Monday, November 24, 2003

Great idea for a screenplay, but....

I had this great idea for a screenplay. See if you like it. It's a thriller. It begins with an explosion in a hotel room in Mindanao. A man is severely injured and sent to hospital. A young detective is on the case. Evidently the man accidentally set off the explosions himself. What was he doing with explosives in his hotel room given the recent spate of bombings and bomb threats in the country?

The detective looks into the man's past. He is American, or maybe South African. He has told everyone he is a "treasure hunter" and spends a great deal of time in the Philippines looking for WW2 era hidden caches of currency and T-bills. In fact, he claims to have found billions worth already. Or maybe he hasn't. It turns out, this guy keeps very unusual company, including with both extremist Islamic groups and rightwing, white supremacist organizations. Just as the detective begins to look into the man's history, he is hustled out of the the United States FBI. Now, the FBI is denying any involvement and the man's whereabouts are unknown. I kinda see Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as the detective, though I'm sorry to say, that's because I don't know any Filipino actors. Maybe Gene Hackman as the mysterious "treasure hunter".

I've run into one problem with this screenplay idea, though. You see...this is a true story that happened just last year. It was barely noticed here, but made big news in the Philippines. In fact, the twists and turns to this story are SO incredibly elaborate, that a film probably couldn't track them. There were many bombings in the Philippines, this guy did blow himself up, did have all of these contacts and was hustled away by the FBI much to the dismay of the mayor of Davao City. Read about it yourself here: Meiring Mystery.

The reporters on this case got some off-the-record confirmation that this guy was probably CIA. So why is the CIA setting off bombs in the Philippines? Read the story and decide for yourself. I couldn't make this kinda thing up if I tried. If I could, I'd be a famous thriller writer by now.

I Hate PayPal

Not my usual political rambling, but man I hate Paypal. Every time I end up trying to use it for something I have trouble. This time, I was trying to subscribe to the SquawkBox service. Because I rarely use paypal, I hit "create new account" since I couldn't remember what information I'd entered last time I tried to use it. Paypal recognized my email address and said, "Hey, you have an account." Okay, so I tried to enter my usual password. It didn't work. Must be a different one. I went to the "password recovery" section. It did not ask me the security questions you always enter (these places never why do we have those security questions?) so it wanted me to give my credit card number. It did, in fact, have the last two digits of my number, so I must be in there. Then I went to change my password and enter the password I usually use. Surprise, it wouldn't allow it. Even though it wouldn't work, it now said I had to "change" my password. Well, if it didn't work before, it obviously wasn't my password, so I should be able to change it to this one. Whatever. I picked a new password and finally went to pay Squawkbox. However, I got another screen that said I had to pay $1.95 "Expanded Use Fee." Paypal was going to credit me for that, but I would not get my "expanded use number" (whatever the hell that is) until my next statement came. I hate them I hate them I hate them.

So, squawkbox, if anyone there is reading this post, just know that you lost a subscription to your "pro" service because I couldn't use paypal. Sorry.

Comments Added

I just read an article that says one third of Americans are COMPUTER SAVVY! I live in a geek utopia. In order, however, to keep up with the virtual Joneses, so to speak, I'm trying out a new feature: Comments by Squawk Box. In theory, if you feel that one of my articles rises to the level of needing a posting from you concerning my mental health, you can simply click on the comments link at the end of the entry and post away. I will be trying it out myself under this post just to see if it works. So, if you see comments with me answering myself, you'll understand why.

Friday, November 21, 2003

The End of Democracy: A Primer

I've been a little coy on this site. Making little jokes here and there about what I think is coming down the road in our former democracy. However, there may actually be people reading this site who don't have some of the background knowledge to appreciate my profound and prescient insight, or, at least, to get my jokes. Therefore, I'm penning this little introduction to help prepare the potentially hapless reader.

I should warn you, it's not pretty, and things have gone a lot farther than you probably knew. However, before you dismiss my rantings as paranoid drivel, check out the links for yourself. One thing that the Bush cabal has not been is subtle.

Da Vote Was Fixed

Oh, no, not that whole Florida thing again! Yep. A few things happened there that need to be noticed.

  • First, the voter list was purged of tens of thousands of people who were allegedly "felons." Many of them were not felons, but most of them WERE African Americans, who, as a demographic, voted 93% for Gore. Gore was not our savior. That is not the point. The point is that the election was stolen through deliberate purging of the voter rolls.
  • Secondly, "storm troopers" were sent down from D.C. to harrass and intimidate the people doing the recount. Yelling, pushing, and even some broken windows resulted. For this point and the one above, go here Unprecedented

More Fraud on the Way

Add to the Florida scenario the new trend of computerized voting. I like computers, or I wouldn't have this blog. So what's the problem? The computers tallying the votes are programmed, owned and operated by private companies. They provide no printouts to verify that the vote you cast matches the vote recorded. There is NO WAY to do a manual recount. None. These machines, while being bought by more and more states, utilize "proprietary software". For those of you who aren't computer geeks, this means that you have to use the manufacturer's software in them. And what's worse, no one is actually allowed to see the programming code. It should also be noted that these machines already have a history of misbehaving.

You should also note that two of the main companies providing these machines, ES&S and Diebold, are owned by Republicans. Supposedly, these companies are "competitors, but ES&S was founded by two brothers, one of whom left to found Diebold. Cozy, huh?
There is a HUGE amount of information on the internet about the disaster of computerized voting . Start hereComputer Voting. The owners of the site have written a free e-book you can download from there to give you the history of this fiasco.

Emerging Fascism

I posted a few entries ago a brief synopsis of the characteristics of fascism that I found on the web somewhere. I don't know anything about the guy who wrote it, but it summed things up pretty well. Scroll down to read it. Here are some things to note:

  • The government has been given sweeping powers to snoop into our lives and to arrest those it deems terrorists. The so-called "Patriot Act" was the first volley fired, but there is an even more heinous "Patriot Act II" being debated right now. There is at least one American in prison right now who has no legal rights whatsoever, simply because he was declared an enemy combatant. Padilla
  • The "war on terrorism" is being used to keep a scared populace at home while furthering goals of world domination abroad. Contrary to popular belief, this is actually all part of a plan that was put together long before 9/11. A group called the "Project for the New American Century" spelled out the strategies our country is following today. The list of members of PNAC reads like a who's who of Bush's cabinet. Read their material yourself. This link leads to PNAC's publication pages. You'll want the one on "Rebuilding America's Defenses"PNAC. But feel free to look around the site. These guys don't hide anything, so, in that sense, there really is no "conspiracy" here.

  • We are on the brink...that is, one "terrorist act" away...from ending democracy formally and reverting to a military dictatorship. I've been saying this for awhile, but it is more convincing to read the former head of US Central Command, General Tommy Franks:Franks Interview. Here's a quote: on how an attack by terrorists with weapons of mass destruction would cause "our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. " I may be paranoid, but I guess I'm in pretty high level company.

  • There is an increasingly compliant media, with sectors actively distributing rightwing propaganda. No fascist state would be complete, nor even possible, without a sophisticated propaganda campaign. With the network of righwing radio talk show hosts and, obviously, the flag-waving Fox News, the the Bushistas have no trouble pounding their message into an increasingly miseducated populace. But we can't let CNN and the like off the hood, either, as all mainstream media has been very timid in challenging Bush, especially on the war in Iraq. Christiane Amanpour, renowned foreign correspondent, recently admitted that she felt CNN was censoring itself about Iraq because of intimidation from Bush and from Fox News. Amanpour

Return of the Draft?

Pundits agree, calling for a renewed draft would be political suicide for Bush. Of course, after he is re-elected, he can do whatever he wants. Ironically, one of the current calls for a renewed draft is by liberal congressman Charlie Rangel. He's a good guy, and is concerned that the volunteer army is made up of a disproportionate number of minorities. This was, of course, true under the draft in Viet Nam. He hopes to close the loopholes that let the rich and privileged get out of military service easily. However, the Selective Service has just recently begun recruiting to fill the slots on draft boards across the country. Obviously, other, less benevolent forces are planning for a draft. If the U.S. decides to fight another war anytime soon, a draft would be a near certainty. The Iraq occupation alone is stretching resources thin. More importanly, the draft can be a means of social control. The government is allowed far more control over it's young people in uniform than over the population at large. And, of course, somebody has to do the killing and dying.

Darkness Rises

All of the above is just a brief outline of what it is that's got me so worked up. I want/need you to put on your critical thinking hats and decide for yourself if these things are true. As you go about your own internet research you are going to find a lot of "conspiracy theories" so a brief word about how to negotiate that particular labrynth.

A conspiracy, of course, is simply the act of two or more people planning an illegal act together. Watergate was a conspiracy. Iran-Contra was a conspiracy (you DO remember Iran-Contra don't you?) If you've done a bit more reading, you may know that the U.S. government has conspired with very bad men to bring down entire governments, such as in Chile or Nicaragua or Guatemala. These are now accepted facts.

There are conspiracies happening right now. Exactly who is doing what to whom is not always clear, and you are going to find contradictory, and often even nonsensical theories in this regard. It is important to understand that to accept that our government is doing some VERY BAD THINGS in secret is not to imply that you accept every theory out there. Reptilian aliens may very well be secretly running the world, but I don't have to believe that if I feel that 9/11 was allowed to happen to further a political agenda, for example.

I am curious why so many politically savvy people who are well aware of the truly heinous things that our government has done in the past...(I mean, come on, 3 MILLION deaths in Viet Nam and Cambodia? These guys are not people of conscience)...are so reluctant to accept the POSSIBILITY that equally heinous things could go on here at home. Why is that simply off limits to respectable intellectuals? In fact, if you ARE intellectual, you will be drawn to patterns that seem to point beyond mere coincidence. When it is mainstream news that Bin Laden's brother was a business partner of Bush, you pay attention to that. It doesn't prove anything, but it suggests quite a bit. Or if you note, "Gee, an awful lot of top-level microbiologists have been dying in bizarre and often violent ways," you look further to see if, perhaps, it is not pure happenstance. biologists. (I pay particular attention to this story, because one of these folks died right here in Tennessee... in Memphis. He went missing and his car was found on an overpass from which he ostensibly jumped into a river. His car, however, was parked in the wrong direction. I heard that local authorities were asked to leave this case to the FBI.)

The point is, it should be a part of our conversation. We need to realize that these are very bad people and they do very bad things and that there are no magic elves at the border that prevent those very bad things from happening here. Senator Paul Wellstone would have mounted, I believe, some effective opposition to the Iraq war. We should be able to ask, "was his mysterious plane crash an assassination?" without being ridiculed. No, I can't prove it, but if we don't ASK these questions, we will never get answers.

There is a deep rot at the heart of our system of government. This protofascism is not, in my view, some manifestation of Satan's plan for one world government (or Masons, or Illuminati, or Jews...all theories you'll see out there). It is a result of very powerful men acting in concert to preserve some VERY LUCRATIVE business arrangements. They are making a killing off of war and corruption. They will do whatever they have to in order to keep it that way.

Friday, November 07, 2003

An Apology

I know, I know. I haven't published in awhile. Many of you are floundering, desperate for cogent, perceptive analysis that can help you know how to think in these chaotic times. When you couldn't find that, you'd stop by here. Alas, here has been a pretty desolate place. My humblest and sincerest apologies.

While my wife lies clad only in a sheet and is massaged by the strong young hands of an attractive young man, I will sublimate any neanderthal rage or non-politically correct feelings of possessiveness and give you a few words to hold onto till I can produce a more epic epistle.

However, he'll be done soon, so this'll have to be quick.

The war in Iraq is going badly. You can even find that out on Fox News. However, you can also find out that, contrary to all expectations, the economy grew at a RECORD pace last month...just as people were starting to criticize Bush's handling of it. And as complaints continued that increased jobs did not go with this erstwhile recovery, it was announced that unemployment had FALLEN to 6% (which is where they want to keep it by the way...too few unemployed bad for keeping wages down, you know (said with a wink, through cigar smoke and over a fine brandy).) Now, what was the source of these figures spouted so recently by our fine, aggressive fourth estate? Let's see, it was the GOVERNMENT. Oh, thank God. Those figures, defying all economists projects, looked a little fishy coming right when they did. But when the news stories quote "the government" we can rest easy. The Labor Department is COMPLETELY independent from Bush and would never cook the books for him.

Oh, did you hear the story about the Canadian citizen who was "disappeared" (if you didn't know that word could be a verb, study your Latin American history and then get used to it) from an American airport and taken to Syria where he was tortured for over 10 months? Disgraceful linkThis begs the obvious not THAT question. Of course they can do that. They can do whatever they want. No, the OTHER question....what the heck are we doing sending people to SYRIA for torture. I thought Syria was next on the "hit list", a hotbed of terrorism, a dam in the torrent of freedom deluging the Middle East. They are now allies in our campaign to torture the world to free it of terrorists? Who knew? I thought we sent them to Jordan or Egypt or somewhere. I really need to get a scorecard or guidebook or something.

Well the Mrs. is done with her massage. She's kinda wobbly, I'd better step in before that young hottie takes advantage. Talk to you soon...I promise.