Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Deep Purple Dream

Deep Purple Dream Bumper Sticker bumpersticker

In each party, there is a race between candidates that represent the best and the worst of each party. On the Democratic side, people have this idea that a "dream ticket" would be both leading candidates. They don't share that dream - nor do I.

On the Republican side - well, mostly the dreams are dead, save for the guttering spark of Ron Paul's candadacy and the flaming stupidity that is the McCain campain. 100 years of war? I don't see that as a great issue to be running on, unless you are trying to corner the Stupid White Male with Very Small Penis vote. I hope that's a smaller constituancy than McCain's advisors seem to think.

I say we put the best of each in charge. I say this because it will make inside-ball ideologues explode with righteous indignation. I really like that image...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Last Autism Awareness Post.

Yep. The whole thing fits on that t-shirt.

"Thank you for your input. Your interaction with my parent has added significantly to the body of my thesis."

My parents are dead - but speaking as an AS person and as step-parent to an AS person, I'm so down with that.

A child after my own heart. And lungs.

You see what all you uppity snooty sorts miss when you don't accept advertising? Check out "Contemplating Rieko" from "Tainted Ink."

Darkling is jealous. When does SHE get a comic strip of HER own? All we have is the shop. :P
(and do check out Rieko's loot. I didn't see this one on a t-shirt, though. I want it, and I have cafecash that says I can have it. Work with me here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mueller Dances as Crediblity Burns

Well, finally I'm getting mail from a congressperson, rather than the other way around. That's the good news. What's the bad news? That this raw transcript won't BE news unless citizens "get it out of the blogs" and into the mainstream media. Yeah, well, good luck with that, Sir. But we will give it a shot anyhow.

Congressman Bob Wexler states: "This morning, during a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, I questioned FBI Director Robert Mueller on his agency's response to claims - made by his own FBI agents - that the CIA was torturing prisoners. I wanted to find out why, if the FBI's own agents had alleged illegal actions were taking place, there was no investigation into the CIA's illegal and immoral practices."
Robert Wexler: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Director, in January of 2006, the New York Times reported that the NSA wireless wiretapping program had produced thousands of leads each month that the FBI had to track down, but that no Al-Qaeda networks were discovered. During a July 17, 2007 briefing, FBI deputy director John Pistole indicated that the FBI was not aware of any Al-Qaeda sleeper cells operating in the United States. In August of 2007 Congress passed the Protect America Act, giving the intelligence community greater access to electronic communications coming into and out of the United States. I have two questions in this regard.

RW: Has the FBI found any sleeper cells yet? One…

RW: Two. Has the NSA’s wireless wiretapping programs either before the Protect America Act or after led to the prosecution and conviction of any terrorists in the United States?

Robert Mueller: Well, as to your first question as to whether we have found affiliates or, as you would call them, cells of Al-Qaeda in the United States, yes we have. Again, I cannot get into it in public session, but I would say yes we have. With regard to the relationship of a particular case or individual to the terrorist surveillance program, again that is something that would have to be covered in a closed session.

RW: Alright, Mr. Director. An LA Times article from October, 2007 quotes one senior federal enforcement official as saying quote “the CIA determined they were going to torture people, and we made the decision not to be involved” end quote. The article goes on to say that some FBI officials went to you and that you quote “pulled many of the agents back from playing even a supporting role in the investigations to avoid exposing them to legal jeopardy” end quote.

RW: My question Mr. Director, I congratulate you for pulling the FBI agents back, but why did you not take more substantial steps to stop the interrogation techniques that your own FBI agents were telling you were illegal? Why did you not initiate criminal investigations when your agents told you the CIA and the Department of Defense were engaging in illegal interrogation techniques, and rather than simply pulling your agents out, shouldn’t you have directed them to prevent any illegal interrogations from taking place?

RM: I can go so far sir as to tell you that a protocol in the FBI is not to use coercion in any of our interrogations or our questioning and we have abided by our protocol.

RW: I appreciate that. What is the protocol say when the FBI knows that the CIA is engaging or the Department of Defense is engaging in an illegal technique? What does the protocol say in that circumstance?

RM: We would bring it up to appropriate authorities and determine whether the techniques were legal or illegal.

RW: Did you bring it up to appropriate authorities?

RM: All I can tell you is that we followed our own protocols.

RW: So you can’t tell us whether you brought it; when your own FBI agents came to you and said the CIA is doing something illegal which caused you to say don’t you get involved; you can’t tell us whether you then went to whatever authority?

RM: I’ll tell you we followed our own protocols.

RW: And what was the result?

RM: We followed our own protocols. We followed our protocols. We did not use coercion. We did not participate in any instance where coercion was used to my knowledge.

RW: Did the CIA use techniques that were illegal?

RM: I can’t comment on what has been done by another agency and under what authorities the other agency may have taken actions.

RW: Why can’t you comment on the actions of another agency?

RM: I leave that up to the other agency to answer questions with regard to the actions taken by that agency and the legal authorities that may apply to them.

RW: Are you the chief legal law enforcement agency in the United States?

RM: I am the Director of the FBI.

RW: And you do not have authority with respect to any other governmental agency in the United States? Is that what you’re saying?

RM: My authority is given to me to investigate. Yes we do.

RW: Did somebody take away that authority with respect to the CIA?

RM: Nobody has taken away the authority. I can tell you what our protocol was, and how we followed that protocol.

RW: Did anybody take away the authority with respect to the Department of Defense?

RM: I’m not certain what you mean.

RW: Your authority to investigate an illegal torture technique.

RM: There has to be a legal basis for us to investigate, and generally that legal basis is given to us by the Department of Justice. Any interpretations of the laws given to us by the Department of Justice….
(talking over each other)

RW: But apparently your own agents made a determination that the actions by the CIA and the Department of Defense were illegal, so much so that you authorized, ordered, your agents not to participate. But that’s it.

RM: I’ve told you what our protocol was, and I’ve indicated that we’ve adhered to our protocol throughout.

RW: My time is up. Thank you very much Mr. Director.
Yep, the director certainly did adhere to his protocol throughout. Why does this remind me so much of fifties-era hearings into the existence of racketeering and organized crime? "I am informed by da fixer dat I should not answer dis question as it might tend to incraminamate me."

I'm sure many will forward your transcript to local media, Congressman Wexler. But I'm a blogger and I believe in my own media. So I'll actually be forwarding this to the attention of bloggers with reach as good or better than mine. And to newspapers with blogs.

"We Were Hosed"

The cynical depths to which this postmodern presidency has descended has long ceased to shock or surprise me, but the extent to which pure propaganda has been it's first, second and third string option, and how well that has worked should probably trouble us a lot more than it does in our current depths of accommodation to the increasing awfulness of our current circumstances.

As it becomes clearer and clearer that every effort was indeed to reduce us - the American people - to a panicked dependency upon the good faith of our leaders, we are starting to realize that not only has our trust been abused, but the very institutions and mechanisms that ensure trust and our collective security have been deliberately subverted and those who dedicated their lives and honor to those institutions have themselves been duped and betrayed.

The shocking part of this story is not so much the manipulation of the media by the Pentagon, but the despicable and duplicitous use of it's own to manufacture trust out of the fabric of their own credibility and conviction. They spoke - in the main, I hope - sincerely enough. Retired military members remain in touch, but of course are not current and they can be reliably expected to assume conditions and assumptions about standard doctrines and procedure that clearly turned out to be incorrect.

The use of partisan hot-buttons and the peddling of panic over threats that are, objectively speaking, routinely and quietly managed by other nations without subverting their own internal stability tends to lead one to the more or less reluctant conclusion that the currently shrill and divisive partisan climate is exactly what our would-be lords and masters desire.

George Bush was quite correct when he stood on that aircraft carrier and stated "Mission Accomplished."

The misson was not Iraq, saddam, or "tur'ism."

The mission was to scare the smart out of the American people, and we have been stuck on stupid for some time now. In order to succeed in that effort they have managed to scare, stupify, co-opt or otherwise utilize a lot of people who - had they been a little more cynical, a little less trusting of Authority they had been trained to believe actually is acting in the interest of and within the boundaries of The Constitution - would have been less willing to collaborate.

But, then, they were trained to expect that trust in order to do a job that requires such a level of trust.

If a military man is given what is termed "Actionable Intelligence," they may or may not take it with a grain of salt, but they would never assume that the intelligence itself was selected, slanted, doctored or even completely fabricated.

Beginning with the buildup to the Iraq War, the Bush administration created this "media Trojan horse" to counter any and all criticism. At times, they manipulated the networks' own military experts, spoon-feeding them talking points on everything from Iraq to Rumsfeld's handling of the war to Guantanamo. Here's a quote from the Times:

"Again and again, records show, the administration has enlisted analysts as a rapid reaction force to rebut what it viewed as critical news coverage, some of it by the networks’ own Pentagon correspondents. For example, when news articles revealed that troops in Iraq were dying because of inadequate body armor, a senior Pentagon official wrote to his colleagues: 'I think our analysts — properly armed — can push back in that arena.'"

Because of course it's not the body armor that matters - it's the PERCEPTION of body armor that's critical to administration planning.

As the video reveals, at least one former "military expert" is using blunt words indeed to describe the depth of betrayal that he feels.

Nor is he alone among current and former military personnel who are increasingly upset at the squandering of morale, military fitness and equipment for no obvious strategic or tactical gain.

It only really makes sense if the objective of "the mission" is to subvert the military itself and either turn it into the direct arm of an oppressive state, or render it unfit to oppose the emergent "private" military organizations. Groups such as Blackwater, with their ties both to powerful corporate energy interests and via those ties, the Bush Clan, have gained greatly in both funds and operational experience at taxpayer expense, without even having to pay lip-service to concepts such as "duty, honor or country," much less Geneva conventions, international law or that "Scrap of Paper," the Constitution.

I doubt that there has been any great outbreak of flaming liberalism within the military, so whatever the "official response is," one seriously doubts that military criticism of the emergent results of the "Project For a New American Century" is due to any wide indulgence in socialist thought, marijuana or even "squeamish" Liberal concern for the consequences of war upon the unfortunate. The military - and most properly so - is concerned with the integrity and survival of the Military itself, and struggling to come to terms with a situation in which the entire doctrine of civilian control of military force is - or should be - questioned.

That is to say, what is the proper response when the civilian leadership is clearly unfit, clearly corrupt, clearly incompetent or worse yet, hostile, and increasingly in direct command of alternate force options who are loyal to none but their paymasters? These are circumstances that try men's souls; that make them question the very foundations of their duty and their loyalties. If the military cannot trust the current leadership, to whom may it turn? This becomes even more complex when one realizes that the loyalties of ranking military leaders themselves may be open to substantial question under the circumstances.

Had I wished to create the circumstances, military, social and economic wherein I could declare a civil war and prosecute it against the elements of the Citizenry I considered "disloyal," "surplus" or "unreliable" - well, I'd have acted fairly much exactly as the Bush Administration has done. It generally takes the commitment of about 30 percent of a population to succeed in such an aim, given the current advantages the Bushistas have, and they may, I repeat, may, have achieved that state of affairs by polarizing the politics of the nation around the war and a number of other issues, to a state wherein the irrational hatreds of the fringes are no longer confined to the fringes.

If I'd wanted to commit an act of aggression in order to secure a reliable energy supply and control the crossroads of the middle east - I do believe that would have been possible, if prosecuted both ruthlessly and with the best military and civilian intelligence available, in both senses of the word. It would have been wrong, and it would have been the exact wrong the Left assumes that the Bushes intended - but I do not believe the failure is entirely due to mis-management. Rather, the placement of the mismanagers was as precise and deliberate as the seeding of landmines, or the spraying of chemical agents to degrade the effectiveness of "the enemy."

I do believe that if I'd wanted Bin Ladin hanging from a gibbet at Ground Zero as the proper result of a fair and public trial, I could have achieved that with the available might of the United States coupled with the enthusiastic co-operation of the world.

But despite the expenditure of irreplaceable faith, credit, blood, innocence, lives and the economic security of nearly every citizen of these united states, no such result is evident. This leads to the conclusion that such a result is a matter of policy - or at least, that it would be wise to operate under that assumption that Bin Ladin is either directly or effectively on the same side as Bush.

"Three times is enemy action."

If that is true, what does three to the power of three suggest to you? I don't doubt that the sheer number of deceptions, lies and subversions would be far from that particular mark.

They have met the enemy, and it is us. Your politics are irrelevant. Left, right or middle of the road, when was the last time anything happened that even resembled a result you could reasonably expect based on your understanding of the issues as they were represented to you?

The disconnection between words and deeds is stark and quite obviously independent of the stated politics and agendas of the majority of persons in Washington.

It may well be that your vote will be made irrelevant. It may well be that the existence of the United States as a Constitutional Republic as we have known it is in question. Strike that. It most certainly is in question - the only question is whether that question will be resolved by a peaceful and legitimate political process.

The other question, of course, is where you stand, where your real interests lie; Bush, or your family, friends and neighbors.

It all boils down to ethics, and each of us choosing to act from our most basic understanding of justice, duty, honor and, yes, righteousness.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Muted Obamamania

Bitter Medicine shirt
Bitter Medicine by webcarve

I don't usually do the t-shirt first. But this time, my reason to finally choose between Obama and Clinton resolved into this shirt I posted a couple of days ago. It's taken this long to put the reasons behind it into words.-

Endorsing Barack is not just a choice for me, it's pretty much an unavoidable choice. Barack Obama chose to tell the truth to people who needed to hear it, despite all advice to the contrary.

"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
As well they might. One might call this "elitist" or "talking down" - but the fact is, the great majority of the people have every right to expect our delegated representatives to be in an informed position to understand and legislate issues, or in other words, be ABLE to "talk down to us." And every once in a while, they need to be able to swat us upside the head and force us to look at the crapfest we have allowed ourselves to indulge in rather than actually shoveling our share of the shitstorm.

We do have a right to be bitter about the results of being exploited and pandered to for political gain as a substitute for actual competent, compassionate and intelligently conservative management of our interests on our behalf. Hell, conservative voters have completely given up on the idea of government or their taxes bringing them any benefit - so long as it benefits nobody else, and so long as their frustrations are expressed in making the rubble jump somewhere far away.

But it's not enough, and it's certainly not worth three dollar gasoline and milk at 3.50 when your wages have been stagnant for a decade or two.

They - the people Clinton so swiftly assumes are dumb enough to be unthinkingly offended - are not actually that dumb. Their noses are rubbed in it every day. It's bad enough to have to shop at Wal-Mart - when it's getting hard to make ends meet even by making do and settling for less, when your grocery bill tells you that all that good economic news is complete and utter nonsense for you and everyone you know, it's time for the lies to end.

There's a saying from the great undefined middle of this nation:

"Don't pee on my boots and tell me it's sunshine."

Well, we've had eight years of that, and Clinton obviously figures that if it's worked for eight years, it will work for eight more. Just like John McCain.

As much as I'd like to vote for the first woman president - the actual result will be much more along the line of John McCain in drag.

This is Graphictruth, and Barak gets our endorsement for speaking the Graphictruth. I discount his apology - for if you read it, it's the apology I would have made, if my arm were twisted as hard as his; "I'm sorry you feel that way."

Reality is not optional in Politics. We have had far too much post-modern bullshit, and quite frankly, it's making ME want to cling to the hard cold reality that a handgun represents. A gun is simple, understandable and comforting in times of trouble - even when it's an utterly useless comfort. Even when you know perfectly well that your troubles are not ones that can be dismissed with "a whiff of grape-shot" or rightfully blamed on the symptoms of malfeasance and greed, such as outsourcing and illegal immigration.

We have the right to expect leaders who understand that it's their job to keep things from getting to such a point where we start to think wistfully about deploying Occam's Machine-Gun.

We also have the 2nd Amendment right to employ our arms at need to insist on such leadership.
I don't know if Barack Obama understands the full import of the second amendment and it's precursor, the preamble to the Declaration of Independence - but it was not that long ago, actually, that another president did.

He is known as FDR, and he pretty much ran roughshod over the letter of the Constitution, in order to fulfil it's intent in a time of far greater emergency than our history books would like to admit. We were a whisker away from outright revolution, because the Constitution was being used as a reason to NOT meet the needs of the great majority, while the "important people," "the People Who Matter" were being feted at the White House.

Herbert Hoover was very lucky that his time in office ran out, considering the alternative.

This time has come again. And while I'm a constitutional absolutist, as one Justice observed, "the Constitution is not a suicide pact."

What it is, above all, is a document that outlines what government is intended to achieve and delegates powers sufficient to that end. Well, our current leaders - and this neocon abomination goes right down to the local level, where the taser fetish has become a cliche' - are clearly fearful of and contemptuous toward the individual liberties the Constitution holds sacred.

"To promote the general welfare and to provide for the common defense." I don't recall any exception in duty toward persons making less than five figures.

We can only hope he's also smart enough to call upon the services of Ron Paul to help him make his instincts constitutionally bullet-proof, because the Supreme Court is three to two against common sense and the rights of the individual.

Putting it all in perspective

The key to all communication is knowing when to shut up. This blog entry illustrates that.

ISOLATION - Norma Desmond

My son needs the label of Asperger’s Syndrome so that people stop using inappropriate ones. There are many gifts that come with this condition. Difficulties arise from an inability of ‘normal’ society to understand or accommodate the way his brain works.
two sides to every story

Want to be a free thinker but still a nice person: Advice from a graveyard

I stopped at the grave of Victorian babies – I counted three dead and the mother taken in childbirth with the last one. Reflecting on that poor woman having to look into the chilly darkness of her children's graves put my modern problems into perspective. I didn't want to be careless with my own children's lives by doing something irrevocable simply because I was angry with my husband. The weight of what the mother had gone through gave me an anchor for the afternoon.

When I noted how many young people buried there had been brought down by cholera, malaria or some other condition we no longer worry about, I decided it's a privilege to live long enough to have problems exacerbated by a long life and marriage. I strolled past the grave of a girl 'who left us in her 13th year'. She was the same age as my daughter at the time. Her sad mother had written: 'The flowers appeareth on the Earth. The flowers fadeth.'

Walking home, I finally decided not to be a modern wimp, but to keep strong and fight for my family's future. I thought my friends in the graveyard approved, for as I walked away, the sun suddenly shone on a tombstone that I'd never seen before: "Whether we wake or sleep," the inscription affirmed, "we live together."

After finding the perfect photo to illustrate this story, I find myself with nothing to say that hasn't been said better in the caption for the photo.

This series is produced for a utata summer project - which aims to tell a story with six photos. My project tells the positives and negatives of having aspergers syndrome mainly to increase awareness of the realities and nit the myths surrounding the autistic spectrum a/1.php
the first six make up the story but the extras are ones with the same treatment that I still like very much.
I do too. The photo caption links to the set on flickr - please go comment. The quote links to the photo essay on utata - and that sure looks like something I need to pass around too.

As for the post excerpt, from which I was going to weave a post about anti-vaccine activists, perspective and cost-benefit ratios - all that now seems rather crass, and a disservice to both contributions. So, I will leave this as it is, and leave all the implications for each reader as they are, without further comment.


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