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?