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Monday, September 29, 2008

Off the grid

I am writing this (or at least starting to write this) on 9.29.08 at about 1:08pm PST.

It is possible that within one month from now, the government will be allowed to force me to marry someone I do not want to marry.



It is definite that, depending on who, I may not be able to fall in love with whoever based on a lot of things.

I am constantly reminded that I will, forever be tied to an economic system that regards me as, pretty much, a turd. The kind of turd, though, depend on who you talk to.

People running for office cannot come up with any solutions, or at best, the same old one-liners that do not work anymore.

Oh, did I mention today was the first day of the Great Depression of 2008?

Am I the only one who feels like this?

Good.

Then maybe we can do something about all this, together......or separately.

Now before I say anything, I need to mention this. I am not advocating the breaking of laws, though I know that many who are reading this may be, shall we say social, political, or even....dare I say it...sexual outcasts in this society. And I know that many who read this may not be in line with a lot of things others who read this are line up with.

But most of us agree on one thing.




It's time to get off the grid.



These are ideas. Some you might not agree with. Sorry....we are in a situation where you may be forced to conform. You need to be mobile and flexible in more ways than one.


That means, first, you need to be financially flexible. You need to start learning how money works and how you can make it work for you. For some, it will be a challenge, but you need to know how to do it, because...ultimately....if you are NOT mobile, you may very well be screwed in the place you are.



You might want to invest in the following:


  • Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki. You may also want to get the companion Cashflow Quadrant.



  • The Financial Guidebook and Women & Money by Suze Ormond


There are many more, but you get the idea. Learn about money. How to grow it. How to use it. How to stop bitching about not having any.



In addition, add sites like http://www.cnbc.com/ and http://www.thestreet.com/ to your bookmarks.



Be smart when spending money. Know your power: we stopped buying gas and the impossible happened: the price of gas continues to go down, even as the price of oil has been going up. You have more power than you have. Use it.



Your next car should be a hybrid. Preferably a Hybrid SUV.



Start storing food. I'm not saying become a survivalist, but invest in a freezer and start storing meat. For any canned goods you get, store some away. You are gathering nuts for the winter. And it will be a cold one.



Start looking for land. Especially if you are an "outcast." You may want to find some place out of the way. Remember anything can be delivered. Investigate satellite TV, radio, and Internet. Ditto solar energy. Remember: goal 1 is to get off line as much as possible.



Oh, and by the way: PAY YOUR TAXES. If you are getting smart with money you may be making more of it, so write the check. Don't, there will be snoopin'.



And one more thing: if someone comes to you with an idea for creating money, like a businees, don't shine them on so fast. Many opportunities, such as Avon, Amway Global, and Herbalife, have been very successful. I know many of the people in these organizations are pretty much on the conservative side. Remember, you are not doing these things to engage in lively conversation. You are doing these things to save your ass. And what ever it takes, do. At least do the do diligence and have an open mind.


Now that we have covered financial, political:


Step one: vote.


Step two: see step one.


I know....you may not be happy with what is out there. I certainly am not. But remember what I said...everything you are doing is to save your ass. And you can't do that with things that will not go into fruition. Look at VIABLE candidates....those that have at least a 50% shot at winning (sorry NaderFan, its not going to happen). Put ideology aside and find the ones who come closest to how you feel about things. Work for that candidate. Then if he/she wins....ride them like a bronco....or a hot lover (or maybe they are one in the same.....you never know). Ask direct questions. Stay informed (http://news.google.com/ for starters). Do not let them off the hook.


In terms of being informed, read. Fill yourselves not just with people you agree with bit people you do not. Remember most of the sheeple are people who are ON the grid, and you are trying to get off.

I do want to make one thing clear....when I say "off the grid," again, I am not talking about some rustic existence in the woods someone in Oregon, though for some, it may be a real option. But what I AM saying is that if you continue to stay on the grid, you will be exposing yourself to things like the market crash of today and other things that may effect your live adversely, especially if your views on certain thing lay outside of the mainstream.

Which leads to my final suggestion. Network to find others like you. Not just "friend collectors" on social sites, but people you can confide in, who you can care for and they care for you. People who will not flinch when you talk about your life because they may have had the same experiences too. And there maybe be more than you think.

Know who your friends are. Ask questions. If you get "that funny feeling," walk away,

But if you find that person, stay with him/her/them. Find a way to stay in contact off line, for the wrong thing said can get a person kicked of of places like Multiply and MySpace.

And you are going to need friends in the next 10 years.

Stick together









Something to think about today...


As the worlds finances approach free-fall, it got me to thinking about a book I read by one of my finacial mentors, Robert Kiyosaki. Kiyosaki wrote the Rich Dad books, and his thinking has been been adopted by businesses like mine that are starting to help people get finacially off-grid.


A few years ago, Kiyosaki wrote a book called Prophesy. In it he pretty much spells out what we are in for and what people can start doing about it: Including what will happen to our "safety net," Social Security when the Boomers hit critcal mass in 2012 (don't go all Mayan on me now).
With today in mind, I'm cutting a slice of Kiyosaki's writing for you to think about:
In 1979, I was up to my ears in learning experiences. I was over my head in
mistakes, buried by my own personal incompetence, and I did not want to learn
anything more. I had more than enough stupidity to learn from, yet rich dad had
more to point out to me. In the spring of 1979, I walked into his office for our
regular meeting and showed him my company's financial statement. Looking over
the statement, rich dad shook his head and said, "Your company has financial
cancer. . . and I'm afraid it's terminal. You boys have mismanaged what could
have grown into a rich and powerful company." Mike, rich dad's son, was not a
partner in my business, yet he did sit in on most of the mentoring meetings I
had with his dad, the man I call my rich dad. Mike and I had been best friends
all through high school, but after I returned from college and the Vietnam War,
it was difficult maintaining a close friendship since we were in completely
different business and financial leagues. In 1979, Mike was in the process of
taking over his father's multimillion- dollar empire and I was in the process of
losing a multimillion-dollar business. As Mike looked over my company's
financials, I felt shame and embarrassment when Mike also shook his head.

"What is this?" asked rich dad, pointing to a section of my financial
statement.

Looking at where he was pointing, I said, "It's the amounts we owe the
employees and the government for the employees' payroll and payroll taxes." "Now
look at your cash position, there isn't any money there," said rich dad sternly.
"How are you going to make payroll, and pay the taxes?" I sat there quietly
saying nothing. "Well . . ." I began feebly, "well, when we collect on some of
our back accounts receivables we'll have enough to pay them."

"Oh come on," said rich dad. "Don't give me that jive. I'm not your
college professor. I can see from your financials that much of your accounts
receivables are over 120 days delinquent. You and I know that these people you
have sold product to are never going to pay you. Tell me the truth. Tell
yourself the truth. You're broke. You're broke and now you're about to default
on paying your employees and their taxes. You're using your employees' money to
keep your company afloat."

"But it is only a short-term credit problem. We have money coming in.
We have sales coming in from all over the U.S. and the world," I replied in my
defense.

"Yes, but what good are sales if you cannot build product and cannot
deliver on those sales? I can see from these financial statements that people
owe you money and you owe money. You owe money to the people that supply you the
materials to produce your products. What makes you think that your suppliers
will give you any more credit?"

"Well—" I began but was cut off again by an angry rich dad. "Your
suppliers won't give you any more credit. Why should they?" "Well, I'll go talk
to them again."

"Good luck," said rich dad. "Look, why don't you face the truth? You
and the three clowns you call partners have mismanaged your business. . . you
don't know what you're doing. . . you're incompetent . . . and worst of all, you
don't have the guts to admit any of this. You guys are pretending to look like
businesspeople. . . but when I look at your financials, you boys are either
crooks or clowns. I hope you're clowns. . . but if you don't make some changes,
you clowns will become crooks." Rich dad said this pursing his lips and slowly
moving his head from side to side. "Borrowing money from your employees is bad
enough. Just look at the back taxes you owe. How are you going to pay
them?"

Rich dad had been my teacher since I was nine years old. He was a very
loving and caring man, but when he was angry. . . he was not a polite man. This
particularly heated lesson in business management went on for hours. Finally, I
agreed to shut the business down, liquidate the remaining assets, and use the
money to pay the taxes and the employees.

"There is nothing wrong with admitting you're incompetent," said rich
dad. "But there is plenty wrong with lying and pretending you know what you're
doing. Lying and pretending you know what you are doing is a bad habit. . . and
I want you to stop that habit now. If you want to be rich and successful, you
need to learn to tell the truth quicker, ask for help quicker, and be more
humble. The world is filled with arrogant poor people, educated and uneducated.
. . people who cannot admit they do not know something. The world is filled with
people who go through life pretending they are smart. . . and that makes them
stupid. If you want to learn quickly, the first step is to admit quickly you do
not know something.

"Remember the lesson from Sunday school, the lesson that goes, 'Blessed
are the meek for they shall inherit'? The passage does not go blessed are the
weak or blessed are the arrogant, or blessed are the well educated. It says
blessed are the meek for the meek shall learn and if you learn you shall inherit
the abundance of life that God or nature has placed in front of us. You boys are
arrogant, conceited, cocky, and ignorant. . . not meek. You think that just
because your product is a success you are also a success. You boys are not yet
businessmen. You boys got lucky but you do not have the skill and experience to
turn your luck into a business. No one becomes a successful businessperson
overnight. You have a lot more to learn. And the lesson you must learn today is
that if you owe money, pay the bill. People hate people who do not pay their
bills. Friends, families, and businesses have broken apart because money owed
was not repaid. From your company's financial statements, I can see that you owe
money to the government, your suppliers, your landlord, and most importantly to
your employees. Pay those bills and pay them now. Don't do anything else until
those bills are paid. Don't come back here until you've paid your taxes and all
your employees. You're becoming a sloppy businessman and sloppy businesspeople
do not become rich and successful businesspeople. Now get out of here and don't
come back until you have done what I have just told you to do."
As I said,
rich dad had chewed me out many times over the years, but this lesson from rich
dad was especially memorable. As I closed the door behind me, I could feel this
particular lesson sinking into my soul . . . becoming a lesson I would never
forget. Although I hurt, I knew that the lesson was an important lesson. . . for
if it was not important, rich dad would not have gotten so angry or so brutally
forthright. Being thirty-two years old, I was old enough to take this strong,
emotionally charged lesson and wise enough to know that I had something
important to learn.

Over the years, rich dad had a lesson on truth and honesty he
repeatedly taught. He often said to his son and me, "Many people ask young
people, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' When they ask that question,
they are usually asking what profession the child wants to pursue. Personally, I
don't care what you do when you grow up. I don't care if you become a doctor,
movie star, or janitor. But as you grow up, I do care that you grow up to become
more and more truthful and more honest. Too many people grow up becoming more
polite, but not necessarily more truthful, or worse, they tell lies as kids and
become bigger liars as adults." As I walked down the street to where my car was
parked, I knew it was again time for me to become more truthful. . . more honest
with myself, my partners, and my employees. Climbing into my car, I could hear
rich dad saying, "Any coward can tell a lie. Telling the truth takes courage. As
you boys grow up, grow up to become people who have more and more courage to
tell the truth quicker. . . even if the truth hurts. . . even if being honest
makes you look bad. It is better to look bad telling the truth than to be a
good-looking lying coward. The world is filled with good-looking lying cowards."
As the engine came to life and I put my car into gear, I felt terrible and I
knew that I probably looked as bad as my financial statements. Driving away, I
also knew that I had two choices. One was to continue lying to myself and never
see rich dad again. The other was to begin finding the courage to face the
truth, to clean up the mess I made, and then look forward to seeing rich dad
again.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We gotta get off the air.......

Remember when TV and radio stations went off the air every night. Some still do.

Here's a collection of old and new signoffs (closedowns fror our friends in the UK and the Netherlands)

First, here is the current sign-off for KBCW 44 Cable 12 in the San Francisco Bay Area. They currently sign-off at about 4 AM for about 1 hour while the station does maintenence. NOTE: During the sign-off, KBCW accidentally switches to KPIX's signal which carries CBS' Overnight News Program, "Up To the Minute" with former KGPE-TV anchor Meg Oliver for a few minutes. Afterwards, the STMPE Color Bars and Tone come on with the stations call letters on the lower thirds. (c) 2008 KBCW-TV/CBS Television Stations All Rights Reserved. No Infringement is intended.

This is the devotion and sign-off for CBS Flagship WCBS-TV/New York. Yes it's 1977. Not the BIG 'stache...

Here is KTUL-TV 8 in Tulsa closing down for the night, with what SHOULD be our National Anthem sung as it should be (God bless you, Ray!)

WBKO/Bowling Green closes out with "My Old Kentucky Home...."

And finally, in this round, a rarity: the audio from WLW-C/Columbus, OH's sign of from 1956! There were slides that were added, many of them from the same vintage.

One final sigoff/closedown. This is how the BBC ended operations on the night that Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed.

Good night.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"This is really starting to smell....."

It really does, and the stench is growing.

And it might hit critical mass sometime around 9pm tonight.

As any person versed in politics can tell you, one of the most damaging things you can do to yourself is not show up for a debate. The apponent can simply ask questions to the empty chair, ridicule dripping from his pores, having a feild day. The next day, the no-show usually is watching his dropping ratings with the same horror as the Duke Brothers did as thier OJ futures went south and directly in the pockets of Mssrs. Ackroyd and Murphy in "Trading Places."

One has to wonder then, why a man who has staked his entire life on his courage and bravery suddenly starts acting like the man with a yellow streak rising up his back.

The John McCain no-show on Letterman was suspicious enough. Caught in a lie (and possibly a nice little trap set by Letterman buddy Katie "Kween of Kute" Couric), he is looking good.

And as the sun rises here in occasionally sunny California, there is still the possibility that McCain may not show up for tonight's tussle in the Mississippi Mud, claiming that he has to neogotiate the $700 BILLION bailout created by GWB.

In other words, as his veep partner continues soldiering on, he has achieved the near impossible: John McCain has made Sarah Palin look almost Presidential.

With that, two things....first, more from MSNBC Countdown host and last-minute sub Keith Olbermann on what transpired on the NIght of no Grampy.....

(it can be viewed here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/26894706#26894706)

And this from the Washington Independent, comparing Letterman with another CBS icon...

Forty years ago, in September 1968, the North Vietnamese launched the Tet offensive — which changed mainstream America’s view of the Vietnam War. In living rooms across the nation, Americans saw a gruesome display of how powerless the United States forces looked as they struggled to gain control over a millitary conflict they would not win.

It was then that Walter Cronkite, the CBS news anchor who narrated the daily events for millions of people each night, called Vietnam “unwinnable.” In the White House, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”

Now, we are in a different kind of war, one where U.S. financial insolvency seems at risk. Looking at this crisis, Sen. John McCain has said he would suspend his campaign. This included canceling an interview with CBS “Late Show” host David Letterman last night. Letterman said McCain was preparing to head to Washington in an effort to save the country.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Goodbye.

The House the Ruth Built. 1923-2008.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obama Invokes Comedian Rush Limbaugh in Spanish Ad

This is en espanol....

By Ed O'Keefe
The Obama campaign has released new radio and TV ads in Spanish that seek to tie Sen. John McCain to anti-immigrant comments made by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The ads also suggest the Republican has "dos caras" -- "two faces" -- when it comes to his relations with Latino voters. The new messages, airing in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, come in response to recent Spanish-language ads by the McCain campaign that suggest Obama is responsible for the collapse of last year's bipartisan immigration reform efforts.

"They want us to forget the insults we've put up with, the intolerance," the television ad's announcer says in Spanish as a picture of Rush Limbaugh appears onscreen with quotes of him saying, "Mexicans are stupid and unqualified" and "Shut your mouth or get out."

"They made us feel marginalized in a country we love so much," the ad continues. "John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote and another, even worse, that continues the failed policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families."

The companion radio ad uses the same script as above and then continues:

"Don't forget that John McCain abandoned us rather than confront the leaders of the Republican Party. Many of us were born here, and others came to work and achieve a better life for their families -- not to commit crimes or drain the system like many of John McCain's friends claim. Let's not be fooled by political tricks from John McCain and the Republicans. Vote so they respect us. Vote for a change."

This Spanish-language ad battle started Friday, when the McCain campaign started airing a TV spot in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico that laid the failure of comprehensive immigration reform at the feet of Obama and his Democratic colleagues, even though he supported the bipartisan efforts to enact such reforms and voted for their final proposal last year. It continued Tuesday when the RNC bought time in Nevada for a radio ad expressing similar arguments. The Obama campaign and Hispanic and pro-immigration reform groups denounced the ads as distortions.

"I think they don't want us to pay attention to the fact that John McCain's message in English is different than his message in Spanish," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) during a conference call with reporters today. "If the Latino community can't count on John McCain in the heat of an election, how can we possibly count on him when the heat is really on in the White House?"

Both candidates have aired Spanish-language radio and TV ads primarily in the Southwest and Florida, where growing Hispanic populations have the potential to help turn previously red states blue for Obama. A July survey by the Pew Hispanic Center gave Obama a wide lead over McCain nationwide among Latino voters, and Democrats don't plan to let the lead slip.

"Whenever we get a punch from Senator McCain, we're going to counterpunch harder," former transportation secretary Federico Pena said on the conference call. "We're not going to take any vote for granted."

The Obama campaign also plans to start airing advertisements next week in Florida.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/17/obama_invokes_rush_limbaugh_in.html

Comedian responds: Limbaugh, hitting back over usage in ad, says Obama "stoking racism"

Kettle.....pot has a message for ya....

Monday, September 15, 2008

9/11: Don't Fear The Re-Run


The YouTube paranoia crew claims 9/11-2 (The Sequel) will be a hundred times worse than the original


by Mick Ferren


An anonymous video showing a half million plastic coffins stashed in a formidably fenced field near Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, is guaranteed to grab attention. One can hardly help but question the reason for the stacked ranks of the ugly, airtight, grey-green boxes. Is someone somewhere expecting a massive body count? And, if so, why? The veracity of the video is hard to question. A simple handheld camcorder shoots continuously from a vehicle driving along a two-lane backroad in broad daylight. The coffins are in plain sight, right in the open, piled geometrically for hundreds of yards. We appear to have a mystery, especially when an extensive Google search reveals that, aside from a single brief squib on WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, the story of the coffins in the field has failed to surface anywhere in the mainstream media. The line between curiosity and paranoia, however, can be hard to define, so I proceed with caution.


A dispassionate review of the facts makes clear that, if a large number of coffins had to be stockpiled in anticipation of some ultra-dire national emergency, Atlanta would be a good place to do it. It is a major confluence for road, rail, and air traffic. Hartsfield Jackson is one of the nation’s biggest and busiest hubs for commercial aviation. Atlanta is also home to the Centers for Disease Control. Is it the CDC that knows something we don’t? Is a plague expected and no one is telling us? As radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones wrote on his website Prison Planet, “I don’t want to alarm anyone, but usually you don’t buy 500,000 plastic coffins just in case something happens; You buy them because you know something is going to happen.”


I discover a link to a site called the Neithercorp web forum where the Atlanta coffins are under constant discussion. I’m informed that a possible manufacturer of the coffins is Vantage Products Corporation in Covington, Georgia, and the unsubstantiated plot thickens when I learn that Vantage is allegedly a government contractor, a spin-off of DuPont, and has a chief legal officer who was supposedly a former Monsanto bigwig. Unfortunately, the possible conspiracy deflates with word from a poster using the pseudonym “dingoistheman” who claims to live near the coffin dump. “These things have been there for 10 years. There has never been any activity on the site since they brought them in.” Did I really need to call the CDC for an official statement that the coffins had nothing to do with them, and a denial that we were all going to die from bird flu this winter? Instead I followed another set of links to YouTube. And, to my surprise, the conspiracy suddenly re-inflated itself tenfold.


With a combination of delight and dismay, I learned that the video clip I had already seen was only one among many. It was simple and linear, but many of the others I found on YouTube were professional-quality productions. I discovered that they were not only raising all the possible questions posed by the half million coffins in Atlanta, but also offering some truly horrific answers.


The basis of this YouTube crew’s collective theory is a near-unthinkable power scenario. It may be paranoia, but it’s high-impact. Sometime before he’s scheduled to leave office next January, George W. Bush will engineer an epic pretext to suspend the Constitution, cancel or nullify the November elections, and declare martial law. Normally a coup is when a military junta – like the fictional Pentagon plot in the movie classic Seven Days in May – deposes the civilian authority and seizes power, but Bush can seemingly be counted on to reverse the traditional sequence. According to these uploads on YouTube, he is going to use the military to ensure that he and his cronies remain in permanent command, world without end. And the coffins in Atlanta – plus more on other sites around mainland USA – will be used for disposal of those executed in the bloody aftermath of the coming Bush putsch.


Either a war with Iran, or a massively violent incident on the same scale as the falling towers of 9/11, will become the pretext to round up millions of supposed “terrorists,” “terrorist sympathizers,” and “dissidents,” and either execute them or imprison them in concentration camps run by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency). This at least is the story, as presented by these YouTube videos – created by individuals and groups with names like pushforfreedom, earthlasthope, or razzaq19 – and comes with a wealth of detail. According to these YouTube subversives, the Department of Homeland Security already has comprehensive lists that divide the population into three color-coded categories.
Those with the designation “Red” have no chance. Anyone who has opposed George Bush during his eight-year reign will be arrested – dragged from bed in the dark of night, face covered, protest muffled by black hood – and held for extermination. The “Blue” category is reserved for less-threatening malcontents, petty criminals, and the rank and file followers of “Reds.” They will be held for forced labor and re-education in the joys of totalitarian capitalism. The final, and by far the largest group, are the “Yellow,” the already docile, who Kenn Thomas, of the online conspiracy magazine Steamshovel Press, describes in an interview with Karmapolis magazine in Belgium as “happy, SUV-driving, George Bush-supporting McCitizens who have no need for a tank to be pointed at them in order to get them to obey.” To view the full theoretical horror, one only has to run a YouTube search for “FEMA coffins” or “FEMA concentration camps.”

FEMA figures significantly in this whole simmering mythology. Its sweeping emergency powers are continuously cited as the crucial Trojan horse that disguises the infiltration mechanisms of the great and global – but probably fictional – oppression of what’s known in the conspiracy subworld as the New World Order. This, though, is nothing new. Conspiracy veterans recall how, in the Clinton era of the 1990s, FEMA and the New World Order loomed large in the “black helicopter” fantasies of the paranoid far right. Back in the 20th century, the militia movement, readers of The Turner Dairies, and extreme evangelicals were convinced that Bill Clinton would choreograph a phony national emergency, all the excuse needed for FEMA, supported by United Nations troops (usually from Turkey and Pakistan) to invade the country and deprive Americans of their national sovereignty as power was ceded to the NWO.


The New World Order is a more venerable preoccupation than even FEMA. It has cast its murky and threatening shadow for more than a century, perpetually poised to steal power from both hereditary dynasties and elected governments. At various times it has supposedly been controlled by Freemasons, Fabians, the British royal family, the alleged Elders of Zion, munitions barons, Communists, Nazis, Trilateralists, the Bilderberg Group, and – at furthest stretch – extraterrestrials from Zeta Reticuli. Mercifully, the NWO has always remained an apparent figment of the paranoid mindset. FEMA, on the other hand, is uncomfortably real. It was created by Jimmy Carter’s 1979 executive order to bring civil defense and disaster preparedness under one roof, and the unprecedented power it acquired in the process is well-recognized as potentially disastrous if it ever fell into the wrong hands. And many of this YouTube crew firmly believe, if George Bush and his Department of Homeland Security control FEMA, it is now in the worst possible hands.


Even the supposition that any fear of FEMA would have died after the debacle of the agency’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and the 2005 flooding of New Orleans, does nothing to allay the apprehension of the YouTube crew. They claim that the whole NOLA mess was merely a smokescreen. As Kenn Thomas put it, again in Karmapolis, “When George Bush patted former FEMA management head Michael Brown on the back and said ‘Good job!’ he was rubbing it in, announcing that he really didn’t give a damn about taking responsibility for Katrina’s aftermath.” On YouTube, the accusations go further. Sixteen hundred people were confirmed dead (before the search of New Orleans’s attics was discontinued), and the lower Ninth Ward was deliberately allowed to turn into a toxic swamp, to conceal FEMA’s real capabilities. The agency will function with brutal efficiency if so required by its political masters.


When first confronted by this elaborate conspiracy theorizing, the whole idea seems far-fetched and hideously implausible. Even the smirking Bush could not actually bring himself to initiate a holocaust that would deliberately take the lives of millions of Americans. Could he? Unfortunately Bush could, if he so desired. Much of what the conspiracy theorizers’ fear is already – under current federal law – more than theoretically possible. The President of the United States already has what amounts to dictatorial power. In February of this year, environmentalist Lewis Seiler and former congressman Dan Hamburg published a scary compendium of Bush’s extraordinary powers in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissenters (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse,” they wrote.


The Bush power grab began within hours of the towers falling on 9/11, when Bush put down The Pet Goat and issued his “Declaration of Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks” as defined by the National Emergencies Act. This sweeping declaration could be rescinded by joint resolution of Congress, but has actually been extended six times. In 2007, the declaration was quietly strengthened by National Security Presidential Directive 51, which gave the president the power to do whatever he deemed necessary in a vaguely defined “catastrophic emergency,” from canceling elections and suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Seiler and Hamburg cite how the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) gives the executive the power to invoke martial law, and “the Military Commissions Act of 2006 – rammed through Congress before the 2006 midterm elections – allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a ‘terrorist’ organization, or speaks out against government policies.” Seiler and Hamburg continue grimly, “The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike.”


If the coffins in that Georgia field were the only evidence supporting fears of a Bush dictatorship, the entire scenario might be dismissed out of hand. Regrettably that is not the case. The coffin videos are not alone. They are flanked on YouTube by similar footage of a complete and extensive U.S. gulag with camps and prison trains. The paranoia crew offers what purport to be mindbending outlaw tapes of FEMA prison trains, grim but brand-new, double-decker railcars allegedly manufactured by Gunderson Steel in Portland, Oregon, complete with shackles for prisoners and guard shacks at each end. Actual FEMA concentration camps, with full complements of guards, stadium lights, gleaming razor wire, and huge AGA gas furnaces, are supposedly ready to accept inmates. All this makes dismissal difficult. When the images are on the Internet for all to see, it’s hard to argue with groups like the Friends of Liberty who claim “over 800 prison camps in the United States are all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners should Martial Law need to be implemented. All it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the Attorney General’s signature on a warrant.”


The scenarios of the YouTube crew and the Friends of Liberty are also supported by Seiler and Hamburg, again in the San Francisco Chronicle, as they quote the claims of diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott that “beginning in 1999, the government entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of rail cars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees. According to the KBR contract the work is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of ‘all removable aliens’ and ‘potential terrorists.’”


In another blast from the past, the legal underpinning for something like ENDGAME in fact dates back to Orwell-apocryphal 1984, when, in the basement of the Ronald Reagan White House, Oliver North and National Guard Colonel Louis Giuffrida, in preparation for a possible invasion of the Sandinista-controlled Nicaragua, devised a plan called REX 84 to “crush national opposition to any military action abroad” by the sus­pension of the Constitution, the turning of control of the govern­ment over to FEMA, and “internment in concentration camps of up to 100,000 ille­gal immigrants and political dissidents.” At the time, columnist Jack Anderson warned it would “clamp Americans in a totalitarian vice.”


The seeds for REX 84 were originally planted during the Kennedy administration, when Executive Order 11051 provided for suspension of the Constitution and martial law in the event of nuclear attack. Under Richard Nixon it was expanded to cover multiple national emergencies including civil insurrec­tions. Finally North and Giuffrida redefined it so it could be activated by the president alone, causing professor Diana Reynolds of Northeastern University to comment, “America is only a presidential directive away from a civil secu­rity state of emergency.” Although Iran-Contra investigations sidelined REX 84, it remains on the books.


History again repeats itself in that the majority of these YouTube videos, warning us about REX 84, ENDGAME, and a possible American tyranny, are posted by conservatives and right wingers. Many are also veterans of the 9/11 Truth movement who refuse to accept the official accounts of the attacks on Lower Manhattan and the Pentagon. Ron Paul’s name is often invoked, with followers of the libertarian-leaning presidential contender fearing they will be arrested and victimized as a result of their break with Bush/McCain Republican neo-orthodoxy. Others see the neocon takeover of the party as a step on the road to dictatorship, while still more, recalling the carnage at the Weaver farm on Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, distrust the federal government under any president. In this they are not alone. A recent Scripps Howard/Ohio University national poll of 1,010 adults revealed that “anger against the federal government is at record levels,” with 54 percent responding that they “personally are more angry at the government than they used to be.” The poll also found that more than a third of those contacted suspected that the feds under Bush either “assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them.”


But anxiety over the Bush regime moving toward tyranny and dictatorship is not by any means limited to the right. Progressive intellectuals like “third-wave” feminist Naomi Wolf also issue warnings. “Beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable – that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realize.” In her book The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, she spells out the 10 steps needed for a fascist takeover, from propaganda-induced fear to a complete suspension of the rule of law, and she is quoted in more than one of the YouTube conspiracy videos.


None of the YouTube crew has so far quoted alternative press veteran Joe Conason. His 2007 book It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush does not totally agree that a Bush coup is hard upon us, but claims to sense a move in that direction. “For the first time since the resignation of Richard M. Nixon more than three decades ago, Americans have had reason to doubt the future of democracy and the rule of law in our own country. Today we live in a state of tension between the enjoyment of traditional freedoms, including the protections afforded to speech and person by the Bill of Rights, and the disturbing realization that those freedoms have been undermined and may be abrogated at any moment.”


A dispassionate evaluation of whether this fear is paranoid fantasy or potentially terrifying reality is crucial. It’s a lurid tale, but do we seriously believe Blackwater storm troopers in ski masks and combat boots are about to kick down our doors in the dead of night? The evidence of the plastic coffins, the Gunderson Steel railcars, the KBR detention camps all comes from unorthodox sources, but it comes in sufficient quantity, and with enough plausible detail, to have an uncomfortable credibility, especially at a time when – with pitifully few exceptions – “legitimate” news sources have lost the cowboy courage to investigate any story that does not have a publicist attached. Paranoia, of course, requires a massive vanity. The ultimate narcissism is the belief that any one of us might pose such a threat to our leaders they will have to execute us or confine us in concentration camps. The argument could also be made that, after eight years of Bush, the national psyche is so badly bruised by the serial punishment of lies, deception, and vicious neocon ideology, we will believe our leaders capable of any iniquity. America has been stumbling through the miasma of neocon mistakes, cover-ups, and misinformation for so long that it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s not.
The comfortable course is to reject the YouTube paranoia crew as a collection of psychotic obsessives. Thinking the unthinkable is hard enough, but believing and preparing for it is even more difficult. On the other hand, to write off the video evidence as well-executed fakery is also tempting, but the clips are so damned believable it isn’t easy. Plus coordinating them would have been an extraordinarily mammoth task. With the whiff of madness on both sides, the mind casts around for alternatives. If, for the sake of argument, we accept the images on YouTube as tacit proof the federal government has indeed been stockpiling coffins, commissioning detention camps, and building custom railcars to deliver prisoners to those camps, does that automatically mean a totalitarian coup is at hand? Is it in any way possible that a gulag could really have been built, but then not used?
The observation has more than once been made that the Bush/Cheney administration is an alliance of fools, fanatics, and crooks. Would it be possible that the crooks sold the unthinkable to the fanatics?


KBR/Halliburton has already given Bush and his neocon cronies a hugely expensive and hugely profitable war in Iraq. Would it be that hard to pitch an equally profitable, black-budget domestic fascism to the neocon ilk of Paul Wolfowitz, Max Boot, or John Bolton? They already have a philosophical contempt for the masses, and a fetishized worship of power. Perhaps the gulag was commissioned, but enough of the fools (and maybe the Pentagon) had enough vestigial humanity to shy away from a complete plunge into totalitarian horror, leaving those who like that kind of thing in need of a sufficiently grandiose excuse.


This story has no reassuring end. Three alternatives stare back at us. Either a crew of Ron Paul supporters and others are running a great anti-Bush/McCain Internet fraud. Or the FEMA camps exist but the neocons have yet to find the evil heart to use them. Or the Blackwater thugs will shortly be dragging us away. While friends and neighbors are not actually being disappeared, we can breathe easy and not need to study routes to Canada. While I can still write this story and have it published, democracy is still in shape and functioning. Of course, if I was to suddenly vanish it would mean........*


Mick Farren blogs at http://doc40.blogspot.com/.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Notes on Ike/Traincrash

I am right now looking at the KHOU-TV/Houston Stormtracker. It is a remarkable application and whoever installed it at the KHOU website should get a medal.

It is about 8:34 in LA..half past 10 in Houston. That city is getting the brunt of the storm right now. The strongest squalls are in the Houston area as I speak with winds at 75mph+. Thos wids extemd all the way from Port O'Connor, TX to just outside of Lake Charles, LA. This is one massive mutha.

One kid already died when a tree fell on him. He will be forever 10.

The storm is bringing wind and rain as far north as Dallas, as far east as Baton Rouge, and as far west as San Antonio. The eye should hit Galveston by Midnight Texas time.

We also had tragedy here in LA. As many as 15 people have died in a crash between a commuter train and a frieght. About 30 people were injured and there may be more dead bodies in the wreckage.

According to KABC-TV/Los Angeles:

Both trains were derailed Friday afternoon. Seven freight cars derailed, and the locomotive and one passenger car of the Metrolink train were knocked over. The collision occurred at approximately 4:25 p.m. The cause of the collision was not known.

The collision happened near Rinaldi Street, east of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and west of Canoga Avenue near Stoney Point Park, just south of the 118 Freeway near the Ventura County line. Firefighters set up a triage staging area at the park.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa arrived on scene later in the evening for a briefing from incident officials. He spoke to reporters at the triage area in the park.

Mayor Villaraigosa estimated there were more than 300 L.A. City firefighters on scene, five county helicopters, in addition to multiple L.A. Police Dept. assets. There is a citywide tactical alert in effect until the crisis is resolved.

Mayor Villaraigosa estimated there may be as many as 10 to 15 fatalities and 50 to 60 injuries, but those numbers were not confirmed.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local&id=6388256

It's been a rough day.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Again???

As of 2 p.m. Saturday, Hurricane Ike is just north of Hati, and just east of the southern Bahamas. Ike has top winds of 115 mph, with strong gusts to near Category 4 strength. Ike continues to move west-southwest, threatening the southern Bahamas and Cuba during the next few days.
Ike is under the influence of strong winds high up. These winds, called wind shear, is keeping Ike from gaining intensity. In order to imagine wind shear, think of putting a sock in your car's tailpipe. Obviously, you will choke and kill the engine. And a hurricane is that, an engine. If the wind shear is stronger, that would be like putting a thicker sock in the tailpipe. Right now, the wind shear is strong, but the engine is strong enough to blast through the sock; so, its effects on Ike are toned down some. The wind shear will weaken considerably as Ike moves towards Cuba in the coming days.

Right now, it looks like Ike will miss a direct hit on Florida. Perhaps even the Florida Keys will be spared. Northern Cuba, however, looks like it will bear the brunt of Ike. There are a lot of hills in Cuba. Ike will be largely impacted by these hills, causing it to weaken quite a bit. Then, Ike is expected to turn to the northwest, right into the Gulf of Mexico, that's the last place we want to see another hurricane.

Wind shear will be marginal by the time Ike enters the gulf. The ocean waters have recovered since Hurricane Gustav. As Ike moves northwest, it will likely gain strength. Ike could rapidly intensify. And, without the shear, we could see Ike strengthen more than Gustav--which was largely impacted by wind shear.

Ike is expected to be a major hurricane as it near New Orleans by Thursday and Friday of next week. There is still much uncertainty to its exact path, but it does look like another major storm will hit somewhere along the gulf coast later next week.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Elephant in the Room (full video)

Thanks to my friend jyoop for this:

The Elephant in the Room is a documentary following British filmmaker Dean Puckett through his journey into the 9/11 Truth Movement: a global movement of 'conspiracy theorists' who believe that the official explanation about what happened on 9/11 is totally or partially inaccurate. The filmmakers travel from middle England, across Europe and to New York for the six year anniversary of the attacks, where the film takes one final twist as we are introduced to the 9/11 first responders who are suffering from various grave health difficulties due to the toxic dust that they breathed in trying to help their country during the weeks after this tragic event. Told with a personal hands on approach that avoids advancing any one position, the film asks the question: are these crazy conspiracy theorists? Or is 9/11 Truth a credible political movement?

http://www.nosmokewithoutfire.co.uk

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Brain droppings for 9.2.08

I hope you guys had a happy Labour Day. I didn't.

*Memo to the brain trusts at Yahoo, Multiply, Google, News Corp/MySpace, etc: Stop deleteing my friends. It irritates me so, and since some of us are beginning to learn how to make money, we may some day buy your sorry asses.

If we pervs/free-thinkers/evolved ever left your wonderful sites, that would be really hard to explain to your advertisers why your memberbship rolls dropped, say 20%. And to those advertisers who capitulate to the Righteous Flock, just remember: WE have other choices too. And WE will start using them if YOU do not cater to US.

*The age of consent in Alaska is SIXTEEN. Please get off Sarah's back on this one. Thank you.

*If the jerk who divorced your sister was still on the payroll, YOU'D fire him too. Please get off Sarah's back on THAT one too.

*She wants to drill in Anwar. Stay on Sarah's back on that one till it breaks.

*New Orleans was spared. The rest of Louisiana was not. Everyone did thier jobs well. Seems lessons were learned. Thank God.

*Have you noticed the new trend between Obama and McCain.....it's civility and respect. Here's hoping the conservativeliberals learn it.

*Who created that set for the GOP convention, Chuck at Home Depot?

Love you all

dp