Thursday, February 23, 2012

Give a handgun to a schizophrenic, but take the candy bars away

Not content with proposed legislation that would require drug tests for residents receiving food stamps and other government assistance, Republicans in the Iowa Legislature now are pushing for a law that would prohibit the poorest among us from using food stamps to buy junk food.

House Study Bill 645, a wide-ranging bill on “government efficiency,” doesn’t define junk food, but it requires the state to seek a waiver from the USDA in order to restrict the types of foods people can buy with their food stamp cards, otherwise known as electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards.

Proponents argue the measure will pro-mote healthier eating habits among the more than 350,000 Iowa residents who receive food assistance, but that argument is unconvincing coming from the same folks who regularly criticize first lady Michelle Obama for encouraging healthy foods in school.

Make no mistake, the food stamp bill is not about the government encouraging healthy choices among the state’s poor population – it’s about sticking it to food stamp recipients to take advantage of a growing sense of indignation over what conservatives perceive as government hand-outs to a lazy, shiftless population.

As that sentiment grows, indignant conservatives stand up and say, “How dare they use my tax dollars to buy candy bars!”

The candy police proposal also reveals the contradictory and hypocritical stance of Republican leaders who say from one side of their mouths they want to limit government interference in private lives and business activities, and from the other side support heavy-handed government interference when it suits their political interests.

After all, the legislators who want the government to tell food stamp recipients the kinds of food they can and can’t eat are part of the same crowd simultaneously trying to eliminate all forms of firearm regulation in Iowa.

House File 2114 would prevent local governments from banning firearms in public places, another would eliminate gun bans on college campuses and a proposed consti-tutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 2005, would prohibit any sort of licensing or registration requirements for gun owners.

A similar proposal last year was dubbed the “crazy give a handgun to a schizophrenic bill” when Rep. Jeff Kauffman (R-Wilton) was inadvertently caught on a live microphone using the description during a House debate.

So, Iowa Republicans think the state has no business telling citizens to register handguns or to keep them out of city hall, but it needs to crack down on those dangerous candy bars?

The positions are intellectually dishonest and just plain bad ideas.

Under the proposals, a mentally-ill resident who receives disability assistance and food stamps would be allowed to buy a Glock and carry it into government buildings, but he would be in trouble if he tried to pack a state-subsidized Snickers bar next to his pistol.

Not only have the legislators sunk so low they’re ready to punish the unemployed, poor and disabled by taking away their candy and making them eat celery and spinach, they’re hypocritical enough to claim the junk food law serves a legitimate public interest but gun laws are an unnecessary government intrusion.

Simply put Iowans who are eligible for food stamps are poor. Eligibility guidelines set a maximum gross annual household income of $14,160 for a single individual and $29,064 for a family of four.

Doubtless there are people who game the system. But as a general rule, Iowans on food stamps don’t have all that much to begin with, and Republicans want to take away one pleasure they still can enjoy.

As they say in that old Kit Kat commercial, give me a break.

But back to the guns.

One argument from those who want to prevent local governments from banning guns in public buildings such as courthouses, city offices and schools continues to rear its head, and that argument needs to be exposed for the intellectual rubbish it is.

The argument is this: A person with evil intentions will not be stopped by a sign on City Hall doors that says guns aren’t allowed.

Therefore, they argue, the prohibitions are pointless.

It’s true as far as it goes, but the problem with this argument is it flies in the face of every other public safety law in the state and the nation.

Speed limit signs don’t stop drivers from speeding; laws against burglary don’t stop hoodlums from breaking into houses; and murder laws don’t stop someone with evil intent from committing a murder.

By the logic of the gun lobby, those laws are equally ineffectual and pointless and also should be removed from the books.

No one is making that argument, however, presumably because they know they would look like fools, or perhaps because they recognize such laws, like firearms bans in public buildings, have the dual purpose of prevention and punishment.

Speed limits don’t stop people from speeding, but they allow police to stop the drivers and issue citations.

Gun bans in public buildings won’t be enough to prevent a tragedy should someone try to shoot up City Hall, but they es-tablish a reasonable standard to create a safe environment for government workers who can find themselves in adversarial positions with angry taxpayers.

Food stamp recipients who purchase an occasional pudding pop aren’t responsible for the state’s problems, and punishing this already disenfranchised class won’t solve any of them.

There have been no efforts to infringe on gun rights in Iowa, and in fact, those rights were dramatically expanded last year when Iowa became a “shall issue” state for concealed carry permits.

Iowa Republicans need to drop both of these issues and focus on our many real problems; like finally addressing the numerous problems in the state’s splintered mental health system.

But before they can get on with that much-needed work, they need to drop the intellectual dishonesty that comes when self-professed “small government types” propose increased government regulations purely for political gain.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

I am a blog

Hey look at me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ahkmaninanajad rhymes with Hitler

So how about that wacky Iranian president?

Sure, the Bush administration completely lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but that's no reason we should question the claims Iran is helping the 'Iraqi insurgents.' That whole WMD thing was just an Intelligence failure, and it was a one time thing anyhow. We've got no reason to doubt the drumbeat for war against Iran is based solely on facts and the best interest of the American and Iranian people. ;)

Now I'm not saying I like or trust Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, because I don't.That's a whole different story I don't have time or energy to go into right now. Suffice it to say, everything he says seems to play into the hands of those who want America to start more wars, take away more freedoms and vilify anyone who questions government officials and the official line. It appears to me he's either complicit or naive and ignorant, and I no longer swallow that such coincidences are a matter of mere incompetence in most cases.

But isn't it kind of funny that the US Leaders are calling him a warmonger? In light of the fact the US supported Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi war against Iran a couple decades ago (before we declared Saddam a threat to freedom and oversaw his eventual [supposed] execution). And isn't it funny he's being called a warmonger by the same people who planned and authorized two pre-emptive wars in the last 5 years? By the same people who made the phrase "extraordinary rendition" into a benign- and ordinary-sounding term for allowing the CIA to abduct people and take them to nations where torture is commonplace and well known? By the same people who assure us the Abu Ghraib scandal was just a few bad apples acting against orders? By the same people who run Guantanomo Bay?

... I could go on and on, butothers have done a better job than I.

Isn't it funny?

No. It's hypocrisy. And despite how commonplace hypocrisy is in this country, it never fails to offend me deep inside and it never ceases to amaze me how many well-meaning Americans apparently lack the faculties for discerning this, even when the smell of manure is wafting right below the nose.

Makes me wonder about the real reaons the public Edumacation system is failing . . .

Apparently, Senators Lieberman and Kyl have introduced an amendment to the "emergency" defense appropriations bill stating:

3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;

(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.

(note: language, but not intent, may have been altered in more recent version of amendment)

One safe bet: if the US goes to war with Iran, it probably won't help the value of the dollar too much. All the lefties and libertarians who have threatened to run to Canada are running out of time if they don't want to go as economic refugees.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Across the barren plains

tumbleweed, tumbleweed
why do you blow
through dying fields
and across dusty roads
are you looking for the green grass
that grows far away
for the songs of the birds
long flown away
are you looking for the deep well
clear, dark and cold
for the water that brings
the green leaf to the fold

tumbleweed, tumbleweed
grit in the air
you're tumbling, fumbling
away from us here
our land once was fair
and the soil, it was rich
now our livestock decay
and our crops all are sick
now the earth is a curse
that once was a friend
and we're tumbling, rumbling
to our dry, dusty end

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Right or wrong?

Some would say

"My country right or wrong"

I prefer Mark Twain's

"Loyalty to the country always,

Loyalty to the government when it deserves it"

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Ol' Ma Nature . . .

. . . on steroids? ? ?
(more odd cloud photos from June 20)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Storm brewing

Here is shown some crazy clouds over DeWitt, Iowa from Tuesday, June 20. The Cedar Rapids Gazette featured a number of reader-submitted photos of odd clouds in a storm front over the state.

And finally! I'm able to post pictures again!!!
This is excellent news.

Been a damn long time. Blogger was giving me photo errors for many months, which is one of the reasons my postings here have been in decline. Now that the power of imagery is back in my hands (worth 1000 words and all, ya understand), I might pick up the pace a little. I'm making no promises, mind you.

Another image, in the other direction. Check out the corn, too. Growing good. This line of clouds stretched for miles as far as the eyes can see, and beyond. I drove about 30 miles of the stretch. Might put a few more cloud pics up here as time allows. This was really amazing stuff.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ministry of Truth (Minitrue)




Monday, June 12, 2006

Abu means "father of"

From all corners, rings the refrain:

"Ding - Dong - the Witch is dead.

Long live the Witch."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Killing for Christ

Doesn't that just say it all?

To the adept, it must.

"Brevity is the art of communication," a friend said.

He was right.

But no, it doesn't say enough. Not for all. Not even for me. People want to read a little more than that, want to hear something deeper than that. People want some explanation, some digression. They don't want a Zen koan or some haiku, some abstract-go-think-about-that kind-of-thing.

Or rather, they do, but then they want more.

People want Something Deep, not just superficially Deep, or Deep-seeming.
Not something that's only Deep on the surface.

Deep on the Surface.
Go think about that for a while.

Implicit contradictions.

Killing for Christ. Hurrah . . .

Just dab a little white-out on a couple Commandments
and make sure the Google cache is down.

Absurdity can be the best (and sometimes only) vehicle for truth in an age of institutional madness.

Aberration. Anomaly. Praise be.

This is key.

Millions think America
Can run on Cruise Control

That's why there's
so many Hit-and-Runs.

That's what happens when you
Let your cousin Larry take the wheel.

He's an okay Guy, but not Quite Right in the Head.
Not to be mean, but He might be a Little brain Dead.

You know what I mean?

If I had Kids I wouldn't worry about Pornography
It's the TV Nooze that's really Obscene

And if I ever meet Nancy Grace in a Dark Alley
I'll wish I never mentioned it on the Internet.

Killing for Christ. Hooray . . .

Some people get it,
But not enough Say,
'No more killing shall be done in His or my Name.'

Mental note: I have added a word verification to the comments section. Few comments these days, but should help protect from SPAM litter.

Friday, May 19, 2006

SurReal Illusions

Too much to say, too little time.

I've been reading a lot lately.

I've been watching America descend into some of my worst fears,

because I see FEAR! and Man-ipu-1ay-shon on the front of newspaper pages

& in partisan audio & celluloid mazes.

I've felt the Earth rotating and seen the

Moon shifting phases.



"The Horror! The Horror!"
Don't forget Kurtz.
Don't know Kurtz? Learn Kurtz!
You're on the Internet.

Google: "Kurtz"

The Heart of Darkness.

Punctuation is a blessing.
Automatic MS Word grammar check a curse.
Spellcheck - not so sure.

Too much.

Reading my emails, eh?
Tracking my phone calls, then?
Building a fence on the southern border,
with airplane drones & video surveillance, now?

So no one gets in OR gets out?
without the right say-so?

Planning RFID chips in all American passports?
Amazing what can be done with biometrics and GPS. . .

What's next?
Listening to Paul Harvey's personal conversations?
Flagging Al Gore's passport on the "Terrorist Watch List"?

If only it looked that good.

Are you ready for Condi Vs. Hillary '08?
How about Jeb Bush Vs. Token Democratic Strawman?
(Just my second guess. I've no real evidence Kerry is running again).

How many years will we fight in Iraq before Congress abides
the Constitution and declares war?

If history is the judge, it's been nigh on 50 years, since Congress agreed to call any American war a "War" in declaration.

Police actions, military exercises, & peacekeeping
missions are what we get.

Watch out.

"Please beware of potential terrorists and report any potential
terrorist threat to the local authorities.
Terrorists can be both male and female, or even transgendered.
Terrorists can come in any size, color and shape:
they can seem mild mannered or outrageous;
they can be quiet or rambunctious;

Anyone could be a terrorist, and that's why "The Guvmunt" has to investigate everyone."

Murderers are often described by neighbors and acquaintances as quiet-types who don't really bother anyone.

So Patriotic, Freedom-Loving Americans should be especially wary of people who mind their own business and don't bother anyone.

Terrorists are everywhere. It could be anyone.
It could be your boss. It could be your best friend.

Absurdity is important.

It's time for bed.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Found items

I found this while cleaning up and had to re-type it.
It's a letter to the editor I sent to the Des Moines Register one month ago today.
It never made the cut.

"A recent Associated Press story printed in the Register amounts to yet another sparkling example of what is wrong with reporting these days.

'Serious and charming, Bush makes his case' by Jennifer Loven appeared in the March 23 edition.

Whether or not the President is charming is clearly an opinion and belongs on the opinion page, as does the rest of the poorly-worded story..

Worse, while our nation is embroiled in two wars which have never been declared by congress(War in Iraq, War on Terror), the author chooses to focus on Bush's 'plainspoken manner' while the President, 'alternately serious and joking, charming and disarming,' 'bantered with the residents, his shoulders bouncing up and down as they do when he's pleased with his own jokes.'

If only the reporter had informed us which way his hair was parted that day, what color his tie was and whether he showed those pearly white teeth when he smiled.

After all, it's not enough to know the President is charming.

We need to know just how charming he is, for national security reasons."


Sunday, March 19, 2006

US Officials Say (Check your sources 1.2)

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pass on this tidbit, which serves as a good reminder to always check your sources.

The opinion, written by Robert Fisk of The Independent.
I found it at Information Clearing House, address:

and now, the excerpt:

"The farcical end of the American dream
The US press is supposed to be challenging the lies of this war
By Robert Fisk

It is a bright winter morning and I am sipping my first coffee of the day in Los Angeles. My eye moves like a radar beam over the front page of the Los Angeles Times for the word that dominates the minds of all Middle East correspondents: Iraq. In post-invasion, post-Judith Miller mode, the American press is supposed to be challenging the lies of this war. So the story beneath the headline "In a Battle of Wits, Iraq's Insurgency Mastermind Stays a Step Ahead of US" deserves to be read. Or does it?

Datelined Washington - an odd city in which to learn about Iraq, you might think - its opening paragraph reads: "Despite the recent arrest of one of his would-be suicide bombers in Jordan and some top aides in Iraq, insurgency mastermind Abu Musab Zarqawi has eluded capture, US authorities say, because his network has a much better intelligence-gathering operation than they do."

Now quite apart from the fact that many Iraqis - along, I have to admit, with myself - have grave doubts about whether Zarqawi exists, and that al-Qai'da's Zarqawi, if he does exist, does not merit the title of "insurgency mastermind", the words that caught my eye were "US authorities say". And as I read through the report, I note how the Los Angeles Times sources this extraordinary tale. I thought American reporters no longer trusted the US administration, not after the mythical weapons of mass destruction and the equally mythical connections between Saddam and the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001. Of course, I was wrong.

Here are the sources - on pages one and 10 for the yarn spun by reporters Josh Meyer and Mark Mazzetti: "US officials said", "said one US Justice Department counter-terrorism official", "Officials ... said", "those officials said", "the officials confirmed", "American officials complained", "the US officials stressed", "US authorities believe", "said one senior US intelligence official", "US officials said", "Jordanian officials ... said" - here, at least is some light relief - "several US officials said", "the US officials said", "American officials said", "officials say", "say US officials", "US officials said", "one US counter-terrorism official said".

I do truly treasure this story. It proves my point that the Los Angeles Times - along with the big east coast dailies - should all be called US OFFICIALS SAY. "


thank goodness someone else is saying it.
I can only do so much.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Stop the War on Iran

No, that is not a typographical error. No, I am not confused about where in the Middle East our soldiers are risking their lives in this ill-begotten shame of a war.

I’m talking about the war that’s about to happen.

Stop the War on Iran.

For months now I have spoken to friends and acquaintances of the building war in Iran, and these days it seems to be getting closer and closer.

The rhetorical pattern building to an Iranian confrontation is an exact match for the build-up to the wonderfully disastrous War in Iraq.

I first called it sometime in the late summer or early fall of 2005, long before the debate over enriched uranium, long before the election of the new Iranian president and his subsequent unkind references to Israel, and long before the well-fueled “cartoon crisis” over images of the prophet Mohammed.

I called it way back when I saw an hour-long Fox Nooze Special with a title that was something like "Iran: the Nuclear threat." That title may not be exact, and I'm not sure if there was a question mark or not, but it was a great propaganda piece which sent me a strong signal – Iran is the next planned military target.

The Fox special was chock full of all sorts of FUN rhetorical questions, like "Iran says its pursuit of nuclear energy is for peaceful means only, but could they secretly be pursuing nuclear weapons?”


“Should the U.S. consider a pre-emptive attack on Iran?”

If Americans can wind their memories back to the fall of 2002, when weapons inspections were ongoing in Iraq and Bush was promising to exercise all diplomacy possible to avoid a conflict, they might remember the start of a media campaign full of misleading assertions and frightening rhetorical questions which grew and grew until America invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein.

They might also remember the President declaring victory a few months later, aboard an aircraft carrier and looking strapping in a flashy new flight suit. An observant American might also take Bush’s statements of late 2002 and early 2003, that war was a last option, and compare those to more recent statements where Bush proclaimed his administration WOULD HAVE INVADED IRAQ EVEN IF HE KNEW THERE WERE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

A similar media campaign has been building around Iran since the fall of 2005. Coincidentally, as the rumble of an Iranian threat is now building to a furor, we find ourselves in the month of March, the same month in which we launched the invasion of Iraq three years ago.

Iraq was only the first target listed in the Bush Machine’s “Axis of Evil.”

The chances now seem very real that the U.S. will take military action against Iran in the near future. The media drumbeat has been pounding, and the majority of the masses seem to have bought into it, with no recollection of the disgrace of the pre-Iraq War war-mongers in the administration and the media.

I felt the War Drum pounding on Iraq in the second half of 2002, and it will always be linked in my mind to the death of my friend Pang Yang (She was a light in this world. God bless her.) because they both hit me at the same time.

The same Drum is now beating heavily with an impending sense of Doom.

A cynic such as myself has no trouble imagining how the nation might be nudged into allowing such a horrible plan to proceed, with the skillful propaganda of the Bush Machine and/or perhaps, under what conspiracy realists (or coincidence theorists)* call a “false flag” operation, which would be blamed on Iran no matter who carried it out.

It wouldn’t be the first time. The “Gulf of Tonkin incident” which precipitated the Vietnam War is just one of many fabrications used to justify throwing American youths by the handful at a mysterious enemy in a far away country.

So back to my point:
Before it starts.

*Note: In the interest of the betterment of language, thought, and society, I will henceforth make a Gods-honest-attempt to refer to “conspiracy theories and theorists” under the more preferable terms “conspiracy realist” and “coincidence theorist.”

Pay attention to language.
Language creates meaning.
When language is distorted, meaning is distorted.

Politicians, press secretaries, public information officers, marketing writers, public relations experts and hordes of other disingenuous individuals and groups make a living by finding ways to control perception and action through language.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


The U.S. Senate voted 89-10 on Thursday, March 2, to re-authorize one of the worst travesties of justice to come out of the aftermath of 9-11, the constitutionally-impaired "USA Patriot Act."

I keep "Patriot Act" in quotes, even when I speak, because anyone who reads it will quickly see "Patriot" is a creative (read: deceptive) use of language, kind of like saying “Good with children” instead of “child molester,” or calling a serial-rapist "socially awkward."

10 Senators stood up against the crowd. I can't say I particularly liked any of them before or that I do now, but I have a little bit of newfound respect for those who said NO. I hope my respect is not misplaced.

Senate NO votes on the Unpatriot Act re-authorization

Robert C. Byrd. - West Virginia
Russel Feingold - Wisconsin
Daniel Akaka - Hawaii
Jeff Bingamen - New Mexico
Tom Harkin - Iowa
Patrick Leahy - Vermont
Carl Levin - Michigan
Patty Murray - Washington
Ron Wyden - Oregon
Jim Jeffords - Vermont

Not voting was Daniel Inouye - Hawaii

In case it matters, all of the list but Jeffords (Independent) are listed as Democrats, which means every Republican voted for approval along with most Democrats.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Eve of Destruction

There's too much going on for me to even know where to begin.

We've got Shotgun Cheney, the building U.S. war on Iran, renewal of the UNpatriotic Act, Scooter Libby trial progressing, Katrina murmurs building, Dubai port deal stinking, and I've hardly covered anything.

2006 elections are brewing, impeachment pot is stewing, the propaganda is still selling, Iran is the new Iraq and Syria is the new Iran. Osama bin Laden lays in waiting until the administration needs a boost in the polls.

Everyday I read the news, and I see it spinning and being spun, as common sense slips further and further away.

A six year old got stopped at the airport for six hours, because her name was on the "no-fly" list.

The government wants to see my google searches.

Because "Everything changed after 9-11."

The Constitution is hindering criminal prosecutions.

After all, how can The Guvmunt stop The Terrorists from hijacking planes with boxcutters, unless they know what library books I'm reading.

Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list.
(He may be a jackass, but he's not a threat)

James Moore, the author of a presumably unflattering book about Karl Rove, somehow appeared on the no-fly list, or so the story goes.

There are a thousand insults to liberty each day in America. After all, it's a new Millennium.

When I read the news, I feel like I'm watching a eulogy for what my country once stood for, at least in theory.

I recently found an interview with Hunter Thompson, in 2002 just before the September anniversary which inspired in part his novel "Kingdom of Fear," in which Thompson suggested the increasing federal power after "everything changed on 9-11" smelled a lot like a military coup . . . .

I'm rambling now, as I knew I would, because I can't form sentences or put together paragraphs to explain how far off balance I think we have gone. It's all happening so quickly, and America has such a short collective memory.

I find myself unable to


I think I'll continue to have this trouble as long as newspapers like the Chicago Tribune find time and space to get outraged over the lies in the pseudo-memoir of James Frey, "A Million Little Pieces," while ignoring the lies which took us into war.

Bush even says now that he would have gone to war with Iraq to take out Saddam no matter what; Nevermind in 2002 and 2003 he claimed war was a last resort to take out "weapons of mass destruction" and other vague and frightening threats.

Never forget, the Congress has never declared war against anyone to give Bush "war powers," as stipulated in the Constitution.

The failure of what should be respected media organizations to point out blatant contradictions such as this, and the failure of supposedly intelligent people to see the contradictions on their own, leaves me with too much to say and too little time.

I'm tired, I'm rambling, and I might delete this post in the morning. But I wanted to attempt to explain why my posts here have been so few and far between these days.

It is all wrong and it all has to change.

WE have to change, and to do so we have to change the way we think.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

You're a Great American

Gee, I love my Country, and the Flag, and the Judicial System, and the Federal Government.

I love the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms; I love the War on Terror and the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty

(Kill those penniless bastards!).

I have a big Stars and Stripes flag decal on the window of my automobile.
It was made in China, but it says “Don’t tread on me” along the side, in vertical printing, interwoven with a snake.

Most of all I love the President. I love him with all my heart, and I want to dispel any rumors otherwise. I love his dimples and I love the armies of attorneys and lifetime politicians who jump to his defense every time he’s accused (by traitors) of violating the Constitution of the United States of America.

The President is brilliant, and cute to boot. It would be a privilege to accompany that cowboy anywhere. He’s an accomplished orator and a pleasant person. I’d even take him to the local screening of Brokeback Mountain if he wanted, for policy purposes of course, (because banning gay marriage will reduce the deficit, somehow, and lower the price of gas).

Plus, it would qualify as a tax write-off.

Love the sin and hate the sinner, that’s what they say.

Oh wait.
I think I got dyslexic there.
Must be some problem with the educayshonal systim.
(Butt eye past all my ITBS tests! With nu ottomatic grayding sistms. Teechers are pade to mush.)

I think the country should just do whatever the President says, like Brittney Spears said.
I heard on the news her husband is pissy because she hasn’t lost the weight that she gained from having the baby.

We’re really in a war, and that means the President gets special authority.

Like the Divine Right of Kings, kinda. Even though the Congress hasn’t declared war. They never declare war. But somebody’s gotta get the job done. We know the French won’t do it. They’ll just talk about inspections and diplomacy and due process and freedom of speech. The damn intellectuals.

By the way, another thing I like about the President is he helps to teach me Geography.

I learned where Kuwait is (kind of) when I was a boy scout in the early 1990s under the other Bush. Bill Clinton’s two terms taught me where Kosovo is (kind of) and where Somalia is (sort of). Clinton mostly taught other courses.

Under our current President, I know where Afghanistan is (near Iraq), and where Iraq is (next to Kuwait). I’m pretty sure where Iran is (near Iraq, and near Syria too.) And a bunch of other countries around there, where people have names that end in things like “Ben al Aziz,” with prime ground for oilfields, pipelines and/or other projects.

North Korea is way over to the East, near China and Vietnam. Japan is over there somewhere too. We dropped two Atomic Bombs there, so the history books say, and now they are our friends. And Russia is big to the North, with a bunch of other little countries and that pesky Europe.

Oh yeah, Israel is in the Middle East too. I guess my geography isn’t all that great. I really remember the places we bomb the best. There is some continent called Africa somewhere, but . . . there are communists in South America. And they have Drugs!

I support the troops.

I’ve got a magnet on my car.
It is yellow and shaped like a ribbon.
It says “Support the troops.”
I do.

Sometimes, people ask me, “If you support the troops, why don’t you go fight?”

And I say, “I do support the troops.”

And if they persist, I tell them that I work in an important business, and a lot of people depend on me, not only my wife and three children but 13 employees, and that I can best serve my country in my current post.

“My cousin served,” I say, “and my friend Paul too, and my Father and my Grandfather in their own times, and I would go, but I am too much needed here. So I do what I can to support the troops from home. (I sell life insurance.)

But most people don’t ask, and I’m glad. Most people have yellow ribbon magnets too.
They support the troops.

Some have red magnets and pink magnets and multi-colored magnets for other causes.
They support the Fire Department and Breast Cancer Awareness and Gay Pride.

I wear red, white and blue underwear.

I don’t question authority. I respect authority.
We’re all on this boat together, so we’ve got to make sure it sails smoothly.
In other words, don’t rock it.

I talk LOUDLY, and I carry a big stick.
And if The Terrorists ever cut through my back yard, I’ll smack ‘em good.

And if The Government listens to my phone calls without warrants or detains me at the airport;
If they search my home in secrecy and put me on a list of enemies;
If they make mistakes to keep us free;

I’ll know it’s done only for my own security,
Because I love my country.

I’m a Great American.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A few things to chew on

It's been a while since I posted here.

Happy belated New Year!

2006 A.D. promises to be a real humdinger.

Apologies for my extended absence, but that is bound to happen from time to time.

Often, by the time I learn enough about a subject (particularly current events) to feel competent writing about it, I'm usually sick of hearing about it.

Besides, sometimes I just need a break.

I've begun and discarded a few tidbits which would otherwise have been electronically transmitted and digitally displayed for the enjoyment of the iris of your eye, and assuming you've got your head right (and I've got mine), your cerebrum and your cerebellum. Hmm... Iris, Osiris. Wonder if there's a linguistic connection....

Anyhow, I don't have anything complete for my humble audience to devour, but I did want to make a few notes related to some writings I've been working on.

1) The United States is approaching its debt ceiling of $8.2 TRILLION DOLLARS and must raise the debt limit in order to continue government operations, according to treasury secretary John Snow.

More on this in coming weeks.

2 The word "terrorism" is being applied in outrageous circumstances these days and the linguistic matrix is tightening its grasp on the mind. There are some examples in current events, but I need not reach that far. A friend of mine was charged with terrorism a few years ago for lighting off bottle rockets.

I am not kidding.

Bottle rockets are quite different from dirty bombs, and it doesn't take a nuclear physicist to see we are nearing the bottom of a slippery slope when we equate the two.

This line of thought will be explored in the future, if I'm not carted away as an "enemy combatant."

3)Iraq and Iran. There comes a time when every freethinking American must ask, are (the large majority of) our representatives naive and ignorant, or crazy and cunning?

I hear Deomcratic Senators and Representatives say of Iraq: "If I knew then what I know now, I would have (insert self-serving authoritative action which ocurred only in what-if world)." [such as, "voted against it"]

My first response was: Even a lowly peon such as I could tell the then-pending Iraq War was a sham back in 2002, why the hell couldn't a few Senators?

Of course, the question is rhetorical. A few understood and voted against, and many understood and voted for, giving Bush constitutionally-questionable "war powers" without ever declaring war, as the Constitution requires.

I've still got money on Iran as the newest named enemy. But whatever happens in the next months, I doubt we'll end up sharing milk and cookies with the Ayatollah.

4)2008 Presidential Election

I know there's an election or two before then, but the subject has been all the rage ever since the 2004 election. I just want to get on the record now with my hypothesis, not prediction, that we are being set up for of Hilary v. Condi, 2008.

I couldn't vote for either. More on that in coming years.

5)Jack Abramoff.

I don't have much to say about him, but he can't be forgotten. He will be the key to either weeding some deep corruption out of Congress OR pretending to weed deep corruption out of Congress while it becomes further entrenched.

6)NSA Spying

I can't avoid this subject, as much as I would like to. I think it is a red herring (DISTRACTION). If Bush is spying on "known terrorists" as he claims, it is hard to reasonably argue against spying on a "terrorist," if you mean the dirty bomb kind and not the bottle rocket kind.

But A) I don't trust that is the case.

And B) Warrants can be easily obtained and rubber-stamped to make such spying legitimate, but that process appears to have been circumvented.

Which begs the question, why didn't the President of the United States of America get easily obtainable warrants approved to spy on "known terrorists?"

I'll let you formulate your own answers to that question.

And it's late, so that's enough for now.

Come back soon.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What are we fighting for?

“Civil liberties mean nothing if you’re killed by a terrorist”
-Cal Thomas

Read that opening quote again. I’ll note, for purposes of explanation, Thomas is a syndicated columnist and ideologue who has consistently backed up the Bush Cabal over the last few years in this deceptive maze we call an administration. Thomas is regularly printed in one of Iowa's favorite farcical news-oriented publications, The Des Moines Register, as well as many other newspapers and would-be newspapers.

“Civil liberties mean nothing if you’re killed by a terrorist”

Now read that sentence above a few more times for good measure. It was the subject of a column Thomas wrote last week. I don’t think it’s necessary to summarize the column any further – the title says it all pretty well.

Now read it just one more time for me, baby, before we continue.

Now stop – and think.

The claim makes sense on its face, after all. I’ll give Cal that much. When unexamined, the statement seems intuitively logical.

Freedom doesn’t matter when you’re dead. Why not? Because you’re dead. You have no privacy left to be violated, no liberty left to exercise.

I can see how civil liberties might become a little superfluous to someone who has left the mortal coils.

Terrorists aside, civil liberties mean nothing if you’re killed by a falling toaster. Or a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Why not? Because you’re dead.

But that can’t really be what Cal means. He’s obviously criticizing those who think the current powers-that-be have gone crazy by stripping away our liberty in the name of fighting terrorism.

Is he trying to say you’ll wish you had given up more freedoms to an Orwellian nation-state when “the terrorists getcha”?

Methinks he is!

What he’s saying is the same broken record which has been playing for more than four years now. It starts with “Everything Changed After September 11,” a track which has been more overplayed than the Macarena. It then busts into the patriotic dance song “Do It! (For Your Country)” which leads into “We Don’t Call It Torture Here.” Later on is the melodious “They Hate Us ‘Cause We’re Free” and the raucous “Democracy In The Middle East.” The record ends with “Trust Me, I’m Doing This For Your Own Good,” which sounds like a love song written by Charlie Manson.

In the American revolution, we had “Give me liberty or give me death!”
A courageous, principled vow.

Imagine if a man of Thomas’ apparent disposition were to have written the Constitution.
“Habeas corpus - Who needs it? Bill of Rights? Ha! Bill of Lefts, more like it. Out the window!”

Our Founding Fathers certainly are not as clean as they are made out to be in fifth-grade History textbooks, but they did have a sense of reality.

Some of them were drunkards, slave owners, madmen and worse. They often settled disputes by dueling with pistols at dawn, a practice which certainly wouldn’t be tolerated by politicians today (although perhaps its not such a bad idea).

But they were bright enough to coin wisdom such as “The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance” and “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Freedom isn’t free
So it is said. Yet how easily the fearmongers would have us relinquish the freedom for which so many have died over the ages.

The nation repeatedly is told “the terrorists” hate our freedom.
That’s why they want to destroy us, we’re told.
And in the next breath:
In order to fight “the terrorists,” we’ve got to give up some of our freedom.

Many citizens seem happy to give up a little bit of their freedom, and then a little more, if the people in government can persuade them “the government” will somehow protect them, and thus ease their nagging fears of atomic Armageddon, biological outbreak or immigrant populations.

And that’s what really scares me. Not the fact so many politicians could be so blind or corrupt as to allow America to enter ill-advised, illegitimate wars and run up $8.2 TRILLION in debt (absolute power corrupts absolutely, after all) but that so many people could enjoy it and support it wholeheartedly.

And just when some of the administration loyalists are starting to have second thoughts about our horrible misadventures in Iraq, here comes Syria, Iran, and maybe even North Korea!

There’s a whole “Axis of Evil” left to dismantle. And if that doesn’t fly fast enough, down south we’ve got Venezuela and Bolivia, just a few of the Latin American countries who are asserting enough independence from the U.S. to piss off the wrong people.

I felt the Iraq War coming in 2002, and wrote as much in a newspaper column back then. Well my friends, the drums of war are beating again. Against whom, I’m not sure, although I’ve placed $20 on Iran. My buddy took N. Korea.

As the new year gets old and your intellect gets pounded by propaganda, just remember:

America stands as a beacon of Freedom to the world. But that Freedom is under attack, and we are at War. In order to preserve our Freedom, we must sacrifice Freedom, lest “the Terrorists” use our Liberty and Decency against us.

And once our Freedom has been duly sacrificed, what then are we fighting for?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

For your information: weather modification

"S. 517"

I'll repeat, for emphasis.

"S. 517"

The S. stands for Senate. This is a senate bill regarding weather modification. Here are a few details, courtesy of :

109th Congress
S. 517: A bill to establish a Weather Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other purposes
Introduced: Mar 3, 2005
Sponsor: Sen. Kay Hutchison [R-TX]
Status: Introduced (By Sen. Kay Hutchison [R-TX])

Following is the opening text of the bill, for your review. It's just the first few sections. I've copied and pasted the text, and there appears to be a little html/javascript jumping going on, but it should be legible. I've corrected all the major trouble spots.

It should not be hard to locate the full text of the bill, but you'll have to care enough yourself to do an easy google search because I'm not going to post it here in full, at least not yet (and not without commentary).

I hope you go read the whole thing, because it offers some potentially frightening insights when one examines the language and objectives. I can't refrain from posting at least one additional sample, besides the intro below; so here it is, from the section which would establish the official weather modification board ("Board Established"), in the subsection dealing with membership:

16 (E) At least 1 member shall be a representa-
17 tive of a State organization that is currently
18 supporting operational weather modification
19 projects.

It doesn't take a college degree to figure out if one member must represent an organization supporting operational weather modification projects, there must be operational weather modification projects.

I wonder what "other purposes" means?

Without further babbling, here's the opening text to the bill:

MARCH 3, 2005
Mrs. HUTCHISON introduced the following bill; which was read twice and
referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

DECEMBER 8, 2005
Reported under authority of the order of the Senate of November 18, 2005,
by Mr. STEVENS, with an amendment and an amendment to the title
[Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic]

To establish the Weather Modification Operations and
Research Board, and for other purposes.

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

2 This Act may be cited as the ``Weather Modification
3 Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of
4 2005''.

6 It is the purpose of this Act to develop and implement
7 a comprehensive and coordinated national weather modi-
8 fication policy and a national cooperative Federal and
9 State program of weather modification research and devel-
10 opment.

12 In this Act:
13 (1) BOARD.--The term ``Board'' means the
14 Weather Modification Advisory and Research Board.
DIRECTOR.--The term ``Execu-

16 tive Director'' means the Executive Director of the
17 Weather Modification Advisory and Research Board.

19 ``research and development'' means theoretical anal-
20 ysis, exploration, experimentation, and the extension
21 of investigative findings and theories of scientific or
22 technical nature into practical application for experi-
23 mental and demonstration purposes, including the
24 experimental production and testing of models, de-
25 vices, equipment, materials, and processes.

S 517 RS

2 ``weather modification'' means changing or control-
3 ling, or attempting to change or control, by artificial
4 methods the natural development of atmospheric
5 cloud forms or precipitation forms which occur in
6 the troposphere.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Fashion Faux -Pas

Blanco and Brownie: fashion deities of Hurricane Katrina

I was reading the Des Moines Register today (insert laughter) and I noticed a column by syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts about Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and the fashion concerns on the governor’s mind and that of her PR staff during and immediately after the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

It turns out Blanco and her staff were more concerned with dressing so as to appear like she was out in the streets with the common man trying to help the recovery, rather than actually going out in the streets and trying to help the recovery. Blanco, a democrat, is the second high level official to fall victim to such criticism.

Lifted from Pitts' column is the following excerpt: ''Please put [Blanco] in casual clothes, a baseball cap, etc.,'' wrote Liz Mangham, a PR consultant to the governor on Sept. 2, four days after the storm. ``She needs to visit a shelter in prime time and talk tough, but hug some folks and be sensitive.''

If you’ll recall, former FEMA director Michael Brown was heavily chastised after newspapers printed a series of emails where Brown was discussing fashion concerns and his dinner plans, while hundreds of thousands of hurricane survivors endured horrible conditions at the Superdome, Convention Center and elsewhere.

That story revealed what would have made the list of Top Ten hilarious moments in government correspondence if it were not for the gravity of the situation - when FEMA regional director Marty Bahamonde responded to an email from Brown’s secretary about Brownie needing more time for his dinner plans. Bahamonde had this little gem, which still brings a Mona Lisa smile to my face:

“OH MY GOD!!!!!!!! No won't go any further, too easy of a target. Just tell her that I just ate an MRE and crapped in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends so I understand her concern about busy restaurants. Maybe tonight I will have time to move my pebbles on the parking garage floor so they don't stab me in the back while I try to sleep.”

Pitts makes some very good (albeit rather obvious) points about the superficiality evident from these demonstrations, where those in charge of disaster recovery were more focused on the appearance of progress than actual progress. (Cough, cough. Iraq. Cough)

He highlights something bright Americans know instinctively – that politicians are generally full of crap and more concerned about how they look on TV than about whether they are serving the American people.

But Pitts missed something in his analysis. Recall a month or so before Hurricane Katrina, when members of Northwestern’s women’s lacrosse team visited the white house wearing flip-flop style sandals, revealing their sexy athlete feet (GASP- Jezebels!).

Recall also that this story made FRONT PAGE news on major national and regional papers. It was the topic of the day for political pundits all over the idiot-box and callers on talk radio nationwide.

If visitors to the White House wearing sandals qualifies as a front page story which lasts through several news cycles, as the Lacrosse story did, perhaps Brownie and Blanco weren’t so unwise in focusing on fashion as the public attention turned to Louisiana in the wake of the hurricane.

Don’t expect me to defend either of those jerks, because I cannot fathom a coherent response, let alone a defense, for something like Brown’s email boast that he was “a fashion God” after he made a slick TV appearance.

But weren’t Brownie and Blanco merely mirroring the majority of America in being more concerned about clothing selection than they are about liberty and justice for all?

I’d dare to wager more Des Moines residents show up at the annual American Idol tryouts than manage to make it to a D.M. city council meeting in an entire year. Sure, Law and Order and CSI have several successful spin-offs, but they can be counted on two hands. I tried to count the number of fashion shows on TV and I ran out of appendages - so I know there’s more than 21.

Let’s condemn the mammoth superficiality which would cause public officials to worry more about blouses than bodies, but let’s condemn it all around. Let’s condemn it where it begins and flourishes, which is not in politics, but in myriad aspects of our society.

If these scandalous emails had come out of a lesser disaster than Katrina, where the suffering and the publicity of the suffering was not so great, would there be such an uproar? Is it the scale of the Katrina disaster that makes Blanco’s and Brownie’s fashion focus so distasteful, or would it be just as distasteful in a minor disaster?

It’s my impression the outrage does depend on the scale.

Try running for high school student body president while wearing high-water jeans and a ratty T-shirt.

Tell your neighbors that you volunteer at a soup kitchen on the weekends, and that’s why you haven’t had time to mow the overgrown grass on your lawn.

Men, go to work in a sun dress.

Women, go to work in sweatpants and a Dallas Cowboys jersey.

Then – and only then – start talking about the importance or lack of importance in appearances.

Brownie and Blanco obviously had their priorities out of wack. But not any more than the majority of the American electorate.

America without superficiality is like Pamela Anderson without a career. I can imagine such a world when I close my eyes, but when I open them again, Baywatch is still listed in the TV guide; C-cups in sandals with the (alleged) brains of a Jessica Simpson clone still drink for free all night at the bar; and job listings still ask for applications from a “clean-cut professional.”


Saturday, December 17, 2005

The New Sacco and Vanzetti: Alpizar and de Menezes

Editor and Publisher has printed a great story on the LIE told by federal authorities and perpetuated by an unquestioning media, that passenger Rigoberto Alpizar claimed he had a bomb before he was fatally shot by undercover marshals last week in Miami.

Here’s a snippet:
Fact Checking the Feds in Airport Shooting
Two air marshals gunned down an American citizen last week in Miami, and the press swallowed the government's now-flawed explanation of a "bomb threat" hook, line, and sinker.

Here’s the link:
  • Fact Checking the Feds in Airport Shooting

  • And if for some reason it doesn't work, here's the address:

    Be sure to check it out.

    Kudos to columnist James Bovard and Editor and Publisher.

    I’m glad to see E&P step up to the plate with this one. I myself began work almost immediately on research for an article on what I am not afraid to call the MURDER of an innocent civilian by overzealous authorities, and the subsequent efforts to cover their tracks.

    There are striking similarities between the murder of Jose de Menezes by British authorities following the London subway bombings last July. If you’ll recall, authorities claimed and the news media perpetuated the claim that de Menezes was dressed in baggy clothes (possibly carrying a bomb), jumped a turnstile, and ran from police before he was executed by 8 or 9 bullets at close range.

    Only it turned out none of the authorities claims about De Menezes behavior were true – in fact, de Menezes had tight-fitting clothes, swiped his subway card just like you’re supposed to, picked up a free newspaper, and walked calmly into a subway car before police officers slaughtered him.

    And there are many more suspicious circumstances with the de Menezes killing, such as why police would follow a suspected terrorist they believed to have a bomb for multiple blocks and fail to intervene until after he entered a subway station, walked all the way through, and got on the subway. Supposedly, part of the story has to do with a surveillance officer leaving his post to take a piss at the wrong time. Talk about cause and effect.

    But let us get back to the latest victim. Like de Menezes, it was a public execution and the official story is bunk.

    I’m sure most of you heard the official version of this latest tragedy, that this airline passenger named Rigoberto Alpizar freaked out and started running down the aisle of the plane shouting something about having a bomb. He was then shot multiple times by undercover air marshals on the jetway. The jetway is the connecting piece between the plane and the airport terminal.

    In my research when the story broke, I noticed one thing quite quickly: every claim of Alpizar saying the word “bomb” was made by the spokesperson of an agency, from the FAA to Homeland Security, with no supporting evidence or quotes. Often it was phrased as “passengers heard him shouting about a bomb.”

    Yet, in every story I could find (I searched the internet for several hours) in which the reporter spoke to passengers actually on the plane, those passengers never heard the word “bomb” or any such threat. Many recalled hearing Alpizar’s wife yelling that her husband was sick. In the notes from my initial research, I recorded these two quotes, although I did not record the source:

    She was yelling "That's my husband, that's my husband I need to get to my husband!" Mary Gardner said. "She said, 'My husband is bipolar. He didn't take his medicine.'"

    Mike Beshears heard her say, "'My husband is sick. I've got to get my bags.'" Then the shots rang out, and a flight attendant stopped her and guided her to a seat, he said.

    And compare and contrast these two excerpts:

    Miami-Dade police spokeswoman said Thursday that multiple witnesses reported that the 44-year-old was yelling that he had a bomb as he made his way down the aisle with a backpack slung across his chest. Later, the agency's chief of investigations insisted that Alpizar was yelling about a bomb but declined to say whether he was on the plane at the time.

    Seven passengers interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel--seated in both the front and rear of the main passenger cabin--said Alpizar was silent as he ran past them toward the exit. One thought he had taken the wrong flight. Another thought he was going to throw up.

    Many stories filed the day after the shooting made reference to the fact Alpizar was “agitated” before the flight and was heard to be singing “Go down Moses.” Some stories vaguely stated he was singing hymns. Perhaps both can be explained by the fact Alpizar and his wife were returning from a mission trip in South America. So they are obviously religious, thus the singing of the hymn. I learned “Go down Moses” is the song also known as “Let my People Go.” While on the trip, Alpizar had apparently run out of his medication. He did not want to board the plane. His wife coaxed him into doing so, but he obviously remained uncomfortable.

    Other intriguing information can be culled from the news reports, as I did in the days immediately following the incident.

    The shooting occurred shortly after 2 p.m. as Flight 924 was about to take off for Orlando with the man and 119 other passengers and crew, American spokesman Tim Wagner said.

    Passenger Mike Deshears, who works for the Marriott vacation club in Orlando area, said that as the couple ran, "a gentleman in a Hawaiian shirt immediately followed. ... It was a matter of seconds before there was six pops."

    He refused to surrender

    While running in a crazy panic

    We are now so afraid, that any abnormal or unexpected behavior is cause for the authorities to shoot you.

    The couple were on the last leg of their lengthy journey home to central Florida from a missionary trip to Ecuador, where he was handing out spectacles to the poor. Mrs. Buechner works for the Council on Quality and Leadership, a non-profit group focused on improving life for people with disabilities and mental illness.

    From the Chicago Tribune:
    "With all the advances that the U.S. has supposedly made in their war against terrorism, I can't conceive that the marshals wouldn't be able to overpower an unarmed, single man, especially knowing he had already cleared every security check," Carlos Alpizar said Thursday of his brother's death.

    "I will never accept that it was necessary to kill him as if he was some dangerous criminal," he said in a phone interview from Costa Rica. "And I want to make this distinction: He did not die. He was killed."

    But to federal authorities and security experts, Alpizar--mentally ill or not--was responsible for his own death.

    After the murder of Alpizar, police boarded the plane and made passengers exit at gunpoint with their hands behind their backs. They apparently laid out some bags on the tarmac, brought in dogs to sniff for explosives, and blew up at least two bags. They found no bomb.

    This next quote pretty well sums up the official stance. However, if one reads too much and thinks about the implications for too long, it starts to look like a real bad idea to go jogging with a backpack or talk back to an armed authority figure, uniformed or not. Especially if you’re a dark-skinned male.

    Taken in context of the recently announced expansion of the Air Marshals to the rest of the public transportation sector (planes, trains and buses; automobiles next), this is a very frightening philosophy. The first time federal air marshals have used weapons to defend America from terrorism, they killed an innocent man. And this is called a success. Say Hello to Police State 2006.

    John Amat, national operations vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and a deputy with the US Marshals Service in Miami, said: "The bottom line is, we’re trained to shoot to stop the threat.”

    There is much more to be said on this story. I hope the American consciousness will pick it up.

    Friday, December 16, 2005

    Chemtrail blindness

    I wrote this letter to a group I'm in, and I thought it would translate here as well.
    America will never get anywhere until we challenge the myths which empower criminal leaders to bleed the citizens of the Union dry.

    Chemtrail blindness is a small part of a greater institutional indoctrination. Any serious movement to "awaken people," as it were, must recognize the self-imposed barricades by those we would try to awaken.

    There are some things we are taught in an organized and deliberate fashion to NOT think about. That same training is now going on with the Cloudscapes stamp set, insertion of chemtrail images into TV, movies, the weather channel and such, and the daily laying of the lines which is habituating the population to believe a chemtrail sky is "normal," simply because they see it often.

    One has to get up pretty early to see a clear sky these days.

    It is a type of mind control - not the tinfoil hat electromagnetic weapon type, just a stealth rhetorical war to frame a new reality. It is the same type of indoctrination which causes people to say we live in a Democracy, when it is in fact a Republic (if it is still even that). People talk about spreading democracy in Iraq ignorant of the fact we have no democracy here. We do not have "one man, one vote." We have Electors. It is a representative government.

    In my opinion, it is the same type of doublethink which allows people to equate the curtailing of civil liberties with "protecting freedom."

    It is a type of Disbelief which often crosses the line into fanatical denial. It is at best naive to believe the U.S. Government has ever been so dignified it would not experiment with horrible weapons on its people. Look up info on WWII era nuclear tests or Agent Orange in Vietnam. But many people are not willing to even consider such facts, and it is that same mindset which prohibits them from seeing the skies with their own two eyes. They look but the do not see, they listen but they do not hear.

    I've considered the theory chemtrails are somehow to protect us from global warming, but I just don't buy that one. First of all, I never appreciate anyone silently "protecting me" without my knowledge or consent, especially when I'm paying for it. Secondly, I'm no scientist, but it doesn't make logical sense to me. It's like tinted car windows parked in the sun on a summer afternoon. Chemtrails, like tinted windows, may block out some of the sunlight, but the greenhouse effect inside the vehicle and inside the belts of these artificial clouds will cause the temperature to rise.

    It would be interesting to find some studies on the effects of barium and aluminum on the body when ingested at high levels through the air and water. I wonder if the elements accumulate in tissue, if there are known effects, etc. Of course, the health effects could be just collateral damage from a greater mission. I wonder about nanotechnology, and the nightmare scenarios which can be envisioned with armies of self-replicating, semi-intelligent, nanoscopic machines.

    That's enough for now.


    Thursday, December 15, 2005


    Scared yet?

    Life today is like a roller coaster with no brakes and an unfinished track somewhere down the line. Who needs horror movies or conspiracy theories when you've got the Iraq War? Everyday, the headlines tell us what George Bush said the day before. Rarely do they dare to put his claims in the context of what he said two years or two days before.

    I'm tired.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Prostitution Nation

    For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
    I Timothy 6:10

    Often misquoted as “money is the root of all evil,” the first simple phrase in this passage, when accurately presented, conveys immeasurable wisdom. Money itself is not the root of evil; money is simply a means of exchange.

    “The love of money is the root of all evil.

    And what is more evident in our society than the consequences of the love of money? One need only look around.

    A love of money runs rampant; It has become ingrained in our culture. “Bigger, better, faster, more” is the credo. Money is the totem which transcends all other devices. A rich man can be forgiven his vices, and nothing is too horrible if it makes a healthy profit.

    Sex sells, and thus is sold, without shame, wherever people are buying. And it matters not if the buyer is a dirty old trucker handing a wad of cash to a truckstop whore, a 14 year old boy gaping at the cover of Maxim magazine, or your 10 year old daughter in one of those classy “Who needs brains when you’ve got these?” (boobs) t-shirts from Abercrombie and Fitch.

    We have become a nation of professional prostitutes.
    Though the real deal is still illegal – you still can’t sell your body for literal sex – you CAN sell your body or anything else in any other way you can imagine.

    Nothing is sacred.
    Legitimized prostitution is everywhere.
    And it is certainly not confined to the easily scapegoated examples cited above.

    A recent proposal has been floated to sell commercial advertising in our national parks. Wonderful. Goodbye to the old standby slogan from Smokey the Bear, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”
    Get ready for “Only heavy timber-harvesting by Halliburton subsidiaries can prevent forest fires. Shop at Wal-Mart!”

    Thankfully they haven’t yet proposed selling the Names of the national parks, as both sports and entertainment venues have done. I’m not quite ready for “U.S. Cellular Yellowstone Park” or “The Grand Canyon, brought to you by Time Warner.”

    Frankly, I hope the Wells Fargo Arena goes bankrupt. For the pure sake of irony, if nothing else.

    I pray Carver-Hawkeye Arena doesn’t become the Papa John’s Pizza Emporium.

    But college sports and entertainment venues don’t run the game on prostitution either.
    If that were the case, a whole youth market would be overlooked!

    That’s why Pepsi and Coca-Cola buy scoreboards for junior and high school athletic teams. They’ll buy basketball scoreboards, football scoreboards (the suckers can range in cost from $20,000-50,000 at least). They’ll buy whatever, so long as they get to put a big company logo in the center.

    Often, the Pepsi and Coke bandits work exclusive distribution deals into the contract, and even offer incentives for schools to celebrate a yearly “Coke Day” or “Pepsi Day.”

    Coke Addiction

    They had a Coke Day (or was it Pepsi?) when I was in high school. I hated it.

    Where the hell do they get off?
    Talk about indoctrination.

    Did you ever hear the stories of students getting suspended for wearing a Pepsi T-shirt on Coke Day, or vice versa?

    Well, whether you heard it or not, it happened.

    Think about that for a minute – a school suspension, on your permanent record (if such a thing really exists), for supporting the wrong soda product. (The wrong one being whichever company failed to pay your school thousands of dollars)

    But it extends even further. Prostitution has become a common cultural mindset, and an accepted one. It is not questioned. It is simply the way of the world.

    An illustrative real-life example is this: I was at a school board meeting over the summer. Two state legislators were there. They were discussing a possible change in how the state handles the “local option sales tax,” a one-cent tax many schools districts have approved through a popular vote.

    The proposed change would cut out the “local option” part of the tax, institute a statewide one-cent sales tax, and distribute the money on a per-student basis to all school districts in the state. This would even out the playing field for small and rural school districts, where less shopping takes place.

    The local school board loved this proposal because it meant more money, and they were encouraging the legislators to approve it. They spoke valiantly of fairness, equal opportunity, and a sincere desire to see all of Iowa’s children receive a quality education.

    Then the business manager chimed in: “Actually, I’ve run the latest numbers, and we’d lose money if they approved it now.”

    “Oh, well nevermind then. Forget everything I just said,” the school board president backtracked.

    What was that thing about the love of money, again?

    And hell, I know she was just being practical, looking out for No. 1 and all that – but that simply shows how principles have been tossed aside in the name of the almighty dollar.

    And we’ve got people selling space on their foreheads for permanent advertising; we’ve got people sleeping with poisonous snakes and eating horse penis to get rich on Fear Factor; we’ve got bastards stabbing each other in the back on every reality TV show there is in order to win fame and riches.

    Everyone has their price, they say, and there have never been more buyers.

    We’ve got the lottery, The Apprentice, and Dukes of Hazard the movie.

    We were even told the best way to fight terrorism was to maintain our spending habits.

    Politicians still sell themselves to the highest bidder.
    Lobbyists remain professional prostitutes.

    But worse, the average American seems ready to put on the red light and screw all comers in the World’s Biggest Gang Bang 7, so long as he ends up with pretty figures in the bank ledger.

    I wouldn’t even be exaggerating or dramatizing if I said people were selling their souls. They are.

    A buddy of mine bought one from this kid named Matt a few years ago. Matt sold his soul for a cigarette. He eventually got it back, through no fault of my own. Not to sound coarse, but Matt didn’t yet deserve his soul back. He needed to earn it, like Bart Simpson did in my favorite Simpsons episode ever.

    You should have heard Matt beg for that cigarette. He bugged me for an hour beforehand and I wouldn’t give him one. He begged and bugged everyone in the building for a cig, until Brad took him up on the offer.

    “I’ll do anything for a smoke. Anything! Please! I’ll even sell you my soul.”

    Brad made Matt sign a contract transferring all rights to his soul to the bearer of the contract.

    As I noted previously, Matt eventually got his soul back. It was several weeks later, and he was demanding it desperately, with tortured eyes. The soul was just laying around under a candle, where we had finished playing with it.

    Personally, I wanted to hear him beg for his soul the way he begged for that cigarette. The way Bart repented after he sold his soul to Milhouse. I know it sounds bad.
    Sometimes I’m hardcore.

    Daryl (the only one there at the time) turned it over to the previously soulless creature without question.

    But not all items sold are so easy to regain.

    We once had “Give me liberty or give me death.” We now have “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

    The saddest thing is, millions of people glaze their eyes and brains watching Millionaire, then upon seeing a man in the street with a sign proclaiming “Liberty!” they are quick to presume HE’S the one who’s off-balance.

    Everybody’s gotta pay the bills. But I, for one, am working diligently to repair my broken parts, recycle the unused material, and to barter for anything else I can use. I’m not about to sell what little freedom, dignity and self-respect I have left just to replace iron shackles with golden handcuffs. Not if I can help it.


    “Money can’t buy you love, but love can’t buy you shit”
    --An extreme capitalist I heard somewhere

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    Breaking news: Jessica Simpson farts!

    I’m not up for writing a long treatise tonight, but if I were, this is what it would be about: if mainstream media invested the same amount of time, energy, money and investigation into the build up to the Iraq War in 2002 and early 2003 as they have given to the marriage and breakup of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, then there might a few thousand Americans and a few hundred thousand Iraqis still alive today.

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    Miami police to "shock and awe" terrorist citizens

    Who knows, maybe I am an alarmist, but I don't like the guts of the following story, which involves police surrounding random buildings, checking all IDs, and "reminding citizens to be vigilant."

    Can you say "Papers, please?" What if you're in one of these buildings, after taking the bus, and you don't have a driver's license?

    Vigilant for what? Should we all get high powered microscopes, learn biology and genetics, and look for biological weapons?
    Should we be atomically afraid of anything called "Enola" or "Gay?"
    Should we be on the lookout for "jihadis?"
    Or should we worry about which shopping mall is going to be invaded by the local police, you know, for shock and awe.?
    Don't worry, it will make sense when you read the article below. It's the short version. If you go into Google News and search "Miami police" and terrorism, you'll have a plethora to choose from.

    Miami Plans Anti-Terrorism Sweeps
    Written for the web by C. Johnson, Internet News Producer

    MIAMI (AP) -- The idea is to keep terrorists guessing, and to keep the public on its toes.
    Miami police said they will stage random, high profile drills, including surrounding a building and checking everyone's ID, to remind citizens of the need to be vigilant.
    Deputy police chief Frank Fernandez called it "an in-your-face strategy" that would keep al-Qaida and other groups off guard.
    The plan also called for posting uniformed and plainclothes officers on buses and trains, and for long-term surveillance operations.
    Fernandez told reporters that the department wants people to notice the increased security. He said, "We want that shock, we want that awe," while not threatening a person's rights.
    11/28/2005 2:04:21 PM

    It depends on what the definition of BS is

    "Sharp dart spitting master, spitting darts faster; shut up, I'm the driver you're the passenger. I reign superior; the pressure blows the dial on your barometer. Do you understand or do you need an interpreter?"
    -The Streets

    Bill Clinton said his crimes (lying under oath about illicit blow jobs on the job) depended on what the definition of “is” is.

    Fast forward, past Sept. 11, past the Patriot Act, past the Iraq invasion, past the election, to President George W. Bush's second term in office.

    Dick Cheney’s gang says (one of?) their crimes depends on what the definition of “torture” is.

    Another crime depends on whether or not leaking the name of a CIA agent to further the propaganda campaign for the planned Iraq war falls under the proper legal statute for a successful prosecution.

    However, one accused crime, the accused being Cheney's former chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby, depends only on proving the accused lied to the grand jury. Recall, Libby is not charged with any leak, but of lying and obstructing justice. I have previously listed the specific charges in earlier posts.

    Curiously, Clinton was accused during his two terms of many horrible things, but none ever got the publicity or call to impeachment brought by the Monica Lewinsky affair.

    Tonight President Bush made a speech on border security. I listened to about five seconds of it. I'll read a transcript tomorrow, if I haven't been dulled by the incessant droning on the story which I'm sure will come when I turn on the airwaves.

    I find a Bush initiative on the border laughable at this point. Gee whiz, only four plus years after September 11, 2001, a day which has been used to justify two wars and countless pieces of legislation which hinder civil liberties, Bush realized America has borders and people crossing them. He specifically noticed the southern border, which only leaves three other borders for him to find. It's kind of a Presidential "Where's Waldo?"

    Switching gears slightly
    I have many theories and hypotheses, but I have one theory about G-Dub to which I'm quite partial. It is that the reason he so often looks like a deer in the headlights when faced with a tough question or an awkward situation, is because he really doesn't know what is going on in the world. Bush says he doesn't read newspapers or watch TV. I'm not sure if he specifically ruled out radio or the Internet, but I would bet cold cash they're on the list. Bush only gets his information from the people around him. And look who's around him!

    Maybe when Bush mentioned Iraq's numerous battle-ready battalions, while an American general reported to Congress there was in fact now only one such battalion - Bush never heard about it because his buddies never told him.

    When Bush told Mike Brown formerly of FEMA he was doing "a heckuva job" during Hurricane Katrina, maybe that's because Brownie told him he was doing "a heckuva job" down there in N'awlins.

    When he says Saddam and Osama were pen pals, when he says weapons of mass destruction, when he says bird flu - it's only because that's what he has been told by his circle of advisors. If anyone alleges something Bush has never heard about or is not acknowledged by his circle, it simply isn't real.

    Everyone who said the Iraq war(which still hasn't been declared by Congress, by the way) would be a long and difficult war was dismissed, in favor of a rose-colored illusion. Now people I know are facing their third tours of fighting in Iraq and/or Afghanistan in what has proven to be two long and difficult wars.

    It's a theory, anyhow.

    And that's enough for now.


    "Hey, don't you know that I am caught here in the middle, making ribcages into coffee tables."
    -Blind Melon

    Saturday, November 26, 2005


    You're a brave man they tell me.
    I'm not.
    Courage has never been my quality.
    Only I thought it disproportionate
    so to degrade myself as others did.
    No foundations trembled. My voice
    no more than laughed at pompous falsity;
    I did no more than write, never denounced,
    I left out nothing I had thought about,
    defended who deserved it, put a brand
    on the untalented, the ersatz writers
    (doing what had anyhow to be done).
    And now they press to tell me that I'm brave.
    How sharply our children will be ashamed
    taking at last their vengeance for those horrors
    remembering how in so strange a time
    common integrity could look like courage.


    A poem, by Russian writer Yevtushenko, as translated by Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi, S.J. Penguin Books. Baltimore. 1962.

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    Sick of it all

    I’m sick of the whiny liberals. I’m sick of the fascist conservatives. I’m sick of the administrative assholes and I’m sick of the bureaucratic bamboozlers.

    I’m really tired of people who complain about Wal-Mart but still shop at Wal-Mart.

    I’m fatigued by ideological reactionaries, who believe only what their Idols tell them and refuse to consider anything else.

    I’m incensed at hypocrites residing in places of prestige and honor, sipping champagne in palaces of power behind windows, walls and gates which separate them from the cries of the governed.

    I’ve had enough of ignorant fools and ungrateful allies.

    I’m bored with pointing fingers.

    I fear the fear of others.

    I’m disillusioned with illusionary news.

    I abhor this adolescent argument masquerading as debate.

    I dismay the disgrace of my nation’s ideals.

    I bemoan the bequest of mine and my children’s future to further enrich the filthy rich.

    I regret religious fundamentalism.

    I despair dreams of destruction.

    I despise demolishing beauty and uniqueness in favor of standardization and compatibility.

    I’m enraged at irresponsibility.

    I'm angry at arrogance.

    I'm repulsed by relentless irrelevance.

    I’m grappling with hopelessness.

    I decline to give in.

    I dislike deception.

    I hate liars.

    I believe things can be better.

    I hope I’m right.

    Maybe I’m just crying over spilt milk.

    But I’m just so sick of it all.

    To turn it around, since it’s Thanksgiving and all, I’ll just say that I'm thankful for many things.

    Most of all, I’m thankful this is still a country where I can speak my mind freely in forums like this without being arrested or killed.


    Unfortunately, things don't seem to be going in favor of the Patriots these days. The water hasn't sunk the Titanic yet, but the lifeboats are filling and the band is warming up.

    But you’re probably sick of hearing about that kind of truth. I know I am.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2005

    Nothing going on?

    Contrary to what some have assumed, the reason for the tumbleweeds blowing across the screen (i.e. no postings) is not because there is nothing interesting going on. It’s sad, I know, that I haven’t updated the site in more than a week. But in fact, the reason for my lag is just the opposite of what some have suggested. There has been WAY TOO MUCH going on in my life and the world these days. I’ve got a lot of balls in the air, including several writing pieces I hope I will soon finish and post in this space. But they require research.

    Until then, I’ll just make a few observations:


    Probably the magic bullet will continue to circle the Earth, waiting for another target and contributing to global warming.

    Speaking of global warming, how come no ones talking about global worming?
    You know, all these worms and snakes dressed as real human beings who are running the world, spewing their deceptive invective and working to consolidate power and wealth even further into the hands of an elite few.

    International events have my head spinning. What with the debacle over congressman John Murtha and the Iraq War, more and more high-level criminal indictments (including another one by Patrick Fitzgerald), bombs exploding in Jordan, secret CIA prisons revealed, lawsuits over Sony spyware in CD’s, Bob Woodward, Bush drinking again, and whowouldathunkit, John Kerry finally growing a pair of balls and coming out of the darkness and in front of cameras and microphones – with all that and more, I’ve had a lot to think about. Too bad Kerry couldn’t strap on a pair back in November 2004. I don't know about you, but I get a dark laugh when I think about G.W. Bush telling China to learn about democracy and freedom.

    There’s been a lot of synchronicity going on in my life lately, and it ties in to synchronicity I’m seeing in outside events. Something big is going to break soon, but what it is I can’t say. But when tension gets this high, something always pops.

    I don’t know exactly why, but besides all the obvious suspects, keep an eye on Guatemala. There’s been some weird Guatemala connections.

    Excuse these disconnected thoughts, but tis the season.

    Much work to do.

    Till next time:


    p.s. Don’t forget this holiday season that Santa Claus died on the Xmas Tree for your sins. (That's how the story goes these days, isn't it?)
    BUY NOTHING on the day after Thanksgiving. Fight the commercialization of Christmas because it commercializes God, and I'm told God doesn't like that one bit. And if you don't believe in God, you've still got to admit those giant blow up displays of Santa and Frosty which begin to appear outside Wal-Mart in October are annoying and deserve your contempt.

    p.p.s. Dick Cheney's Xmas list: "All I want for Xmas is my two front teeth. VAMPIRE TEETH!!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Check your sources!

    The information is only as good as the source.

    A snippet from this AP story on some Iraq news will get us started. It’s really not unique, but it struck me poignantly the other day.

    Flee Iraq, Foreign diplomats warned
    Friday, November 4, 2005 Posted at 3:24 PM EST
    Associated Press

    Baghdad — The country's most feared terror group warned foreign diplomats Friday to flee Iraq after announcing it will put to death two kidnapped Moroccan Embassy employees. Insurgents killed 11 Iraqi security troops and an American soldier in separate attacks.

    The warning came in a statement posted on an Islamist Web site in the name of al-Qaeda in Iraq
    , which also claimed responsibility for the July kidnap-slaying of two envoys from Algeria and one from Egypt as well as the abduction and beheading of many foreign hostages.

    On Thursday, another Internet statement attributed to al-Qaeda said the two Moroccans had been condemned to death. There was no indication Friday that they had been killed.

    Notice the highlighted portions of this excerpt show the reporter’s main source for the story is an unnamed Internet website. That’s it. How often have you been reminded not to believe everything you read? Are you convinced everything posted on the Internet is true? Yet this reporter doesn’t even bother to name the website which is his only source for the story.

    When did it become acceptable for “journalists” to quote unidentified websites as the single source for stories about major developments in a war or other international affairs, or any news, for that matter? In theory, news is supposed to be substantiated. I know a large chunk of the mainstream media is prone to outside influence and doesn’t really follow this rule, but DAMN! I wonder how much of the major war reporting comes from unidentified Islamist websites?

    And if we can turn messages from unidentified websites into “hard news”, why do we have to stick to Islamist websites? We can repeat claims from Louis Farakhan and Larry Flynt. It’s about time something like that hit the front page of the New York Times. Better yet, we can repeat claims from all sorts of characters without doing any investigation or fact checking. Plenty of websites make controversial claims backed up by mountains of evidence; but we can just pick the neat crazy-sounding ones about things like how flu shots are actually designed to make people spend money at Christmas.

    At least the authors of conspiracy websites identify themselves as such, like Homer Simpson eventually did with Mr. X. In the AP story we began with, we’re taking the word of reporter Robert Reid who is getting his info from a website he doesn’t name, reporting scary messages on the Internet “in the name of” and “attributed to” Al-Qaeda.

    If I were to put up an internet posting from “PETA in Iraq” and ordered all dog and cat owners to leave the country or face death, would it be reported in the Washington Post and the New York Times? Would they be kind enough to leave out the website name or any other identifying information, so people would just have to assume that I’m credible? I hope not, but it might happen. Of course, any responsible reporter would name the website and attempt to give some context and evaluation of the credibility of the message-poster and the PETA in Iraq organization, instead of simply invoking the name of the Boogeyman and running with it.

    As a writer, I put my name on every word I issue, both in my news reporting and in my personal opinions in this space. I put myself at risk on several levels by doing so on. I face the risk that someone who doesn’t like what I write (and has a fascination with cannibalism) could hunt me down with the idea of eating my entrails in mind. On a different level, by speaking my mind on the record, I open myself up to evaluation and criticism from every angle.

    Now that I really think about it, almost every major story on terrorism alleged to be the work of Al-Quaida that I can recall included citations from anonymous internet sites purportedly run by terrorist groups. And maybe they are. But how would you ever know? I can’t read Arabic. Can you read Arabic? Even if you could, would you be able to find the unnamed websites cited in the increasingly negligent mainstream media?

    The popularity of sourcing anonymous websites rivals anonymous sourcing of government officials in terms of its complete lack of reliability, responsibility and accountability. Besides that, it makes a complete affront to rational discourse and accurate information. It’s hard to hold a debate based upon invisible sources, particularly when they contradict each other.

    It’s impossible to accurately evaluate a statement without knowing who made it and in what context.
    Yet many mainstream media reps commonly allow government officials to selectively make statements to which they will never have to own up. Nearly every major story out of Washington D.C. these days relies on anonymous sources. Government officials won’t even cough on record around a reporter. What does that say?

    If it only happened every once in a while on stories that are extremely sensitive, it wouldn’t bother me so much. But it appears to have become an indispensable practice. Reporters for the major national papers can’t manage to write a compelling story without citing unnamed sources.

    If the unnamed officials feel so strongly, why won’t they put their asses on the line for their beliefs? Is this not “the land of the free and the home of the brave?” You tell me.

    Maybe I should just quit complaining and start playing the game. You know, one of those “If you can’t beat 'em, join ‘em” type of things.

    The headlines might look something like this. I have to keep my sources secret, you know, so just trust me.

    Sealed indictments sight in-progress plans of Masonic New World Order.

    Recent investigation suggests urban legend is fact: the real Paul McCartney died more than 30 years ago.

    Ridge, Thompson, just a few of the appointees to Applied Digital, Verichip, Digital Angel and other subsidiaries whose stated goal is to “implant the world.”

    No declaration of war in 50 years despite numerous WARS in violation of Article 1, Section 8 (clause 11) of the Constitution of the United States of America.

    Judges only considered “activist” when legal rulings anger partisan opponents. The idea is that activism is only activism when you disagree. If you agree, it’s just politics.

    Studies prove good-guessers get away with ignorance. Essay and short answer tests actually require students to learn, but cannot be scored by computers or illegal immigrants.

    Pessimist survives by breathing through nose

    Religious fundamentalists want people to know “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” but support “killing for democracy” in Iraq War. Pat Robertson continues to covet his neighbor’s wife and goods in addition to advocating assassination.

    Republican diehards say Bush is not to blame for claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and starting a war, because Clinton, Kerry et al. claimed the same thing before him. And my brother told me it was okay to steal from the supermarket, so it’s not my fault I got caught snaking a bottle of Absolut vodka.