Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Last week the Supreme Court made its most insane, twisted, stupid decision ever. Sometimes too many law degrees and court case histories can cloud the vision and make it hard to see something that a 6-year-old could easily grasp.

The property rights case (which had been pending for several months) finally got decided last week. And five out of the nine justices decided that you can be evicted from your own home.

If a developer wants to build a hotel or office building or a house that’s bigger than yours — Goodbye. It’s been nice having you here; run along now. If a wealthier person is able to do something more lucrative with your property, this constitutes “public use,” same as a freeway or national park.

Yes, I’m aware that it was the liberal justices who came up with this “reasoning.” But let’s not turn this bipartisan issue into a pissing contest. Everyone is shocked and revolted by this ruling. Liberals siding up with a wealthy developer against a working-class homeowner? Don’t think so. This is probably the most unanimous issue to come along in decades. It’s time for We The People to do what we have to do.

I first read about this New London case a year or two ago. I took it about as seriously as you'd take someone wearing a tinfoil hat and warning about Martians attacking. I just assumed that as soon as this case reached a judge who had two brain cells to rub together the case would be dismissed and ridiculed and that would be the end of it.

Currently eight states have laws forbidding abuse of Eminent Domain (Washington is one of them, thank God). The other 42 states need to see the writing on the wall NOW. We need state laws to protect homeowners against influential developers working hand-in-glove with sleazy government officials. Or, maybe our coin-operated Congress would pass a federal law preventing developers from seizing people’s homes — hahahahahaha! Riiight.

State legislatures that don’t pass such a law will be embarrassed and humiliated when an identical iniative goes on the state ballot and gets passed ten to one.

Poetic Justice: The town of Weare, New Hampshire, where Justice David Souter lives, might actually seize his house and build a hotel on "his" property. A nice hotel would bring in a lot more tax revenue than David Souter’s house. Certainly that’s what Justice Souter would want; he said so.

You can also join the Castle Coalition if you want to fight this trend of government property seizures. Thanks to The Will To Exist for showing this link.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Karl Rove Peeks out of his Hole

The Puppetmaster spoke. The Man Behind the Curtain poked his head out. He took time away from his scheming and manipulating to give an interview. As we all know by now, he said “Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war.”

He had to say something. Bush’s poll numbers keep slipping, and the Downing Street memos have finally broken through the mass media’s wall of silence. The story is no longer relegated to page 41 of the Saturday paper that nobody reads. It was time for some serious damage control.

As stupid and insulting as Rove’s comments were, he provided a sort of tension release. When there’s a long-simmering silent fury and tension that’s been building up and it finally erupts into a shouting match, there’s almost a feeling of relief.

Everyone knows this is what Rove thinks. It’s what millions of people think: liberals are just these starry-eyed wackos who live on tofu, hug trees and think terrorists and criminals need to be coddled. Or there’s the more generous description: well-intentioned but fuzzy-headed.

Personally I don’t hate Rove for what he said; I hate him because of his shameless manipulation and molding of public opinion. OK, I really hate him because he’s so F#@%&$! good at what he does. Goddamnit, the Democrats need someone like that. All the Democrats get is Frasier Crane running for president, backed by an inept campaign manager who must have flunked Journalism 101.

Republicans get an empty suit posing as “somebody I’d like to go have a beer with,” backed by the shrewdest, most brilliant mastermind since Joseph Goebbels.

Conservatives are easier than liberals to galvanize in large numbers. According to the stereotypes, conservatives always vote, come rain, sleet, blizzards, earthquakes, you name it. Liberals might vote if it’s nice out, they aren’t too stoned and there’s nothing on the tube. They also don’t jump into high gear by the millions when someone yells out the right slogan or buzzword.

Right after the 2004 election I posted in a political forum that the Left needs a hot-button issue that would motivate millions of liberals to organize and vote, but I couldn’t think of what that issue would be. The consensus on the forum was that liberals think things through and then make a decision, rather than snapping to attention at the sound of a buzzword. Of course it’s better to be motivated by thought processes rather than kneejerk reflexes, but it’s a disadvantage when faced with millions of opponents whose buttons get pushed so easily and predictably.

So go ahead and be pissed at Karl Rove for insulting half of America. But more importantly, be on the lookout. Watch your back. The more publicity there is about the Downing Street memos, the more desperate the Right will become. Every minute that Rove spends giving interviews and making speeches is a minute that he’s not working behind the scenes, dreaming up new gimmicks and tactics.

That’s what he does best. Get ready for some all-new hot-button issues to galvanize the Right, and wedge issues to divide the Left. He’s gonna come up with some doozers. Count on it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Birth Control Access

The current acting commissioner of the FDA, Lester Crawford, has been blocking women's access to birth control. He blocked an application to make the morning-after birth control pill available without a prescription (aka the Plan B Emergency Contraceptive). This action went against the recommendations of the FDA’s own medical and scientific experts.

Wanna get even? Think it’s time for what went around to start coming around? (rubs hands together)

Now, Bush has nominated Crawford to be the permanent head of the FDA. Think he’s qualified? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Hillary Clinton are holding up Crawford’s nomination until the FDA acts on this application. Approve the Plan B Emergency Contraceptive or Crawford’s toast. Who says the Religious Right is holding all the cards?

Click here to send an e-mail to your senators. Ask them to join Senators Murray and Clinton in holding up Crawford’s nomination.

Out of the tens of thousands of pregnancies resulting each year from rape, nearly 90% of them would be prevented by this emergency contraception. If you think this medical issue should be just that — medical, not religious, not a power grab by the Spanish Inquisition — then please send that e-mail.

If you don’t want the Taliban wing of the Neanderthal party reaching its tentacles into the Food and Drug Administration, please send the e-mail. And forward it to everyone you know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Speech by Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush has become a laughingstock for his endless obsession (OK, it was a fetish) with Terri Schiavo.

But in this speech he lets it all hang out, bares his soul and explains his motivations and convictions. Check it out; perhaps he’s been misunderstood.

Here is one cartoonist’s view of why the Far Right has latched onto Terri Schiavo and clung to her like a pit bull.

And if you laugh at this you’re going straight to Hell, you sick #@$&#!!$&%$#!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mad Cow Disease (Still!)

18 months ago, the FDA was supposed to take steps to protect Americans from Mad Cow Disease. It didn’t. Six months ago the meat and poultry inspectors’ union told the USDA that body parts known as “specified risk materials” were getting into the production chain. These savory items included the brains, skulls, spinal cords and intestines of cattle more than 30 months old. (30 months is the cutoff age.)

Not only was nothing done, but some of the inspectors were told by the USDA “not to intervene” when they saw the body parts of older cattle mixed in with those of younger cattle. It turned out that only packing plant supervisors — not government inspectors — were supposed to check the production line to make sure that older body parts were kept off.

Whew! That was close! Protocol is much more important than protecting the public health. Let’s get our priorities straight. Imagine! A public health threat averted by the wrong person — where’s the outrage?!?

And the problem continues to fester. American cattle are eating chicken waste products and cattle blood, among other tasty products. Mmm — it’s what’s for dinner.

The co-author of “Mad Cow USA: Could the Nightmare Happen Here?” summed it up. “Once the cameras were turned off and the media coverage dissipated, then it’s been business as usual, no real reform, just keep feeding slaughterhouse waste. The entire U.S. policy is designed to protect the livestock industry’s access to slaughterhouse waste as cheap feed.”

In January 2004 the FDA came up with strict new rules to protect the public from Mad Cow Disease. Those rules were scrapped six months later.

In case you’ve seen the movie “Five Easy Pieces,” here’s an updated version: when you go to a restaurant and order a hamburger, tell them to hold the chickenshit and cattle blood.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Downing-gate Coverage

For the past several weeks, thousands of bloggers and alternate news sources have been writing, talking and shouting about the Downing Street memo. And finally, the Sleeping Giant has stirred. Just a little. This tired bloated sagging blob (also known as the “Mainstream Media“) started showing signs of a pulse. It yawned, sat up, rubbed its eyes and went “Wha??!? Oh. Huh.”

Now will it stay awake or will thousands of bloggers have to keep poking it and throwing things at it?

Or maybe the Mainstream Media has only been pretending to be in a coma. Are they really more oblivious than Terri Schiavo and Karen Ann Quinlan put together, or have they been deliberately ignoring the growing uproar? After all, the oligarchs who own the “public” airwaves and the newspapers are all up to their eyeballs in Bush’s agenda.

Maybe they’ve been deliberately ignoring the groundswell, hoping the public will give up. Let’s say a supervisor (or a security guard, etc. — somebody you’re trying to ignore) is calling out to you as you’re walking along. You pretend not to hear, and just keep walking. This might work if the person calling you isn’t too determined or too persistent.

Or you could end up walking away from an increasingly loud thundering chorus of “Hey!! Helllooooo!!!!” At this point you have the choice of either responding or looking dumber than a bag of hammers.

I think this is the position “the media” is in. Now all of a sudden they’re covering Downing-gate and they’re pretending to be the “liberal media” that their fellow oligarchs keep pretending to rail against. When you’re no longer able to pretend not to know what someone is talking about, then Plan B is to start pretending that you’re just shocked — shocked! — at what this person is telling you.

And — shifting to Plan B — the “media” is now “shocked!” at the deception revealed in the Downing Street memo (and related documents).

Oh My God! said MSNBC.com.

This is an outrage said Yahoo! News.

And the Seattle Post-Intelligencer mentioned Downing-gate in both their Thursday and Friday editions last week.

This is a good thing, of course. But if they’re planning to just go through the motions for awhile and then sneak away, forget it. Thousands of online activists and bloggers will be shouting and poking and throwing things at them. The roar of the crowd is going to get louder and louder. Don’t ignore it!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

“Culture of Life”? Two Tales

The state of Florida has a split personality, and, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, you never know which one you’re gonna get. One of Florida’s personalities keeps hollering about a “Culture of Life.” Fetuses, embryonic cells, people who have been in a persistent vegetative state for decades — all sacred.

In the other Florida, a child can be killed in an accident at an amusement park, and the next day the same death-causing ride is just humming right along like nothing happened. No inspection, no investigation, just “OOPS, Sorry — Next!”

The Terri Schiavo Show used hundreds of thousands of manhours, cost the taxpayers God knows how much, and diverted valuable media attention away from Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. After an autopsy refuted all the claims of the American Taliban witchdoctors, Jeb Bush set a world record in a new Olympic event: dead-horse beating. He has ordered a prosecutor to investigate what happened 15 years ago when Terri Schiavo’s symptoms first appeared.

He’s just gonna keep flailing away at that horse carcass until his arms fall off (or until James Dobson tells him he can stop).

Florida state law prohibits government inspectors from closing down or even inspecting the rides inside a theme park. Fatal accident? Hmmm, we’ll look into it. As long as the accident victim wasn’t a fetus or a vegetable, it’s just business as usual.

The fatal accident occurred on the “Mission: Space” ride at Disney World in Orlando. A 4-year-old boy from Pennsylvania was killed. This probably isn’t grounds for a deep-pockets type of lawsuit, but shouldn’t it be looked into? Shouldn't future occurrences be prevented?

In Florida, the rides at carnivals and small amusement parks can be inspected by the state. The larger theme parks — with 1,000 or more employees — have been exempt from state oversight since 1989.

Friday, June 17, 2005

YOU Could Lose YOUR Internet Access!

There’s a dangerous trend which has been rearing its head more frequently and more blatantly. The corporations who have purchased Congress and the White House are planning to eventually eliminate all government-funded services which “compete” with them.

The most blatant example is Wall Street’s attempt to dismantle, er, I mean “privatize” Social Security.

Less publicized was Rick Santorum (R-PA) bending over for one of his favorite johns, AccuWeather (located in Pennsylvania). Santorum introduced a bill this past April that would prohibit the National Weather Service from providing free forecasts which “compete” with AccuWeather and other private weather services.

Now we have HR 2726, which would prohibit local governments from providing internet access. City governments, schools and community organizations are providing low-cost internet access to countless low-income and rural customers who would not be reached by the cable and broadband conglomerates.

Similar laws have been defeated in several states, so the telecommunications industry is now pushing this at the federal level. Yup, those “States’ Rights” conservatives are at it again.

This bill would prevent local governments from providing “any telecommunications service, information service or cable service” anyplace where a corporation offers a similar service. Eliminating all competition — that's a pretty strange definition of “free enterprise.”

The Internet provides access to thousands of news sources — of all political viewpoints. The mainstream “media” has become little more than a mindless tabloid — a good source of celebrity gossip and corporate / government press releases but not much else. It’s increasingly necessary to go online if you want real news or a wide range of opinions. The way to maintain a level playing field is to keep Internet access as widespread as possible.

We need to stop these corporate attempts to monopolize public services and utilities. It’s a dangerous trend that needs to be nipped in the bud. Kill it before it multiplies.

What’s next? Will FedEx and UPS try to eliminate “competition” from the Post Office? Those pesky libraries are providing unfair competition for Barnes & Noble. Get rid of them!

Please send an e-mail to protect your Internet access and oppose this corporate thievery.

And thanks to Editrix from Mediaocrity for writing about this proposed law (last week).

cross-posted at Booman Tribune

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Christian Right: Who's the Man Behind the Curtain?

Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist based in Washington, D.C. This post is taken from his article entitled “Exposé: The ‘Christian’ Mafia.” The subtitle is “Where Those Who Now Run the U.S. Government Came From and Where They Are Taking Us.”

No matter how jaded or cynical you are, you’ll still be jolted by this exposé (at least I hope so). And thanks to The Lookout for showing me this site.

This article is very long, and Madsen has kind of a rambling, zigzagging style (to put it kindly). But it’s well worth reading; the site should be bookmarked. This post is only a brief summary.

His article begins with: “…I can now report on a criminal conspiracy so vast and monstrous it defies imagination. Using ‘Christian’ groups as tax-exempt and cleverly camouflaged covers, wealthy right-wing businessmen and ‘clergy’ have now assumed firm control over the biggest prize of all — the government of the United States of America.”

Don’t worry, it gets even gloomier.

The entire legislative branch of the U.S. government is controlled by a powerful, very secretive cult known as The Fellowship (they’re also known as The Family among other names). Wayne Madsen says “Jesus is used to justify the Fellowship’s access to the highest levels of government and business in the same way Santa Claus entices children into department stores and malls during the Christmas shopping season.”

The Fellowship has been around since 1935, under various names. To increase the stealth factor, it’s organized into lots of small cells. Sounds kind of like al Qaeda.

Archives of The Fellowship are maintained at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois. The group began in the 1930s with a Methodist Minister named Abraham Vereide. Vereide had a strong anti-Socialist, anti-union, pro-Nazi Germany agenda, but he concealed it behind his ministry. Secrecy was the highest priority. He wanted this movement to “carry out its objective through personal, trusting, informal, unpublicized contact between people.”

Just as James Dobson’s Ph.D. is in psychology rather than Divinity, Abraham Vereide’s main influence was German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. One of Nietzsche’s observations about Christianity was: “When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God’s son? The proof of such a claim is lacking.”

Two other influences on Vereide were Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger and his colleague, Leo Strauss. Strauss is father of American neo-conservatism and the mentor of Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Strauss had to flee Nazi Germany because of being Jewish. He emigrated to the United States and began teaching political science at the University of Chicago.

Strauss and Vereide formed the bridge that joined secular ultra-rightwing groups with various Christian sects, including the Dominionists.

Prior to World War II, the so-called America First groups were united in their hatred of labor unions and all other forms of Socialism. More than anything, they hated President Franklin Roosevelt. Vereide’s “ministry,” various pro-Nazi groups and a resurgent Ku Klux Klan all had an interlocking leadership and a coordinated political agenda.

Another pre-World War II organization was the Moral Rearmament Group, led by Frank Buchman. They were another alliance of the pro-Nazi and Christian Fundamentalist movements. This group was posing as a pacifist organization, but their real agenda was to persuade political leaders in America, Britain, Norway and South Africa to accept Hitler’s conquest. Then, after Hitler’s victory, everyone would unite and take up arms against all of the Communist and Socialist movements of the world.

There was very tight coordination between Frank Buchman’s Moral Rearmament Group and Abraham Vereide’s ministry.

Shortly after Franklin Roosevelt’s election to the White House in 1932, some wealthy Republican industrialists approached a Marine Corps general about the idea of overthrowing the United States government. Hiding behind a Christian Evangelical façade, the industrialists stirred up the idea of Roosevelt as an anti-Christ. This coup would be financed mostly by Du Pont and J.P. Morgan. The plan was to force Roosevelt to announce that he was too sick from polio to continue as an effective leader. He would create a new cabinet position, the Secretary of General Affairs. This cabinet position would be the real position of power; and the Secretary of General Affairs would abolish all programs connected with the New Deal.

One of the planners of the coup, a Wall Street bond salesman, told the Marine general “You know the American people will swallow that. We have got the newspapers. We will start a campaign that the President’s health is failing. Everyone can tell that by looking at him, and the dumb American people will fall for it in a second.”

The Marine general rejected the idea. He reported this plot to Congress, but he was dismissed as a crackpot; no investigation was ever held.

Harry Truman had some vague past connections with Frank Buchman. He frantically downplayed these connections in 1944 when he was selected as FDR’s Vice President.

In 1942 Vereide began holding discreet prayer breakfast meetings for the House of Representatives; he began making further inroads into Congress from there.

When Harry Truman took over the White House after FDR’s death, he announced that the New Deal would remain intact (although he renamed it the Fair Deal). The religious Fundamentalist / anti-Communist coalition pulled out all the stops in their attacks against Truman. They accused Truman of having Communists embedded in his administration. This gave Senator Joseph McCarthy a vehicle for his demagoguery, which became the infamous McCarthyism of the 1950s.

It was because of pressure from this rightwing coalition that Truman consolidated already-existing agencies to form the Central Intelligence Agency. Ironically, many Republicans at that time were appalled at the idea of a federal government agency having so much power and secrecy.

By this time the civil rights movement was starting to take hold, and Buchman and Vereide fought it with every “Christian” gimmick they could come up with. They became experts at finding Biblical passages to prove that God was the original segregationist.

Another major player was a Republican senator from Maine, Ralph Owen Brewster. Brewster was a Ku Klux Klan member, and the KKK played a large role in getting him into the Senate. (Brewster was played by Alan Alda in the movie “The Aviator.”)

Prescott Bush (father of George Herbert Walker Bush; grandfather of W) and his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker, were a bridge between Nazi Germany and several large American banks and investment companies. (What is it about bluebloods and recycling the same five names over and over and over?) Close ties were formed between the Bush family, several oil companies and the CIA.

In 1968, a powerful coalition of Big Business and Christian Fundamentalists pushed for the presidential nomination of Ronald Reagan over the more liberal Richard Nixon. They suffered a temporary setback, but came back with a vengeance in 1980.

Beginning in the late 1940s, Vereide worked closely with Senator Strom Thurmond. Their strategy was to Evangelize large numbers of poor whites all across the South. For Vereide, this was a chance to spread his brand of Christianity-meets-Big Business. For Thurmond, it provided power and a “Christian” camouflage for his pro-segregation anti-civil-rights agenda.

In the 1950s Frank Buchman tried to play down his past Nazi ties, and turned his attention toward Asia in general, and Korea in particular. He began working with a Korean Presbyterian minister, Sun Myung Moon. They quickly became allies, realizing that they both dreamed of a worldwide rightwing government with a Christian façade. He helped the Reverend Moon establish the Unification Church. And the Moonies were born!

By the late 1950s Vereide had established hundreds of “ministries” all over the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia. For some reason, the countries where his “ministries” were the most active were the same countries where the CIA was the busiest with their espionage and “destabilizing” activities. Coincidence?

The CIA became very skillful at recruiting ministers and businessmen to do the tasks that the CIA itself was barred from by international law.

During the late 1950s and early ‘60s, most of the colonies in Asia and Africa achieved independence from their European colonizers. This created millions of potential converts for Abraham Vereide’s brand of “Christianity.”

The Presidential Prayer Breakfast has been an annual event since 1953. (At some point it got renamed the National Prayer Breakfast.) Billy Graham became a regular fixture at this event. But the event was established by Vereide; it gave his movement a cloak of legitimacy and an even stronger foothold in the highest circles of American government, business and the “church” establishment.

One of the 1972 Watergate tapes contained this conversation between Richard Nixon, Billy Graham and Nixon’s Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman:

Graham: “This [Jewish] stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.”
Nixon: “You believe that?”
Graham: “Yes, sir.”
Nixon: “Oh, boy. So do I. I can’t ever say that but I believe it.”
Graham: “No, but if you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something.”


Graham: “By the way, Hedley Donovan has invited me to have lunch with [the Time Magazine] editors.”
Haldeman: “You better take your Jewish beanie.”
Graham: “Is that right? I don’t know any of them now . . .A lot of Jews are great friends of mine . . .They swarm around me and are friendly with me because they know that I’m friendly with Israel. But they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country.”
Nixon: “You must not let them know.”

Another Watergate conspirator and Nixon’s all-around dirty trickster, Charles Colson, was an active member of the Fellowship. Colson hasn’t been in the news much since Watergate, but his work was just beginning. I’ll let Wayne Madsen show you how the Watergate era is connected to our present situation:

“Although Nixon would later come to distrust the Fellowship, one of his closest confidants, Charles Colson, would become one of the key figures in the group. Colson served time in jail as a result of his involvement in the Watergate scandal. He would later re-emerge ‘born again’ and serve as a covert adviser to the very same elements who would propel George W. Bush into office as President. No longer would the Fellowship have a paranoid, moderate Republican like Nixon or corny, superficially Christians like Reagan or George H. W. Bush in the White House. For the Fellowship, Nixon, Reagan and the first Bush served their purposes but they were not true believers. In their minds, after an unsuccessful coup against Roosevelt and war with their brethren in Germany; the uncooperative and “left leaning” administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson; a paranoid administration in Nixon; a transitional Gerald Ford; a born again Christian anomaly in Jimmy Carter; partial entrees to power with Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush; and absolute disgust with Bill Clinton, the Fellowship believed it was God’s will that they would have one of their very own core members wielding power in the Oval Office and carrying out God’s (the Fellowship’s) dictates. In George W. Bush, who had been indoctrinated into the total submission to Jesus (the Fellowship) after his involvement with alcohol and drugs, fundamentalists would not only be able to remake the United States but, indeed, the entire world.”

Whew! And here we are. Don’t miss the next exciting episode! Coming in November of 2008: The Sequel.

Cross-posted at Bring It On!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Downing Street Memo

Half a million e-mails are hard to ignore, even if you’re sheltered inside the Beltway. The unwashed masses are gathering; they’re pissed; and they’re not going away. This Thursday, June 16th, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, will hold a hearing on the Downing Street Memo.

If you haven’t already done so, please click here to send the e-mail. The more e-mails that have been received by this Thursday, the better.

If you get all your news from the TV networks and daily newspapers, you’re probably thinking “hmmm, Downing Street? Isn’t that over on the other side of Third Avenue?” But, if you seek out “non-mainstream” news sources, then you’re probably familiar with the Downing Street Memo: the Smoking Gun. The cookie jar that George W. Bush has his hands caught in.

This is what you didn’t learn from the daily paper or the evening news: the Downing Street Memo is the minutes of a meeting in July 2002 between Bush and Tony Blair. This is the meeting where they planned the Iraqi invasion, and agreed to fix whatever “intelligence” was necessary to justify their plan.

In other words, Bush spent almost a year just going through the motions of trying to deal peacefully with Saddam Hussein, and letting the UN sanctions work if they possibly could. The mass hysteria about “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” the dire warnings about Hussein trying to buy uranium from Niger — all a hoax.

Fixing the intelligence to fit their planned invasion vs. “Weapons of Mass Destruction!” — we have a discrepancy here. Some questions need to be answered.

Should the President of the United States be held accountable for lying and manipulating us into a war which has killed nearly 1,700 American soldiers? Richard Nixon thought he was above the law — Wrong! During Nixon’s presidency there were some real journalists who actually investigated and reported the news. Today’s “liberal media” (wherever they may be hiding) are either too complacent or afraid to investigate anything.

Let the mainstream “media” (using the term loosely) lie there in a stupor, wallowing in Michael Jackson and the missing-girl-of-the-week. Thousands of online activists and bloggers are now doing the job that the “media” watchdog (more like a lapdog now) used to do.

The Thursday Hearing is expected to produce additional documents which will corroborate the minutes of the Downing Street Memo. After the hearing, Conyers and other members of Congress will hand-deliver a petition (with over half a million signatures) to the White House, demanding that President Bush answer questions regarding his secret plan for the Iraqi invasion.

Things are heating up. Uh oh, Karl Rove needs to divert public attention Now! Terror Alert! Code Orange! Gay Marriage! Come on, Karl, think of something quick!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Patriot Act: Coverup for Incompetence?

The FBI missed at least five chances to capture two of the 9/11 hijackers during the period before 9/11/01. These findings are similar to the 9/11 Commission’s report last summer. This new report also gives more details about bureaucratic breakdowns that plagued the FBI prior to 9/11, and questions whether these problems have been fixed yet.

In this case an FBI agent was working with the CIA. He wanted to pass some information about the two future hijackers to the FBI, but the CIA stopped him. Hello: right hand, meet the left hand.

In July 2001 the FBI “mishandled” some information about al Qaeda members looking for flight training schools in the Phoenix area. A “cumbersome” computer system was partially blamed in that case.

What, this isn’t the fault of the ACLU and those whining liberals?

We have bureaucratic ineptitude, FBI offices not communicating with each other, the FBI and CIA not sharing information, and cumbersome computer systems. While these problems continue to fester, our politicians keep pushing for a bigger and more intrusive Patriot Act.

Who needs competence on the job when it’s so much easier to just peek at everybody’s library records and search their homes and businesses without their knowledge. So little surveillance, so many damn constitutional amendments…

Where’s the logic here? Sometimes plain old competence and efficiency are better than adding new gizmos and bells and whistles. Are terrorists getting into the country because some people just aren’t doing their jobs, or because the American people have too many civil liberties and aren’t being spied on enough?

Let’s say you have a $20,000 state-of-the-art home security system. One day you leave the house and you leave the door unlocked and the security system turned off. You get home and discover your house has been burglarized; everything you own has been broken or stolen. Your response is:

(A) After beating yourself up for being so careless (and visualizing the torture methods you‘ll be using on the burglar when you catch him), you promise yourself that every time you leave the house you’ll be 100% certain to turn on the security system and lock the doors.

(B) You decide that your measly $20,000 security system isn’t good enough. Now it’s time to shell out $80,000 and get that All-New Super Gonzo IntruderBlaster Security System. (And if you forget to turn it on, hey, shit happens.)

If you want the Patriot Act, you chose (B).

Friday, June 10, 2005

Michael Jackson Commits Suicide!!

Hahahaha! Gotcha!! But wait. If by any chance you received an e-mail regarding the suicide of Michael Jackson, and you opened it — you have a virus. And of course this also means that if you receive a future e-mail about Michael Jackson’s suicide — delete it!

Yes, the newest computer virus is preying on the public’s fixation and mesmerization with Michael Jackson’s trial and other celebrity gossip. This is a strange juxtaposition of hackers’ ever-improving shrewdness and the public’s hypnotic fascination with entertainment news. Kind of a sad commentary.

If a hacker wants to use a catchy title to get people to open their e-mails, they’re probably not gonna use the Downing Street memo (Downing Street? Oh, is that over near Fifth and Kingston?) or an economic report on the effects of outsourcing. But hey, here’s how you push those buttons: “Britney Spears Had An Abortion!” Click.

The warning came from a British anti-virus firm. The e-mails have the subject “Re: Suicidal Attempt,” and if you open it the text is “Last night, while in his Neverland Ranch, Michael Jackson has made a suicidal attempt.” Below the text there’s a link which will supposedly show you the latest word on Jackson’s “suicide attempt.” And if you clicked on that link — well, I hope you had all your files backed up.

Since Americans’ buttons get so easily pushed by celebrity buzzwords, this gimmick will probably be used more and more frequently by hackers. Even the most gullible people are (finally) less likely to open e-mails about Viagra and penis enlargement. And hackers are as ingenious and adaptable as any other group.

So, here are some e-mails you might be getting soon:

“Jennifer Anniston injured in fight with Angelina Jolie!” “Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise: Having an Affair??!?” “Paris Hilton: George Bush’s Lover?” “Jerry Falwell: James Dobson’s Lover?” “Laura Bush goes berserk, shoots ten people!”

Hint: Don’t open them.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Global Warming-gate

Or how about Climategate? Species Destruction-gate? These slippery underhanded methods have become so synonymous with the Bush administration, they shouldn’t even be surprising any more.

A White House official has been repeatedly altering climate reports in order to downplay the link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. And — coincidence? — this White House official used to be a lobbyist for the oil industry.

During 2002 and 2003, the Chief of Staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Philip Cooney, routinely made changes to reports after they were already completed by government scientists and approved by their supervisors.

The altered documents were obtained by the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit group that provides legal help to government whistleblowers. A senior scientist from the Environmental Protection Agency said this editing “has somewhat of a chilling effect and has created a sense of frustration” among government scientists.

Is there anything the Bush administration says that we can trust? “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” “Mission Accomplished.” “Freedom is on the march.” “These tax cuts will create jobs.” “This draconian new drug law will help The Children.”

And now: It has been confirmed that global warming is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. This will cause glaciers to melt, which will cause sea levels to rise, leading to a much greater risk of tsunamis and floods. Massive droughts will cause farmlands to become deserts Global temperatures may increase just a teensy little bit, or maybe not. Whatever happens, it was God’s will. What these flooded countries and endangered species really need is a big dose of free enterprise.

The 1998 movie “The Truman Show” should be making a big comeback any day now. After 4½ years of smoke and mirrors from the Bush administration, we should all know exactly how Jim Carrey felt when he discovered that his whole life was just a TV show. His house and neighborhood were nothing but stage props, and all of his friends and family members turned out to be just actors.

That’s where we’re headed. The “news” turns out to be an infomercial prepared by the Bush administration. “Press conferences” are nothing more than softball questions lobbed to the president by White House stooges. “Town hall meetings” turn out to be completely orchestrated, with a handpicked audience and all the questions scripted and rehearsed. “Demonstrations” and “rallies” in favor of dismantling Social Security turn out to be organized and rehearsed, with a pre-selected audience.

The bloodiest massacres in Iraq are explained with “Look! The enemy is getting desperate! This means we’re winning!” With every massive downsizing / outsourcing we hear “the tax cuts are creating jobs. The economy is getting better.” A law allowing more air pollution is called the “Clear Skies Initiative.” A giant giveaway to the timber industry is called the “Healthy Forests Initiative.”

I’m almost afraid to imagine what this administration’s next Orwellian stunt will be, and how Bush will spin it. Anybody want to guess?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Medical Marijuana

The Supreme Court has ruled that sick people can be arrested for smoking marijuana that has been recommended by their doctors. It was a 6 to 3 ruling.

A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration tried to quell public outrage by saying “we have never targeted the sick and dying, but rather criminals engaged in drug trafficking.”

Nice try, lying sack of shit. The lawsuit which led to Monday’s Supreme Court ruling was, in fact, triggered by the DEA raiding a woman’s home in California. She was growing her own marijuana to ease the pain of degenerative spine disease.

Perhaps more than any other issue, medical marijuana spotlights the schizophrenic, talking-out-both-sides-of-the-mouth nature of the Republican / Conservative mindset.

Let’s see, they want a “limited government” which can come barging into people’s homes and arrest them for using the “wrong” medicine. Ooookay. Enforcing safe working conditions? Protecting the environment? Nah, we don’t want that big intrusive government to come in and start meddling. But, a terminally ill cancer patient using marijuana to ease the nausea from chemotherapy? It’s an emergency! Bring in the government!

And what about those “states’ rights” that conservatives are always blubbering about? Ten states have laws allowing patients to use marijuana prescribed or recommended by their doctors. Each of these laws was passed by a public referendum. And all ten of these state laws have now been squelched by the federal government. See any irony here?

And what about Karma? Now there’s a loaded word. But, regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) or belief in anything beyond the five senses, everyone probably believes to some degree that “what goes around comes around.” If you think sick people should have their medication yanked away by the government, how could there not be a nagging little fear that you'll reap what you sow? Perhaps the DEA agent who plans a raid on the home of a cancer patient is sowing the seeds for his own diagnosis of “there’s a spot on this X-ray. We’ll need to run some further tests.”

If you are in favor of medicine being practiced by the government instead of your doctor, at least be consistent. Apply this deep conviction to your own life. If you develop chest pains, double vision, notice a lump, etc.: Don’t call your doctor. Call your favorite politician; call a narcotics agent. But do not call your doctor.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Iraq: the Disconnect

The news coming out of Iraq just keeps getting worse and worse. And how does the White House respond? Whenever American soldiers and Iraqi civilians get massacred in another insurgent attack, we’re treated to “See how desperate the enemy is? This means we’re winning!”

As the alignment between Iraqi insurgents and international Islamic terrorists gets even tighter, and the U.S. sinks deeper into the Iraqi quagmire, we hear “Freedom is on the march!”

U.S. forces are being stretched to the breaking point, and recruitment is way down. Apparently millions of pro-war fanatics are having so much fun blathering about “kicking ass and taking names” on the Internet and in letters to the editor, they haven’t had a chance to enlist yet.

Even with the new enlistment age of 39, the Pentagon is expecting to fall way short of their manpower needs. Yet whenever a reporter asks whether the draft might be reinstated, Rumsfeld acts like it’s the wackiest, stupidest, most paranoid question imaginable.

The Disconnect has been firmly in place since before the invasion. Two and a half years ago, among all the frenzy about Weapons of Mass Destruction and Saddam Hussein being linked to the 9/11 attacks, they were predicting a quick end to the war, with throngs of grateful Iraqi citizens showering American soldiers with hugs and flowers.

And don’t forget, “Mission Accomplished” was over two years ago.

Responding to the White House’s steady stream of happy talk, Congressman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio said “I cannot say with any confidence that that is accurate. I think it’s impossible to know how close we are to the insurgency being overcome.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said “The administration has failed to level with the American people. It’s terrible because they refuse to provide a full picture of what is really happening there.”

A former State Department official who quit in frustration in 2003 said “It’s dangerous when U.S. officials start to believe their own propaganda.”

And now, on a brighter note, you can have your own press conference with President Bush. Just type in your question, then click on the next field, and you’ll get Bush’s personalized answer. It’s so realistic, you’d swear the President was right there in the room, having a few brewskis with you.

And thanks to Mags of You Forgot Poland! for providing the link.

Friday, June 03, 2005

War on Drugs: You’re Drafted!

What if you could combine the worst excesses of the Patriot Act, the War on Drugs, mandatory minimum sentences and the California 3-strikes law (i.e. life imprisonment for stealing a video or a candy bar)? While we’re at it, let’s throw in a few odds and ends from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (people being forced to inform on friends, neighbors and coworkers).

Uncle Sam Wants You!! To enlist in the War on Drugs. Actually, enlist isn’t the right word — You're Drafted!

This is straight out of George Orwell’s most chilling novels, or those old film clips of Hitler Youth members turning their parents over to the Gestapo.

It can’t happen here, right?

Orwell himself couldn’t have come up with a better name for this proposed law. HR 1528 is called the “Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act.” What a nice name. Who could be against a concept like that?

Behind the flowery title, this proposed law will force everyone who witnesses a drug violation of any kind to report it to the proper authorities — within 24 hours. Failure to do so will result in a minimum prison sentence of two years (and possibly up to ten years).

The drug offender could be your best friend, a family member, next door neighbor, coworker, someone across the room at a party — it doesn’t matter. You will be a Good Citizen and report the offending behavior, Comrade. Or Else!!

If you “witness” or “learn about” any such drug offenses, you are not only required to report it to the authorities. You are also required to provide “full assistance in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution” of the offender.

The brains (using the term loosely) behind this law is William Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. This guy makes Joseph McCarthy look like a Libertarian.

There hasn’t been a peep out of the “liberal media” about this. They’re too fixated on Michael Jackson and the runaway bride to bother worrying about the Constitution. But this bill — and its quiet steady progress through the House — is well documented.

In addition to AlterNet, this law is being highly publicized by Downsize DC. They’re a non-partisan group best known for trying to free all internet communication from campaign finance laws, and for promoting a law that would require lawmakers to read every bill before they vote on it. Their website provides an e-mail (text already filled in) to send so you can protest this law.

The Drug Policy Alliance also goes into great detail about this proposed law; they also provide an e-mail that you can send.

If you do a web search for “HR 1528” you’ll come up with a lot of additional links.

If you don’t want to be thrust into George Orwell’s worst nightmare, please send these e-mails. And forward them on to everyone you know. It can happen here if we’re not careful.

cross-posted at Booman Tribune

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Satan Drives a Ford

As upstanding Godfearing members of Wildeyed Dimwitted Biblehumpers, it’s our job to protect decent citizens against sin and depravity wherever we find it (and we’re always, always looking). We’ve already exposed Walt Disney for the vicious pervert that he was. Thanks to our vigilance, everybody knows that behind all that childlike innocence lurks: Sodom and Gomorrah!

Soon Carl’s Jr. will feel the wrath of God for that wicked TV commercial featuring a scantily clad actress devouring a juicy hamburger and spilling sauce all over her half-naked body. I spent 20 minutes staring and drooling over that writhing gyrating luscious voluptuous We were appalled at that cheap distasteful display. I just wish to God I could just lick some of that Decent churchgoing citizens will have nothing to do with such filth.

And now it’s time to ask: What would Satan drive? A Ford!! Yes, friends and neighbors, the Ford Motor Company is another wolf in sheep’s clothing. Behind that respectable corporate exterior, this company’s true clients are: Homasexials! Ford Motor Company is trying to promote their Agenda. Here, in the Christian Nation of America!

Ford Motor Company is using that famous buzzword of the godless left: Diversity. Red flag! “Diversity” is a code word for gay acceptance, gay marriage. Gay couples running amok in the streets, doing God-knows-what right in front of the children, ruining our cherished values. Our mentor, the Rev. Donald Wildmon, has told us that Ford is “the company which has done the most to affirm and promote the homosexual lifestyle.” And you, naïve reader, thought they only wanted to sell cars.

Our zombies dedicated soldiers are also boycotting Mary Kay Cosmetics and Old Navy stores. Those two businesses are advertising their products on that seductive mmmmhh sexy I’m so jealous horrible, indecent “Desperate Housewives.”

Please check the websites of our affiliates, Snake Handlers 'R' Us and Bring Back the Salem Witch Trials for the latest information on encroaching evil and how you can prevent it.

One can never be too righteous or too sanctimonious. There is so much wickedness out there, but with the help of all decent Americans, we can seek it out and destroy it.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dick Cheney: Shoot the Messenger

Let’s say you’re driving along and suddenly a red warning light on your dashboard starts flashing. Do you: A) pull over and check the engine or the owner’s manual; or B) put some masking tape over the gauge so you won’t have to be bothered by that #^%$#&*! red light?

Or, your doctor gives you some dire health warnings and tells you which lifestyle and diet changes you need to make. Your response is: A) take the warnings seriously, and start following at least some of the doctor’s recommendations; or B) call the doctor a #^%$&!#$#! and go storming out, and look for a doctor who’ll just tell you that whatever you’re doing is AOK.

If your name is Dick Cheney, you answered B) for each of those questions.

Last week, Amnesty International came out with a report condemning American treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Not terrorists — suspects. Remember those quaint notions about innocent until proven guilty and the right to a speedy trial?

For decades, Amnesty International has been a respected watchdog for human rights. Suspected violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay have been a hot topic for over a year now. If an international watchdog confirms what many people have suspected, maybe the report should be taken seriously.

It’s one thing to have questions or reservations about this report, but the usual predictable sources have lashed out with kneejerk responses.

Dick Cheney said: “Frankly, I was offended by it. For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don’t take them seriously.”

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers called the Amnesty International report “absolutely irresponsible.”

Bush also jumped on the bandwagon: “It’s absurd. It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world.”

Like a doctor’s warning or a flashing red light on the dashboard, this Amnesty International report needs to be taken seriously and investigated.

Or you could just put some tape over that gauge so the flashing red light won’t bother you. And put on some earplugs so you won’t have to listen to that Godawful clanging sound under the hood.