Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shirley Katz needs Dr. Katz: 'Mental-pausal' women and the right to bare arms.

The fear-mongering cynically propagated by this administration to manipulate us into gladly surrendering our democratic patrimony has seeped into every pour of our beings. We're now simply afraid of EVERYTHING. We're afraid of guys with turbans on planes, immigrants, the weather, toys, cat food, toothpaste, you name it -- we've been scared into such a state of paralysis that we can no longer defend ourselves against the relentless authoritarian onslaught of radical Christo-fascists masquerading as "conservatives."

Since 9/11 this country has been gripped by such sheer terror of another 9/11 happening that we've allowed a small cabal of true believers running the executive branch to undermine and dismantle every protection provided to us by the Founding Fathers against our own government. We're all perfectly fine with the executive simply crossing out the 4th, 6th and 8th amendments of the Constitution, all in the name of making sure no one 'hurts' us again like on September 11th 2001.

According to the Economist: "Since the killing of John Kennedy in 1963, more Americans have died by American gunfire than perished on foreign battlefields in the whole of the 20th century," but despite that, there is one constitutional protection we're apparently not willing to part with: the 2nd amendment.

A case in point is English teacher Shirley Katz of Medford, Oregon, who is suing her school to be allowed to bring her own personal 9 mm Glock into her classroom. She claims the constitution guarantees her the right to be able to protect herself from her ex-husband [ever heard of a restraining order Shirley?] or another Columbine-style shooting rampage.

On NPR's All Things Considered last night, Katz even admitted that if she were presented with a situation where a gun wielding 14-year old entered her classroom, she would gun him down. [It's kind of scary to think she's got scenarios like that running through her head.]

Now that's the kind of American can-do moxy we need more of in this country. Mentally ill children are simply more collateral damage when it comes to protecting the right of a well regulated militia to bare arms.

In the perfect idealized world of the gun nuts, where the second amendment is first among equal amendments -- the great barrel of freedom from which all other liberties flow -- every man, woman and child should be allowed to protect themselves anyway they see fit. And if a school teacher thinks that the Almighty has endowed her with the inalienable right to enter any public building packing heat, as she claims, then so be it.

If we deny one teacher the right to bare arms whenever and wherever she feels threatened, we could have the Russians marching down Main Street the next day! Out of my cold dead hands!

Just for fun, let's take Katz's contention, that she's better able to protect children in her school when armed, to its logical conclusion. Just imagine how many children and teachers could have been saved at Columbine if all the teachers had been armed with Glock 9s. Of course, Harris and Klebold had Glock 9s, so the teachers might have been out-gunned. In future, perhaps, every teacher should have 50 caliber machine guns mounted on their desks. (Besides saving lives that would certainly focus the attention of any unruly student.)

As Katz mentioned several times, she's got a permit to carry a concealed weapon, so it naturally follows that she and her Glock 9 are no danger to anyone but to her ex-husband and crazed teens. If she really believes the 2nd amendment protects her absolute right to bare arms, then why even bother to get a permit at all? The very act of going out and getting permit from the government sort of undermines her whole assertion of the unlimited and unregulated right to bare arms, doesn't it? If the government can regulate who can and cannot carry a gun, then that sort of blows the whole anti-gun control argument out of the water, right?

I'd say the very fact that Katz has a permit shows that the government can legislate any type of gun control it wants: Ergo Shirley, you're full of it.

And, seriously, if you're so terrified of the children you teach and you have such a lust for shooting things up, may I suggest changing careers? To me, you seem like a perfect candidate for a job at Blackwater USA. It's a lot more money and they never ask questions when you shoot the wrong person.

Extra note:

Quote of the week.

When asked whether she would carry her gun into class if she wins her suit against the school district Katz says, "The whole point of carrying concealed is no one should know you're carrying. So I feel like my carrying concealed on campus now sets me up as a target." []

Get a bigger gun Shirley, or a good psychiatrist.

How Tom Lantos and Nana Pelosi started the next war.

AP reported a couple of hour ago:

"ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey ordered its ambassador in Washington to return to Turkey for consultations over a U.S. House panel's approval of a bill describing the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians as genocide, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday."

Before the vote, W. said that passage of this resolution "Would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror," and he's absolutely right. [Gag!] I mean what are Nana Pelosi & Tom Lantos thinking about? Is ramming through Resolution 106 really necessary right now?

In an example of craven pandering Representative Brad Sherman of California said of W.'s opposition to this massive mistake, "Despite President George Bush twisting arms and making deals, justice prevailed. For if we hope to stop future genocides we need to admit to those horrific acts of the past."

Right, execpt that this resolution won't bring back any of those Aremenians that died almost a century ago and it might very well get us dragged into a conflagration that will make WW-I look like a tea party.

Even before this vote came up things had been heating up on the northern Iraqi border, on both the Turkish and Iranian side. For months the Iranains have been shelling the Kurdish side of their border, that's trouble enough. At the same time the PKK in south-eastern Turkey have been killing dozens of Turkish soldiers in a low intensity insurgency that's rapidly coming to a fast boil.

The Turks have been building up their forces along the northern Iraqi border conducting "hot pursuit" incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan against the PKK but now it seems the real show is about to begin.

AP reported two days ago:

"Turkey's ruling party decided Tuesday to seek parliamentary approval for an offensive against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq, a move that could open a new front in the Iraq war and disrupt one of that nation's few relatively peaceful areas. . . Turkey's decision to seek a parliamentary go-ahead was made during a three-hour meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and officials from his governing Justice and Development Party, said a leading member of the party who was at the meeting. . . Earlier Tuesday, the government said it had begun preparations for a military operation into Iraq in pursuit of the rebels after a series of deadly attacks on soldiers in recent days outraged Turks."

Any chance our government might have had to persuade the Turks to lay-off the PKK has gone right out the window with this vote. The average Turk on the street was already not very happy with the US before this historic blunder. Just last month reported:

"Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Turkish respondents name the United States—which guarantees Turkish security as a NATO ally and has urged the EU to accept Turkish membership—as the country that poses the 'greatest threat' to Turkey in the future, Pew found. Among the Middle Eastern publics asked the open-ended question by Pew, only in Turkey did a majority name the United States."

Remember, Turkey used to be one of our staunchest allies. It was because of Rummy's and Wolfowitz's bullying before the war that things have gotten so bad, but the last thing we needed to do right now was stick a flaming poker into their eye.

My God, and even if the Turkish military can be convinced not to cross the Rubicon, it's not like they aren't going to really stick it to us in Iraq. As Sec Def Robert Gates tried to explain the Dumbocrats before this vote on genocide: About a third of the fuel for our troops goes through Turkey along with about 70% of our air freight. Gates said, "Access to airfields and to the roads and so on in Turkey would very much be put at risk if this resolution passes, and Turkey reacts as strongly as we believe they will."

And you know they will.

And besides all this, once the Turks cross over, the Kurds will defend their border. Our best buddies in Iraq the Kurds who have been Masquerading as regular Iraq Army units, will get into their transports and head for the north, leaving us holding the bag in Baghdad.

Nice work Democrats!
AP reports today:

"A series of rockets or mortar rounds struck Camp Victory, killing two members of the U.S.-led coalition and wounding 40 other people on the sprawling headquarters for U.S. forces in Iraq, the military said Thursday. . . The military said those wounded in Wednesday's attack included two 'third-country nationals,' meaning they were not Americans or Iraqis."

These "third country nationals," or TCNs as they are known, surely weren't Americans or Iraqis, they were most likely South Asians working for $1 an hour for one of the multitude of military contractors or subcontractors in Iraq doing the job the military has traditionally done itself. Now that we're fighting war on the cheap, the military can't afford to have the few troops we actually still do have tied down doing things like doing the laundry or cleaning out latrines, that's what we have the Fillipinos for.

One might ask why we're bringing in people from all over the world to work in Iraq when the unemployment rate is about 50% for the normal Iraqi, but that would be one of those reality based questions. Remember, W. & Co. make their own reality. Besides, who would trust an Iraqi to serve one of our guys on the chow line?

According to CorpWatch, the TCNs not only get paid basically nothing for their work for us, but when the indirect fire starts raining down on our bases -- an everyday event in the era of Pax Petraeus -- "American contractors slip on helmets and bulletproof vests, but TCNs are frequently shielded by only the shirts on their backs and the flimsy trailers they sleep in."

The WaPo reported back on December 5, 2006 that after three years of W.'s and Rummy's neoliberal economic experiment in Iraq, the Pentagon had finally done a census of the number of civilian employees working for the US military in Iraq.

"The survey finding, which includes Americans, Iraqis and third-party nationals hired by companies operating under U.S. government contracts, is significantly higher and wider in scope than the Pentagon's only previous estimate, which said there were 25,000 security contractors in the country."

Before the media noticed that Blackwater and other contractors were rampaging through the streets of Baghdad and other cities, firing first and asking questions later, Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Ill.) saw the number of contractors and the lack of accounting for them as a potential problem. She said almost a year ago that the census "further demonstrates the need for Congress to finally engage in responsible, serious and aggressive oversight over the questionable and growing U.S. practice of private military contracting." [Yeah right, that'll be happening.]

Almost a year later and Congress is starting to wake up from its snooze. After yet another incident of a State Department security contractor -- this time Unity Resources Group -- blowing two women away on the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday Congress is finally getting around to doing something. Congressman David Price of North Carolina has been banging the drum on this issue for a while, but no one was listening. Now they are.

Not that I'm really confident that they'll actually pass legislation with any teeth.

It's probably a bit too late anyway. Retired Army general William L. Nash was quoted in the WaPo articvle cited above saying: "If you're trying to win hearts and minds and the contractor is driving 90 miles per hour through the streets and running over kids, that's not helping the image of the American army. The Iraqis aren't going to distinguish between a contractor and a soldier."

Smae as it every was.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who is winning, Petraeus or Fallon?

As many of you might have noticed, Ive been sort of out of the news loop over the weekend, but I did come across a story that caught my eye. The main cheerleader for the Surge, Gen. David Petraeus, told reports that Iran is up to their old tricks, again.

He said Iran's ambassador to Iraq is an " is a Qods force member" and that Iran is "responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and in some cases the direction for operations that have indeed killed U.S. soldiers." [Reuters] [It's not like our new Sunni buddies, members of the insurgency we're now calling "neighborhood protection groups," ever killed any American soldiers.]

Naturally, he didn't provide evidence of any of this. But it's a much better story than the whole Iran is minutes away from having a nuke which it will use on Israel at the drop of a dime. It seems the American public aren't buying that particular line of BS, sounds too much like 'Saddam has WMD/mushroom clouds over New York,' so they're moving on. . . some cleaver marketing genius at the WH has found out that Iranian bombs killing US troops is getting some traction.

While Petraeus is busy blaming the Iranians for everything that's going wrong in Iraq (it's clearly not anything the administration has done), his boss according to Atimes Online, is pissed off that Petreaus is such a proponent of W.'s Surge plan. Admiral William Fallon, the commander of CentCom, feels that Petreaus is just sucking up to Bush & Co. and pulling resources away from the real fight in Pakistan in the process. He wants to maintain the status quo with Iran, not start a war there, and move his forces further east to deal with al-Qaeda -- you know, the ones that actually attacked us on 9/11.

Atimes reports that Fallon was overhead saying that Petraeus is "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and he added, "I hate people like that."

The question now is whether we're going to adapt Fallon's approach to the WOT, or Petreaus' strategy of an endless war in Iraq followed by a new war in Iran.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Gallaudet kids strike again!

AP reports:

"WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of students at a Washington high school for the deaf scrawled 'KKK' and swastikas on a black student's body with a marker while holding him against his will, police said Wednesday. . . [DC Chief Cathy] Lanier aid the attack began when two groups of students, one white, one black, were 'horsing around' in the dorms. The groups eventually separated, but the seven students took the black student and held him for about an hour. . . University officials would not say whether they had been disciplined, but in a campuswide e-mail Wednesday, Katherine Jankowski, dean of the center that includes the high school, said the seven were sent home."

Wow, an email is going to do it. Slap on the wrist, don't do it again and get on the short bus!

See this is the problem with Gallaudet kids, they get a pass every time. They have a hissy fit over the fact that their new president isn't deaf enough and hold the whole university hostage for a week and the board of governors buckles. Brats win again.

Now this. But I really don't think this has anything to do with racism or anything that serious. You know how little five-year olds always draw swastikas and Nazi planes bombing things? Well, this has more to do with that sort of thing. This is just another case of Gallaudet spoiled-brat arrested development.

Abraham Lincoln would be so proud!

Where are these kid's parents? Where's the adult supervision?
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