Friday, December 29, 2006

“AT&T’s New Warhammer Nearly Complete," say FCC blacksmiths.

With a few new “concessions” to appease Democrats (damn the consumer), AT&T’s acquisition of BellSouth draws ever closer and is nigh unstoppable at this point given that the deal may be approved as early as today.

(Reuters)” The No. 1 U.S. telephone carrier said it would sell off certain wireless airwaves in the 2.5 gigahertz band, offer a $19.95 per month stand-alone basic high-speed Internet service and for up to 24 months would not charge content providers like Google Inc.[…] to speed their services to consumers.

Heading briefly down memory lane, let’s revisit an interview of Chairman and CEO Ed Whiteacre by BusinessWeek on 11/07/2005.

How concerned are you about Internet upstarts like Google […], MSN, Vonage, and others?

How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?”

Besides the shocking hubris evident in the declaration that the “pipes” are HIS, it demonstrates nothing less than an unhinged mental state—one that knows nothing save logic (however twisted) that supports, and is motivated exclusively by, the increase of profit and control. As well, judging from recent actions on the part of the latest administration croney, FCC Chairman Martin, any hopes for future FCC actions or practices in the public interest are dim indeed.

Net Neutrality
recently won a notable battle in its efforts to not be disemboweled. However, it should be remembered and noted also that there still exists no meaningful or forceful legislation protecting the concept—any wording that would have done so was forcefully kept out of the newest telecom legislation, still leaving Net Neutrality on very shaky ground. Keep this in mind as we proceed.

All of the above mentioned (and much, much more) adds up to nothing more than AT&T, Inc. (as opposed to the old AT&T, Corp. that was broken up in 1984—wow, it’s amazing just how completely different both are) and the FCC holding the following discussion:

AT&T: Hi, FCC, nice to see you again! Been what, bit over 20 years? **hand-shaking, passing of lobby money and gifts** We’d like to go ahead and acquire BellSouth now. See, we’ve decided we want to achieve monstrosity status beyond that of our former selves, but to do that we need to take this next step. What this will do is give us the warhammer we need to begin bludgeoning pesky problems like new technologies and business models that are preventing the growth of our money mountain.
FCC: Most of the public won’t care, but some of them are gonna scream pretty loud about this.
AT&T: Just don’t mention it to them.
CITIZEN: Hey, waitaminute. Not cool. Don’t businesses and consumers already pay for a “pipe”? If they need more capacity don’t they have to pay for it already?

AT&T: **looks at FCC**
FCC: Bailiff, this is a closed session.
**tasers CITIZEN**
FCC: **faces AT&T** That would be nice, but probably won’t work. Some of those bastards are f****n nosy.
AT&T: But we’ve given you and Congress over
$230 million since ’98! What the hell?
FCC: **shrugs** Weeeell, inflation and all…..we might need for you to give some “concessions” so the dough-brained Dems will get on board.
AT&T: How about this—You give us the warhammer we need, we’ll promise not to use it on the public or other companies for, saaaaaay, up to 24 months?
FCC: **looks around** Dems?
DEMS: Huh? Where are we?
FCC: Up To 24 months is a long time, right? I mean, it’s practically forever.
DEMS: Yeah. Good, great, grand, wonderful—just do whatever. We have to figure out whose wagon we want to jump on for 2008—can’t screw that one up. **proceed to talking amongst themselves again** Obama was really cute in his speech yesterday. I know, but did you see Hillary? I think she just got her hair did; I’m thinking of getting mine like that.
FCC: **turns back to AT&T** I think we’re good.
AT&T: Thanks, we’ll let George know you can keep the job.

These concessions serve to let us know one important thing above all else. AT&T is of the mind that within 24 months of merger approval, further legal maneuvers and lobbying will enable them to put their new giant hammer to use. And if it takes longer, so what? Nothing will be lost, and it might work out better if they do just wait beyond that period. If the period of 24 months is exceeded, they can trump up how magnanimous they’ve been for so long, but due to economic “conditions” and stagnant growth in profits, they must start charging for the “free pipes” they’ve been “giving away” for so long. After all, if they can’t charge for using the “free pipes” they just might collapse.

What a tragedy that would be.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006


"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
---George Bush (Washington, D.C. June 18, 2002)

"See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."
---George Bush (Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003)

**deep inhale**

**deep exhale**

[I’m taking five here in order to pace and employ desperately amateur and doomed to fail yoga breathing exercises that I can vaguely remember being demonstrated by a “personal trainer” in a Miami Vice-inspired leotard one night on a commercial that informed me I, too, could be privy to this forbidden and ancient knowledge for 3 easy payments of $19.95]

In a few days we’ll begin the journey into 2007. The New Year. But calling it a new year right now just seems so old and outdated. Time magazine already boggled and dazzled our eagerly tuned senses by declaring each and every one of us ‘Person of the Year’, so I say we have them declare 2007 to be something equally amazing. Here’s one they could use—2007: A New Way Forward.

They must strike while the iron is hot, though. The administration's PR machine is beginning to swell up for a new thrust that’s sure to spray a white hot load of creamy neoconservative resolve right down our collective throat. Many have already caught the whiff of public relation pheromones and are steadily becoming more hot and bothered with new talking point anticipation, but if Time can be the first to declare it then there’s no telling how high the bar of ecstatic frenzy could be raised as we look forward to hearing about what’s going to happen with Iraq—once the Decider feels comfortable, of course.

Plus it would make Time, like, the most patriotic American magazine ever.

And forget Mylar on the cover, it’s way too static. In our globalized, connected, fast-paced, business and consumer tastes move quickly so companies have to be nimble, action item, mover and shaker, up the ladder, 7 Habits, cheese moving, “Holy Christ my SUV and penis are both too small I gotta upgrade” world, we demand our content be served to us dynamically. Give us something to play with that doesn’t hold still.

(will someone please escort Mr. Foley and Mr. Haggerty from the room and try to explain to them why “like little boys” is not an acceptable suggestion for meeting that last demand? Thanks. Also, please inform Mr. Hastert that aside from little boys not being acceptable for an answer, “Twinkies” do not count either.)

For this venture an enterprising, globally distributed magazine might want to get with Nintendo. Not only would it be a victory for diplomacy and general international relations, it could mean co-ownership of several lucrative new patents.

The cover could have an arrow. Not just any arrow, but a big white and red one (giving a somber and well-placed ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ nod to the base) with a stars and stripes “YOU” on it (another somber nod to anyone who’s not a terrorist). Here’s where Nintendo comes in—by adapting the new Wii controller technology just a bit, they could help Time make it so the new arrow on the cover points constantly to Iraq. It won’t matter which way you’re facing or at which level the magazine is being held. Always pointing at Iraq.

A patriotic compass, if you will. Just like George.

Sky’s the limit here—think of all the exclusive partnership opportunities, the merchandising, the glorious “viral” marketing campaigns!

Time and Hasbro could partner on a new UN Joe GI Joe line. Joe’s will have heads (built with Wii technology) that always face Iraq because they’re dedicated to fighting the tricky and dastardly 21st-century Cobras who got tans and grew beards—collect the whole set!

The GPS in the arrow could facilitate all manner of exciting contests. Whoever (in a properly diverse but randomly chosen city section) can win the new “Find Osama” contest while walking most consistently in the direction of Iraq (using the handy arrow, of course) wins a year’s supply of 24-Hour surveillance from the President and Cingular. That’s a lot of safety!

(Disclaimer: Winner will receive the Grand Prize of 24-Hour surveillance for the duration of one year from the President and Cingular upon purchase of a monthly plan at a price minimum of $69.99 on approved credit and upon the signing of a Contract Agreement of 3 years or greater. Does not include applicable taxes, surcharges, or fees. Cost of phone is not included. Penalty for Early Termination is $1700 or 3% of the winners gross wages summed over the last five years, whichever is greater.)

And if you don’t happen to be patriotic enough to win the contest, don’t worry. All “alternatively placed” finishers will be sure to get a consolation phone call from Tony Snow, encouraging them to “take a deep, cleansing breath."

Thanks, Tony. Tried that already. Didn’t help.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Taking it seriously

Here is a comment from friend and Pai Gow powerhouse, EasyCure, (who has had to deal with some seriously tilt-inducing pre-holiday circumstances, so go wish him well) followed by a response.


“You quote a website that thinks the Bush administration is about to impose martial law and open detention camps?
You are a very nice guy but you can't take that stuff seriously.”

I can’t take it seriously? Really? Why not? Even though all of said articles (from the site which I should not take seriously) are basically reprints of releases by other news organizations like AP, Reuters, and other international media?

What about if I read about it
Portland IndyMedia, which is only quoting from MarketWatch out of San Francisco? Too gay? How about a FOX article?

“The contract, awarded in January to Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of defense contractor Halliburton Co., pays the company to establish and provide support for “temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs,” according to a Halliburton press release.”

“Rapid development of new programs” may not be too open-ended for you when it comes to the subject of detention camps but as far as I’m concerned it is nowhere close to being well-defined. Frankly it boggles the mind how anyone can be without concern, especially with the combination of other wonderful things hanging over our heads such as Patriot Acts I and II, The Military Commissions Act, and The John Warner Defense Authorization Act, to name just a few. How about Glenn Beck and his recently amped-up rhetoric encouraging the interment of Muslims to detention camps? He seems to be pretty convinced that Federal power to do so exists and he has been continually encouraging them to use it. Do you really think it will be a problem for some faceless Federal authority to declare you an “enemy combatant” and toss you or me in a camp, as well, invoking similar baseless assertions if the Party line is not toed? After all, proof is no longer required. This is the new “War on Terror” and all of us are guilty until proven innocent.

How about the written plans of the
US Army for Civilian Inmate Labor Programs (pdf) and the tools possessed within it?

Don’t even get me started on the great numbers of secret Executive Orders signed over the last few decades (rest assured, I will start myself and beat on those in the future.)

Perhaps I shouldn’t take those seriously either, since there are some lesser-known links mixed in with the “notables”.


While the above may be deemed as too sarcasm-heavy for dialogue between friends, I can only say that I will vigorously defend (or in the Cheney vernacular, “robustly” defend) what I write because a great deal of research and effort goes into it.

The only thing made clear by this comment is that I pricked a nerve somewhere and you are in the beginning stages of trying to convince yourself that I’m looney-tunes. That’s fine--I don’t blame you for this reaction and I hold no ill-will because of it. Hell, I spent many weeks trying to prove to myself that I was losing it. Thing is, the more I dug into the pile the more my thoughts were proven correct instead of the other way around, necessitating a difficult look at a great many ugly and frightening things. This left me at a serious crossroads. Namely, do I continue ignoring the problem by retreating back to the Propaganda Box to be sated by the baseless assertions and partial-truths spouted by talking heads (please ignore the wholly unintentional pun) who do as they're told, or do I face the scare-the-shit-outta-me truth and learn more about it like I should have been during the many years that I’ve squandered in servitude to television’s “infotainment”?

The direction I chose is plainly obvious at this point and I will not shrink from it. The only question is, will you? Will you actually read (not skim) all of the articles (instead of immediately denouncing an unfamiliar site), follow the sources, and really think about them? Will you go out and research yourself to find the answers to questions you may still have lingering in the back of your mind?

It’s not an easy thing to do. There’s a reason it’s called television “programming.”

If you find I’m truly wrong about something, please show me, I desperately want to know. What sweet relief it would be to find out that I’m wrong, that none of this stuff really exists, and that everything is going to be just fine. Feel free to imply that I’m nutso all day long, but when you do so, make sure you’re also coming with some substantial reasons why that are rooted in logic and documentation. Not because you owe it to me, but because you owe it to yourself and your family.

My links should only get you thinking, get you started. Don’t blindly take the word of this talking Head, go find out for yourself.

Stop Believing. Start Knowing.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Before and After Accessories

Rather than continuing to grinch my way through the [insert bipartisan, politically-correct, non-offensive, religio/ethno celebratory event designation here--or “non” as certain individuals may be] Season by focusing on persons or smaller subsections, I thought today might be a nice day to shift the focus to a larger group. This group includes you. The same group also includes me.

The group is Every Single Ordinary American.

The level of society where you currently happen to reside matters not. Young or old, rich or poor, if you pay taxes at all you are a part of this group. In the end it is all in the same large pool, a pool stricken by a financial fungus spread almost too far to comprehend. However, the current leprosy-ridden financials of the nation are not the current point. I only mention it in order to stress that a goodly portion of your money goes into that pool.

There is proof upon proof that there was no justified reason to go to war in Iraq. Americans have funded, bled, and died for what amounts to a (nearly complete) corporate takeover of government alongside wars of aggression that serve only to sow death and destruction, with the aim of reaping power and profit. While many are finally beginning to wake up intellectually to the fact, it can be counted on that
70% at least realize it instinctually.

Then why, pray tell, are we not only allowing, but funding, this drive in policy and practice that seeks to destroy and control not just others but us, as well?

We are allowing and funding structures controlled by people that foment nothing but death, destruction, aggression, arrogance, and fear. They are people (some who you know, and many that you don’t) exhibiting no other traits than those of sheer lunacy.

(oh the slander....oh the defamation.)


While everyone hollies and jollies it up, in many cases by astutely adhering to the presidential directive to “go shopping”, a few other things happened this weekend that are neither holly nor jolly. General Casey, it seems, is now willing to back an increase in US troops in Iraq, even though, until very recently, he has been outspokenly opposed to the idea. Of peculiar note is not only the sudden reversal of viewpoint, but also the distinct lack of explanation for said reversal. This is another example of the government requiring you to a) listen better or b) think harder, if you are of the mind that it’s impossible to be opposed to something while at the same time being “open to it.”

a draft would be good for society, but we don’t support it or plan to use it)

Congruent with this is some interesting news from the

“When President George W Bush meets his national security team at his Texan ranch this week to draw up a new military strategy for Iraq, a 56-slide PowerPoint presentation entitled Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq will be at the heart of their discussion.”

Aside from the title smacking of blatant propaganda in the extreme, you should be aware of who came up with the "Choosing Victory" strategy, our very own Frederick Kagan over at the American Enterprise Institute along with assistance from General Jack Keane. Frederick Kagan, if you’ll remember, was a signatory on the PNAC document Rebuilding America’s Defenses, and who is related to PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan. Really, the entire roster of associated folks boggles the mind and is astonishing in the fact that these are the same people who played large roles in getting us neck deep in the Iraq quagmire in the first place.

George Bush is once again favoring a plan brought to you by the same people that helped to cause, and seek to prolong, a tragedy that is of truly epic proportions.


While it didn’t happen on Christmas Eve Day, but did happen over the [insert bipartisan, politically-correct, non-offensive, religio/ethno celebratory event designation here--or “non” as certain individuals may be] Weekend, the
UN also approved sanctions against Iran. Have you been to this puppet show? Have you seen these strings before? It was only a short time ago when there were strict sanctions against Iraq. Who wants to lay me odds that it won’t be very long before we start to hear the same increasingly shrill cries about how ineffective the UN sanctions are, and that the only way they can be effective is to move ahead with military actions and attack?


70% of Americans do not support this war, yet we lend our tacit support by not demanding that our representatives, be they Democrat or Republican, end it immediately. Rest assured that if we allow a third war to be launched, knowing the things we now know, then there will truly be little hope for us or our figurative "way of life". Our infrastructure will continue being handed over to foreigners as our economy continues it’s acceleration toward an abrupt bottom. The world will increasingly point their fingers toward us as being responsible for catastrophes throughout the world—and they will largely be correct in doing so--they will welcome our demise and feel relieved by it. Our politicians will walk away rich and free while We the People bear the inevitable consequences (unfortunately this is not limited to the US--Britons are under a very advanced and corrupt government thumb, as well).

If I tell you give me money and I use that money to cause massive death and
increasingly encroach upon your existence (and lie about it), when I come back and ask for more are you going to give it to me? What if I tell you it’s “for democracy” as I change suits? Will that do it? What if I throw in a timely reminder about how scary brown people are?

Why do you let the government do it?

If you have been tricked into something that is wrong, then a true plausible deniability may exist. However, once you know (or at least have an instinctive, 70%-type, idea) of what’s going on and you continue to support it (tacitly, vocally, financially, etc.), you become an accessory after the fact (Iraq) and an accessory before (Iran).

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

What goes around comes around.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Stand up and do not let it happen—
while you still can. Stop letting yourselves be criminally entrapped (through slow and steady increments) by the very people who claim to be working in our best interest. Put a stop to the financing of your destruction.

Merry [insert bipartisan, politically-correct, non-offensive, religio/ethno celebratory event designation here--or “non” as certain individuals may be] !