Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Operation Wallet

Washington (CNN) -- The Department of Defense recently purchased and destroyed thousands of copies of an Army Reserve officer's memoir in an effort to safeguard state secrets, a spokeswoman said Saturday.

"DoD decided to purchase copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security," Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham said.

In a statement to CNN, Cunningham said defense officials observed the September 20 destruction of about 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's new memoir "Operation Dark Heart."

--- It's that time again. Remember Anthony Shaffer? He was the "confidential source" used by Curt Weldon in Weldon's Countdown to Terror, a book supposedly exposing other dark secrets of the government, the operation "Able Danger" the left/progressives went wild over for a minute.

Weldon served in the House (R-PA) from 1987-2006 (also vice-chair of the Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee, and co-chair of the Duma-Congress Study Group, the official inter-parliamentary relationship between the United States and Russia.)

I mentioned Shaffer in this August 2005 KAB post, so I believe I can just use the same idea from 5 years ago, why not - the "activists" and "truth to power" people keep using the same formula for the same phony outrage.

My ending paragraph from that blog post: "Weldon + Shaffer = tabloid news = another distraction. Watch for my future exposé : Countdown to Another Phony Book While Planning the Real Bad Things For America: Top-Secrets Leaking Like a Sieve As Fast As We Can Write Them ... and How the People Eat it Up."

Forget the left/right progressive or whatever spin about Pentagon book burning, censorship, truthsayers, etc. etc. Here's the real scoop: Operation Dark..." is published by St. Martin's Press which is the textbook subsidiary of Macmillan Publishers which is owned by Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, a Stuggart-based holding company.

Georg von Holtzbrinck (joined National Socialist German Students' League in 1931) established a German book club back then and the von Holtzbrincks have been buying publishing houses worldwide ever since. Today run by inherited billionaire Stefan von H.

(That reminds me, many years ago when my oldest daughter was in her teens, an old fellow told her to make sure she married a man with a good job. She told him something we did not teach her ... she said she didn't want a man with a job - she wanted a man with an inheritance.)

Now with that worthless info aside ... the truth is that some bigwig in the aforesaid publishing houses called some bigwig buddy in government/DOD and said we got a pointless book we need to hype so you buy the first 10,000 printing (minus the ones we send to reviewers) and let the media know DOD is "book burning."

Yep, with dozens already in the hands of reviewers, who are already publishing excepts from the uncensored first run version, it seems kind of stupid to buy up the remaining 9,500. But I suppose it will make those 500 floating around more valuable, for at least a week.

I hear Wikileaks has a coveted first printing copy. Another thing - average first hardback printing for an unknown/unproven author is rarely more than 5000 (everyone waits for the paperback).

Rumors are the Pentagon paid $250,000 for the books and another $45,000 to pulp or burn them. That's a good margin for the publisher as the book is pre-selling for $14 on Amazon. And in a couple of months you will be able to buy the book for $3 in the can't-give-it-away bin at Barnes and Noble.

But ditto what I said years ago, people eat it up.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Paved With Intentions

Census figures for 2009, to be released Thursday, are expected to show that the poverty rate soared last year to nearly 15 percent. One out of every seven Americans is now living below the official poverty level, the highest proportion since the 1960s. One in five American children is living in poverty.

The Associated Press reported the sharp rise in the poverty rate after interviewing six demographers who have been tracking the preliminary census figures, and finding “wide consensus that 2009 figures are likely to show a significant rate increase to the range of 14.7 percent to 15 percent.”

That rate would indicate that some 45 million people were living below the official poverty line in 2009. The official poverty level, an annual income of $22,000 for a family of four, grossly understates the income required for a decent life. The real number of people living in actual economic distress is much higher, probably over 100 million.

The rise in the poverty rate from 13.2 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2009 is the largest year-on-year increase since the US government began collecting such statistics in 1959. The previous largest increase came in 1980, a year of double-digit inflation.

Conditions in the poorest large city in America, Detroit, give a glimpse of the future for wide layers of the working class. Several thousand people lined up at a west side Detroit church Saturday to get free bags of groceries and school supplies. Parents with small children, retirees and low-income workers starting lining up at 8 a.m. for the event that started at 11 a.m., and the queue circled around the city block.

----- Fact is, the US poverty rates from 1959-2006 have ranged between 12-22%, and went just over 15% in 1995. The 22% was 1959. Gotta wonder if the statisticians adjusted how they defined poverty or if the federally funded "war on poverty" was a tremendous success.

As for Detroit, we know what went on there (white flight) and what is going on now. Detroit is today 82% black, 12% white, the remainder "other." It also boasts a family household statistic of 74% "female, no husband present." You can find similar poverty stats for cities like Milwaukee and Cincinnati. That 74% is approximately the same illegitimate birthrate for black America (okay, out-of-wedlock if you insist).

In 1995 Detroit's unemployment rates were also double the national average. That was just after Detroit's first black mayor, 5-term Coleman Young, finally retired.

Many of Detroit's problems could be laid to rest at the feet of "progressive dissident" Coleman Young, power broker, and mayor from 1973-1994. Maybe Young did some good things for Detroit, I try to find the fruit of the tree. He did add more black cops.

He eliminated STRESS (Stop the Robberies and Enjoy Safe Streets), a unit of white cops accused of violent racism against black youth. Although Detroit is still notorious for excessive force. It's just now it's more likely black cops killing blacks so ...

Young was accused of taking kickbacks but was a fierce and often successful advocate for federal pork projects. Many felt he was the mayor of black Detroit, not white Detroit. Young blamed Detroit's postwar (WWII) decline on white racism and claimed his strident black rhetoric did not interfere with his call for racial unity.

By 1976 though the social activist turned mayor Coleman was described by The Workers Advocate as a "... lackey of monopoly capital."

Many whites felt Young hated whites and did whatever he could to screw them over. And sometimes he probably did - but - I think Young was a man on that famous road of good intentions; he just carried too much racial baggage for too long, alienated too many who could have been allies, and felt blacks were owed a debt, and in that I think he set the tone and policies for much of what turned Detroit into a toilet. Dennis Archer, Detroit's second black mayor and Clinton friend, couldn't seem to turn the city around after 2 terms in office, if he even bothered to try. And then came Kwame.

Some believe Young did not marshal his political energy in constructive ways, some believe he was misunderstood. Jimmy Carter called Young "one of the greatest mayors our country has known." In his biography Young spoke openly of his disdain for "pansy ass liberals", Walter Ruether, the white suburban media, the FBI, and the federal government as a whole. Carter would have been a pansy - but Carter promised Coleman a lot of CETA (Comprehensive Employment Training Act) funds and he backed Carter's campaign.

My opinion - Detroit will turn itself around when the people turn themselves around. Ain't nobody and no federally funded program going to do it for you. Ditto for other failed towns and cities. And you might want to do it soon folks because you're losing you base of sympathizers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Other 9/11

Another September 11 that the progressive/left like to discuss is September 11, 1973 - the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile. With the usual US/CIA bad guys behind it. Particularly with alleged declassified documents that show funds and sterile weapons were handed to Allende's opponents to assist in a coup. A coup the same documents show the US decided it wanted no part of and aborted after the botched kidnapping and killing of Rene Schneider, head of the Chilean military. With Schneider's death, Allende won the election by 39,000 votes.

What the one-siders fail to mention is the part the Soviets played in Chile during that time period.

Vasili Mitrokhin (1922-2004) worked for 30 years in foreign intelligence, archivist for the KGB where, at great risk to himself, he made notes of the contents of highly secret files that passed through his hands. Over many years, he assembled a huge collection of material, some in manuscript and some typed. He retired from his job in 1985, never officially defected; he left Russia in 1992 after the fall of the USSR. In 1999 Mitrokhin published his material in The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. He first approached the American embassy around 1992 but the CIA was not convinced he was credible, however, the British were and helped relocate him, his family and the retrieval of his documents.

Remember though, this was during the Clinton/Gore era of peace and prosperity and the headiness of having "won" the Cold War, etc. which may have influenced the CIA's reception of an old codger with reams and reams of paperwork on decades of KGB activity, or because US intelligence, after the fall of the USSR had more talkative "defectors" than they could handle. Or maybe the CIA just isn't as spyful as it was in its youth. After all, the CIA has done very little to thwart the recent rise of "socialists" to power in Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, etc.

Now, granted, we could say Mitrokhin the man spent a lifetime making up things, hiding and hoarding tens of thousands of documents and notes in tin containers under his floor boards, that he invented the intel from the creative recesses of his own mind. Or, he might have genuine KGB information. After publication, the FBI described the archive as "the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source."

In the Mitrokhin Archives, Svyatoslav Kuznetsov, KGB case officer in Chile during Allende, noted that "In the KGB's view, Allende's fundamental error was his unwillingness to use force against his opponents. Without establishing complete control over all the machinery of the State, his hold on power could not be secure... According to Allende's KGB file, he "was made to understand the necessity of reorganizing Chile's army and intelligence services, and of setting up a relationship between Chile's and the USSR's intelligence services", and he was said to react positively... In 1972, Moscow downgraded its assessment of the prospects of the Allende regime. The "truckers' strike", backed by CIA funding, virtually paralyzed the economy for three weeks, which Moscow saw as evidence of the weakness of the Popular Unity (Allende's) government.

Allende was the first Marxist anywhere in the world to win power through the ballot box. He was unlike any stereotype of a Marxist leader. During his visits to Havana in the 1960s, he had been privately mocked by Castro's entourage for his aristocratic tastes: fine wines, expensive objets d'art, well-cut suits and elegantly dressed women. Allende was also a womanizer. He was described as "a gallant with a touch of the old school about him, perfumed notes and furtive rendezvous."

Despite the private mockery which was aroused in Allende's Communist allies, however, his bourgeois appearance and expensive lifestyle were electoral assets, reassuring middle-class voters that their lives would continue normally under an Allende presidency. As even his opponents acknowledged, he had enormous personal charm.

In October 1971, on instructions from the Politburo, Allende was given $30,000 "in order to solidify the trusted relations" with him. Allende also mentioned to Kuznetsov his desire to acquire "one or two icons" for his private art collection. He was presented with two icons as a gift.

---- A man of the people - or an aristocratic fop for himself? Or the typical politician... looking for trusted relations.

In 1972 the mounting evidence of chronic economic mismanagement made Moscow reluctant to provide large-scale support.

The KGB later complained that Allende paid too little attention to its warnings of an impending disaster. When Pinochet and a junta launched their coup in the early hours of 11 September, the Communist leadership, who had also been kept informed by the KGB, were better prepared than Allende.

Allende, however, failed to live up to his promise six weeks earlier to summon the people to arms to defend his regime. Instead of seeking support in the working-class areas of Santiago, he based himself in the presidential offices in La Moneda, where he was defended by only 50 to 60 of his Cuban-trained guards and half a dozen officers from the Servicio de Investigaciones. Allende’s lack of preparation to deal with the coup partly derived from his preference for improvisation over advance planning. His French confidant, Régis Debray, later claimed that he "never planned anything more than 48 hours in advance."

Conspiracy buffs prefer to believe that Allende was murdered by Pinochet's men, but "In reality, it seems almost certain that, faced with inevitable defeat, Allende sat on a sofa in the Independence Salon of La Moneda, placed the muzzle of an automatic rifle (a present from Castro) beneath his chin and blew his brains out."

---- But isn't this what it seems to always come down to? One superpower or the other is going to control the game. Does the domino theory make more sense now? Do you really think the US will be better off as #2? Or are you dufus enough to believe no one is planning to fill the #1 spot? No matter how you look at it, you can squint, wear tinted lenses, cross your eyes but - eventually you have to pick a side. And if you choose the losing side, and there's always a losing side, you may end up on the couch with a muzzle under your chin, especially if your efforts to redistribute wealth result in stagnant production, food shortages, rising inflation, and widespread strikes.

(The backlashes are a bitch - to wit Pinochet, a rancid man. Oddly enough, Mexican drug lords and corrupt officials have murdered more civilians than Pinochet but the American "left" hasn't noticed - or think the solution is open borders and legalization of drugs.)

Régis Debray is/was the 1960s "radical" who's name usually shows up whenever reading romanticized b.s. about Cuba, Fidel, Che, Allende, Bolivia, Chile, etc. A guerrilla warrior with a pen, a sort of traveling cheerleader for revolutions. I probably have a couple of his works in a box in the attic smelling as musty as his ideas.

When "leftist" Francois Mitterrand was elected president of France in 1981 he appointed Debray as a "special adviser" on foreign affairs. "At first sight it was an odd choice. After what had happened to Guevara and Allende, Debray could hardly be seen as a lucky mascot. And given the quality of his previous predictions, the standard of advice he could offer was scarcely guaranteed.

It seems more likely that Mitterrand imagined that Debray's reputation would enhance the president's "left" image while he pursued ever more right wing policies. Debray did, however, do a number of odd jobs for Mitterrand, and acted as ghost writer: "I could churn out kilometers of pure Mitterrand nonstop." Debray finally resigned in 1988, noting that there was nothing socialist or even republican about Mitterrand's policies. True enough, but he took his time noticing it."

---- Hmmm, I guess the "left" is often smitten for those presidents with a "left image" who pursue right wing policies. Remind you of anyone in US politics recently?

In Debray's autobiography Tears of a Clown he bashes the Soviets, Castro, and Che. The "world-weary French writer and ex-revolutionary turned minor statesman" today writes about himself and other uninteresting topics, brooding that the left is not left enough, but too comfortable and too old now for trotting behind phony revolutions. Rumor is Debray has apparently came "to a total rejection of the idea that collective human action could change the world for the better." Well he should, he's 70.

But then ... some folks have always instinctually known that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Post 9/11 Thinking

After 9 years has your thinking changed in regard to the who, why, wherefore of the terrorist attacks? Do you believe the official story, the 911Truthers, or some religious icon or prophet of disaster?

I still believe there were "insiders" involved in the attack or had prior knowledge - but have changed my idea on who that might be. They may have been members of the US government or ruling class - but I don't think it is necessarily BushCo. In fact, I think the guilty parties would be names the public is not generally familiar with, perhaps even people with great wealth and clout, yet may or may not be American born.

Also, as for the "how" it's plausible to me because many many people were simply not doing their job. Hard to connect the dots when half the dots fall through the cracks because of incompetence and sheer laziness at the state and federal employee level. So many want a fat paycheck and prestige but not actually have to work for it.

The mantra that the US was attacked because "they hate our freedom" is not enough motive. Although in an abstract sort of way, it might be possible, if freedom were defined as our right to think for ourselves - those who want to control the US wouldn't want us thinking ... and therefore might deplore that trait in us, but most Americans haven't practiced that freedom in the last 50 years, although they swear they think for themselves.

While so many like to cite and/or interpret our failure to follow the foreign policy beliefs of the "founding fathers" I no longer feel our foreign policy is a valid motive either. Attacked because we have troops in Saudi Arabia? Puleeeeeze.

Recently I reread some of the writings of Jefferson, Adams, and Washington's farewell address and think it's a false argument when someone uses the notion that Washington's warning of "foreign entanglements" is an admonishment to avoid foreign wars like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Once a believer, I now think the argument that we were attacked because of our foreign policy is the dumbest of dumb ideas. It may be an excuse, but it's not a motive. People looking for excuses always find one, no matter how flimsy or unbelievable, and a grain or two of truth makes it seem on the surface more plausible.

I get the impression that George Washington's idea of avoiding foreign entanglement, was a warning to not be so politically entangled with other nations that the republic would be influenced, particularly by Europe. Understandable as he had just fought the British empire. He believed free trade and free men would set the example. And both of those have dwindled in the last few decades.

Washington was issuing a warning to followers of Franklin and Jefferson, both Francophiles, and the French Revolution going on at the time. The founding fathers were also surrounded by dozens of delegates to the Continental Congress, most had extensive political experience, many with military service, many with European ties. If Washington put his finger in the air in the 1790s I'm sure he felt there were men around him who had not cut the umbilical cord to Europe. Many wanting to be actively involved in the French Revolution, which was not as successful as America's - giving France the guillotine, Robespierre, a reign of terror, and the anti-monarchy revolutionaries who thought naming Napoleon commander-in-chief of the army and then First Consul was a good idea. Contrary to popular bumper stickers the French have never got it right.

The words and writings of the founding fathers must be taken in context of the era and what was politically going on around them. If anything, George Washington sounded more isolationist than anti-war. At the time of his farewell address the US didn't have much of a standing army or navy and he believed a strict neutrality would keep the peace.

The founding fathers and their immediate successors had no problem waging war. Jefferson's Barbary or Tripolitan Wars, the War of 1812, meddling in Hawaii, the domestic Indian Wars, the Mexican-American War, the Monroe Doctrine.

But, back to motive of 9/11. I can think of only 2 viable motives. One is, there are extremists who enjoy perpetrating death and mayhem on others, even if for no other reason than thrill killing. There are hate-filled people in the world who create suffering because they take pleasure in it. Secondly, there are those who would like to collapse the US in order to save it, or slave it. If the two factions work in collusion, or if one uses the other ... they could easily pull off a 9/11 and confuse the hell out of the American public for eternity. And the more confused an American is the more loudly he will shout his certainty about everything.

Another thought I factor in, if 9/11 was an inside job, is the perpetrators would put figureheads in place who lead no trail back to them. That alone would absolve Bush/Cheney of being the inside jobbers. Bush in place because he was slow-witted enough to do as told, Cheney because he could be manipulated by perps who are much more clever.

The "war for oil" meme sounded good initially but it was apparent early on that the US would not be the beneficiaries of the bulk of Iraq/Afghanistan oil and gas. Yes, US companies are getting contracts, but China and Russia are reaping the biggest rewards.

What surprises me sometimes is that no one in positions of power or with a respectable soapbox has even proffered the idea that the US was infiltrated decades ago by those wishing to destroy the country from within. Looking at the social and political insanity today, is that such a far-fetched idea? Of course, anyone who would or does make the suggestion is quickly branded a bigot, or a -phobe of some sort.

Glenn Beck may come close with valid ideas on "infiltration" but he puts most of it at the feet of ObamaCo and infuses too much God rhetoric. Obama and company, like the last dozen or so presidents, are figureheads, who do as their advisors advise, the advisors getting their advice from advisors who got advice from their advisors and so on until only god knows where the advice really comes from. And God, well, some people need god, some people behave better with a god, and some of us are turned off by godspeak. Beck is dopey when he stops the buck at Obama or Bill Ayers or Van Jones or the dozens of other metrosexual radicals at Barry's elbow. They are all only water carriers for the real artists of change, and probably believe the b.s. coming from their own lips, and believe they formed their ideology by deep thought and intellect, not propaganda and narrowed thinking.

Honestly, sometimes I think I need to better research the McCarthy era as he may have been on to something.

What to make of the recent arrests of Russian spies? One was Vicky Peláez who "spent more than 20 years working as a columnist for one of the New York's best known Spanish-language newspapers, El Diario. Her specialty was strident criticism of US policy in Latin America, with a strong defence of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez." Is that part of the "insiders"? Part of the change to the mindset of mainstream Joe Blow - make US bad, and the socialist world warm and do-goody? How many others with a "specialty" live, love, breed, and promote their ideas among us?

If these "spies" are just a sliver of a titanic iceberg ... a second generation of them just might feel they are Americans with a better ideology. In some ways it justifies to me why the US deported or interned Germans, Italians, Japanese, etc in WWII. For how certain can one be of the loyalty an immigrant truly holds when his native country or that of his parents is at war with the US? For decades I've known foreign folks who believe the US should do certain things the way it is done in the country they fled - and some of those things have changed to accommodate these folks in the name of "tolerance." Of course, it also drags the US toward the same sociopolitical structure of those godawful countries immigrants are running from.

We have went from a nation run by intelligent knowledgeable men to one run by pols who think there are 58 states and do not know that Arizona borders Mexico. A nation born of men willing to give their life and fortunes to founding a nation - now to grown men who want the country to give them their life and fortunes.

Whoever the "insiders" and whatever their objective, they are closer - and I will probably live to see even more of a change I don't believe in.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tax Burdens

Calculate your coming tax burden if the Bush "tax cuts for the rich" are extended or if they are not extended, or under the Obama / congressional Democrats plan.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Greatest Show on Earth

Moore really plays to a low forehead audience. In this 730 word piece for Labor Day, attacking a fellow "liberal" ( Rahm Emanuel) Moore uses the f-word 30 or so times. He also employs a limited or twisted knowledge of history, but then so do his docutainment productions.

Moore: "Before there were unions, there was no middle class. Working people didn't get to send their kids to college, few were able to own their own f---ing home, nobody could take a f---ing day off for a funeral or a sick day or they might lose their f---ing job. ... Nonetheless labor unions did create a middle class for the majority (even companies that didn't have unions were forced to pay at or near union wages in order to attract a workforce) and that middle class built a great country and a good life. You see, Rahm, when people earn a f---g good wage, they spend it on stuff, which then creates more good paying jobs, and then the middle class grows f---ing big. Did you know that back when I was a kid if you had a parent making a union wage, only one parent had to work?! And they were home by 3 or 4pm, 5:30 at the latest! We had dinner together! Dad had four weeks paid vacation. We all had free health and dental care. And anyone with decent grades went to college and it didn't f---ing bankrupt them."

---- There has been a "middle class" for centuries; the class between nobility and peasants was the "middle" class. Does he define middle class by income, education, upbringing, social network, manners, values, etc. or as the materialistic petit bourgeoisie according to Marxists and other anti-capitalist folks? Maybe it's the proletariat. Or maybe Moore is speaking for and to the blue-collar class, or gray-collar, or pink-collar, green collar, or Lumpenproletariat, or lower middle class, or working class ...

Is Moore, the creator of Capitalism: A Love Affair , a real anti-capitalist ... or just pandering to an unhappy segment of folks who think blame, complain, and using the f-word is cool? How can Mike be all f---ing for the capitalist middle class if he's anti-capitalism?

I remember when we were warned to look to areas other than agriculture/farming because machinery was taking over farm jobs - one of the reasons for the great migration north to factories. Then we were warned in the 1970s to plan for a future in technology because hi-tech automation was one of many things that would change the future of manufacturing jobs. Then we were told it would become a service economy. Your choice to be an RN or aide wiping butts. Your choice to own the franchise or flip burgers in it. Your choice to open a barber shop or just sit and bitch about the price of a haircut. Your choice to have a skill/service to offer or be of no use to anyone and yourself.

Moore believes capitalism in the US today is evil. Maybe he's unaware that capitalism in America has for decades been socialism-lite in disguise. There's no room for a large middle class in socialism - plenty of room for wage earning proletariats and their wayward family members the Lumpenproletariat, and "progressive" limo activist proletariats such as Moore.

Moore: "Had World War II not begun and had FDR not died, there would have been an economic revolution that would have given everyone — everyone — a f---ing decent life."

Yessirree Mikey. "Give" that's the operative word. A revolution that would "give" everyone a decent life. You know, where we can all have free health and dental, dad home at 5 p.m., having dinner together Rockwell style, a month's vacation, college degrees because a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and money to spend on stuff. A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, no child left behind, every man a king ... and there are no f---ing tomorrows.

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