Not getting any? Don't blame yourself! Blame
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
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.
George W. Bush, Barbara Bush, and Aleister
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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."
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
I leave the matter for the reader to decide.
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...
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
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
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.
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
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...?
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
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.
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.
"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."
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
So we get the best of all possible worlds: socialism for high tech
industry, capitalism for wage earners.
...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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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...!Permalink
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
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
NIST's preliminary report resurrected these reports of
structural damage, but NIST's final report on WTC7 has been postponed many
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)...
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
"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
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
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
That's what's going on,
So what is the burning issue of the day in America?
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.
said, no win. and it's increasingly a question just who would want to 'win' this
Democrats need to take the
fight straight at this administration. They must take on the issue of
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
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
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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
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?
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
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
WHIG. Because Card has
always kept such a low profile, few understand that he played a key role in the war
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.
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.
although journalists and pundits have offered much speculation about which WHIG
member did what, few of those speculations concern Card, the organizer of the
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
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.
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
All of which suggests that conspiracy-minded
folks might want to check up on an overlooked AP story from November 27 of
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 Bush...at his ranch in Crawford, White
House spokesman Ken Lisaius said.
Pure coincidence, of course. Even
so, Card did once say that "Karl is a
The Day of the
Goat. Another set of mysteries involving Card concerns the events of
September 11, 2001.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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?
reporter to interview the retired Card should ask that question.
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:
are two facts: 1: No steel building has ever collapsed from
fire. Not one, in the entire history of skyscrapers, not one.
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
Those are the facts. You'll have to draw your
own conclusions. For help may I suggest the following
sites: http://st911.org http://911blogger.com http://9eleven.info
you are only going to look at one page of 9/11Truth, look
The truth of 9/11 is
coming out. It cannot be stopped.
those 'house of cards' quips... when they all come tumbling down.
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.
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
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
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?"
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
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.
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
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
"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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
"Deny, deny, deny," says Robert Morse to Walter Mathau as we
break to a bedroom where two people are cuddling in a pure white
"Aieee!" The wife says as she enters her bedroom where her husband
(Joey Bishop) is in bed with his arms wrapped around a young
"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
"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.
says the husband calmly pulling the t-shirt over his head.
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
"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
"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
"Th...th...the 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.
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
"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
"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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 drag...you
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!'
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.
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
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
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
Reagan advisor Martin Anderson used to have a motto: "In
politics, the question is always 'Compared to WHAT?'" Wise words. Keep 'em in
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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
-- 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
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
-- 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
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
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
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
"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
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.
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
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).
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.
a bargain, you'd have to be positioned to take advantage of the devaluation of
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
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
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.
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
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
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....
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
"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
Suffolk County Republican Chairman Harry Withers, who hosted the
reception in East Islip, confirmed McFarland's paranoid
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.
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.
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
Truth be told, I rather like the title of Domenech's blog. It
emphasizes the similarity between the Stalin and Bush cults of
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
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
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.
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
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
That's a huge scandal right there. Yet no-one is talking about
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
3. NB also went to Dubai to hunt for investors
4. He also got investors from Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait and the
British Virgin Islands -- not to mention some $23 million from stateside venture
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
There must be a hidden
Incidentally, many teachers have accused Ignite of "dumbing
down" education. For example, the Constitution is reduced to a rap
Ask not "Is our children learning?" Ask "What is our children learning?"
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!
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
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
I watched a few of
Ignite's sample videos (http://www.ignitelearning.com/media.shtml). 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(To read the rest, click
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
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.
6. "There is a lot of buzz
here in NYC, because major local media are actually beginning to take 9/11 truth
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
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
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
A conspiracist might answer: "Because it was important to
maximize the loss of life! He needed to SCARE people! Oomph! They needed lots of
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
"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.Permalink
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
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.
gets worse. Do you know who has been funding the "bomb brigade"? Adnan
Khashoggi, a name that ought to ring alarm bells. Go
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.
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
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"
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
Joe, 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
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.
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.
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
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 passengers?
As to motive,
read Dr. Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor (available online
here: http://vancouver.indymedia.org/news/2004/06/141355.php )
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
#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
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.
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.
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
His eyewitness description of 9/11 is worth
reading. Nevertheless, I feel that he has bought into some misleading
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
"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...
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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. :)
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
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,
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
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.”
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
9/11 and the American Empire: How Should Religious People
Respond? by Dr. David Ray
Pattern to 9/11 Report's Omissions & Distortions by Dr. David Ray
9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie By Dr. David Ray
of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True By Dr.
Testimony: Revelations about the Twin Towers in the 9/11 Oral Histories
By Dr. David Ray Griffin / 911truth.org
26jan2006 http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20060118104223192 http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2006/911-WTC-Twin-Towers26jan06.htm
11, 175, 77, and 93: The 9/11 Commission's Incredible Tales by David Ray
Possible Motives Of The Bush
Administration - By Dr. David Ray
While I do not pretend to
be able to answer all questions, I can offer a few points in response to the
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
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."
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."
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.
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."
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
"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.
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!
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!
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.
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
6. Is hearsay, cannot judge.
7. Explosions are
speculation. The only thing we really know are 1., 3/4. (see above).
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).
there are many questions left, especially about motives. I could fantasise about
world government, putsch-thinking, etcetera, but I just don't know.
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
I think you have to listen
to Silverstein's "pull it" quote. Once you hear it, it's clear he meant
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
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
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.
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
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
"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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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.)
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
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
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...
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...
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
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
When the president says something like this (re:
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."
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.
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,
“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
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
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
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.
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.)
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
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"
First, here is the long quote submitted by
m.jed, from http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=3564:
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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. Permalink
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
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
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
Similar sories in France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland,
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
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
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”
http://www.sfu.ca/~allen/CoaseJLE1960.pdf, 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.
minor thought, but the coincidence of that post and my own got my attention.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Truth Is All -- for the
latest (the news, it seems, is not good), go here.
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
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
I can guess how conservatives will repond to this study.
have you seen this yet,
"The Dem Recess Packet; A Map Of Dems' Midterm Political
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.
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
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
"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!
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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? Peace, Bob
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!"
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
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
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
Of course, true liberal
spending would not cut social programs
Kasha, Table 3.16 from
the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows government expenditures by function.
Federal spending starts at line 42.
(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
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..
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
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
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
3.16 - make sure you change the pull-down menus to get back to
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
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.
Joe, a small point about
what it is that Tom did wrong and what makes many people fee creeped
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.
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.
abortion protestors practicing tortious interference" every day?
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
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
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
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
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.
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
site contains a powerful photographic presentation of what will be lost as a
result of this neocon madness.
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
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.
The signs are unmistakable. Come and see:
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
5. Katherine Harris is staying in the race.
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
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
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
Finally somebody in the Bush camp realized their lethal
potential exposure, and the webpage was hastily taken off the Discover Air
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?
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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."
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.
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
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.
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...
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.
Here's the funniest remark I've seen all week.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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
Dear TIA, I remember seeing a few of your posts on
Cannonfire, thanks for all your hard work, sorry to hear about your
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
In an earlier
column, I suggested another possible party who might have shown an interest:
the Mossad. Before you dismiss the suggestion, consider:
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
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.
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
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Armitage served in Tehran during the important 1975-76 period, under master
spook Richard Helms (who is widely held to have engineered Nixon's
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.