Friday, June 29, 2007

Let the Bullshit Begin... 

Tony Blair out. Gordon Brown in. British Intelligence, who normally couldn't find their own asses in the dark with a flashlight, thwart not one, but two, or, no, possibly three, car bomb plots. And just in time to bring up all the "7/7" anniversary crap.

And the American media, when they're not gushing over the iPhone, Paris Hilton and, bonus points, a lawsuit involving her Great Aunt and Zsa Zsa Gabor, are eating up the "Al Qaeda did it!" crap with a silver spoon.

Meanwhile, take a look at the claimed evidence and thwarted plots, and things fall apart quickly. These petrol-laden cars were not terrorist plots, but more of the "scare the people" Booga-Booga bullshit, most likely all aimed at giving the American Administration the excuse they've wanted to nuke Iran. Basic scenario: British Intelligence traces the plot to some guy who used to date the sister of the third cousin of the guy who does the gardening at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's summer palace. Britain wants revenge. America helps. World War III begins.

Item #1: if these were professionally designed bombs, the designers weren't very professional. If published reports are true, the cars were packed with many gallons of gasoline, propane cans, and nails. Let's start with the gasoline. This is not a bomb-making material of choice. Why not? Gasoline does not explode. It burns, but only in the presence of oxygen -- and in order for gas to be in the presence of oxygen, it's got to be exposed to the open air. Meaning that, if you make a bomb with a large gasoline component, it's going to stink to high heaven and be noticeable to anyone with a functioning nose. Which, surprise, surprise, is exactly how alleged bomb number one was "discovered."

Gasoline is an accelerant favored by arsonists, not an explosive favored by terrorists. In other words, if you're going to pour it out on the floor of an over-insured building in the ghetto at three in the morning, then drop a match on it and walk away, perfect. But if you're going to load a car with several hundred pounds of it, then park the car in public and leave it for a day or two, not so perfect.

And then there's propane. Yes, propane tanks can explode. But, oddly enough, they only tend to do so when they're surrounded by fire. Throw one on the barbecue, wait fifteen or twenty minutes, it'll probably go boom -- and sail off in one direction, depending upon where the weak seams were in the tank. Now, if whoever (*cough cough*) set these cars up intended to set the gas on fire remotely, then let it set off the propane tanks as bombs, great. Except that -- this would necessitate a big ol' car fire for a long time before the boom; long enough for people to flee and the fire brigade to come in and put it out. From a terrorist point of view, a failure -- death count, a few firemen, maybe, one or two buildings destroyed, way too much advance warning of danger.

As for the nails included in the "bombs", intended to be shrapnel, from the set ups considered above, their most likely destination would be straight down, as molten slag, assuming no one put out the fire. As deadly projectiles? Not so much. First off, they'd have to be packed tightly around an object that was going to explode outward in every direction, and we've already seen we don't have that. Secondly, and more important, the force of the primary explosion would have to be enough to drive the nails, point out, through whatever other container was around them. In reality, if the nails were positioned for flight instead of smelting, they'd just wind up embedded in the metal cage of the car itself, and not go much of anywhere.

Conclusion: these magical "discoveries" reek of a plant; a set-up designed to allow the government to do... whatever the hell they want to do. At the very least, the amateurishness of the alleged devices involved should assuage the public fear. If these were, indeed, legitimate terrorist devices, all they would have done is flamed up in a big cloud of black smoke, easily dealt with by one fire truck and pensioner with a hose. But if they were intended to scare the populace into further complacency, further fear, further willingness to bend over, grab their ankles and beg the government, "Please, sirs -- can I have another?" Well, then -- they've been the most effective terrorist weapons of all.

But I have to call "shenanigans" in this case, and point my finger at the real terrorists -- the British Government, acting at the behest of the American Administration, for the sole purpose of fomenting yet another war that nobody with half a brain in their head wants.

People of Britain, it is time to say "Enough." It is time to call bullshit on these alleged plots -- especially when a moment's consideration of the alleged methods used reduces the threat to nothing.

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They're Trying to Lose, Aren't They? 

As I've mentioned in this space before, Nancy Pelosi has a sound poltical reason for opposing impeachment; it's called "perceived conflict of interest."

That doesn't explain anyone else's excuses, especially none of the Democratic excuses, and especially not when some Republicans are now starting to grumble for impeachment.

Barack Obama, continuing to spin to the middle while not realizing it was his partisan fervor that put him in the spotlight in the first place, is also rejecting impeachment, giving this plausible but wrong reasoning: "I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches of the president's authority."

Why, yes you do, Obama. Yes you do. That's why the whole Clinton impeachment effort was such a farce, and why it ultimately failed. Clinton never breeched his authority. He just took authority over an intern's britches.

With Bush and Cheney, on the other hand -- if you cannot call what they have done grave and intentional breeches, then there's not a leader in the world you can convict of anything. They have lied to the American People to start wars, they have spied on the American People, they have done everything they can to ignore or destroy the Constitution, they have allowed their corporate friends to act as war profiteers while simultaneously under-providing our troops with necessary armaments and materiel, they have practiced a level of political cronyism in their appointments not seen since the days of Herbert Hoover... and on, and on, and on.

If those aren't grounds for impeachment, I don't know what would be. If Obama can't see that and will not do something about it, then he does not deserve the White House.

Impeachment is a valid tool, when used properly. We cannot let conservative abuse of this tool under Clinton taint the process and make it something unthinkable just because it would seem political. We cannot let our elected representatives wimp out and roll over on this issue.

As they continue their campaigns for the presidency, remind them of that. Democrats were swept into office on the promise of ending the Iraq war and the hope of impeaching the entire Administration. They have done neither. If they can continue to do so, they can just as easily be swept out, along with all the other bums and criminals they refuse to touch.

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Your Dilligent Reporters in Action 

Apparently, the Associated Press doesn't understand what the legal terms in their stories mean. Here's the lead from an article about a recent Supreme Court action:
Putting its recent ruling on student speech into practice, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected a school district's appeal of a ruling that it violated a student's rights by censoring his anti-Bush T-shirt. [emphasis added]
Here's the ruling that the Supreme Court refused to overturn:
An appeals court said the school had no right to censor any part of the [student's anti-Bush] shirt.
Note that the shirt contained references to alcohol and drugs, as well as political sentiment. Yes, the Court was consistent with its earlier ruling in which Justice Alito cautioned that schools could not censor political speech. But they weren't exactly being consistent in their stance on where and what schools could censor.

The real story that the AP has missed is the inconsistency being set up as precedent. So "Bong Hits for Jesus" on a banner, off campus, is wrong. A T-shirt worn on campus with cocaine and a martini and a political message on it is okay.

If anything, the Court may have inadvertently undercut their own prior ruling. At the very least, it seems that free speech, at least when it comes to what is prohibited to students, has just fallen into the same category as obscenity: "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One Reporter Who Gets It 

Truly amazing and unbelievable footage -- MSNBC reporter Mika Brzezinski refuses to lead the news with the Paris Hilton story, going so far as to tear up the copy live on-air in order to get to the real news.

Good for her. We need more reporters like this, who will stand up to the producers who think America is only interested in celebrity crap coverage.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

While the Media Was A-Whoring... 

Memo to news editors everywhere: Paris Hilton is not news. Her arrest, imprisonment and, now, imminent release is a non-story. The only reason it appears to be a story is because you, the corporate media gate-keepers, keep flogging it harder than a submissive customer in a Japanese S&M brothel.

It is not news. It's not important. Contrary to what you seem to think, the majority of your audience could not care one absolute tiny iota less about it.

Meanwhile, while you were busy devoting so much air time to nothing, other things have been happening in the world...Those are just a few of the items that aren't getting covered, even as the news has become All Paris, All the Time.

Fuck Paris Hilton. Fuck the corporate news media. Give us the real news, or just honestly label your programming as Celebrity Tabloid Crap.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Not Smarter than a Fifth Grader 

Q: Name the three branches of the United States Government.
A: Legislative, Judicial, Executive.

Q: Name the entities that make up each branch.
A: Legislative: Congress, made up of the House and Senate.
Judicial: The Supreme Court
Executive: The Administration, including the President and...
And, if you're Dick Cheney, apparently not the Vice President. Trying to prove that he can claim to be just as above the law as W, that's exactly what Cheney recently told Legislative Branch member Rep. Henry Waxman. As Waxman's website describes it:
The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an “entity within the executive branch.”
This is doubly troublesome because Cheney's office has had a rather poor track record when it comes to safeguarding classified national security information -- q.v. The Valerie Plame Affair, and a ton of missing emails.

Every President and Vice President sworn into office takes an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States. This willful ignorance of that document is just the latest in a long list of acts by which both Cheney and Bush have shown their complete contempt for that document, their offices and the People of the United States. It's just another reason to support impeachment; in fact, despite the heinousness of all their other crimes, this act alone is legally enough to impeach the Vice President. Piled on top of all the other crimes and misdemeanors committed by this Administration, it should be the last nail in the coffin.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No More Roy Cohns 

Thanks to sex-advice columnist Dan Savage for this story: Tyler Whitney, an 18 year-old conservative political activist who leads an anti-gay group at his college in Michigan, has just been outed.

The response from the right? Well, gosh, if they really meant all of their anti-gay rhetoric, they would have booted him out of the party and taken away his Young Republican membership, right?

Wrong. The same homophobic douchebags who are so anti-gay are circling the wagons, claiming that poor little Tyler's private sexual habits are nobody's business, and it was an evil, evil thing that he was shoved out of the closet, blah blah blah.

Savage rightly points out the blazing hypocrisy in that stance, saying, "If Whitney’s sexual preference is a personal matter, if Whitney’s sexual preference shouldn’t have anything to do with the campaign, then neither should mine — or the sexual preferences of any other Americans." [emphasis in original].

I'm reminded of hateful and self-hating closet cases of the past, particularly Roy Cohn and J. Edgar Hoover, who did everything they could in their lifetimes to harass, threaten and blackmail gays. Now, they did most of their dirty work at a time when being outed ended careers and, too frequently, lives. It's nice to have the shoe on the other foot -- but also appalling to realize how many of these hypocrites are living in the closet while actively fighting against their own kind.

Hey, if you want to stay closeted for whatever reason -- personal, religious, business -- fine. But if that's the case, then you have no right to be involved fighting either for or against gay and lesbian rights. By closing that door to the world, you've also bought yourself the ability to do only one thing: shut your damn mouth as well. And I'm sorry, but a gay Republican is about as ridiculous as a black Grand Dragon of the KKK or a Jewish Nazi.

So little Tyler Whitney can't pretend to be straight while committing political gay-bashing anymore? Boo-fucking-hoo. As Savage notes, he's old enough to vote, he's old enough to join the military -- so he's old enough to pay the price for his raging hypocrisy and self-hatred.

Maybe he'll wake up to what he's been doing, accept himself for what he is, and start working in his own interests instead of those of the Forces of Hate. While he's at it, he might want to remind all the other numerous closet-case rightwing homophobes that they too are fair game for outing.

Want to open your big mouth and spout off about how "wrong" homosexuality is? Fine. Then don't put anything in it after hours that you wouldn't want the world to know about.

Memo to L.G.: watch your back. You might be next on the outing list.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

You Don't Need Rope for a Lynching 

Forget Paris Hilton and the whole debate about "special treatment". She drove drunk, then violated parole, she deserves to be in jail, case closed. But never forget Genarlow Wilson, who is still being raped and railroaded by the Georgia Justice system. Perhaps, if you study his picture very carefully, you can figure out why the local DA has such a stick up his ass for keeping this 21 year-old in prison, and why the news media hasn't, isn't and won't raise as much of a stink over the whole rotten thing. Oh, poor Paris won't get to wear make-up for a month and will have to shit on a cold metal toilet. Boo-fucking-hoo.

Genarlow Wilson has been in jail for two years of a ten year sentence now. His crime? When he was 17, he got a consensual beej from a 15 year-old girl. Because of a fluke in Georgia law, this was a felony which included mandatory inclusion on the sex offender registry.

Largely due to the outcry over Genarlow's sentencing in that case, the law was overturned -- but not retroactively. The ten year sentence was a mandatory minimum.

Today, a judge in Georgia ordered the sentence reduced to a misdemeanor, with no SO registration, and everything was set for Genarlow to finally walk a free man when Thurbert Baker, the Attorney General, threw a wrench into the works by filing a notice of appeal, thereby keeping Genarlow locked up for the time being.

Like I said, I don't know what stick the AG has up his ass in this case, unless he's jealous that someone else got a hummer. The law that led to Genarlow's sentence is no more, neither the girl nor her family filed a criminal complaint, the defendant has had a promising college career as both an academic and an athlete interrupted, possibly ruined. And for what? So one man with an agenda can make an example of him? So yet another black man metaphorically swings from a tree in what is historically one of America's most racists states? Yes, it has all the earmarks of a lynching...

Which is made even less explicable by this: Meet the Attorney General, Thurbert Baker, a Democrat:

This somehow just makes this whole sad, sick miscarriage of justice even worse on so many levels. It also makes me hope that Al Sharpton will refocus his attention now that Paris is back in jail, get his ass down to Georgia, and land on a brother with both feet. I don't know what agenda Baker thinks he's following, but it serves no purpose whatsoever except to willfully torture Genarlow Wilson and his family. Baker needs to pull his head right out of his ass, lighten up and let this young man go.

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