Thursday, December 29, 2005

Go see Syriana!

The film adaptation of Bob Baer's book "See No Evil" was a great movie. We saw it in Harvard Square and I had the feeling the matinee shows must be full of the good folks over at Cambridge Energy Research Associates right down the street catching up on their work!
Folks who at times look and act just like the character played by our very own Matt Damon! Maybe good old Dan Yergin, author of "The Prize", was that guy behind me loudly munching away on popcorn while George Clooney and William Hurt were whispering state secrets to each other in a similarly dimly lit movie house... however in THEIR theater folks actually knew how to act in public during the quiet scenes!
(How odd is that? Being in a movie theater watching folks on the screen in a movie theater?)

Baer is also the author of, "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude", another great book that tells it like it is.

Now if only some brave soul would write a book or make a movie about the strange death of Salem bin Laden in Texas...!


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Books?

There is a large and growing larger part of this country that distrusts the over-educated. The pointy-headed Eastern Establishment types who are the arbiters of what is what are clashing with their Middle-America, Bible Belted, narrow minded, xenophobic and ethnocentric brethren. So is one of science and one of faith? Are the two divergent philosophies truly so separate it will eventually turn this country in on itself? Spawning armies of truth, each looking opposite directions, back to back? One clutching one single book and the other willing to accept all books written?

Why does education threaten so many? Was it not a way to rise above the poverties of the soul, the mind, the spirit and the body? Imagine down the road a technocratic utopia based on wisdom, intellect and science overthrown by a theocratic doppelganger of Orwellian magnitude. The literary fantasy of the “Handmaid’s Tale” made all too real. A place of resolute dogmatic orthodoxy controlling the citizens for their own good. Liberty and freedom taking a backseat to the undying devotion to what we were told by the zealots the generation before. As in “A Brave New World” where the choice was made and comfort and security won over truth and beauty. Is truth STILL dead?

When one is exposed to too many ideas, do the pre-existing ideas suffer somehow? Become jealous of the new neighbors? Attempt to undermine them and force them into retreat? Is the control of minds a fulltime pursuit for too many here and now? One can seek education, lower or higher, organized or disorganized and individual. A mansion has many rooms and the fact we have so many educational choices must surely be a sign of our diverse strength of thought. A form of safety in numbers so that the intellectual dead ends can co-exist with the more approved and official avenues, helping obscure them, hide them, water them down and marginalize them all.

Public schools and libraries are under pressure to cater to all the roads of thought. The disease of bad ideas, like a virus, spreading, contracting, fought off then conquering territory. From the person who decides what book titles are to be in the catalog, to the person filling out the order form, to the person who can use the “discard” rubber stamp, to the person who tears pages out of the objectionable books that somehow got through... there is a pattern to the tiles in the mosaic. The hard part is to take that step back, un-focus your eyes and see the real picture. Before it is too late.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mary Mapes on CSPAN-2's Book TV

Mary Mapes, former CBS newsie and Dan Rather water carrier, was interviewed by that crypto-fascist Brent Bozell... Her book (Truth & Duty, St. Martins Press) looks interesting to be sure, but the odd confluence of domestic intel dirty tricks and the grimy-filthy fingerprints of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" were also lurking in the woods off the beaten path.

Specifically the closure on any further inquiry into the soft treatment Bush received in the Air Guard since the revelation the memo purported to demonstrate the preferential treatment was shown to be a fake! Shocked! Simply shocked we are!

Those in the know have telegraphed the idea that this "trap" (and subsequent negation of her and Rather) was revenge for their breaking the Abu Ghraib abuse photos on the CBS Evening News...
and to be fair...
(MudVille takes FOREVER to load on dial-up due to all their commercial interests' blather...)

Too bad those photos were not proven to be fakes as well, eh?
Methinks the same black bag cut-n-paste lab near DC also helped create the fake intel on "Niger uranium, Saddam, Iraq, nukes, etc... that helped justify an expansion fo the WoT to Iraq...

Also of interest would the the idea that Valerie Plame's CIA front company, notional enterprise, false front, or what-have-you, Brewster Jennings Associates, was tasked with keeping tabs on WMD tech transfer across the globe... too bad that whole op was negated... or was it?
Maybe we had an interest in allowing some tech xfer off the radar to certain parties, while plausibly denying assisting folks gain these weapons and/or enabling technologies. All the while being able to say with certainty that we were "doing something" to stop the "bad guys" from getting ahold of it... unless our government does not act or speak with one voice?


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Puzzling evidence?

OK, upon further consideration it appears to be maybe a BIT ironic that Hayatullah Khan had reported on US forces kidnapping Pakistanis and taking them over the border into Afghanistan as far back as November of 2002!

Here is the text of his Daily Times article...

US forces kidnap 3 tribal policemen
By Hayatullah Khan

MIR ALI: US military personnel ‘kidnapped’ three tribal border policemen from Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, official sources said Friday.

The three unarmed Khasadars or tribal cops were kidnapped on November 3 by US forces on the Pakistan side of the border area of Lwara, official sources of the political administration of the North Waziristan Agency in Miranshah said. The Americans, however, released two of the kidnapped Khasadars on Thursday after four days of captivity, the officials said. “But the third cop is still in the custody of the American commandos,” they added. The officials said the cops were taken to Afghanistan from the Lwara Tochi Scouts-manned check-post that monitored the border areas in the agency.

Sources told Daily Times the Americans were regularly patrolling the Pak-Afghan border to check on movements of the Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives.

Hmmm.... very interesting.... (Arte Johnson voice)

OH! Here is a pic of that Hellfire wreckage recovered from the blown up building.


Pakistani Journalist Abducted?

Oh right! That guy, Hayatullah Khan, who took that picture of locals holding a piece of a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone UAV (Flying CIA Death "Robot") that offed that Al Kader, Abu Hamza Rabia in the Waziristan tribal area.

A good article on this case appeared in the 12-8-2005 LA Times and the 12-9-2005 Boston Globe. Of course things like that can't happen here...
or here...

Another great article can be found here.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What Would Jesus Shoot? .223? .308? Something bigger maybe?

Watching Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” for the dozenth time, (IS dozenth a word? Hmmm... Well now it is!) I realized there is no gun group for Leftists. That’s right, with a capital L! Despite Michael Moore being a lifetime member of the NRA, they just do not represent my enlightened viewpoint on the “right to bear arms”. That’s right, in quotation marks!

My gun rights group welcomes all of those not welcome at the NRA. Communists, Socialists, Anarchists and even, Agnostics and Atheists! As a last resort we reserve the right to defend ourselves and fight fire with fire. While our well-trained boys are overseas as part of that USA Freedom & Liberty Foreign Adventure Corps, we need to fill in here at home with the B-team to help protect us from ourselves and anyone else who would be crazy enough to try anything. (see next blog entry re: Torturing the Mentally Ill at Gitmo)

My gun rights group has homosexuals concerned about fending off fag-bashers and American Indians pissed off about the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, their hearts buried at Wounded Knee along with pre-ban Armalite AR-15 assault rifles with the auto sears all packed in grease inside sealed plastic bags. The gun rights group I belong to has a logo decal with a rampant eagle with a sawed-off shotgun in her razor sharp talons and rainbow bunting encircling her glorious wings. That decal is displayed on my bio-diesel powered Benzo that used to be a hoopty but morphed into a real dope rizzy when I bought it off of that ex-hippy (who moved to B.C. to grow herbs for the Baker’s Supply Company) and painted it black suede primer with natty Von Dutch pinstriping.

That guy should get a piece and join up, no dues, no rules, just the knowledge that there are armed radical militant lefties running around just itching for a fight should do the trick on those wishing to harm us, now or in the near future. We let in all types, regardless of orientation or occidentation. We can assemble peaceably and defend abortion clinics from those pesky religious extremists if they act up. And speaking of those pesky religious extremists, both foreign AND domestic, our pal Jesus has a .50 caliber surprise awaiting them in the afterlife, for he who lives by the sword will most certainly die by the sword, so remember to bring your body armor.

So, as much as I appreciate the Green Party and folks of their ilk, all that non-violence stuff sort of keeps them from being taken seriously by The Establishment as a true force. “True force, all the King’s men cannot put it back together again.” - Travis Bickle, “Taxi Driver” So what if we induct some sketchy characters into our Hall of Fame... like Arthur Bremer for his keeping George Wallace from losing to George McGovern in the 1972 election, remember he stalked Nixon first! Face it folks, in this new post-911 world, we NEED the target practice! Lefties can’t really shoot straight, or can they?


Torturing the Mentally Ill at Gitmo

Face it, folks who think a deity is speaking to them are just hearing voices in their head. Unfortunately, in most of the Third World, there are few if any mental health resources, much less an actual system in place to screen and treat these whackos. Even here in America, we are very polite and have allowed religiously inspired crazies to basically run amok in the pulpit and on television for all to see. OK, so the suicide bombers might be the borderline personalities that the smart zealots push to the front of the line to meet Allah first. Here we have schizophrenics tele-vangelizing with no regard to truth or reality. It is as if they want YOU to join them in the same prophetic world they live in where if you just listen closely enough you can hear the WORD and see the signs that the End Times are certainly upon us.

So now we travel to the Middle East and the so-called “Arab World” where finding suitable stabilizing pharmaceuticals is nearly impossible. Where if you are seen babbling nonsense in the village square and tell your friends and relatives that you are seeing things and hearing voices, instead of taking you to a doctor, they send you to a madrasa to be trained in even more craziness, weapons included! We could fight the War on Terror quicker by dropping Lithium or Xanex on these people rather than willie-pete! (White Phosphorus bombs) So perhaps lobotomizing the leadership cadre of Al Qaeda would have a positive net effect on terrorism, but since it is a decentralized nebulous group that can act with no directions or instructions from above other than, kill crusaders and Jews, I seriously doubt that.

Electric shock therapy is another option in our New World Order Mental Health Plan. This treatment regimen may already be working at some secret “mental health clinics” located within a short rendition flight to a helpful ally. But what about the headline of this blog entry? Fair enough, if you read this far you probably get the drift that if we capture crazies overseas and bring them to Guantanamo Bay Cuba to be held and they do not receive adequate mental health screening and proper medication to bring them back from the dim recesses of their fractured and tortured mind, then we are indeed just torturing the mentally ill down there, out of our sight and out of their minds.


Formalizing the Informal in Iraq

The privatization of government services as a cost-cutting measure is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In the name of saving tax payer money, we are washing our hands of primary responsibility and depending on mercenaries to do the work for us. While this is most evident in the war in Iraq when a contractor making $30k a month driving a truck speeds past the GI guarding him earning much less, it is less evident in other ways. Not having reporting from the war zone reflecting actual reality is a big mistake. Our inability to gat a good accurate read of the realities keeps us guessing as to what is what and who is who, all to our chagrin when official pronouncements do not mesh with the facts. Marginalizing the disparity between these private helpers, well-connected Halliburton employees or otherwise, and our own troops is another big mistake. Combining these two makes for an unsustainable situation on the ground. Our boys deserve better, so maybe we can take a page out of Ronnie Reagan’s old playbook!

In the Central American War (Remember that one kids? Contras v. Sandanistas, Eugene Hasenfus, etc.?) when Congress voted to stop aiding the repressive right-wing forces that included Death Squads, an ersatz private aid network spontaneously generated! Concerned citizens from all over the country were prodded into action. Amazing! In those heady days when the Cold War was raging we’d have some proxy of ours doing our dirty work while we supplied them, with or without Congressional approval. In that case super-patriots like Joe Coors and the kind folks at W.R. Grace would open their coffers to keep the Red Tide at bay while our Leftist loving legislators put their heads in the sand like so many pink ostriches! Remember it was only a short drive to our southern border from Nicaragua! So some Third World flunky propped up by Uncle Sam, trained by ex-CIA and ex-Special Forces types would be pushed once more unto the breach dear friends once more!

So what happened to that paradigm? Unlike the impoverished jungle climate of El Salvador, Honduras or Costa Rica, picture lazy rich Saudis doing our dirty work for us? Ha! If anything they have a stronger “pimp hand” than we do and we are their bitch since they are the supplier of our national addiction of choice, imported oil to fuel our economy. Like the street hooker on crack seeking a John to facilitate their next fix, we bend over for and to the Saudis when in fact a private aid network supported and financed completely by their oil money should be at the front lines in Iraq. Homegrown Republicans can also pay for the fighting of the war at their own expense. Pass the hat at the country club or posh day spa. Have a bake sale at the gated community. Hire thugs from around the world to be on the front lines, folks who if they die, the loss would hardly be noted on the evening news. There are plenty of idle Serbian-trained paramilitaries sitting around greasy cafes in Belgrade listening to Turbo Folk music and smoking unfiltered black market cigarettes comparing war stories about how they so expertly killed Muslims in Kosovo. Perhaps we can open our prisons to save more tax payer money. Those wishing to be released early can apply for the Foreign Adventure Corps. Train them in basic weapons and send them on over to do our and the Saudi’s dirty work, because in the name of formalizing the informal, let those who support the war pay for it themselves.


The Potential Balkan-ization of Iraq

Iraq as a nation state was always in turmoil. Taking disparate elements and cramming them together and hoping an actual country would form was, and is, colonial folly. In this time of the borderless greed of multinational corporations and the Siren song of globalization, nationalism is a quaint notion kept on life support for some awkward reasons. Neo-traditionalist flag-wavers think we can transplant democracy and it would somehow thrive out there in the arid desert where none had existed before. If they were happy at one time as separate tribes in a loose confederation of ethnic identities, why are we trying to keep going the losing idea of a united Iraq that was only kept together by brutal force alive? Unless we are willing to become the enforcer for a new iron-fisted dictator we should explore the possibility of a fractured Iraq taking root instead. Welcome to Kurdistan, Sunnistan and Shiastan? Why not? Less can be more. Draw the lines, build the fences and put in the blue-helmeted U.N. troops to keep the peace.


Bomb Khartoum Now!

Playing softball with the Mullahs in the Sudan is a big mistake. While non-muslims are being ethnically cleansed out of the Darfur Region as part of an African Jihad, we sit around contemplating our navels and wringing our hands while we should be making the string pullers pay a heavy price. While the “boots on the ground” option brings up images of Somalia and “Black Hawk Down” there must be a way to stop the genocide going on. If the United Nations is so impotent that they cannot get it together, then history will not absolve us for sitting idly by allowing death and starvation to occur. What is going on in Darfur in the Sudan is part of the War on Terror whether we want it to be or not. We have seen the enemy and it is us not doing anything.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

American Torture and Freedom of Speech

Torture is wrong because it is a violation of all the civil rights central to our constitution.

The American populace needs to realize that if we allow the government to torture foreign nationals it is only a matter of time before it begins to torture American citizens in the name of national security.

The Supreme Court, in ruling upon the internment camps holding Japanese American Citizens in World War II, upheld this infringement upon civil liberties in the name of national security.

This leaves open the door for the military to similarly violate the civil liberties of citizens deemed terrorists or insurgents, to hold them against their will and potentially to torture them.

Domestic terrorist groups have begun to be identified such as the liberal Earth Liberation Front.

Should I be afraid to voice these concerns lest I be labeled a terrorist insurgent threat to national security?


Foreign Entanglements

"The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. ..." - George Washington

Our founding fathers believed that we should avoid and minimize foreign entanglements. Now all that we have are foreign entanglements.

Increasingly we receive much of our goods and food from foreign sources.

Our businesses and factories are located in foreign lands.

Our businessmen have proved to be poor ambassadors cheating foreign workers and subjecting them to unhealthy working conditions.

Our government owes vast sums to foreign governments.

The world bank dictates our foreign trade policy.

We have prisons in foreign countries where we violate habeas corpus and commit acts of torture.

We practice regime change, toppling foreign governments.

With these policies we have betrayed the intention of our founding fathers and made our people's future dependent upon world events.


Iraqi Public Opinion Poll

Republican politicians who have never been to Iraq and do not speak the language cite the fact that Iraqis have vocalized support for the American occupation as support for the war.

Have we forgotten the unanimous support Iraqis expressed for Saddam Hussein in national elections? Is this the company we seek? Do these people know how to challenge the authority of men with tanks and guns?


Darwin and Self-Determination

The US Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies states “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.....” (July 4, 1776)

Perhaps the fact that Darwin continues to be challenged in America lies not just in religious opinion but is more deeply engrained in our American political and social identity. The idea that some individuals might be more adapted to survival is contrary to American ideas of self determination. Social Darwinism makes it hard to have distain for the failure of the poor, aged or infirm to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Neo-cons need to realize that science is purer than either politics or religion.


Right Wing Holy War?

Republicans continue to justify the war in Iraq by stating that it is better to fight terrorism in Iraq than in America. They describe Iraq as a fighting ground between American forces of good and the terrorist “Axis of Evil.”

This language is the language of right wing religious extremism. It is evocative of the holy war of Armageddon described in the Bible’s Revelations.

Setting aside the moral bankruptcy of subjecting an innocent populace to a war they have nothing to do with..... Is secular America comfortable with the idea of waging a holy war prophesized millennia ago to result in the end of the world.

It pains me to say this......

Why liberal, creative or unorthodox people should avoid Cornell Law School:
1. It is dominated by ultra-conservatives and the Federalist Society who HATE you.
2. Your career will suffer crib death because the faculty is... (see #1)
3. Your soul will be crushed.

Is this situation unique to Cornell Law School?

Probably not. If you are still determined to go to law school choose wisely. Find out if they have a chapter of the Federalist Society on campus and how many people are members.

For Kurt Vonnegut’s opinion of Cornell Law School see God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, pages 17-18, Holt, Rinehart and Winston ©1965.