Saturday, December 22, 2007

El Chorrillo remembers "Operation Just Cause:"

"I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.

The record of racketeering is long.

I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras 'right' for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested... . Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents."

-- General Smedley Butler

News Item:

"The anniversary of the 1989 U.S. invasion was declared a day of 'national mourning' by Panama's legislature on Thursday, and it established a commission to determine how many people were killed when U.S. troops stormed the capital. The measure was unanimously approved as Panama commemorated the 18th anniversary of the day thousands of troops landed to arrest dictator Manuel Noriega on drug charges." [CNN]

I don't remember much about the invasion of Panama, I didn't pay too much attention to politics when I was 22, but I do remember a lot of talk about the real reasons behind "Operation Just Cause." W.'s daddy, the story goes, was apparently afraid Manuel Noriega was going to spill the beans on his dirty dealing with drug dealers in the Americas.

We all know George H. W. Bush was in the CIA and that the CIA had a little airline back in the day called Air America which made a little money on the side in Vietnam by bringing heroin back to the US in body bags. So, this theory kind of sounds plausible. Especially, if you happened to have grown up in Miami in the 80's.

I mean, why else would W. and the Jebster have been unloading cocaine from Barry Seal's plane?

In any case, the US intervening in the Americas with force is not exactly anything new. TR pretty much set the tone with his "Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine saying: "Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. Chronic wrongdoing, however, . . . may force the United States to exercise an international police power."

And that's what we did. It was a police action. (Another one of those.)

What I want to know is, why at this late date don't we know how many Panamanians were actually killed in this so-called "surgical strike" to arrest one drug dealer?

Not that anyone cares to know: "'We prefer to look to the future,'" said U.S. Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall. "We are very satisfied to have a friend and partner like Panama, a nation that has managed to develop a mature democracy."

I bet.

Amongst the findings of a 1991 investigation into the human cost of "Operation Just Cause" conducted by Physicians for Humans Rights are:

"1. At least 300 Panamanian civilians died due to the invasion, a toll approximately 100 higher than that reported by Panamanian authorities and U.S. military commanders.

2.The United States officially reported a total of 314 Panamanian military deaths, although only 50 Panamanian military bodies were found. Responding to PHR's findings, U.S. Southern Command officials acknowledged that the figure of 314 was derived from crude battlefield methods of counting casualties and that the figure of 50 represents a more accurate assessment of Panamanian military dead.

3.The verifiable figures of 50 military deaths and at least 300 civilian deaths dramatically change the proportion of civilian to military casualties. The Pentagon's figures of 201 civilian and 314 military deaths would yield a ratio of two civilian deaths to three military deaths. PHR's figures, however, reveal a ratio of at least six civilian deaths to every one military death."

Barring the brunt of the invasion was the El Chorrillo district of Panama City where residents still mark the invasion every Dec. 20.

According to CNN:

"Residents of a Panama City suburb set ablaze in the December 1989 U.S. invasion to oust military strongman Gen. Manuel Noriega are set to act out their collective trauma at a macabre anniversary rite on Sunday. Every year since the December 20 invasion, residents of the capital's El Chorrillo district have built a model of one of the razed homes from their community using tires, cardboard boxes and boards, only to torch it once more, the rite's organiser, Hector Avila, told Reuters.

'Before we burn it, we are going to put Chinese explosives (powerful firecrackers) inside, and throw rockets at it as if it were the U.S. attack,' Avila said. 'When it's alight, the adults from the barrio are going to rescue the children. We'll have black bags filled with beef to represent the bodies,' he added."

How gratifying to know the poorest of the poor in Panama will have that to remember us by. How festive!

And it's nice to know they've now got a "mature" democracy run by the son of a former dictator,
Omar Torrijos, who was killed in a "mysterious" plane crash in 1981.

Or was it so mysterious?

John Perkins who describes himself as "a former economic hit man–a highly paid professional who cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars," says Torrijos was knocked off because he "opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire." [Democracynow!]

No, that couldn't be it.

Noriega was a drug dealer and he was threatening the 35,000 Americans who lived there. Just like those medical students in Granada who were being threatened by those shovel wielding Cubans! Totally justified.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Continuing on the whacko theme: Tancredo, Paul, Romney

I read today that Tom Tancredo is dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination. I think his decision probably had something to do with the fact that he polled exactly "0" in South Carolina. It looks as if the angry nativist act didn't go over too well, not even in South Carolina. Go figure.

This is not to say he couldn't make some lucky Republican presidential candidate a great running mate, though. I mean, Ron Paul is still out there appealing to the likes of David Black of WPB, FLA. It seems Paul accepted a $500 campaign donation from the proprietor of Stormfront, a white supremacist Web site which extols the virtues of "White Pride World Wide." I'm sure Mr. Black (ironic name there David) is on-board with bombing Mecca, amongst other things.

This is the best part about this story, though, Paul's campaign says he's not giving the money back. Campaign spokesman Jesse Benton says Paul will "take the money and try to spread the message of freedom. And that's $500 less that this guy has to so whatever it is he does." [Like he doesn't know.]

Why not take money from drug dealers and child pornographers, too? I mean, that's money they won't have to spend on whatever it is they do, right? I'd look into that, Jesse, there's lots of money there to spread the word about freedom.

Ron Paul really has quite a legion of crackpots out there pushing for him, doesn't he? He's got the tax-resisters hold up in some cabin in New Hampshire, who he told NEWSWEEK he considered "heroic," and then there's his odd conspiracy theory about the NAFTA "super highway" through the Americas. [And they laughed at Hillary]

Swiftboater Jerome Corsi's book "The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger With Mexico and Canada" has made quite an impression on Paul who explains that there's "an unholy alliance of foreign consortiums and officials from several governments" pushing the idea of "an integrated North American Union -- complete with currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtual borderless travel within the Union."

Soon we'll all be getting paid in "Ameros" which, naturally, will also have magnetic strips in them to track our every move.

NEWSWEEK reports that there is actually a highway being built in Texas to go down to Mexico, but it isn't quite the road to global enslavement Corsi and Paul paint. What I find interesting about this story is that the consortium (there's that word "consortium" again) is a Spanish/Texan affair called Cintra/Zachary which is represented by none other than Rudy Giuliani's law firm.

Aliens! Nude conspiracies . . . My God, Ron Paul was RIGHT! [Paraphrasing Homer Simpson from Treehouse of Horror VII, in case you didn't catch the reference.]

I'm thinking Ron Paul might want to ring up Japan's Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and see if he's got any insight into this whole "super highway" issue. I hear he's of the mind there isn't any evidence that UFO controlled by aliens don't exist. For that matter, Mitt Romney might want to get in while the water's hot and figure out if these aliens aren't related to the Angel Moroni. [They could be Scottish aliens, the MacOronis. I don't know.]

I've got mail . . . from Lyndon LaRouche.

It's kind of an odd coincidence -- or is it? -- that just the other day I was making fun of the LaRouchies (pretty easy targets I know) and, lo and behold, I get a LaRouchie pamphlet in my mailbox this morning. This one is about the whole Prince Bandar/BAE scandal and the Saudi oil-tanker-a-day/British Tornado fighter jet deal Maggie Thatcher made with Bandar Bush in 1985. This is the story that splashed across the headlines for a day or two and then quickly disappeared down the memory hole for all eternity back at the beginning of the year. I'm not sure what the date of this publication is, but there's an ad for an international web broadcast by the Man himself on June the 21st.

So it’s kind of outdated, I'm not exactly sure why someone put it my mailbox. Either, it was some fanatical LaRouchie who's tracked me down, or it was some homeless dude getting paid to stuff mailboxes for $.25 a day.

Gosh, first I get on David Horowitz' mailing list and now this. I hope his doesn't mean I'm going to start getting Ron Paul literature, too.

Gonzales: the ABA's "Liar of the Year?"

News Item:

"An American Bar Association magazine that named former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales "Lawyer of the year" for 2007 has come under such withering criticism that it is switching the title to "Newsmaker of the Year."

Are they sure they didn't make a typo on that? Shouldn't he have been the "Liar of the Year?"

The ABA Journal's publisher, Edward A. Adams, in defending the initial Lawyer of the Year designation explaned,"Think about Time magazine's Person of the Year In years past they've named people like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin. So we're not suggesting by these awards that these are the best lawyers in any sense of the word. We are saying they are the most newsworthy." []

So, he's saying that picking Gonzo was kind of like Time picking Hitler? Wow.

At any rate, it's looking more and more like "Waterboard" Gonzales might need a real Lawyer of the Year pretty soon, to keep him out of all the trouble he's in. It's bad enough he's got this whole lying to Congress about the domestic spying program and the firing of the federal attorneys hanging thing hanging around his neck, now comes this.

The WaPo reports today that Chief Spook Michael Hayden told the Senate Intelligence Committee in secret testimony (what else?) last week that the CIA torture tapes were discussed by three White House lawyers in 2004. The lawyers urged "caution" about destroying the tapes, whatever that means.

"The three White House lawyers at the briefing were David Addington (who probably wanted a copy to bring home for fun), then vice-President Cheney's chief counsel --- wait for it -- Alberto R. Gonzales, then White House counsel; and John Bellinger III, then the top lawyer at the National Security Council."

I don't think there are enough congressional investigative committees out there to look into all the nefarious goings-on of this administration that Waterboard-boy was involved in. Something tells me, though, that during these discussions Torquemada-tico probably mostly just sat there like a big empty suit, as usual, while refilling Addington's cigarette holder from time to time. If he ever does get hauled in front of his old buddy Pat Leahy, he'll doubtless plead bad memory, again. It's not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that his lack of memory might be plausible. He might have been too transfixed by Addington's involuntary "Heil Hitler" salutes to keep track of what was being talked about.

In any event, my prediction is that Gonzo is a shoe-in for the ABA's "Newsmaker of the Decade" if this stuff keeps coming out.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Huckabee's plan to breed a race of Grade B-Morons

Huckabee says:

"Sometimes we talk about why we’re importing so many people in our workforce. It might be for the last 35 years, we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our workforce had we not had the holocaust of liberalized abortion under a flawed Supreme Court ruling in 1973." [Paul Krugman]

See, we if had bred our own underclass and exploited them instead of the Mexicans we wouldn't have this damn immigration problem!

You know, this sort of reminds me of that University of Chicago study that found that Roe V. Wade led to less crime:

Steven Levitt and John Donahue III found in 1999 that:

"The millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade--poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too ahrd to get--were often models of adversity. They were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals."

So, basically, Huckabee is agreeing with the notion that unwanted pregnancies can produce a race of criminals or a ready source of American low wage labor. Either way, good for the economy.

The past is the future. When will we ever learn?

News item:

"The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows . . . Earlier reports, based on tax returns, showed that in 2005 the top 10 percent, top 1 percent and fractions of the top 1 percent enjoyed their biggest share of income since 1928 and 1929." [NYT]

And well all know what happened in 1929 . . .

The more things change the more they stay the same. The regressive tax policies of the Coolidge administration, promoted with a vengeance by his Treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon, led to a very similar economic maldistribution of wealth during the "Roaring Twenties." That was the decade big business bought the United States government out from underneath the American people. The Wall Street Journal cheered in 1925: "Never before, here or anywhere else has a government been so completely fused with business." Calvin Coolidge agreed saying, "This is a business country . . . and it wants a business government." [Leanleft]

Mellon believed that taxes were too high for the rich. A person making $1,000,000 had to pay $300,000 in taxes! Outrageous! Everyone knew, Mellon insisted, of "businesses which have not been started, and of new projects which have been abandoned, all for one reason -- high surtaxes." Mellon said, "A decrease of taxes causes an inspiration to trade and commerce."

Sound like somebody else we all know and love?

W: "We cut the taxes on everybody who pays taxes. I don't think it makes sense for tax-cutters to say, okay, you win, and you lose. My attitude was, if you pay taxes, you ought to get relief. And we cut all taxes."

Mellon: "In attempting to promote or to defeat legislation by arraying one class of taxpayers against another, he shows a complete misconception of those principles of equality on which the country was founded. Any man of energy and initiative in this country can get what he wants out of life. But when that initiative is crippled by legislation or by a tax system which denies him the right to receive a reasonable share of his earnings, then he will no longer exert himself and the country will be deprived of the energy on which its continued greatness depends."

Mellon suggested a tax rate for the higher tax brackets of no more than 25%. Unlike today, Mellon wasn't able to ram through his tax relief program for millionaires, but he found a way around that by using cash refunds, credits, and abatements to de-fund the Treasury of $3.5 billion to family and friends. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. writes in his brilliant "Crisis of the Old Order" Mellon not only diverted some $300 million to his family, but also "other millions went . . . where they promised to do the most good to the Republican Party. Thus each of the seventeen individuals contributing $10,000 to the Republican campaign in 1930 had been beneficiaries of Mr. Mellon's official generosity."

How much did Blackwater USA's Erik Prince give to the GOP and how much has he made off his contract with the Department of State in Iraq? It just goes to show there's nothing new under the sun.

Appointing business to regulate itself:

Another aspect of Coolidge's business friendly government policies was the positioning in control of government regulatory commissions and agencies of the very people who were being regulated.

"To the Tariff commission, for example," writes Schlesinger Jr., "were sent men who acted almost as open representatives of protected industries. When the Commission's minority, led by E. P. Costigan of Colorado, began to object that members were sitting on cases in which they or their relatives were known to have financial states, Coolidge upbraided them for raising prudish scruples." [pg. 64]

At the FTC, the main government regulatory agency, W. E. Humphrey was put in charge. Humphrey had denounced the FTC as "an instrument of oppression and disturbance instead of a help to business." Now he was in charge. Sort of like when W. put Spencer Abraham in charge of the Energy Department, the very person who had made it his personal crusade to see that agency eliminated.

The FTC had been set up to discourage economic concentration, but under Humphreys, along with Herbert Hoover at the Commerce Department, that was all out the window: "Holding companies moved into the utility and transportation fields, chain stores into retail distribution, in all cases big firms swallowed small firms and merged with other big ones. . . By 1930 the two hundred largest nonbanking corporations, after growing during the decade at a rate two to three times as fast as the smaller nonbanking corporations, controlled about half the total corporate wealth of the country. And from the viewpoint of government, private economic power could not have collected in more responsible hands," writes Schlesinger.

A big happy Republican party at the expense of the people of the United States.

[See more about W.'s business friendly appointments at thetruthaboutgeorge]
[More about the current concentration of wealth]

The Holding Companies, the first Enrons:

And the 1920's had their very own "Kenny Boy" Lay; Samuel Insull of the third largest utility group of the era, the Insull Group. He manipulated the value of the stocks of his Holding Companies to such wacky, far out levels that even he didn't know what was going on.

Holding Companies were the 1920's version of the Enron shell game of coming up with phony companies and stacking one on top of another in a never ending pyramid of fraud. And since one knows how the hell these companies are making any money they leave it to the genius running the shell game to sucker them into ever inflating the value of what was basically valueless stock.

Will Rogers explains: "A Holding Company is a thing where you hand an accomplice the goods while the policeman searches you."

Herbert Hoover said of the men behind the Holding Company, "The majority of men who dominate and control electrical utilities themselves belong to a new school of public understanding as to the responsibilities of big business to the people."

Right. When the bottom fell out in 1929 Insull was found hold up in his offices protected by 36 body guards trying to avoid investors who wanted their money back. In 1932 he escaped to Europe avoiding jail time never to return.

The libertarian dream was proved to be a Laissez-faire nightmare:

In the wake of the excesses of the unregulated special interests during the 20's, the perfect example of what would happen if libertarians got their way, came the Great Depression. A third of the nation was out of work. In Chicago the unemployment rate was 1 in 4. To respond to the crisis the Republican administration of Herbert Hoover gave money to the banks and corporations, but nothing to the millions beginning to move into Hoovervilles all over the country.

Hoover believed in the power of local charities to take care of the problem. Pull yourself up by the bootstrapism at its finest. Public works projects or direct government assistance by the federal government to the poor would break the budget. "The primary duty of the government, that is, to hold expenditures within our income," Hoover insisted. After all, what would business say if the government went into the red? And all just too feed, clothe, and house 8,000,000 or so lazy Americans with their hand out?

FDR saves the rich from themselves:

In 1932 FDR was elected and on March 4 1933 the government got to the business of sticking it to business. The men of the new school of public understanding, those business genius' who had convinced everyone the price of stocks could only go up forever based on a complicated get rich keep schemes that only they understood, had been proved to be either fools or crooks, or both, and the country was ready for some pay back.

Roosevelt set out to level the economic playing for all Americans. Make the rich pay their taxes and regulate big business. For this he earned the undying hate of the super rich, people like Prescott Bush, who through their Republican Party have striven for 70 years to get back to the good old days of weak government exclusively in the service of business, at which they've largely succeeded.

Ironically, FDR wanted to preserve the capitalist system that had failed so spectacularly, by reining in its most egregious excesses. FDR said, "I am fighting Communism, Huey Longism, Coughlinism, Townsendism. I want our system, the capitalist system; to save it is to give it some heed to the world thought of today. I want equal distribution of wealth."

Huey Long's share-the-wealth program, which called for a radical redistribution of wealth, something even FDR would have been frightened by, and the overall hatred of the capitalist system running around the world leading to the rise of the likes of Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany, and the agitation of the Communists here in the US based on the "great successes" of Stalin's economic miracle in Russia, made it imperative that something be done here in the US to avoid a complete meltdown.

Roosevelt, citing Huey Long's solution to the maldistribution of wealth, said: "To combat this and similar crackpot ideas it may be necessary to throw the wolves the forty-six who are reported to have incomes in excess of one million dollars a year. This can be accomplished through taxation. The thinking men, the young men, who are disciples of this new world idea of fairer distribution of wealth, they are demanding that something be done to equalize this distribution." [The Politics of Upheaval, Schlesinger, pg. 325-26]

This frightened the rich so much that some actually toyed with the idea of overthrowing the government. Communism wasn't the only threat to American Democracy. One Gerald C. MacGuire offered Marine General Smedley Butler, a Philadelphia Quaker and the most highly decorated Marine General of his age, $18,000 in one thousand dollar bills to lead a fascist overthrow of the government. Butler testified to Congress that MacGurie told him, "We need a fascist government in this country . . . The only men who have the patriotism are the soldiers and Smedley Butler is the ideal leader."

And what about FDR? "We might go along with Roosevelt and then do with him what Mussolini did to the King of Italy," Butler recounted. To this Butler responded: "If you get the 500,000 soldiers advocating anything smelling of fascism, I am going to get 500,000 more and lick the hell out of you, and we will have a war right at home."

People today do not appreciate how bad things got in the 30's and how bad they can get if we keep on the way we're going. Nowadays, the left aren't the ones coming up with the crackpot ideas, though, it's coming from the right with the flat-taxers and Mike Huckabee's national sales-tax nonsense and whatever the hell it is Ron Paul is advocating.

We need to get back to managing capitalism the way it was managed during the 50's and 60's. We need to save capitalism from itself again and the federal government through equal taxation and robust regulation of predatory business has been shown to be the only way to go about it. Once people figure out they've been had and they're losing their jobs, getting thrown out of their houses and being forced to listen to their children crying in hunger every night it won't take long from the whole thing to unravel.

It happened before and it can happen again. The rich are only getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer. Unless this trend is arrested, and quick, the future begins to look like the past.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mormonism might be a good alternative to Ron Paul.

Continued from previous post:

If someone was living next door to me who I thought had a weapon of mass destruction, I wouldn't bother with some legalistic technicality like a warrant. I'd bust down the door, kill 'em all and let God sort them out later. That's the kind of president I want! Once Kiefer Sutherland get's out of jail is there anyway he could still enter the race?

Or maybe Chuck Norris would have a better chance of winning. I know he's supporting Mike Huckabee, right now, but I'm betting the Huckster will implode soon enough. Once all the stuff about his tobacco money and his dog hanging son starts to hit the fan, he's sure to loose his cool and show everyone what a real vindictive SOB he is. That'll be it for the so-called "Huckabouble."

If you're a LaRouchie lovin' Paul supporter, you might want to look into Mitt Romney. He's waging a religious war with Huckabee at the moment, but I should think -- Romney's protestations that he believes in Jesus to the contrary -- that the Mormon religion's dogma about Mormon males being descendant from space aliens who might one day become Gods might be an attractive alternative for all you whackos out there in cyberspace.

It might a little much for the fundamentalist Christians that he and the Huckster are pandering to, but you might find a new home in Mormonism. It's something to consider.

Ron Paul for Intergalactic Leader!

I've got to say, I'm not paying much attention to the whole primary election thing because all the media does is focus on the horse race, which is really neither here or there as far as I'm concerned. Every time I hear the word "Iowa" on NPR, I run to hit the off dial. I understand someone has got to be nominated and then elected, but none of that is in my hands. Since no one is really talking about the issues -- it's all about the Oprah factor and whether Mormons are really Christians or not -- there's no way to know how any of these jokers would actually govern.

All there's left to do is cower in fear that anyone of the Republican candidates might get into power. First and foremost on the list of disasters in the making is . . .

Ron Paul:

I see posters for him everywhere around Philly and I just don't get it. How does this guy even have $10 million in his war chest? (I mean, $16 million since he just made bank yesterday.) I wouldn’t give him 15 cents. He sure seems to have tapped into that libertarian whacko fringe, though. You know the ones who've been voting for Lyndon LaRouche all along? (If you've ever seen the LaRouchies descend upon a lower income neighborhood in DC, you know what I'm taking about when I say "whacko fringe.") It appears the LaRouchies have finally figured out that good old Lyndon is never going to win so now they're using the internet to gather all the nut-jobs around their new chosen Intergalactic Leader.

Unfortunately, I was made an unwilling victim of The View the other morning by my roommate and guess who should be on but: Ron Paul. I was half asleep but my ears perked up when one of those babbling idiots on the show asked him about abortion. It was all very hard to follow, but from what I was able to translate into English from his weird space language was that the federal government shouldn't be telling women what to do with their bodies. Leave it up to the states, he says, as if that was some sort of new idea.

And I think there was something in there about "partial birth abortions" but one of the cackling hens, it might have been Whoopi, pointed out that most women have abortions in the first trimester not at the very end of their pregnancy. Of course, Paul is an obgyn, he knows better, but his "base" isn't interested in women's reproductive rights, most of them have probably never even seen a woman's reproductive organ.

No, what they're into is some perfect world where they can stockpile guns in a bunker somewhere in case W2K makes a comeback and grow all the weed they want without that evil trilateral commission kicking down the door with their black helicopters.

His position on fire arms might give some of his supporters some pause, though. I see in last week's NEWSWEEK that he was interviewed by Howard Fineman right after the "View" interview (he's all over the place.). He was asked if he supported any limit on the private ownership of guns or weapons.

His answer:

"Sure. The Second Amendment means the federal government can't interfere with your right to have a weapon to defend yourself. The types of weapons weren't defined, of course, in the constitution, but if you live next door to me and I thought you were working on a 500-ton bomb, I would say there's a clear and present danger. So there's a limit. I might ask the officials to get a proper search warrant to find out if you are, because that could be very dangerous."

What the hell does that mean? He's OK with someone having an AK-47, an RPG, or maybe even a .50 caliber machine gun -- the constitution is a little vague on that -- but a 500-ton bomb might be going too far? Either you're all in or nothing, Ron. If I want a 500-ton bomb, I should be able to have one. It's my God given right in the constitution (it might even be in the Bible somewhere) to have all the damn weapons I want. Lyndon LaRouche wouldn’t quibble over tonnage of a bomb. I mean, after all, if I was making a 500-lbs bomb it could still blow Ron Paul to hell if he was living next door to me.


Monday, December 17, 2007

This is Giuliani Time: Take it up the rear for Rudy!

"Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

-- Rudy Giuliani

In a large series of articles in the Inquirer today, Mark Faziollah reports on various police agencies in the Greater Philadelphia area that regularly strip-search every citizen they arrest, regardless of whether there is any probable cause for such an invasive search.

Although these searches are totally illegal, up until this past October, the city of Philadelphia had continued to make people arrested for the most trivial reasons strip, bend over and cough. For this reason, the sixth poorest city in the United States, with an obscene murder rate to boot, is facing paying out millions of dollars in law suits:

The Inquirer: "Lawyers for the inmates, fresh from securing a $7.5 million settlement agreement in a similar suit in Camden, say as many as 60,000 Philadelphia inmates were wrongfully strip-searched during the last three years. They are seeking $15 million. The city called the number 'patently unreasonable' because Philadelphia was 'struggling to maintain basic services to taxpayers [bend over Philadelphia],' and argued that the number of people illegally strip-searched was no more than 20,000."

Gosh, that's a lot less. I feel so much better now.

Even though the courts have ruled again and again from California to New York that blanket strip-searches are illegal, many municipalities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey still strip-search anyone and everyone that comes into contact with the police; from a guy with a $120 in parking tickets to a Marine Sergeant who was double parked. In the case of Marine Sgt. Kareem Cox, an Iraq vet, he was arrested by part-time duty police officer in Darby, Tina Selimis, who testified in another lawsuit brought against her for going too far with strip searching random people off the streets, that she had strip-searched 100 people in just two years."

Devon Sheppard, who was arrested, strip-searched and locked up for attending a rock concert in Harrisburg which had no park permit, says of her experience: "I'm sure there are places where this happens regularly. I just didn't think the United States was one of them." Well, get used to it Devon, it does. But don't worry if you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear. Do as Rudy says and cede to lawful authority, like officer Selimis, a great deal of discretion about what they do.

In the cases of these blanket strip-searches the excuse is the War on Drugs. In the case of the NSA's blanket wire tapping of every call and e-mail in the United States, it's W.'s War on Terror. In both instances, most Americans are perfectly fine with it (they've got Christmas shopping to do) until it happens to them.

Rudy for Prez? And we all thought W. was bad!

Remember, when Hitler went after the Commies all the good Germans said they had it coming. When he went after the trade unionists, the Good Germans said they had it coming. When he went after the Jews, homosexuals and Gypsies they all had it coming, too. When he finally came after the Good Germans, there was no one left to protect them.

Keep that in mind if we get Rudolf the red faced fascist as our next president. Here's a guy who presided over a New York City police department that went Medieval on the lower income people of New York. From plunger rapes in police station bathrooms, to seizing the vehicles of people only suspected of drunk driving, to him personally lowering the entire weight of the prosecutorial system on a one man who had the audacity to challenge the fairness of his traffic-light speeding cameras.

I'm hoping most Americans are going to be able to see through Rudy's noun, verb, 9/11 facade, but all anyone has to do these days is call someone a drug dealer or terrorist and all bets are off. People will balk if asked to present ID to purchase something at the Christmas checkout line with their credit card (a policy designed to protect them from fraud) but when it comes to signing over all the Bill of Rights in the name of the War on Terror, they're more than happy to do it.

Almost three thousand Americans were killed on 9/11, so people naturally feel that anything the government has to do to prevent this from happening again is worth it; but don't seem to see the much clearer and present danger of dying from a fire arm. That particular element of the Bill of Rights is sacrosanct. More American have died from gun fire since the Kennedy administration than all the Americans who died in all the wars of the twentieth century, but don't confuse them with the facts.

Rudy is our man: Render onto Rudy what is his, remember to cough, but whatever you do, don't cross him.
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