iran from getting the bomb, the administration prepares for yet another unwinnable war, which will end only when we use nuclear weapons to stop the use of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the Saudis have quietly been trying to put together their own nuclear armamentarium. They may already have one.

That's what's going on, folks.

So what is the burning issue of the day in America? Immigration.

Yes, immigration is a genuinely important problem. Has been for decades. But why is it the number one topic this morning? Because the right would rather we didn't talk about all that other stuff.
joe, thanks so much for posting this! it really is the case that the dems are in quite the no-win situation. damned if they do and damned if they don't. it may actually be wise in the long haul for them to be taking the slow, one-step-at-a-time approach to taking back dc.

and you can add to that list the fact that, not only do the repugs set the agenda, they control the media coverage of it.

like i said, no win. and it's increasingly a question just who would want to 'win' this 'prize'!!
Democrats need to take the fight straight at this administration.
They must take on the issue of 9/11Truth.

For the Bush administration, it's always been about 9/11. It's been their whole strategy from day one. Immediately after taking office Cheney convened his energy task force to plan the pipeline in Afghanistan and the division of Iraq's oil reserves (and Iran's), which required the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, which was not possible without a "new Pearl Harbor." They knew from the beginning that in order to govern after the stolen 2000 election, they would need a spectacular psychological operation to get the American people to fall in line. In the process they killed 3000 people.
It almost worked.
Now they scurry and hide, but it's too late.
The truth is out. The tipping point is past. It can not be stopped.

If you still doubt that 9/11 was an inside job just look at this:
911 seeker, I think Xymphora said it best when he observed that "controlled demolition" theories have become a religion for some people. I don't mind you defending such theories when a post directly addresses that issue, but you are rude when you keep bringing the subject up when we are trying to talk about OTHER matters. Are you so lacking in self-awareness that you cannot understand that you are making your own position look bad? You are sounding just as crankish as a 1992-vintage ufologist.

I don't want to hit the delete button, but I will if things get out of hand. Fairly warned be thee, says I.
By sounding off in favor of open borders, the Dems are not only cutting their throats politically, they are doing a disservice to the environment. How any Dem can claim to be both pro-environment and pro-immigration is simply beyond me. The biggest threat to the environment is an expanding population.

Anyway, it's too late, Joseph. Sensenbrenner put the bill out like rat poison, and the kneejerk liberals jumped out to devour it.

Out in the heartland, people want to keep their guns and reduce the rate of immigration--legal as well as illegal. The Dems better wake up.
Hi Joseph, I can certainly understand your annoyance at someone like 911Seeker hijacking your blog, but his post did raise this question, related to your initial post: That is, you ask why the Democrats are afraid to take on this unpopular, lawless administration on the proven crimes of the war and resulting chaos; but why are they also afraid to take on the administration on 9/11?

If even part of the 9/11 Truth movement's claims are true (and controlled demolition theories are not a necessary part of proving administration complicity), and can be proven to the public, then basically the Republican party's electoral strength will be comparable to that of the Democrats in the wake of the Civil War. I'm sure no politician wants to sound like a nutjob making wild allegations (from pods under planes to alien lizard overlords), but at this point, in the wake of it's breaking through to the mainstream media, 9/11 questions are no longer in the realm of tinfoil hattery. Aside from Cynthia McKinney, most mainstream politicians won't touch any of this with a ten foot pole.

Charlie Sheen's breaking the ice and CNN's several days coverage had one interesting result: CNN did an informal, obviously unscientific poll showing that 80% of the responders believe 9/11 involved complicity or a coverup. There was a post on DU from people with media connections suggesting that Ed Asner was scheduled to go on CNN to talk about this issue, but was cancelled at the last minute when an "official" 9/11 theory spokesman bowed out. There is something in the air that suggests this is about to break, and rumors that other celebrities are poised to talk about their doubts, and although celebrities know no more than the rest of us, when Mr. and Mrs. Joe Sixpack begin to have doubts about the official story -- because Liz Taylor or Madonna said so -- won't all hell will break loose?

You've hinted in several posts that you have questions about 9/11. I'm just curious about your own personal "HOP level" as the NY Magazine article put it -- bad guys did it all, incompetence theory, LIHOP, MIHOP or alien lizard overlords?

And if your HOP level is at least at the LI level, what do you think the approach of the mainstream, DC based Democratic leadership should be?

HamdenRice from DU
sofla said:

Joe, you're thinking of this in terms of politics. How about thinking in terms of psychotic or sociopathic killer leaders, enabled by the best covert operatives money can buy?

Remember the anthrax attacks, targeting the then-Senate majority leader Daschle and then-Judiciary Committee chairman? Unsolved, and yet the answer is well in sight, as the Ames strain used came from US biowarfare stocks, and the highly aerosolized processing could only have been done by maybe 20 people with the proper expertise and facilities. Inside job.

If it is true that this criminal claque seized near-total power by LIHOP/MIHOP deaths of several thousands of people, and an ensuing war costing the deaths of some tens if not a hundred thousand or more, do you think that might make people a little wary of overtly criticizing them, in the typical political way? I sure do, and I am most sympathetic to the plight of the Democratic Party leaders. I have never had to do something in the face of threat of death, and/or the most hardball of extortion threats, using NSA-gotten intercepts of the most embarrassing kinds of activities or communications.
Post a Comment

<< Home

The new Islamic bomb

Worried about nukes in the hands of Islamic despots? Don't look at Iran. The real problem may be Saudi Arabia. An Indian newspaper, citing the German magazine Cicero, claims that Pakistani nuclear scientists (using a pilgrimage to Mecca as a cover) have been helping the Saudis acquire nuclear know-how.

Those tempted to dismiss the report should read Joseph Trento's Prelude to Terror:
In 1975, the royal family was approached by Pakistan’s government for help in financing a pan-Islamic nuclear weapon. [Saudi Intelligence chief Kamal] Adham and his advisers had simultaneously reached the conclusion that the royal family could not survive if they let the Israeli nuclear-weapons program stand unchallenged.
So what, precisely, makes nuclear weaponry acceptable in Saudi Arabia and not in Iran?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

If this Card could speak...

The resignation of White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card conjures up all sorts of fascinating scenarios which will probably go unrealized. What if he decides to talk?

He probably won't, of course. But we can still speculate: What if he spilled the beans on just two issues -- Plamegate and the World Trade Center attacks?

WHIG. Because Card has always kept such a low profile, few understand that he played a key role in the war conspiracy.
The White House Iraq Group (WHIG) was formed in August 2002 by Andrew Card, President Bush's chief of staff, to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. WHIG operated out of the Vice President's office.

The group's members included Rove, Bush advisor Karen Hughes, Senior Advisor to the Vice President Mary Matalin, Deputy Director of Communications James Wilkinson, Assistant to the President and Legislative Liaison Nicholas Calio, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
The purpose of this group was to create public support for a war which (as we now know from the Downing Street memos and other sources) was pre-determined. In other words, this group focused on pushing propaganda -- the Niger forgeries, the aluminum tubes hoax, Atta in Prague and so forth. They also felt threatened by Joe Wilson.

Oddly, although journalists and pundits have offered much speculation about which WHIG member did what, few of those speculations concern Card, the organizer of the group.

We know, though, that when the Justice Department launched a criminal probe into the outing of Plame, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave Andrew Card a twelve-hour "heads up," which provided plenty of time to clear damning information from the White House computers.
...when Gonzales was notified about the investigation on the evening of Monday, Sept. 29, 2003, he waited 12 hours before telling the White House staff about the inquiry. Official notification to staff is meant to quickly alert anyone who may have pertinent records to make sure they are preserved and safeguarded.
Just what did Card do during that twelve hours -- and in subsequent days?

Recently, we learned about the 250 pages of "Now you see 'em, now you don't" emails which Rove recently "discovered" and supplied to Patrick Fitzgerald. These very same emails went missing during the original Justice Department inquiry, perhaps during those key twelve hours. (The deadline to turn over all materials was October 10.) Andrew Card could probably tell us some very interesting details about this strange matter.

One possible explanation for the disappearance and re-emergence of the emails concerns the idea of blackmail, or insurance. During the window of opportunity, someone might easily have made personal copies of those messages as a matter of self-protection. Later, someone else in the White House (call him Karl) arranged for the same emails to vanish. Once Karl learned that incriminating copies of these missives still existed, he would have been forced to "find" the emails again, in order to avoid accusations of participating in a cover-up.

(This scenario is very speculative, of course -- but there is historical precedent for this sort of thing. Nixon could not erase the Watergate tapes because the CIA had its own copies.)

And who might the original "someone" have been? Andrew Card would be my primary suspect, since he was the one who received advance warning from Gonzales. For a brief time, only he -- and those he chose to inform (if anyone) -- knew about the probe. The President himself did not learn about the investigation until the next morning, according to one published report.

The alternative theory, of course, reverses the roles: Perhaps Card was the one who tried to make the emails vanish, while Rove cleverly made them re-appear when the time was right. Although this is the more popular scenario, I tend to discount the idea, if only because I think Rove has more to hide.

Many believe that Card has had an adversarial relationship with Karl Rove. They disagreed over the Harriet Miers nomination: Card pushed for Miers, while Rove probably aided the conservative groups who called for her to withdraw. Some observers aver that Card quickly lost enthusiasm for the Iraq war itself.

As Needlenose points out:
Given this uneasy relationship with Rove, it's possible that the Plame leak was the proverbial last straw for Card, and when he learned that there would be a full Justice Dept. investigation, he decided to make it clear that he wouldn't be going down with Rove's ship.
Card could well be the senior White House official who told the Washington Post that at least six reporters received the Plame leak before Novak published the information. As you will recall, the earliest "Plamegate" reports fingered Rove as the likeliest source for Novak. Whoever circulated those stories had it out for "Bush's Brain."

All of which suggests that conspiracy-minded folks might want to check up on an overlooked AP story from November 27 of last year:
A small, twin-engine plane carrying White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card made an emergency landing in Nashville Saturday after smoke began pouring into the cockpit, officials said...

The plane left Texas, where Card has been meeting with President his ranch in Crawford, White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said.
Pure coincidence, of course. Even so, Card did once say that "Karl is a formidable adversary."

The Day of the Goat. Another set of mysteries involving Card concerns the events of September 11, 2001.

I've always felt that Bush's undignified, incompetent reactions on that day indicate that he did not have foreknowledge of the attacks, or at least of their extent. At the end of the original version of The Manchurian Candidate, Senator Iselin is given a dramatic, moving "impromptu" speech to declaim on national television in the aftermath of an assassination; surely W could have made similar arrangements? At the very least, he would have made a mental note: "Attack planned for today. Try not to look like idiot in front of cameras."

Unforgivably, Bush entered the classroom and listened to the goat story (the Greek for goat provides the root of tragedy) even though he had already been informed of the first strike. We don't know when he was told or who told him. Was it Card or Rove?

On more than one occasion, Bush made a statement which many took as a claim that he had seen the impossible:
And my Chief of Staff, Andy Card -- actually, I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly, myself, and I said, well, there's one terrible pilot.
Of course, there was no footage of the first impact available at that time. Perhaps we should blame W's infamous difficulties with the English language. If you presume that he meant "I saw that an airplane had hit the tower," the statement makes more sense, even if his actions do not.

Bob Fertik summarizes one version of the tale:
According to ABC's John Cochran, Bush discussed the first crash with his Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, before he left his hotel. As Bush approached his car, a reporter asked, "Do you know what's going on in New York," and Bush said he did - and would say something later.
He had no business going to that school, of course. Everyone suspected terrorism from the moment the first jet hit; the President endangered those children by placing himself in their presence at such a time.

Bush stayed in that school some 25 minutes after being informed of the second strike. Even if he didn't have the presence of mind to leave, why didn't Andrew Card think of the obvious course of action?

The first reporter to interview the retired Card should ask that question.
Another rat jumps ship.

The 9/11 Truth movement is gaining momentum. With recent and continuing national coverage on CNN, the truth about the events of that day have come into question. Polls suggest that many, possibly even most, Americans no longer buy the official myth of 9/11. Even if you still believe the official line, the fact that so many people do not, and are saying so publicly, is news. Like it or not, the 9/11 Truth movement is national news.

If you want to get up to speed on the topic quickly here's a good place to start:

Here are two facts:

1: No steel building has ever collapsed from fire. Not one, in the entire history of skyscrapers, not one.

2: Hundreds of buildings have collapsed to the ground in a manner almost identical to the three collapsed buildings that day. Every one of them was by controlled demolition.

Those are the facts. You'll have to draw your own conclusions. For help may I suggest the following sites:

If you are only going to look at one page of 9/11Truth, look here:

The truth of 9/11 is coming out. It cannot be stopped.

waiting for those 'house of cards' quips... when they all come tumbling down.

the evidence is accumulating and the facts are just that. facts. there's no denying the reality of the it all. maybe this has been around for awhile... this is the best 9/11 reality check i've seen yet.

straight up.

pay attention people.

Oh, Card, you Card. Oh, it would be great to capture him and torture HIM and get some confessions out of him, huh? Not that I condone such behavior. Just, you know, what's good for the goose and all that.

We have GOT to get these maniacs out of office. But how can we do that when the election system has been taken over by neocon-controlled voting machine companies?

But then there's Clint Curtis. Clint Curtis is mounting a congressional bid in Florida against Tom Feeney. As many of you know, Curtis was the programmer hired by Feeney to write election-stealing software a few years back. Since then, much has happened, including the suspicious death of the Florida Inspector General Raymond Lemme looking into the matter and the total media clampdown of any serious discussion of electronic election manipulation in Florida and across the nation. Curtis, a former Republican, became so disgusted by what he saw that he became a whistleblower. The whole sordid tale is chronicled on

Here's Curtis in his own words:

My name is Clint Curtis. I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida's 24th Congressional District. This great district is currently represented by one of the most corrupt politicians in history. Having personally attended closed-door meetings where Tom Feeney spoke candidly about his aspirations of corruption forces me to provide this district with an alternative to this man. I will need your help.

Now Curtis is now taking on the VERY well-funded Feeney. He promises to fight for fair elections and to expose electronic vote fraud. He is the ONLY candidate who will take it to the NeoCons on this issue.

Because of his willingness to take on election fraud, I believe Curtis may be the single most important candidate for the progressive community to promote. Please visit his web site and offer to help, donate even $5 if you can spare it, and help spread the word. Clint needs to raise $5K in the next 2 weeks to get on the ballot. Mr. Curtis may be own only chance of overcoming a rigged election system. CAN YOU HELP?
Hmmm, looks like the troll Citizen Spook might be up to new tricks.

The 9/11 truth movement couldn't care less about the truth. It is a movement to deceive.

I believe it is possible that 9/11 was allowed to happen. However, there is no evidence of a controlled demolition - none. The National Geographic documentary that occasionally airs on TV captures the exact moment on film when the first tower starts to collapse. Right then and there, anyone with eyes and a brain can see that the steel buckled from the fire. It's all on film. Spielberg was not the director.

Heh. I'm happy that Joseph provided such a thorough analysis of the possibility that Card just...might...sing like the proverbial canary. I've had a feeling about him for a while, (yeah, yeah, some tin foil junkie always has a theory) and it grew stronger during these past months he's been conspicuously absent from the spotlight. The only thing that makes me skeptical is that pesky plane crash Joe was careful to remind us of here. Card's silence may be the only thing tenuously protecting his life.
John says "there is no evidence". I
find that nine times out of ten such
statements are wrong. There is
evidence: squibs, eyewitness
accounts of explosions including
flashes of light from lower floors,
the symmetrical collapse from
asymmetrical damage, the fact that
NIST has no core steel showing
heating above 250 degrees C, the
molten metal in the basement, the
fact that firefighters radioing from
the impact floors reported only
isolated pockets of fire.

As to Bush's behavior re: the Pet
Goat, I think that what Card
whispered to him was "Flights 77 and
93 are late. Stall a half hour."

Bush is sitting there thinking
"Stall half an hour? How? Am I
being set up? Is this a trap?"
great points, joe.

as for the notion that rove was behind the plame leak, i believe that was initiated by wilson himself. he had been told by at least one of the reporters who admitted they had been contacted by the white house on the leak, and i doubt that any of them would have spilled that datum had it been rove. but i do know wilson was immediately and publicly relishing the image of rove being 'frog-marched out of the white house in handcuffs.'

as for 9/11, yeah, loads of questions about card's role there. the guy has kept such a low profile over the years, yet when he's broken it, he's often rally gaffed. think 'no one introduces a new product in the summer' idiocy.

in any case, there was a ton of prep for this event, what with all the talk about just how tired all these folks must be, and how card was the only cos in memory to stay in place for so long, it's such a burnout. makes it realistic for him to leave to get some sleep.

i'm frankly wondering if perhaps fitz might be getting dangerously close to the oval office itself, and card will be falling on his sword. if card ends up implicated in some way, one wonders just how bush will keep his head above water. again.

by the by, has fitz ever subpoenaed harriet?
Ask Card about the morning of 9/11?

Many of us would like to have some questions asked of the Secret Service, who kept the president right where he was on schedule to be, instead of immediately evacuating him to s safer place.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Monday, March 27, 2006

Kill for Jesus!

Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo (whose last name is an anagram for "acned rot") likes to earn the occasional bucket of ink by making outrageous statements in front of microphones. His most notable outburst: Calling for the nuclear annihilation of Mecca and Medina should Muslim extremists ever set off a weapon of mass destruction within our borders. Tommy, who considers himself a good Christian, thinks that Jesus would applaud a mass slaughter of the innocent.

Recently, Tom the Toon had it out with Hillary Clinton over her claim that the Republican anti-immigration bill "would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself." Tom's reply:
"Hillary Clinton doesn't know the first thing about the Bible. Her impression, her analysis, her interpretation of both the law and the Bible are certainly wrong."
So. What lesson do we draw from all this? According to Tancredo, Jesus loves the idea of killing millions of innocents to avenge a wrong done by a handful of fanatics. Meanwhile, we should consider Hillary an inferior interpreter of the texts written by a people who became history's most noted migrants.

Let me clarify my positions: Although Hillary may have overstated the parallel, she was not out of line to suggest that the Samaritan story, and perhaps the biography of Jesus himself, might offer interesting points of reference. (Jesus was an immigrant. Remember the escape to Egypt? His family probably stayed with the huge Jewish community in Alexandria.) That said, I think our borders must become less permeable, and I remain no great fan of Hillary Clinton.

But at least she isn't a theocratic thug. Whenever goons like Tancredo offer Bible lessons, I feel happy to remain caught 'twixt Gnosticism and Agnosticism.
Check out Liz' latest post over at Blondesense:

"The Bible As A Text Book. Capital Idea!"
Post a Comment

<< Home


The Week of the War; Year Four commences

The anniversary of our invasion of Iraq brought us more denial; big surprise, as that seems to be the theme. Hell, W can’t say the "w" word, much less the civil “w” word, or executions, or murders, and more murders, much less address the fact that, in addition to all the killing and maiming, it’s leaving those who come home, crazy.

Evidently, the only battle this pseudo-hayseed prez of ours can tolerate is with his straw men. And needless to say, none of these idiots will speak of all the corruption, except maybe the former head of USAID. And did I hear someone not say permanent bases?

Oh, and just in case the media forgets how it's supposed to speak, FauxNews shows how to do the double speak, pure Orwell.

Not even Orwell could make this stuff up.

"FauxNews shows how to do the double speak, pure Orwell."

Your "double speak" link brought up a "404 page not found". You don't suppose FauxNews actually embarrassed themselves finally?
wow. sorry about that. the link was actually to outfoxed, which monitors the fauxnews fiasco with great integrity. but i think they might be shy on bandwidth, as the archive below is sadly reduced to text. lots gets lost in the translation.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Did you get the memo?

The latest Downing Street Memo proves -- again -- that despite public pronouncements, George W. Bush was always intent on war with Saddam Hussein, even if international arms inspectors scoured Iraq and determined the place to be clean and WMD-free.

The administration does not question this document. Yet Scotty McSpokesman refuses to budge from the previously-determined spin:
McClellan noted previous U.N. resolutions had warned Saddam Hussein of serious consequences if he did not comply with U.N. mandates over weapons of mass destruction and its compliance with the inspection regime.

Saddam had been given numerous opportunities to do so but chose not to, McClellan stressed.
But Saddam did comply. Inspectors had free run of Iraq. And the memo, along with plenty of other evidence, proves that compliance was never the issue; Bush was determined to invade no matter what Saddam Hussein did.

In a bad (really bad) '60s sex comedy called A Guide For the Married Man, you can find one good joke: A philanderer caught by his wife in flagrante dilecto manages to talk his way out the situation by denying everything. Even as the man and the mistress get out of bed, dress, and give each other a quick farewell smooch, he tells the wife: "Don't be silly, dear. I would never do such a thing. There's no other woman. You're just imagining things."

Are people really stupid enough to fall for a denial that flies in the face of concrete evidence? Scott McCellan thinks so.
Joe, Joe, Joe! If you're going to quote a movie (not so bad a movie as you let on in my opinion) do it justice and quote it correctly.

Here's my transcription of the scene you refer to.

"Deny, deny, deny," says Robert Morse to Walter Mathau as we break to a bedroom where two people are cuddling in a pure white bed.

"Aieee!" The wife says as she enters her bedroom where her husband (Joey Bishop) is in bed with his arms wrapped around a young lovely.

"Charlie!" the wife says.

"What?" says the husband disentangling himself from the gorgeous woman rolling out of bed to reach for his clothes hanging on the door.

"What are you doing?" the wife says incredulously.

"Where?" says the husband putting his arm in his shirt. The young lovely with bare back to camera begins putting on her bra as the wide eyed wife looks at her wide-eyed in disbelief.

"There with her!" says the wife waving a white gloved hand toward the bare breasted blond.

"Who?" says the husband calmly pulling the t-shirt over his head.

"Her!" says the wife waving her hand again in the direction of the woman, her back to the camera, getting dressed. "How could you?"

"What?" says the husband pulling his shirt down to his white boxer shorts.

"That!" the wife says waving her hand toward the unkempt bed.

"When?" says the husband starting to pull on his pants as the shapely blond lovely in the foreground pulls on her skirt.

"When I came in," says the wife with consternation in her voice, "you and she w...w..."

"Who?" says the husband pulling his gray trousers up and over his white tidy whities.

"You know very well who," says the wife as the husband buttons his trousers closed, "that, that woman there," she said pointing a gloved white finger at the blond putting on her black blouse and looking in a mirror to tidy herself before departure.

"Where?" says the husband nonchalantly.

"Charlie!" says the wife in total exasperation as the cute blond slips out the bedroom door behind her.

"What?" says the husband softly as he begins to make the bed.

"You and that woman!" says the wife practically shouting in his ear.

"What woman?" asks the husband.
The wife turns and looks around the room seeing no one.

" one that just left!" she says to her husband's expressionless face as he puts on his jacket.

"When?" says the husband, straightening out his coat and walking out the bed room door.

The wife's head pivots on her neck looking around the room seeing, again, no one. She follows her husband to the den where he sits in a large leather straight back chair and picks up the newspaper as he sits.

"But, Charlie!?" she queries in a lower voice.

"What?" he replies as if nothing is amiss.

"Aren't you even ashamed of yourself?" she inquires as he picks up his pipe and reaches for a match.

"Why? he says softly to her.

"Because of..." she says as she pivots and returns to the bedroom scene. All she sees is an empty bedroom and a perfectly made bed. Framed, in her white suit with gloves, matching handbag hanging from her left wrist and a white halo of hat framing her brown hair she contemplates the scene. Breaking the fourth wall, she looks directly at the camera, blinks a long blink, shakes her head in disbelief and turns to go back to Charlie sitting serenely in the den with his pipe and newspaper.

"Charlie," she says with a question in her voice as she raises her defeated eyes to the camera, "what would you like for dinner?"

J i O
This post has been removed by the author.
J, I must bow to your knowledge of '60s sex comedies.

Maybe I should give that film another chance. Last time I saw it, Ford was in office.

One problem was with the casting. Robert Morse played the experienced cad giving advice to the more naive Walter Matthau, who is being tempted into the path of sin. Obviously, those two guys should have changed roles. Also, Matthau's wife was the lovely Inger Stevens, and you can't help but think that a mug like him should be pretty damn grateful to have a lady like that.

Inger died just a few years later. Suicide, they say. One of these days, I may try to work up a conspiracy theory about that...
Post a Comment

<< Home

Scalia: "That's Sicilian!"

An interesting story comes to us by way of Reverend Moon's UPI:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by flipping a middle finger to his critics.

A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.

"You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the obscene gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian."
No, Tony. My grandmother's version of manicotti was Sicilian; your gesture was just thuggish. (By the way, she pronounced "manicotti" with a long O. Please, more "mani-CAWT-i"...)
Hee. "Don't say, 'capeece.' It hurts my ears when you say it."

Well, good to know (in a way) that the pressure may be getting to him. Good luck, Mr. Justice.
Post a Comment

<< Home

The snit-fit factor

Over at the TPM Cafe you can find a discussion of Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy. The conversation has veered off into a number of different directions, as such conversations usually do. Here's a quote that got my goat:
What Limbaugh is, is something different. He's a propagandist nothing more. As to his popularity among many. One has to go read Thomas Frank "Whats the Matter with Kansas". The short answer is this: When the Clinton betrayed the working class(blue collars) and pushed through NAFTA during the nineties many ordinary Americans saw the Democrats as no friend of theirs. Which caused many of these folks to turn away from the party since it didn't want them.
The obvious problem with this assessment is the chronology: Limbaugh achieved his popularity well before the Clinton presidency. But that's not what bugs me.

What bugs me is the proposition that working class people, feeling (justifiably) betrayed by Clinton over this decision, would storm off and spend the next couple of decades voting for Republicans. As some of you will recall, most Democrats opposed Clinton on NAFTA, while nearly all Republicans -- including Rush Limbaugh -- supported the agreement.

Any working person cognizant enough to have known about NAFTA must also have known that most conservatives loved it and most liberals loathed it. Any working person educated enough to know what the acronym stands for must also be bright enough to know that the G.O.P. loves to ship American jobs to China and India.

I'm reminded of the long-ago (yet still present) debate over gays in the military. In 1993, I felt furious that Clinton wasted so much of his short-lived political capital on that one obviously-doomed issue. Yet many gay people felt just as furious because Clinton did not spend all of his capital fighting for the right of openly gay people to die in needless imperialist adventures. So furious were they that some of them declared that they would vote Republican henceforward. As though the Republican party would defend their interests.

That's the problem, and it is one we will face if the Dems ever win high office again. If -- when -- a Democratic president annoys one sector of his supporters over one issue, those supporters will announce their decision to pick up their marbles and leave the game. And off they go, voting once more for the party of debt, theocracy, war and corruption.

I call it the snit-fit factor. It tends to hit Democrats -- never the other side. Why is that?
If you assume from the start that Clinton was not a democrat but a republican in democratic have the answer. Ask why he led right off with the gays-in-the-military issue? He knew it would PO the rightwingnuts and the backlash would prevent it. Thus he can say to gays 'I tried' and to his right wing 'I took care of that!'

I think the reason the republicans went after him with such vengance is that he called himself a democrat but he was implementing all THEIR programs. And getting credit for it!

Do we need any further testimony than the recent 'chumminess' between Bush Pere and Clinton?

Oh, for fuck's sake. Not this crap again. Even Clinton has expressed great regret for his mistake in allowing the Republicans to push the gays-in-the-military issue so early on in the game. There was no conspiracy to stealthily appease both gays and liberals and the RW on his part, it was just bad luck and a bad move.

My God. Can those calling Bill Clinton a "closet conservative" learn to read, please? Use those over-developed intellects you obviously believe you were blessed with? If you actually had such any such research or analytical skill, you'd be able to discern exactly what Clinton's objectives were in deciding to exercise some diplomacy with the Bush folks. Do you appreciate the fact that we weren't the "victims of another terrorist attack" last year? Then you might want to thank Bill for his effort on that score. Avoidance of that disaster in '05 didn't happen 'cause Dick and 43 are such generous men.

Jesus. Some people. The Green Party deserves you.
That's an interesting take on their buddy-buddy status, Jen. I hadn't heard it before. I have wondered what Bill's reasons were, always thought it was something more selfish. I like your view better.
sofla said:

The Democratic Chair of the Armed Services Committee, one Sam Nunn (D-GA), was the one who put the gays in the military front and center and first in the Clinton presidency's earliest days, not the GOP.

Nunn said he was against the plan (which was to change the military treatment of gays by presidential executive order, just as Truman had done when he integrated the armed services), and that if Clinton insisted on making his EO anyway, he (Nunn) would simply overturn the EO by a law changing the Uniform Code of Military Justice back to the status quo ante.

So, not only would Clinton lose his bid to allow gays, his OWN PARTY would have done the reversal. Nunn lined up the support of so many in the Senate (which was majority Democrat at the time) as co-sponsors to his planned bill that it already had a veto-proof margin from the sponsors alone.

Clinton backed off with a considerable political black eye from the dustup, a pattern to be repeated by the 'old bull' Democratic committee chairmen opposing his plans, perhaps most importantly one Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), who was so offended Clinton didn't run his health care plan through Pat's committee that he helped kill the bill.
Take a step back. You'll see that my post was NOT about Clinton, gays, NAFTA, or any other one thing or person we were dealing with in the previous decade. I addressed the "snit fit factor."

Any Democratic president who comes to power (Lord willing) in 2008 will inevitably do something to piss off you and me. The question is whether we will be mature enough to see the larger picture. Surely after Dubya and the theocrats showed us how bad the alternative can be, we will know better than to withdraw our support simply because we didn't get our way on a few issues?

Reagan advisor Martin Anderson used to have a motto: "In politics, the question is always 'Compared to WHAT?'" Wise words. Keep 'em in mind.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Our worst covert op

Which covert operation undertaken by members of the United States intelligence community did us the most harm in the long run? That was the question posed a few days ago over on The Next Hurrah. In my view, the 1953 ouster of democratically-minded Iranian leader Mossadegh should top the list. Restoration of the Shah led to the Iranian revolution, which helped spread Islamic fanaticism.

One can take this point further. Many believe that the CIA aided the rise of Khomenei in the late 1970s, once they understood that the Shah could not maintain power. Our spooks considered an Islamic Republic preferable to the socialist alternative which had once seemed poised to take power in Iran after the Pahlavi dynasty fell. A region-wide religious resurgence had the potential of helping to undermine the Soviet Union -- or so it was once felt.

Of course, the boldest voices will tell you that worst crimes committed by our spooks were the assassinations of the 1960s.
I believe the ouster of Mossadegh was in 1953, not 1951. Oetherwise, I am mostly in agreement with everything in your post.
Absolutely right: 1953. I will correct my post.
Ah, Joseph. Only on this blog would we get an opinion on the worst American covert op. Sigh. Good times.
We might also ask, "Did any covert operation engaged in by our intelligence community ever do us any good?"

I can't think of any, myself, but I'm not well-versed in this stuff.
Was there ever a worthwhile covert operation...? Lots of people would point to the CIA's role in helping to rescue the Dalai Lama. That must have earned at least a little good Karma.

A number of escaped Tibetans at that time were eventually relocated to a camp in Colorado, if I recall the story aright. They culture shock they must have experienced could make for a good movie one of these days.

Once, in one of my fanciful moods, I formulated the theory that American intelligence used these Tibetans to act as Men in Black, who were reported to have a vaguely Asian appearance and who seemed ill-at-ease in our society. But that theory is so very fanciful that I dare not mention it here.

So please pretend that you did not read the preceding paragraph.
hm. the cia helped rescue the dalai lama?? link, please.

meanwhile, i'd have to agree that the 1953 ouster of mossadegh has to win the prize, not just for its opening up the islamic fanaticism, but for setting the precedent for all the 'hits', economic and worse, that have come along since.

when will someone make the movie of that event, by the by?
Post a Comment

<< Home

Worse than you think

This Daily Kos diary by gjohnsit is must-read material. The headline: "America is effectively bankrupt." The message: If we calculate our federal deficit honestly, using the same accounting methods recommended for corporations, our red ink comes down to a whopping $3.7 trillion dollars. That's ten times the amount Bush claims.

Even if the tax rate were 100%, we would not be able to pay what we owe. Printing money will thus become the only way to remove the debt monkey from our collective back. That means inflation. And -- although Williams won't make the point explicitly -- that also means fascism will probably come a-knocking at the door. Such is the lesson of history.

Bad news on unemployment, too. If we count all the severely discouraged workers (the lumpenproles, as Uncle Karl used to call 'em), the government's claimed 5.5% unemployment rate shoots up to 12.5%.

Are these assertions valid? gjohnsit draws his conclusions from the work of respected economist Walter J. "John" Williams. You can hear a good interview with him here. As the interviewer prefaces: "It's not for the faint of heart; strap yourselves in." John Williams' website is here; you'll also want to visit OpEd News.

In the afore-cited interview, we learn that the government has understated the GDP by some three percent -- meaning we are in a recession right now. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Other signs of economic ragnarok:

-- Iran is not the only Middle Eastern nation switching away from the dollar. Saudi Arabia and the UAE look ready to make the jump to the euro.

-- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (an expert in the causes of the Great Depression) has announced that the possibility of a future "disruptive correction" of the trade deficit "cannot be ruled out." When a Fed chairman says something like that, what he really means is "Watch out!" The trade gap will bite us in the ass, and the U.S. dollar -- which has been losing value slowly -- will soon plummet in value. And since oil may no longer be denominated in dollars, that fill-up will hurt your wallet a lot more than it does at present, because we will have to pay in more valuable euros. Higher trasportation costs means higher costs for...well, everything.

-- Isabel V. Sawhill and Alice M. Rivlin of the Brookings Institution announced darkly that
"...the federal budget deficits pose grave risks - a category 6 fiscal storm - to the U.S. economy. The current course is simply not sustainable. Promises to the elderly, especially about medical care, cannot be kept unless taxes are raised to levels that are unprecedented or other activities of the government are slashed. Postponing such action would be reckless and short-sighted. Massive amounts of capital have flowed in from around the world, financing much of America's federal deficit, as well as its international (or current account) deficit. While this inflow of foreign capital has kept investment in the American economy strong it means that Americans are accumulating obligations to service these debts and repay foreigners out of their future income. As a result, the future income available to Americans will be lower than it would have been without the government deficits.
The right-wing spin-meisters are preparing Americans for this by pretending that Bush brought about this problem through an over-abundance of "compassion" -- not through military misadventure and corruption.

-- The percentage of mortgage delinquencies keeps rising. The same dummies who kept voting for Bush also thought that adjustable rate mortgages were just ever so nifty-neato. Truth be told, one cannot easily feel sorry for people operating at that level of doltishness.

The end of the housing bubble may be even uglier than you ever imagined. Check out what John R. Talbott, author of "Sell Now!", has to say:
The problem, he says, is that home prices are way overvalued -- just as Internet stocks were during the 1990s before that sky collapsed. As evidence, he points to the growing discrepancy between Bay Area home prices and rents, an indicator commonly used by economists to determine a property's true value...

To buy these overvalued homes, he says, many consumers overextend themselves financially by borrowing more from banks. They end up paying an inordinately high percentage of their monthly income on mortgages. In Los Angeles, he points out, the average new homeowners, usually a young couple, are spending 55 percent of their monthly income on a mortgage payment...

Banks are lending more, he says, because they are sticking to their old qualifying formula of computing the ratio of the loan applicant's salary to the mortgage payment. They're doing this, he said, without adjusting for inflation.

"So the banks are using the same stupid formula. They convince these young couples to borrow a million-dollar note that they're never gonna get out from under..."
Because of the above factors, Talbott predicts a wave of loan defaults and foreclosures. Bank presidents will be fired for making so many risky loans. The new presidents, wanting to clean up the mess, will unload the properties at a loss, perhaps for 40 to 60 cents on the dollar. This will flood the market and deflate home prices further.

And then, according to Talbott's prediction, the financial impact will, like an especially vicious virus, spread. First, the real estate industry will falter. Then, industries tied to real estate -- including banking, construction, home supply stores -- will be hurt.

"And then you've got a real recession," he says, "that will wash across the middle of the country."
Some of you may be thinking: "That will be the time to buy! Low housing prices!" Yeah, but -- in a depression, will you continue to have a job? Of course, one must ask how to reconcile the predictions of resurgent inflation, due to the printing of money to pay off our debtors, with the falling home prices that will occur once the current bubble bursts.

When that famous fan gets hit by a certain brown-n-smelly substance, rest assured that red-state idjits (the ones who keep voting for pork-lovin' Republicans) will continue to tell themselves that we got into this mess by taxing the rich and tossing too much money at welfare cheats and not praying to Jeebus often enough. Such people are beyond education.

Great summary of the dire financial news.

I agree that things look dire, especially in terms of the oversupply of dollars internationally. But there is one 800 gorilla in the living room that no one who talks about the impending crisis mentions: the military budget. That is to say that if there is a real international financial crisis dictated by US trade and budget deficits, in which foreign holders of those dollars and T-bills have the kind of leverage that is usually applied by the International Monetary Fund to other folks' currencies, everything in the federal budget will be on the table including our obscene military budget. All our financial problems are easily solveable if we had the kind of military budget that the next couple of major powers have: about $30 to $70 billion, rather than the ludicrous $400 billion plus Iraq. And for both financial and strategic reasons, I suspect those holding the loans will require some kind of restructing like this.

With some of that $400 billion redirected from labor non-intensive sectors like building cruise missiles, to rebuilding the US infrastructure or providing universal health care, the readjustment, while painful, could be the silver lining in this whole mess.

HamdenRice from DU
The contradiction you note -- plummeting home price values, and equally plausible suggestions that inflation will accelerate as the U.S. government prints money to reduce its debts -- has actually been seen many times (in other countries).

What happens is, housing and other prices (as denominated in dollars) don't actually fall, or don't fall commensurate with the actual loss in value. It's just that the dollars needed to purchase them are worth far less, and wages don't begin to keep up with the deflation of the currency.

So, for example, if someone comes in from Tokyo or Germany and exchanges her currency for dollars, American real estate will be very cheap, as will much else. But for anyone buying with pre-inflation dollars, there will be no real savings. Sure, you're getting a house for maybe 50% of the peak price. But those dollars aren't worth what they were at the time peak. In essence, you're paying the same price.

To get a bargain, you'd have to be positioned to take advantage of the devaluation of the dollar.
I think you mean that the GDP is overstated by 3%, not understated.

Total obligations of the Federal government are now estimated at 50 trillion--not the 8 trillion that is the so-called national debt. The larger figure includes SS and Medicare and pension obligations.

During the Great Depression, real estate DID drop, by a third. You can bet it will again, by at least that much--and yes, even that will be in inflated dollars.

Trust in this: when the creditors come calling, the last thing we will surrender is our military budget (which has DOUBLED under five the Bush years, if you include Iraq and Afgh., which he doesn't), because as long as we have our military, we can tell the rest of the world to go screw themselves, we won't pay up.

In the last five years, gold has almost doubled and silver almost tripled. You want to protect yourself against what's coming? Buy gold and silver. And a gun. And get the hell out of the city.
Post a Comment

<< Home

How to open a Republican's wallet

Yesterday, we poked a little fun at Kathleen McFarland, a possible opponent to Hillary Clinton. McFarland had spouted some nonsense about Senator Clinton's alleged use of black helicopters and spies -- loopy accusations which received wide publicity via Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. My piece elicited this interesting observation from a reader:
Don't take anything you read in the NY Post too seriously -- Murdoch has some kind of a sweetheart deal with Hillary. For some reason, she (unlike any other democrat) gets very positive coverage.
Hmm. Why would that be? One answer which occurs to me is this: The right-wing wants Hillary to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. Obviously, she has to keep her present gig if she hopes to seek higher office.

Even if she doesn't run, her mere presence -- the threat that she may run -- will assure an avalanche of donations to the Republican party from Hillary-haters. Does anyone doubt that Regnery will publish at least one book about her "candidacy" -- even if her name does not appear in a single primary race? Does anyone doubt that the Clintonian menace will be Topic A in all RNC fundraising materials? If she did not exist, the right would have had to invent her.
If you do a google (rupert murdoch hillary clinton) you'll get quite a few hits with speculation on this very subject, going back at least to 2005. For example,

I suspect it's mutual opportunism more than anything else, since Hillary appears to be unbeatable in NY, at least at present. The current GOP black helicopter candidate is the *second* one to go down (the first was a "fry 'em all" Westchester DA , who's now running for AG, to replace the more or less estimable Eliot Spitzer). But who knows....
Post a Comment

<< Home

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hillary's helicopters

Hillary Clinton will be fortunate to have an opponent like Kathleen "KT" McFarland in her upcoming Senate race. McFarland recently claimed that the all-powerful Hillary sent helicopters to spy on her. Worse, according to the New York Post (which is nobody's idea of a liberal rag), McFarland claimed that Hillary has been spying in her bedroom window...!
"She wasn't joking, she was very, very serious, and she also claimed that Clinton's people were taking pictures across the street from her house in Manhattan, taking pictures from an apartment across the street from her bedroom," added the eyewitness, who is not involved in the Senate race.

Suffolk County Republican Chairman Harry Withers, who hosted the reception in East Islip, confirmed McFarland's paranoid statements.
Despite these eyewitness reports, Kathleen now pretends that her comments really were nothing more than tomfoolery. Surrrrrrre.

Those of us who recall the 1990s know that reactionaries got a lot of mileage out of distributing ultra-paranoid stories detailing the Evil Clinton Conspiracy. Get a clue, Kathy: This ain't 1995. No-one's buying that crap any more.
geez. we got krazy kathleen's north and south, ain't we?
KT is a joke, and will not be the anti-Hillary candidate.

John Spencer will be, and will be lucky to reach 40 percent.

This will be a big year for NY Dems -- we will sweep the statewide races and pick up at least two House seats.
Splendid blogsite you have here! Interesting information. Please come and visit mine sometime best web design company
Don't take anything you read in the NY Post too seriously -- Murdoch has some kind of a sweetheart deal with Hillary. For some reason, she (unlike any other democrat) gets very positive coverage.
I don't know why you people think this newcomer is crazy. Crazy is when the feds fly white unmarked airplanes over all **** downtown Columbia SC homes at the tops of our trees all day and all night long. I believe the lady and feel sorry for her since I live under a daily barrage of white unmarked airplanes and helicopters.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Friday, March 24, 2006

Red State

Until today, this column has said nothing about the Ben Domenech affair. As you no doubt know, this youthful reactionary gained a mysteriously prominent writing gig: A blog called "Red State" published by the Washington Post. Domenech isn't a particularly gifted writer, but talent doesn't matter in today's world. As the Jeff Gannon scandal demonstrated, if you express a willingness to perform verbal fellatio on the powerful, rewards follow.

Truth be told, I rather like the title of Domenech's blog. It emphasizes the similarity between the Stalin and Bush cults of personality.

Today, Domenech announced that he has vacated his Post post, due to exposure of his history as a plagiarist. He'll be back, of course. Guys like Domenech never really go away. For now, take note of this passage from his farewell apologia:
My critics have also accused me of plagiarism in multiple movie reviews for the college paper. I once caught an editor at the paper inserting a line from The New Yorker (which I read) into my copy and protested. When that editor was promoted, I resigned. Before that, insertions had been routinely made in my copy, which I did not question. I did not even at that time read the publications from which I am now alleged to have lifted material. When these insertions were made, I assumed, like most disgruntled writers would, that they were unnecessary but legitimate editorial additions.
Is this story believable? Hardly.

Some years ago -- did you ask how many years? Don't be rude -- while attending a well-known university, I used to edit entertainment reviews contributed by students. Translating those reviews into English was not always easy; editors often had to rephrase whole paragraphs. In those days, we considered "I was really stoned last night" a perfectly legitimate excuse for turning in unreadable copy. Once, I rewrote an entire film review submitted by a young writer who spent his college years bonging and 'shrooming through the realms beyond Tiphareth. He's now a well-known movie critic.

So, yeah, I understand that, at certain times, editors must show no mercy. But...inserting text from previously published material? Come off it. No editor in the world, not even a young one working at a university newspaper, would do such a thing.

Young Domenech's plagiarism did not amount to much of a sin; one should forgive a college-age transgression of that sort. I would even overlook the later examples of word-pilferage which apparently have peppered this young man's work. A slap on the wrist, a warning not to do it again, and no more need be said.

But for chrissakes, Mr. Domenech -- when you're caught, you're caught. Just 'fess up and face the music. Stop trying to blame others for your mistakes. Stop being such a goddamned Republican.
The "Red State" affair is all to familiar to those of us who live in the Capitol area. When the Post went after Clinton, again ang again, the paper was not even suitable for duty as cat box liner. Now this! When asked the question, "Why do you ruin everything you touch?" they respond like the Scorpion, "It's our nature." Downie didn't fire Sue "Steno" Schmidt when she got a complaining reader fired by tracing his email to his corporation and then calling his employer. Downie let Woodward ride. It's all a product of the pathetic lack of imagination of Phil Graham and the rest of Post management. They are "The Horror." DC needs a real news paper and Mr. "Red State" needs to buy a vowel. It won't be his but at least it was honestly acquired. Great article. autorank, DU/PI
The hiring of this guy (in the first place) is the interesting part.

WP management apparently accepted the long-standing position of the right-wing -- that anyone who criticizes or questions Republicans or right-wing policy (whatever it may be) is necessarily biased, and therefore demands "balance.

The merits of the positions or the arguments are irrelevant.

And just look at any suppposedly "balanced" TV show: right-wing ideologues or think-tank employees versus journalists with no ax to grind, and who barely count as "liberal", even in private. But since these journalists venture to offer timid criticisms of the Republican party line from time to time, that entitles Repubs to at least one, and usually two, party hacks for rebuttal.

Now we see the same thing in print journalism....
A cognizant sobering take by billmon can be found here. For your continued reading pleasure...
Post a Comment

<< Home

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thankz 2 Neil Bush, kidz is lerning real gud

There's something odd about the Ignite Learning software company owned by Neil Bush, the presidential brother infamous for his role in the Silverado swindle. Thanks to "No Child Left Behind," Ignite has received some very lucrative contracts to place their software in Florida and Texas.

1. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Ignite has received big contracts as part of the Katrina rebuilding effort. This, at a time when homeless Katrina victims are being evicted from shelters. There's no money for them, but plenty of bucks for the brother of the prez.

That's a huge scandal right there. Yet no-one is talking about it!

2. Neil has been pushing the same software in former Soviet states. His partner in that effort is a tough-guy Russian tycoon and accused criminal named Boris Berezovsky, who is said to have plotted a coup against Putin.

3. NB also went to Dubai to hunt for investors for Ignite.

4. He also got investors from Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait and the British Virgin Islands -- not to mention some $23 million from stateside venture capitalists.

5. NB has also formed a strange partnership with the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. And with the Scientologists.

Rarely has the acronym "WTF" been so applicable. With his brother in the Oval Office, and with those fat nepotistical contracts under his belt, Neil should have no need to head off to Dubai (of all places!) for investment capital. Why does the history of an educational software firm read like the script of a James Bond movie?

There must be a hidden story here.

Incidentally, many teachers have accused Ignite of "dumbing down" education. For example, the Constitution is reduced to a rap song.

Ask not "Is our children learning?" Ask "What is our children learning?"
As I understand it Berzovosky is wanted (for essentially political crimes) in Russia, so they've been selling their products in Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics other than Russia.
hey, joe....

i don't know tax law, but it sure seems to me that the IRS would not smile on any attempt by the likes of you or me to, say, deduct a huge donation to, say, the southern baptists and, say, specify that those funds must be dedicated to the purchase of, say, books that, say, my son has written.

if this is done, then hey howdy, what a glorious loophole we can start exploiting!

if this is NOT done, then has demonic dame bush committed a tax crime?
Another strange WTF aspect of Neil's business dealings reveal a lot about the reality of the politics and economics of China. Neil was paid $2 million to sit on the board of a Chinese semiconductor chip manufacturer, Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing. The bizarre part, though, is who the principals of that firm are: Jiang Mianheng, the son of former President of the mainland PRC Jiang Zemin; and bizarrely, Winston Wong, the son of the richest man in Taiwan.

Consider that: the brother of the president of the US, the son of the president of China and the son of the richest man in Taiwan. This just gives lie to the notion, fed to the masses, that Taiwan is some kind of heroic little country staving of the communist hords. Talk about nepotistic business.

BTW, I was shocked when I used to travel to Beijing regularly by some of my chats with visiting officials from Taiwan. The way the Chinese see it is that they all want to reunify; the only question is on what terms

HamdenRice from DU
Thanks, Hamden. I had just started to research the Chinese angle, and I still don't know what to make of Wong. During the Clinton administration , there was an instance where he paid 50,000 bucks (in essence) for the privilege of having a little face time with the presidnet. The right went NUTS. Now, the same guy gives this hand-out to Neil -- and do right-wingers ever mention it?

The Ignite COW system looks to me like some sort of overblown...well "scam" may be too strong a word. But I've yet to see independent tests indicating that this approach works any better than do traditional teaching methods. And I can't understand why Neil would need to go around the world getting so many millions of dollars in seed money, when he already had those nepotistical contracts lined up.
So in other words you believe that a small bunch of fundamentalist ragheads with boxcutter outsmarted our entire intelligence community and the millitary and brought down two 110 story skyscrapers along with other smaller buildings with a kerosene fireball!?
I watched a few of Ignite's sample videos ( I wonder if the folks in Texas, where most of this stuff is going, know that it treats evolution as fact and says the solar system is billions of years old. As far as I can tell, that is actually ILLEGAL in Texas (see
I checked out the Ignite website and found the website amateurish at best. Furthermore the "COW" system seems very strange. Why buy a rinky dink looking piece of equipment when software played on a standard computer (Mac or PC) would accomplish the same thing without having a (expensive I bet!) piece of extra equipment around which has only one use. The strangest thing, however, is that there is no attribution for the authors of the curriculum or the software designers. I know Neil Bush didn't write the software or the curriculum, so who did? And why are their identities concealed? Most educational/curriculum tools trumpet the names of the authors and their credentials. What are the credentials of Neil's partners in this affair?

KMSOR, Oregon
Post a Comment

<< Home

More Promptergate proof?

Bob Fertik brings to our attention a possible further indication that W is wired:
While Bush listens to a reporter ask his question, Bush nods with mild contempt and mentally formulates his dismissive answer.

But then Karl Rove starts speaking into his earpiece (always kept in his right ear), which causes Bush to turn reflexively towards his right - a dead giveaway that he is wired!!!

Bush immediately realizes his mistake and quickly jerks his head back to face the reporter who asked the question - a move he has probably practiced hundreds of times.

But the jerk is so conspicuous on tape that Blogenlust calls it Tourette's.
Blogenlust has the clip in question. In my view, the movement is rather odd, but not necessarily proof of either Tourette's syndrome or Rovian shennanigans. I would note, however, that the one photo which seemed to show something in Bush's ear happened to be a shot of his right ear.

When I first began discussing "bulge-gate," many scoffed at the idea. Now, most people -- even the Bush supporters I ocasionally meet -- seem to accept it.
The evidence for the bulge is hard to dismiss, but it's hard to imagine you'd need anything that big for a prompter. So the bulge could be a medical treatment system of some sort, and there could also be a separate prompting system.
Wait, you've met Bush supporters who admit that they can't deny the existence of the Bulge?

Jesus. The closest I've gotten to that are the scary folks who will admit (usually while desperately clinging to old military credentials or a background in "security work") that they knew Bush and some of his followers were "extremists," but voted for him any way in order to keep the more reasonable fiscal and defense conservatives in the Administration in power. 'Cause, you know, no extremists in the Bush Administration or anything. But even those "I-voted-in-support-of-the-Bush-Administration-but-hate-Bush" apologists have never copped to the idea that W. needs an earpiece to "communicate" with the citizenry. Maybe California Bush lovers are uniquely warped?
Yes many scoffed at the "conspiracy" of vote fraud too, however, this now seems to be a widely accepted idea.

I'm convinced that there's a voice in dubya's ear, and that it used to be exclusively Rove's. However, I saw an MSNBC camera shot showing Rove sitting in the back of the room rather conspicuously. So, if not Rove, who might have been the voice? My vote goes to Andy Card, who reportedly took his first sick day in 5 years, the same day of this "surprise" press conference.
Kim in PA
Post a Comment

<< Home

Cascading contradictions...

dr. elsewhere here

Hm. I don’t normally listen to talk shows. But tonight on my way home, I had NPR on, and the talk show On Point was discussing Sandra Day O’Connor’s concerns about threats to the judiciary.

I was only in the car a few minutes, but I did catch a call in from a lawyer from South Carolina who made this terrific point. In the Moussaoui sentencing case, where they'll decide if the government gets to execute him, the prosecution is asserting that, had Moussaoui alerted the authorities, the FBI would have been able to stop the 9/11 attacks.

The caller’s point was that, if the prosecution's assertion is true, then the USAPATRIOT Act was not, and is not, needed.

What an elegant observation. Add this to your growing list of internal contradictions coming out of the WH. Not surprising, given their agenda is neither honesty nor integrity, instead simply covering their sorry asses.

Oh, and while the administration’s claim renders the USAPATRIOT Act irrelevant, it does bail out the airlines who are being sued by 9/11 families. Maybe they think that frying Moussaoui and saving the airlines are more important than justifying the USAPATRIOT Act?

Speaking of airlines being sued... what was Carla Martin's role with Pan Am when one of their planes crashed or was blown up over Lockerbie?
Post a Comment

<< Home

NOT the last word on controlled demolitions

My readers were kind enough to respond to my post describing my discomfort with the theory that planted bombs brought down World Trade Center 7 and perhaps the Twin Towers. (Scroll down.) My response to (most of) these responses may be of sufficient interest to justify a new post.

1. "Annealing is done to soften steel, which does not necessarily cause it to lose much of its strength."

After exposure to temperatures well below 1500 degrees, a rasp can be shaped into something non-raspy. Many believe that the "transfer truss" design is inherently unstable under the best of circumstances. How much loss of strength is necessary to bring ruin to a design which was poor to begin with?

2. "I'll note that though some firemen claimed there was structural damage to the building, AFAIK none of them claimed there were diesel-fueled fires."

I didn't know that firemen in the process of fighting a fire usually offered opinions as to what caused the blaze.

3. "A team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts studied steel samples from WTC7 and were quite mystefied by their "evaporation" from a high-temperature sulfidative attack. WPI still has an article on its web site "The Deep Mystery of the Melted Steel." The researchers could not explain the source of the sulfur..."

If the Worcester Polytechnic Institute is puzzled by the presence of sulfur, I suppose I ought to be as well. Even so, this laymen would like to remind you of the presence of 109,000 gallons of oil, and that the type of oil used in the generation of electricty has (as a little googling will tell you) a notable sulfur content which would be dispersed into the air as the oil burns.

From the WPI's introduction to the "Mystery of the Melted Steel" study: ""The important questions," says Biederman, "are how much sulfur do you need, and where did it come from? The answer could be as simple--and this is scary--as acid rain."

(To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)

4. "Your use of the interchange between Silverstein and the fire chief is itself a quote out of context. We don't have any record, as far as I'm aware, of what conversations Silverstein and the fire department had before that..."

I did quote in context. For quite a while now, bomb buffs have referenced that Silverman quote as though it were the holy effing grail. Now that I've pointed out that this quote doesn't mean what the buffs THINK it means, they say: "Pfft. His words are unimportant."

C'mon, guys. Play fair. This isn't Calvinball -- you can't change the rules as you go along.

5. "Joseph, can you actually find us evidence of an explosion that brought WTC7 down?"

By which you mean, I presume, an explosion involving the deisel tanks. In the first place, the burden of proof is on those positing a conspiracy. (I accept this challenge speaking as one who has posited a few conspiracies in his time.) Second, photographs show that fire broke out on the very floors where deisel tanks were stored. Coincidence?

6. "There is a lot of buzz here in NYC, because major local media are actually beginning to take 9/11 truth issues seriously."

Good. Maybe folks will start to ask about some of the real issues: Who is Magdy El-Amir? Who is Wally Hilliard? Why were the hijackers visiting those SunCruz boats?

But if the focus remains on this bombs-in-the-buildings crap, then I despair. Numbers of believers do not make a proposition true. If 75% of the public believes that a flying saucer crashed at Roswell, does that mean a saucer crashed at Roswell?

7. Every time I ask the "Why bother?" question, the answer comes down to this: "More psychological oomph. People would not have gotten really, really, REALLY scared unless they saw buildings fall."

Cah-mon, folks. Do you really expect me to believe that this posited "oomph" factor justified the drain on the economy and the loss of life?

Okay. Let us posit that someone -- call him Mr. Evil -- pushed a button and set off bombs in the south tower (the first building to go). Why didn't he wait until the building was evacuated?

A conspiracist might answer: "Because it was important to maximize the loss of life! He needed to SCARE people! Oomph! They needed lots of OOMPH!"

Okay. But if that "oomph" factor made it so bloody important to maximize the loss of life and scare people, why didn't Mr. Evil make BOTH buildings go down at once? Why wait until the north tower was evacuated?

"Um...maybe he was SOMEWHAT evil but not TOTALLY evil? Maybe he needed just a certain degree of OOMPH but not too much OOMPH?"

Yes, I know that I've argued with a straw man, which is, I suppose, a very presidential thing to do. I doubt that any real life debater will be able to make the scenario more convicing to me.

I'm trying to figure out how to say this and be civil:

If you think the tower expostions, and free fall were caused by jetliners and fuel, and theories of melting, strength-compromised steel, I have to re-evaluate my whole universe. I gave you more credit. I not saying I know what kind of explosives or energy forces were used. However, the idea that 1,2, or 7 came down based on any of the NIST, 9/11 Commission / MIT, etc. theories is so patently false that you could not have studied the matter much as still believe the nonsense.
I wholeheartedly agree with bg. Wally hilliard, Atta's sister/gilfriend/father/whatever, Abramoff with his Suncruz casinos may be part of the story. But first throw away the pretense that you could make the scope of 9/11 visible by following corruption and money. That won't work. Accept that the central tenet of the official 9/11 sory is false, or keep on hunting son-of-lee-harvey-oswald-stories. The latter won't convince anyone.
You are the ones who have bought into the snake oil, friends.

I've probably been following the parapolitcal underground longer than you have, and there's one thing I learned long ago: The "alternative" theories you HEAR about, the ones that receive the biggest push, are the ones least likely to be true.

The right pushed (and still pushes) the "Castro hit JFK" theory. The HSCA pushed the "Mob killed JFK" theory. Jack Anderson once devoted a national broadcast to the loopy proposition that Castro brainwashed mobsters to kill JFK.

"Bombs in the buildings" belongs in the same category.

Have you seen the best of the old-line spook-watchers or JFK researchers join the "bomb brigade"? Peter Dale Scott, Jim Hougan, Gaeton Fonzi, Martin Lee, Kevin Coogan, David Guyatt, Robin Ramsey, etc. etc. There's a whole bunch of guys out there who have been around the block more than once and who know their parapolitical what's what. Guys from the old school. None of them have endorsed this nonsense.

Who IS in the bomb brigade? People I have never heard of before. Religious types. Right-wing Illuminati-spotters like David Icke. People who endorsed all the loopy anti-Clinton conspiracy theories in the 1990s. Sorry; not my crowd.

It gets worse. Do you know who has been funding the "bomb brigade"? Adnan Khashoggi, a name that ought to ring alarm bells. Go here:

And here:
I must partially correct myself. In the above comment, I said that Peter Dale Scott did not endorse the controlled demolition theory. In his review of the 911 Commission Report, Professor Scott gave that theory a lengthy and respectful mention (at least insofar as it impacts WTC7), although he stopped short of endorsing it. Of course, one would expect a former diplomat to put things diplomatically.
Comeon Joe!

Here are two facts:

1: No steel building has ever collapsed from fire. Not one, in the entire history of skyscrapers, not one.

2: Hundreds of buildings have collapsed to the ground in a manner almost identical to the 3 collapsed buildings that day. Every one of them was by controlled demolition.

Those are the facts.
buildings don't fall at freefall speeds unless you "pull" them ,what you smokin'
I'm still sitting on that effing fence about 9/11, Joseph, but I'll tell you what--everything the government says today is either an outright lie or spun so severely it qualifies as one.

So, yeah. I want what Charlie Sheen, and the families of the victims, do, which is an honest investigation that doesn't rely on "appointed" investigators.

It's not that you're necessarily wrong about 9/11. It's that you are wrong in trying to sidetrack such an investigation. Don't you realize that you sound like one of those Bush supporters who keeps insisting that the exit polls were wrong, and that there couldn't have been any electoral fraud, so we don't need to listen to those conspiracy theorists who say that there was?
Ok, Joseph. Put that rasp in your grill for a couple of hours and then try to break it in half. That's what you're trying to make us believe.
I have no interest in preventing an investigation. I argue that there are a lot of things genuinely worthy of investigation. For example, look at John Newman has to say here:

Now THAT'S something real. But there is a Gresham's law of research into these matters, where the bad shoves out the good.

It's like this. ABout 12 years ago, a creep named Milton William Cooper went around showing a degraded, colorized version of the Zapruder film and told audience that it showed JFK being shot by his driver. It was pure bullshit, and the people who had been researching the assassination for ages knew it was bullshit. But when they dared to say "bullshit" out loud, Cooper accused them of being part of the cover-up.

It's a classic disinformation tactic, and it will -- I guarantee you -- see usage every time an event of this sort takes place. If you divert everyone's attention into ONE questionable theory -- and then, in some public forum, you demonstrate that this theory is wrong -- the general public will presume that ALL alternative thought on that subject is bogus. That's why Khashoggi is funding the "bomb brigade."

I am not the one trying to sidetrack an investigation. The bomb boys are the ones trying to do that -- using a well-known disinfo tactic. Trouble is, you youngsters are so new to parapolitics that you can't yet recognise these tactics.

I realize it is difficult to admit that you've been had once you've bought into the lie. But that's what has happened to you, folks.

Brief responses to a couple of points raised:

1. The high-rise fires usually mentioned by the bomb-brigadiers occurred in buildings that did not have similar construction to WTC7. Find me an example of a fire in a massive building using transfer trusses over a huge open space covering 35-foot high transformers and 109,000 gallons of oil, which was probably on fire.

2. Put that rasp in a grill and make it bear weight. See how long it lasts. FEMA will always be loathe to blame the transfer truss design because that will raise questions about every building using such devices.

3. You people STILL cannot cobble together anything like a reasonable answer on the "Why bother with bombs?" question. I'm sorry, but we need some sort of conceptual framework as to why anyone would do such a thing before we even start to go down this road. Re-read my last point in the main post. If you can come up with better responses than my imaginary "conspriacy theorist" does, let me know!
Sorry; the article referneced above is related to Newman's observations, but for his actual piece, you should go here:|Omissions
FEMA will always be loathe to blame the transfer truss design because that will raise questions about every building using such devices.

Hmm, this sounds to me a conpirational theory par excellence. Why would FEMA do that? Why would NIST do that? They are not responsible for WTC1/2/7's design, are they?

Ockhams razor makes controlled demolition the best possibility. To me at least.
Let's apply Ockham's razor.

Why did the government want to knock down the buildings? To provide justification to go to war in Afghanistan? Iraq?

Hmm, you would think that if you wanted to do that you would plant a bomb with traceable materials to afghanistan and iraq. Surely someone sneaky enough to fake out the entire world with a jet crash is smart and skilled enough to make a concrete provable link via material evidence.

ockham's razor suggests there was no bomb.
Why would FEMA be less than happy about the idea of telling the public that a certain type of building design may be less safe than thought? For the same reason authorities don't to admit that the evidence tends to show that cancer clusters exist near power lines. Lawsuits galore.

So you think Sir William of Ockham would have had no problem with the idea of covert operators taking enormous risks of discovery in order to plant explosive charges in a building, even though taking it down served no discernable purpose? I think his razor cuts differently.
I value Joseph's analytic astuteness & justified concern that those of us skeptical of conventional delusions don't attract ridicule by falling for disinformation planted by the establishment. I'd propose a hypothesis as a variation on "controlled demolition" that is consistent with major government cover-up of incompetence, but does not imply collusion with whatever organization planned 9-11.

As an engineer in the military space business, I find it entirely plausible that after the nearly successful attack on WTC in 93 with explosives, mangement concern about another such attack causing "collateral damage" to other buildings from toppled WTC towers might have led them to install a system of "controlled destruct" charges in those buildings. The new safety option would be exercised if a WTC building were seriously damaged with explosives at ground or subterrainian level and all attempts to evacuate surviving building occupants had been made. Obviously, there would be a need to keep the controlled destruct mode highly secret, otherwise terrorists would try to find ways of activating that mode themselves.

In the case of the actual 9-11 events, there are multiple hypotheses of how the "controlled destruct" might have been activated. The most benign one for towers 1 & 2 is that damage from the aircraft impacts eventually spread enough to initiate the detonations. A less benign yet still defensible reason would be that the authorities in charge of the emergency decided that the danger to people & property outside the buildings was greater than the cost of sacrificing those still inside the buildings, and they consciously pulled the switch on the command destruct system. Any further hypotheses about local or federal collusion with the intent of the terrorist attackers is not ruled out, but merely relegated to the category of highly unlikely or a probable disinformation ploy by authorities to make any questioning of the official version of events appear on the lunatic fringe.
You really need to reconsider your thinking on this. In the first place, for the building to have fallen in the manner it did (rapidly and into its own footprint) ALL of the internal steel supports would have to have failed simultaneously. Otherwise the building would not have collapsed neatly into its own footprint. That is simple physics.

Where there's smoke there's fire. A fire big enough to cause a structural failure of the magnitude needed to bring WTC 7 down in the manner of a controlled demolition would have created a lot more smoke than is seen in any of the videos which document the demise of this building.

Finally, look at the pictures of the building as it is coming down. If your theory that burning diesel caused catastrophic structural failure is correct then the interior of the building would have to have been engulfed in flames from the ground to the top floor in order to cause a complete failure of the internal steel structure. There is no sign that the building was engulfed in flames to the extent that would have been necessary to cause structural failure, let alone sufficient to cause simultaneous failure of all of the structural steel. The chances of that happening are infinitessimal.

I don't buy into many of the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11, but there is something very fishy about the destruction of WTC 7.

KMSOR, Oregon
I agree that pursuing Hilliard and el-Amir are probably more important. So why don't you fly to FL and NJ and do it? Since my expertise is in science and construction, I contribute where I can.

As to the oomph, let me offer this:

Why didn't Dr. Evil wait until the south tower was evacuated? The fire was going out. Chief Palmer reported from the impact zone that there were only a couple of "pockets" of "isolated" fires. There was no basis for evacuating the building. How long would Dr. Evil have to wait? And how would anybody believe that a jet fuel inferno brought the tower down if the fires went out by themselves before the collapse?

The fact is, Dr. Evil chose to minimize the loss of life, which points AWAY from al Qaeda. Why did they attack before the building filled at 9:00? Why did they use planes with few

As to motive, read Dr. Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor (available online here: )

Not only did PNAC want to invade Iraq, the desire for an expensive space weapons program was another motive. Rummy had reported on 9/10/01 (the story got lost in subsequent events) that the Pentagon could not account for $2.3 trillion in expenditures. Asking for a raise in the allowance after such an announcement would have been crazy.

#2. AFAIK no fireman fighting a fire opined on the causes. After the fact, senior FDNY personnel reported structural damage to WTC7. NIST has seized upon this to explain the collapse, claiming a 10-story gash that took out 1/4 of the depth of the building. There are no photos of this gash, and the FEMA/ASCE report ignored these reports, preferring the theory that fires caused the collapse, even though they could not explain the mechanism.

#4 You can't change the rules-- well I came along late, and I've never been terribly
impressed by Silverstein's comment and I resent being bound by rules I wasn't part of setting. I'm more impressed by the fact that the steel was shipped off to China post haste
by a former federal prosecutor who should have known better than to destroy evidence.

Anon 1:09's theory that officials detonated explosives to keep the building from toppling is an interesting one. Another theory suggests that al Qaeda operatives planted the bombs,
having rented office space in the buildings. In either case, the gov't would cover up the fact of the explosions to avoid embarrassment.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Controlled Demolitions: The last word (I hope)

Some readers get angry when I denounce the "semi-official" conspiratorialist view of the World Trade Center tragedy. They believe that my dismissal of the bombs-in-the-buildings scenario amounts to a blinkered acceptance of the Bush administration's pronouncements.

In my view, this emphasis on controlled demolitions diverts us from matters which truly merit investigation, such as Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff's ties to an accused Al Qaida financer, or the possible links between Bin Laden and intelligence-connected drug routes. These areas of research remain under-discussed. Meanwhile, the "bomb brigade" includes some of the loudest loudmouths on the internet.

Alas, actor Charlie Sheen has joined their company.

His eyewitness description of 9/11 is worth reading. Nevertheless, I feel that he has bought into some misleading information:
Regarding building 7, which wasn't hit by a plane, Sheen highlighted the use of the term "pull," a demolition industry term for pulling the outer walls of the building towards the center in an implosion, as was used by Larry Silverstein in a September 2002 PBS documentary when he said that the decision to "pull" building 7 was made before its collapse. This technique ensures the building collapses in its own footprint and can clearly be seen during the collapse of building 7 with the classic 'crimp' being visible...

"The term 'pull' is as common to the demolition world as 'action and 'cut' are to the movie world," said Sheen.
Let's look at what Larry Silverstein actually said...

(To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)

This is from an Alex Jones web page:
In a September 2002 PBS documentary called 'America Rebuilds,' Silverstein states, in reference to World Trade Center Building 7, "I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, "We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse."
In context, the true meaning of Silverstein's report is clear. Firemen were inside the building trying to save it. Silverstein didn't want them to risk their lives. Better, he felt, to give the building up for lost -- to pull it down and build anew. The phrase "maybe the smartest thing to do" indicates a decision made on the spot -- a decision made by firemen ("they made the decision"), not by Silverstein and not by any band of conspirators. Nothing in this quote indicates a pre-arranged plan to pull the building that day. Nothing in this quote specifies that the building fell because it was "pulled."

As Oscar Wilde noted: "Quotation may be slander/If you gerrymander." This particular gerrymandered quotation represents just one of the ways the bomb theorists have misled the public.

Here's another commonly heard misconception: "Steel melts at 2800 degrees Fahrenheit; the fire caused by the exploding jet fuel could not have reached that temperature." Other sources give 1500 degrees.

My response comes in the form of what may seem a rather odd question: Did you know that you can make your own dagger? People do it all the time. They buy steel rasps (files) from the hardware store, and then they "cook" them in a fireplace or over the coals of an outdoor barbecue. This process is called annealing, and it is the first step in making the steel workable. I do not know how hot an outdoor barbecue gets, but I feel fairly sure that the temperature stays somewhere below 2800 degrees.

Point being: A piece of steel loses structural integrity at a much lower degree than is necessary to turn it into a running liquid.

For a while now, I've threatened to post an unpublished piece I wrote in early 2003 on the WTC7 collapse. Here are a few selections, detailing facts which the "bomb boys" don't want you to know:

* * *

In 1998, Mayor Rudolph Guiliani situated his Emergency Operations Center -- headquarters of the Office of Emergency Management -- on the 23rd floor. To provide this command post with power even if the rest of the city went dark, he arranged for the installation of a 6000 gallon fuel tank. According to New York City fire codes, such a unit must rest at or below ground level, encased in concrete. Technically, the tank was on the ground floor – although much depends upon how one defines the term: It sat atop a 15 foot pedestal, in order to escape possible flooding. Nobody knows if the fireproofed enclosure was adequate, or if the shock of the nearby collapses caused a rupture....

7 World Trade Center hid other diesel caches. Just below ground on the southwest side, four tanks held an astounding 36,000 gallons. Pipes connected this fuel to three 275 gallon tanks on the fifth, seventh and eight floors -- the same general area first hit by the fire, as documented by the photographic record. These smaller tanks, in turn, fed generators that serviced various tenants...

An engine from the first plane sailed through the South Tower and described, in its path of descent, an arc that took it very near Building 7. The engine finally landed on the street behind 7 World Trade Center. The other engine, or a flaming chunk of the South Tower, might well have sailed into the building itself. Granted, I’ve seen no photographic evidence of an "entrance wound," but, as the axiom has it, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. After scouring the web and flipping through many photo books, I have yet to find a single clear, detailed image showing what the key areas of building 7 looked like before 9:55. Cameramen focused on buildings one and two, while the eight-story tall 6 World Trade Center did much to obscure the lower region of its 47-floor sibling.

Within that structure, pipes carried diesel from the massive ground floor units up to the smaller tanks on floors five, seven and eight, where fire broke out. Any fiery rupture of that piping could have ignited the upper fuel deposits. (Alternatively, an aircraft engine could have struck one of the tanks directly.) If gas flowing within that pipe turned to flame, the 36,000 gallon underground tanks might have ignited, and one can easily guess how the resulting explosion would have affected both the lobby area and the Mayor’s cache of emergency fuel. In all, 7 World Trade Center hosted some 43,000 gallons of diesel -- perhaps more, if the CIA maintained its own fuel supply, as some believe that agency did. This potential explosive power far exceeded that of the bomb Timothy McVeigh (and friends?) stuffed into their infamous Ryder truck.

Irving Cantor, the engineer initially baffled by the fall of the edifice he had helped create, accepted the preliminary findings of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA pointed an accusing finger at the diesel tanks, which did not feature in the original plans.

Although this scenario explains how the tower became an inferno, we still have no answer for the most important question: How did fire bring about the collapse of Building 7? In theory, skyscrapers should withstand an uncontrolled blaze.

If you have ever stepped inside a large open space within the ground floors of a tall building, you may have wondered how such a vast expanse could support the floors above. Architects use huge steel beams known as transfer trusses to distribute the weight – and such trusses played a major role in the construction of 7 World Trade Center. The design had to enclose ten previously-existing, 35-foot tall power transformers, much as one might use a paper cup to cover a ping pong ball. These transformers contained 109,000 gallons of oil, adding even more potential fuel to the fire. The transfer trusses over the power stations ran through floors five, six and seven; the fire-resistant spray-on coating on these beams probably crumbled when the nearby collapses shook the area. Fire weakened the trusses, and the weight of 30-odd floors brought the building down.

(By comparison, a foot-thick sheath of protective tile surrounded the steel support beams within 90 West Street, the 1907 structure which remained standing even when gutted by fire. Modern builders consider tile too heavy and too expensive for fire retardation purposes.)

* * *

End of self-quotation. I would argue that a similar situation contributed to the downfall of towers 1 and 2, both of which suffered from poor design and inadequate fireproofing. The gas lines running throughout the buildings may well explain the anecdotal reports of explosions.

As I've said more than once, the allegations of a controlled demolition rest upon an absurd premise. Setting up such a demolition is an ostentatious, laborious process; covert operatives running bombs into the building would have run a great risk of discovery.

Why would anyone have bothered? The image of airliners hitting the towers provided all the casus belli needed for any devious plan the neocons wanted to put into action.

I've asked this question numerous times, and have yet to receive an answer that I found even partially persuasive.
All right, I'll bite.

1. I agree, the bomb crowd makes too much of the ambiguous "pull it" remark, but I don't think he means "evacuate" because as far as I know there was never any effort made to fight the fires and there was no one to evacuate.

2. Annealing is done to soften steel, which does not necessarily cause it to lose much of its strength. As I recall, the temperature/strength curves of the steel in question did not show much loss of strength at 1500 F. Note that NIST has not one piece of core steel showing heating above 250 degrees C.

3. Your discussion of the fuel tanks is interesting, but I'll note that though some firemen claimed there was structural damage to the building, AFAIK none of them claimed there were diesel-fueled fires. On the other hand, FEMA explored the diesel-fire theory quite enthusastically (and poo-pooed the structural damage) but ultimately admitted that the diesel theory had a low probability of having occurred.

4. Your assertion that "Setting up such a demolition is an ostentatious, laborious
process" may be true in most buildings. The WTC towers provided a unique opportunity to access the major core columns in the elevator shafts. Using an elevator car as movable staging, radio-controlled charges could be placed quite quickly.

5. Why bother with explosives? Because merely hitting the towers was not enough to create "terror". Suppose the fires burned out and the towers remained standing. The impression would have been endurance and strength. A few hundred people would have been dead, as in a plane crash. Survivors would have climbed down from the top of the towers. Only bringing the towers down would create the terror effect, showing the vulnerability of civilization to those ubiquitous flying bombs.
Also, you need to check out Appendix C
to the FEMA report. A team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts studied steel samples from WTC7 and were quite mystefied by their "evaporation" from a high-temperature sulfidative attack. WPI still has an article on its web site "The Deep Mystery of the Melted Steel." The researchers could not explain the source of the sulfur, and though I've had laymen try to tell me it came from drywall or carpets or the diesel, no scientist to my knowledge has made any attempt to explain it.
Hi Joseph,

Re your discussion of WTC 7: your assumption of the diesel fires has a lot more certainty than the relevant FEMA report dares to conclude. Also: NIST (which is a very relevant body for every structural engineer) still has not published their report on WTC7. There is a powerpoint on their web site, broadly explaining the way WTC7 collapsed. But that powerpoint doesn't say anything concrete about the cause, just some vage guesses about diesel fires. I even remember that the FEMA (or was it the EPA?)has described how a lot of diesel was still in the tanks when they cleared the rubble.

(This for the record, I don't want to make this into a tit for tat discussion. :)

You write:

Why would anyone have bothered? The image of airliners hitting the towers provided all the casus belli needed for any devious plan the neocons wanted to put into action.

Hmm. Maybe a visual experience that wildly transgresses the borders of a person's imagination? Also handy: removing the evidence.

But, don't theorise and try to reconstruct other people's motives too much.
Let them explain why it isn't so. That's why Sheen is does the right thing and keeps asking the stupid, unanswered questions. What does he have to lose?
Hi Joseph,
I usually also agree that putting too much emphasis on the controlled demolition theory risks focusing on a physical evidence problem, which at the end of the day will pit one group of experts against another group of experts, with the public getting puzzled inconclusion, just like the magic bullet theory some four decades after the fact.

On the other hand, there is something very much in the air, here in NYC. It is sometimes hard to keep in mind given the borderless internet that geography still matters with respect to the media, and I recall that you are in LA. There is a lot of buzz here in NYC, because major local media are actually beginning to take 9/11 truth issues seriously. A few weeks ago, the Village Voice, perhaps the premiere alt weekly in the nation, devoted a cover and several articles to it, here:,murphy,72254,6.html

And a few days ago, just as Charlie was making his comments, New York Magazine, a thorougly mainstream rag, ran a respectful 9/11 truth piece -- most importantly written by a reporter who was at ground zero on 9/11 and has been mystified ever since about the collapse of WTC7:

One of the most chilling parts of the piece is his first hand recollection concerning WTC 7:


Hours later, I sat down beside another, impossibly weary firefighter. Covered with dust, he was drinking a bottle of Poland Spring water. Half his squad was missing. They’d gone into the South Tower and never come out. Then, almost as a non sequitur, the fireman indicated the building in front of us, maybe 400 yards away.

“That building is coming down,” he said with a drained casualness.

“Really?” I asked. At 47 stories, it would be a skyscraper in most cities, centerpiece of the horizon. But in New York, it was nothing but a nondescript box with fire coming out of the windows. “When?”

“Tonight . . . Maybe tomorrow morning.”

This was around 5:15 p.m. I know because five minutes later, at 5:20, the building, 7 World Trade Center, crumbled.

“Shit!” I screamed, unsure which way to run, because who knows which way these things fall. As it turned out, I wasn’t in any danger, since 7 WTC appeared to drop straight down. I still have dreams about the moment. Even then, the event is oddly undramatic, just a building falling.


I also never thought much of the Silverstein quote until I read this little vignette.

Then CNN does a respectful 9/11 truth piece, which I haven't seen yet, I think last night.

Something is turning, and it is happening here in NYC where about 50% of people polled, people who saw that shit, think it was at least in part an inside job.

What is totally scary is that for many of us who speculated about 9/11 truth issues for the last several years, and hoped for the truth to come out, if we are right, then all bets are off about what kind of politics we get next. It's terrifying to consider what would happen if even some of the theories were proven to the public and ratified by the media: truth and reconciliation style commissions going back to JFK or lynch mobs in DC looking for cabinet members and congressmen?

I don't know but you can smell it in the air here in NYC

HamdenRice from DU
Joseph, can you actually find us evidence of an explosion that brought WTC7 down? Seculation's cheap, but no-one has yet been able to present any persuasive evidence for an explosion.

Your use of the interchange between Silverstein and the fire chief is itself a quote out of context. We don't have any record, as far as I'm aware, of what conversations Silverstein and the fire department had before that -- nor has the question been raised very often about what else they may have said in their previous conversations about the building.
Read these articles..

9/11 and the American Empire: How Should Religious People Respond?
by Dr. David Ray Griffin

Significant Pattern to 9/11 Report's Omissions & Distortions
by Dr. David Ray Griffin

The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie
By Dr. David Ray Griffin

The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True
By Dr. David Ray Griffin

Explosive Testimony:
Revelations about the Twin Towers in the 9/11 Oral Histories
By Dr. David Ray Griffin / 26jan2006

Flights 11, 175, 77, and 93: The 9/11 Commission's Incredible Tales
by David Ray Griffin

Possible Motives Of The Bush Administration - By Dr. David Ray Griffin
While I do not pretend to be able to answer all questions, I can offer a few points in response to the above:

1. Annealing softens metal. After exposure to temperatures well below 1500 degrees, a rasp can be shaped into something non-raspy. Many believe that the "transfer truss" design is inherently unstable under the best of circumstances.

2. I didn't know that firemen in the process of fighting a fire usually offered opinions as to what caused the blaze.

3. If the Worcester Polytechnic Institute is puzzled by the presence of sulfur, I suppose I ought to be as well. Even so, this laymen would like to remind you of the presence of 109,000 gallons of oil, and that the type of oil used in the generation of electricty has (as a little googling will tell you) a notable sulfur content which would be dispersed into the air as the oil burns.

4. From the WPI's introduction to the "Mystery of the Melted Steel" study: ""The important questions," says Biederman, "are how much sulfur do you need, and where did it come from? The answer could be as simple--and this is scary--as acid rain."

5. For quite a while now, bomb buffs have pointed to that Silverman quote as though it were the holy grail. Now that I've noted out that it doesn't mean the buffs THINK it means, they say: "Pfft. The quote is unimportant."

C'mon, guys. Play fair. This isn't Calvinball -- you can't change the rules as you go along.

6. What does that New York Magazine piece come to? An exhausted fireman reports that his bosses had decided to give up on WTC7. Well, we knew that from the Silverstein business discussed above.

7. "Joseph, can you actually find us evidence of an explosion that brought WTC7 down?" By which you mean, I presume, an explosion involving the deisel tanks. In the first place, the burden of proof is on those positing a conspiracy. (I accept this challenge speaking as one who has posited a few conspiracies in his time.) Second, photographs show that fire broke out on the very floors where deisel tanks were stored. Coincidence?

8. Every time I ask the "Why bother?" question, the answer comes down to this: "More psychological oomph. People would not have gotten really, really, REALLY scared unless they saw buildings fall."

You really expect me to believe that this posited "oomph" factor justified the expense, the drain on the economy, the loss of life?

Okay. Let us posit that someone -- call him Mr. Evil -- pushed a button and set off bombs in the south tower, which went first. Why didn't he wait until the building was evacuated?

"Because it was important to maximize the loss of life! He needed to SCARE people! Oomph! They needed lots of OOMPH!"

Okay. But if that "oomph" factor made it so bloody important to maximize the loss of life and scare people, why didn't Mr. Evil make BOTH buildings go down at once? Why wait until the north tower was evacuated?

"Um...maybe he was SOMEWHAT evil but not TOTALLY evil...?"

Yes, I know that I've argued with a straw man, which is, I suppose, a very presidential thing to do. But I doubt that any real life debater will be able to make the scenario more convicing to me.
More stupid questions:

How long does it take to set explosives to "pull" a building of that size? Shouldn't it take DAYS? If true, that would indicate to me that the explosives were set in advance.

Was anyone inside the building or in the surrounding area when it fell? I have read that at least one person died when WTC 7 fell. If so, there was no official warning, and they were going to go with the "it just fell" storyline.

What about the "power down" in the WTC towers in the weeks before? Are those stories true? Also, the absence of bomb-sniffing dogs in the weeks leading up to the "attack."

Is it true that Silverstein bought insurance on those 3 buildings and none of the others? Would evil men perpetrate a massive coverup to make half a billion dollars? (That's an easy one.)

Silverstein's group now owns the Sears Tower (Chicago IL, 60606). Will it be "attacked" on 6/6/06 and blamed on Iran based on the type of explosives? (Just a crazy pre-emptive conspiracy theory.) The Madrid subway bombing on 3/11/04 occurred exactly 911 days after 9/11/01. You have to be a coincidence theorist to think that's not significant. Looks like 9/8/06 is 911 days after that attack. I'm gettin the hell outta town just in case!
OK, Joseph, I'll bite this time:

1. There is a difference between iron and constuction steel. The first is soft, the second is much stronger, but also certified. It's classification (and resulting strength curve) is found in every engineer's design book. Off-shore oil rigs are built from the same stuff!

2. Most firemen don't do that, therefore it's slightly strange that it happened it time. Gossip, hearsay, etc.

3/4. The remarkable thing of the sulphur found in WTC7's steel beams, was that it had become part of the steel (i.e. part of it's crystalline structure). Put any piece of iron (your choice) in a diesel fire, and no sulphur wil enter its crystalline structure.

5. Siversteins's quote is, I agree, multi-interpretable (is that English?). More sillines is in the current little (or big) spat between Silverstein and Bloomberg, about rebuilding Ground Zero. Or Silversteins gyrations to get paid twice from his insurance company for 9/11. Doesn't prove anything, remains strange.

6. Is hearsay, cannot judge.

7. Explosions are speculation. The only thing we really know are 1., 3/4. (see above).

8. This is all speculation about motives. I only can speculate at this moment. But steel building don't just simply collapse. (Steel oil rigs also don't simply collapse, unless a force majeure like maybe Katrina happens).

Really, there are many questions left, especially about motives. I could fantasise about world government, putsch-thinking, etcetera, but I just don't know.

I focus on the construction bit to make clear that there's something serously amiss with the official story. Reconstructing the motives is something the we all have to do. I feel it should be a part of mainstream politics.
Understanding the details of the fall of these three towers is the Rosetta Stone to unravelling the official cover story of the events of those days.

As has been amply laid out elsewhere (David Ray Griffin's work, eg), these collapses share some dozen or more characteristics of controlled demolitions, lacking no such characteristic. It should go without saying, but for the more obtuse among us, large buildings do NOT collapse this way when they fail and fall from other causes, and it is a highly technical matter even for professionals to achieve these effects. That is why few companies are even in that business, and those that are receive high remuneration.

IMO, these facts together with Occam's Razor should make the controlled demolition so-called 'theory' rather the odds-on presumptive assumption, and the 'official story' is likewise the obviously extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary proofs (none of which have been provided).

Whether Charlie Sheen or anybody else agrees or disagrees has nothing to do with the truth of things.

Tell my how the standard story accounts for the antenna, attached to the core, beginning to move downward as soon as the collapse began. How can the standard story explain the topmost 20 floors or so, tipping over sideways (as shown in the photos), not landing well outside the footprint of the building, but instead being pulverized to dust IN THE AIR. Are there any of the alleged mechanisms that can yield a near-free fall time for the collapse of the buildings, even though they would have been falling through redundantly strong steel and concrete floors below?
I think you have to listen to Silverstein's "pull it" quote. Once you hear it, it's clear he meant demolition.

As for the towers, answer this.
There was essentially no intact concrete, no chunks, no slabs of concrete, in the rubble pile. Virtually all of the concrete in the 110 floor slabs of the tower were turned to a fine powder and spread over the city, from river to river.
Absent explosives what is the mechanism for that? Remember the concrete made up the floors of the building. It was poured into the corregated steel floor pan to a depth of 4 inches and then covered in carpet. How was it all converted to powder? Strong explosions in the central core exploding outward could do it, how else?
could it be that Bush started his illegal spying soon after he took office in 2001 in order to make sure there were no "leaks" regarding the upcoming 9/11 attacks? That no one from the inside (the special ops 9/11 team) leaked information to the press or anyone else?

If 9/11 is an inside job used to push through the Patriot Act, bomb Afghanistan, wage war in Iraq and provide a backdrop for Bush to get re-elected, then there is no way for this hunta to ever let go of power illegally gotten.

i believe that the next "event" of national significance will occur in late August/early September which will result in waging war against Iran and Bush suspending the constitution.

Regardless of whether or not Bush has public support, it won't matter any longer since as he said "dictatorship is so much easier". Plus this neo-con, neo-nazi extremists are chomping at the bit to finally have power to do middle of the night roundups against the liberals, jews, anti-war protestors, athiests. The final implementation of the long sought after police state this rabid fascist group has sought for so long since JFK's murder.

yes it is true that Silverstein took out new insurance policies on the WTC in July 2001 and this paid off quite handsomely for him.
sofla said:

The prior explosion at the WTC in '93, and the explosion at the Murraugh Federal Building in OKC, were NOT enough to get the Congress to then pass what later were rubberstamped in the dead of the night without being read as the provisions of the Patriot Act, even though there was some loss of life in both cases and Clinton had sought those expanded powers back when.

When you ask questions of mass psychology and hysteria, you should realize that our (or other countries') intel organizations' psyops really are state of the art, having been lavished with untold black budget research grants, and augmented by numerous real world trials and after-action reports and debriefings. The boys do a great job (although usually for evil purposes, IMO), and if they judged that the complete destruction of those buildings was required to stampede American opinion, I think we can take their word on it.

It should be noted that many birds were killed with that one stone, not the least of which was what WERE the Rockefeller boys going to do with that white elephant project, as more and more tenants left, and the study (still in the public domain!) for either retrofitting or demolishing the site showed an extreme cost into the billions to handle the asbestos problem in an environmentally sound and legally mandated fashion.

Beyond that, most of the law enforcement agencies had their local offices there, including the CIA offices, the Treasury FinCen criminal investigators for some of the largest financial crimes in history (AND all their evidence), etc. One such set of offices, a couple dozen floors below the plane hit, was reached prior to the demolition, and it was reported as bombed to smithereens.
If you don't even fucking know what annealing is, then you probably should just shut up.
Joseph, you wrote:

"Better, he felt, to give the building up for lost -- to pull it down and build anew. The phrase "maybe the smartest thing to do" indicates a decision made on the spot -- a decision made by firemen ("they made the decision"), not by Silverstein and not by any band of conspirators. Nothing in this quote indicates a pre-arranged plan to pull the building that day."
So you admit that WTC7 was intentionally demolished? I am confused because it also seems you think that the fires brought the building down. So which is it, fire or demolition?
(C'mon, guy. Play fair. This isn't Calvinball -- you can't change the rules as you go along)
As to why the WTC buildings had to be demolished (as opposed to just crashing the planes)I just came across this from Dave at Dave'sWeb which reinforces my idea that this may have been the primary purpose:

Let's just suppose, for the moment, that a decision was made, at some point in time, to rid New York City of the World Trade Center towers. Under normal circumstances, that would have been nearly impossible to accomplish. Even with the most carefully controlled demolitions, it simply would not be possible to bring the gargantuan towers down without doing a considerable amount of collateral damage to surrounding buildings. And it's a fairly safe bet that the toxic clouds of dust that blanketed much of Manhattan would not have been well received.

But if those collapses could be packaged into the Hollywood-style production known as the September 11 terr'ist attacks, then two birds could be killed with one stone: the towers could be brought down, and it could be done in the most spectacular way possible, thus traumatizing the nation and properly conditioning the people to accept the prepackaged, post-911 agenda.

It's possible that the WTC 93 bombing may have been a failed attempt, or a dry run, as Dave suggests. This seems a very interesting idea to me. Whoever was running 911 it may be that the goal of destroying the twin towers - and the WTC 7 housing SEC prosecution files - was the primary aim (!) of 911. Maybe it was just business as well as political?
What are the odds of two towers coming cleanly down by being hit by airplanes? When has this happened before? The video looks EXACTLY like a controlled demolition to anyone who has seen one. And bombs had been placed in the WTC towers in '93 so why shouldn't people be suspicious that this involved a controlled demolition?

Why did the FBI and other intelligence agencies keep backing down on arresting people they had indications were about to attack the towers in '93 and '01 and even in the OKC bombing case? And now they want more powers to spy on us?

Why did they back down on doing something about Katrina?

Why do they back down on investigating the lies that got us into a war?

Nothing changes in this country because so many people are so afraid to call a spade a spade. If this was not all part of an inside job involving some of our own then the government needs to open up all of those hidden files, videos and black boxes and clear this crap up so the American people can trust them again.

Jesus Christ, I'm so sick of this bullshit.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Remembering Rachel and forgetting freedom

dr. elsewhere here

In reviewing last week, I was dreadfully remiss in leaving out two very important events. One was the President's signing of the USAPATRIOT Act extension, essentially making our descent into a police state official. Don't know what else to say about that that has not already been said. It's true, Liberty's torch has gone out with little more than a whimper.

The second event was the anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death while defending the home of a Palestinian pharmacist against an Israeli tank about to crush it. Instead, the tank crushed her, orange vest and all. Last week was also supposed to be the debut of a play written from her emails and letters, but certain, er, forces in NYC stopped it. Philip Weiss's story on this is stunning, and raises the question few will ask: How is it that Israel holds so much power over our country and its policies and now activities?

Twenty-five years ago (I once had knitting needles confiscated before boarding a plane from Huntsville to Memphis; this is an old nightmare), in a class on Death and Dying, I asked a visting rabbi a similar unspoken question: Do Israelis and Jews consider that their treatment of the Palestinians has made them the very monsters who persecuted them in the Holocaust? He was stunned, clearly, but to his credit, he took the question seriously enough to request that we discuss it in depth after class. That was interesting, in that he seemed confused and unable to land anywhere with an answer, so he simply listened.

The question has never been answered. I don't intend here to fan the clearly intense flames of anti-semitism or anti-anti-semitism. But I am also highly disinclined to ignore reality when it hits me square in the face. The influence of Israel's interests in this administration are now legend, especially as regards policies in the middle east. We export democracy, but reject the outcome if it is not in Israel's best interests. And now the influence of "Jewish sensitivities" in this case of free speech and art from a young woman who died for the right of a family to keep the roof over their heads....

Will someone please help me understand why these questions are never asked in public, and all too often, not even in private?

sofla said:

What are 'the death threats,' Alex?
I strongly suggest that everyone read the Walt-Mearsheimer paper on the Israeli lobby and its impact on our relationship with that country. You can find an edited version here:

The paper is very cautious and well-reasoned, and only a fool would call it anti-Semitic. Of course, the opponents of this piece are using scurrilous tactics to try to paint the auhors as Jew-haters. Sample headline: "David Duke Claims to Be Vindicated By a Harvard Dean."
Joseph asks, "How is it that Israel holds so much power over our country and its policies and now activities?"

I think you know the answer, Joe, but let me say it for you - money. With billions in US aid going to Isreal annually, wouldn't you, as the recipient of that largesse, funnel a little of it (maybe $100M a year?) back to US politicians, PACs, corporations, and other constituencies, in the interest of keeping that money flowing?

And if you were a recipient of that backflow, wouldn't you be just a bit loathe to cut it off?

Dr Elsewhere,

Forgive me if some of this may have already appeared in your blog under other headings. I feel the need to reiterate some of the points especially after reading the piece by Philip Weiss and hearing the report on Democracy Now this morning

I listened with interest and some sympathy to the "other side of the story" that the New York Theatre Workshop people presented. James Nicola, artistic director and Lynn Moffat, managing director of the Workshop were in the firehouse studio speaking to Amy Goodman while Katharine Viner co-editor and co-producer of “My Name is Rachel Corrie” was present via satellite from London. I must say that if I had a sour taste for the NYTW coming into the discussion, their representatives did nothing to modify my views. I have never heard more wimpy excuses and mewling self-pity for their flaccid attempts to uphold their artistic integrity. It is a discussion that must be heard to be believed.

This brings me to my point concerning the “Jewish influences” that most certainly has silenced Rachel Corrie – twice.

It is very hard for a liberal like me to frame a pejorative use of the word ”Jew” without experiencing the same stomach wrenching reaction that occurs when one encounters the word “nigger.” Anytime any of us criticizes a scoundrel who is destroying everything in sight in the name of and for the benefit of the thugs who run the current government of Israel, it becomes necessary to pen a lengthy exculpatory paragraph excluding oneself from the inevitable label of “Anti-Semite!”

It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which we have allowed the right to create these elaborate linguistic minefields that intelligent people of good will must navigate in order that our intentions will be fully misinterpreted and misunderstood: The administration appoints two paragons of Uncle Tomism, Powel and Rice and accuses critics of racism and sexism. They support a brutal, sadistic war criminal like Sharon and accuse critics of anti-Semitism. They characterize those who do not believe that the soul enters the fertilized ovum upon conception, people who advocate reproductive choice for women and teachers who would inform children of the real facts of reproduction as Godless pro abortionists. They do all these things and no one has the courage to stand up and vigorously object to such ridiculous obfuscation. Sometimes I almost think we deserve what we get.

That exorcism, properly performed, I can resume and say that I’m sure the New York Jews and only the New Yourk Jews stopped the scheduled performances of the Rachel Corrie play. I personally have met and argued with many of them. These Jews are the biggest supporters of Israel right or wrong. Like the nominaly liberal Roman Catholics over birth control and abortion, the usually Democratic supporting New York Jews have been herded into the Bush fold by the brilliant sort of linguistic judo mentioned above. Of course none of them have bothered to read the fine print in the book of Revelation which specifies their conversion to Christianity - or death in the end-time.
Discuss any other liberal issue with them and you will find enthusiastic assent. But express even the slightest doubt that Israel is anything less than the most wonderful, most humane, most persecuted nation on earth and you will get a vicious, hysterical fight you cannot be expected to win. You might as well have argued for the final solution with a Holocaust survivor. Of course the fact that Bush is a whole-hearted supporter of Israel, often as not, trumps any of his other faults in their minds. They make Cuban anti-communists look like models of rationality and restraint.

I really don’t know how you can separate these Jews from their delusion and get them to see how their support (and all the money that they send to their homeland in incredible quantities) is being used to destroy any hope of peace in the world.

Interestingly, I did not find the Mother Jones article that much of a problem. it purports to cast some doubt on Rachel Corrie’s apotheosis. Predictably, this essay was widely attacked by many on the left.

I found that it described, in a compelling manner, the full dimension of her life and death.

Skeptic that I am, I am always slightly wary of stories about people who are portrayed in wholly saintly aspect in overly simplified situations - be it Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman or Rachel Corrie. As a card-carrying member of the species, Homo Sapiens, I know that I am composed of both darkness and light. I too fully realize that sometimes I often make the worse appear the better cause, I lie, I cheat, I suffer from frequent attacks of virulent pride and I am often far too willing to believe my own stories - even if the facts do not support them. I expect no better conduct from most of my fellows. That is why I don’t take too readily to hero worship or overly retouched portraits of anyone.

I read many reports pro and con in relation to the story of Rachel’s last days. I have seen the fraudulently captioned “staged” photos of “Rachel and the bulldozer” distributed by her companions. Would that the aftermath photos were also staged! I am even prepared to allow as how Rachel may have been fool-hardy, immature, to some degree self deluded, far too idealistic and perhaps even may have been willingly exploited by some of the militants, as her critics claim. For me the arc of her life and the impact of her death remain undimmed by her detractors.

The horrific treatment of the Palestinians is the real message Rachael would have us remember – even in preference to her own tragic story. The real disgrace in this matter is the reality of the Israeli indifference to all human life. I believe the stories she told - of the random shooting of civilians in Gaza and of the demolition of vital wells, vineyards and homes destroyed in a spirit of senseless official vandalism.

My own take on the fatal event even allows for the possibility of “operator error” on the part of the driver of the D-9 Cat.

Past events related by Rachel and other International Solidarity Movement members indicate that the presence of the western students did indeed inhibit the activities of the soldiers and the bulldozers. Activist slept in homes threatened with demolition, knowing the soldiers would not bury a westerner alive in the rubble the way they might a Palestinian. Members of ISM made themselves human shields for Palestinian families going about the daily activities of life in an attempt to keep them and their children from becoming Israeli soldiers’ “target practice.”

The testimony of the D-9 driver was that he did not see her. Activist witnesses said that he couldn’t have missed seeing her. I’ve been on D-9 Caterpillar tractors and I must admit there is not a lot of forward visibility – through the bullet-proof glass and especially directly over the front blade. Is it possible that the driver killed Rachel by accident?


At a certain point these stories can get like the characters in Rashomon. Sometimes the truth is in the parallax. The operators of the bulldozer were exonerated by Israel in the action that ended her life. Big surprise. What does surprise me however is that, even in this time of Americans’ monumental indifference to human suffering around the globe, Rachel Corrie’s death has been met with such dedicated attempts to keep it covered up. I expect such dishonesty on the part of Israel. They cannot allow the international community to see any chink in their façade. The “only real democracy in the middle east” cannot own up to their responsibility for their treatment of the Palestinians.

What I don’t understand is our own government’s deliberate desire to keep the evidence of her death buried. Despite repeated outcry, no serious investigation has ever been initiated by Congress, the State Department or any branch of our government. This neglect is even more remarkable, considering that this is a highly controversial “murder” of an American by a foreign power in real estate supposedly protected by international law. This total bipartisan silence in Washington can only be attributed once again to the Jewish influences that hold sway over this country. That is why, for now, the truth will remain safely entombed along with her body.

And that is also why a very moving play based upon her diaries and emails will probably not be allowed in this country.

I think that, upon seeing this play, more than a few critics would reference another victim, Ann Frank. It is ironic that just as the Nazis snuffed out her small life, so too our latter-day Nazis in Israel would snuff out Rachel’s life. (Think of it, people in this country have lost their livelihood by using the words Nazi and Israel in a sentence just like this one!)
What I mourn most is the inability of so many American Jews to see what I think are obvious parallels in recent history. I am afraid the American Jews will be the last to wake up to the new fascism in this century, just as the European Jews were the last to wake up to the fascism of the 20th Century.

When it seems to me that innocence and love have all but fled from the world I find solace in my belief that the words of Ann Frank and Rachel Corrie have already survived and prevailed over their oppressors. Certainly they were both naïve, impractical idealists. When I see all the horrors we have managed to pull down upon our heads, I sometimes think that the ideals these two young dreamers embodied are the very qualities that will ultimately redeem us and our world. I know Ann and Rachel were not the only ones.

"It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart… I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more"
Ann Frank - July 15, 1944
Wonderful initial post and a really heartfelt well reasoned respose by Dr. Elsewhere.

As to where to lay the blame for the influence you are talking about, let me be frank in another way -- self-criticism from the left. While I agree on the vectors of influence mentioned in the OP and responses, I have to add one more that I am loath to get into, but it is the linguistic knots that we on the left created through the process that the right disingenuously calls "political correctness." As an African-American, I know our community certainly has less financial clout than the AIPAC crowd, yet we collectively have been able to forstall whole categories of words and criticisms. Look, collectively we self-censor even words like "handicapped" because of the clout of the now "differently abled." So before you even get to the financial, institutional and foreign policy vectors of influence, we have to accept that our public discourse has given a certain pre-emptive veto power to various groups over certain parts of the conversation.

Second addition I would make to this thread is that I am uncomfortable with the idea of "Israel's influence," when increasingly it seems like "Likud's influence." Labor has been so right all along, and, like the reality community based Democrats here, Labor constantly suffers in Israeli politics and in the politics of the AIPAC crowd simply by telling unpleasant truths. Yet during the years that Ehud Barak was PM, and the territories were proceeding toward statehood, there were virtually no terrorist attacks in Israel, and when attacks occurred, the Palestinian security services worked as hard as the Israelis in bringing the perps to justice. Don't just ask why Americans can't see what is in their own self interest when it comes to Middle East politics; why can't the Israelis see what is in their interests?

HamdenRice from DU
Post a Comment

<< Home

Child pornography

This column has addressed few topics as distasteful as kiddie porn.

Last week, news accounts spoke of arrests involving a ring that had been involved with transmitting live acts of child molestation via Internet Relay Chat. The story caught my attention because Bushfolk Alberto Gonzales and Julie Myers rushed to get in front of the cameras in order to take credit, even though the actual work in the case was overseen by none other than Patrick Fitzgerald, the man going after the Plamegate perps. (Myers is a high-ranking Homeland Security official. Is kiddie porn really a Homeland Security matter? Did she have anything to do with Fitz' good work?) The image of Gonzales hogging a spotlight that belongs to our Fitz is rather irritating.

I googled some of the people accused in the indictment, on the theory that one of them might turn out to be a Republican activist. (Hey, you never know!) I was unnerved to find that one of the accused, Brian Annoreno, appears to have previously made attempts to adopt children via the AdoptionChoice Yahoo Group. HuffCrimeblog did some excellent research into this individual, who is accused of molesting an infant on camera. His former girlfriend believes that the child was one he had with her; unfortunately, the court declared the mother unfit and placed the baby in his care, even though a few minutes' worth of internet research would have revealed indications of his unhealthy interests. I'd love to publish the name of the judge who made that brilliant decision.

This same Annoreno apparently left the message "Let's kill all the Niggers!" on this web site. So perhaps I was justified in my initial suspicion concerning the political leanings of child molesters. (Incidentally, the most recent fish caught in Fitzgerald's net is, I am sorry to say, a priest.)

The main reason I bring up the topic concerns a couple of disgusting images I stumbled across the other day. As you know, I'm a graphic artist and illustrator, and a recent gig required me to draw a picture of a gorilla. You know what Picasso said: Immature artists borrow; mature artists steal. So I fired up Google Images and tried a few key words, including "Tarzan illustration," with an eye toward finding some of Burne Hogarth's work. (Hogarth, who drew the Tarzan newspaper strip for some years, did great gorillas.)

Two very disturbing images turned up. I did not click on the actual pages, but the thumbnails on Google revealed that someone had created extremely explicit and unsettling kiddie porn paintings involving the young Tarzan from the animated Disney version of the story. The artist emulated the look of the film; at first glance, these paintings looked very much like the studio's official product.

Previously, I had felt that no-one should go to jail based on a mere piece of art. These images turned that opinion around. Whoever painted those things not only belongs in a cell -- he belongs in solitary.

But then the question arises: At what point does pornography earn its label? Any number of great paintings include naked children -- cherubs, putti, infants in the lap of the Madonna. And then there's Maxfield Parrish's Daybreak. Even if you consider this work kitsch (as I do not), no-one can deny that this is one of the most famous paintings ever produced by an American. It is also a work which, if it were created today, might cause some legal trouble for the artist. Parrish worked from photographic reference. (Oh, don't look shocked: So did Norman Rockwell and some of the Pre-Raphaelites.) Most people do not realise that the naked standing figure in Daybreak derives from a photograph of a child, reproduced at a larger-than-normal size in relationship to the reclining figure.

No-one presumes Parrish to have been sexually interested in the underaged; he operated in a different era. But if the term "child pornography" includes paintings as well as photographs, then can we arrive at a definition which allows Parrish while damning the creator of those stomach-turning images I ran into on Google?

As always, it's not so easy to know just where to draw the line...
Putting aside the largely unnerving content of this entry for a second--ah. "(O)ur Fitz." That's how I've come to think of him, too. Because he is.

Yeah, I can't follow that sentiment up with anything having to do with...egh. Thoughts of my Fitzy don't belong anywhere near thoughts of those other things.
maybe that tarzan toon looked so close to the original because that's what it was. rumor has it, there's been a long history of xrated versions of disney films made by none other than the disney animators themselves. my guess is that it's not so rampant these days, but who knows? computers make things much easier...

kudos to fitz for blasting some light on the scourge of the earth. i don't care who tries to steal his glory. all that matters is that those monsters are going to get their day in court... and then in jail.
would the quick response on the part of the AG and the WH (in the guise of myers) not also possibly be interpreted as a quick deflection of attention to their possible role in this industry?

i know i know, conspiracy tin foil. but it's like a huge bust too close to the bone of cia involvement getting a quick admin address, replete with dismay and harsh words and gratitude that justice will be done, now let's move along, nothing more to see here......
Perhaps what we need is to lock people up for what they DO, rather than what they THINK, no matter how obnoxious that thinking is.

It is indeed the most obnoxious cases that need the most care. If a person attacks an actual child, Bury him deep, but if he fantasizes such only, then he has hurt no one.

I hear the "yet".... but that is true of most crimes, from theft to Murder. If a person really is sick in mind, as perhaps child porn (and a lot of other horrid private "art") would attest, then social intervention can/should be had on a lot of levels below that of stoning.

On top of that, the over reaction to the worst stuff leaves no grey areas and a lot of personal nightmares, for people lumped in with the worst, and mentally wholly innocent.

A classic case was a woman who took film in to be processed, and someone else in the family had taken pictures of two young boys (her sons) swordfighting with cucumbers. It wrecked the entire family.

A very good friend has spent a year and a half in jail for publicly cussing out a banker (for manipulating his account to score excess fees). It is a very good thing it did not include "go F**k yourself" else he would be registering as a sex offender as well.

Freedoms Americans have always taken for granted are already in shreds, there is no reason for reasonable people to help blur differences of actual crimes from thought crimes. There are actual crimes enough that need attention, that no one is even trying to solve.

BTW I would agree that most such perverts are conservative, the selfishness and arrogance go well with both. There are tales that curdle the mind that are not proven but there there is smoke enough to be concerned about actual horrors. (follow links)
Post a Comment

<< Home

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Pants on fire

When the president says something like this (re: Saddam)...
And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.
...we must ask: Does he really believe this nonsense, or does he simply expect us to believe it? (The quote, by the way, comes from his recent press conference.)

Aside from the words "And we did," every statement of fact here is false. Saddam Hussein did allow the inspectors in. He disclosed everything; we know that he had no secrets because we had one of his chief aides on the CIA payroll. The world is not safer than it was in 2002. I even doubt that Bush was the one who had to make that "difficult decision."

Yet one-third of the country will believe this codswallop. If W said that a statue of Bullwinkle stood atop the Capitol building, die-hard Bush-backers would squint until they saw antlers.
HA. "codswallop". For some reason, I think Beavis would be laughing hysterically.
Speaking of codswallop:
Another piece of the same passed yesterday without follow-up and almost without comment at Bush’s press conference in Cleveland. So much deceit, so little time!

When asked about the measure to censure him for his illegal activities in his implementation of the terrorist surveillance program, Bush responded:

“I did notice that nobody from the Democratic Party has actually stood up and called for the getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say, the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used. They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me. I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program.”

Why did the reporter not correct the president in this completely inept attempt to dodge the question? Why is there not one “journalist” willing to remain standing until this liar gives him/her a straight answer? Yes he/she should remain standing until security drags him/her away. That would at least be a way (perhaps the only way) to salvage some dignity for what has become such a foul and ignoble profession.

Are all the matriculating students applying to the major schools of journalism required to first visit the University Department of Animal Husbandry for a proper and hygienic de-nutting? How do they deal with female journalists?

Why are so many in the press corps all so deathly afraid of losing their jobs? Whatever happened to voluntary poverty? Why doesn’t even one cry out from the back of the room:

“Of course no one from the Democratic Party has actually stood up and called for the getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program, Mr. President, you dumb twit! That is a colossal, deliberate missing of the point. How about, for once, an honest answer to our questions?”

The Democrats, at least those who still have a small amount of courage left to stand on their own wobbly feet, are objecting to those aspects of the implementation that are in clear violation of the Bill of Rights. These Americans are not questioning the need for surveillance of terrorists, although considering the totally incompetent implementations the administration has effected, there might well be made a convincing argument for abandoning it. What Feingold, et al are attempting to bring to the Lilliputian attention span of an apathetic nation is the fact that the president is using the fear of terrorism as a non-veiled excuse to spy on anyone he wants to – innocent Americans, his political foes, dissidents, etc. Everyone knows there is a perfectly effective FISA warrant system in place for the valid and prompt surveillance already in place. The president and his supporters have never satisfactorily explained why he continues to deliberately circumvent these legal pathways.

Obviously I don’t really have to put such a fine point on this argument for most readers of this blog. I’m sure those of you who were watching the press conference in Cleveland were probably hooting and throwing available small objects at the TV when Bush was laying out this transparent, third grade, grammar school BS for the sycophantic press corps.

The point I am trying to make is, why does anyone allow themselves to be so sorely abused by such a fool and in such a manner? By anyone, I mean the attending members of the press, the commentators who follow up and the somnolent media consumers sitting, beer in one hand and remote in other on their lumpy, three payments left couches in living rooms across America.

I no longer watch live TV. When I moved into my present digs, I passed on the cable special instillation and decided not to watch anymore live programming. It has changed my life so profoundly for the better that I cannot even begin to explain it to anyone who has not undergone a similar transformation. Sounds a little like AA doesn’t it? Occasionally I miss the Daley Show and certain special moments like the last piece on Boston Legal’s summation speech by James Spader. (I watched the excerpt on the Internet) When I think of all the hay I would have to sift through to find the occasional needle of brilliance, it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. I might be willing to subscribe to a NetFlix service entitled “Monthly Excerpts of Excellence from American Network Television Programming.” I’ll bet it would be a very, very short DVD containing mostly well-produced commercials. When attempting to engage in small talk with my fellow Americans about what they are watching on the tube these days, I sometimes have an eerie flash back to my last reading of Plato’s cave allegory from the Republic.

Is this uncritical TV consumption on the part of the public the only reason these gaffs and very public lies pass with barely a notice and never a refutation across the collective American retina? Write and erase, scan back, write and erase again, scan back and never remember. The opacity and persistence of this fog of unconsciousness that has descended across this land is sometimes beyond my comprehension.


Bob Boldt
He probably believes it. I *know* he can't remember what really happened -- it was so long ago.

They tell him over and over what to say -- and he say it. Simple as that.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Da mob and JFK

Did mobsters give JFK his victory? The story has passed into common belief, even though the tale never had much basis beyond the testimony of Judith Campbell Exner, who was exposed as a liar long ago. (She kept "remembering" new details as the years passed.) Now, a Professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago looks at the evidence and finds it...nonexistent. (A tip of the hat to Gary Buell.)
Ah, Joseph. Thanks for this. :-)
Post a Comment

<< Home

Monday, March 20, 2006

Responding to angst and anarcholibertarians

dr. elsewhere here, again.
Comments on my second angst piece were fascinating for their division into at least two distinct camps, camps reflected in the piece itself, though clearly not articulated well. I resist setting up divisions that way, as folks tend to do that freely without any assist. Furthermore, as per Hume’s dictum (“If you can name it, you can divide it), there’s always a way to split a concept, so any division – be it male/female, old /young, Republicans/Democrats, Christians/heathens, Muslims/infidels – can easily be supplanted by another for whatever purposes, good or ill.

To those of you who seemed to be reflecting from a similar angle as I was targeting, I thank you for your kind, supporting, and ever-insightful words. Though it is always good to learn of kindred spirits, it is also good to learn that one is not merely preaching to the choir.

One ultimately dissenting (though apparently confused) comment presumed that my position was “anarcholibertarian,” which could not be further from the truth. The long quote m.jed shared proceeded to spill abundant contradictions and counter-positions to my own, so it may be that m.jed did not read my words too carefully, or that I did not present them carefully enough. Either way, his (I’m assuming) raising the issue of anarcholibertarianism, and his inclusion of that long quote, made me realize that those sentiments have a real and powerful following within our borders (I choose that image intentionally), and that certain elements of that philosophy have had a disturbing influence on the American zeitgeist in recent decades. I would therefore like to respond directly to that long, anarcholibertarian quote m.jed shared, and attempt to more precisely frame my position, with respect to both the libertarian notions and the persistence in framing our current situation in repub/dem, conservative/liberal, right/wrong dynamics. It is my opinion that all these dichotomies, as well as the others listed in my first paragraph, miss the mark by miles, and in so doing dangerously risk a perpetuation of our ills rather than a transcendence of them.

(To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)

First, here is the long quote submitted by m.jed, from

What egalitarianism attempts to do is remove social tensions, the very source of societal dynamism, in order to create a society where all will be equal in every conceivable way.

From that ideology comes the theory and concept of "social justice". It is a theory that believes desired outcomes can be implemented through government which [sic] will ultimately reshape human nature.

Thus the belief that since a "right" to home ownership, "living" wages, "free" education and health care and a certain level of retirement are desireable [sic], society (and thus human nature) should be reshaped to achive [sic] those desires since all will be better off for that. These are things to which we're all entitled, whether we earn them or not, so the group, as a whole, is better off, even if certain segments and individuals in the group aren't.

To be implemented, social justice requires the acceptance that, in the name of equality, somebody should have the power to determine what to take away from you in order to give it to others who receive it without any obligation to earn it. The natural inequalities of nature require this unnatural solution to create the leveling required by the ideology. It cannot happen any other way. Without some measure of totalitarianism (or authoritarianism if you prefer), social justice is unachievable.

Point one, the aim of egalitarianism is NOT to ease social tensions, although it is a predicted and desirable outcome. On the other hand, to see such tensions as essential for societal dynamism overlooks other, less destructive sources of dynamism, and presumes that the absence of these particular tensions leads to stagnation, both patently absurd notions. Just as importantly, though, both the presumption and the aim of the notion of equality – as expressed in both our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, just as examples – are social justice. The quoted libertarian position is a crude distortion of the philosophical process that supports the assertion and ideal of human equality, a philosophy dating back to at least the early Greeks. The stated libertarian position situates social justice as some afterthought, like so much ideological fallout, when it is, in fact, the original motivation and point of egalitarianism. Moreover, notions of human equality – which the founders of our democracy posited as a “self-evident” truth – waste no time whatsoever with the absurd idea that “all will be equal in every conceivable way,” as the libertarian author is quoted to say. Nor do the founders’ notions presume that government can reshape human nature in an attempt to force a “desired outcome” of equality. On this latter point, because that equality is a “self-evident” truth, it is the starting point of their philosophy and cannot also be a desired outcome; it just is, and is not even questioned or even anticipated as a future potential, desired or not. Any “outcome” would simply be that this self-evident truth be preserved in the assurance of equal social justice for all beings. The point regarding reshaping human nature to a desired outcome will be taken up directly.

The quoted libertarian, and most of those I have ever encountered, completely misconstrue the founders’ intention of equality. There is nowhere in our founding documents a goal of rendering everyone equal, as in identical with no differences, but instead an understanding that every human should have equal standing in the face of the law, and that laws as agreed upon by the majority or more of a people would thereby prevail over the inherent differences between humans – be these of religion or wealth or lineage or station (and, by extrapolation many years thereafter, by race or gender, and hopefully some day by sexual orientation) – thus maintaining their equal value under the law. In fact, it’s entirely possible, even preferable, for individuals to celebrate their differences at the same time they celebrate their equality under law. This is a point I think the anarcholibertarian credo misses completely, which is all the more telling given how selective they are in bringing up these inherent differences; we don’t see them championing ANYTHING in the name of diversity, mind you. Instead, the bulk of libertarian arguments relying on notions of differences focus on the differences in earning power, which always overlook the many ways in which those differences expose the failures of social justice and our self-evident truth of equality before the law. Their arguments thereby serve the selfish agenda of preserving their hard-earned, riches with a thinly veiled contempt for those they see as parasites, but without so much as a hint of awareness of the possibility that these “parasites” might resent the riches “earned” from the breaking of their hard-working backs.

This notion of entitlement is the second point addressed in the long quote, where the author finds objectionable the notion that anyone should expect such basic survival needs as shelter, health care, education, and a living wage, if a person does not earn them. What child has “earned” an education, such that any fellow human could grant or deny it, other than simply existing? The same question can be asked of health or shelter. The libertarian’s open disdain for granting even the most basic needs to our fellow citizens is a sentiment that the far right has capitalized upon, but one that embodies a blatant contradiction. Nowhere is there a more emphatic insistence on entitlements than in the libertarian rant. They demand “their” possessions, which include resources commonly regarded as the “commonwealth” (such as water; would they own the air we breathe?), while rejecting even the kindergartener’s sense of sharing and refusing to consider the far-sighted importance of responsibilities that must accompany any rights. Entitlement, indeed!

The libertarian fears that “someone” will decide to take his toys away, while simultaneously complaining that someone else who did not “earn” them will benefit. But the libertarian never grasps the fact that the “someone” who agrees to rules of equality under law and “promoting the general welfare” (Preamble to the US Constitution, in case that’s forgotten), this government, is none other than We, the people. We, the people, decide what the rules will be. We, the people, will decide what the consequences will be for infringements. True to their infantile insistence on getting everything they want, when they want it, as if they earned every penny without so much as a hint of exploited social inequalities, they see big bad government instead as that inconvenient and mean old daddy who persists in placing limits on their childish hording.

Third, it seems almost silly to respond to the quoted notion that the theory of social justice (as opposed to a self-evident truth) believes that government can “shape human behavior toward desired outcomes.” Well, of course it does; why would any American deny that? Two simple points: One, rules – explicit or implicit – exist for that express purpose, to shape human behavior toward desired outcomes. Explicit traffic rules exist to reduce collisions. Implicit conversation rules exist so everyone can talk but not all at once, so they can be heard (clearly libertarians dominate the airwaves!). Arguing in disdain against the egalitarian position, the libertarian author takes the twisted tack of social Darwinism that only the fittest are the survivors, the rest be damned because damned is what they are.

The fact is, rules emerge spontaneously throughout all levels of nature, all the way from laws of gravity and electromagnetic forces to social contracts and traffic laws. It is the balance against chaos, which anarchists prefer to rules, but I’ll let them drive in Bombay and see if that makes them feel more liberated. Because anarcholibertarians seem to have such a radical reaction to any rules limiting their “free” range individualism, one cannot help but suspect they have the same reaction to responsibilities and consequences placed on their behavior. Again, this position fits the infantile mentality that drives it; “you’re not the boss of me!” Theirs is not only a decidedly undemocratic and unchristian self-service, it is a bone-chilling nihilism, which is precisely what I felt throughout the drudgery of forcing myself to read Ayn Rand. While championing their “success” in conquering nature “red in tooth and claw,” they expose their veins as void of blood, their hearts empty of humanity.

Fourth, like all radical ideologies, anarcholibertarianism suffers from vacuous arguments based on weak premises that are easily proven wrong, at which point the entire house of cards tumbles. The complaint that social justice requires “somebody” to “have the power to determine what to take away [their toys]” fails for the reasons noted above, but additionally because the same question must also be applied to their own theory. Who decides what “earn” means, or what behavior will be allowed in a society? Let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that our libertarian, while driving like a bat outa hell in Bombay, runs over a poor native man, killing him and leaving an ailing widow with four small children and no other means of support. The extreme anarcholibertarian view would say, tough; the wretched are wretched, the rest of us are not, so this is where the chips have fallen. But most reasonable folks, even reasonable anarcholibertarians, would say well, clearly there must be some laws, like traffic laws and consequences for breaking them, and so situations like this one would be covered. Maybe not in Bombay, but certainly in more civilized countries, like America. But (even ignoring the fact that the rules do not always work in America) if they allow for some laws, and not for others, where is that line drawn? And who is that somebody who decides where it is drawn? And who decides who will decide? And so on.

So clearly, only the radical extreme version of anarcholibertarianism differs in any significant way from the rest of us who recognize that we do need some rules and consequences for breaking them, and gosh I suppose that means we’ll have to have folks who decide those rules and what to do about them, and so on. Except for those who insist that the reckless driver of that car is free to make the decision that he was responsible, and therefore should of his own free will take it upon himself to care for his victim’s family and their needs. Now, why would he do this? If the answer even leans in the general direction of a moral reasoning, because it is the right thing to do, then the anarcholibertarian argument again fails because this intuitive understanding of what is the right thing to do, this instinct toward a moral response, is in itself an implicit rule, one that exists in every society and culture on the planet throughout history. The fact that there is a moral code puts the final nail in the anarcholibertarian coffin; to beg that argument makes their entire enterprise an oxymoron.

Fifth, the social justice “beliefs” listed in the quote are not only untrue as presented, they all hinge on money and resources, thereby exposing the libertarian’s breathtaking selfishness, as well as a profound lack of foresight and depth, not to mention ignorance of the Constitution. That document announced not only the intent to form “a more perfect union” (can this be interpreted in any other way as a “desired outcome?”), but the responsibility “to promote the general welfare” (can this be understood in any other way than to promote the general welfare??). These determinations were extremely liberal for their time, but they also expressed the moral assumption that found such eloquent expression in the Enlightenment, though it is embedded in the Classics. The listing of these “rights” – to living wages, free education and health care, and home ownership – as if anyone should dare to require such basics of life, frankly took my breath away. The only alternative to these basic rights is that the wretched (one presumes) must remain beholden to the blessed (one presumes) for a roof, a doctor, an education, and a living wage, while the blessed are free to exploit the work of the wretched for their own gain. Pretty picture. And all without obligation to anyone or anything, not even that implicit social contract. The most brazen absurdity in this position is that it completely misses the irony that, while whining about the demand for these basic rights of food and health and shelter as “entitlements,” they are demanding their right to exploit the less fortunate with impunity, and the right to ravage their way to the top with complete disregard for whomever and whatever might be destroyed in the process. Again; entitlement, indeed. There is never even the first thought of “consent” from those at the brunt end of their “liberties,” let alone the immediate consequences, or even the generational future. And the insistence that all recipients of benefits must “earn” them is beyond laughable. Aside from wondering again just who decides how much one must do to earn a roof or an education or a living, one cannot help but wonder if the anarcholibertarian “earned” his wealthy parents, or her quick wit, or his fine intellect, or her beauty, or his lineage, or her social charms, or his or her gender. Most folks have little control over whether or not they come equipped with these gifts, so how do we parse out who is really “earning” anything that is not advanced by such talents? And how do we condemn those who not only missed out on these advantages, but suffer all manner of handicaps? There can only be a moral response to this question, and it must be taken as a social contract invested in social justice. Anything less is intentional social injustice. This point was so richly implicit in Havel’s solution as to be self-evident; I am so sorry that m.jed missed it.

The final paragraph of this quote again follows the hollow logic of assuming errors, as listed above, but it also hobbles toward the absurd conclusion that social justice is only achievable through some measure of totalitarianism. How does one address a conclusion that is a contradiction in terms? Social justice exists only within a totalitarianism?? In addition to concluding an oxymoron, this extreme interpretation of the case again reduces our options to the extremes; either we have individual freedom without social justice (because, gosh, life is not fair), or we have social justice only under an authoritarian government, in which case some segments of the population (presumably the rich) will not be “better off.” Better off than what, than they were before the government (we, the people) taxed their millions at 45%, leaving them with only less millions? Better off than their neighbors? Better off than the Joneses? They should keep their “better off” while the other segments of the population go without their “better off” of basic survival needs? My heart bleeds peanut butter.

The truth of their complaints is that they’re not happy unless they are allowed to decide where their money goes or doesn’t, or what they do or don’t do with “their” property. Ironic in the face of their stated abhorrence of “authoritarianism,” this smacks of a demand to be themselves the authority, the “somebody” that makes these decisions. Because of course the wretched masses should not be allowed to decide what to do with “their” property. Authority is fine as long as it’s theirs; rules are fine as long as they make them. An observation that should, of course, be applied to the wretched masses, as well, but there are differences in the outcomes. When the masses make the rules, those rules apply to the wretched and the blessed alike; when the libertarian makes the rules, they only apply to the wretched to keep their own situation secure and to keep the wretched wretched (any “charity” from this station is only patronizing, by definition; “Where there is justice, there is no need for charity”). Or better stated, they only benefit the blessed. Also, the blessed tend to be a minority, even when we let LaHore fix the calculations. And the wretched tend to be the majority. But in a democracy, as per the very basic notion of a social contract, the majority does rule, not the self-appointed aristocracy.

It is this general presumption – no matter who posits or lives by it – that certain folks, by luck of birth, have the right to exploit others with only bad luck their whole damn lives that truly turns my stomach. It is this fundamentally infantile, astonishingly amoral, and increasingly pervasive attitude in our country that frightens me. It is this ironically authoritarian paternalism of the unenlightened and dominating alpha male, the slave master, that alerts me to the very real dangers we face. It is this extension of “might makes right” and “greed is good” that just leaves me thoroughly dumbfounded that these folks can actually survive in this world, let alone prevail in it. But then I see the state of this world, and their sentiments explain just about everything.

So, no, my position was the furthest thing from anarcholibertarianism that you can get. My position is based on the fundamental premise of the Declaration of Independence, which the libertarian philosophy so utterly distorts as to render them fully un-American, not to mention arguably unchristian. And my position did not encourage government in the abstract to be rendered irrelevant or “quaint,” nor was this the position of our founders or Gandhi or Havel. Each of their situations was expressing a revolt against the governments that were oppressing them, that were violating their basic and self-evident rights to simply survive. Anarcholibertarians, as far as I can tell, spend the bulk of their time demanding their right to thrive, even if it means death – or worse – to the wretched.

My position instead stems only from the observation that we are in a heckuva mess, and it’s not likely we’re going to get out of this easily. Who knows how bad it will get, but let’s assume – as I suggested – that it will get bad, very very bad, and in far more ways than just economical, though that is certainly key to the mix. We may find ourselves oppressed by fascism or feudalism, or fundamentalist fascist feudalism, or even worse versions of these than we already suffer. Even worse than these, we will likely find ourselves at the mercy of nature’s rejection of all the ways we have brutalized her bounty. It could be some combo of both nature and politics, and likely will be. I honestly don’t have much hope that even an economic recovery implemented by the Democratic Party will save us from the worst of the fates that await us, nor do I really have any hope that they can or will do that anyway. The problems of corruption and exploitation have become just so much larger than what one party can do to correct them; it’s going to take local community actions toward recovering both rights and resources.

My position was not intended to suggest that “acting locally, thinking globally” was the answer, nor that my position would protect us, either from Republicans or fascists or the planet’s recovering herself. My position of taking back control of our basic needs for survival at the local level was intended as a coping mechanism for any and all these possible futures. And when it comes down to that crucial survival edge, none of us will be wondering about why the Democrats let our democracy get stolen, or how the Republicans became so corrupt, or why no one heeded the writing on the wall from all the history within our lifetimes and all the science at our disposal. We won’t be blaming the repugs or the Southerners or the fundamentalists or even the terrorists or Bush. Not if we have any sense, as we won’t have time; we’ll be too busy just trying to survive.

And in that bare, raw moment of survival, not just of individuals but of the species, when most animals including humans become beasts, I am hoping that some of us remember what is truly of importance, even beyond food and clean water and shelter, even beyond life itself. I am hoping that some of us remember that the moral impulse is designed to preserve the species if not the individual, and may be our only prayer for surviving our fate, a fate we – as fierce individualists – have blindly crafted for ourselves and a progeny that may never happen. If enough us are to remember what things we truly hold as important, if we are to heed the moral impulse, then it would seem wise to throw ourselves full-throated into discussion at that level, a level the Republicans have co-opted as farce but that is easily elevated to its proper heights by anyone who cares, Democrats and Republicans alike. There is profound reason to fear that more than our survival is at stake.
I'm grateful for this lengthy riposte to the Libertarian mindset. Although I oppose Libertarianism, I can, in a weird way, also respect those who hold to this set of principles -- if only because principle remains in such short supply these days. Besides, like it or not, the Libertarian-minded conservatives have been allies in the war against misguided war.

But I am never going to accede to the Libertarian notion that Mr. Megacapitalist represents We the People, while a fairly elected representative must always represent some dark and alien force. I mistrust power. I believe in the vote as a brake on power.

Beyond that, though, that I don't have very much in the way of an ideology these days. Ideology is a game for young men. After a certain age, I decided not to go scampering off after utopia or to pursue a political economy radically different from what now prevails in Western civilization.

For me, the question comes down to this: Where and when, in the past hundred years or so, have Mr. and Mrs. Average lived best? I'm not talking about utopia: I'm talking about the least horrible thing that has been so far tried. Find the answer to that question, then do THAT. Or at least take as many lessons from that example as one practically can.

I happen to think people lived well in post-war Western Europe. Lots of problems, of course. There always will be. But there was progress. Amazing progress, and that is the key. Things got better and better each year.

For example, even unskilled West Germans get a month off their jobs, and they often get paid an extra month's wages at Christmas. And for decades, the economy just kept growing; they built so many museums that they ran out of things to keep in them. The only real problems occurred after reunification.

Similar sories in France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland...

Now, of course, we are all brainwashed into believing that there is no differnece between the mixed economy of West Germany and the attempted communism of East Germany. It's funny. When I was young, we were taught there was a very real difference, one worth fighting a nuclear war over.

What's the Libertarian alternative? Well. Milton Friedman pretty much ran Chile's economy for years. Not a pretty picture, that. The Libertarians love Singapore, which sounds like my idea of hell. (You want to talk about living space...?)

In the United States, our best years occurred around the time I was born. The highest tax rate under Ike was, what, 88%? Strong labor unions. Massive spending on infrastructure. Healthy social security. Protection of domestic industry. And this "socialism" didn't kill us. Hell, we were an economic and military powerhouse!

So I choose 1959 as my destination, a year of Republican leadership, and I say: Back to the future. Which doesn't make me much of a progressive. But I don't care. I just want to go back to the least horrible thing that we've tried. Achieve THAT, and THEN maybe we can progress...slowly.

I've noticed that whenever conservatives deign to pop into this blog, they always switch the subject from the topic of individual posts (usually tales of scnadal and conspiracy) to mega-discussions about ideological foundations. From now on, I'm going to try to steer questions away from the "How I would run the zoo" stuff. Our purpose here is to keep an eye on What's Goin On Now.
First let’s address the first post and my view of it as anarcholiberatarian. We need some definitions here, as there appears to be some misunderstandings implicit in the second post.
Paraphrasing from Wikipedia: Anarchists advocate social relations based upon voluntary association of autonomous individuals, mutual aid, and self-governance in place of what are regarded as authoritarian political structures and coercive economic institutions. Libertarians advocate the right of individuals to be free to do whatever they wish with their person or property as long as it allows others the same liberty, which is generally defined as the freedom to do whatever one wishes up to the point that one's behavior begins to interfere with another's person or property.
Thus, an anarcholibertarian would remove the role of the State in preserving liberty and in defending the rights of individuals to their respective freedoms. Such preservation would be done communally.
With that out of the way, what examples of anarcholibertarianism are espoused in the first post?
Government can be rendered irrelevant without the participation of the governed
The people in these villages were forced to become real communities, microcosms of self-governance in survival mode. They saw to it that every single villager had access to food, water, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care, to their best abilities and resources. . . Everyone worked and contributed, and everyone shared whatever they had.
Government had ceased to exist because the governed did not even need it anymore.
There has likely never been in history a culture more dependent on its government than US citizens are right now.
And we can only do that together, as communities, where no one loses out and no one takes the lion’s share.
. . .[O]ur only hope for surviving the multifarious insanities of our current world is likely to simply render the insane leaders irrelevant by tending to the needs of our local communities without dependencies upon the powers that be, as best we can. . . Even safety and security tend to take care of themselves to a great extent when everyone is working together, when no one is exploiting his neighbors, and no one is going without.

These are some of the solutions you’ve put forth. Now, in comparing those solutions to the “drudgery” of Ayn Rand’s words in John Galt’s radio address, I frankly don’t see much of a difference: “If you find a chance to vanish into some wilderness out of their reach, do so, but not to exist as a bandit or to create a gang competing with their racket; build a productive life of your own with those who accept your moral code and are willing to struggle for a human existence. . . raise a standard to which the honest people will repair: the standard of Life and Reason. Act as a rational being and aim at becoming a rallying point for all those who are starved for a voice of integrity -- act on your rational values. In that world, you'll be able to rise in the morning with the spirit you had known in your childhood; that spirit of eagerness, adventure and certainty which comes from dealing with a rational universe. . .You will live in a world of responsible beings, who will be as consistent and reliable as facts; the guarantee of their character will be a system of existence where objective reality is the standard and the judge. Your virtues will be given protection, your vices and weaknesses will not. Every chance will be open to your good, none will be provided for your evil. What you'll receive from men will not be alms, or pity, or mercy, or forgiveness of sins, but a single value: justice. And when you'll look at men or at yourself, you will feel not disgust, suspicion and guilt, but a single constant: respect. Such is the future you are capable of winning. It requires a struggle; so does any human value. All life is a purposeful struggle, and your only choice is the choice of a goal."

Now to the second post – here we have an underlying difference of opinion, to which Joseph alludes. Each of us has a healthy skepticism regarding those who hold power. The two of you view the power of the State as a necessary counterbalance to the power of the Corporation, and view your vote as a power over that of the State. I believe the three of us would agree that State acts as a limiting factor in the power of the Corporation, but differ in my belief that my control over my personal supply (of labor or capital) is a more efficient means of limiting the power of the Corporation than your vote is a limiting factor in the power of the State, which in turn is tasked with limiting Corporate power. I view failures of Government as indicative of the problems with Government control and seek to limit the extent of that control. My sense is that you view failures of Government as either (1) undue influence over Government from unelected people in positions of power or influence, or (2) lack of reach and resources of Government. If it’s the former, then frankly, I’m not quite sure how you hope to solve that problem through a means other than anarcholibertarianism as referenced above. If it’s the latter, well, then it seems despite your dissatisfaction with the current Government, you’d prefer it to have even more power. But you want this power to be handed to Government on the backs of the wealthy. de Tocqueville warned about this when he wrote in the mid-19th century that when the poor have the largest vote in a democracy, they will vote themselves larger and larger shares of the wealth of the well-to-do and ultimately destroy democracy itself.
Then there’s that whole “exploitation” meme. When two consenting parties reach a mutual understanding without force or coercion, there is no exploitation.
As for some specific items in your second post:
“we don’t see them championing ANYTHING in the name of diversity” – of course not, libertarians believe in meritocracy. Diversity for diversity’s sake has nothing to do with merit.
“They demand “their” possessions, which include resources commonly regarded as the “commonwealth” (such as water; would they own the air we breathe?)” – to this, I’d refer you to the work of Nobelaureate, Ronald Coase, and his wonderful paper “The Problem of Social Cost”, in which he essentially states it doesn’t matter who owns the air that we breathe, as long as someone owns it – thus addressing “the tragedy of the commons”. Thus, you’ll see libertarians supporting tradable pollution permits, which are intended to maximize economic efficiency by reducing abuse of public goods and allowing those who value “polluting” (or lack thereof) the highest have an avenue to put their money where their collective mouths are.
As for “promoting the general welfare”, that phrase is preceded by, “provide for the common defense”. Clearly, the founders understood the difference between “provide for” (i.e., to furnish; supply, as in provide food and shelter for a family ) and “promoting” (i.e., to contribute to the progress or growth of; further, as in promoting the cause of freedom ). There’s a big difference between, for example, promoting education and providing education. I’m sure you’re also aware that our Founders did not institute any form of wealth redistribution in their drafting of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Federalist papers.
Who decides what “earn” means, or what behavior will be allowed in a society? - Individuals decide. Again consenting parties reaching mutual agreement.
Charity when delivered individually, in your words, is patronizing self-service. But you advocate involuntary charity using the State as a middle-man. Where is the “love thang” in that? And where is the justice in that? Is having the State take from one to give to an ideal of social justice? Or would society be better served by private transactions emanating out of either love for one’s fellow man or for the self-satisfaction of patronizing those less fortunate. Again, in the libertarian view, the interest of either party is meaningless. If it makes you feel better and it doesn’t infringe on me – have fun.
Thanks for making me think. I appreciate our dialogue and your civility and introspection.
m.jed, i've downloaded your response, as i don't have time to address it here and now. i look forward to reading it.

hm. i'd also planned to add another commenthere, and not sure i want to risk offending, as your final lines were so gracious and polite. i think i'd like to add this to the mix, as long as you can see the wink in it and not take it personally.

here it is: it struck me how my long post here sort of put forward the position that is expressed empirically in the study joe directed us to wherein the whiners "grow up" to be conservatives.

a minor thought, but the coincidence of that post and my own got my attention.


a bientot....
taken in jest, as I hope it was intended.

At the risk of being tagged as whining about that study, (Joseph's very adept at cutting off avenues of dialouge before they can occur) but (1) 7% R-squared doesn't strike me as very strong evidence despite the article's claim that it is for social sciences, and (2) admittedly having never been to Berkeley I'll risk making the uninformed comment that the status quo in that portion of the world is indeed a liberal mindset, and in the case of this specific study, the whiners actually grew up to be the rebellious ones by adopting an alternative view.

Joseph - apologies for going off-topic with this specific post, as I guess it related to an earlier above-the-fold posting of yours, but as with any of my postings, it is in direct response to something either above- or below-the fold (in this case clearly the latter).
m.jed, again, thanks for this most provocative response! Your thoughtful words really do deserve consideration. However, the long version of my counter-response is too long to post here, so if you will permit me to be succinct (and I hope I can do so without seeming terse), I will give a very short version here. If you’d like to see the long version, let Joe know via email, and we can work something out.

As you list the definition, and as you list several points in my thesis, there are not too many substantive differences between my stance and that of anarcholibertarianism (AL). In addition, the Galt speech is generally consistent with the principles I asserted, though motivated from an entirely different moral base, as I’ll address in a sec. However, in my humble opinion, two glaring inconsistency destroy the AL agenda as asserted by Galt’s speech (and by definition) by contradicting their own principles. They are the presumption of meritocracy, which does not at all square with Galt’s speech, and the inclusion of corporations in the triad you discuss with regard to government, and that most libertarians attempt to champion and protect in discussions I have heard. Corporations are not individuals; they do not belong in that discussion. Laws are between my government and me; corporations have no right to say squat. The fact that corporations have insinuated themselves into this false entity position is an abomination of our Constitution and the spirit of our union. That single fact is, to my mind, the most destructive contributing element to all the many current dangers we face as a nation.

The meritocracy thing flies in the face of Galt’s presumption of mutual respect, simple as that. But it also contradicts the definitions of both A and L as they are applied in real life situations; not everyone will agree, so there must be some flexibility in the presumption that individuals can decide. It would seem that Galt’s mutual respect would cover that without begging meritocracy, and moreover, that meritocracy would just not square with the notion at all.

As for charity, you say let individuals decide all these things, but just how is that decision implemented? Who gets the goods? How is that decided? What are the criteria? How is the stuff distributed? More practical questions would include, don’t you need a staff to do each and all these things? Don’t frontline decisions get made, ultimately, by this staff? How are errors minimized and successes maximized? Won’t such a system run into the same sorts of potential abuses, on both sides of the desk, that the state welfare system now shows? How is the system your world requires any different from the one we have, as a union of individuals, consenting parties, mutually agreed upon?

And, ultimately, how is our government (at least in principle) – a mutual agreement (Constitution) among consenting parties (voters) – substantively different from what you propose?

Be careful in wishing for the rational ideal, as it not only risks becoming frozen in place like all ideals do, but it also risks becoming hopelessly removed from real human lives, hence my concerns about the hyper-abstracted examples. One of my favorite quotes if from Dostoevski: “If everything were rational, nothing would ever happen.” Which sort of flies in the face of the libertarian demand for social tension and dynamics, does it not? That would be just one of the many contradictions that riddle the AL ideology as practiced today.

This leads therefore to the main problem I have with it all, namely that these arguments as you present them are entirely void of moral considerations. The real human situation. It’s even missing from Galt in that his speech focuses so much on the ideal that it assumes everyone involved will be responsible and rational, which is just plain silly. Not everyone will even agree as to what is responsible, what is rational, or what is earned and not, what is fair and not, etc. It’s in those differences, so important to you and McQ, that the social dynamic emerges, a dynamic that forces us to make moral decisions that sometimes cannot be rationally determined or responsibly implemented.

In a word, then, get real.

This, and my previous comment, are of course in jest, and with both respect and affection for someone who takes these things so seriously and takes the time to debate them.

Oh, and as for the Berkeley study, I’m trying to get ahold of a reprint, but for that N, yeah, 7% R2 is acceptable for social science. Your “Family Ties”hypothesis might be more compelling if it were not for the fact that conservatives by definition do not tend to rebel.

thanks again for your valulable input.
Post a Comment

<< Home

TW3: Verbal equinox, '06

dr. elsewhere here...
The bitch is back, yet again. Thought I had my net connection woes conquered, but no. It's been an interesting time to study patience; I hope that you will all bear with me while I sort out my situation and try to sort out our more global situationS from this week, at least the one that was.

Oh my. Again, where to begin? I suppose the best bet for a random selection would be the State of the Scandals. Seems the feds are closing in on tips from Wilkes and Wade, and in the process, have apparently implicated Katherine Harris, whose highly pointed profile announcement on Fox raised more than just the stakes in this race. Though I’m alerted by Joe’s suspicion that her decision might be informed, there is also the possibility that she is just delusional in her insistence on bucking the Republican leadership who have been abandoning her Senate campaign. Won’t her implication in the big lobbying scandals make her even more of a pariah? And it just occurs to me, given all those rumors about her and Jeb, it might make some twisted sense that he’s just promising to endorse and support (and “deliver”?) a win, perhaps to keep her quiet about their relationship, maybe even about everyone’s roles in the election frauds? Who knows? But I’m guessing no one in the Republican leadership has a clue how to, er, handle her, hot, er, potato that she is.

This week marked the third anniversary of our invasion of Iraq, and hardly any US media noticed that there were worldwide protests, again. And of course Bush hardly noticed that it's hardly a mission accomplished. Unless part of the mission included half of Americans admitting that they've cried about this war. Coinciding with this third anniversary of our invasion of a sovereign nation, a new book came out chronicling the cooked intel and blanket propaganda.

And how does our administration address these and other exposures of misleading and incompetence in the face of growing concerns of civil war in Iraq? First, they launch Operation Swarmer, now revealed as just another smarmy PR effort, where it does appear that timing, as ever, played a role in this non-assault. Third, they continue marketing their “next Iraq” agenda by publishing the National Security Strategy claiming Iran to be our biggest threat, while having Booster Boy vocalize this point on his latest promotional tour, only to have General Pace admit in a press conference that no, we don’t have any evidence that Iran is responsible for all the latest spike in violence in Iraq. Oops. Change the subject. Hey, by the way, oodles of oil and natural gas discovered in Afghanistan, didja hear? Makes it all worth it, now don’t it?

Let’s see, so many scandals, so little time.

With all the dirty laundry spilling out onto the sidewalk, and you’d think we’d start getting some real reforms moving in Congress. Right. Congressman Boenhart shows how driven he is by his dedication to ethical conduct in the House. And then retired General Myers and former Attorney General Ashcroft both cash in on the lobbying craze, as if the word scandal were nowhere near their vocabularies.

Even more scandalous than the lobbying schemes are the various surveillance crimes, which appear to take on numerous permutations, including warrantless physical searches. The good news is that Arlen Specter continues to have trouble with the new deal on warrantless spying crafted by Cheney and Congressional leaders. We’re left to wonder if Specter will actually follow up on his concerns, or just wax politically squeamish for political purposes until Big Brother tells him to clam up.

And just in case you were not yet convinced we are already in a police state, check out the just-revealed memos from within the NYPD on the efficacy of proactive arrests. Feelin' safe yet?

Oh, well, we can’t forget the Leakin’ Libby scandal, the first to break and start picking up steam? Seems his trial, while forcing Libby to refresh his memory, could actually allow his defense to backfire on Bush, tainting him further.

How much taint to achieve saturation? Are we approaching a “beyond tainted” status yet? Because, despite the failure of Democratic leaders to actually show some spine in supporting Feingold’s censure of Bush, it is supported by only half (HUNH?? ONLY??) of polled Americans (isn’t this pretty damning?). These and other poll results are apparently giving some Republicans are talking about Bush’s many problems now, and as if it’s not a new revelation. The discontent throughout the country with Bush's incompetence now reflects as an historic lead for Democrats in the polls. We can only hope they figure out how to take advantage of it.

One would think these polls show a growing unity in the US, as more and more citizens begin to recognize the dire shape of thing. But the profound differences in opinion and position of the factions – given the distorted and imbalanced voice of the media – has prompted one writer to consider the growing civil war, not in Iraq, where more reporters have been murdered than killed in combat in Iraq, but civil war here in the US.

The greatest promotion of this intense division is, of course, the polticized media. Helen Thomas writes again about the shame of the WH lapdog press corps, while the NYTimes actually defends their prewar reporting. For icing on this cake, we learn that two WH staffers masqueraded as FauxNews journalists, in order to scout locations for a Bush visit. And, oh, let’s do put some roses on the icing on this “let them eat” cake! Do taste this latest Coulter morsel of madness, and celebrate the fact that Ted Ralls plans to sue her sorry, and scandalously skinny, derriere.

Throughout all these nightmares, we may still have some hope left in the actions of some principled individuals in the judiciary. The week started with word that Sandra Day O’Connor had made some rather disapproving comments about threats on the judiciary (as word came out that Justices had received death threats). But, despite this climate, a federal court struck down the EPA’s attempt to loosen restrictions on the Clean Air Act (essentially making the statement that the administration’s agency had broken those laws). In addition, we saw Judge *, presiding over Zacharias Moussaoui’s sentencing trial in DC, soundly scold the Attorney General’s office for coaching witnesses, though she later relaxed her initial ruling. Still, the disclosure also exposed the apparent reason for the coaching, which may well have been motivated by a request from the defense team representing the airlines being sued by 9/11 families; if Moussaoui’s defense can show that the strike would have happened regardless of his decision not to warn authorities, then the airlines may have to share some of the burden of negligence with the government.

All in all, another week of more scandals than one can count, more lives destroyed by our occupation of another country, and more spin than a laundromat. As foreign as this feels when compared to life just six years ago, it’s all too rapidly becoming just another week in the life of Bush’s America.
I recommend clicking on the word "potato" above. That will lead you to the best short piece on Kathy Harris you'll find on the net right now. But it is weird. You would think that if the Republican leadership wanted her gone, she would be gone. And I for one do not think that she is really going to spend ten millin dollars of her own money.
I know this is somewhat O/T, but it relates to a topic often covered in the past by Joseph. You know, the infamous "bulge."

I didn't see the bulge itself during the press conference this morning because of some very careful camera angles, however, I did notice that Karl was in the room. I suspect he was there in order to refute the idea that he's always the voice in dubya's earpiece. In order to fill the void between dubya's ears, I think members of his inner circle have begun taking turns at this, and poor dubya is having to make the adjustment. It's quite disturbing to watch his eyes move back and forth as he's trying to listen, and then attempt to appear as if he is speaking spontaneously.

My guess is that the voice in the earpiece (whoever they may be on any given day,) is now just feeding our pathetic commander-in -chief ideas and phrases, not verbatim responses. Besides being a complete idiot, this would explain why he continues to fumble and stammer around to finish simple sentences, or God forbid, a complete train of thought.

I actually think the earpiece sometimes even makes a private joke, which would explain why dubya sometimes giggles out of the blue, when there is nothing obviously funny. Well, either that or he's responding to internal stimuli. This happened when he first called on Helen Thomas. Watch it - not after he mentions the gridiron specifically, but BEFORE that, when he first calls on her.

Interesting that the ever faithful Andy Card took his first "sick day" in five years today, the same day they decide to hold a "surprise" press conference.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Fighting vote fraud!

Action in California! Brad Blog scoops the world on this one: A group called VoterAction will file suit to halt Secretary of State Bruce McPherson's dastardly scheme to foist Diebold's machines on the elctorate -- despite the fact that the damn things are easily hackable, despite the fact that Diebold is on the receiving end of lawsuits for securities fraud, and despite the fact that nobody who lives in California wants those filthy devices.

Do what you can to support this effort. If California's vote gets Diebold-ized, California will become a red state and the presidency will remain in Republican hands FOREVER.

We need international attention. First, note what California State Senator Debra Bowen has to say about this mess:
February 28, 2006 – Secretary McPherson releases the ITA report – dated February 23, 2006 – from CIBER on the Diebold memory cards. The report notes the Diebold system uses interpreted code – something banned by the FEC standards the Secretary said on August 3, 2005, he would follow.
Why violate reasonable standards set by the FEC? Obviously, the Republicans are going to such outlandish lengths because they plan to steal the election. No other motive explains their actions.

So how do we stop election theft in the all-important congressional races of November, 2006 (presuming, as always, that we make it from now until then without Big Wedding II)? We need international observers, and we need independent exit polling.

Here is where we run into a snag. The international monitoring group is called the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- the OSCE. They did do some observation in this country in 2004. Unfortunately, those monitors simply could not get their heads around the fact that the United States has no federally-set elections standards. We have fifty different states with fifty different rulebooks, a situation without parallel in Europe. That fact of history completely floors the OSCE.

Write to the OSCE at They need to understand that the lack of federal standards in American elections is a situation that will not change any time soon. They also need to understand that the need for clean elections in this country is immediate and dire. The problem affects the world: More Republican vote-theft means more war.

Even if vote fraud occurs in 2006, a report explaining how it occurred will inform that international community that the majority of the American people do not support the thugs who've overpowered and raped our democracy. Such a report may spur a boycott of American goods until freedom is restored.

We also need truly unbiased exit polling. As I noted in a recent post, the 2004 pollsters -- contrary to popular belief -- drastically over-represented the Bush vote. Do you think that happened by accident?

Truth Is All -- for the latest (the news, it seems, is not good), go here.
thank you for that link , very very touching . an americans american , a true hero for our time
Once again, good thoughts for TruthIsAll, and SpouseOfTruthIsAll. They're our people.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Scientific proof: Whiners grow up to be conservatives

You gotta read this. It's beautiful.
Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.
I can guess how conservatives will repond to this study. They'll whine.
have you seen this yet, "The Dem Recess Packet; A Map Of Dems' Midterm Political Strategy"?

"THE DRUDGE REPORT has obtained a copy of the "game plan" devised by the office of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) office for Democrat Senators with political tips on how to use the war in Iraq against the Bush administration in their home states over recess break. "

Makes a lot of sense "Hype" -- you responded to this story with a non-sequitur, reference to the far from reliable Druge Report, and yet more complaining about those evil, powerless Democrats who secretly rule the world.

In other words, you've proved the truthfulness of the study -- "conservatives" are insecure whiners who love Authority, look for excuses everywhere for their own failings, think everyone is out to get them, and blame everything on the other guy -- even when they themselves run the show and own the store.

So, thanks for the demonstration.
Post a Comment

<< Home

ENDGAME: Concentration camps in America

I urge you to read this article by Professor Peter Dale Scott. Pursuant to a plan ominously called ENDGAME, Homeland Security has quadrupled spending on "detention beds" -- read: concentration camps -- for illegal immigrants and "potential terrorists." That means you and me, folks:
It is relevant that in 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his desire to see camps for U.S. citizens deemed to be "enemy combatants." On Feb. 17 of this year, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the harm being done to the country's security, not just by the enemy, but also by what he called "news informers" who needed to be combated in "a contest of wills." Two days earlier, citing speeches critical of Bush by Al Gore, John Kerry, and Howard Dean, conservative columnist Ben Shapiro called for "legislation to prosecute such sedition."
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement website discusses ENDGAME purely in terms of illegal immigration; not a word about rounding up liberals. Interestingly, Oliver North has contributed to a new book called "Endgame," in which he blames all of America's ills, including terrorism, on Democrats. Peter Dale Scott argues that the ENDGAME plan derives from North's own notorious REX 84, drawn up during the Reagan administration, pursuant to which protestors of a Central American war would have found themselves in camps. If memory serves, a Miami Herald story published in 1987 revealed that North drew up these plans at a secret meeting open only to officers wearing a small red cross, used as a recognition sign. (Quite a few web sites reference this article, although I'm relying on unreliable memory for the "cross" detail. Perhaps a reader has a copy of the piece...?)

Y'know what's really cute? As older observers of odd politics will recall, at the same time Ollie went about his evil work, rumors circulated within the religious right that the "gummint" had drawn up plans to incarcerate Christians. You may be reminded of those cartoons Julius Streicher used to publish -- the ones which depicted Jews using Giftgas on Germans. I believe psychologists call this phenomenon "projection."

While I'll admit that I don't have the same degree of pessimism that some do about the coming year, this development has been making me very uneasy for a while now. It's sickening.
I want to go on record as predicting that there will not be a faked terror attack linked to Iran, that the United States will not attack Iran, and that Bush will not declare martial law and round up dissidents in concentration camps. Now, I just hope that I'm right and not just being optimistic.
Me too, Gary. But one good thing about having the prediction on the record: If it all goes down, more people than otherwise will know what is REALLY going down.

By the way, I'm surprised you haven't offered more in-depth investigative reporting on the Mary Carey-GOP connection.

you're funny. I hope you're right, that nothing happens this year, that we hold actual elections in November 2006 which results in voting out the Rethugs.

I promise to buy everyone a beverage of their choice (within $5.00) if you're right and Joseph and myself are wrong at the end of 2006. (OK, let's play it safe, a year from today, march 20, 2007)

Let it stand for the record that my gut tells me to look for some event of "national significance" to occur in late July/August such that by the end of September/October we declare war on Iran and are at war with Iran and the draft gets reinstituted.

This "event" could be anything from an outbreak of the stupid avian flu to a small dirty nuclear suitcase device hitting a major city with a heavy majority of minority/democratic voters in the US like Chicago or even conveniently LA which would result in millions being dislocated and thus qualify for that "population upheaval" and a perfect time to also round up anti-war protestors and other liberals, intelligentsia, etc.

My gut tells me that martial law will be declared and that November 2006 elections will not be held except for local offices, not federal.

hope I'm wrong and Gary is right!

If I'm right, then hey, I'll see you this time next year at the camps down in Southern California which are the biggest (they are expanding the camps already built in Palmdale, and near the military bases in the desert near 29 Palms:

So dear Halliburton: please stock plenty of SPF 30 sunscreen if you plan on having us white liberals doing manual labor in the hot desert sun along with floppy hats and long sleeved shirts.
29 Palms? In the summer?

Yeesh. Is it too late for me to sell out to the other side?

How's this? (Ahem!)

"Michael Moore looks like a pig because his mother was a pig and his father was a pig and that is why he is a pig and everything is his fault and he is partners with Osama Bin Laden and all I want to know is why Michael Moore hates America, in closing I would like to say John 3:19 in the Bible and God bless George Bush and the entire Bush family."

29 Palms. The horror. The horror.
Ok, Joseph, I have added some coverage of Mary Carey to my blog.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cults: From L. Ron Hubbard to George W. Bush

Cannon here: Yesterday, as I was driving to the Fuller Theological Seminary (where the bloody library turned out to be bloody closed), a local Air America broadcaster asked -- perhaps appropriately -- an old question: "What is a cult?"

The host asked this in relation to the South Park-v-Scientology feud. In case you haven't heard, the re-airing of an episode mocking Scientology led to the resignation of Isaac Hayes. Rumor holds that the whole debacle is somehow the fault of Evil Tom Cruise, who refused to publicize Mission Impossible 3 unless Viacom (which owns both Paramount and Comedy Central) canned that South Park segment.

First, let's talk about "Evil Tom" and his odd faith.

I know all about Scientology. Many a moon ago, the great science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon befriended my Mom (Sturgeon made it his business to befriend every attractive female in Los Angeles), and at a dinner party -- Mom was big on dinner parties -- Sturgeon told my nine-year-old self that he personally heard L. Ron Hubbard brag that the best way to make a million bucks was to start a new religion. First-hand testimony, that. In the years since, I've amused myself by tracing Hubbard's influences -- i.e., the folks from whom he pilfered ideas -- and have paid a special attention to the Aleister Crowley connection. (In a recorded lecture, Hubbard once claimed AC as a friend, although the Mage actually considered "Ron" a common con artist.) Every library should have copies of A Piece of Blue Sky and Bare-Faced Messiah. Even before those books appeared, I would keep a wary eye on the scary Sea Org dudes who would pop in whenever I grabbed some cheap eats at New York George's, a joint across the street from the "Big Blue" Scientology headquarters. And I've had the opportunity to speak to a couple of former high-ranking sectarians who had broken with the group and, years later, were still running scared.

So don't question my credentials as an anti-Hubbardian, and don't offer any lectures on the Ghastliness of Elron if I dare to ask a simple question: Just what is it that Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes did wrong in this matter?

Hayes has a right to withdraw his services from South Park, or from any other employer, if he feels so inclined. Many have scored him for partipating in episodes that knocked other religions while becoming angry only when the writers blasted his silly beliefs. But so what? Most people behave in a similar fashion: Satire remains a laughing matter until it whacks you in the nose. One can't blame the guy for being human.

A publicist for Tom Cruise denies that he used his alleged power over Viacom to have the episode pulled. Even if this denial is disingenuous (as perhaps it is) -- so what? Unless he signed a contract stipulating otherwise, Cruise has a legal and ethical right not to do publicity for the upcoming Mission Impossible film. He may speak or not speak to anyone he chooses, for any reason he sees fit.

Incidentally, I happen to think the guy is a damn good actor. Go ahead and snicker. The DVDs of Born on the Fourth of July and Magnolia and Minority Report will be around well after the snickering stops. If you snub the work of every artist who has behaved erratically or held a foolish belief, you will rob yourself of most of the art ever produced.

As some of you may have discovered on your own, anti-Scientologists can be almost as wacky as those still mired within the sect. Ex-cultists still think like cultists. In that respect, they're like alkies or druggies.

All of which brings us to the question: Is Scientology a cult? What IS a cult?

Buzzflash addressed the question today in an editorial about the cult of Bush. Here's the BF definition:
It's a movement that is comprised of people who believe in a leader contrary to reality and the harm that the person does them.
Not bad, not bad...but. One could apply that same phrase to the followers of some very admirable people. Probably the bravest person alive today is Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi, whose followers risk great harm and act contrary to the sad realities now prevailing in that nation.

Not only that. Catholics speak (without any hint of insult) of a "cult" of this or that saint, or even of a mode of prayer, such as the Sacred Heart. In this context, the word carries no negative connotations; it simply refers to a type of religious devotion practiced by a subset of individuals within the larger body of Catholicism. Outside the United States, people do not sneer when they use the term cult; historians may speak of the Mithraic cult without implying that Mithraism ever hurt anyone.

I used to argue for a return to this non-prejudicial usage, for a purely numerical definition of the word "cult." When Mormonism gained a certain number of adherents -- say, a million -- it ceased to be a cult and became just another religion. Granted, it is a religion devised by a con artist who wrote science fiction -- as is the case with Scientology. But a religion nonetheless.

And yet...and yet...

Language evolves. We cannot impede the process by which old words take on new meanings. Can we still define "cult" with an abacus? We also speak of a cult of Mao and a cult of Stalin; those cults had many millions of adherents. We cannot deny the political phenomenon of the cult of personality. Buzzflash argues that Bushevism is merely the latest example of that phenomenon.

But the Bush cult, if we can call it that, is really an outgrowth of fundamentalist Christianity -- which may or may not be a cult, depending on the elasticity of your definition. The insecure adherents of fundamentalism know full well that the "unsaved" tend to be smarter and better educated. They know that the American south, where the virus of fundamentalism has infected nearly everyone, is culturally and economically inferior to post-Christian Europe. They know that they cannot scientifically defend Creationism or the more preposterous tales related in their "inerrant" scriptures. They know that rational people consider their theological principles small and vicious -- particularly their barbaric "blood atonement" doctrine, as well as their hyper-neurotic conviction that billions will burn eternally for committing petty "sins" of the flesh.

Having a president who thinks as they do (or who says he thinks that way) makes fundamentalists feel less stupid. Bush validates them. That's why he still inspires devotion, despite the ruin he has brought to this country.

One out of three Americans adheres to this belief system. That's not a majority -- thank you, Jesus! -- but it is no small percentage. Can we really use the word "cultist" to describe so many of our fellow citizens?

I have yet to stitch together a definition of "cult" that covers all of this territory. If you can do so, please let me know.
I have always thought the word “cult” and “cultivate” derive from the same activity which is to focus unwaveringly and uncritically upon one thing, leader, personality, Holy Book, etc to the exclusion of all other evidence or authority – or reality. It really doesn’t matter the number of extant cultists. For example, Christians focus on the divine inspiration, immutability, and infallibility of the Bible to the exclusion of any facts to the contrary. That makes them the cult of the Book - a big cult, but still a cult. Dare I list other examples?
Bob Boldt
I have a book called "The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power" by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad. On page 32, they characterize a cult as a "specific way to to refer to groups with an authoritarian structure where the leader's power is not constrained by scripture, tradition or any other 'higher' authority." They continue on page 33, "In a cult, absolute authority lies in a leader who has few if any external constraints." They make the point that religions probably started as cults, but as time went on and mythology, rituals and belief systems were developed that transcended the importance of the founder or leader they were no longer considered as cults. This is the operational definition they used in their book, and I think it's a good one. The other characteristic I associate with cults is total subjugation of an individual's will to that of the leader. I've sometimes thought cult leader might be a good career option for me, but I haven't found anyone to pledge all of their earthly possessions to me. Sigh.
At the URL below, you will find some examples of the Cult of Bush in full swing. These are reader comments to the Wall Street Journal shortly before the Iraq War, in response to a nauseating paean of praise to George Bush by Peggy Noonan. She ended with the phrase: "This presidency feels like a gift!"

Oddly, though the comments are still online, I haven't been able to locate the article that provoked them. My search for the "feels like a gift" phrase brings up only a previous Noonan article from 1998. Apparently it was one of her more successful efforts, so I guess she thought the phrase could bear recycling.

In her most recent article, Peggy Noonan has changed her mind about Bush, a few thousand dead bodies later - for what she calls his "liberal" spending policies! (Of course, true liberal spending would not cut social programs, which are actually *investments,* in favour of war and corporate welfare.)

The overblown praise for Bush in the reader comments, and the way they repeat the same phrases, makes me suspect that most of them originated from a rightwing letter-writing campaign. Even with the best of presidents at the helm, who in their right mind could have possibly felt "safe and protected" during those turbulent years?
I've often looked at cultism as describing one's devotion to an arguably unrealistic cause or belief that often acts against the best interests of the individual. In that regard, I consider most if not all organized religions - even the "mainstream" ones - to be little more than glorified cults.

Perhaps my status as a "non-religious" person colors that viewpoint, but when I have attended religious services of one faith or another, and have taken a step back to divorce myself from the seemingly mainstream normality of it all, some of the things that are said and done in those services really tend to creep me out! Kind of like ADULTS putting out snacks and drink for a fat, bearded guy dressed in red who is going to slide down a billion chimneys all over the world in a span of 18 hours as eight flying reindeer gallop around the globe carrying $100 billion worth of gifts in a slight the size of a Ford pickup truck. But they really believe it! They really do!

Ultimately, it seems that society brands something a cult if it somehow threatens to undermine the generally accepted cults/religions that have been around forever. Is it insecurity? Perhaps. Is it fear? Probably. Is it ignorance? Absolutely.
Of course, true liberal spending would not cut social programs

Table 3.16 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows government expenditures by function. Federal spending starts at line 42.

From 2000-2004 (most recent data available) total federal annual spending has increased an average of 5% annually. Annual spending is up 7.3% on "Health", 13.8% on "Elementary Education", is up 7.2% on "Higher Education", is up 7% on "Disability", is up 5% on "Welfare and Social Services", and is up 11.3% on "Unemployment".

Annual inflation was roughly 2.5% during that time frame and annual population growth was maybe 1%, so, exactly to which social programs are you referring when you say they were cut?

An investment is an expenditure on an asset made with the expectation of generating future returns on that asset in excess of the next best alternative use of that expenditure, or in protecting the value of other assets (e.g., insurance or defense). Education spending would be considered an investment, but welfare spending would not be. That would be a transfer payment, like taking money out of your left pocket and putting into your right. Or more aptly, taking money out of someone else's left pocket and putting into your right.
I cannot access the site you list, but I know that the picture is more complex. Pell Grants are being cut off from many students, and have effectively been reduced incrementally over the years because they remained static during inflation. HUD is down dramatically. The discretionary spending budget of the Department of Health and Human Services has been cut, even though the overall budget has risen. And so on..

All of that said...

We are in some slight agreement here, jed. But the underlying reason for the continued spending on welfare is that Bush must play to his red state base, and these states are welfare hogs. For a good piece on this, go here.

Of course, I've made the point many, many times on this blog: Red states are leech states, blue states are producer states. The pocket being robbed belongs to a Californian or a New Yorker.

But even I would countenance this welfare-for-hillbillies program if it were counterbalanced by cuts to corporate welfare, which is where the real waste comes in. This article in the National Review...

...a source that I hope you will not dismiss as hopelessly liberal, argues that Bush could have saved some 50 billion bucks over the course of ten years by cutting needless giveaways to corporations. I suspect that the actual figure would be substantially higher, especially if we rein in the obscene abuses which are traditionally found in the military production sector.

Of course, even those abuses are insignificant compared to the money wasted on this stupid war.
Try this:

Table 3.16 - make sure you change the pull-down menus to get back to 2000.

Joseph - we've discussed this "leech" thing in the past, but to my recollection I don't think you've ever answered my underlying question - Why is it acceptable, in your worldview, to have individuals "leech" but not states? The logical outcome of redistributionist federal tax policy is for money to flow from relatively rich states to relatively poor states. Since the per capita income is higher in New York and California than in Alabama or Utah, money flows that way.

With respect to Pell grants and higher education spending. . .I haven't seen a lot about income inequality on your blog. This isn't something I necessarily believe, but something I've been thinking about . . .if returns to higher education spending result in successful individuals who obtain the education, and if income inequality problems are exacerbated by those with educations versus those without, and if minimizing income inequality is a social goal, why should any policy subsidize higher education spending? As a policy, the consequence is subsidized income inequality.

I'll read your references later.
Joe, a small point about what it is that Tom did wrong and what makes many people fee creeped out.

It's called in law and business, "tortious interference in a contract," a doctrine that says, it is wrong to "butt into" a contract between two consenting parties, and if you destroy their transaction, you are liable. (Literally, "mind your own business".) To make a point, the law tends to reduce these doctrines to absurd examples to make a point, so here goes: supposed you are about to buy a hot dog on the street (I guess my choice of hypothetical reveals I'm in NY and not LA) and some vegan fanatic runs up to you and starts screaming, standing between you and the hot dog vendor, and you don't get your hotdog and the vendor doesn't get to sell his hot dog. It just doesn't seem right, and the vegan is reducing business (and therefore wealth maximization)between consenting adults. It doesn't matter that the vegan (like Tom) has some interest in the seller, like he was the vendor's landlord; that would make it worse.

To take the absurdity further, suppose Bill Gates became a militant vegan, and he commanded that Gateway, Dell, and other computer companies could not sell computers to meat eaters.

A more realistic example is that although labor unions can picket their employers, they cannot join a picket between some other union's employer and that other union; it's called a secondary boycott and is considered "butting into" a conflict they have no business in.

In this case, Viacom was willing to buy this episode; and South Park fans were willing to watch it; advertisers were willing to pay for the air time; and Tom barges in with his fanatic preferences and says even though you are all consenting contracting adults, I'm going to interfere because it goes against my preferences.

The normal answer is: Tom, if you don't wanna see Scientology get bashed, don't watch it; but don't prevent Viacom from showing it to people who want to watch it.

Now I suppose that this kind of interference happens all the time in the cut throat business world, but the idea of tortious interference with contract is pretty well accepted and legitimate as a way of condemning that behavior.

HamdenRice from DU
I thank you much, Hamden. But I think there's a difference between wheat Crusie allegedly did and what the mad vegan in your hot dog example did. Cruise (let us presume for the sake of argument that the rumors are true) is not actively putting himself between Viacom and the advertisers. He was simply saying "I have a right not to give interviews if I so choose." It's a little hard to make the argument that keeping silent and staying home to play Doom is a form of interference.

Aren't abortion protestors practicing tortious interference" every day?

As for jed...I see no reason to argue with someone whose values are so different as to make dialog impossible. If my ladyfriend (I THINK she is still my lady) did not have some financial aid (which she will surely pay back in spades, due to higher earnings and taxes), she would be forced to give up college and work at menial labor. And her upcoming professional career would go not to a motivated, hard-working lady with a 3.7 GPA but to some snotty rich kid who doesn't feel obligated to get such high grades because his or her only competition would be other snotty rich kids.

Now, you may be okay with that. You may be okay with the fact that class mobility has become much worse in this country than in, say, Europe. I'm not. And I don't see any evidence that the folks in European mixed economies live worse than folks do in more libertarian economies. But that's the problem with libertarian fanatics: They don't CARE about results; they only care about ideology. "This trick SHOULD work," they keep muttering, even when experience shows that it does not.

If you give welfare to an indvidual, he has no choice but to understand that he is on welfare and should be motivated to get off it. That, interestingly enough, is how it works in Sweden. I spoke recently to small business person there, who explained that the social stigma attached to taking government handouts for any extended period of time is severe. That keeps the number of welfare recipients small. (That, plus a good education system and a government devoted to protecting jobs.)

But...if you give those handouts to an entire state, a region, there is no stigma. Especially when we allow the leeches to live with the fantasy that they are NOT leeches. Especially when those hillbillies operate under the delusion that the real leeches are always "the Others," -- those damn liberals, those damn blacks, those damn furriners, anyone but the hillibilly in the mirror.

I say: Force those motherfucking southern-fried Jesus-lovin' LEECHES to stick their hillbilly faces right into the truth, the way you'd make a dog confront the poop on the rug. Force them to confront the fact thet they, the red-staters, are the TRUE recipients of gummint largesse, and that they owe money to the Californians they have robbed and insulted year after year.

Those sons of bitches always complain about the films we make. At least WE make a product the world likes. How many hillbillies can make that claim?

So one of the running themes of this blog is "Stick their faces in it." That's the only way to get that "social stigma" factor back in operation. It works in Sweden; why not Jesusland?
If my ladyfriend did not have some financial aid (which she will surely pay back in spades, due to higher earnings and taxes), she would be forced to give up college and work at menial labor.

There's a missing phrase that is implied in your sentence that's conspicuously absent. I think you're impling that "if [your] ladyfriend did not have some publicly subsidized financial aid. . ."
To this I say nonsense. There are plenty of private loan programs for higher education, which carry interest rates at market prices (I happen to owe on several). And in addition to getting subsidized interest rates, assuming your ladyfriend isn't in the top 10% of income earners, she'll get to deduct a large portion of the interest payments from her taxable income. The lack of government loans wouldn't force your ladyfriend into menial labor anymore than the elimination of "corporate welfare" would force those companies into bankruptcy. Subsidization of higher education loans reduces class mobility, it doesn't enhance it.

If you give welfare to an indvidual, he has no choice but to understand that he is on welfare and should be motivated to get off it. Yes, he or she should - but that's not the way it's worked in this country, and your analogy can be drawn for any urban center, which is much more subject to your issues than entire states.

I've provided a reference to standards of living in Europe vs. the U.S. in a past posting. (link below) Last year, Timbro looked at consumption in the EU and the U.S. In that study, they looked at consumption for "the poor" (their description not mine, a level of which was not indicated explicity in the study, but did follow a section citing the 12% U.S. poverty rate). In the U.S., the percentage of "the poor" owning a microwave, color TV, clothes dryer, VCR/DVD, and personal computer was greater than the average citizen in France and Denmark. Those owning dishwashers was about equal. Dwelling space per person was greater for "the poor" in the U.S. than for the average person from either France or the aggregate EU (although the average citizen in Denmark had more dwelling space per person than "the U.S. poor").
Post a Comment

<< Home

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Say goodbye

In the post below, we discussed the upcoming war with Iran. Since insecure supply lines mitigate against a land invasion, and since a new and deadly generation of missiles will obliterate any American ship that gets near Iran, the war must go nuclear. This site contains a powerful photographic presentation of what will be lost as a result of this neocon madness.

Can you feel it coming...?

Cannon here: Of course I support Feingold's call for censure, and I'm angry at the Democrats who would not stand with him. Even so, a part of me can understand the skittishness.

Censure may seem politically safe now, with Bush's approval rating sinking toward the 30% mark and points southward. But those approval ratings will skyrocket after the Sears Tower comes down and a good chunk of Chicago lies in ruins. Or after some similar event happens elsewhere.

Let's face it -- a new terror attack is the only thing that can salvage the neocon experiment. Such an attack is therefore inevitable.

We already know who the perps will be (the neocons) and who the fall guys will be (the Iranians). Afterward will come the great round-up of the "America-haters" -- defined as you and me and anyone else who considers Big Brother doubleplusungood. There will also be war with Iran. Nuclear war.

The signs are unmistakable. Come and see:

1. The far-right continually assails anyone who criticizes Bush as working with the terrorists. This accusation seems inane now, but it will take on quite an ominous tone after Big Wedding II.

2. Official propagandist Jerome Corsi, who is surely on the inside, has warned of an Iranian nuclear terror strike within the United States -- even though (as a moment's thought will tell you) Iran has nothing to gain and everything to lose from such an event.

3. No one doubts that the adminstration is gearing up for war with Iran, even though no political will exists in this country to prosecute such a conflict. Obviously, Cheney and co. know full well that an event will soon take place which will create sufficient backing.

4. Bush himself has repeated the false claim that Iran is arming the insurgency in Iraq. (Why would Shi'ite Iran want to undermine the most Shi'ite-friendly neighboring government they've ever known?)

5. Katherine Harris is staying in the race.

Point five may not seem obviously connected to my larger argument. But think about it: Under normal political rules, the woman has zero chance of winning, and no reason whatsoever to waste ten million bucks of her own money. Yes, I know that she has plenty of other dough, thanks to her wealthy husband. Even so, let's be realistic: The rich do not get rich by tossing cash down the garbage disposal.

But Katherine Harris is on the inside. She knows what is coming. She knows that after Big Wedding II, all the normal political rules will no longer apply. Anyone in any race who happens to have an "R" next to his or her name will automatically win in the election held after the next strike.

How "inside" is Kathy? She and Jeb Bush endorsed a strange entity called "Florida Air," an airline which, so far as I can tell, rarely offered actual airline services to members of the general public. Like the Wilkes enterprises, this was a spooky company run by spooky individuals for spooky purposes. From Welcome to Terrorland, written by Daniel Hopsicker:
"The chief and, indeed, only accomplishment of Boehlke and Dekkers’ unsuccessful airline was that it provided a rationale for the presence on the tarmac of the Venice Airport of a half dozen British Aerospace Jetstreams poised within easy reach of Caribbean hot spots. Well, the airline did have one other accomplishment: It was publicly endorsed by then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris..."
Here's more, from Hopsicker's web site:
At the same time their planes were flying back and forth from Venezuela with illegal cargo Hilliard's charter service was also, unbelievably, being utilized at virtually no cost––despite the fact that rentals for Lear jets can run as high as $1,800 an hour––by Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Even stranger, both Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris were providing celebrity endorsements to Hilliard's operation well after the company's Lear (N351WB) had been busted by DEA agents armed with machine guns.

Pretty poor advance work, at the very least...

One would think a sitting Governor seems well-advised to steer well clear of anything to do with heroin trafficking. Yet Governor Jeb Bush honored Hilliard's operation––called at various times Florida Air, Sunrise Airlines and Discover Air––with a personal visit, even posing for photos with the "Discover Air family."

The company promptly commemorated the memorable event by posting pictures of the visit on their website.

Finally somebody in the Bush camp realized their lethal potential exposure, and the webpage was hastily taken off the Discover Air site.
Think -- think real hard -- about the reason why any covert operator would set up a fake charter airline service. In Florida.

Do you really think that Kathy is going to spend $10 million dollars' worth of her daddy's money?

And do you really think that if IT happens before the election, she will lose?
sofla said:

My first thought on the Feingold resolution of censure was about the same as yours. A no-brainer, of course he should be censured, and even a failed effort would be worth getting on record. Then, I read about the dynamics of the '06 Senate races, where the Dems need 6 seats, 5 of which are in blue states. The argument is that it would be better to get the Senate than this rather toothless marker against Bush, and that putting a lot of effort into a censure would harm the other effort.

But the likelihood of a 18/22 (9/11 v. 2) does loom, as it is about the only thing that could cement a GOP victory in '06 and rush the rest of their fascist agenda forward. We already had Tommy Franks opining that another attack on the US would likely see the Constitution suspended, and martial law imposed.
sigh. it does seem inevitable, does it not. although the logic of the repugs' gaining unequivocal support may be yet another of their infamous miscalculations. i would not have believed the citizenry would sit still for another iraq, that is until the last poll, which showed that they trail the dems on EVERY issue, EXCEPT trusting this admin to deal properly with iran.

they have certainly done it again in terms of successfully shaping the american mind on the key issue. all their other crimes fall neatly into the permissable column if we're attacked again.

but do you honestly believe the 'who'd'a thunk it' defense will work yet again? i mean, the down side of having an attack occur is that it happens on their watch.

still, kudos to you for catching the katherine clue. these tea leaves will be essential for getting through all this.
Another "planned" attack could have its downside. As another indicated, there's no mistaking on whose "watch" the next one will have occurred. And with Bush's nonchalance about the DP World deal and his administration's noted incompetence regarding Katrina, et al, I don't think another attack would necessarily be a no-brainer popularity gain for Bush. Any escalation of fear certainly seems to provide a boost, but that may be too much to expect.

My guess is that the "next one" will happen in another country, an ally necessary to push the Iran agenda. Don't be surprised to see Germany or France in the crosshairs on that one.
It's all very well to censure this Shrub but, if the Democrats across the country don't tell the American people on main stream TV that they are expecting the neocons to engineer another attack on the American people again then most Americans will beleive anything they hear on rightwing radio or from whatever source they get their news. Why in an election year have we not heard from most of the Democrats about their fears of what this administration is capable of. Why must we leave the bandwidth to the neocons to spew their filth. Where is our Democratic Leadership and why are they hiding? Democratic Statesmen?
Is that an extinct species? If it isn't, maybe we should ensure it get's to be one in 2006-2008. What have they, with a few noteable exceptions been doing for the last six years?
Said Venice airport is the SAME airport that at least 2 of the 9/11 hijackers trained at--coincidence? probably, but still scary.
I disagree about the likelihood of another false flag terorist attack like 9/11 before the November election. The GOP and the Bush administration would gain nothing from it. Much more likely it would be the last nail in their coffin, confirming their utter and profound incompetence to all Americans and sealing their downfall. If these GOP are the poeple the American public needs to protect them (as Evil Dick Cheney and the GOP like to claim), who needs them! A recent poll already says 29% say "incometent" for their first word descriptor of Bush.
This post has been removed by the author.
I read the same poll. Democrats should not crow. Of the 210 respondents who offered one-word descriptions of Bush, 96 used positive words, while 114 used negative words. (I'm not counting the term "President," which is neutral.) The results are not so lopsided as some would have you think.

Most Americans thought that Feingold's censure call was based on partisanship, not principle. If the impeachment question is asked separately (not as an "if-then" formulation), only 29% back the idea. Roughly the same number of people backed the impeachment of Clinton.

Don't kid yourself. Bush still has more support than most of visitors to this site would like to think.

In the wake of tragedy, most Americans will not allow themselves to contemplate the notion that the neocons would engineer a terror attack. Our intelligence agencies will no doubt offer faked intercepts or some similar form of "proof" of Iranian guilt. And most people will buy the story.
Joseph, your characterization of a
neocon-perpetrated "terrorist" attack
as "Big Wedding II" suggests that you
regard the 9/11 attack as "Big Wedding
I" and yet you have expressed distaste
for the 9/11 truth movement.

Has something changed your thinking
about 9/11? If you, I'd be interested
to know what caught your atention and
how your ideas have evolved.
Above should of course be "If so".
Posting before coffee should not be done.
I expressed distaste for PART of the 9/11 truth movement. I haven't yet come up with a workable terminology, so the phrases I will use here are not really satisfactory. But I divide the movement into two categories: The "physical" theorists -- by which I mean the bombs-in-the-buildings crowd -- and the "connections" theorists -- by which I mean the folks who think there is more to the story of Mohammed Atta and co. than has been told.

In other words, I say "viva Daniel Hopsicker" and "fuck you, Tom Flocco."

It pisses me off royally that so many people have heard absolute nonsense about the collapse of the WTC (the temperature at which steel liquifies is NOT the temperature at which it starts to bend), yet have never heard of, say, Magdy El-Amir.

I don't think we yet have enough data to understand who knew what would happen on 9/11. If Bush knew the precise details, he would not have been caught on videotape looking like an idiot while holding a children's book upside-down.

Even so, I am now persuaded that some people in or around the administration DID have advance knowledge. They may not have comprehended the full scope of the operation. But a tight-knit group was aware that something big was about to go down.

Will Bush have advance warning of Big Wedding II? The more pertinent question is: Why tell him? He's an idiot.

There's certainly a metaphorical truth to your theory (the players involved are capable of this kind of treason), but the chances of them actually perpetrating these acts, or even contemplating perpetrating them, are another matter. Sure, they'd love to nuke Chicago and Iran, and make Christ or Santa Claus the patron saint of the country. But that doesn't mean they *could* or would venture to try. It's not simply a matter of the Bush circle. They would need far wider cooperation, and in a country which remains open as this one (despite their best efforts), that's no small challenge.

Unless your sources are a lot better than everyone else's, or you have prophetic dreams, it remains the rankest fantasy. The fact that Katherine Harris is vain and fautuous enough to persist in what looks to be a lost campaign hardly nails the case. It's far more likely she thinks she can game the voting machines, than that a nuke will put her in the Senate.

Speculation is one thing, but you're setting all this out as if it were a foregone conclusion.... Would you bet your personal wealth, and all your future assets, on a nuclear device going off in the U.S. within the next 3 years, followed by a nuclear attack on Iran, which would end all international cooperation with the U.S. and (in all likelihood) precipitate economic catastrophe? If so, I have a bridge I can sell you.

Of course, you could still be right. But, the point is, there's no evidence for it unless you're going to invoke Divine Inspiration, and I thought that was something the reality-based community tended to avoid?
I've had another nagging suspicion about Harris' candidacy. I think she's keeping the seat warm for Jeb, who knows he doesn't want to withstand the stigma of being dubya's brother during a long campaign. I fully expect Harris to withdraw for "personal reasons" sometime say, around 9/11 for symbolic and subliminal reasons, and that Jeb will then step in to save the day.
The republicans are greatly concerned about losing the Senate and surely don't expect Harris to win. They want Senator Jeb in the worst way. Harris will, of course, be rewarded for her willingness to "take one for the team."

Kim in PA
This answer will probably exclude me from the reality-based community...or at least shunt me off to the slummier sections of that community...but, yeah.

Prophetic dreams.

I didn't have one, but my ex did. In August of 1999. She dreamed about Airplanes slamming into the World Trade Center. Upon awakening that morning, she remianed in a semi-entranced state and went on to make quite a few other predictions. Including the one about a "small" nuke going off in Chicago (which had acually been the subject of a whole series of prophetic dreams she once had.)

I discussed this in a lengthy post some ages ago. (I'm too lazy to dig up the precise date right now, but a little googling might do the trick.) It may have been the most embarrassing hting I ever wrote, but it really happened, cross my heart and hope to die...and NO, I did not misrecall or misinterpret what she said.

I told only one person about the WTC prediction before the fact and he does not now recall my having said it. If I had published what she said on the internet, Lord knows how the FBI would have reacted. So maybe I was an idiot to put the nuke prediction on the record beforehand.

I guess you can say my materialistic curmudgeonhood did receive something of a shake-up, if only in regard to the idea of ESP. Obviously, I cannot expect my experience to persuade anyone else. It's, like, a personal thang.

Call me a situationally-modified materialistic curmudgeon.

So to me it IS a foregone conclusion, or if not that, then at least a likelihood. But I don't expect anyone else to share this view or to take my account at face value. You'd be a fool to trust in an anecdotal report of ESP as manifested by someone whose name you do not even know. I don't say any of this to convince YOU, merely to confess just what it is that drives ME.

If I'm wrong...GREAT!! That'll be the best-tasting helping of crow anyone ever gobbled.

That said, I'm a little miffed at myself for taking a swipe at Tom Flocco. He's not so bad, not compared to some of the others. Alex Jones, on the other hand...
Flocco self-destructed with the
Barbara Olson story. Current
WTC-was-demolished advocates Dr.
Steven Jones and Dr. David Ray Griffin
are made of sterner stuff.

Funny you should mention Alex Jones in
juxtaposition with your precognitive
dream story. I've been told by a
reliable 9/11 truth activist that
Alex Jones warned of 9/11 in
advance, telling his listeners to
call their federal legislators and
sound the alarm.
I've been worried about this for weeks. It's totally crazy, of course - but so are they! So it could still make sense to them. More to the point, I don't think they have another option. Sooner or later the whole house of cards is coming down - 9/11 cracks (CNN covers Charlie Sheen), the Plame investigation, the Abramoff and Cunningham scandles, plummetting popularity, stolen elections, wiretap scandles, Katrina, and always this crazy war where we can't win, can't break even, and can't get out of the game. I think they know they're done for, by the elections if no sooner - and with democratic majorities in the House and Senate, Bush would be impeached. So I can see how they might feel that there is no other choice but to ride this one as hard and as far as it can go. And that was topic a while back: will they be desperate enough to stage this attack so they can nuke Iran? I'm afraid so, I think they might well be that desperate.

PLEASE, prove me wrong.

Post a Comment

<< Home

Well put

Here's the funniest remark I've seen all week. From Americablog:
President Bush is at 33% in the new poll taken by The Pew Research Center, which puts him slightly above amoebic dysentery and just below Dick Cheney’s smile. Il Duce could have mustered more support while hanging in Piazza Loreto.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Truth is All

I just learned (belatedly) that the Democratic Underground contributor who goes by the nomme-de-net "Truth Is All" has been seriously ill. (See here; scroll down.) His wife has asked for the prayers of all who pray.

TIA, in case you don't know, has been one of the most tireless investigators and numbers-crunchers devoted to uncovering the truth of the 2004 election. I am ashamed to have spent so little time in recent weeks on the paramount issue of vote fraud. TIA was one who never wavered. For those willing to follow the math -- which I did only on rare occasions -- his arguments were conclusive.

I do not know the man's real name. One day it will come out, and he will have a place of honor atop the list of those who fought to restore democracy.

Here is a sample of his work:
Naysayers claim that bias favored Kerry in the pre-election and exit polls. Yet they offer no evidence to back it up. They claim that Gore voters forgot and told the exit pollsters they voted for Bush in 2000. It's their famous "false recall" hypothetical. They were forced to use it when they could not come up with a plausible explanation for the impossible weightings of Bush and Gore voter turnout in the Final National Exit poll.

According to the final 2004 NEP, which Bush won by 51-48%, 43% of the 13660 respondents voted for Bush in 2000 while only 37% voted for Gore. This contradicts the reluctant Bush responder (rBr) hypothesis.
I should stress that the meaningless Final Exit Poll numbers were "massaged" (or corrupted) to conform with the actuals. Previous exit poll numbers showed Kerry ahead throughout the day.

His final point is one that I was screaming about until I became hoarse. The (and I mean THE) only explanation we ever received for the dichotomy between the exits and the actuals was the "reluctant Bush responder" theory, which I tended to call the "chatty Dem" theory. The idea was simple: The exit polls favored Kerry because the folks who voted for Bush were unwilling to talk to the pollsters. We are supposed to believe -- contrary to all experience -- that right-wingers are shy and reticent.

Here's the catch: Those pollsters did not only ask "Whom did you vote for today?" They also asked "Whom did you vote for in 2000?"

Gore WON the popular vote in 2000!

Look again at those numbers: 43% of the respondents in 2004 said that they voted for Bush in 2000, while only 37% said they voted for Gore. Yet -- let's say it again -- Gore WON the popular vote in 2000.

Get it? If you don't, keep re-reading the last paragraph until the truth sinks in.

The conclusion is inescapable: Bush voters were OVER-represented in the 2004 exits polls. They were not under-represented.

If the exit pollsters talked to a disproportionate number of Bush-friendly voters, we can toss the rBr fantasy out the window. Without the rBr, we have only one conclusion: Vote fraud occurred, and Kerry is the rightful president. In fact, he won by a larger margin than most people would believe possible.

TIA was, if memory serves, the first person to spot this all-important point. I wish we had some way to slam these facts into the craniums of every American.
I hope TIA doesn't have pancreatic or some other kind of advanced cancer. Not to sound paranoid, but our gov medical researchers have come up with substances that result causing various types of cancers, such as pancreatice cancer, one of the most fastest progressing cancers.

Dear TIA, I remember seeing a few of your posts on Cannonfire, thanks for all your hard work, sorry to hear about your illness.

get better soon, we still need you.
Yes, TIA, if you (or your spouse) are still reading our comments, please get better. I will think lots of healing thoughts for you.
Thank you for posting this , prayers .
Post a Comment

<< Home

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Atta, Weldon and Able Danger

The only thing that stinks worse than my vegetable bin is the latest attempt to spin away the Able Danger claim. For those of you who do not recall, Able Danger was the name of the Pentagon "data mining" unit which identified Mohammed Atta as a potential terrorist threat -- and even had his picture up on a flow chart -- well before 9/11. In fact, the team had placed Atta in the United States at a time when he was, according to the official chronology, in Germany.

That claim made Able Danger dangerous -- especially for Homeland Security head honcho Michael Chertoff. We'll get to that part of the story soon.

As long-time readers may recall, there was a period when I expressed some doubt about these allegations. They were first aired by a loose-cannon GOP congressman named Curt Weldon, whom the intelligence community obviously views as a useful idiot. If you are a military intelligence officer and you want to spread some alarming declaration (true or otherwise) about a proposed enemy du jour, simply schedule a "private" meeting with Weldon. Impressed by rank and tickled to be "on the inside," he'll rush to the nearest microphone.

The great virtue of such a tactic is that if a fake story falls apart -- or if a true story proves embarrassing and needs to be reeled back in -- all blame will go to Weldon. Not to his informants.

And that, apparently, is what's going on right now. The media tells us that the Able Danger tale has unraveled -- and sure enough, Curt Weldon finds himself on the business end of many an accusatory finger. It's all his fault.

Conveniently, the Pennsylvanian congressman now parrots an unbelievable yarn about Osama Bin Laden having died in Iran -- and never mind the fact that the Shi'ites of Iran have little love for a Sunni fanatic like Osama. If you've done any reading in the history of disinformation, you'll recognise this tactic. Having decided that the Able Danger story needed squelching, the Pentagonian Powers-That-Be tasked someone to keep a straight face while feeding Weldon horseshit. Newsfolk then printed "wacky Weldon" pieces intended to convince the public that the Pennsylvania congressman is both a serial fabricator and the "onlie begettor" of the Atta identification tale.

Trouble is, Weldon was just the conduit. If someone poisons your well, don't blame the pipes that bring the water to your kitchen sink.

Weldon's source for the Able Danger story was Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer. Most of the latest news pieces do not mention him -- or the harrassment he has undergone since going public -- although this column in the Washington Post resorts to smears and name-calling:
And then there's Shaffer, who offered a rambling, paranoid, messianic story in his testimony claiming again not only the existence of the chart, but also Defense Department efforts at cover-up and retribution against him for revealing the TRUTH.

Just read Shaffer's testimony and you'll see what I mean. He is his own worst enemy.
Really? That testimony is here. Read it with an open mind. I don't think Shaffer's historical allusions serve his purposes; even so, this testimony hardly seems paranoid or messianic -- especially if you compare it to, say, Oliver North's blatherings before the Iran/contra committee.

The current news stories do not mention the confirmation Shaffer received. Xymphora summarizes a fair amount of the counter-argument:
Of course, more than one person saw the picture, and defense contractor J.D. Smith recognized Atta's picture on the chart by his distinctive cheekbones. Weldon had previously indicated that the picture stood out because lawyers had put yellow stickies over it, an odd thing to do if the picture didn't exist. The reason they put the stickies over it, and the whole basis for Weldon's original comments, was that they were using legal technicalities to thwart the Pentagon's efforts to prevent a terrorist attack. The legal technicalitites were based on the fact that Atta's green-card status protected him from further investigation, which of course meant that they had to know who Atta was, know he had a green card, and know that the picture they were covering with stickies was a picture of Atta.
The writers of the current stories would rather chug a bottle of Dave's Insanity Sauce than mention James D. Smith. Neither will you see any mention of another Able Danger insider, Navy Captain Scott Philpott, who has declared: "My story has remained consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger in January/February 2000."

And that's not all:
The Defense Department announced its findings on September 1, 2005, after a three-week investigation into Able Danger... The DoD admitted they have found three other witnesses in addition to Shaffer and Philpott who confirm Able Danger had produced a chart that "either mentioned Atta by name as an al-Qaida operative [and/or] showed his photograph." Four of the five remember the photo on the chart. The fifth remembers only Atta being cited by name. The Pentagon describes the witnesses as "credible" but did not rule out the possibility their recollections were faulty.
What evidence backs the current attacks on the "Atta identification" story? It's pretty thin.

1. Weldon reported that, within days of the attack, he gave the chart (the one identifying Atta) to Stephen Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser. Hadley denies that he ever saw such a chart. As though that settles that.

2. Weldon is not sure whether he saw Atta's face on the chart; he relies on the memory of his sources.

3. Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone told the House Armed Services Committee that
The Department undertook its recent review of Able Danger in good faith and with due diligence. No chart or charts with Mohammed Atta’s name or photo have been found.
Well, duh. Army Intelligence officer Major Eric Kleinsmith has elsewhere testified that he, acting under orders, deleted all the data.

And that, my friends, is pretty much it. Based on points one, two and three above, we are now supposed to toss the "Atta spotter" allegation into the "hoax" file.

Pro-Bush propagandists tolerated the Able Danger revelations only to the extent that they could twist it into an excuse to attack those awful, awful Clintons. That "spin" didn't take. The attempt to blame Jamie Gorelick never held water, and no-one could explain why Bushco sat on the information for so many months.

The administration could not afford to have the tale of Atta's identification officially confirmed. Doing so would force the official story into rewrite -- and the rewritten tale might prove highly embarrassing to Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff.

Why? Because James D. Smith, referenced above, also reported that Atta's name emerged during an examination of individuals connected to Omar Abdul Rahman, the "blind sheik" who helped mastermind the first World Trade Center bombing. That allegation sent the G.O.P. flacks into a spin-frenzy; for a while, they floated a "two Attas" theory. This absurd panic reaction occurred because Michael Chertoff, in private practice, represented one Magdy El-Amir, a New Jersey businessman long believed to have funded both Rahman and Al Qaida.

If we can tie Magdy El-Amir to Atta (and evidence does indeed point in that direction), then the Bush administration will face its worst scandal yet. Even the red-staters might awaken from their intellectual slumber if they learn that Bush appointed as Homeland Security Director the lawyer for one of Mohammed Atta's co-conspirators.
We should be grateful that the Gonzalez Justice Dep't has made torture legal. After the coming R*volution, all these malevolent characters can be gitmo-ized.

A full and truthful history of the Bush years will be compiled at long last.
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
Minor technical point:

OBL is a follower of the Wahhabi sect of Islam popular in Saudi Arabia (his home country), and is not a Sunni.
What's this? Joseph thinks there's hope for the Red Staters? Did hell freeze over? Even I'm not feeling too compassionate on that score at the moment.
Wahhabism is a sect within Sunni Islam, although the preferred term, I've been told is Salafism. Wahhab was the name of the sect's founder. They believe that one should not venerate prveious "saints" within Islam. Salaf is a more general word that means something like "early predecessors" -- I suppose it might loosely be translated as "fundamentalist."

Qutbism is a Salafi sect-within-a-sect founded in the 20th Century by Sayyid Qutb. I've written about him before. He was a young Egyptian man of letters who had his grand revelation while visiting America. While attending a church social in the mid-west, he became shocked at the way the women dressed and acted. So he went back home and began an ULTRA-fundamentalist movement, which caught on as a reaction to Nasserism. The movement became allied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Most people presume Osama Bin Laden is a Qutbist, although he has never identified himself as such explicitly.
I like your Blog - some interesting comments abound!

You are welcome to come visit my site which is about seo web design
I like your Blog - some interesting comments abound!

You are welcome to come visit my site which is about established web design firm
Post a Comment

<< Home

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What's the deal with MZM?

The TPM Muckraker has uncovered some interesting background on MZM, the "other" company that bribed Duke Cunningham. (MZM is the one that seems to have actually done stuff -- as opposed to the Wilkes empire, which was largely a series of false fronts.)

MZM was involved with spying on Americans. Thanks to palm greasing, MZM chieftain Mitchell Wade received some $16 million in contracts to provide "data storage" systems to CIFA -- a.k.a. the Counterintelligence Field Activity, an allegedly anti-terrorist spook-shop run by the Pentagon. They have spent a lot of their time snooping on anti-war activists and other peace-lovin', Bush-hatin' Communist sunzabitches.

CIFA has also spent some time keeping track of the anti-Bush blogosphere. Hi, boys!

(Side note: Recall that one of the few services that Wilkes actually provided was "data storage" -- using technology taken from another firm.)

Let's combine what TPM has uncovered with what we already knew.

When we first learned about MZM, we were told that they had been hired to provide "office furniture" and "intelligence services" for the White House. Why would anyone hire an intelligence firm to supply chairs and desks and office cubicle walls? Only one answer ever made sense to me: The stuff was bugged.

So who would bug staffers in the West Wing? Well, any number of entities within the government might have wanted to do such a thing. In the early 1970s, the CIA bugged Nixon's staffers (and probably even the Oval Office itself), using pretty much the same tactics.

In an earlier column, I suggested another possible party who might have shown an interest: the Mossad. Before you dismiss the suggestion, consider:

Congressman Bob Ney, one of "Abramoff's boys," mysteriously arranged for a company called Foxcom to install wireless communications in Congress. In return for getting this gig, Foxcom made a hefty donation to an Abramovian "atheletic fund," which, in this case, means that Foxcom paid for one of those expensive golf trips to Scotland.

Foxcom is an Israeli firm, but does that mean they're Mossad? I cannot say -- not for sure. But we must presume that they had a serious reason to go to such pains to set up the wireless network used by Congress.

As any number of articles have shown, the Abramoff scandal and the Cunningham/Wilkes/MZM bribery scandals are so intimately linked, one perhaps ought to think of them as a unit. So if Israel went through Abramoff in order to spy on Congress, then perhaps it also went through MZM to spy on the West Wing.

From there, might they not have also wanted to "borrow" the information running through CIFA?

Much spook lore revolves around the PROMIS software, a case management system which was once used widely in various intelligence and police agencies. Gordon Thomas' biography of Robert Maxwell tells the story of how the Israelis got hold of PROMIS and engineered a "back door" into the software; they then found ways to make sure that the intelligence services of many nations (China, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, even the USSR) got hold of and used this reconfigured program. Whatever they heard, Mossad overheard. (For more, see here.)

So many mondo-bizarro "PROMIS" stories have cropped up over the past fifteen-or-so years that I long ago despaired of ever separating the wheat from the chaff. (By no means should you believe everything you read about PROMIS on the net.) I'm persuaded, though, that Thomas' book gets within sniffing range of the truth.

In which case, we have a precedent that adds some weight to my theory as to what MZM and Foxcom have been up to.
The story about MZM being a CIFA data mining contractor was noted in Cannonfire back in Nov. 2005.

Bugs in the White House? (updated)

See the comments.
Post a Comment

<< Home

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Armitage and Plame...and the poppy

Who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame to Bob Woodward in mid-June, 2003? David Corn, citing Benjamin Bradlee, has claimed that the source was arch neo-con Richard Armitage. Although Bradlee now denies the quote, I suspect that identification will prove correct.

Woodward may believe that his source had "no ax to grind," but everyone in DC has a hatchet of some sort. As we try to work out motives, the following seemingly-unrelated data points may prove worthy of consideration:

1. Plame, we now know, was a potential impediment to the administration's long-term plan to conquer Iran.

2. Armitage served in Tehran during the important 1975-76 period, under master spook Richard Helms (who is widely held to have engineered Nixon's downfall).

3. Several sources have connected Armitage to drug trafficking sanctioned by a faction within American intelligence. If this claim is justified, one might want to trace the entire post-Vietnam history of these drug networks, and of the banks used for money laundering. One would also want to study further Daniel Hopsicker's contention that Bin Laden's stateside "associates" were involved with a protected drug importation operation linked to Jack Abramoff and -- ultimately -- the Bush family.

4. Under the Shah, Iran was a massive (MASSIVE) producer of opium, and also provided a huge consumer market. The mullahs shut down the dope trade. No-one who knows how the world really works will have any doubt that this trade will resume in full force if America succeeds in dislodging the current Iranian regime. Lots of money to be made there.
ooh, lots of fascinating assertions here. would it be too much trouble to maybe slip in a couple of links for these? would really enjoy chasing them down.

as for the iran poppies, easy to follow that lead. afghanistan had essentially brought heroine production to zero under the taliban. within two years of the us invasion, the country was once again THE top producer of smack.

Actually the information in point 4 about Iran and the Shah being a big producer and consumer of heroin is contradicted in the most authoritative text I know of: Alfred McCoy's The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. According to McCoy, starting in the early 1950's before the CIA's covert ouster of PM Mossadegh and into the reign of the Shah, Iran had very deliberately, and mostly successfully, stamped out the production and consumption of heroin in that country. That was also true of the Communist Chinese in stamping out the production in Yunnan province. That is why the focus shifted to heroin production in Southeast Asia: Laos, Burma, northern Thailand, etc., especially among the hilltribe peoples with support of the CIA and the KMT Nationalist Chinese of Chiang Kai Shek.
With all due respect to Dr. McCoy (whose book is definitely worth purchasing), you might want to go here...

...for another view of opium production under the Shah. (Eight paragraphs down.) You will also find a fleeting reference in the opening paragraph of this page:

Perhaps more importantly for my larger point is the resurgence of opium usage and cultivation in Iran. Anyone who controls that trade will control an unimaginable fortune. See here:

...and especially here:

The last-mentioned site claims that there are 2 million opium addicts in Iran, including Khamanei himself...!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?