Thursday, November 23, 2006

November 23

Let me preface the following by stating that this post in response to his comment is not the beginnings of a massive flame war or “blogger drama” between StB and myself. We have spoken, remain friends, and both look forward to a couple of beers (likely it will be many more than that) together during the upcoming WPBT festivities in Vegas. It is with no bile that I write the following. I am merely using the comment as a tool to try and further explain the wholly massive change that has taken place within me over these last weeks

So without further ado or qualification, here goes.

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The best way I know how is to take this in parts.

“You will link in a Republican who suggests people help each other, but not link Democrat Charlie Rangel call for reinsituting the draft?”

I didn’t think that it was altogether necessary to link Rangel’s call for a draft because (at least for these few days) it has been all over the news and to me it is an assumed that everyone already knows about it, at least in the sense that the issue has been brought up (again), and they likely know who brought it up. In retrospect, it’s true that I may have assumed too much (cue folksy wisdom about assuming. Ass, u and me, and so on), and in the interest of being as complete as possible here is a link to Congressman Rangel.

However, what bothers me more than the sentence itself is the distinct mention of Republican and Democrat, as though I may be biased or party leaning in one direction or the other. For anyone who might be of this opinion, let me state as clearly as I can to all who will listen that it does not matter one iota to me whether or not the person or link in question is Democrat or Republican. The only reason I link to anything is in support of the things I am trying to get across.

Democrats and Republican are only slightly differing sides of the same broken and destructive political coin.

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“You are right. "helping out at homes, health care, nurses, etc.". How evil!”

Again, call me an ass for assuming and you would likely be right. Here was the part of the article I had hoped would jump out:

And those skills include math: "If I have 40 acres of forest," runs a typical problem, "how many search dogs will I need to find a fugitive?"

Before going further, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia on Hitler Youth:

“In 1940, Artur Axmann replaced Schirach as Reichsjugendf├╝hrer and took over leadership of the Hitler Youth. Axmann began to reform the group into an auxiliary force which could perform war duties. The Hitler Youth became active in German fire brigades and assisted with recovery efforts to German cities affected from Allied bombing. The Hitler Youth also assisted in such organizations as the Reich Postal Service, Reichsbahn, fire services, and Reich radio service, and served among anti-aircraft defense crews.”

Do I think that volunteering to help out one’s community is evil? Certainly not. In bringing up the subject of Hitler Youth, do I mean to imply that the children of our country that want to do good works are Nazi’s? Most. Certainly. NOT.

My assertions were not an indictment of volunteer work. Rather they were and are meant as an indictment of government run and/or funded volunteer service programs in the context of the horrifically aggressive government and intelligence apparatus of the last six years (minimum).

The point is that these programs are being used by Homeland Security as a more “public friendly” tool to line up with the Terrorist Information and Prevention System (TIPS) they tried rolling out with full force in ’02, which sought to create more citizen informants than were employed by the Stasi in East Germany. The similarities between these government and "private" programs and those of the Hitler Youth programs should not be ignored simply because our government programs have a more polished veneer, or the programs aren’t “there yet.” Nor should anyone ignore the similarities merely because the mention of Hitler, whatever the context, now seems to be verboten. We are not immune to being completely overtaken by the same religious-in-nature and wholly misguided nationalistic fervor that once took hold of German society.

Hitler said Jew. We say Terrorist. Both are supported by the same irrational and reactionary fear. You say potato, I say potato. Both are, and have been (in their inherent irrationality), equally effective in duping entire peoples.

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“I guess you believe we are not at war.”

(Note: I take this as referring to not so much the literal war in Iraq, but our broader war on the “terrorists”—If I am wrong and the reference was to the actual war being currently fought, my apologies. In my defense, though, I can’t see how the actual war would have anything to do with it in the context of the article in question)

That’s correct, I do not believe that we are at war, not in the way that our “leaders” and media would have us believe in order to whip largely ignorant masses of Americans into a fearful frenzy.

We have the War on Drugs.

We have the War on Poverty.

We have the War on Terror. (All new and continually improved!)

None of these “wars” are, nor have they ever been, successful on the grand scale to which they are often referred. In fact, they are continually unsuccessful and steadily lose ground. These “wars” are not designed or fought to be won. They are promoted as never ending continual struggles, paid for by us, in dollars and in blood, while our great leaders and their attendant family dynasties profit personally and politically the entire time. Drop the incessant war moniker and start refusing to be the fuel in this engine that drives their aspirations of power and control.

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Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our blessings, and I am well aware that many might find the above unpleasantness to be distasteful on such a holiday when we should be focusing on the good things our lives. In a contextual vacuum, I would agree with this. However, given the fact that we are currently in the midst of a great global upheaval largely of our own creation, this narrow view taken during the holiday is escapist at its core.

We must rediscover that it is possible to celebrate in a sober fashion, acknowledging and considering these circumstances that are of great public and global moment. We must remember that today, American troops will die. We must remember that today, a great many innocent Iraqis will die. We must remember and contemplate the fact that for all of these, turkey and trimmings (or, if you like, insert particular cultural or religious celebration here, as not everyone eats, or enjoys for that matter, turkey) with family and friends is truly a world away.

There exists little joy in our own blessings when we deny others the same on a basis of lies (ties to terorism, WMD's, liberation). I have no doubt that Americans and Iraqis alike would be thankful on this day to know that there still exist people who are thinking of them and making all efforts, in thought and in deed, to end this elective war (and its attendant death and destruction) for geopolitical gain. Political face-saving, be damned.

It is with great thanks in my heart that I say cheers to all of you, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

(thanks again, StB, for the comment)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Citizenship for Service!

Break out your copies of Starship Troopers and witness the future.

"Put us on a war footing."

Have the kids do the police work.
(It's fun to catch the bad and scary terrorists when Homeland Security points them out and trains us to find them.)

Force the rest.
(Don't worry, the richest will still be in school training to pick up where their fathers left off so you can keep fighting the good fight abroad)

Just think, if it wasn't for visionary science fiction we would have no idea just how great the future of perpetual war will be under the direction of our wise elites as they regale us with tales of our own bravery and astute "security-oriented" wisdom.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Decisionating

It was with big smiles that I read this morning about senators Leahy and Dunn in their efforts to repeal major offending portions of the odious Military Commissions Act. My first thought was, “Damn, I hope they can get that passed.”

Using my day off to cruise news outlets that report something other than “Tom Cruise may be getting fat and how come Oprah wasn't invited to the wedding, OMFG” my thoughts incessantly turn to nagging questions. What if they are able to get these revisions passed? How long would it take for such a thing to actually happen? Once it actually happened, what would be the immediate and direct consequences? Would there be any, or, would we set up another committee to begin another round of investigations, all built around the ostensible “cooperation” of the administration? Would any of these “setting things to right” actions lead to the upheaval and consequences that the shredding of the Constitution so richly deserves?

Wait, though. Even if such a thing makes it through all of the various committees and debates, comes up for a vote, and passes, it still goes to the President’s desk for a signature. Do you think he will sign after all of that work he's put in to get the things he wants “legalized”? Or, will he sign with his Super-Decisionater 3000 pen, gutting the legislation with his signing statement superpower*?

*For those who may not know, said signing statement superpowers are given to he who is deemed worthy of wielding The Super-Decisionator 3000 which contains the magical Executive ink. Barbara asks that we be gentle as we break the news to George that his pen is not actually “super” and that his ink is not infused with a super-ingredient called “Executive” meaning that if he writes it, it is so. She simply told him that so he would practice his cursive, and just feels awful that it has caused so much trouble.

Of course, these questions and many more are simply offshoots from the root. The root question is, “Will any of it make a single bit of actual difference when real accountability is “off the table”?

There still hasn’t been a whisper about the damaging John Warner Defense Authorization Act. There hasn’t been a peep about the massive election fraud we just experienced only a couple of weeks ago. Everyone is still following the piper off the cliff as we witness the run-up to a change in strategy that sounds an awful lot like the one we had before, just with more troops and money. The rhetoric against Iran hasn’t really slowed down; perhaps if we can topple that government everything will right itself in the region.

The government consultant told me, “More and more people see the weakening of Iran as the only way to save Iraq.” (The New Yorker)

Fantastic. Hey, if you walk away from the table you walk away almost broke, but if just double down a few times you can leave with a profit!

Really? Okay, then.

“The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests from the armed services for the 2007 fiscal year, which began last month, several lawmakers and congressional staff members said. That's on top of $70 billion already approved for 2007.” (USA Today)

Changing 200 billion! Sirs, do you need any silver for the bonus bet?