Oct 26, 2006

Early Voting!

It's all about the election now. I do hope you vote libertarian or "none of the above" this Tuesday. I mean, you don't really believe that the Democrats are going to do anything significantly different then the Republicans do you? Think that they'll repeal the Patriot Act? Sucker! Think they'll bring the troops home? Sucker!

I mean really....

Sep 29, 2006

Lock Up Your Sons From The Party Of Family Values

Oh the irony. GOP Congressman Mark Foley resigned his House seat today after emails and text messages he sent to minor male staffers started surfacing amongst media outlets today.

While co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children, Foley was busy drafting an overhaul of the Federal sex offender law. And when he wasn't making haughty speeches about making the minor children of America safe from sexual predators, he was trying to pick up underage staffers.

Maf54: You in your boxers, too?
Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.
Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed.

Another message:

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

And this one:

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.

If I had to guess, I'd say that at one of the kids came forward as a victim because he wanted to stay in the closet. ABC didn't show the rest of these conversations but it doesn't sound like the kid minds that much. Where's the objection? It's not hard to offer a "Hey, that's pretty creepy" if you are truly offended as the boy is alleging. It would be interesting to know whether or not the kid is really under 18. Foley didn't wait around to defend himself. His first tack was to claim that the messages were taken out of context. When ABC asked him about the above messages, he promptly resigned.

I think that says allot about the authenticity of the messages ABC obtained. It's a shame that Foley is being hounded about sex. He had so many laws ready in the wings to make America safer from sexual predators. Now he won't get to bring them to the House floor. His colleagues will now regale us with the standard falderol about pressing needs and their desire to save America's children. Then they will promptly pass more laws to protect us from lawmakers? That would be a better idea.

I think Foley got confused when the education bill was passed during Bush's first term.."I thought you said, 'No Child's Behind Left Untouched." Maybe Foley has taken too many government programs to heart. "Don't Ask, Don't Text Message" comes to mind.

On a conspiratorial note, the FBI couldn't have been very happy with the shellacking it was taking from Foley.

"Obviously, this is something the Department of Justice needs to work on. Congress wanted the information in order to assemble a comprehensive database of missing children," Foley said.
A little payback? It does make me wonder why the FBI won't produce the information. Perhaps they're saving those runaway kids for themselves? We can't let Congress have all the fun after all. Or maybe, the "epidemic" described by any number of handwringers, is vastly overstated? That is the government's specialty after all, solving non-existent problems or creating problems that they can later not solve so as to whine they are underfunded.

But seriously folks, if somebody offers your teenagers an exciting job as a Congressional staffer, maybe Camp Manitoba would be a better choice.

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Sep 20, 2006

Malkin's intentional deceit exposed

This article in the village voice does much to show how the dumbest member of the Witches of War Ick supports institutionalized racism. And she misleads in order to make her point.

The signal-to-noise ratio here is so slender that one is tempted to just accept Malkin's coy interpretation of them at face value. But in actually reading the evidence, Malkin's shell game becomes apparent. The appendix "Richard Kotoshirodo" excerpts the interrogation of a clerk at the Japanese consulate in Honolulu, who admits to assisting his employers by observing U.S. warships in the months prior to Pearl Harbor. Kotoshirodo was a kibei, born in the U.S. but sent back to Japan for schooling. This is an important distinction, as the Japanese-indoctrinated kibei were seen as more likely to have suspect loyalty. Yet in the caption to the blurry transcript, Malkin refers to "spy ring aide" Kotoshirodo as a "Nisei . . . [testifying] about his loyalty to Japan before an Internee Hearing Board." Casually eliding his kibei status lends weight to her assertions about nefarious native-born Japanese Americans. This is no accident; in the caption to the Kotoshirodo mug shot, she again IDs him as a nisei.

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Sep 18, 2006

America's "Finest" threaten to kill 7 year-old girl during traffic stop

In the interest of homeland security I presume, Officer Eric Tatusko of the Pittsburgh police department drew his sidearm and threatened a seven year old girl.
“I said, ‘What’s the problem, officer?’ and he said ‘Get your hands up,’” wrote Lawton in a prepared statement. “He repeated, pulled out his gun and pointed into the passenger side of the window where my youngest daughter was trying to get her seatbelt off. So, I put my hands up.” According to Lawton, she and her children spent the next 20 to 30 minutes trying to convince Officer Eric Tatusko to put his weapon down or to at least go to the driver’s side to address the problem with the only adult in the car. “The children were in the car screaming and crying,” she wrote. “My hands were still in the air and I was screaming ‘Help, someone help!’ over and over again.”

Sep 17, 2006

The Witches of War Ick

One day, I think it would be fun to actually get paid for depositing my opinion on the door steps or browsers of America. The first thing that might come to the minds of my fair readers is the pidgeon but this is allegedly the land of opportunity and I am entitled to a dream or two now and then. I only mention this in the interest of disclosure since I am not degreed, and the closest I've ever been to college was either marching at halftime Fiesta Bowl activities in 1980, an electronics class in 1986, and a couple of band appearances.

In short, I have absolutely no "credentials."

During my twenty-year career in the high-tech industry, I have worked with many degreed professionals, a good portion of which did not appear to have learned much about their trades in college. Having learned my profession from those who *did* learn something in college, I feel qualified to know the difference between somebody who is good at what he does, and one more suited to flipping burgers than writing software.

Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin fall into the second category if one is judging journalists. As a journalist, I probably fall into the latter category. However, I do not pretend to actually be a journalist.

Ann Coulter and Malkin both seem to be in a competition to see who can write most offensive and badly researched works of punditry. Malkin's work defending racial profiling "In Defense of Internment" has been well-received by Limbauts but is a grossly inaccurate reporting of events that occurred during WWII when thousands of Japanese Americans were stripped of their freedoms. The object apparently is to justify today's "internments" and renditions of those the Bush administration considers enemy combatants. I sure hope, for Malkin's sake, we do not feel the need to crack down on terrorists originating from the Philippine Archipelago.

When Malkin isn't shilling for the federal government's racist programs of the "good old days" she's defending Guantanamo, something even George Bush wants to end (or did a few months ago), if you are one of the few who believes he actually tells the truth.

Coulter is well known for her statements denigrating Muslims, claiming that any and all who disagree with the war are nothing short of treasonists, and that the Abu Ghraib scandal was something that liberals would actually enjoy were they to be able to visit the place.

The Latter statement may have been tongue-in-cheek. On the other hand, this is the same woman who, when interviewed by O'Reilly in 2004, claimed that Iraq was just as safe if not more safe than Washingon D.C. - hmmm - maybe she's right - both are targets of strict gun-control by the U.S. Federal government - but I digress.

I was happy to see Anne get bitch-slapped by the brave widows of 9/11 victims after her slanderous accusations of them.

I have never in my life encountered women who have ever been this rude or crammed so much violence and false bravado in their "work". Therefore, I dub these two the Witches of War Ick. I know that there were three in John Updike's masterpiece, but I can't find a third who can live up to the same level of vapidity.

Dick Cheney might just fit the part of Daryl Van Horne.

Sep 15, 2006

Compare and Contrast

George Bush, September 18, 2003:
We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th

George Bush, September 6, 2006:

One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror..."

Any questions?

Sep 14, 2006

Doctor Albrecht, I Presume - Name Dropping Alert.

I haven't congratulated my friend, Katherine Albrecht for completing her Harvard doctorate program. Yes, she graduated in June, but better late than never. If you haven't checked out spychips.com or the book Spy Chips, which she co-authored with Liz McIntyre, get thee to Amazon or your favorite book store and buy it.

Congratulations Dr. Albrecht.

Sep 12, 2006

I can't imagine...

"a guy like bin Laden understanding the joys of Hanukkah.."
George Bush

A Cast of Thousands?

William L. Anderson writes:
The conspiracy theorists, I suppose, believe that the super-smart federal agents they see on Fox and other network shows, not to mention the movies and Chuck Norris movies are the norm, as opposed to being fictitious characters.

The kind of conspiracy that people are trying to convince me would have been needed for the government to pull off this attack would have required thousands of people to act with near-perfect timing, and that no one would talk. Another problem comes when people declare that since the Bush Administration benefitted initially from the attacks, it must have planned them.

Sorry, but this is a very tired cliche, and it happens to also be a tautology.

9.11 was the result of a conspiracy. Duh. But who conspired? 12 "hijackers?"

The best way to carry off an attack and avoid the government's agents, is to run it from the inside. This is so obvious as to require no further evidentiary support. Time and time again, the "inside job" has netted favorable results for criminals.

The Mafia has long been known to corrupt government officials in order to avoid guilty verdicts or even prosectution without detection. We know they've done this because occassionally, they get caught. But more often they do not.

William here totally poo-poo's the possiblity of an inside job, erects another strawman argument, and totally ignores history to boot.

When PNAC indicates their designs would take much longer unless America experienced another "Pearl Harbor", more scrutiny than just a hand-wave should be directed at their choice of example. Pearl Harbor has chilling similarities to 9.11. About 9 Pentagon officials are said to have known of Roosevelt's plan to provoke Japan. Nine. Those nine, having full control over the US Military, are all that were needed.

One Admiral ordered the bulk of the fleet to leave Pearl Harbor before it was attacked, allowing the losses to be great enough to insure war, but not so great that war couldn't be waged. William may assert that those Captains and naval enlistees who followed orders were involved in the conspiracy to bring the US into WWII, but I find that laughable.

Just prior to 9.11, one man, recently given the power to do so, Dick Cheney, ordered the bulk what might have been early intercepts for the hijacked airplanes to locations far away from the East Coast for training excercises. Was NORAD then part of the conspiracy? Or were they merely following orders and confused due to drills in progress?

Were the thousands of FEMA personnel sent to New York on September 10th aware of anything? Would they have to be aware? Is it merely a coincidence that they were to conduct training excercises on the 12th?

This strawman argument that "thousands upon thousands" had to have intimate knowledge of the conspiracy is absurd and should be abandoned as it makes those who repeat it look foolish. Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin...these are to be ignored because apparently it is more fun to deride people who consider possibilities other than the official story, then actually examine the current available evidence.

I don't have any idea who was specifically responsible for 9.11. I do know that the government's actions in the aftermath are very damning and many of the official explanations of what happened are downright lies.

By the way, William, I haven't had a television in my home for over 11 years.

The Grave Dangers of Self-Defense

A really fun piece from Stefan Molyneux at Lew Rockwell.
The logical – and moral – problem with this is, of course, that if people exist who cannot defend themselves from mere individual criminals, how on earth can they possibly defend themselves against the state? In other words, if you’re afraid of being exploited by violent people, is armed might of the modern state somehow less dangerous than an individual mugger?

Sep 11, 2006

Norm, Charles, Give me a break.

Norman Singleton and Charles Featherstone are congratulating each other over at Lew's Blog for their "reasonable" conclusions about the whacko conspiracy theorists out there.

Those of us who think that the government is capable and willing to carry off something like 9.11 are just not that bright. Norman writes:

These people were likely taught at a very young age that the government had the power to make all things right and protect them from all evil. Thus, they cannot accept that the government could be so incompetent as to fail to stop something like the 9-11 attacks.

Earth to Norm, all of us, unless homeschooled were taught this. Some grew up and abused ourselves of our ignorance.

Charles has a similar view:

Those peddling the view that the attacks of September 11 were an "inside job" are selling the idea of an omniscient government, one that controls all and is capable of everything. They also have a strange faith in technology -- that it simply cannot fail in strange and unpredictable ways. Not to mention the belief that nothing happens by accident, and that everything is somehow planned in advance

Listen guys, I'm not stupid, and neither are many of those who follow the research. Contary to the strawman arguments you've both raised, there are other possibilities.

WT7 wasn't hit by an airplane. That was a demolition. There is no controversy there as it is the only valid explanation for the way it collapsed.

Controlled Demolition, the same company that was responsible for carting away the evidence from the OKC bombing, received the contract for carting away 9.11 evidence a mere 11 days after the event. That is a fact. Government *never* operates that fast.

The same sort of thing occurred at Waco. All of the evidence that might have given credence to surviving Branch Davidian's claims that the BATF fired first, was destroyed before investigators could look at it. The steel front doors were important. Gone forever. What did the government have to hide?

Why not stage the main core columns somewhere local instead of shipping them to China and India? That would have allowed investigators to completely debunk the "conspiracy theorists."

But in point of fact, those who believe that 19 (oops 12) terrorists from the Middle East were able to execute this action are also conspiracy theorists. So it is all a matter of perspective, which is the acceptable theory? The one put out by researchers with nothing in particular to gain, or the government which has been so honest to us? Who benefitted from 9/11? The terrorists? Or the government and in particular PNAC the agenda of which government is now enacting verbatim?

You can claim the government is evil and incompetent when it comes to the wars it is fighting or the lies it is telling to justify those wars, but it's just too "out there" to consider that they would go so far as to kill their own citizens in order to advance an agenda. Perish the thought. Where did that perspective come from guys? Private school?

Libertarians: Hold Fast

As the campaigns for power heat up this fall, a variety of populist pundits and candidates will continue to beat the drums of fear and war. As "Internet 2.0" is to the various hype-masters of Internet enthusiasts, so is immigration for the Republicans. On the "left" a plethora of democratic politicians who voted for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will either tout their anti-war "credentials", claim that they were duped by the administration, or let us know their favorite "exit-strategy."

As libertarians, we get to vote for our favorite libertarian candidates knowing that they probably will not win. However, in doing so, we'll gain satisfaction knowing we didn't give approval to anyone representing the largest freedom-hating organizations in America, Congress and the Executive branches of Federal and State governments.

The aftermath of 9.11 has seen libertarians divided to some degree. I witnessed some online friends whom I thought were libertarians favor the wars in Afghanistan and and Iraq. I have also seen libertarians such as Ron Paul come out against "illegal" immigration.

Personally, I have little respect for any so-called libertarian who supports giving the government more power no matter how good the reasons may sound. I don't think I'm alone. But being on the other side of both of these debates hasn't been easy either.

Libertarians have had a number of detractors on the matter of immigration. The Libertarian Party's platform used to advocate "open borders." Sadly, those who recently hijacked the party have changed the immigration plank in complete disregard for libertarian ideals. All we need now is for Pat Buchanan to announce his intent to run as a libertarian and the destruction of the Party will be assured as it was when he ruined the Reform Party.

To those who continuously bash "illegals", their reasoning demands that a person coming into the United States show the pre-requisite "reasonable" legal documents and subject themselves to searches, giving up their rights to privacy and to travel freely. If they refuse to do this, then they are "illegal".

Because they are not citizens, we are supposed to stand for this.

What of our rights? What just law can demand an obligation to hire only naturalized citizens in our businesses or private homes? Recently, the city of council Hazelton, PA, passed ordinances which fine landlords one thousand dollars per day anyone who rents to an "illegal" alien and make English their "official" language.

"What I'm doing here is protecting the legal taxpayer of any race," said the dapper 50-year-old mayor, sweeping his hands toward the working-class city outside. "And I will get rid of the illegal people. It's this simple: They must leave ."
The Mayor's efforts are already "paying off" - proving that as usual, government is the problem rather than the solution.
The law doesn't take effect for another month. But the Republican mayor already sees progress. "I see illegal immigrants picking up and leaving -- some Mexican restaurants say business is off 75 percent," Barletta says. "The message is out there."
There is no reason for any libertarian to avoid, or apologize for, opposition to solution(s) in current fashion. All of the proposed solutions punish both citizens and immigrants alike.

The war on illegal immigration is as full of hyperbolic vapidity as is the war on terrorism. We will hear any number of arguments for protecting our borders. "We need a Fence" is among the scariest to anyone old enough to remember the Berlin Wall. Those who support this are apparently able only to see one side of the issue and, coincidentally, one side of a wall. If you have come into casual contact with walls and have even the slightest cognizant ability, you recognize that a wall has two sides. A wall keeps people in at the same time it keeps people out. The number of folks who have jumped on the bandwagon is frightening.

Far from being a slippery slope, the problems inherent in branding anyone without a proper set of documents on their person, illegal, are already upon us. The powers that be are already punishing "legal" persons in the name of safety.

It would be a pity if those libertarians of influence whom are left, play the populists in order to seek expansion of their own influence. It was the dogged devotion to the ideals of liberty which swayed me to become a libertarian and it is that same devotion which will win over those inclined to reason. Those who have jumped on bandwagons have discredited themselves. Think about it. All arguments against the libertarian philosophy are rooted in a fear of liberty itself!

"Why, think of how many terrorists could enter the country with 'open borders'!" "What would happen if everyone owned guns?!!" "What would happen if just anyone had children." "If we didn't outlaw plastic forks on airplanes, there'd be so many more terrorist attacks!" If you're talking about the issue with others, try these counter arguments on for size.
  • A border is not a property boundary except by coincidence. It is a demarcation of legal jurisdiction.
  • The constitution does not state that liberties are reserved to citizens. Quite the contrary, the first, fourth and fifth amendments use the words "people" and "persons."
  • Walls have two sides and prohibit crossing from either side equally well.
  • The right to travel freely, without molestation or perturbance is well established common law.
  • Rights are not established by geography but by birth. A Mexican is presumably born with the same rights as any other American.
  • No passage in the constitution gives Congress any legal jurisdiction over foreign travel. The only passage that relates is Congress' power to write the statutes determining citizenship.
The LP has completely gone mad, but I do hope that the real libertarians will hold fast. In the long run, it will be our saving grace. There may be no more "Party of Principle" but the individuals who count themselves as libertarians can keep to theirs.

Sep 9, 2006

No ID? No Problem.

Over on Looking Glass News is this gem describing how to fly without an ID. What you say? It's the law! You have to have a government ID to fly! Nope.
told the agents that I could not find any federal regulation mandating that type of identification, and then asked them to cure my ignorance and please cite the regulation. Now, at this point, individual airline agents have reacted differently. Some called in their supervisor. Alaska Air employees were the most gracious; Northwest agents were the worst -- they were rude, belligerent and hostile brats. But they all folded, every time. A particularly nasty Northwest employee marched me all the way back to the electronic detection equipment, made me pass through it a second time, and had the guard thoroughly search my carry-on bag. The same airline agent-from-hell actually made rude and demeaning remarks to me as we trudged back to the counter -- and then she let me on the plane.
I am definitely going to try this next time I have to fly.

How Much Do We Really Owe?

Interesting article at buzzflash regarding the actual U.S. Federal debt and deficit.
But wait, there's more! The U.S. Financial Report does not mention that if Medicare and Social Security are factored into the equation (which the Treasury Department did not), the true deficit was actually a whopping $3.3 trillion last year, over ten times more than Bush claims. And when Social Security projections are adjusted to reflect current life expectancies instead of the old 75-year mark, Cooper said the true national debt is "probably closer to $65 trillion."
The Bush administration isn't truthful? Come on. Buncha partisans....

Sep 8, 2006

Medved: Genocide Is OK If Your Motives Are Pure

"The way to judge the morality of a military effort isn’t to consider the level of enemy death and suffering but to examine the purpose for which that destruction has been inflicted."
Michael Medved

Sep 4, 2006

Don't Believe Everything you Read

Wired News has had to pull at least three stories by writer Philip Chien due to faked sources. It doesn't just happen to the New York Times apparently....

Sep 2, 2006

Why We Fight

We have become the United States of Amnesia
Gore Vidal
Why We fight, Eugene Jarecki's 2005 documentary, dryly examines the transformation of America after WWII to a well-oiled war machine. It's name coincidentally (or not) is shared by WWII propaganda produced by the legendary Frank Capra.

The film gives us a look at Eisenhower we may not have gleaned from our text books in public schools or from our first look at John Birch Society hysterics on various internet sites.

We are given a view of our current foreign policy as a progression beginning from the vast buildup of the "military-industrial complex" - a term coined by Eisenhower - during and afer WWII. There may be a colorable argument to suggest that this corporate love fest between Congress, the Pentagon and private interests, began long before WWII, according to Smedley Butler. However, since this film was produced by the Eisenhower Project, we can't necessarily fault them for failing to find somebody who warned us about the usurpation of foreign policy by politicians and private interests long before Eisenhower.

This film deftly weaves pictures which reveal the incestuous nature of foreign policy think tanks, politicians and giant defense contractors (corporations) with personal stories from those involved in designing bombs, delivering those bombs and even dedicating those bombs to victims of the attacks on 9/11/2001.

One of the more more effective personal stories is that of William Sekzer, retired New York Police officer and former Viet Nam Veteran who lost his son, Jason M. Sekzer, when the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

Sekzer was motivated by a need for revenge. In spite of his skepticism over the lies told by LBJ about the Gulf of Tonkin "attack", which marked the largest escalation in US involvement in Viet Nam, Sekzer was supportive of any move by the government to avenge his son. If the government said Iraq was a target, his support was unshakable. It is hard to blame the man. His epiphany arrives the day President Bush announces in response to a reporter that the US never had any evidence linking Saddam with 9/11.

Ahn Duong, a refugee from Saigon, now works at Indianhead Naval Center designing bombs, specifically the "bunker busters" used in the opening salvos of "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

And it is in this arena where the film truly shines. Those who support the war in various ways, are made human to us. For those of us who oppose US hegemony, our first instinct is to brand those who don't see how they are being manipulated as morons. But those who support the war are not just Bush sychophants. Every individual who supports the war, has his own reasons. Some of which can be understood by any of us. The US government's control of the press is as stunning and shrewd as any totalitarian regime preceding it.

But there are also interviews with members of the true "axis of evil", namely, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Bill Kristol. All contributers to PNAC and the so-called "Bush Doctrine."

Interviews with these particular players are perfect. There is no attempt to challenge their statements or their rationalizations. Some might object to this but given the overall premise, their own words and attitudes stand alone as evidence of their ill-will toward anyone objecting to blatant Imperialism.

My only nit with the film is its blithe acceptence of the "terrorists were responsible for the 9/11 attacks" theory. It doesn't necessarily detract from the film, but it would have been even more powerful to mention that PNAC's paper Rebuilding America's Defenses stated:

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor. -pp 51

In spite of this, I found this film to have done a superb job of exposing Fascism's latest incarnation, even if it wasn't called such. It is entertaining and frightening, but does offer us a means to stop the madness. I'll let you watch the film to find out how.

Sep 1, 2006

A Must See

This is some of the most amazing art I've ever seen. It's on a sidewalk no less.....

Thanks to the folks at Lew Rockwell's blog for introducing me to Julian Beever.

Aug 31, 2006

Still a Major League Threat

"For all of those skeptics who don't think [Bonds] is as dangerous as he used to be, I think he answered that tonight"
Bobby Cox

Barry Bonds on Tuesday hit his 69th multiple-homer game and also had enough spring in his step to rob Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur of a three run homer at the left field wall.

A big kiss-my-ass to the sportswriters who keep claiming that his success has been juice induced. At 42, he's still putting fear into pitchers and managers alike throughout the league.

In his last 10 games Barry is batting an astonishing .538 average. And just in time too. The Giants are in a tight race for the National League West, five and a half games back of the Dodgers and two and a half back of the Padres in the wild card race.

Go Barry, Go!

Aug 27, 2006

You're On Notice!

Stephen Colbert gets around. I'm on the bandwagon though I haven't watched television in over 11 years. Here's My On notice list:

Aug 25, 2006

Too much web surfing at work? Surf the web and find out why!

An astute co-worker sent me this today. Yahoo is featuring this article on their front door:
Find another job......maybe one that is more understanding about how much time you spend surfing the web during work hours?

Aug 24, 2006

Speech as a crime

Mardin Amin, trying to avoid embarrassment during an airport security checkpoint identified an unusual object in one of his carry-on bags by whispering "pump" to the TSA agent. The agent swears that he "clearly" said "bomb".

A Cook County judge has decided there is enough evidence to prosecute a man who says an airport security guard misheard him when she thought he said that a sexual device in his backpack was actually a bomb.

Mardin Amin claims he actually told the guard the small, black object was a "pump" - as in a penis pump.

And if you're a television broadcasting company, do not dare to broadcast Hezbollah TV. Government agents will shut you down, steal all of your money and charge you with terrorism.
US authorities have arrested a New York man for locally broadcasting Hezbollah television al-Manar, which the US Treasury Department has designated a terrorist entity.

Javed Iqbal, 42, was arrested because his Brooklyn-based company HDTV Ltd was providing New York-area customers with the Hezbollah-operated channel, US federal prosecutors said in a statement.

The US Treasury Department froze US assets of al-Manar in March, saying it supported fund-raising and recruitment activities of Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group backed by Syria and Iran that has been at war with Israel in southern Lebanon.

America, what a country.

Aug 20, 2006

Government Is Bad Medicine For What Ails Us

Whenever I discuss politics with statists, the argument eventually ends up with the statist asking me when libertarianism has ever worked historically. My first answer is usually, "The US shortly after the revolution."

Statists don't like that answer. Their view is that people cannot be responsible for themselves. The libertarian/anarchist point of view is that they can and generally are responsible and are capable of governing themselves. But like me, ancaps and libertarians are always asked to provide examples of "civilized" people governing themselves. The question is a logical fallacy akin to "When did you stop beating your wife?" A circular argument that assumes government is itself the dividing line between civilized and uncivilized people.

It is time for libertarians to stop resorting to defense. Our position can be defended, but it is becoming clear that this is hardly necessary given history and recent events.


Take the recent dust up between Hezbollah and Israel for example. For at least 24 years, Israel has been occupying Lebanon. July 12th was not the beginning - nor will it likely be the end - of the dispute between the two countries. It is the aftermath of the latest hostilities that gives us a view of the vast differences between the libertarian and the statist.

Those who claim that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and that it has some sort of stranglehold over Lebanese government do so with an obvious agenda. This point of view also demonstrates a severe ignorance on the part of the claimant, a fact if we provide superlative generosity as to their motivations.

As Lebanon attempts to return itself to "normal", we find it is the private sector, namely Hezbollah, which has turned out to repair the various communities inside Lebanon devastated by US-made planes, guns, artillary and bombs.

"There is no government here," said an agitated Abdul Muhsen Husseini, president of the Union of Municipalities in the Tyre region — the man who is supposed to be in charge — as he handled requests from a stream of petitioners asking for money to buy medicine and what to do with the dead.

"We asked the government in Beirut to accompany the returning people to their villages, to repair water and prepare the roads," he said. "They said to me, 'God willing, we will come.' And they didn't come."

The intent here is not to argue that the government should be responsible for medical care, housing or damage control. Libertarians don't think that the government should do any of those things. Even when governments claim that they are the rightful parents of the oppressed masses, they do little or nothing to eliminate these problems since by actually solving such problems, they would put themselves out of "business."

For Bush and Olmert (and their underlings), the only concern is to avoid a public relations problem. They need to publicly excoriate Hezbollah and question its legitimacy. Unfortunately for the US and Israeli governments, Hezbollah is making this virtually impossible.

Even as government officials complain that they are expected to clear shattered towns with nothing but shovels and a few bulldozers, Hezbollah already owns or is in the process of renting the required machinery.

Most important, Hezbollah can draw on the manpower needed to begin the massive reconstruction.

Those factors present a serious challenge to the central government in Beirut and the Bush administration, which is scrambling to launch its own rebuilding effort and deny Hezbollah a public relations dividend.

The US

Those who live in New Orleans and Missippi are intimate with government's ineffectiveness and government's tendency to make excuses. A year ago, Michael Chertoff was plopped in front of reporters to defend FEMA's response to the crisis:
"That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybody's foresight," Chertoff said.

He called the disaster "breathtaking in its surprise."

But engineers say the levees preventing this below-sea-level city from being turned into a swamp were built to withstand only Category 3 hurricanes. And officials have warned for years that a Category 4 could cause the levees to fail.

Similarly to what is occurring in Lebanon, the US government had one goal in the aftermath of Katrina, and that was to hinder local efforts to rescue and rebuild. The casual observer, if basing his opinion of events on main stream press accounts, would simply think that FEMA officials were inept. The reality is that they were protecting their jobs. FEMA routinely shut down all private and foreign rescue and relief efforts under color of law, cutting off local emergency phone lines and misleading local officials.

If this doesn't convince the statists that formal government is a farce, then what the statist needs to do is show us where it has worked rather than demand proof that an absence of "government", or individuals governing themselves, have ever been effective at fending off life's catastrophes.

Recent events expose the statist's ideas as intellectually, morally and logically bankrupt. It's time the notion of democracy, republicanism, communism, nationalism and all other nannyisms be de-legitimized since none have done anything to improve the human condition. It is only the individuals and private organizations they have created which have been able to do this, the State isn't interested.

In his office in Tyre, Husseini, the regional government official, begrudgingly credited Hezbollah and its Shiite allies in the Amal militia.

"At least they are on the ground helping," he said. "If you call them at midnight, they come out to help. They are the government."


Do the warmongers support these troops?

This article is proof in my mind that we don't need television or newspapers anymore. It discusses the growing resistence to Iraq deployment by US troops. They're speaking out and refusing to go.They defend liberty thus. Those who follow orders favor no one. The US has enough enemies to last a lifetime.

"It takes real courage to resist the war," says Cloy Richards, a former artillery cannoneer for the Marines. "I was afraid to not go; afraid to say no. I took the easy way out and went to the war. It takes way more bravery to say no."

Corporal Richards did two tours of duty in Iraq, between March and October of 2003, and again between March and October of 2004. Like so many in the military, his initial support for the invasion began to disintegrate as the occupation lengthened and became more brutal.

"I was in the artillery unit. I saw a lot of civilian casualties," says Richards, who has seven nephews and one niece. "I love kids," he says. And his views of the Iraq war began to change as he saw Iraqi children die. He particularly remembers watching some kids play with unexploded ammunition. When it exploded, several of them were killed and several more were disfigured. "It was kind of like everything else over there. I just shoved it to the back of my mind somewhere and forgot about it." Except that Richards couldn't actually forget.

Somehow I don't think the Republicans are supportive of men who question their wisdom.

Aug 18, 2006

Bloggers Against Torture

Bloggers Against Torture Interesting site.

Enterpreneurs - Not Terrorists

What a nice experience for the three "terrorists" I mentioned in my last post. Arrested and charged with money laundering, terrorism and buying "too many" cell phones. Exhonorated. No kidding?

"I hope this unfortunate turn of events will open some eyes and shed some light on the paranoia and xenophobia that is gripping the country," Abulhassan told reporters at a news conference.

"These are serious issues and they need to be addressed. We can no longer turn and look the other way. There needs to be accountability."

The men returned home Tuesday following a week in jail after prosecutors in southeast Ohio dropped the terror charges, saying they could not prove a terrorism link. The 20-year-olds from Dearborn say they were targeted because they are Arab-Americans.

Law enforcement officials in Ohio deny that claim.

Don't count on anyone actually paying for this screwup.

Aug 13, 2006

They Hate Our Freedoms

In light of the latest "terror scare" we are learning that Bush was telling us the truth when he said that the terrorists "hate our freedoms"

Director of Homeland Terrorism, and neocon apologist Michael Chertoff, has been out stumping for increased police-state powers this weekend.

Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, stopped short of calling for immediate changes, noting there might be constitutional barriers to the type of wide police powers the British had in apprehending suspects in the plot to blow up airliners headed to the U.S.

But Chertoff made clear his belief that wider authority could thwart future attacks at a time when Congress is reviewing the proper scope of the Bush administration's executive powers for its warrantless eavesdropping program and military tribunals for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Isn't that lovely. The Constitution apparently, even in its currently abused state, is getting in the way of the terrorists. And how can you not consider them terrorists? They have a political agenda and use every means at their disposal to terrorize the public into giving them nore power.

The Department of Defense defines terrorism thusly: "the unlawful use of -- or threatened use of -- force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives."

Notice that the threat of force or even use of force doesn't have to be unlawful under their definition. Governments, the organizations which control most of the world's "lawful force" are terrorists if they threaten the use of force or use force to acheive political objectives.

"But..but but...", the statists stammer, "the government is only threatening the `real terrorists`." Actually, they are threatening everyone. I mean, unless you believe that the government has technology which can automatically switch off when surveilling a "non" terrorist, then you are a potential target for such surveilance. Today's "suggestion" by Chertoff, who is presumably speaking the will of more government agents and agencies than himself, totally ignores the surveillance of people travelling and working in the US already. If it hasn't worked so far, why will more improve matters?

This in spite of the fact that the Federal government is only authorized to gather minimal census data once every ten years. I haven't seen anyone challenge the government's massive data collection on citizens based on that constitutional restriction before, but I'd sure like to see it done. It is clear to me that data collection such as video, SSN, and private financial records is a direct violation of this restriction on the collection of personal information.

But why limit the definition of terrorism to the use of force alone? The government's ability to manipulate the major news networks is a almost as powerful as the use of force. The use of propaganda designed to instill terror in the minds of citizens here and abroad doesn't count?

The news media is all too willing to play along. After all, they assert, "bad news sells. "If it bleeds, it leads."

In reality, when you take an objective look at the government-approved media, the bulk of its content, including what constitutes "entertainment" is chock full of propaganda meant to terrorize the populice so that they rush out and buy certain products. It works so well with a variety of products, but some still haven't realized that the news itself is designed to yield the same results.

The people running the show want us to be afraid. A sad example of this coincidentally happened this weekend. Three men in Texas were arrested for excercising enterprenurial spirit, (and subsequently charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit terroristic acts) something that has been long-touted as an admirable trait, and distinctly American. The problem for these naturlized citizens was their "scary" names.

The three men were described as being of Pakistani descent but live in Texas. Police say the three, ages 19, 22, and 23 appear to be naturalized citizens. One man was driving while the other two were in the back opening the phone packages with box cutters throwing the phones in one box, batteries in another and the packaging and phone charger in another container. The suspects had 1000 other cell phones in the van. There was also a bag of receipts showing that someone was in Wisconsin the day before.

The phones were Nokia Tracfones selling for $20 at Wal-Mart. For your twenty dollars you receive a phone charger and 40 minutes of airtime. The phones do not have to be registered with a name. Also discovered was a laptop with store addresses and store logos.

The men have been "cooperative, upfront, not hiding" anything according to police. They also told officers they get stopped frequently and say they buy the phones for $20 and sell them elsewhere for $38. They sell them without the packaging or charger.

The US is just doing the same thing governments all over the world have done for centuries. This is why it is so disheaertening to see history consistently repeat itself. Sitting Bull was a terrifying name at one time. So terrifying that Sherman's cavalry did what it could to wipe out any Indian it could find, man woman and child. Some of the propaganda produced at that time still persists to this day.

Here we go again. We'll still hear the statists like David Horowitz and Michelle Malkin ratcheting up the terror while maintaining an apologetic government stance. The closer the pundit lives to DC, the more piss-soaked their perfuntory analysis, passed off as political insight, becomes.

The terrorists are in DC, not in Dearborne or Iraq. They hate our freedoms, and so do their sycophants in the media.

Aug 1, 2006

Who Knew and When?

Remember when the Bush administration denied that the US government had no idea that attacks of the specificity of 9.11.2001 could have been possible? The Administration trotted out every neocon official and pundit they could find to deny, deny deny.

David Horrowitz on 5.17.2002 went to bat for the President as he is often wont to do:

If, on the other hand, Bush had known what the Clinton administration knew -- that al-Qaida had plans to use commercial airliners as bombs and fly them into buildings, specifically the CIA headquarters -- this would be a serious charge. But they did not know it, because the Clinton team never told them. (The fact that Bush didn't know about plans to hijack planes and run them into tall buildings was confirmed by Condoleezza Rice at her Thursday press conference.)
Shortly after 9.11, when every reporter on the east coast was vying for a pulitzer prize in journalism, David Maraniss, of the Washington Post wote a piece tying together the lives of a few involved in the tragedy. Not only should this article prove that Bush lied, it contains a very interesting coincidence that has been rarely noticed.
At Dulles Airport, Capt. Charles Burlingame, who had been a Navy F-4 pilot and once worked on anti-terrorism strategies in the Pentagon, was steering his 757, American Airlines Flight 77, down the runway for the long flight to Los Angeles. Plenty of empty seats in his cabin, like several other cross-country trips at that hour.


Matt Rosenberg was down on Corridor 8, a medic at the health clinic in the massive military headquarters, grateful for an uninterrupted hour in which he could study a new medical emergency disaster plan based on the unlikely scenario of an airplane crashing into the place.

[emphasis added] Washington Post 9/16/2001
Burlingame's plane, if indeed it crashed into the Pentagon, crashed into the area where he would have worked. As a reservist, he wrote plans for the Navy War College and the Pentagon on counter-terrorism. It is likely that he authored the plan that Mr. Rosenberg was studying.

But you know, even if Bush didn't know about this plan (which is highly suspect) top government officials did know. And if it was "unlikely" that a plane could crash into the Pentagon, why would the government spend the time and energy planning for the possibility?

Jul 23, 2006

Hezbollah captured the Soldiers inside Lebanon

This fact seems to have been ignored by most of the media. It is awfully inconvenient to those who claim that Hezbollah started this.
The militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel, which sent ground forces into its neighbor to look for them. The forces were trying to keep the soldiers' captors from moving them deeper into Lebanon, Israeli government officials said on condition of anonymity.
So, Israel had sent soldiers into Lebanon and now must bomb Beirut until it is a pile of rubble. Perhaps it is so nobody will be left to complain that it was Israel itself which started this mess.

Jul 20, 2006

Video from Lebanon

Static Brain has posted a chilling video from Lebanon. No worries, you won't see graphic depictions of deaths. But it is worth watching. One day, if the neocons in and around the White House have their way, it could be coming to a city near you. Somebody please vote these sociopaths out of office and replace them with people who actually care about the stated principles of this nation.

By the way, does anyone else find Israel's claim (parroted today by the drug-addled Rush Limbaugh) that the Beirut airport is a valid military target, to be utterly psychotic?

Ron Paul Tells the Truth

Ron Paul, one of the only, if not the only Congressman in America who tells the truth said this on the house floor yesterday (Click on item 53 and then Page: H5453):
Between 1997 and 2004, and that doesn't even count the last 2 years, we gave over $7 billion in weapons grants. It wasn't a loan. It was a weapons grant.

Now, the neat thing about this, this was an economic deal because it was beneficial because under the foreign military financing program that we have, Israel is required to spend 74 percent of that back here. So you are talking about a military-industrial complex, a pretty good deal. You know, we subsidize them, send the money over here, it comes over here, and our arms manufacturers make even more money and then dig a bigger hole for us in foreign policy and contribute to the many problems that we have. And that amount of money, they get $2.3 billion of these military grants, and they automatically increase it $60 million per year. So it is locked in place.

Now, you say, well, that is money for our ally. And fine, if it was used for defense, maybe. But if it is used to antagonize 1 billion Muslims and there is no willingness to even consider the fact that we should look at it in a balanced way, and instead it is ridiculed and said, oh, this is ridiculous to think of neutrality or balance and think about both sides, and the innocent people dying on both sides should be considered.

So we are moving toward a major crisis, a major crisis financially and a major crisis in our foreign policy. I don't believe we can maintain this.

So even if you totally disagree with our aggressive empire building and policing the world, let me tell you, I am going to win the argument, because we are running out of money. We are in big debt, and we are borrowing it. We borrowed $3 billion a day from countries like China and Japan and Saudi Arabia to finance this horrendous debt. And it won't be, it can't be continued. The dollar will eventually weaken. You are going to have horrendous inflation. Interest rates are going to go up, and it is going to be worse than the stagflation of the 1970s.
There's the reason things are so messed up in the middle east.

I am glad I turned off the TV 12 years ago. I can only imagine the pro-Israel screeds broadcast over every station disguised as news. Invest in gold. You're going to need it.

Jul 16, 2006

Revenge, Hubris and World War III begins...

The recent events in the Middle East should remind us just how morally bankrupt is the current administration of the U.S. "republic." In an almost verbatim (canned?) response to reporters during the G8 summit, Bush parrotted his May 2004 speech to AIPAC (one which was interrupted 67 times by applause and chants of "Four more years."):
"As a sovereign nation, Israel has every right to defend itself against terrorist activity,"
Daniel Ayalon, Israel's Ambassador to the US apparently thinks that barbequeing innocent civilians is the means to "show restraint."
"If we do not want to see further escalation, deterioration, violence, this is the time to stop Hizbollah and what we are doing is the most effective (way) to stop them."
Gee, Danny, do you actually think that bombing apartment buildings and fleeing civilians is a means to stop Hezbollah? The Washington Post confirms that the US administration and Israel share the same interests when it comes to current events:

For Israel, the goal is to eliminate Hezbollah as a security threat -- or altogether, the sources said. A senior Israeli official confirmed that Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah is a target, on the calculation that the Shiite movement would be far less dynamic without him.

For the United States, the broader goal is to strangle the axis of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran, which the Bush administration believes is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle East, U.S. officials say.

As somebody who is old enough to remember, this all looks like revenge. Israel was by most accounts, whooped by Hezbollah which gained a reputation amongst those who have noticed facts rather than Israeli propaganda, of targetting the military rather than civilians.

The US still hasn't gotten over Iran's rebuff and the debacle that was the Iran hostage crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, Carter actually did not appease "terrorists" in 1979. He refused to negotiate which is why the hostages were taken. When Carter let the Shah of Iran enter the US and refused to extradite him to Iran to be charged for crimes the Iranians believed he had committed against the people, violence erupted.

The entire affair was a foreign policy disaster going back to 1953's Operation Ajax in which the CIA influenced Iranian elections.

Iran is still much maligned and there is plenty of leftover resentment to support their acts of revenge. The truly sad part about all of this is that the US administration, which takes grandiose claims about its striving to acheive freedom and democracy the world over, won't even comment on Israel's targetting of civilians.

It's deja vu all over again. During the Iranian hostage crisis, the US under Carter was ramping up to supply Mujahadeen fighters to battle the Soviet infadels who had invaded Afghanistan. Even to the point of ( in collusion with the ISI Pakistan's intelligence agency) schools which taught young boys the importance of Jihad so they could be recruited into the war later.

It was announced yesterday that the US has blocked Russia from entering the WTO. Putin is not amused. He has even taken to stating publically that Iran has the right to defend itself using Bush's own rhetoric in a sardonic twist.

WWIII Anyone?

Jul 3, 2006

Home of the Free

I just got a frantic call from a friend.

She and her husband are buying property and have a large sum of cash that they've saved over the years for just such an event.

The problem is that nobody will take the cash as payment. They might be terrorists. They might be tax cheats. They might not have done anything at all exept to do what millions of Americans have done in the past and hoard away federal reserve notes in a closet somewhere.

But today, they risk the upturned noses of nosy bank personnel, IRS audits and worse for merely using the money they've saved over the years to purchase a piece of property on the river.

The powers that be, want you and I to insure that our financial situation be one of living paycheck to paycheck. Getting out of the rat-race by buying a piece of property that might sustain us without having to work for somebody else or start a highly regulated business, is potentially criminal. So don't do it. Never defy the slave-masters or your money will be confiscated. After all, we don't know where you got that money. Nobody saves money of any substantial amount without plotting criminal activity.

My friend is now considering driving around to over 30 different locations to obtain money orders under the legal limit. Thanks to the patriot act and other banking laws, she can't rightfully spend more than 1000 "dollars" without intense scrutiny.

I sure am glad the terrorists aren't winning. What would it be like for a country targetted  by "freedom haters" if its citizens were actually free?

Jun 11, 2006

Suicide is now an "act of war."

The Bush administration and the military is desparately trying to contol the damage they have caused to their own credibility with the execution of this so called war on terror. I never cease to be amazed at the hyperbole and outright lies they tell in these attempts. Three detainees at Guantanamo killed themselves Saturday morning and the camp commander, who previously exclaimed he woultn't let this happen, is now alleging that the suicides were "acts of war".

No, they weren't killing themselves out of despair for being held in a foreign country and without charges or hope of release. They were trying to make the U.S. look bad and gain sympathy amongst the world's terrorist population. Hey, if the only people who sympathize with the plight of the Guantanamo detainees are "terrorists", we have a serious lack of morality amongst the world's non-terrorist population.

Why shouldn't we feel sorry for them? And why won't  Rear Admiral Harry Harris show his real mettle and retaliate by blowing his own head off? This is war after all.

We can all feel a little better though since George "hand up my back" Bush has "expressed serious concern" over the deaths. And you know he's serious about human rights. He is the same man who it is reported called the constitution "just a God-damned piece of paper."

Just 340 days ago Bush was defending Guantanamo:

These people are being treated humanely. There are very few prison systems around the world that have seen such scrutiny as this one..

GW Bush, Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Saturday Bush had this to say:
And I appreciate the fact that the Prime Minister is concerned about the decisions that I made on -- toward Guantanamo. I assured him that we would like to end the Guantanamo. We'd like it to be empty. And we're now in the process of working with countries to repatriate people.

GW Bush, Friday, June 9, 2006

It is extremely hard to take anyone in this administration at their word. I'd say that it was hard to take them seriously but meglomaniacs and sociopaths need to be treated very seriously. They could snap at any moment and another batch of innocent people could be thrown into a prison somewhere.

Be safe....

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Jun 8, 2006

HGH is now a problem in baseball?

My God, the new crop of sports writers seem to be sniveling busy bodies, the lot of them. I'd say it was all of America, but in point of fact, Barry Bonds draws more fans to opposing stadiums than any other player in baseball. What the sports writers have deemed crucial to the integrity of baseball does not seem to ring true with the fans.

Barry Bonds has been crucified in the press on the flimsiest of evidence over alleged steroid use, and the shrill voices continue to cry. The latest moron to weigh in on the "performance enhancement issue is Jeff Pasan who writes for Yahoo! Sports. He's now convinced that HGH is a dangerous pharmacuetical that should be banned from baseball based on the testimony of a single pitcher; who's overall record wouldn't be something I'd tout as evidence that HGH or steroids are helpful to one's athletic performance, much less a widespread problem in the major leagues. I mean, who the hell heard of Jason Grimsley before he was deposed by "federal investigators?" He has a career ERA of 4.77 over his 15 year career as a middle relief pitcher.

If anyone actually takes this bonehead seriously, we can expect Congressional hearings on vitamin use and its danger to the "sanctity of the game."

Intelligent Design Spec

I have a friend who is a landscape architect. He's been in this area of Texas for at least 30 years.

The other day we were talking about the scam of pesticides and herbacides. They don't work. Pestacides are especially notorious for losing efficacy over time due to insect adaptation. Plus they are bad for humans. Yeah, I want to eat that tomato covered in 24D. Hand it over.

There are some folks who scoff at the notion that something other than random chance created the universe. I don't know why exactly this idea elicits so many negative reactions but the latest incarnation of creation science is "Intelligent Design" and I think it gets a pretty bad rap generally speaking.

My landscaper friend was explaining how the fire ants (brought to this part of the continent by "intelligent" humans) used to be susceptible to pesticide use. Now they are not. And they did so over the past 2 decades without developing resistence to Amdro. Amdro is a bait. The ants take the food to their queen, feed her poison and she dies.

Fire ants  typically care for  a single queen. If that queen dies, so dies the colony. The fireants here in Texas, to mitigate the effects of Amdro, have taken to caring for 2 and 3 queens. When a neighboring colony's queen dies, one of the queens is shared with the other.

This level of cooperation is unprecedented amongst the fire ant population. Man, being the highest intelligence in the universe, in its attempt to clean up a mess he made, has made the mess worse. One can find example after example of this sort of environmental disaster occurring through man's meddling.

Either man isn't nearly as intelligent as he believes, or most everything in the universe is more intelligent.

Pentagon People

The "plane" that hit the pentagon is curious. A security cam turns up ~5 years after the event and has a new streak "proving" that it was a 757. The government confiscated all video that may have captured the crash from surrounding businesses shortly after the crash. How convenient. Few parts, no black boxes but every single passenger and terrorist accounted for via autopsy well....sort of. We're supposed to believe that the people inside the plane and the pentagon were more resilient than the plane itself. .....right....

Coulter the drag queen?

At the risk of giving this bolemic hag more publicity, Strap on Veterans For Truth have an expose on Ann Coulter's previous manhood.

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Jun 6, 2006

America: From Freedom To Fascism

CBS rates Aaron Russo's new movie 4 stars.

"FOUR STARS (Highest Rating). The scariest
goddamn film you'll see this year. It will leave you staggering out of the
theatre, slack-jawed and trembling. Makes 'Fahrenheit 9/11' look like 'Bambi.'
After watching this movie, your comfy, secure notions about America -- and about
what it means to be an American -- will be forever shattered. Producer/director
Aaron Russo and the folks at Cinema Libre Studio deserve to be heralded as
heroes of a post-modern New American Revolution. This is shocking stuff. You'll
be angry, you'll be disgusted, but you may actually break out in a cold sweat
and feel a sickness deep in your gut; I would advise movie theatre managers to
hand out vomit bags. You may end up needing one."

--- Todd David
Schwartz, CBS


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May 23, 2006


"Oh no..." was the second noise I heard. The first was a sort of "ThaWHUMP!" that eminated from within the engine compartment of my 1996 Silverado, the second eminating from somewhere between my ears.

The engine continued to run. My intuition told me that something was wrong. See, my wife had run an errand that morning and had been kind enough to stop in at the Quick Lube to arrange an oil change. The uneasy feeling I had was festering. Did they leave a tool in the engine compartment? They had left a pair of wiper blades, still in the package, on the passenger side cowl; noticed only by my wife after one of them flew off the car and onto the road. It was pretty obvious to me now that these fellows were not the sharpest mechanics in their trade school.

I turned the ignition key and waited for silence. Once again, I started the engine. "Sounds normal. Nothing wrong." My Seven-year-old daughter, who is in the extended cab with her sister, 3, asks me what is wrong. "I heard a noise. It doesn't seem to be serious."

But why was I still uncomfortable? Again, I shut down the beast and popped the hood. I was looking for a shop rag, tool, oil filter....anything that some dumbass may have left in the engine compartment. Facing the grill, I clutched the latch under the now-ajar bonnet and pushed it upward. The sunlight flooded into the engine compartment and illuminated the myriad of wires, computers and body parts, most of them black and covered in a thin film of oily dust. Nothing obvious. No streaks of oil. No smoke. No fire. Just the ticking sound of metal parts cooling.

The fan shroud on this truck is a pretty massive affair and is at about my sternum. If something had fallen, perhaps it was now laying on the front transaxle, or in front of the fan, next to the radiator. It would require that I step up onto the front bumper and crane my neck to see around the fan shroud.

I was hearing words in my head again. "There it is! A .... uh..... Oh crap! It's a kitten.."

Laying on her back, the white underbelly exposed, limbs seeming to splay in directions not at all natural for a graceful feline, was our little calico kitten, barely four months old. I could see her head draped over the sway bar with a few drops of blood coming from her mouth and nose.

I stood there, dumbstruck. Somewhere in the distance, my two girls were happily pretending to be several characters from Star Wars..."Luke, I am your father....; No! Fatherrrrrrrr.......", says the three-year-old.

My wife was opening the gate to the dirt road that leads to civilization from this haven amongst the cows and noticed my approach. The sick look on my face was soon mirrored. "Honey, I need you to see something."

"Do I want to see it?"

"Just come see."

Discreetness is the key in these situations. Mom and Dad need to act naturally so as not to arouse suspicions in the little ones.

"Take a look over the top of that shroud. There's a cat in there."

"Oh no..."

I peered in again from the opposite side of the grill. It got worse. "Wow, she's still breathing." That meant that we wouldn't just be performing a car excorcism. We'd have to put her out of her misery. My first thought was to just slit her throat. She had to be broken inside something awful. Her left hip looked deformed and the leg crossed over the right. Yes, that would be the most humane. Also the safest. Discharging a firearm into the engine compartment wasn't the sanest idea that popped into my head and I immediately shook it off.

My wife, having the clearest head at that moment, suggested we remove the kitten from the engine compartment. Right. Good idea. It wasn't going to be easy. Our little kitten was underneath the fan and the only purchase one might obtain was by pulling her back legs and carefully working her around the fan blades and up over the top of the fan.

That wasn't going to happen. The only way to extricate her was to ease her limp body downward onto the ground below. This too would be tricky since there was a good 18 inches from her resting place and the gravel below. A towel was placed on the ground underneath the truck and my wife accepted the task of catcher. I gently pushed the limp kitten's head and body toward the only gap available and gravity slowly eased her into my wife's awaiting arms.

Now, wrapped in a towel, she seemed, to me, a bit less repulsive. My wife, cradling her like a newborn baby, quickly got into the car and tossed me an expectant look. The creature's impending death was a foregone conclusion but maybe we could make it into town so that the vet could ease her pain.

My oldest daughter was horrified, and once the initial shock worn off, full of questions as we sped onto the country road, gravel spurting from under the rear tires, in search of a veterinarian.

Our search was in vain for an hour or more. The kitten, apparently in an attempt to further increase the nausea and raw nerves of the older family members (the three-year-old was fairly oblivious to the scene), mewed pathetically at the most dramatic moments during the trip. A call to an emergency pager, painted just below the "Closed" sign on the town vet's glass and steel entryway, provided no immediate response.


Finally, the annoying ringtone on my Blackberry shattered the silence between mewings. The vet was on his way. He had been inseminating some farmer's cow, needed to wash up and would be in the office shortly. I stared at the kitten's face. Her injuries seemed to become more and more severe. Broken ribs, crushed hips, bleeding organs and a huge lump on her cranium representing a crushed skull, obviously. I never went to college and may have cracked a "Gray's Anatomy" once in biology class, but I was suddenly an expert in feline anatomy. And....."Honey, what's that smell? It's smells like death..."

"Honey!...the kitten pooped in the towel. Just relax."

"Oh God. Of course she's on the brink of death. That's what animals and people do when they are about to die. They shit on themselves. Where is that vet?"

I said this to myself of course. And now it was important to keep the children occupied and distracted. In noble fashion, I extracted the children from their cramped quarters and took them to gawk at sick and recovering livestock through the adjcent barn's windows.

We were teased by a pizza delivery van which stopped at the driveway. The driver apparently needed to organize his personal belongings. Finally, the vet, a down-to-earth looking man in his 50's, pulled up in a belching diesel monstrosity replete with a utility bed and grill guard. A comotion ensued as we impatiently crowded at the front door waiting for the man to find the lock and grant us entry. Our fragile package in hand, we anxiously pushed our way into the lobby.

The three-year-old and I, plopped down onto a comfortable wingback couch a likeness of which one might find in virtually any farmhouse in these parts, while my eldest and her mother consulted with the vet.

I could see from this vantage point the open door of the examining room. The "doc" was sitting on a wheeled office chair and would occassionaly float over the linoleum toward a wall of cabinets containing all sorts of mysterious narcotics and individually packaged medical supplies.

I could only hear snippets of the conversation but almost fell out of the sofa when I heard him say "...it doesn't look like she has any broken bones or serious injuries."

In fact, it was a bit anti-climactic. I was certainly relieved. For a couple of reasons. One, our little kitten was apparently in possession of eight more lives, and two, there wouldn't be a complicated surgery and multi-thousands in fees to pay.

After the kitten was sufficiently anesthetized, we headed home to care for the poor thing. It was Saturday afternoon and all of our weekend plans were out the window. Our weekend would be full of hand-feeings and constant checking and worrying over the patient. She had a laceration (apparently from the fan itself) next to her left eye and running down the bridge of her nose, and on her head a welt the size of a quarter. In fact, her entire head seemed to be swollen. She slept for a long while and that evening, she awoke and fussed a bit in the kennel. My wife tried to give her some water out of an eyedropper but she wasn't that interested. We surmised that it might be necessary to put her on an IV to avoid dehydration - which would mean another trip to the vet. On Sunday afternoon, the kitten ventured out of her portable kennel and tried to play with some string. She then laid down as if to say "Oh, yeah. I'm not quite right, am I"?

In two more days, you wouldn't know by looking at her that anything significant had happened to her.

Consequently, It has become my habit to bang on the fender before I enter any vehicle to wake sleeping cats. I have also renamed our little miracle kitten..



Jan 4, 2006

Texas Wins! Vince Young Rules

Texas won another Rose Bowl tonight. The offensive MVP was awarded to Vince Young and rightfully so. Young scored the final 8 points in a nail-biting, 41 - 38 glorious victory over USC. Texas held Reggie Bush to just 82 yards rushing.

I couldn't watch the final 4 minutes of the game. I had to get in my car and drive home partly out of fear. The Ohio State game in September was a similar experience. When the second half started, I was two hours from home at a friends house and had to pack up the kids and get going. Radio reception what it is here in Austin, I finally picked up a signal just outside of Austin. Expecting to hear the customary concilliatory interviews, I was instead stunned to hear Craig Way, play caller for Longhorns football and men's basketball, congratulating VY on a come-back win.

So when I left the bar tonight it was partly out of supersticion and partly from a desire not to see the Longhorns lose. Picture Glen Close's character in "The Natural" who explained to Roy Hobbs she couldn't stand to see him fail.

I didn't get to see the last plays but hearing Craig Way call them may have been even better. As I drove east on 71, the seconds ticked by and it became clear that Vince Young is not somebody you ever want to bet against. Nobody even looked at me funny as I shook my fists and screamed...

"I wouldn't bet against me" - Roy Hobbs, The Natural