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The Informed Citizen
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
  THE MORNING PAPER


I hear a "splat !" on the driveway,and stroll out to retrieve the morning paper.


What have we here ?


Inside the bag,beside the newspaper,there is a plastic extension bar-designed to fit inside one's toilet paper dispenser.It will accomodate the new "Mega rolls" of "squeezably soft" tissue being introduced by the wonderful folks at CharminThere's even a picture of the bear cub that does you-know-what in the woods...but wipes ! Isn't that special ?


Oh,well. Let's see what's in the paper.


"Speech by the President" - open to page A 9.(The front page has been taken up by Gay Weddings in Canada and other important stuff.)
Hmm... At least the paper had two of its reporters actually watch the speech.


The Associated Press published highlights of the speech,and critical reactions by Democrats-plus the reporter's own opinions... hours before the speech was given.( It would have been funny if the President had given an entirely different speech ! )



Let's see: New Jersey's Attorney General -criticized by some as "ethically challenged" -vows he will combat racial profiling by municipal police departments now,and will bankrupt the offending towns with lawsuits if the practice continues.


Translation: The NJ State Police have been bludgeoned and intimidated into giving drug traffickers a free pass , but local departments have been scooping up some of these young entrepreneurs -who tend to be Black or Hispanic-as they detour onto the local roadways; and this obstruction of interstate trade is just....intolerable !



Moving along, I read the rest of the paper: hoping against hope a certain story will finally be printed.


It wasn't,and probably won't be,but here it is:


At a place called Husaybah,in Iraq-up near the Iraqi-Syrian frontier,the Marines of Item Company,3rd Battalion,Regimental Combat Team 2 occupy a bunker-reinforced base camp,which is under more-or-less constant harassing attack. It is early morning.


Suddenly four mortar rounds fly over the base-impacting close together,and,as the alert is sounded,the base comes under heavy fire:mortars,machines guns,and rocket-propelled grenades: three of which hit the Combat Operations Center.The Marines saddle up and man their defensive posts.


A dump truck and a fire truck begin rolling toward the camp entrance.Two men.manning a machine gun in a forward bunker,are knocked down and stunned when an RPG hits their bunker.The resulting dust clouds obstruct their vision of the oncoming trucks,and intense small arms fire forces them to keep their heads down.


Joshua Butler, a young Lance Corporal from Altoona,Pa. sees the oncoming dump truck and opens fire with his Squad Automatic Rifle: causing the truck to veer off and detonate-about 40 yards from his post.



The blast knocks Butler down.One piece of shrapnel breaks the goggles on the front of his helmet-but he gets up again-and sees the red fire truck racing towards his post at about 40 mph.


A fellow Marine,Lance Corporal Charles Young of Oldsmar,Fl. fires grenades at the oncoming truck: slowing it down.


LCpl. Butler can see into the truck by now.There are two men inside:their faces covered by black scarves.He opens fire with his SAW again: forcing the truck to veer aside. It explodes-only 30 yards from his position.


The explosion causes a huge fireball,and its force shatters windows and pulls doors right off their hinges.


Moments later, a third truck explodes-this one further out.


The obviously-well-coordinated attack continues.Cpl. Anthony Fink of Columbus,Ohio,and 1st Sgt. Donald Brazael fire anti-tank missiles at a wall the enemy is using for cover: knocking it down with two direct hits. The fire subsides,permitting the Marines to restock their badly depleted ammunition.


At this point,approximately 100 terrified schoolchildren run out of a school,situated across the street from the base.
The "heroic insurgents" seek cover behind the children-something that has happened time and time again in Iraq-but which is almost never reported by the media.


The Marines -though still under attack - hold their fire until the children are safe.


That,I guess,is what makes this a "non-story": a story I'll never read in my morning paper.



Note: This account is based on a superb article in the July issue of LEATHERNECK Magazine: written and photographed by Lance Corporal Lucian Friel, USMC.

 
Saturday, June 25, 2005
  HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT ?
(Be careful what you wish for !)


There is no denying NY Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has the intelligence,presence, determination,and political connections to be a viable candidate for President in 2008.


Picture,if you will,this scenario.



The Democratic Party responds favorably to the idea of a woman in the Oval Office,and,out of the blue,the one woman who could compete with Hillary Clinton,Condaleeza Rice,announces she would be delighted to serve as Senator Clinton's running mate.

The announcement takes the world by storm. Sisterhood is Powerful !

Even Left-wing commentators like Greg Palast and Michael Moore fall silent. Who cares about "Carlyle Group" connections ? A little oil money is good for the Party !


The United States is still entangled in Iraq and Afghanistan.The situation in these two countries is not something apt to just fade away with elections,constitutions,or the opening of Walmart Discount Centers next door to every mosque.



Senator Clinton promises immediate withdrawal of US forces.

It is a promise that will bring the sometimes-skittish extreme left wing of the party back into the fold;that captures undivided,fawning Mainstream Media attention;that assures her-for the most part- of the Woman's Vote.


America,the Clinton-Rice Campaign says, needs a woman's touch.



Hillary's landslide election also sweeps a Democratic Party majority into office ,and there are few obstacles in her path.


On Inauguration Day,the troops will come home: for rest,relaxation,and re-fitting. There are celebratory parades across the Nation.


The new President thanks them for their sacrifices,and berates her predecessor for having demanded too much from them." Never again !",she says ."We cannot impose such burdens on our Reserve and Guard units in the future ! "


"Unfortunately,the world is still a very uncertain place,and we must maintain certain levels of troop strength."


President Clinton calls on Congress to enact a Universal Military Training Act-so that all men and women between certain ages may receive basic instruction in military skills:training that may well help them to achieve greater success later in life. The UMT bill quickly becomes law.


Some shirkers object to the idea,and come up with various schemes to obstruct this valuable learning process.


This could cause problems,but the President recalls there were certain powers given the government in the original Patriot Act:powers she originally objected to,and helped abolish ,but now finds necessary to implement -as a temporary measure,of course.


There are neo-cons and other assorted soreheads who demand to know why a draft is being forced upon the American people. (Yes:these churls actually refer to UMT as a "draft" !)


A grim,determined President Clinton then addresses the nation,alerting all to the new threat.


World-Wide Gender Apartheid !


We learn women are being beaten,humiliated,stripped of their dignity,and barred from participation in politics in : Burkina-Fasso,
Algeria,Iran,Pakistan,Saudi Arabia,Somalia,Yemen,and a host of other places.


We learn it is the duty of the United States and/or The United Nations to set things right; to bring peace,justice,and equality to these suffering women.


We learn the UN has been petitioned repeatedly on this subject-at least twice by the President herself-and has done nothing but make meaningless protests.


We learn,because of shameful UN inaction, it is incumbent upon us to act NOW !



About now, you may be wondering: " Where do you come up with this crap ? "


The short answer is I spent a lot of time on the internet, searching things like Hillary Clinton/feminism/gender apartheid/gender issues...
and I suggest you do likewise.




Just to get you started,here is Hillary's November 2001 article in Time Magazine.


http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,185643,00.html


You'll note she was keenly interested in the destruction of the Taliban because of their mistreatment of women-and that Osama bin Laden and 9/11 were almost afterthoughts.


Hillary for President ?


Be careful what you wish for !

Footnote: Picture this scene. 50 years have passed since The Great Liberation began.Women have finally achieved Gender Equality all across the world.

It should be a time for the celebration of Everlasting Peace...but there are still issues.

The President-for-Life of Argentina wakes from her afternoon nap,removes the cucumber slices from her eyes,and gazes out the window.Something catches her eye !

Donning her robe,she pads over to the balcony window,and pulls aside the window treatments...to discover the (color coordinated) ships of the North American Navy massed in the harbor !!

Picking up her cellphone,she speed-dials the North American Ambassador.

"Madame Ambassador: Why are your warships in our harbor ?"

There is a moment of cool silence;then the Ambassador says crisply:"I should think that would be rather obvious."

" But..but...Why ?"

" You know perfectly well what you did ! "

(There's never a patriarchal male oppressor around when you need one !)

 
Friday, June 24, 2005
 

Progressives ARE Different !


Soon after I retired, I began selling guitar strings at a large metropolitan area "flea market".


I met a stunning variety of people , from all parts of the world :Indians from the mountains of Peru,turban wearing Sikhs,Russian sailors on shore leave,and Orientals of almost every imaginable origin; but most of the people who came to the market were pretty much like me : typical middle class Americans,sharing a common culture.


There were also Progressives.


Progressives ARE different, and were often immediately identifiable.


The "Che Guevarra" tee shirts were one tipoff,as were the "Free Mumia" and "No Blood for Oil" buttons.

A "Black Power" tee shirt,with its red and black clenched fist motif was something of a giveaway-especially when worn by a middle-aged White male,sporting a greasy ponytail.

( For some reason ,many wore combat boots and "Desert Storm" - pattern camoflaugued dungarees : odd garb for anti-war activists !)


The Progressives I met tended to identify themselves as Folk Musicians,or Folk Artists. They would describe their custom-made $ 8500 guitars,examine my string stock in minute,critical,and throughly condescending detail...and try to steal something !


It seemed almost a point of honor with them - if you can call theft from a small merchant honorable.


They didn't seem to care what they stole,as long as they managed to steal something-and I learned to put out "bait" : crap I was planning to throw away.I would leave it temptingly in reach,and watch in amusement as these self-important "noble citizens" went for it.


Yes,I know. One should never encourage this sort of thing;but in the course of a long life,I became well acquainted with Retail Security,and learned-early on-it is much more trouble than it is worth to accost this type of thief.

There is loud shouting,outraged complaints of persecution,and the filing of highly-publicized lawsuits.


In the end, an item worth pennies can wind up costing the victim thousands of dollars !


What you can do is stop them in their tracks,and refuse them access to your stock, when they come back for "seconds"...as they will almost certainly will.


Progressives,you see ARE different.


They are often well-to-do,but but like to brag of their "solidarity" with "the little people".


Many feel,because of all the" noble " things they do for us little people,they are entitled to steal from us.


They invariably react with shouting and claims of persecution when challenged.


They will always come back for seconds after robbing you !

ps: Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on Eminent Domain was a chilling -and saddening reminder. Did anyone notice the alarmed dissent came from the much-maligned Centrists on the Court ?









 
Monday, June 20, 2005
  RECESSIONAL

On June 22,1897 - 108 years ago - the great Rudyard Kipling wrote:


" The tumult and the shouting dies-
The captains and the kings depart-"



My mind flashes back to the very recent television news coverage of the Michael Jackson trial.


The verdict is in : " Not Guilty !"


The watching crowds outside the courthouse scowl with disappointment - or exchange "high fives" and shouts of joy.


Behold ! The King of Pop - now acquitted - rushes from the courthouse, surrounded by his entourage !


He waves, and enters a black SUV ,which drives away ...followed by a news helicopter.


For several minutes,viewers are treated to the sight of his vehicle - hurtling down the highway toward the famous (or infamous) Neverland Ranch.


What a sight ! What a sight ! What...


What ? What's that you say ??


I said : " Why are we watching video coverage - by helicopter yet - of an SUV leaving the scene of a trial ? Is this some sort of car commercial ?"


There was no answer,so I tried again.


"What happened to real news coverage ?

Over 80,000 people have been murdered in Darfur ,so that an Islamist regime can sell the oil beneath their land to China.

They are doing this with Russian helicopters,and weapons issued to brutal Janjawid mercenaries.

Over a million people have been driven from their homes...and it's still going on ! "


There was still no answer. The networks were busy sorting out plans to interview the jurors,and were filling time with spectator and person-in-the-street "reaction shots"


"Okay : How about Angola ? Surely you must be aware a deadly Marburg epidemic has been raging in Uige Province; that is has infected at least 423 people;that it has killed almost every victim so far ?"


"Did you know that might be another "Blood for Oil" scenario ?

That the infection may have started when someone from the Communist Central Government administered "vaccinations" to a group of very young children in Uige ?

That the Marburg virus infecting these children is believed to have been a recombinant form; that the doctors used by the Central Government come from a country -Cuba- that is world-famous for recombinant biotechnology; that these biotech wizards recently signed a cooperation agreement with oil-hungry China ?"


"Why aren't you folks reporting some of these things,instead of wasting our time on an aging,prancing ,self-indulgent muscial has-been ?"


At this point I get an answer - of sorts.


"Heads up, gang ! Time to drop the Michael Jackson coverage. There's a pretty white girl missing down in Aruba,and we need 24/7 coverage !"


Sometimes, I wish my life could be longer,so that I could get my message out to more people; but most of the time it's a relief to know I'm a short-timer.



" Lord God of Hosts,be with us yet,
Let we forget,lest we forget ! "

 
Saturday, June 18, 2005
 
Second Chopper Crash in NYC

Could this have been sabotage ?



Twice,in a three day period,chartered helicopters have gone out of control and crashed into NYC's East River. There is some indication-in both cases-the choppers went into uncontrollable spins prior to crashing.


What could cause something like that ?


There are obvious answers: coincidence,parts failure,bad fuel ,pilot error,etc.,...and one not-so-obvious possibility: sabotage.


Question: How does one sabotage a helicopter without getting aboard it ?


Answer: With a laser or EMP device - capable of "frying" the on-board electronics.


How far-fetched is the idea ? I found one Net contributor who takes it very seriously:


http://www.aeronautics.ru/nws001/abl/abl011.htm


Looking further, I found someone who allegedly has plans and kits for such devices !!


(Just scroll past the entries for "reversing the meter",and the "100mpg Carburetor".)


http://www.plans-kits.com/plans/plans.html


Question : Sounds complicated. Why not just hijack a chopper ?


Answer : Suppose you had something bigger in mind- such as an airliner-and were just practicing ?



What do you think ? Tinfoil Hat Time - or something to worry about ??

 
Friday, June 17, 2005
 
DARFUR ON MY MIND


Greg Palast, Michael Moore,Progressive Politics and Genocide


Perfect Together !!


A story by Ruth Gidley appeared on Reuters Alert Net pages on 06/15/05 :
"Oil Discovery Adds New Twist to Darfur Tragedy"


http://www.alertnet.org/thefacts/reliefresources/111885496661.htm


The author was apparently surprised to discover there was oil in Darfur,and to learn that its presence - on the killing fields - might be a motive for the killing.


She was compelled to admit the United States has no interest in the oil,and, after,a bit of dancing around,admitted China might be one of the interested parties.


Gee ! A Blogger named Cherenkoff posted that information in August,2004,along with a lot of other data the "Progressive Community" doesn't want to discuss.


http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2004/08/no-blood-for-oil.html


In September,2004,US Secretary of State Colin Powell-after a long, thorough investigation,went before the United Nations and branded the killings in Darfur genocide.

( At this point,approximately 80,000 people had been starved to death,or murdered outright,and 1.5 million were homeless. The so-called "Janjaweed Militias"-controlled by the Islamist government of Sudan,had raped,beaten,looted,and burned out the refugees.)


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8364-2004Sep9.html


The UN : apparently cowed by the fact this genocide was being carried out on the behalf of China - the largest consumer of Darfur oil ,and the fact the Sudanese government was buying huge quantities of Russian-made armaments with oil revenues,responded sniffily. "If we call this genocide,our inquiry won't be impartial."


There were other responses - and here's where things get even more interesting.


On 9/20/2004,Chris Talbot of the World Socialist Network branded Powell a liar and conniver,and said the US was only trying to get control of Darfur's oil.

He was echoed by the ever-hateful al-Jazeerah.


On 9/21/04, Salih Booker of Common Dreams blamed "US inaction".
http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0921-07.htm


On the same date,David Whitehouse of Counterpunch ,charged "Washington stood by while genocide took place."
http://www.counterpunch.org/whitehouse09212004.html


The "Leader of the Pack" - Greg Palast - was silent on the subject of Darfur Genocide, as was his "good buddy" : the ever-truthful , ever-modest,ever-caring Michael Moore.


http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=6699368&postID=111868170380117901


There was a lot of after-the-fact activity by the Progressives.....long after the fact !


5 months after Colin Powell's impassioned plea to the United Nations ,at least one Progressive site began exhorting its readers to write Washington and force the Administration to bring this matter before ...the United Nations.


Oh. By the way: the United Nations has taken some action. It is trying to persuade the "rebels" (meaning those opposed to genocide) to disarm...

 
Monday, June 13, 2005
 
GREG PALAST :


Eminence Grise or Eminently Greasy ?



In the brave new world of Leftist journalism ,there is one "lead dog" : Greg Palast.


How can one best describe "Greg’s World "?


Picture, if you will, a pack of pariah dogs , trotting nose to tail
through life. The lead dog pauses, squats and strains . The dogs behind him stop, sniff appreciatively , and add their malodorous offerings ,one after another .


All scratch their paws to spread their offal on the Internet , utter self-satisfied whines , and trot on.


Out there – somewhere – there is Truth : just waiting for the Pack to tear it apart.


Let’s take a good look at Greg Palast : the "Leader of the Pack".


The best way to evaluate Palast is to compare what he writes to the known truth. There are many examples which could be explored, but his "investigative reporting" on Venezuela provides ample documentation of his regard for that precious commodity.


In 2002, the people of Venezuela – fed up with widespread poverty ,and a "socialist" oligarchy , led by Fidel Castro’s good friend Hugo Chavez , took to the streets in a series of massive protests – despite heavy gunfire from Chavez loyalists, that killed 11, and wounded many more. A full history may be found here.
http://www.fightthebias.com/Resources/Rec_Read/Dictator_In_The_Making.htm


Greg Palast, of course , has his own version of the same events :
based, apparently on his affection for Hugo Chavez and hard-core Socialism .


According to Palast , the people so loved Chavez , they saved him from the (CIA-agitated) malcontents. These malcontents opened fire on Chavez loyalists ,who were "the first to fall".



Nowhere in Palast’s story do we hear that the people who took to the streets in protest of Chavez were unarmed. Nowhere do we hear that the rooftop snipers who fired on the people were Chavez loyalists.


Ah,yes !, says Greg. The people love this man ! Guess so. They loved him so much they would have torn him apart with their bare hands if the Army had not rescued this "fearless leader",and spirited him away to a safehouse.


Palast has extolled Hugo Chavez as a leader in the mold of John F. Kennedy , and has praised the way he devotes oil revenues to the benefit of "The People".


Which people ? Why, the ones who need jet fighters from Brazil, attack helicopters from Russia, and 100,000 AK-47 rifles for an army only about half that size.
http://www.summit.americas.org/item_17964


One of Palast’s greatest "triumphs" was Fahrenheit 911 :
Michael Moore gets the "credit" , but Palast tells us Moore relied almost entirely on his "research"



Is Greg Palast a Marxist ? He really never says so – although he seems to adore Marxists and oligarchal Socialists. This letter is (so far) the only clue.


http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/2004w30/msg00221.htm


Just hazarding a wild guess, I’d say Palast is a "fervent Socialist" : the kind who believes no dissidents should face firing squads until after fixed elections have been held.

I doubt the folks who dote on Greg Palast’s every word care much,one whether their "lead dog" is a Marxist or "just a Socialist".


He is their Eminence Grise – their Gray Eminence ,who can do no wrong.


Judging by his Venezuelan "reporting" , the "Eminently Greasy" description works better for me !

 
 

Michael Moore :


Greatest American ??


Recently, The Discovery Channel began a summer series called "Greatest American" , in which viewers were asked to pick out the" 100 greatest Americans " in history.


Most of the candidates were people one might expect: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the Wright Brothers, Dr. Martin Luther King, the indomitable Rosa Parks – but Michael Jackson ?Malcolm X ? Michael Moore ?


Michael Moore is "notable", I guess.


Only Moore can boast of having made what amounted to a multi-million dollar (in-kind) campaign contribution , to a Presidential campaign : the failed John Kerry bid of 2004 – without attracting FEC oversight or scrutiny.


I refer,of course to his vicious anti-Bush film : Fahrenheit 911.


The film , you see , was a profit-making venture – and it made the well-to-do Michael Moore no small amount of money.


One would think Moore would be admired by billionaire George Soros – who is reported to have spent $23,000,000.
in a vain attempt to elect John Kerry.


Not so. Soros denounced Moore for "misleading and unethical tactics", adding : " I am not a fan of Michael Moore."


So who does love Michael ?


Greg Palast, apparently.


Greg , the "Eminence Grise" of Left Wing Journalism discloses he did the "background investigation" that Michael Moore used in Fahrenheit 911.


I rather thought Moore’s work had that " Palast touch " !


Michael Moore, Great American ?


Cut us a break !!!



 
Thursday, June 09, 2005
 
Russians Investigating Possible Bio-Attack

Investigators are checking whether the mass outbreak of hepatitis A in the Tver region near Moscow could be linked to the bio-weapons sector.

At the moment 363 people are in hospital, and some newspapers have linked the outbreak to the recent murder of Russia’s leading specialist in bio weapons.

The outbreak began at the end of May in the Tver region and has now reached the neighboring region of Smolensk, agencies report.

It was initially blamed on a local soft drink manufacturer, whose products were found to be contamibated with E Coli bacteria,but the investigation is still considering other possibilities, including the deliberate use of bio-weapons.

Some sources link Wednesday’s murder of Anti-Microbe Therapy Institute director Leonid Strachunsky, who specialized in creating antibiotic- resistant bio - weapons, to the hepatitis outbreak.

Strachunsky was found dead in his hotel room in Moscow, where he had been staying overnight,as part of a visit to the United States.

He had been hit on the head with a champagne bottle, and some of his possessions were missing. The initial suspicion was that he had been killed during a botched robbery.


Now investigators are looking for a possible connection between this murder and the hepatitis outbreak in Tver.

On re-examination,this looks like BS !!

Here is a better (?) source on the outbreak. (Pravda,RU)

Hepatitis A epidemic in Russia's center likely caused by terrorist act


06/09/2005 10:56


The virus was most likely discharged in the water, which a local brewing enterprise used in the production.


Hepatitis A epidemic is gathering steam in the Tver region of Russia, spreading to other regions of Russia's center. Eleven residents have been hospitalized with hepatitis in the neighboring Smolensk region. 352 people in total, including 75 children, have been infected with hepatitis A as of 9 a.m. of June 9th.


Investigators say that the infection sprang from the Rzhev-based brewing company Rzhevpivo (the Tver region), which is the largest enterprise in the town. Doctors say that the viral infection could find itself in company's products as a result of a terrorist act. Competition with other brewing companies could also become a reason of the hepatitis epidemic in the Tver region of Russia, which is adjacent to the Moscow region.


All eleven patients from the Smolensk region consumed products by Rzhevpivo. It is worth mentioning that the enterprise delivered its production to other regions on a regular basis.

Pravda.Ru has already reported before that the infection originally appeared from a workshop, which illegally produced mineral water and soft drinks. The original version has not been confirmed, though: specialists determined now that the epidemic began because of the brewing company's production.


The epidemic of hepatitis has not reached the Moscow region yet.(Update: It has reached the Moscow region. Several cases.)

However, 67 more people were hospitalized with the hepatitis A virus in the Tver region yesterday.

Sanitary inspectors say that the virus was most likely discharged in the water, which the brewing enterprise subsequently used in the production process.


"I believe that it was either a terrorist act, or the competitive struggle. There is no official version so far, investigators are still working," a sanitary inspector said.


Spokespeople for Rzhevpivo say, however, that their company has become a scapegoat in the problem. "We absolutely deny our guilt. The bacteria, which medical specialists found in our products, cause dysentery, not hepatitis," a spokesperson for the brewing company said.

Update 06/10/05 (No bio-terror- lots of poor sanitation !)

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/my/comments

 
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