3.18.2010

Windows Phone 7 Series supports DirectX 9 and SM3

Microsoft unveiled its brand new, breaking-with-the-past mobile OS last month in the shape of Windows Phone 7 Series. At two events in the US this week, it’s shed light on the hardware the new software will run on.

As you’d expect for a smartphone, the CPU uses the ARM architecture, specifically the ARMv7. More interesting is the GPU. Microsoft is promising high levels of integration between Windows Phone 7 Series devices and the Xbox 360, but it's surprising just how much power Microsoft wants its new mobile phone to have. At MIX 10, a presentation showing details of the phone listed the GPU as providing ‘DirectX 9 acceleration’, while at South by Southwest (SXSW), in an XNA presentation, the phone’s GPU was claimed to support Shader Model 3.

The presence of SM3 would imply it’s DX9.0c the phone supports - meaning the GPU supports the same kind of features first popularised by PC GPUs such as the GeForce 6800, including HDR lighting and high levels of precision throughout the pipeline. While DirectX 10 and 11 are starting to appear in some new games, the vast majority still target DX9.0c, meaning that we could be seeing mobile games that are on a technical par with PC and console titles.

It seems hard to believe – the SXSW presentation gave the screen resolution as 800 x 480, which might be lower than that of a typical desktop or laptop, but it's hardly an insignificant amount of work for a GPU, especially when it’s running from a battery. More likely, the similarity of the mobile GPU with existing PC GPUs will make it easier to port code written for the Xbox 360 and PC to mobile devices, as well as meaning developers won’t have to learn a new graphics architecture to make a mobile game.

The SXSW presentation also shed a little more light on the level of Xbox 360 integration we can expect from Windows Phone 7 Series devices, with a slide promising shared leaderboards, achievements, gamerscore and Avatar access.

2.13.2009

Microsoft Certifies NVIDIA ION For Low Cost PCs


NVIDIA Collaborates With Microsoft To Make Premium, Low-Cost PCs A Reality
Microsoft Certifies NVIDIA ION to Deliver a Premium Windows Experience on PCs Starting as Low as $299

FEBRUARY 11, 2009—In an effort to deliver an outstanding computing experience on small, low power PCs, NVIDIA announced today that NVIDIA ION has been Certified for Windows Vista. With NVIDIA ION and premium versions of Microsoft Windows, small form factor notebook and desktop PCs will have rich media capabilities and full graphics support for the first time.

Microsoft Corp. has validated NVIDIA ION with certified Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) drivers for Windows Vista Home Premium. NVIDIA is working with Microsoft, PC manufacturers, software developers, and Windows eco-system partners to bring ION-based PCs to market by summer of 2009. ION-based mini-notebooks and compact desktop PCs will have industry-leading performance at price points as low as $299.

Mike Ybarra, general manager for the Windows division at Microsoft, states: “Customers have told us they expect a full Windows experience across a variety of PC designs. What many people call a ‘netbook’ today is really a small notebook, and users expect it to perform like one. With NVIDIA’s ION platform combined with Windows Vista Home Premium, consumers can get an affordable, premium Windows experience in a small notebook or desktop form factor. From browsing the web and checking email to streaming music or watching movies, it’s an excellent solution for everyday computing.”

Microsoft has certified the NVIDIA ION platform to ensure that upcoming ION-based PCs will deliver:

* Silky smooth 1080p high definition video including Blu-ray movies
* Exciting video game play with support for Microsoft’s DirectX 10 API
* Support for premium Windows Vista features including Aero Glass and Flip3D
* GPU acceleration for faster photo editing and video transcoding

Microsoft’s WHQL certification for Windows Vista Home Premium validates the NVIDIA ION platform as customer-ready.

“NVIDIA ION and Windows are a perfect match,” said Drew Henry, general manager of the MCP business unit at NVIDIA. “It is great to have Microsoft work with us to drive Windows with ION into these new low-priced notebooks and really small desktop PCs, which previously wasn’t possible with other solutions. This is a big win for consumers!”

About the NVIDIA ION Platform
The NVIDIA ION platform provides a quantum leap in mainstream graphics performance – while using less than half the space of traditional solutions – for smaller, faster, lighter, full-featured notebooks and desktop PCs. The ION platform unlocks the power of the Atom CPU by combining it with a great NVIDIA GPU.

6.11.2008

Style Switchers Are Back: Ideas, Examples and a Contest


Style switchers are used to provide users with a choice of layouts, fonts, colors and views they can use to adapt the design to their personal needs. Designs with style switchers are more flexbile, more adaptive and more user-friendly as different visitors can quickly modify the design for their personal convenience.

When offering different layouts and design variations your design may better suit the preferences of your visitors. After all, it is almost impossible to make the design look nice and work properly for everybody. Style switchers are also used in web-sites which emphasize the usability and accessibility in their designs.

Style Switchers Contest

Web designers can achieve significant usability-improvements by adding a simple style switcher to their designs. Style switchers are useful and powerful as they give users a better control of site presentation. However, this technique is almost never used and are sometimes considered to be unnecessary and useless which is simply not true. We would like to change it.

Our goal
We want to motivate you to figure out how style switchers work and how you can use them to improve your designs.

Your task
We’d like you to create beautiful, functional and user-friendly style switchers for your own web-sites. We’ll collect the most creative, usable and elegant solutions and review them in one of our next posts.

Award
The award is Apple Cinema 20 Flat Panel Display with 16.7 million colors, 400:1 contrast ratio, 0.258 mm dot pitch, 16 ms response time and 170-degree viewing angles (see the image below). The winner will be chosen randomly among participants of our contest.

11.05.2006

interlude 110606

interlude

dripping with grief

face become obsidian
arms, legs driftwood
belly sewer
guts snakes
lungs gravel
mouth boulder
tongue girder
hands, feet anchors
balls ants
cock minnow
heart tumor
brain isopropyl
ears miasma

[
you
demon jackal shit batrachotoxin;
]

eye
alive, diamond

soul attached to other stars
pulsing

Impeachable? Or Treasonous?

Is there not some chosen curse, some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven, red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man who owes his greatness to his country's ruin! - Joseph Addison

Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution [Presidential Oath of Office]:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
The emphasis is mine.

I have seen not one minute speck of evidence that George W Bush has preserved, protected, or defended our Constitution. He has taken the document and shredded it, laughed at it, ignored it, disparaged it, and stomped it into the dirt.

Signing statements; executive orders; circumvention; calumny; black ops; secrecy . . . in the interest of national security, my ass!

I think impeachment is insufficient. Perhaps arrest, imprisonment, and trial for treason is in order. There are many who feel he should be given up to the world community to be tried for crimes against humanity. And what of his cabinet and advisors?

That phrase, "to the best of my ability." Although I disagree with all of you who claim this administration is "incompetent", I do entertain the notion that he has been "unable" to fulfill his sacred obligation to the US Constitution . . .

He and his administration have been constrained from doing so by their masters. They have been paid to do the job of radical capitalist globilization. Everybody works for somebody. Our government, alas, works not for us.

While we're at it, we should engineer a preemptive strike of our own: the possible next Speaker of the House, Nancy "The Ghost" Pelosi, has already ruled out impeaching Bush. Pelosi, and perhaps the entire Congress, might be locked up for complicity and conspiracy.

From Answers.com . . .

trea·son (trē'zən) pronunciation
n.

1. Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
2. A betrayal of trust or confidence.

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman treson, from Latin trāditiō, trāditiōn-, a handing over.]
Have not George Bush and Dick Cheney violated allegiance to the Constitution, the document which is the basis of our country and its sovereignty? Have they not consciously and purposefully acted to aid our enemies by energizing the forces of hate and terror and turning the world against us, thus endangering the very safety and liberty they have sworn to protect? Have they not cynically and totally betrayed our trust and confidence? Have they not handed over the power of the people to multinational corporations and the engines of globalization, selling out and denying us our rights?

Has not the Congress co-conspired in these very same acts, supporting the Administration's policies, failing to represent us and keep us informed and safe? Are the members not all traitors in allowing the executive to wage wars they have not declared? From Wikipedia:
Under the War Powers Clause, only Congress may declare war, but in several cases it has, without declaring war, granted the President the authority to engage in military conflicts . . . Although the executive branch and the Pentagon have asserted an ever-increasing measure of involvement in this process, the U.S. Supreme Court has often reaffirmed Congress' exclusive hold on this power (e.g. Burns v. Wilson, 346 U.S. 137 (1953)).
Furthermore, Article 1, Section 9 states, "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it . . . No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

Unless I missed it, there is no rebellion or invasion. Congress has not per se violated this section, because it is the Executive which has done so. But in failing to oppose this action, Congress has again abdicated its solemn responsibility. Here is the oath of office taken by every member of the House of Represenatives:
I, Loyal Citizen of the Republic, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
"All enemies, foreign and domestic . . ." Clearly, a strong majority in Congress violate this oath, often with "purpose of evasion". Senators, by the way, take the same solemn oath. Same obligations. Same abdication.

Please notice that in each of these oaths, support and defense of the Constitution is key. Supporting this document may take the form of amending it, in a process that insures that it is not amended easily or precipitously. According to these oaths, failure to adhere to the Constitution without amending it is criminal.

And have we not all betrayed our country and each other by walking quietly away from two stolen presidential elections, shrugging our shoulders and saying, "well, wait until next time?" Now there is no "next time", for the next time and the time after that will be like the last time. Same script, different actors, same directors and producers. We're just an audience for the greatest horror show ever made. Popcorn anyone? Coca-Cola? Valium? Razor blades? Anyone? Anyone?

The peoples of Beijing, Mexico City, Mogadishu, Kathmandu, Budapest, Kiev, and others rage in the streets in response to such atrocities. We draw our curtains and watch it on TV.

In November, 2005, President George W Bush declared that our Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper." His actions say the same thing. Congress does nothing. Numb or dumb, we just turn away and hope it will somehow disappear or be a bad dream. Treason? If not, then what?

_____________________________

Before I go, I just want to plug a blog I have recently found: Sine.Qua.Non has been added to my "Resources and Recommemdations" list as a "Daily Read". This guy is great and is more than deserving of our readership and support.

_____________________________

One other quick note. Although it's been up for quite awhile now and there are only six votes, the P!oll responses are 100% in favor of a Bill Moyers for President campaign. He has said he won't do it. I respect that, but we have two years to persuade him. So why don't you vote? It may be more satisfying and effective than a vote on Tuesday.

11.04.2006

November Surprise and Other Comedies

So. If you believe and trust the "polls", which I don't, the Democratic Party might take control of the House and has some sort of shot at the Senate. Do not, however, ever, ever, ever underestimate the je ne sais quois of the Repugnicant Rover. I haven't been watching the gubernatorial "contests" and never have been sure what they mean (having lived in Massachusetts with the likes of John Volpe, Ed King, and Mikey Dukakis, and in California with Jerry Brown).

I live in bright red state and neither Senator is up for re-election. My congressman is a middle of the road classic white liberal running against an absolute idiot who also happens to be black.

The November Surprise predicted in the title will be little, if any, surprise at all: the colors of the graphic may change from red to blue in some states, but there will be absolutely no other change. None. Nada. Ne Rien Pas. Nyet.

The black forces, eager to hide the pea under a different shell for awhile, have simply shifted the flow of money. The bucks are no longer funding Republican neoconservatives . . . now they're buying Democratic neoconservatives. The wars will not end. The march to war against other countries will not drop a step. The gap between rich and poor will not narrow. Tax breaks for the rich will not be repealed. Powerful people in Washington and in the churches will continue to put their hands where they shouldn't: in all sorts of forbidden cookie jars, not to mention chemical stashes.

That The Prince of Darkness has repudiated Bush's invasion of Iraq (implementing The prince's policies), that the military media is calling for Rummy's head (or whatever) mean nuttin' hunny.

The MSM has been given permission to refocus the sheep. "24" may not have another season; "Law and Order" may shrink down to "SVU" and "CCP" (Corporate Creep Patrol).

During VietNam, Country Joe sang, "What are fightin' for?" And now I wail, "What are we votin' for?"

The Dems, by the way, have a golden opportunity to serve the same masters whom the Repubs served: with the contractors bailing out of Iraq, our military will soon follow (after incurring useless and damnable casualties for a few months). They'll probably be sent back after the country is totally reduced to a smoldering desert with about 10,000 people huddling in the ruins of Baghdad.

Meanwhile, the military, with a brand new Secretary of Offense, will simply redeploy to Venezuela. After all, it's clear that Hugo Chavez and Lulu are Weapons of Mass Distraction, ready to invade our vulnerable shores and borders with terrible thoughts of socialism and caring about the poor and all that immoral stuff.

Folks, the Democrats going along with The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang's agenda has not been some sort of clever holding action. They have not been scheming to "run right", then turn left once they've "won" it all back. They really meant every vote! The best they will do is send up a "social agenda smoke screen" to hide their own dirty deeds, holding the poor hostage as the Bushites have, until recently, held The Christian Wrong Right.

I am not voting. It is the only way I can in good conscience support true democracy in this country. I'm proud of my stance. I pretty much don't care what anybody thinks. The last two presi-dunce-y'all elections were not so much stolen as bought. So will these mid-terms. So will '08. And I ain't buyin' it 'til there's something to buy.

So as promised, I'm offering a couple of banners which I designed. The guys at Stop Me Before I Vote Again leaked these last week, but I'm not gonna be possessive. Please rip them and use them in good health. You don't have to attribute them to me nor link here (though it would be nice, since I'm "running" (oh, god, I said it!) for a slot in the next Koufax Awards, probably "Wider Recognition").

The only thing I ask is that you copy and paste the banner(s), rather than image source link to them here. That would be the polite thing to do. In addition to making them available here, I will also put them in my footer - way down underneath my Anti-War Webring Banner.

Observation Post 110406

If it's broke, bury it. NYT reports closure of Iraq auditor's office [tip of the hat to The Agonist]:
Congress Tells Auditor in Iraq to Close Office by JAMES GLANZ
Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.

Mr. Bowen’s office has inspected and audited taxpayer-financed projects like this prison in Nasiriya, Iraq.

And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen’s supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.

The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation . . . Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose. While Nancy Pelosi thinks impeaching Bush is a bad idea (doesn't want to set a precedent, obviously, nor to endanger the continuation of the war), Howard Dean assures us we'll "stay the course". Joshua Frank:
DNC Deja Vu: 2004 All Over Again

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has promised there will not be a change of course in Iraq if the Democrats take back Congress. Potential House leader Nancy Pelosi has assured voters that impeachment is not in the cards for Bush, either. Yet the liberal establishment is beaconing antiwar voters to clamor for the Democratic Party next Tuesday. It seems like 2004 all over again.

I recently disparaged the positions of progressive media critic Jeff Cohen and The Nation magazine for not supporting independent antiwar candidates, and instead calling for more of the same: i.e. voting for the Democrats even though we disagree with them on the war and a host of other issues. If we want to take on Bush, they argue, the Democrats have to take back Congress, and only then can we start to build a genuine progressive movement.

In the meantime, however, the war will rage on and Bush will remain at the helm of Empire with Congress's blessing. As the Washington Post reported on August 27, of the 46 candidates in tight House races this year, 29 oppose a timetable for troop withdraw. That's a whopping 63% of Democrats in hotly contested races who have exactly the same position on the war as our liar-in-chief, George W. Bush . . .Billmon gives fair warning.
I should be jumping for joy over these predictions, if only because I hate the bloody Republicans and the bloody conservatives so bloody much. But instead I'm filled with foreboding. If the Dems are going to win this year it's better, I suppose, that they win big -- big enough to discourage the reptiles from playing any post-election games, big enough to be billed as a mandate for change, big enough to wipe the smirk of Karl Rove's face forever. But it should be understood that even a crushing loss next week will only wound the GOP machine, not kill it, and a wounded, cornered animal can be very dangerous. Which is why I wasn't very happy to read this communique from William Lind:

The third and final act in the national tragedy that is the Bush administration may soon play itself out. The Okhrana [a czarist spy agency, one of Lind's little jokes] reports increasing indications of “something big” happening between the election and Christmas. That could be the long-planned attack on Iran.

You should take that, like you should take everything else you read on the Internets, with a grain of salt. But the logic of an attack is hard to ignore. War with Iran would not only be the quickest, most effective way to throw the Dems back on the defensive, it would also completely preempt, and bury, any post-election pressures to set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. (As Lind notes in his dispatch, it could also make it impossible to withdraw without losing an Army, but that's another story.)

But even if a November or December surprise isn't on the drawing boards, the historical pattern suggests a period of danger may lie ahead. The last two lame duck years of any president's second term are traditionally devoted to foreign policy, as the White House's domestic clout fades and the political focus shifts to the succession question. For most presidents, this usually means launching or intensifying ambitious diplomatic or peacemaking efforts, such as Clinton's bid to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in one swift go at Camp David.

But Bush (or Cheney, take your pick) isn't like "most presidents." His diplomatic efforts, with few exceptions, have all reached what appear to be dead ends -- with the Israelis and the Palestinians, with the Iranians and probably with the North Koreans, although with Kim Jong-il who the hell knows? . . .Paul Krugman reports on newest "mission accomplished" at NYT [through truthout]:
Bechtel, the giant engineering company, is leaving Iraq. Its mission - to rebuild power, water and sewage plants - wasn't accomplished: Baghdad received less than six hours a day of electricity last month, and much of Iraq's population lives with untreated sewage and without clean water. But Bechtel, having received $2.3 billion of taxpayers' money and having lost the lives of 52 employees, has come to the end of its last government contract.

As Bechtel goes, so goes the whole reconstruction effort. Whatever our leaders may say about their determination to stay the course complete the mission, when it comes to rebuilding Iraq they've already cut and run. The $21 billion allocated for reconstruction over the last three years has been spent, much of it on security rather than its intended purpose, and there's no more money in the pipeline.

The failure of reconstruction in Iraq raises three questions. First, how much did that failure contribute to the overall failure of the war? Second, how was it that America, the great can-do nation, in this case couldn't and didn't? Finally, if we've given up on rebuilding Iraq, what are our troops dying for?

There's no definitive way to answer the first question. You can make a good case that the invasion of Iraq was doomed no matter what, because we never had enough military manpower to provide security. But the lack of electricity and clean water did a lot to dissipate any initial good will the Iraqis may have felt toward the occupation. And Iraqis are well aware that the billions squandered by American contractors included a lot of Iraqi oil revenue as well as U.S. taxpayers' dollars.

Consider the symbolism of Iraq's new police academy, which Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, has called "the most essential civil security project in the country." It was built at a cost of $75 million by Parsons Corporation, which received a total of about $1 billion for Iraq reconstruction projects. But the academy was so badly built that feces and urine leak from the ceilings in the student barracks.

Think about it. We want the Iraqis to stand up so we can stand down. But if they do stand up, we'll dump excrement on their heads.

As for how this could have happened, that's easy: major contractors believed, correctly, that their political connections insulated them from accountability. Halliburton and other companies with huge Iraq contracts were basically in the same position as Donald Rumsfeld: they were so closely identified with President Bush and, especially, Vice President Cheney that firing or even disciplining them would have been seen as an admission of personal failure on the part of top elected officials.

As a result, the administration and its allies in Congress fought accountability all the way. Administration officials have made repeated backdoor efforts to close the office of Mr. Bowen, whose job is to oversee the use of reconstruction money. Just this past May, with the failed reconstruction already winding down, the White House arranged for the last $1.5 billion of reconstruction money to be placed outside Mr. Bowen's jurisdiction. And now, finally, Congress has passed a bill whose provisions include the complete elimination of his agency next October.

The bottom line is that those charged with rebuilding Iraq had no incentive to do the job right, so they didn't . . . The original mission was not "to drain the swamp", but to create one, then fill it with alligators, and charge us billions in doing so. No problem. Good job.

Beware! A wikipedia scare!
A post and discussion, "Wikipedia hijacked by malware" at digg.

Supporting our troops revisited. From ICH, "There has never been an American army as violent and murderous as the one in Iraq" by Martin Lukacs. Clips:
“The bad news,” investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told a Montreal audience last Wednesday, “is that there are 816 days left in the reign of King George II of America.”

The good news? “When we wake up tomorrow morning, there will be one less day.”

Hersh, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine, has been a thorn in the side of the U.S. government for nearly 40 years. Since his 1969 exposé of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, which is widely believed to have helped turn American public opinion against the Vietnam War, he has broken news about the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia, covert C.I.A. attempts to overthrow Chilean president Salvador Allende, and, more recently, the first details about American soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

During his hour-and-a-half lecture – part of the launch of an interdisciplinary media and communications studies program called Media@McGill – Hersh described video footage depicting U.S. atrocities in Iraq, which he had viewed, but not yet published a story about.

He described one video in which American soldiers massacre a group of people playing soccer . . .

If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.

“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.” . . .More outing? Finally, RINF has published what it claims is the full membership list of the secret Yale club, Skull & Bones. The problem is that they don't say where/how they got it nor do they provide corroborating proof. Remains to be seen where this goes; whether anyone will pick it up and/or back it up.

Categories: war, elections, Iraq+reconstruction, war+profiteering, troops

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Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lattest P!oll

11.03.2006

Mr. America . . . Tear Down This Wall!

Imagine that you are a cinderblock. Imagine that all of us Americans are each a cinderblock. And that we are part of a wall. We are stuck in that wall, unable to move, unable to escape.

The mortar binding us all together in this impenetrable wall is an iron-like mixture . . . of lies. We are all bricks in a wall of lies. It's too late to opt out of being a part of the wall - we're already there. In fact, we've become so embedded in the wall, that we're unable to struggle for one tiny nanometer of wiggle room.

We are the wall, impervious, impenetrable. Those of us bricks who do see and hear the truth are unable to act on it. We're stuck.

Be clear . . . it isn't that the wall is between us and the truth. It isn't that the truth is on one side and we're on the other. Truth is, in fact, all around us, on both sides.

We haven't always been the wall. But the wall is, in truth, older than we can remember. It certainly wasn't built by the Bush Administration, although they have contributed steely strength to the mortar of lies. The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang would not have been able to perpetrate such lies if the wall was not already fully in place. Here is just a soundbite from Robert Parry at OpEd, with "All the President's Lies" . . .
Bush . . . appears confident that he can continue to sell a distorted interpretation of the evidence to a gullible U.S. public. Basically, it appears that the President believes that the American people are very stupid.
Many Americans are as dumb as a bag of bricks. Bush knows that the rest of us are frozen.

A sense of how the wall came about is ably described by this quote from a comment on a post ("Fine Passages from Elsewhere") at Andrew Bard Schmookler's See No Evil:
Excerpt [quoting a German university philologist who lived through the WWII Nazi era]:

But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ‘43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ‘33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jew swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed…
This Newsweek piece by Evan Thomas and Andrew Romano in August of this year, "History: How American Myths Are Made", focuses the matter:
The story of workaday men and women rising to greatness is one of America's most cherished myths. As a term, myth is much misunderstood; hearing it, many people take the word to mean "lie," when in fact a myth is a story, a narrative, that explains individual and national realities—how a person or a country came to be, why certain things happen in the course of a life or of history, and what fate may have in store for us. Myths are a peculiar hybrid of truth and falsehood, resentments and ambitions, dreams and dread. We all have personal myths running through our heads, and some chapters would withstand fact checking while others would fail miserably.

Nations are the same way. In America, the underlying faith is that in a truly free and democratic society, every man and woman has the potential to realize greatness, that freedom and openness liberate and ennoble ordinary citizens to do extraordinary things. The Triumph of the Common Man is a myth deeply rooted in American culture, and unlike some popular myths, it is true enough. Tom Hanks may have played a fictional character in "Saving Private Ryan"—the small-town American called to arms—but World War II was won by a million citizen soldiers very much like him.

There is, unfortunately, another, less admirable myth that Americans concoct to explain crises and disasters. It is rooted in the paranoid streak that runs through pop culture, the conspiracy theories that blame some sinister (and usually make-believe) Other for whatever went wrong. In 1950, many frightened Americans wanted to know: how could Russia have gotten the bomb so soon after America won World War II? There must be traitors among us! railed Sen. Joe McCarthy and other conspiracists, as they tore up the country looking for communists under every bed.

One might expect Hollywood's Oliver Stone to drum up a conspiracy theory to explain 9/11. He is, after all, known as the director of a movie, "JFK," that essentially accused Lyndon Johnson, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of killing President Kennedy. That Stone did not go to the dark side to explain the attacks of September 11 tells us something about the American sensibility toward that day. True, Stone was under pressure from the studio not to make the story political or conspiratorial. It is also true, though, that public-opinion surveys show that many Americans (42 percent in a recent Zogby poll) believe the government must be covering up something about 9/11, and many blame Bush for using the attacks to justify invading Iraq. Scaremongers on the Internet and Michael Moore's entertaining but outlandish "Fahrenheit 9/11" have fueled popular suspicions of devious plots. . . .

Myths evolve as circumstances and needs change. The Founders at first portrayed Lexington and Concord as an unprovoked attack on innocents; "Bloody Butchery, by the British," proclaimed a printed broadside of the time, illustrated with 40 small coffins. The propagandists were trying to stir up sympathy for the rebellion and a desire for revenge. Only a later generation of popularizers, who wanted to inspire a young democracy, stressed the bold resistance of the Minutemen who "fired the shot heard round the world." . . .
That is how the wall was built. If you sniff, you can smell the stench of boiled frogs in the hardened mortar . . . and also in your clothes, your hair, your Starbuck's latte.

What are these lies which bind us? Let's enumerate a few, contrasting them with the truth . . .

  • With all our faults, we're still "the greatest country in the world." The evidence against this myth is overwhelming. Let's look at some statistics provided by Infoplease:
    * The US ia not among the top ten countries with lowest infant mortality rates;
    * Nor is it a top tenner in life expectancy;
    * The US does't make the top 30 list of countries with the least disparity of income between rich and poor;
    * We are only 10th on the list of most livable countries;
    * We are 14th in the world in per capita foreign aid spent;
    * . . . "on any given day more than 2 million people are incarcerated in the United States, and that over the course of a year, 13.5 million spend time in prison or jail. African Americans are imprisoned at a rate roughly seven times higher than whites, and Hispanics at a rate three times higher than whites . . ."
    * We are the 17th (of 159 countries studied) most corrupt country on the planet;
    * The US is responsible for 48% of the world's military expenditures and has the highest per capita expenditure military expenditure ($1,604).

  • Through democracy, we will prevail. It has worked in the past, it will get us through again. The system works. The system may "work", but it works only for a few very rich and powerful people and cabals. By committing to "representative democracy" the framers ensured an extremely limited participation by the people. With their vast resources, some of them virtually invisible from the outside, these "insiders" have managed to nullify the only avenue - voting. We can now vote all we want, but we vote for lies, then our votes are stolen.

    Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States exposes and catalogues the truth here.

  • We are strong, with the best, the mightiest, military in the world. The truth: we may indeed possess the most advanced technology, but we just haven't "won" any wars for a very long time. It is a myth that we won either world war. We certainly haven't won the Korean War. We didn't win in VietNam. We didn't win "The Cold War". We are not winning the "War on Terror", nor will we.

  • Our government system is derived from the will of the people; it is "of, by, and for the people". See above. We are not a democracy. Even with the Democratic Party in power, we are an oligarchy and a police state. The government has always either operated independently of the people's wishes and/or has manufactured consent with lies.

    In "The U.S. fear of losing power which it doesn’t have", at RINF, Abid Ullah Jan says:
    Many analysts believe that the United State has failed in Iraq. In fact, it has not.

    Analysts, who measure the American success by the yard stick of Bush and Blair’s rhetoric for democracy and liberation, and the noble causes for invasion promoted by the “mainstream” media, are right in their conclusion. But the problem is that achieving those noble causes was never the objective of war on Iraq and Afghanistan . . .

    In a contest between foreign power and native resistance, foreign power — however much material and military strength it can wield — will always lose regardless of staying in the Urban center or outside in the deserts and mountains. Even in an era when a sense of racial superiority and colonial entitlement led Western nations to have few qualms about subjugating others, eventually native power based on native knowledge and determined resistance would reassert itself. Nowadays the reclamation of power asserts itself much more quickly but it always rises out of the same awareness: this is our land, not yours; it is our life and we must live our way of life.

    The tragedy is that American leadership, both democrat and republican, does not seem to be in a position to understand and recognize that vis-à-vis the world suffering under its de facto colonization, the United States does not now possess the power that it fears losing. This denial of the reality will keep pushing it into more wars regardless of who is in power in Washington. That will ensure the actual failure of the United States and total destruction in the rest of the world it is trying to conquer completely . . .

  • At our core, we all want peace. Our military forces are engaged in a fight for freedom and peace for our people and the people of the whole world. We always have been of the most belligerent countries in the world. Yes, many Americans want peace, but more easily justify aggression after aggression. The list of our wars is easy to find. They have been waged to produce power, not peace. Our wars generate wealth, not peace. Our wars result in hate, creating more wars. Our current wars are stimulating more "terror". That so many of us believe that we must win peace by waging war is even more proof that we've bought the lie, the whole lie, and nothing but the lie.

  • Our economy is strong. We provide many valuable products and services to the people of the world. The truth is that we're in big trouble. As a country and as individuals, we are drowning in debt. It's not just Iraq, although that's an alarming part of it. We just don't own us anymore. We're an economy built on debt and spec. And our currency - "the Almighty Dollar" - is not so almighty. In fact:
    The U.S. Dollar is kaput. Confidence in the currency is eroding by the day.

    A report in The Sydney Morning Herald stated, "Australia's Treasurer Peter Costello has called on East Asia's central bankers to 'telegraph' their intentions to diversify out of American investments and ensure an 'orderly adjustment'....Central banks in China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong have channeled immense foreign reserves into American government bonds, helping to prop up the US dollar and hold down interest rates,' said Costello, but 'the strategy has changed.'"

    Indeed, the strategy has changed. The world has come to its senses and is moving away from the green slip of paper that is currently mired in $8.3 trillion of debt.

    The central banks now want to reduce their USD reserves while trying to do as little damage to their own economies as possible. That'll be difficult. If a sell-off ensues, it will start a stampede for the exits.

    There's little hope of an "orderly adjustment" as Costello opines; that's just false optimism. When the greenback begins listing; things will turn helter-skelter quickly.

    In September, we saw early signs that the dollar was in trouble. The trade deficit registered at $70 billion but the Net Foreign Security Purchases (NFSP) came in at a paltry $33 billion. That means that our main trading partners are no longer buying back our debt which puts downward pressure on the greenback. The Fed had two choices; either raise interest rates substantially or let the currency fall. Given the tenuous condition of the housing bubble and the proximity of the midterm elections, the Fed did neither.

    A month later, in October, the trade deficit hit $69.9 billion but, then, without warning, a miracle occurred. The Net Foreign Security Purchases skyrocketed to a "historic high" of $116.8 billion; covering both months' shortfalls almost to the penny.

    Coincidence?

    Not likely. Either the skittish central banks decided to "stock up" on their dollar-denominated investments or the Federal Reserve (and their banking-buddies) is buying back its own debt to float us through the elections.

    This is exactly the kind of hanky-panky that people expected when Greenspan stopped publishing the M-3 last March keeping the rest of us in the dark about what was really going on with the money supply.

    Are we supposed to believe that the skeptical central banks suddenly doubled up on their T-Bills while they're (publicly) moaning about the dollar's weakness and threatening to diversify?

    That's a stretch.

    According to the Wall Street Journal the Chinese Central-bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan stated unequivocally that "We think we've got enough." The Chinese presently have nearly $1 trillion in USD and US Treasuries.

    "Enough"?

    The United States runs a $200 billion per year trade deficit with China. If they've "got enough" we're dead-ducks. After all, it doesn't take a sell-off to kill the dollar, just unwillingness on the part of the main players to stop purchasing at the same rate.

    Of course, everyone in Washington already knew that doomsday was approaching. That's the way the system was designed from the very beginning. It's all part of the madcap scheme to "starve the beast" and transfer the nation's wealth to a handful of western plutocrats. That's explains why the Fed and the White House whirred along like two spokes on the same wheel; every policy calculated to thrust the country headlong toward disaster. . . .
    That was a clip from "The Dollar's Full System Meltdown" by Mike Whitney at OpEd News.

  • The Bush Administration is an anomaly, a fluke. When it is gone, we will be back to normal. Oh, God no! 'Though this administration might be the most transparent, it is not the first nor will it be the last to act as it does. The most recent predecessor was just as duplicitous and just the latest in a continuing architecture of deceit and deception.

    It is time to redefine "normal" as "same old same old".

  • The USA is the best-educated country in the world. We're the smartest. Oh? Read this:
    U.S. falls in education rank compared to other countries
    Story posted: 10-04-2005 07:07 by Elaine Wu, U-Wire

    The United States is falling when it comes to international education rankings, as recent studies show that other nations in the developed world have more effective education systems.

    In a 2003 study conducted by UNICEF that took the averages from five different international education studies, the researchers ranked the United States No. 18 out of 24 nations in terms of the relative effectiveness of its educational system.

    Another prominent 2003 study, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, shows a steady decline in the performance of American students from grades 4 to 12 in comparison to their peers in other countries.

    In both studies, Finland, Australia, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands and the United Kingdom beat the United States, while the Asian nations of South Korea, Japan and Singapore ranked first through third, respectively . . .

  • America is devoted to bringing freedom and democracy to all peoples. No. Period. We try to export capitalism, not democracy. Our history of supporting repressive dictatorships and engineering coups against democratic governments is long and disgusting.

  • America and its values are under attack and in serious danger from "terrorists". Our current military and overt and covert foreign and domestic intelligence activities and curtailment of our rights are necessary to protect us. Our military, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq, is fighting not for the freedom of US citizens. As they fight, our own government is assaulting those rights and freedoms. Our military is fighting for multinational corporations and their profits. The longer they fight, the more the world hates us. The longer they fight, the higher the risk of terrorist attacks.


For further reading, try The Freeware Hall of Fame's "American Myths - and their realities" by Rey Barry. At the end of the piece, he lists "ten false myths most Americans believe", each linked to an explanation:

  • "The US separates church and state"

  • "Justice will triumph"

  • "We have self-government"

  • "You cannot be forced to incriminate yourself"

  • "Americans have free speech"

  • "Americans have free radio and TV"

  • "No man is above the law"

  • "Corporate political contributions aren't bribery"

  • "The best is yet to come"

  • "Abner Doubleday originated baseball"


I don't think we're going to tear down The Wall of Lies. We have built it because it's comfortable. The sacrifice required at the personal and national level is not appealing. Neither is the attention, participation, and patience that will be needed.

It is possible that at some point, the wall will come down, but not by our hand.

10.30.2006

Slithering Toward a Non-Election

Yesterday I designed two banners. They are both red-white-blue and exactly the same except for the text. On the left is Old Glory rotated to the "distressed" position. On the right, white text on a blue background - either "DON'T BLAME ME I DIDN'T VOTE" or "DON'T BLAME ME I VOTED THIRD PARTY".

I'll put them on my sidebar next weekend. Y'all can rip'em, post'em, change'em, whatever. I don't need attribution or a link, but it's OK if you wanna do that.

Throw eggs and rotten tomatoes if you wish, but the first of the two banners applies to me. Neither of my two Republican senators are up and my congressman is a lockstep Clinton neoliberal who doesn't even get outta bed without calling the DLC first.

Their isn't a third party candidate within a hundred miles.

The only vote I'm gonna cast is right here, where it might not be a waste of time.

Joshua's got a great post at BrickBurner today, "Snake Oil and the Midterm Elections". Excerpts (make sure you read the whole thing):
So we are in the trenches of another election season, and if you peer closely you can see the explosions on the horizon. I’m yet to be convinced the Democrats have the capacity to take back Congress, and to tell you the truth I don’t really care if they do. Not only do they not have the ability to lead, they also do not possess the moral impetus to change the direction of this country if they are lucky enough to regain control. Indeed they are just as responsible for the ruin in Iraq and back home as the Bushites.

The Democrats have assisted the Republicans at virtually every turn over the past six years. From the bloody invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, to the passing of CAFTA, to the confirmations of Samuel Alito and John Roberts, to the support of the PATRIOT Act, to the dismantling of Habeas Corpus, to the championing of Bush’s ravaging forest plan, to backing Israel’s brutal assault on Lebanon -- the Democratic Party has long played the role of enabler. And now they want your vote . . .

The whole plan: "take back Congress and then pull the Democrats left down the road”. When has that ever worked? And why would the corporate Democrats give its progressive wing any credence? If the Democratic Party continues to receive progressive votes regardless of their rightwing positions, there is absolutely no reason for them to change . . .

In the upcoming November 13 issue, on shelves this week, The Nation editors warn, “If Democrats fail to recapture at least a working share of Congressional power, they and their party will rightly be cast into disrepute, too, and distressed citizens may reasonably begin looking for other options.”

What would be so wrong with that? Progressives should have been looking for other options long ago. However, The Nation, like Cohen and the PDA, does not support independent politics or the emergence of a legitimate progressive third party. And that’s why they have not lived up to their promise of truly opposing pro-war Democrats by endorsing any of their antiwar challengers . . .
As usual, Mr. Frank and I share the same small canoe, so all I can say is "hear, hear!"

Third party? Puh-leeze! The self-same Joshua the other day pointed out that Connecticut's 4th district Green Party challenger bailed out of his campaign and deferred to the Democrat. Shit. I left a comment on that post.

From Friday's NYT . . .
In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right


By SHAILA DEWAN and ANNE E. KORNBLUT
Published: October 30, 2006

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Oct. 28 — In their push to win back control of the House, Democrats have turned to conservative and moderate candidates who fit the profiles of their districts more closely than the profile of the national party.

One such candidate, Heath Shuler, was courted by Republicans to run for office in 2001. Mr. Shuler, 34, is a retired National Football League quarterback who is running in the 11th Congressional District in North Carolina. He is an evangelical Christian and holds fast to many conservative social views, like opposition to abortion rights.

“My guess is that if Democrats are in the majority, it’s going to be because of these New Democrat, Blue Dog candidates out there winning in these competitive swing districts,” Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, co-chairman of a caucus of centrist House Democrats, said in an interview.

But if candidates like Mr. Shuler do help the Democrats gain majority control of Congress, it could come at a political price, which may include tensions in the party between its new centrists and its more liberal political base.

While Democratic leaders have gone to great lengths to promote the views of these candidates, some, like Mr. Shuler, have views on issues like gun control and abortion that are far out of step with the prevailing views of the Democrats who control the party. On some issues, they may even be expected to side with Republicans and the Bush White House . . .
Wonder what my friends at Scrutiny Hooligans, who pretty much withdrew from national-issue blogging to concentrate on local politics up there in the beautiful Appalachians, have to say about that?

OK, look! I. Told. You. So. I'm glad my "put my fist through the wall" days are long over . . . I couldn't blog with casts on my hands.

If you want one of those banners before the election, leave a comment or email me.

UPDATE: Kewl! The guys at Stop Me Before I Vote Again beat me to it and posted my banners already. I'm honored. Have at it!! Remember to respect bandwidth limitations - copy and paste; don't link directly. I'm gonna wait until the weekend to post them here.

10.29.2006

The Passing of a True Super Hero: A Tribute

The best way to forget ones self is to look at the world with attention and love. -- Red Auerbach

When I was a kid in Boston in the '60s, I hung out with a bunch of kids from several different high schools who were addicts. Yep . . . if the Celtics weren't playing, we went into withdrawal. A Celtic win would produce euphoria; a loss, anguish.

For awhile in the early- and mid-60s you could get one of the 13,909 seats at Boston Garden to watch a Celtic home game. The place smelled of must, smoke, beer, urine, and North Station next door. The parquet floor had more dead spots than the Southeast Expressway had pot holes. The place was a cathedral, more cherished and better attended than the "official" Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.

Walter Brown owned the Celtics. The Pistons were in Fort Wayne, not Detroit; the 76ers were in Syracuse and were called the Nationals. The Hawks were in St. Louis. There were the Rochester, then the Cincinnati, Royals.

My fanatic friends and I made every home game we could. If we weren't there, or the guys were on the road, we were listening to the cigarette-smoke-ravaged frog-voice of Johnny Most, even when the game was being played against the Warriors at the Cow Palace. My favorite games were those against the Nationals in Syracuse, when "Jungle" Jim Loscutoff would tangle with Dolph Schayes, a match-up that usually ended in a bloody draw when one or both fouled out half-way through the fourth quarter.

Each of us had an Celt alter-ego. I was Larry Siegfried, a guard who went to Ohio State with John Havlicek. These were the breathless and imperial days of Bill Russell, the Jones brothers, Willie Naulls, Tom Sanders, Tom Heinsohn, Jim Loscutoff, Frank Ramsey, and Clyde Lovellette. Bob Cousy was semi-active. Bill Sharman, Gene Conley (who also pitched for the Red Sox in the "other" season), and Frank "The Kentuckey Colonel" Ramsey had retired.

These were also the days of Bob Pettit, Oscar "The Big O" Robertson, Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain, Bailey Howell, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Hal Greer, Dolph Schayes . . .

And Arnold "Red" Auerbach.

Red and the game of basketball were interchangeable. He wasn't just a coach,. he was a visionary, a dynamo, a force. Most of the superlatives, like "icon" and "legend", are inadequate to describe him and his impact on the game of roundball. He was, until yesterday, the genius de facto soul of the game. He did at least as much for basketball as Casey Stengel did for baseball

With Bob Cousy, Auerbach invented the fast break and the running game, in contrast to the plodding, flat-footed passing, set-shot game of, say George Mikan and the Minneapolis Lakers (the original NBA dynasty. He excited the game. With Russell and Sanders, he invented the defensive game as it is today. Before that, the medium-range set-shot and jump shot went virtually unchallenged.

His two most important contributions were (1) developing the dynamic teamwork of several star players, rather than depending on one franchise player supported by the rest of the team and (2) integrating the game, which had few non-white players. He was the first coach in the game to send four black player to the floor at the same time: guards Sam and K.C. Jones, forwards Tom Heinsohn (white) and Tom Sanders, and, of course, Bill Russell. And Red did this in probably the most racist city in the North (maybe in the whole country) at the time. Russell hated the city, wouldn't sign autographs for white folks, and probably would have left for another team if not for Red's total devotion to Bill and the other black players. Now, 80% of NBA players are black.

Auerbach was the players' coach; he saw his job as as being part of the team, not its boss. One of his best "plays", when the Celtics were trailing, was to throw a tantrum at the referee (usually his arch-enemy Sid Borgia) and get thrown out. This would energize the team, and more often than not, the Celtics would come back and win the game. Red was motivation personified.

Auerbach was born and raised in Brooklyn, went to college at George Washington University in D.C. His first job after graduation was as an Assistant Coach at Duke. From 1947 to 1949, he was Head Coach of the Washington Capitols in the Basketball Association of America (BBA), the precursor of the NBA, which was born in 1950. The Caps had all winning seasons there. In 1950, he went to the Tri Cities Hawks (now, finally in Atlanta). They finished one game under .500 that year.

In '51, he went to work for Walter Brown - and, boy, did he go to work. He coached the Celtics for 17 years, until 1966. He never had a losing season and made the playoffs 17 times. He systematically built one dynasty (Russell/Havlicek) as a coach, then another (Larry Bird, et. al.) as General Manager. Byrd was an Auerbach player; the superstar who thought of the team first, running, passing off, and playing hard defense, working as hard as, or harder than, anyone on the floor.

Even when he retired from coaching and worked in the front office, Auerbach was still on the floor. He would spot a potential star in some high school or college and hands-on develop him into an eventual Celtic. He was incredible at finding NBA "has-beens", like Bailey Howell and Clyde Lovellette, trading for them, then rejuvenating them as key players for the Celts.

Word has it that the cocaine death of Len Bias in 1986, two hours after he was drafted, one of his proteges, a college phenom, broke Red's heart. But he hung in there with a loyalty rarely equaled. He was a Celtic 'til the end. A true super hero.

Red died yesterday. Eerily enough, totally out of the blue, I had a lengthy conversation on Friday night, with a guy I had never met before, about Red's greatness, which he passed on to so many folks who knew him.

I won't, I can't, say goodbye, Red. I just want to say thank you, for everything. I'll light a cigar for you today . . . you're the absolute winner.

10.28.2006

Name That 'Toon: Why There's No Still No Vital Third Party

Oh how I've agonized and remonstrated, wailed and gnashed, shook my poor, tired rhetorical finger in your faceless mugs. If I were to lay awake at night obsessorating (sorry, George) about something, that something would be the dreaded "third party" monster lurking behind the closet door or under the futon.

I actually don't toss and turn about it, but Pliva, Astze, and Wyeth are responsible for that, rather than any left-handed, enlightened political leaders. Um, so maybe they should be our third party? Well, since they and their pharma phriends already own a sizable stable of both elephants and donkies, that ho won't stroll. Sigh.

I'm not, of course, a learned political analyst, 'though I do play one here, so I'm not going to forward a complex and formidable theory as to why we remain stuck, at least at the presidential and congressional level, with just the Dumbocrats and Repugnantcans. Nor will I even mention the argument that these are not really two, but actually only one entity. God forbid. There are really only two factors: stupidity and laziness. How else to explain the Left's reliance on "reforming" the Blue Party through Howard "The Scream" Dean? If you look in the dictionary for the definition of "boondoggle" you get a pic of "Wowie" Howie hiding under a desk with the Illuminati symbol on it. 'Course, this is what the Dumbs have always done best . . . identify and espouse the least effective option, then shoot absolutely everyone involved with it. But I digress. Or do I?

OK. I'm not gonna put myself in the "stupid" category. After all, I toedja that course was a no show. I am, however, including myself in the "lazy" section. The next few paragraphs are based on a direct lift (can you say "plagiarism"?) from Wikipedia's "List of political parties in the United States". Almost everything in their article has links, so go there and use them, 'cuz I'm just too lazy to reproduce them there. I'm also not going to blockquote this stuff - just assume it's theirs . . .

The Wickos break it down into several categories, the first three of which delineate the present status this way: (1) current major parties: Democrats and Republicans; (2) current third parties: Constitution, Green, and Libertarian; and "current minor and regional parties that have endorsed candidates":

* Alaskan Independence Party
* Aloha Aina Party
* America First Party (2002 - Present)
* American Party (1969 - Present)
* American Independent Party (1968 - Present)
* American Heritage Party
* American Nazi Party
* American Patriot Party
* American Reform Party
* Charter Party of Cincinnati, Ohio
* Christian Freedom Party (2004 - Present)
* Communist League (US)
* Communist Party USA
* Connecticut for Lieberman Party (2006 - Present)
* Conservative Party of New York
* Covenant Party (Northern Mariana Islands)
* Independence Party of Minnesota
* Independence Party of New York
* Independent American Party
* Independent Citizens Movement (US Virgin Islands)
* Labor Party (1995 - Present)
* Liberal Party of Minnesota
* Liberal Party of New York
* Liberty Union Party (Vermont) (1970 - Present)
* Marijuana Party
* Marijuana Reform Party (New York)
* Moderate Party
* Mountain Party (West Virginia)
* New Party
* New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico
* New Union Party
* New York State Right to Life Party
* Peace and Freedom Party (1967 - Present)
* Personal Choice Party (1997 - Present)
* Pirate Party
* Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico
* Populist Party of Maryland (Nader 2004-affiliated, unrelated to earlier so-named parties)
* Populist Party of America
* Prohibition Party (1867 - Present)
* Puerto Rican Independence Party
* Reform Party of the United States of America (1995 - Present)
* Republican Moderate Party of Alaska
* Socialist Action (1983 - Present)
* Socialist Alternative (1986 - Present)
* Socialist Equality Party (1953 - Present)
* Socialist Labor Party (1876 - Present)
* Socialist Party USA (1972 - Present)
* Socialist Workers Party (1938 - Present)
* Southern Party
* Southern Independence Party
* United Citizens Party
* Vermont Progressive Party
* Voter Rights Party
* Workers World Party (1959 - Present)
* Working Families Party
* Workers Party, USA


Wouch!

Note, please, that the Wixards admit that this is an "incomplete" list. That's pretty scary. Then they go on to list, by chronology, most, if not all of the political parties that have existed since the beginning of American time, no matter how obscure, short-lived, narrow-minded single-issue-limited, or down right ridiculous. Names, names, names . . . er . . . NAMES!! Ho! That's IT!!! The fatal problem is that we can't figure out what to name the (truly) damned thing. What name can we come up with that would attract a seething, purposeful critical mass of the disinterested, disenfranchised, disappointed, disillusioned, distracted, disembodied, and disgusted?

OK, before I got serious about this and tried to concentrate, I almost settled on The Dissed Party. Clever, eh? Actually, I think it has some promise; let's hold it in cage-rattling reserve.

If it ever has, reality (rather than realpolitik) no longer works in 21st Amerikca. It is the age of the meme.

Meme-er-meme-er-meemmmmmmmm-er.

Let's start by ruling out some non-starters:

Forget about anything that begins with Neo (or New for that matter). Ever since Neo-Nazi, "neo" has had nothing but evil connotations. Think about it . . . Neo-Liberal, Neo-Conservative. See what I mean?
Democrat and Republican or any derivation or combination are out, out, out.
Likewise, Progressive. The Saint Peter-like, cowardly Liberals/Neo-liberals crushed that one, but good.
Run, do not crawl away from American [...] Party. Look at the list. Anyway, we know it's an American party, fer god's sake . . . we don't want to insult the collective intelligence too much.
Unfortunately, Social makes the rejected list, too. Way too scary for too many people.
Populist won't fly, either. The sentiment is attractive, but (1) there's already a Populist Party and (2) below the surface, its politics are dicey. At the surface, they advocate direct popular involvement in the democratic process. But they also say . . .
In reading through this website, it will hopefully become apparent that the Populist Party of America is neither left nor right; and is inclusive of, and open to, all social persuasions.Also, its hard to tell the difference between them and the Libertarians. Furthermore, in the 1980s, right-wing extremists ruled the party, fielding candidates like David Duke and Bo Gritz. More recently, however, Ralph Nader has been their hero, and in some states they have sought an alliance with the Greens and Libertarians.
For obvious reasons Worker and Labor are dead forever. A shame.
I never could figure out "Independent". Isn't "Independent Party" a contradiction in terms?
Not Anti-[anything], especially Anti-War. My question is always, "Are you anti-all-war, or just this one?" I really like the Antiwar.com website; but I'm also aware that righties like Pat Buchanan abound there.
Unity would be terrible. Too much bi-partisan connotation. We're not about unity, reconciliation, and compromise right now. (Well, we are about trying to unify the Left, so maybe some combination of buzz words: Social Unity, for example).
Finally, I'd add Liberty, Justice, National, Coalition, Patriot(ic), and Front, although maybe some combination of those with other more palatable terms is possible.
Finally, it's too bad Radical won't work.
Not much left, is there? If we look at other countries for possibilities, we often see combinations of names on our losers" list: Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, Labour Unity, etc.

The Greens have opened up the possibility of finding a color, but you can see the drawbacks. Reds, Blues, Whites, Blacks, Browns, Yellows , Oranges . . . oof. Purple would force us to run Prince.

Maybe animals . . . nah, professional sports got that puppy tied up, and I don't think we could revive the Bull-Moose Party.

Speaking of sports, how about The NASCAR Party, with the slogan Drive Fast, Turn Left! The national convention, held at Talledega in July, would be loads of fun. It'd give Richard Petty another chance, after getting trounced in a run for North Carolina governor a few years ago. Everybody'd get a free pack of Goody's Powder to counteract all the Budweiser.

OK, I don't have a bunch of good ideas. With the box so big, it's hard to think outside of it. What we need is a name that could unite folks on the Left under a common and common sense banner. One that would promote clarity of purpose and discourage the tiresome nit-picking and circular firing squads that so often disable us.

I can think of only one new one and one existing party. The new one would be The Jeffersonian Party. The Jeffersonian tradition has been trampled and wounded, but might be infused with new life.

The existing party is The Peace and Freedom Party. (The Wiki info is here) The name, I think, is perfect, but their history might deter self-inclusion by not-so-hard-left folks. Wouldn't it be more exciting and productive, though, to try to "re-form" the PFP than the Democratic Party?

Other than The Dissed Party, mentioned above, I have only one other suggestion . . . The P!arty.

I can see it now . . . thousands of folks, young and old, so many different skin colors, walking around in bright red T-shirts with a big, fat, white P! on the front and "An Asylum for Broken Rabble" on the back. No, I'm not running; it's not even tempting.

If you've got ideas, have your say.

Categories: meme, political+parties, third+party, elections, politics

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10.26.2006

Gulag Ameripelago, Pt. 4 (New Fall Fashions)

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]

Diversion and deceit may not be the primary reasons that The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang keeps us in Iraq, but clearly the war is great cover. If you read Part 3 of this series you learned, I hope, that the smog of war does veil the continuing neocon march toward its real goal: the destruction of the United States.

In this light, we can see that 9/11's effect was not primarily to allow The Gang to invade Iraq, although it certainly did that. Once there, however, they have benefited from the war's ability to mass-capture the attention and energy of those who might otherwise effectively organize against militant globalization.

Leave it not to the Left, but the jingoist, ultra-paranoid militia-types like The Minutemen to see the point. Yesterday Ron Brynaert at RINF published "Minutemen ‘expose’ Bush’s ’shadow government’". Clip:
A major anti-immigration group is accusing the Bush Administration of creating a “shadow government,” by “engaging in collaborative relations with Mexico and Canada outside the U.S. Constitution,” RAW STORY has learned.

The Minuteman Project sent out a press release late Tuesday evening hyping their Web site, which is showcasing 1,000 documents allegedly obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) by World Net Daily columnist Jerome Corsi. Most widely known for his longtime attacks on Democratic Senator John Kerry’s military record, Corsi also co-authored a book about the Minuteman “battle” to secure America’s borders.

SPP was launched in March of 2005 as a trilateral effort by the United States, Canada and Mexico to increase the security and improve the quality of life of North Americans through greater cooperation and information sharing. Many conservative critics view the trilateral initiative as a threat to U.S. sovereignty.

“The documents give clear evidence that the Bush administration has created a ’shadow government,’” Corsi said in the press release.

Corsi claims to have “hundreds of pages of e-mails from U.S. executive branch administrators who are copying the e-mail to somewhere between 25 to 100 people, a third of whom are in the U.S. bureaucracy, a third of whom are in the Mexican bureaucracy and a third of whom are in the Canadian bureaucracy.”

“They are sharing their laws and regulations so we can ‘harmonize’ and ‘integrate’ our laws into a North American structure, not a USA structure,” Corsi said . . .
Also yesterday the same source published a piece by Sorcha Faal (whose English is a bit dicey in spots - I'm not going put "[sic]s" in here), "Army Announces Readiness for Total Military Takeover of America". Excerpts:
Russian Intelligence Analysts are reporting today that final steps towards a full Military Dictatorship of the United States have been taken with the US Army announcing USANORTH has now reached ‘full operational capacity’ and is now ready to: “Execute homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities missions”, and “Conduct the Army-to-Army portion of the theater cooperation mission with Canada and Mexico”.

According to these reports, the first of the USANORTH plans for the total military takeover of the United States, from its few remaining civilian overseers, rest with a new series of draconian laws recently enacted by their top Military Leaders and which, among other things, suspends the right of habeas corpus for Americans, and which the American Military Leaders have ordered their courts to disallow, and as we can read as reported by the Washington Post News Service in their article titled “Court Told It Lacks Power in Detainee Cases”, and which says: “Moving quickly to implement the bill signed by President Bush this week that authorizes military trials of enemy combatants, the administration has formally notified the U.S. District Court here that it no longer has jurisdiction to consider hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Beyond those already imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, the law applies to all non-U.S. citizens, including permanent U.S. residents. Habeas corpus, a Latin term meaning “you have the body,” is one of the oldest principles of English and American law. It requires the government to show a legal basis for holding a prisoner.”

Not being fully explained to the American people, however, are that these new draconian laws do in fact have a direct impact upon each of them, and as explained by an American dissident group called The Future of Freedom Foundation, and which in their article titled “Jose Padilla and the Military Commissions Act”, states:

“Anyone who hoped that U.S. military detention of Americans accused of Terrorism expired with the transfer of American citizen Jose Padilla from military custody to Justice Department custody have seen their hopes dashed by the Military Commissions Act that the president signed into law yesterday. Although the act limits to foreign citizens the use of military tribunals and the denial of habeas corpus, any person, including American citizens, can still be labeled and treated as an “unlawful enemy combatant” in the war on Terrorism. What does that mean for the American people? It means the same thing it did for Jose Padilla. You’ll recall that Padilla was arrested in Chicago for Terrorism and transferred to military custody, where, according to Padilla, he was tortured and involuntarily injected with drugs.

The government’s position is that since the entire world is a battlefield in which the war on Terrorism is being waged, U.S. officials now have the power to arrest any American suspected of Terrorism, place him in military custody, and subject him to the same “unlawful enemy combatant” treatment that Padilla received, until the war on Terrorism has finally been won, no matter how long that takes.”

More ominously for the American people is their future culpability in these actions being done in their name by their Military Leaders, and as articulated by one of the United States most celebrated reporters, Helen Thomas, and who has said about these horrific new laws: “President Bush on Tuesday signed the law that legalizes the administration’s shameful treatment of detainees suspected of Terrorism. The same measure also empowers the president to define torture. It’s a sad legacy for America and its already-tarnished world image . . .

Helen Thomas’ reference to American Military Leaders standing in the ‘dock’, which means standing trial for war Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, rings ever truer with the decision of the International Committee of the Red Cross issuing only its second ever in history “concern” regarding the actions of a warring Nation [the first “concern” issued by the ICRC was in 1944 over the Nazi German treatment of concentration camp detainees], and which we can read as reported by the SwissInfo News Service in their article titled “ICRC “concerned” over US anti-Terrorism law”, and which says: “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed concern on Thursday at the United States’ tough new anti-Terrorism law. The president of Swiss-run humanitarian body, Jakob Kellenberger, said that there were questions over its compliance with the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war.”

To the second part of the USANORTH plan for the unsuspecting American people, Conduct the Army-to-Army portion of the theater cooperation mission with Canada and Mexico”, we can read from the Council on Foreign Relations report that first outlined the merger of the independent Nations of the United States, Canada and Mexico into a North American Union, and which says: “Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations in association with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales.

North America is vulnerable on several fronts: the region faces terrorist and criminal security threats, increased economic competition from abroad, and uneven economic development at home. In response to these challenges, a trinational, Independent Task Force on the Future of North America has developed a roadmap to promote North American security and advance the well-being of citizens of all three countries.

When the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States met in Texas recently they underscored the deep ties and shared principles of the three countries. The Council-sponsored Task Force applauds the announced “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,” but proposes a more ambitious vision of a new community by 2010 and specific recommendations on how to achieve it.”

Also not being understood by the American people are how their young children are currently being trained to be administrators of this North American Union, and as we can read as reported by the World Net Daily News Service in their article titled “N[orth] American students trained for ‘merger’, and which says: “In another example of the way the three nations of North America are being drawn into a federation, or “merger,” students from 10 universities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada are participating annually in a simulated “model Parliament.” . . .[italics mine]The organization referred to there is the North American Forum on Integration. On the surface, this doesn't seem all that threatening, right. Heh. Here's a statement from their website . . .
Its first conference entitled “Beyond Free Trade: Strengthening North America” was held on March 27 and 28 2003 in Montreal, and brought together 280 persons from the political, business and trade union sectors as well as academics, from the three NAFTA countries. For two days, the participants have discussed many issues related to North American integration. A main focus was brought upon the creation of a North American Investment Fund.

For its second annual conference entitled “Forging North American Energy Security”, the issues related to oil, gas and electricity in our region will be at the center of the discussions. The event will take place on April 1st and 2nd 2004 in Monterrey, with the collaboration of the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.In a paper entitled "Energy Security: a North-American Approach", they say . . .
The oil crisis of 1998-2000, brought into question the concept of energy security. For the first time, two North-American partners found themselves at the center of the debate. The sense of urgency heightened as an electricity crisis hit California and tensions between the U.S. and the Middle East increased. Early in their Administrations, Presidents Bush and Fox found similar answers: NAFTA partners should be North-American energy partners. This shared idea, however, came rapidly into question: it was viewed as if the U.S. wanted to ensure its supply of oil, gas and electricity at the expense of Canada’s and Mexico’s own needs.

For the United States, energy security is a priority of its trade and foreign policy; for Canada, it is a matter that directly concerns its Provinces; for Mexico, it is a sovereignty issue. After September 11th, for the three countries the concept has become broader, encompassing not only supply but also the integrity of critical infrastructure . . . [italics again mine] . . . OK, so we got the kids involved. What, you ask, is the depth of their involvement? Try this. A post on the (right-wing) Friends of Liberty site, "FEMA Disaster Drill Set For Election Day" . . .
On Tuesday, September 28th, a new federally-funded, FEMA-directed citizen training program began in my town called CERT. CERT stands for "Community Emergency Response Team.”

A quick internet search reveals that my town isn't the only one participating. Nearly every town in America has its own CERT program, it would appear.

My neighbor's teenage son attended CERT’s initial orientation meeting and later showed me the equipment and materials he was given.

He received free of charge a backpack containing hundreds of dollars worth of gear, including a hard hat, reflective garb for checkpoint/traffic-control duty, a high beam flashlight, eye guards, etc.

In the near future, he said, he’ll also be given (again, free of charge) a special radio over which he can tap into the county's emergency communications net.

Then, he showed me his 300 page CERT training manual along with his training schedule for upcoming weeks.

The CERT training program is intensive. It’s scheduled to last for only a little over a month . . .

But what really caught my eye were the last two items on CERT's training schedule:

On Tuesday, October 25th, CERT trainees will receive training on "Terrorism and CERT.”

Then, exactly one week later, CERT’s training program will conclude with a "Disaster Simulation & Examination".

This final day for the CERT training program, the day when CERT will climax with a "disaster simulation," is none other than Election Day!

Is this mere coincidence? I can't believe that it is. CERT is a nationwide FEMA-sponsored citizen training program, after all. I assume, in every town and hamlet, fledgling CERT teams are following this exact same training schedule. And that means a nationwide "disaster simulation" is scheduled for all of them come Election Day!

As 9-11 demonstrated, federal drills and simulations can sometimes be used to provide cover for preparations for what are, in fact, premeditated events timed to coincide exactly with the drills and simulations.

Does the timetable for the CERT program portend something like a second 9-11 come Election Day?

Will the same spooks who staged the 9-11 faux-terror event perpetrate another faux-terror event come November 2nd?

The CERT training timetable parallels exactly the training timetable for the Texas State Guard leaked by a brave guardsman to talk radio host Alex Jones. He told Alex that elite units of the Texas State Guard were being intensively trained to be ready for martial-law-style deployments come the first week of November . . .I wonder if this is all just in preparation for something more "benign" - maybe a the nationwide debut of the new fall fashions . . . brownshirts. I wonder also whether there're training modules called "Herding Cats in a Disaster Situation" and "Building a Chain Link Fence with Forest Resources"?

Please remember that FEMA is now part of DHS. The contract awarded to Halliburton/KBR to built detention camps is administered by FEMA. I did some more research on this and came up with more stuff. Here are some sites and articles you might find interesting (some with excerpts):

AFPN: "AMERICAN CONCENTRATION CAMPS"

Infowars: "Halliburton Detention Camps For Political Subversives" and "FOREIGN TROOPS OPERATING SECRET DETENTION CENTERS"

Mindfully.org: "FEMA Concentration Camps: Locations and Executive Orders" . . .
There over 800 prison camps in the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners. They are all staffed and even surrounded by full-time guards, but they are all empty. These camps are to be operated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) should Martial Law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general's signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached. Ask yourself if you really want to be on Ashcroft's list. The Rex 84 Program was established on the reasoning that if a "mass exodus" of illegal aliens crossed the Mexican/US border, they would be quickly rounded up and detained in detention centers by FEMA. Rex 84 allowed many military bases to be closed down and to be turned into prisons.

Operation Cable Splicer and Garden Plot are the two sub programs which will be implemented once the Rex 84 program is initiated for its proper purpose. Garden Plot is the program to control the population. Cable Splicer is the program for an orderly takeover of the state and local governments by the federal government. FEMA is the executive arm of the coming police state and thus will head up all operations. The Presidential Executive Orders already listed on the Federal Register also are part of the legal framework for this operation . . .Rense: "State-By-State Index Of Potential US Concentration Camps"

Global Research has "Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps" . . .
For those who follow covert government operations abroad and at home, the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver North's controversial Rex-84 "readiness exercise" in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary "refugees," in the context of "uncontrolled population movements" over the Mexican border into the United States. North's activities raised civil liberties concerns in both Congress and the Justice Department. The concerns persist.

"Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters," says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam. "They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."

Plans for detention facilities or camps have a long history, going back to fears in the 1970s of a national uprising by black militants. As Alonzo Chardy reported in the Miami Herald on July 5, 1987, an executive order for continuity of government (COG) had been drafted in 1982 by FEMA head Louis Giuffrida. The order called for "suspension of the Constitution" and "declaration of martial law." The martial law portions of the plan were outlined in a memo by Giuffrida's deputy, John Brinkerhoff.Greater Things: "U.S. MILITARY CIVIL DISTURBANCE PLANNING: THE WAR AT HOME":
Ominously, many assume that the training of military and police forces to suppress "outlawed" behavior of citizens, along with the creation of extensive and sophisticated "emergency" social response networks set to spring into action in the event of "civil unrest", is prudent and acceptable in a democracy. And yet, does not this assumption beg the question as to what civil unrest is? One could argue for example, that civil disturbance is nothing less than democracy in action, a message to the powers-that-be that the people want change. In this instance "disturbing behavior" may actually be the exercising of ones' right to resist oppression. Unfortunately, the American corporate/military directorship, which has the power to enforce its' definition of "disorder", sees democracy as a threat and permanent counter-revolution as a "national security" requirement . . .Quite possibly, stylish orange jumpsuits and ankle chains may be added to the fall fashion list.

Categories: detention, concentration+camps, Halliburton, KBR, FEMA, Brownshirts

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10.22.2006

The Gulag Ameripelago, Pt. 3 (The NAU)

(Read Part 1 and Part 2)

Some excerpts from "The American Police State: End Game for 9/11 and Bush's Subsequent Power Grabs" by Dan Merica at OpEd News:
"Catastrophic Empowering Events"

Throughout history, various politicos have utilized "Catastrophic Empowering Events" to incite their citizenry and coerce them into accepting undesirable agendas. Hitler torched the German Reichstag and blamed his opponents in a plot to eliminate them. FDR allowed the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor to thrust America into WWII. Then, there was George W. Bush and 9/11.

Back in 1998, Dick Cheney's group dubbed as the "Project for a New American Century" (Neo-Cons), which included Jeb Bush and subsequent major players in George W. Bush's administration, lobbied President Clinton and Congress to attack an already weakened Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein and build permanent U.S. bases in the oil-rich Middle East. As soon as Bush obtained the presidency in 2001, their quest for the long-sought-after Iraq War was on. But, Secretary of Defense Rumsfield bemoaned the fact that the American people probably wouldn't go for the illegal war without a "Catastrophic Empowering Event" to push it through. Then, with 'phenomenal luck', one of those events actually did happened just in the nick of time. It was as if government insiders were complicit with the 9/11 attacks so say the 'disputers' of the official story . . .

Bush's "Reform Movement" Exploiting Terrorism

Even before his 9/11 "Empowering Event" occurred, Bush started his "reform movement" (as Republicans call it) to increase his powers and turn America's free, open society with equality for all into a corporate, fascist dictatorship with a rich ruling class and an oppressed, poor working class. His first move was to start building a 'big brother' style system of severe surveillance upon Americans. As soon as he obtained the presidency in January 2001, Bush ordered the National Security Agency in the Pentagon to launch an illegal domestic spy program. But, after his 9/11 "Empowering Event" and with the benefit of terrorism as an excuse he was able to make huge strides in grabbing power, creating his imperial presidency and destroying the federal government's system of checks and balances established by the founding fathers . . .The Department of Homeland Security is now opening private mail and forcing Internet providers to overhaul their computer networks to make it easier for monitoring E-mail. Also, it has pressured Yahoo, Google and the like to turn over their databases in order to see what websites citizens are visiting.
The Department of Homeland Security has hired General Yevgeni Primakov, Ex-head of the Soviet Secret Service (KGB) and Markus Wolfe, ex-boss of the East German State Security Police (STASI).
The 2004 Intelligence Reform Act was passed by Congress while being denied access to some sections classified "top Secret" in the 3,000 page bill. The act created the Department of National Intelligence as a clearing-house for all 15 U.S. intelligence agencies. It mandated a counter-terrorism center, spy satellite network to monitor private communications and standardizing state drivers licenses and birth certificates creating a national ID system. There is talk of eventually implanting signal-sending ID chips under the skin of all Americans to be tracked by satellite.
In June 2005, the National Security Service, a secret police unit to be operated by the White House with no Congressional oversight was created by George W. Bush by placing a portion of the FBI under his personal control.
In October 2005, the National Clandestine Service a new department in the CIA was created by a Bush executive order to engage in covert operations within the United States.
The Military Commissions Act of 2006 (dubbed the torture act) does away with habeas corpus. Anyone specified by the executive branch alone, could be arrested and held indefinitely without trial, access to the courts, and hope of appeal. Anyone could be declared an "enemy combatant" and then permanently detained and tortured, as defined by the Geneva Conventions, solely on the word of the president. It allows civilians to be tried by military tribunals instead of civilian courts and permits the use of evidence against them extracted under cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. All legal residents of the U.S. and foreign citizens living in their own countries could be subject to this law. Also, it provides for a "stealth pardon" for war crimes committed by those who allow the torture and abuse of detainees, such as in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison . . .

Martial Law

To where is all the above leading? It would appear that the Bush administration is preparing for martial law. Bush has signed executive orders giving himself sole authority to impose martial law and suspend habeas corpus with no checks and balances during a national emergency. The Pentagon has ordered U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base to prepare a series of secret strategies for rapid military takeover of the U.S. upon Bush's orders. General Tommy Franks said in 2003 that after a major casualty-producing event in the Western world, Americans would "question our own Constitution" and consent to militarization of the United States for security. Homeland Security gave Halliburton a $385 million dollar contract to construct detention facilities around the country supposedly for a national emergency. Remember, Bush's predilection for interment camps was demonstrated during the 2004 Republican Convention when 1,806 protestors were rounded up, imprisoned without charges and kept in filthy conditions for 24 hours or more.

"North American Union"

Bush isn't content with just turning the United States alone into a dictatorship. In March 2005, He emerged from a meeting at Baylor University with Mexican President Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Martin and announced that the North American continent was in the process of being transformed from three sovereign nations into one super regional political and economic entity dubbed the "North American Union". As early as 2010, boundaries will be redefined so immigration control will be around the three countries and not between them and legitimate traffic can be streamlined across their borders. Soon, a non-elected governance board for the "North American Union" will be formed along with a tribunal with supremacy over the U.S. Supreme Court and a customs and immigration service with authority over U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement within the 'DHS'. Public discourse as well as a vote within each nation as to the will of the people has been disallowed. The formation of the "North American Union" has been under wraps with 'mums' the word from the mainstream media. Thus, very few Americans know about it. Even Congressional requests for information have been denied. The driving forces are military and corporate (Eisenhower's military-industrial complex) and their goal is to create an enormous despotic police state not for the benefit of the people but their self-serving pursuit of extreme greed and power. They will use anti-terrorism as the ruse and strip civil liberties from citizens to squash dissent . . .In "The Police State Is Closer Than You Think" at Antiwar.com Paul Craig Roberts writes:
Habeas corpus is the greatest protection Americans have against a police state. Habeas corpus ensures that Americans can only be detained by law. They must be charged with offenses, given access to attorneys, and brought to trial. Habeas corpus prevents the despotic practice of picking up a person and holding him indefinitely.

President Bush claims the power to set aside habeas corpus and to dispense with warrants for arrest and with procedures that guarantee court appearance and trial without undue delay. Today in the US, the executive branch claims the power to arrest a citizen on its own initiative and hold the citizen indefinitely. Thus, Americans are no longer protected from arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention . . .Also at Antiwar.com ex-spook Ray McGovern, in "Bowing to the Police State", points out:
Like the proverbial frog in slowly boiling water, we have become inured to what goes on in the name of national security. Recent disclosures about increased government surveillance and illegal activities would be shocking, were it not for the prevailing outrage-fatigue brought on by a long train of abuses. But the heads of the civilian, democratically elected institutions that are supposed to be our bulwark against an encroaching police state, the ones who stand to lose their own power as well as their rights and the rights of all citizens, aren't interested in reining in the power of the intelligence establishment. To the contrary, Rep. Hoekstra and his counterpart in the Senate, Pat Roberts, R-Kan., are running the risk of whiplash as they pivot to look the other way.

James Bamford, one of the best observers of the inner workings of U.S. intelligence, warned recently that Congress has lost control of the intelligence community. "You can't get any oversight or checks and balances," he said. "Congress is protecting the White House, and the White House can do whatever it wants." . . .
Let's look at the "National Amercan Union" in more depth . . .

First, "Abolishing the USA" from The New American / Stop the FTAA.org by William Jasper:
The United States of America is being abolished. Piecemeal. Before our very eyes. By our own elected officials — under the guidance and direction of unelected elites. Incredible? Certainly. But, unfortunately, true nonetheless.

For decades, federal officials have ignored the pleas of American citizens to secure our borders against an immense, ongoing migration invasion that includes not only millions of “common variety” illegal aliens, but also drug traffickers, terrorists, and other violent criminals. Now, under the pretense of providing security, the Bush administration is adopting an outrageous policy that, in effect, does away with our borders with Mexico and Canada altogether. Regular readers of THE NEW AMERICAN know that this magazine has been warning that this direct assault on our nationhood was coming, that it is part and parcel of the NAFTA-CAFTA-FTAA process.

However, almost a million Americans received their first notice of this fast-looming threat from a startling special report on CNN. On June 9, CNN anchorman Lou Dobbs began his evening broadcast with this provocative announcement: “Good evening, everybody. Tonight, an astonishing proposal to expand our borders to incorporate Mexico and Canada and simultaneously further diminish U.S. sovereignty. Have our political elites gone mad?”

Mr. Dobbs, who has been virtually the lone voice in the Establishment media cartel opposing the bipartisan immigration and trade policies that are destroying our borders and national sovereignty, then noted:
Border security is arguably the critical issue in this country’s fight against radical Islamist terrorism. But our borders remain porous. So porous that three million illegal aliens entered this country last year, nearly all of them from Mexico. Now, incredibly, a panel sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations wants the United States to focus not on the defense of our own borders, but rather create what effectively would be a common border that includes Mexico and Canada.
Dobbs then switched to CNN correspondent Christine Romans in Washington, D.C., who reported: “On Capitol Hill, testimony calling for Americans to start thinking like citizens of North America and treat the U.S., Mexico and Canada like one big country.” Romans then showed brief excerpts of congressional testimony by Professor Robert Pastor, one of the six co-chairmen of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Task Force on North America. “The best way to secure the United States today is not at our two borders with Mexico and Canada but at the borders of North America as a whole,” Pastor told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “What we hope to accomplish by 2010,” Pastor continued, “is a common external tariff which will mean that goods can move easily across the border. We want a common security perimeter around all of North America, so as to ease the travel of people within North America.” . . .Then there's "CFR/Bilderberg Plan To Erase US Borders Finally Gets Attention" by Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones at Prison Planet:
The open plan to merge the US with Mexico and Canada and create a Pan American Union networked by a NAFTA Super Highway has long been a Globalist brainchild but its very real and prescient implementation on behalf of the Council on Foreign Relations has finally been reported on by mainstream news outlets.

After nearly ten years of reporting by Alex Jones and the rest of the Patriot Movement, the establishment press is finally covering serious reports on the plan for a Pan-American Union, based on recent articles by Human Events columnist Jerome Corsi.

World Net Daily reports,

"The White House has established working groups, under the North American Free Trade Agreement office in the Department of Commerce, to implement the Security and Prosperity Partnership, or SPP, signed by President Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox and then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Texas, March 23, 2005."

The article even carries the admission that the Council on Foreign Relations, often the bane of sophomoric stereotypical caricatures of paranoid conspiracy theorists, played a fundamental role in crafting the policy for the homogenization of the US, Canada and Mexico.

"Many SPP working groups appear to be working toward achieving specific objectives as defined by a May 2005 Council on Foreign Relations task force report, which presented a blueprint for expanding the SPP agreement into a North American union that would merge the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a new governmental form."

This admission is as historical as it is concerning - the CFR moulds the foundational policy for the elimination of American sovereignty and it is passed as executive law within weeks. It is once again evident that the true vestiges of power lie within the ranks of the CFR and the Trilateral Commission who act on policy decided upon by the big brother of multinational semi-secret steering societies, the Bilderberg Group.

Up until five or six years ago the CFR largely operated in the shadows, only publishing its mouthpiece Foreign Affairs, and any inference that the group held sway in US politics or even existed was met by heckles of incredulity from the establishment media. Now the Associated Press openly reports their guiding hand in the drives towards global government . . .We can be pretty sure that when we turn the klieg lights on the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderbergs, we're illuminating the Illuminati.

Frank Miele, a columnist for the Daily Inter Lake in northwestern Montana, is a pretty thoughtful, fair, and balanced editorialist. Here are some clips from a July 2, 2006 piece, "More on ‘merger’: Three nations under God?":
. . . in recent weeks . . . I wrote several columns on the topic of illegal immigration. In one of those columns I referred to the McCain-Kennedy-Bush “reform” plan as a proposed “merger” with Mexico, and lamented that the “shareholders” of the United States had not been consulted about the merger.

I chose the language intentionally to dramatize the point that U.S. sovereignty was on the verge of being given away, but I thought the idea of a merger was a colorful exaggeration that would be useful to make my point. Now I find out, thanks to the help of several readers, that it was no exaggeration at all, and that the McCain-Kennedy reform plan is not the starting point for the merger, but just one more steppingstone in a path being built for several years.

It has the sound of a global thriller, right? People in high places plotting to advance their own self-interest while the little people go about their business oblivious to the great forces at work all around them. But of course that is not just the stuff of Tom Clancy novels; it’s the way the world really works.

In this case, we have the presidents of the United States and Mexico and the former prime minister of Canada meeting at the president’s ranch at Crawford, Texas, on March 23, 2005. On that day, President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox announced the establishment of the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.”

It has all the makings of a treaty. It is in fact an agreement between three countries to regulate trade, health care, emergency management and the environment. Yet it has not been presented to the Senate for ratification, nor have the people of the Unites States been consulted. Instead, the “partnership” was born full-grown out of that Texas summit like Athena springing from the head of Zeus in battle gear.

The name itself, Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, sounds suspiciously like the announcement of a merger, doesn’t it? But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can visit the official Web site at www.spp.gov or read about it by doing a Google search for “North American Union.”

You won’t find any explicit acknowledgment that the ultimate goal is to combine these three nations into a sort of North American version of the European Union, but the signs are all there. And if you need any proof that the U.S. government would be willing to cede part of its powers to a foreign government, you just need to look closely at the Senate/Bush amnesty plan for illegal immigrants, which is basically a federally funded bailout plan for the Mexican economy . . .

Such growth toward globalization may be a healthy instinct in some respects. If it works, it could lessen the chance of war and increase cooperation among all peoples. But the downside is that it results in a hybridization and flattening of all human experience. Eventually it could lead to a world where there is no room left for freedom such as the world of “1984.” If the American experiment in liberty is considered expendable in the interests of helping to feed hungry mouths elsewhere in the world, then we are all in trouble.

No one can prove such a plan exists, but there is plenty of evidence that there is a government-sponsored effort under way to change forever the relationship between Mexico, the United States and Canada. It is spelled out in detail on the federal government’s own Web sites. In addition, there is the 2005 report of the quasi-private Council on Foreign Relations, which proposes “the creation by 2010 of a North American community to enhance security, prosperity, and opportunity.” (Download it at www.cfr.org/publication/8102/building_a_north_american_community.html)

To me, that idea of a “North American community” sounds like a European Union for North America. In fact, it sounds like a new country. As the Council on Foreign Relations task force wrote: “Its boundaries will be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter within which the movement of people, products, and capital will be legal, orderly, and safe.”

Forget about amnesty for illegal immigrants. That is the least of our problems. This plan calls for the legal and orderly “movement of people” across our former borders as a matter of economic necessity. It says that by 2010 the three nations should “lay the groundwork for the freer flow of people within North America.”

If and when that happens, it will be hard to recognize where the United States ends and Mexico begins, but one thing is sure: It will be the beginning of the end for the United States of America as we know it.Wal, sheeIT, man! Jist sounds lack wunna them thar corn-speer-see theeries tuh me. Innywaze, the Cowboys is on. I gotta go git me a cupla Lone Stars!

[Go right to Part 4]

Categories: New+World+Order, North+American+Union, NAFTA, FTAA, globilization, intelligence, Trilateral+Commission, Bilderberg+Group, end+of+America

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