Saturday, April 30, 2005
Mr. Freedom, come here. I want you.
CITEL (Comision Interamericana de Telecomunicaciones), also known as the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission, is a dry-as-dust body that meets two or three times a year across the Americas to discuss such riveting issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum regulations.
Unless you are a telecommunications geek (as I was once) you are unlikely ever to have heard of it. But according to a story in TIME magazine, the Bush administration have decided that it’s not enough to be a telecommunications geek to represent the US on this commission: you have to be one of their geeks. If you gave money to Kerry’s campaign - even as little as $250 - they don’t want you on this public commission.
Is it true?
Well, it appears the White House isn’t even ashamed of it:
"We wanted people who would represent the Administration positively, and--call us nutty--it seemed like those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November would have some difficulty doing that,” says White House spokesman Trent Duffy. Those barred from the trip include employees of Qualcomm and Nokia, two of the largest telecom firms operating in the U.S., as well as Ibiquity, a digital-radio-technology company in Columbia, Md.
There is a word for this kind of behaviour. No, not just the seven-letter word beginning with “f” - though that applies as well.
The word is stupid. When you send telecommunications experts to international telecommunications commissions, you are not - unless you are a knave or a fool - sending them to “represent positively” the current administration of the country. That’s not their job. Their job is to help develop the Global Information Society - to discuss such matters as the granting of an international amateur radio permit, to facilitate communication and connectivity in a world where some of us have instant access to the Internet and many of us don’t even have a phone. (The standard urban legend phrase is “half the world have never made a phone call: Shirky explains what’s wrong with that phrase.)
It isn’t important if a telecommunications expert gave money to Kerry’s campaign or to Bush’s campaign or to Nader’s campaign or not at all. What matters is the quality of their expertise, not the state of their political opinions. This is the first time - this 2004 meeting - that the government of the US has decided to ban people from attending, not on the grounds of technical expertise, but because they might say unenthusiastic things about the Bush administration.
Yes, they might. (So might those who were weren’t banned, after this news gets out.) But so what? What does the Bush administration fear? That other countries will discover that not everyone in the United States supported George W. Bush for a second term as President? That not everyone in the United States thinks that Bush is doing a terrific job? That some people are, in fact, quite critical of Bush, and some would much rather have seen his ass kicked out last November?
What was that phrase? “They hate us because of our freedom?” Who was it who said that, and when?
Minutemilitia, "Real ID" and the Coming Fascist State
I hope many of you caught Fridayâ€™s Democracy Now’s harrowing piece on the hellish Real ID/National ID Card “rider” attached to the current Appropriations bill. It is probably less likely that you are aware that the Minutemen “organizers” testified in front of Congress Wednesday amidst trumpets of towering praise. I fear both are the warm up notes in the death-clarion for Democracy in America. In short order we will likely see, “a little Iraq at the border” and after that who knows how far the War on Terra will reach?
Some may think I am spreading tinfoilish and alarmist trash. That is not hardly the case, unfortunately. However, I need some room to make my argument, so jump the bump and see why I gotta lump in my throat.
Let’s start with the National ID-Card Act (my name) or the misnomer “Real ID.” What does the Real ID rider do? Pure evil:
For the first time since the Civil War, the Real I.D. Act actually proposes to suspend habeas corpus. [...] Other things the Real I.D. does is it empowers bounty hunters, private police forces, to go ahead and arrest immigrants that may be in deportation proceedings with virtually no oversight. It also gives the Department of Homeland Security carte blanche to basically go ahead and do what it wants to at the border.Democracy Now
I live in Arizona 19 miles from Mexico on an idyllic “ranch” that has witnessed migrants pass al norte for 12K years. Aside from the accumulation of non-toxic trash (discarded clothing, water bottles, food wrappers etc) and the occasional pitiful request for water and food we are mostly left unmolested even though I see undocumented migrants everyday. I know the truth about how dangerous the border is, how unwelcome the Minutemen are, and how ineffective anything but a sane immigration policy will be in keeping out undocumented migrants, never mind “terrorists”. Neither â€œReal IDâ€? nor the “Minutemen” will make us safer.
The Real ID provision threatens me personally. The fact that all of my family’s property (we all live less than 20 miles from the border) can be “commandeered” has me frightened beyond belief:
Another section of the bill allows the Homeland Security Secretary to waive all federal, state, and local law for the construction of “barriers,” and is viewed by some as in direct opposition to the Constitution.
Primarily, the Secretary would have discretion to suspend environmental, eminent domain and labor laws. The provision is worded, however, in such a way as to not limit construction to the external border of the country and actually includes roads as “barriers.”
Such suspension of labor laws could affect child labor, standards of compensation and safety, any and all compensation for the loss of property, adverse environmental affects and any damages resulting from toxins.
Oh, and if you’re not worried about a bunch of heavily armed “white” thugs running down mestizos on the border or Homeland Security commandeering your ranch to make “a barrier”,(maybe you think you are too far away), does anybody really think a national ID card is a good idea?
The bill lays out the groundwork for a National ID card/driver’s license program and how it is administered. The National ID card provision does not follow the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and instead turns the DMV worker into an INS worker.
“Real ID” is a frightening enough proposition, but with the Congressional embrace of Border vigilantes the portents are abysmal:
Repugnatat Press-Release Propaganda
Congressman Virgil Goode (VA-05) said, “I salute the Minutemen for assisting in a task which the government should be doing. They recognize the necessity of stopping illegal immigration. I hope that the President and a majority of the House and Senate will recognize that border security should be a top priority. I hope that they will support the legislation to authorize the use of U. S. troops on our border in peacetime to help with border security as needed."
Habeas Corpus gone, and Posse Comitatus!? There will be no difference between us and the “banana republics” we wave our righteously indignant fingers at.
We’ll even have our own paramilitaries running around making sure that if you don’t have a national ID card you’re deported by a bunch of contracted “bounty hunters” cum Minutemen:
Congressman Phil Gingrey (GA-11) said, “The Minuteman Project is a shining example of how community initiative and involvement can help make America a safer, better place to live. These brave men and women are standing up for our security, defending America from the illegal immigrants who are crossing our borders by the millions. As a proud member of the Immigration Reform Caucus, I encourage other citizens to support this cause and defend our nation."
Senator Allard has previously stated he like to “deputize" the Minutemen.
I’d like to point out that Jim Gilchrist, the main Organizer and the media rainmaker of this “project” is from Los Angeles, which is 600 miles away. His co-organizer Chris Simcox also appeared in Tombstone, but this time about 3 years ago with a large chunk of change (for that community) and bought the local press, which he quickly turned into a mouthpiece for his militia that couldn’t muster more than a dozen men before Gilchrist got involved in the last year.
Obviously, they are not a “shining example of ... community initiative and involvement” and I’ve previously diarized how unwelcome they actually are, as well as the fact that they broke local zoning Ordinances by converting a Bible College into a Dormitory. The irony that a lot of these folks came from parts of the country where one reason local people are so irate over immigration is because single family homes in their neighborhoods have been “illegally” converted to immigrant bordering houses is obviously lost on the buffoons in Congress.
Before conclude this already too long piece, let me just quote to you a little reality about what the Minutemen actually accomplished on the border (besides whatever they plotted and accomplished in the Media and Congress):
A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman claimed the “Minutemen” were unwittingly tripping sensors that alert agents to intruders. Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jose Maheda complained that agents have been forced to respond to false alarms. “Every sensor has to be addressed,” he said. “It has taken away from our normal operations."Vermont Guardian
One of the greatest fears is the violence that is possible when citizens carrying guns look for migrants. In cases brought to Cochise County law enforcement officials, vigilantes reportedly have drawn guns on citizens thinking they were migrants, sent a dog to attack, and even held hostages.
Whatever else these mendacious assholes have been, it isn’t effective:
AZ Daily Star
The Border Patrol declines to give credit to the Minuteman Project for the closure of the Naco area. They instead credit Mexico’s enforcement efforts, Zortman said. “Every time we see enforcement on the south side, there is a decrease in apprehensions,” she said.
Total apprehensions haven’t decreased; they’ve just shifted into the much more dangerous western lowland desert. The BP tries to channel immigration to where the Minutemen are patrolling to save lives, but Gilchrist intended for the migrants to be forced to the west. I cover this in detail, with links in my previous pieces linked below:
Exile_lsf: Minutemen, Migra, Mojados, and the March of Time
Exile_lsf: Slide show; Southern Arizona, the Rich, the Poor the Beautiful
Exile_lsf: More Madness about the Minutemen and the same Dkos: More Madness about the Minutemen
Dkos:Minutemen Detour Menaces Migrants with Death
The convergence of this Real ID act and the hearty embrace of the duplicitous Minutemen and their tactics by the Congress have me very worried for my safety on the border and the future of all freedom in America in the very near future.
The Minutemen are planning on coming to a border near you soon...
Friday, April 29, 2005
American Nosedive (Cont): Get THIS Wrong, And We Will Be Toast As An Advanced Economy
Value is migrating in and out of people - us - just as remorselessly as it is migrating in and out of industries, communities, and entire economies these days.
If you are a typical Homo Sapiens (BSc) or (MA) try building yourself a list of all the skills (several hundred at least) that you think make up your personal value equation. (Feel free to post it below - if you are up to doing that!)
Of course you will naturally wish to start out with the larger canvas - your strong sense of the global value-migration trends, and then of the regional and national. Then your sectoral (specific industry etc) and community trends. And where your employer’s value equation fits (if at all - a majority won’t fit well or even at-all) in all of this. Finally down to you and to those several hundred systems (skills) that you believe are what make you so uniquely special - that huge plus you know you are.
Good luck. Weeks later… tough assignment, right?! Especially when you have to estimate everything from scratch. As, very stupidly, we all have to, still.
Because this is so very vital to your own success track, Iâ€™ve invited your attention previously (for example here on New York and here on Oxford University ) to personal-skills migration and their larger contexts. Getting THIS right is perhaps THE fundamental issue facing the billion or so people in the so-called advanced economies, as they struggle to stay ahead of the five billion in the Chinas and Indias of the world. If we get this wrong in this next round we will be toast as an advanced economy.
Right now we are seeing a sudden explosion of evidence of an accelerating value migration away from the 1985-2005 paradigm of top management.
You may have noticed any of a number of articles in the past few weeks on the amazing shrinking CEO - and how their boards and shareholders are leaning more heavily on them, how their entitlements and perks are getting rolled back, and how their would-be successors are having uneasy second thoughts about whether they really do want that top job after all. The “mortality” rate is right-now huge.
The wheel turns. It is becoming predictably evident that the juggernauts of the management-education industry themselves are jumping the tracks of their value equation. And that this is a main root cause of today’s rudderless skills acquisition and “human development”.
Todayâ€™s Financial Times in a subscription-only article headed â€œThe MBA industry may be facing a shakeout â€œ observes that over the past two years, the number of applicants for places on MBA courses has fallen sharply. From the article three large problems starkly stand out.
The FT quotes from Bennis and Oâ€™Toole in the current Harvard Business Review. “Business schools are institutionalising their own irrelevance.” In effect they have been teaching the wrong skills. The root cause of the malaise? What they called â€œphysics envyâ€?.
In their anxiety to be taken seriously by other disciplines, business schools measure themselves not by the quality of their MBA students or their contribution to management practice but by the number of articles appearing in top academic journals. The result is a focus on â€œabstract financial and economic analysis, statistical multiple regressions and laboratory psychologyâ€? remote from the real world of business.....
Profs Bennis and O’Toole believe business schools are locked in a fruitless quest for academic respectability (see right). The results? Research papers that are neither read nor understood by practising managers and MBA curriculums that place not nearly enough emphasis on the real work of managing.
Most [employers] are happy with the analytical ability of their newly hired MBAs. But many point to a lack of communication, interpersonal and motivational skills of the kind required to manage teams.
“I would love it if I had more people coming out of business school with a solid foundation in these areas,” says Chris Richard, director of manager leadership development at Intel, the semiconductor company. Tim Conlon, chief learning officer at Xerox, the copier company, adds: “We need people with the breadth of experience to deal with the increasing velocity of change. An MBA can be part of - but not necessarily core to - leadership success.”...
Systems, value and process, guys. Systems, value and process. Gotta be good at SYSTEMS AND VALUE AND MANAGING PROCESS. Thank you!
[P]ostgraduate qualifications in an applied discipline - such as engineering, law or medicine - can be every bit as useful to employers as an MBA.
For example, McKinsey has been hiring medical doctors to staff its fast-growing healthcare practice. It is easier to teach business and consulting skills to a doctor than it is to teach medicine to an MBA. In-depth knowledge of a particular industry or technology is often more valuable than a generalist’s grasp of finance or marketing, say recruiters.
Now let’s observe the fallout for the management-education juggernauts of having allowed their value equation to get so seriously wrong.
...an increasing proportion of young Americans are choosing to travel to Europe for their management studies in search of international experience. At London Business School, for example, there are more US students on the programme these days than any other single nationality, including British students.....
The development of business schools in Europe and, to a lesser extent, Asia means that US schools can no longer count on a steady flow of overseas students....
Five years ago North American business schools were swamped with applications from China. Today the figures have plummeted, partly because of the perceived difficulty of obtaining visas and partly because MBA programmes are increasingly available at home.
Chinese business schools report substantial growth in the market for part-time or “executive” MBA programmes, which can be taken without leaving the country or quitting a good job. This is partly due to Chinese government moves to build a home-grown industry by issuing minimum quotas to schools. In 2004 the government mandated China’s top 10 business schools each to graduate at least 300 executive MBAs a year and the next 20 business schools each to graduate at least 100 a year - 5,000 MBA graduates a year in total.
Americans looking for business education without leaving the US have a wide variety of choices. Distance learning programmes such as those run by the University of Phoenix Online, a stock market-listed company, offer a low-cost way of learning basic business skills that did not exist until recently.
Big employers, too, have got into the business education market by forming “corporate universities” that provide a mix of product-specific knowledge and marketing or finance skills. These in-house management training programmes sometimes provide business schools with valuable income.
It is against this background that many business schools are wondering where to turn. Some are meeting the challenge with innovation - developing specialist MBA programmes and partnerships with employers, for example. Others are investing heavily in faculty and facilities in the hope of joining the generalist elite.
But it does not take a Harvard MBA to see that not all will succeed. In the long run, falling demand combined with increased competition has one possible outcome: fewer business schools. As Edward Snyder, dean of the University of Chicago graduate school of business, told the FT earlier this year: “It’s got the feel of a shakeout."
So it is crystal clear already that CEO Model 1 and MBA Model 1 are both on the skids.... But note how none of this makes very clear what the NEW paradigm for a CEO or an MBA should be.
For that (ha ha!) you will naturally wish to start out with the larger canvas - your strong sense of the global value-migration trends, and then of the regional and national. Then your sectoral (specific industry etc) and community trends. And where your employer’s value equation fits (if at all - a majority won’t fit well or even at-all) in all of this. Finally down to you and to those several hundred systems (skills) that you believe are what make a CEO or an MBA so uniquely special. That huge plus they need to be.
Starting here next week: the 50-part series on the 50 greatest change mistakes
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Sec. of Education Needs to be Taught Some Manners
On the front page of the New York Times Margaret Spelling comes off as a cross between Martha Stewart and Roy Cohn, two of my least favorite role models and 3 people who can only teach me ‘how not to’.
Here’s a little piece showing her people skills:
But since taking office in January, the onetime Austin earth mother, who greets visitors to her office with a “Come on in, y’all” and often displays wit and charm, has also shown her willingness to engage in bare-knuckle politics, fighting to tamp down a growing rebellion against President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law.
Facing a challenge to the law from Connecticut, she accused educators there of being “un-American.” Seeking to beat back a Utah bill that protests the federal law, Ms. Spellings cold-shouldered the Utah superintendent of schools for months and threatened to slash federal money for Utah.
"Margaret Spellings terrifies me,” said a Washington lobbyist who has known Ms. Spellings since she joined the Bush White House in 2001. “I don’t think I’m terrifying,” Ms. Spellings said. “I’m a 47-year-old soccer mom."
And i’m sure serial killers play baseball too and it has as much relevance as her bleacher skills.
The article then goes on to say she came in via Rove and she has a black cape that says “Princess of Darkness”. Well Princess, I think it’s time to go to charm school and learn some better ways to deal with people besides steamrolling them, and anyone in the vicinity of the Bush Admin. calling anyone Un-American is the pot calling way too loudly for me. She’s projecting her own hideous behavior onto others. I think it’s a good idea for Ms. Spelling to sit in detention for a bit until she learns to play nice with others instead of scaring and besmirching them.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Inconvenient Voice of the Voter
In January on Liberal Street Fighter, Paper Tigress posted a Main Page entry entitled Bid Farewell to the Democratic Party.... Adults will know that titles are rhetoric, designed to Grab You. Hers did, it led a strong statement and a good thread ensued.
In the excellent thread was a comment from a long time blog poster, an activist who had worked for the Democratic Party, K/E campaign, GOTV efforts in ‘04. Worked long and hard in a bruising business, in a state that was targetted for one of the anti-gay ballot initiatives. Her comment may be perceived by some as harsh. Not by me. Rather, it is The Inconvenient Voice of the Voter. It will be heard from in an alive party, and a strong party does not fear that voice, when it is genuine.... It does not direct it’s minions to shut that voice. Not in modern times, for we have lived thru union corruption, corrupt machines, corrupt ward heelers… I am for tough, hard fought, bloody politics, (I want survivors) but not for a political party that ever, from weakness, moves against its own.
Rabble my voice may be. But if I could bottle the Irish rabble blood in me that yells: Vote the Bastard OUT! (and s/he may be mine), I would. I value that voice rising from the pulsating blood, I value it beyond most things… and I consider my vote, which is my voice, to be one of the the few things I actually own. Fully and truly own.
A domesticated electorate, preening itself but fundamentally ignorant is what many pols want, both sides. Don’t ever satisfy that need. They thrive on ease and it leads to greed and bloat.... And IF Stone said it all for proximity to power. He disdained it…
Here is that thread post:
I go in about a 6-week cycle. On week one, I believe in the good will--if not the competence--of many in the democratic party. By week three, I grow convinced that no one can really be this obtuse or incompetent. Around about week four, I keep coming back to politicians placing their self-interest over ANY concern for their constituents--as individuals or even as a government entity. And without fail, every six week, I am absolutely convinced the right wing think tanks have been funding the right wing of our party too. In other words, Roemer (right wing lefty of the week, it seems) is â€œthereâ€? not so much because there are centrists within the democratic party, but because Coors and Scaife and Koch have seen fit to ensure that there are Republicans in the Democratic party. That way, you never have to lose.
With Kerry, it was a slightly different schedule. It was more like a three month cycle, from the time I was convinced that the Republicans had seen fit to run three Republicans to make sure at least one of them would win the nomination (if it couldnâ€™t be Lieberman, theyâ€™d settle for Kerry). And now, certainly, Iâ€™m wondering the same thing again. Did we have a candidate in this race?
And the really pathetic thing is, much as I scold myself for being tinfoilish, I always find more evidence for the case of the infiltrating Republicans than I do for a real Democratic Center.
I so welcomed that post when I read it… not just for the sentiment. It is not precisely mine, but it so well expressed the quest to figure out where we are… I valued that the thread commenter, Paper Tigress with her MP article and myself, that we all were at a blog where that comment could be made. The attached thread, discussion amongst long time Democrats (and hopefully some new to politics) and others who lean Democratic or vote Democratic.
My own opinion is that both parties are in severe and deep crisis, the dangerous complication is that one party is taken over by thugs and holds complete power. And they seek to institute, for the sake of furthering entrenched power, a state backed form of white racist christianity.
Al Gore addressed this today, in wonderful rising tones, at times in fine and glorious high Southern Baptist rhetoric… today, as a politician he served me, the Inconvenient Voice of the Voter. And I surely do thank Al… because we are in desperate need in the nation.
And what makes it so dangerous for our country is their willingness to do serious damage to our American democracy in order to satisfy their lust for total one-party domination of all three branches of government. They seek nothing less than absolute power. Their grand design is an all-powerful executive using a weakened legislature to fashion a compliant judiciary in its own image. They envision a total breakdown of the separation of powers. And in its place they want to establish a system in which power is unified in the service of a narrow ideology serving a narrow set of interests.
Their coalition of supporters includes both right-wing religious extremists and exceptionally greedy economic special interests. Both groups are seeking more and more power for their own separate purposes. If they were to achieve their ambition—and exercise the power they seek—America would face the twin dangers of an economic blueprint that eliminated most all of the safeguards and protections established for middle class families throughout the 20th century and a complete revision of the historic insulation of the rule of law from sectarian dogma. One of the first casualties would be the civil liberties that Americans have come to take for granted.
G.O.P. Willing to Repeal Ethics Rule Changes
From the THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 27, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP)—House Speaker Dennis Hastert, leading a Republican retreat, said Wednesday he stands ready to scrap controversial new ethics rules, possibly by day’s end.
“I’m willing to step back,” Hastert told reporters after a closed-door meeting with members of the GOP rank and file.
Later, in a brief Capitol interview, he said he expected the full House to vote on reversing the rules. Asked whether that would take place later in the day, he replied, “I hope so."
This is Not Your Father's Congress
The always incredible Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has a wonderful piece on the the Filibuster-Nuclear Option with a special look at Justice Janice Brown, a frighteningly misinformed judge if there ever was one.
Here’s a bit of it but check out the whole thing, it’s chock full of nutcase.
"Just days after a bitterly divided Senate committee voted along party lines to approve her nomination as a federal appellate court judge, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown told an audience Sunday that people of faith were embroiled in a “war” against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots, according to a newspaper account of the speech. (...)
Please read the whole piece. It gave me chills and reiterated why this whole shebang must be fought tooth and nail. To think that people like this are being heavily promoted up the judicial foodchain is beyond frightening, and with the help of some Democrats who should know better.
Here’s one more choice tidbit from her excellent piece:
So as the Senate leadership prepares to do battle, bear in mind what they are fighting for: the ability to place on the Appellate Court someone who believes that socialism has triumphed in the United States, that four years ago she and conservatives like her were about to be herded off to gulags, that these are dangerous times in which to stand up for the gospel, and that we should roll back jurisprudence to a time when it was thought to be unconstitutional to pass minimum wage laws.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
American Nosedive (Cont): Property Bubbles, Courtesy Of The Lemmings-Over-A-Cliff Investors Class
Unenlightened global-growth management. A mundane mix of not-very-innovating industries. Most of their attention focussed on a mere one-sixth of mankind....
The economy once known as THE global locomotive - with a weak dollar NOW, a budget deficit at nearly 4 percent of GDP NOW, and a trade deficit at over 6 percent of GDP NOW - meanwhile worrying itself silly about a Social Security deficit of HALF a percent of GDP that is possible IN ONE HUNDRED YEARS!!!
Low interest rates. Stockmarkets that don’t seem to be going anywhere. Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. Plenty of liquidity. Pleeeeenty of liquidity.
What’s a poor desperate investor to do?
Wouldn’t it be really nice if investors were all raised up on a huge tsunami of logic and enlightenment? And as a group simply INSISTED on right figures, right policies and right management? With all those dollars as a huge gun at the head to help make their point?
Sadly, take this instead. As a rather strong hint of what they actually HAVE been doing. With all their brains and too many of their dollars. The twits....
London Sunday Business The property bubble has gone global. From Beijing to Cape Town, from Madrid to Honolulu, house prices have risen to unsustainable heights, fuelled by low interest rates.
Like the equity bubble of the nineties, which started on Wall Street before contaminating other markets, the housing bubble of the noughties, which originated in London, Sydney and Chinese coastal cities, is now spreading around the world. And like the equity bubble before it, the correction, when it inevitably comes, will be painful and could threaten the worldwide economic recovery.
In a report [published mid-2004] Morgan Stanley, the US investment bank, examines property conditions in 23 of the world’s largest economies, representing 94 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity and 96 percent of the value of the developed world’s housing stock.
The conclusion of its study is shocking. Confirming the findings of other international institutions, Morgan Stanley found that over two-thirds of the global economy is either already suffering from a residential property bubble or is at severe risk of doing so very soon.
Full-blown housing bubbles currently exist in at least 25 percent of the global economy, whereas another 40 percent is put in the “bubble watch” category.
Australia, the United Kingdom, China, South Korea, Spain, the Netherlands, and South Africa are all suffering from dramatically over-valued, bubble-conditions housing markets; the United States, Canada, France, Sweden, Italy, Hong Kong, Thailand, Russia, and Argentina are all close to the bubble-stage, though are not quite there yet. Of these latter economies, the US is probably nearest to being a full-blown bubble already; indeed, many analysts are convinced that prices in large parts of the country are ridiculously over-priced.
So. Capital that could in fact be doing something USEFUL such as powering worldwide growth beyond the quicksand we are all sinking in… is instead going into STUFF.
And if things play out, as they remorselessly (and repeatedly) have in the past, when the wrong things are given the wrong valuation, what might we all soon be looking forward to?
Financial Times subscription Nout Wellink, president of the Dutch central bank, last month warned that .... it is probably already too late for the leading Anglo-Saxon economies to escape lightly from the consequences of their property bubbles.
The end of housing bubbles............ has been associated with periods of prolonged economic weakness, increasing financial fragility, rising government deficits and the appearance of monetary instability.
Contrary to popular perception it is not necessary for house prices to fall to create a serious problem for the economy at large. When house prices merely cease rising, the rate of credit growth normally slows, inducing householders to save more and spend less. At best, this produces a mild drag on the economy, as has been the case in the Netherlands. At worst, the economy undergoes a severe slowdown with soaring unemployment and a painful recession - as occurred in Japan, the UK and Scandinavia in the early 1990s.
But it is not just borrowers who are hurt by a housing market collapse. Rising levels of bad debt inflict damage on lenders’ balance sheets. This often leads to a credit crunch and sometimes to a full-blown banking crisis. The failure of the Bank of United States in 1930, for instance, during the Great Depression, was due largely to losses on property lending. Furthermore, as over-indebted households cling tenaciously to their homes and lenders delay the politically unpopular and costly process of foreclosure, the banking system may have to deal with the aftermath of a housing crash for many years.
Government finances commonly deteriorate after housing booms end, as fiscal policy is employed aggressively to prevent the economy from slumping further. Since the end of the property bubble in the early 1990s, Japanese government debt as a percentage of gross domestic product has more than doubled and currently exceeds 160 per cent of national income.
Over-indebtedness born of the housing boom may also contribute to deflationary pressures during the bust. When household balance sheets are damaged by falling house prices and confidence is low, consumers may start repaying their debts regardless of the cost of borrowing. When this happens, monetary policy loses its power to stimulate the economy and prices tend to fall. The “liquidity trap”, first identified by John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s, reappeared in Japan during the 1990s.
Just so you know. You poor stuff-buyers.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Put My Sonâ€™s Name on a Bomb
Where is the Truth?
I am taking a break from my usual ravings about politics and religion and terror to relate some sequence that involves people who are directly affected by personal losses that came as a result of the present bloody conflict. It is these losses that are felt by people on both sides that so many politicians, war mongers, terrorists and bloody minded fools pay so little attention to. The post is unusually long put I make no apologies for that this time.
Regular readers may recall that some time ago, I was deeply disturbed by poll statistics depicting how many Americans believed Iraq was responsible for 9/11.
Less than a fortnight ago, a friend forwarded to me an ugly story about a retired policeman who wanted to put the name of his son who was killed in 9/11 on a bomb going to Iraq.
I did a Google search of the term â€œput my sonâ€™s name on a bombâ€? and found several links. I followed a few of them to confirm the transaction which troubled me deeply. Please do your own search and follow the links for full details of the exchange of e-mail messages. Here is a summary:
A NY retired police officer started the â€œSimple Requestâ€?:
From: ***@aol.com [mailto:***@aol.com] Sent: Friday, March 14, 2003 5:32 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Simple Request
Dear Public Affairs Officer:
If possible can this be relayed to a Navy, Air Force or Army or Marine unit in the Gulf Region. A simple request from a Vietnam Veteran and Retired New York City Police Department Sergeant who lost his son on 911 at the WTC. Simply to have his son’s name put on one of the munitions (bomb, missile, artillery shell) that will be used on the war on terrorism including Iraq. His son’s name was Jason Sekzer, the father is Wilton A. Sekzer and can be reached at ***@aol.com.
Gary Gorman Retired Police Officer NYPD ESS#1 Brooklyn, NY 11214
A long series of emails between various officers follows which ended with a short â€œCan doâ€? message from a Major Boehm on March 19 â€“ only 5 days after the original request. Quite efficient I must say. The war hadnâ€™t started yet.
And finally, 10 days into the war, â€œMission Accomplishedâ€? message from Major Boehm:
From: Boehm Maj Joseph R [mailto:BoehmJR@taoc.3mawdm.usmc.mil] Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 4:50 AM To: DiDomenico SSgt John C; Johnson Maj Thomas V Cc: ProudPD@aol.com; NYPD24423@aol.com Subject: RE: Simple Request
Attached from yesterday. Hope this is satisfactory. Sorry for the delay but business is booming. The weapons don’t stay still long enough to write on them. For the record: The weapon this tribute was written on is a 2000 pound, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) GPS guided bomb. It’s big, it’s ugly and it’s always lethal, just like we love them. It was dropped on the night of 1 April 03 against targets located east of Baghdad. The targets were associated with the Al Nida division of the Republican Guard. A United States Marine Corps F/A-18D based in Kuwait flew the mission. The mission and the weapon were 100% successful. Let me know if there is any more I can do. It’s my honor and pleasure. Regards.
Semper Fi Major Joe Boehm
Attached to the message were three photographs of the bomb with the dedication â€œIn Loving Memory of Justin Sekzerâ€? being loaded on the plane.
I felt so angry!
Almost immediately I wrote an (extremely) angry message on April 12th to Mr. Sekzer and to Mr. Garman who had initiated the original request.
I am writing this message from Baghdad (the receiving end) to late Jasonâ€™s father to let him know what he has done.
Mr. Wilton A. Sekzer,
Over the past two years I have had to suffer many losses. I am writing this letter to you â€œin loving memory of my life-long friend Ghassanâ€? who never hurt anybody in his life and who was killed for no reason other than that there are many people like you in this world.
All that blood shed in Afghanistan in 2001 was not enough to avenge your son. You had to put his name on a bomb going to Iraq in 2003 to kill more innocent peopleâ€¦ in his name!
I hope you that your revenge was sweet. That bomb did not bring your son back. It turned you into a murderer yourself. You put your sonâ€™s name on a 2000 lb. weapon that must have killed quite a number of innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with your sonâ€™s death.
You have taken part in killing innocent people who had nothing to do with your sonâ€™s death or with 9/11. Many happened to be Arabs. Many happened to be Muslim. Thatâ€™s it! It may help you sleep better at night to know that some of those people were not Muslim and some were not Arab.
Blind Revenge! No wonder the US army was so fond of repeating that on the second day of the war more than 3000 bombs were dropped on Baghdad.
There were many other bombs like that during that war and many more during the two years that followed which killed many more innocent people. There were other atrocities during those two years. Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Najaf, Tel Afar, Ramadi, Mosulâ€¦thousands of innocent bystanders gunned down for no reason.
Your people havenâ€™t even yet bothered to count how many. All we have are â€œestimatesâ€? ranging from 20,000 (estimated through media reports in a country where reporters cannot venture outside protected fortresses!!) to 100,000 (estimated by Lancet, a professional medical body which many people in the States would like to see discredited â€“ I donâ€™t know why!) That is not to mention the countless others killed or kidnapped by terrorists and criminals let loose by the other administrative revenge implemented by your administration.
Wouldnâ€™t you like to know how many of those terrorists were killed to avenge your son? Your rationale may be to kill as many people as you can so that perhaps you will kill enough terrorists. You have also devastated a country and made many millions of people suffer for two years.
Well, like all mad murderers you failed. You killed many, many innocent people and managed to create many terrorists bent on blind revenge.
Those innocent people have fathers too.
They have sons and daughters and mothers.
They have brothers and sisters and cousins.
They have friends and townsmen and tribes.
People down here are much more closely connected.
You try and visualize the numbers.
Some of them will have dreams of revenge too.
Some of them will be blinded by that revenge too.
Some will do anything they can to send death to NY city to avenge their loved ones too.
These feelings of anger and injustice have rippled to 300 million people who see themselves as Arabs. They are felt by a further 1000 million people who see themselves as Muslims who now believe that they are targeted simply for being what they areâ€¦ because of people like you!
Do you have any idea how many vindictive fanatics there are in 1300 million people?
No War on Terror, no technology, no puppet regimes, no freedom and democracy pretences and no claims of being decent will convince them or protect you from them. And you donâ€™t know where they will hit or whenâ€¦ in a year, in 10 yearsâ€™ timeâ€¦ or a 100 yearsâ€™ time. But I sadly assure you that they will. People like that unfortunately do existâ€¦ just like you.
The problem is that those people in seeking revenge will not kill you but will kill other innocent people.
And people like you will start wailing: â€œWhy do these people hate us?â€¦. What have we done to them?â€¦ they are not human!...â€?.
Please remember that in this in this new series of terrorism you are the original terrorist and â€œOriginal Sinnerâ€?.
Sir, you have disgraced the memory of your own son and have assisted in the future murder of other innocent people like him.
I feel sorrow that innocent Jason lost his life. But I also feel sorry for him that he had such a primitive, vindictive father who, as a retired police officer, is supposed to represent the law of civilizationâ€¦ not the law of the jungle.
Several days later I received a reply from Mr. Garman who had initiated the original request. Following a request, he kindly gave me his permission to publish it.
Dear Mr. Khaleel,
I believe you were misinformed regarding this request. I was the original person requesting Jason’s name be pout on munitions that were to be dropped in Afghanistan on terrorists operating in that country. The request was made in early 2002. No mention was ever made of Iraq.
I am only a retired NYPD Police Officer but I think I speak for most Americas in that we do not hold the Iraq people rerp[somsibe for Sept 11th. We hope that American forces will be able to soon come home and a free Iraq will florish in the reagion.
By any standard, and whatever a personâ€™s position regarding this war is, this is a sad story of sorrow and anger between people who lost loved ones in this violent episode.
The transaction is all there. I seek the help of those who took part in the sequence of events to shed some light on the truth.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
There is something far more important in that AP article this morning than Espo’s lazy “CW” about the Dems motives. I had hoped that Biden was just talking out his ass on ThisWeek about a “compromise” on the judges, but it seems it’s an actual trial balloon as it has now shown up in an AP article, with some quiet support from a Reid spokesman.
Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record), D-Del., raised the possibility of a deal. "I think we should compromise and say to them that ... we’ll let a number” of the seven judges “go through, the two most extreme not go through and put off this vote and compromise," he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is open to compromise, his spokesman said Sunday. “There’s lot of concern among Republicans about the road Senator Frist is leading the Senate down,” Jim Manley said.
The Dems are winning the PR war on these issues, AND THEY ARE OFFERING COMPROMISES?!?!
Tell me again how great Reid is. Let’s hear the latest round of excuses as to why once again they will sell us out because they don’t want to feel uncomfortable when bumping into their “collegues” in the cloakroom, or is it because the lobbyists are asking for everybody to work together?
Tell me again that they are “fighting dems” and not spineless Vichy Bastards that hold the doors open while the Republicans and lobbyists rob us all blind.
This is, of course, a running pattern with the party leaders. Just enough of them cross the aisle to give the Republicans what they want while still giving everyone votes to cover themselves with the voters at home. Bankruptcy, ANWAR, Torquemada Gonzales ... we all know the long, long list of failures and betrayals, yet we all keep hoping for the best, we keep cutting them some more slack, while the last appeaser Daschle settles into his cozy new job on K Street.
Support the real champions of the base, but stop cutting slack for the likes of Biden, Reid and the other center and center/right “leaders” so willing to work across the aisle. The continuing Faustian bargains with the right, the dividing up of districts so that both parties have “safe seats”, the elimination of alternate voices, the willingness of Schumer and others to sell out their base for “centrist” candidates ... it’s all of a piece.
They are not fighting for us, and they won’t until we stop providing mindless support for the appeasement to the new one party state.
Enron The Movie
I just returned from seeing ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room and I am about to bust a gut yet again. This film chronicles the absolute craven souls who did a world of damage to a city (Houston) an entire state (California) and showed us just how corrupt our banks, accounting firms and government still are today.
I’ve read quite a bit over the years but until I saw the film this afternoon it never congealed just how brazen these people were and how they still to this day boldface lie about the entire matter. This should be a great tool for the prosecution in the cases coming up to trial.
Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay engineered the most horrendous business environment imaginable and then proceeded to rob, steal and Ponzi their way into wealth while leaving a devastating trail of victims. Even today people are still wiped out by the events of a few years ago and many pensioners and workers will never recover.
Bush and Cheney are nailed in this film thank goodness but i still think they were let off easily as Cheney’s Energy Meetings are not delved into at all. I so wanted to see Dianne Feinstein’s public assertions that she represented (i think this was the number) 48 million Americans and couldn’t get Cheney on the phone while her state was being bilked out of 30-plus billion dollars and yet Ken Lay had direct access.
There is one devastating piece of information i am still reeling from. Evidently at the height of the California Energy Crisis, Jeffrey Skilling came to California and was hit with a blueberry pie at a conference and the bad press started to mount. Ken Lay made a visit to Los Angeles shortly afterward and there was a private meeting at the Peninsula Hotel attended amongst others by Arnold Schwarzenegger!
If this doesn’t make the hair stand on the back of your neck nothing will. The Repbulicans allowed California to be raped by Enron and then proceeded to install a Republican governor who has done nothing about replacing the shortfall, and who was meeting with Ken Lay before he ran.
The other thing I was reminded of was that the entire energy deregulation in California was done under the Republican Governor Pete Wilson during his last term in office. What a sham this is, the dirty deed was done by a Republican governor while the Democratic successor was trashed by the same deeds and was recalled and then replaced by a Republican to clean up the mess. This is a Karl Rove wet-dream come to life.
Skilling and Lay go to trial in early ‘06. It would be incredible if this film manages to keep the light shined brightly on them as these rats go before a judge. Ken Lay alone has spent 23 million dollars on his legal defense so far trying to get off.
There are many victims in this saga but also many perpetrators, from Enron and it’s heirarchy as well as it’s traders whose tapes saying the most awful things imaginable are shown here, as well as the banks, accounting firms, stock analysts and business press who all facilitated this. And as Sharon Watkins says to the camera, “Don’t think this can’t happen again”.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Book Her Dan-o
You can sleep well tonight, law enforcement is doing it’s job.
In this News Report and Video we get to see a 5 year old girl put in hand cuffs for throwing a tantrum. Thank goodness the state of Florida under Jeb Bush knows how to treat it’s citizens, leaving no child undisciplined.
A 5-year-old girl was handcuffed by police after she tore papers off a bulletin board and punched an assistant principal in kindergarten class, according to a video released by a lawyer for the child’s mother.
The 30-minute tape shows the child appearing to calm down before three officers pinned her arms behind her back and put on handcuffs as she screamed, “No!’’
But why leave it at that? Possibly it’s time for some new weapons in our arsenal to deal with these Child Terrorists:
Child Mace--- it could be a nice foamy substance coming in all sorts of neat colors and scents, so when your child gets eviscerated, it will be a more pleasant experience.
Baby Billy Clubs--- a new Nerf version with an inner iron core for those tough to handle 10 year old boys and girls. They are getting close to those perilous teen years and this might be just the thing to keep them in line.
Pre-Teen Electro Shock--- after Abu Ghraib maybe it’s time for “Sparky” to come visit our young men and women. If that cattle prod worked on the farm all these years, maybe it’s time for the urban version to make an appearance. Isn’t it time for the Jennifer Anniston ‘do’ to be replaced by something a bit curlier? This will do the trick and make them so much more civil at dinnertime!
Crib Cells---- for those tough colicky 6 month olds. Why have the bars on the crib stop at 2 feet high? It’s time for a wall to wall effect which will make it easier to hang mobiles from above. It’s never too early to put the ‘fear of God” into our nations youth. It’s time Cribs became something more than an MTV show.
Sleepaway Slammer Tired of your teenager not getting into that tony little summer camp? Try this new idea. Send your pre-teens to a Correctional Facility and show them why it’s the nations biggest growth industry. Let them take turns being guard, warden and block bitch. Teach them abstinence in our Christian only section which separates the genders for that new kind of bonding experience.
I’m sure, dear readers, we can come up with many more exciting ideas to make our nation even greater!
More Madness about the Minutemen
That’s it, I’ve fucking had it. America’s been royally jived once again. Somos idiotas. How many times will these mysteriously financed wingnut groups succesfully manufacture a meme-changing media event?
James Gilchrest, a retired accountant from LA, and organizer of the “Minuteman Project” has serendipitously been called to testify before the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus just as in the desert dizzying temperatures begin their precipitous ascent into real heat of our first summer (we have three or four here):
....."He is claiming victory ... so he felt it would be appropriate to wrap up his participation this week and prepare to go to Washington,” said Chris Simcox, the project’s field operations director.
Simcox, who also plans to be in Washington next week, said Gilchrist isn’t severing his ties to the project or with other organizers. Despite Gilchrist’s departure and Simcox’s temporary absence, Simcox said patrols will continue as planned until April 30, albeit under the name of Simcox’s organization, Civil Homeland Defense.
Thank whatever hateful false god neo-Confederates worship that they won’t leave the border “unguarded” from the natives.
Link to the slideshow that will give you a good idea of The Rich, The Poor And The Beautiful In Southern Arizona
I find it very interesting that Chris Simcox, the “local” organizer, moved into Tombstone, AZ a few years ago after he bought the local paper and then turned it into a mouthpiece for his militia. Scuttlebut in Tombstone is that before the Minuteman project recently started he couldn’t get three guys together for one of his patrols. I won’t link his crap but if you must give him a google hit look up Civil Homeland Defense.
We’ve seen the movie before: with inevitable predictability foreign Repugnatat operators show up in a place they aren’t native to and wouldn’t neccesarily want to visit, but they manifest because the environs play backdrop to some national issue unfolding. Suddenly like toxic mind-shrinking mushrooms sprouting out of the local political swamp the clueless participants arrive gathered by shadowy oraganizers from the lower middle-class white neighborhoods of ‘murikkka ready to do their part to take on the WindMills of Destruction so obviously menacing Irresponsible Birth, Corporate Profit, and Ignorance for All. The assembled hordette, so suffixed because it lacks any true “poplulism”, arrive to a normally obscure locale where many of the locals don’t want them. They then make grandiose and unsubstantiated claims while the assembled national media apparati take close ups to distort any real perspective of the events numbers or accurately reflect whats happening. Afterwards the “organizers” are invited to make rounds of the “cable circuit” where their prepostorous, though often specious, claims are amplified to what is absurdly called a “national stage” before they are called to testify before Congress. And Oila! Out of complete stupidity and artifice LAW is made.
Of course the vaunted “Rule of Law” seems to be tres pase these days. So I’m sure I probably shouldn’t worry and just learn to estatically whistle Dixie out my anus while I wait for the incredible inertia of the impending impact of reality with America’s increasingly bizzare and sadistic dreams:
From AZ Indymedia
(TustonDAZ notes: from Ray Ybarra, email@example.com , one of the ACLU legal observers keeping these brownshirts scared enough to conform to some sick semblence acceptable behavior)
At approximately 10:45 p.m. on Sunday the 10th of April a group of five legal observers came upon a group of men who were shouting, â€œwe got two of them.â€? As soon as they knew legal observers were on the scene they yelled to each other, â€œDonâ€™t touch them, make sure you donâ€™t touch them,â€? referring to the migrants.
About seven white males were standing ten feet from two individuals who were sitting on the west side of Highway 92 near Hunter Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains.
I was wearing two large jackets and was still freezing cold while the man from Puebla and the other from Mexico City were wearing a light jacket and a light sweatshirt.
After identifying ourselves and asking questions about their encounter with the Minutemen we learned that they had been walking for four days and had decided to turn themselves in because they were exhausted and in pain.
The gentleman from Mexico City said he could no longer walk because his feet were swollen and the pains in his stomach were overwhelming. Neither individual had food or water and were never offered any by Minutemen volunteers. Instead the Minutemen volunteers stayed huddled in a group as if they were about to give a post-game locker room victory interview and douse each other with champagne.
Even Minutemen organizer James Gilchrist was on scene with an â€˜embeddedâ€™ radio journalist from Fox Radio. Gilchrist, who uses the code name, â€˜Whiskey Golf,â€™ got back into his car and drove away, never having expressed any interest in the migrants stories or offering them food or a blanket.
The irony that most of these Minutemen are staying at a Bible College, is lost in the suffering of the human tragedy they relish.
I wish I had the html chops to put the following fact in big purple and flourescent yellow pulsing psychedelic letters that had an audio file of a siren going, or that I had the ability to hack this into MSGOP or something similiarly spectacular to simulate some sentience in cyberworld and ‘murika about this Truth:
THE MINUTEMEN ARE NOT EFFECTIVELY STOPPING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION (sorry thats all my text magic at this point)
I want to say here, and I’ve written and linked it before, only 458 names of Minuteman Project registrants were ever turned over to media sources, and different local sources claim less than two hundred ever manifested along the border or at the first newsconference at the beginning of the month.
From the Arizona Daily Star
Migrants shift entry to dangerous west
By Michael Marizco
SASABE, Sonora - Two weeks after the much-hyped Minuteman Project began, there’s been no reduction in the number of illegal entrants crossing into Arizona, federal statistics show. But the protest is driving illegal entrants out toward the deadlier desert to the west.
The day the monthlong protest began, Mexico and the state of Sonora began plucking migrants out of a ranch just south of Bisbee and Naco, Ariz.
The idea was to pull them away from the danger of armed vigilantes on the border and avert an international disaster.
But the migrants simply went elsewhere, and apprehension numbers in the Tucson Sector didn’t change at all, apprehension numbers show.
In the Cochise County corridor, which includes the Naco, Douglas and Willcox Border Patrol stations, agents arrested more than 27,900 illegal entrants through last Thursday. Last year, the number totaled more than 28,500 in the same period.
The agency is concerned that the increase in west desert apprehensions will lead to more illegal entrants dying from the heat as temperatures in Arizona begin to spike. Last year, 221 people died; many of those deaths were heat-related.
“If we start seeing an increase in apprehensions out there, we’ll start seeing an increase in the number of heat-related deaths,” said Border Patrol spokesman Andy Adame. “That’s the way it’s always been.”
In Cananea, Sonora, Luis DueÃ±as, 24, a smuggler, said he watched reports of the “illegals hunters,” as the Minuteman Project has been called in the Mexican press, and decided early on to smuggle people through Nogales instead of Naco, Sonora.
And in Altar, Sonora, the staging point for illegal entrants sneaking across the border through Sasabe and the Altar Valley, some migrants said they’d gone there to avoid crossing through eastern Sonora.
The Border Patrol declines to give credit to the Minuteman Project for the closure of the Naco area. They instead credit Mexico’s enforcement efforts, Zortman said. “Every time we see enforcement on the south side, there is a decrease in apprehensions,” she said.
But the agency was concerned enough by the shift in the migrant flow that they approached Mexico’s migrant safety force, Grupo Beta, in Sasabe last week, said Beta commander Hilario Olivos Benitez.
Interesting how the BP is saying “lay off” to Grupo Beta, the Mexican federal agency that patrols the border, and whom they often complain do nothing to restrain migrants.
Here’s what I think is why:
From the Tucson Citizen
Victor Hernandez said a prayer with each drop of prickly pear he squeezed into his sister-in-law’s mouth.
“Please, God, let her live,” he repeated as he cradled her tiny, unconscious body on the hot desert sand.
Three others from their group of 25 had also collapsed. More were vomiting from dehydration. Nearby, several others huddled around a cell phone they’d wrestled from their smuggler just moments earlier. After many attempts, one of them got through to 911.
“They are dying,” he said in a panic. “People are all around me, and they are dying. Please come. Come quickly."
Record breaking migrant deaths are not good PR in the dog days of summer when nothing easily reported is happening.
I noted earlier at the end to the introduction of my collaborative photo essay with Fast Pete, the Minutemen “Organizers” are planning on franchising their low rent Irreuglars for the entire western border. I’m sure the Pinkerton’s regular muscle aren’t worried about losing any business, but its still an unnerving development:
From the Arizona Daily Star
The Minuteman Project will expand its border watch efforts from Arizona to include California, New Mexico, Texas, Michigan and Idaho, said organizers Chris Simcox and James Gilchrist at a press conference held in Tombstone Monday.
Citizens there have begun organizing their own Minuteman spinoffs, Simcox said.
Gilchrist will also begin organizing the group’s efforts to take the Minuteman Project to the nation’s interior, going after the businesses that employ illegal border crossers and stepping up efforts to lobby Congress to put the National Guard or the U.S. military on the border."
Posse Commetatus is some Goddamn Frenchie food to these “gentlemen” obviously. The gluttonous delight in which these Gringo grub-eaters consume human rights, rule of law, and the Constitution while bullshitting mountains of racist excrement disguised as a Sidewalk Sundae on the Fourth of July has attracted some real fans. Those thrifty Repugnatats in the Senate have seen a money saver in the Minutemen:
A Republican senator said Wednesday the government should consider deputizing private citizens, like the Minuteman Patrol in Arizona, to help secure U.S. borders.
Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said the U.S. Border Patrol also should look to local law enforcement and state officials for help along the most porous parts of the U.S.-Mexico line.
“I wonder sometimes if maybe we’re not looking too much to a federal solution,” Allard told Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.
How people McVeigh would have idolized became the darlings of Allard and Lou Dobbs is a tale no one would have believed a few years ago, but many at Exile_lsf have noted often, how can you ridicule the absurd when it is the conventional “wisdom” (sic)?
Many ‘murikkkans believe we’re being invaded by Mexicans, I know better, but I bet nobody in Nebraska would like it if they had caza-migrantes hunting them:
Eyewitness News 4 has learned an armed militia along the border near Douglas may take matters into its own hands this July.
Casey Nethercott, the leader of the group said Friday that he doesn’t yet want to go into detail on his plans.
He supports the Minutemen, but his backup plan is a much more aggressive approach.
Nethercott pointed to two black SUV’s, saying, “These are armored vehicles. They got quarter-inch steel in them. They’ll stop small arms fire and some rifles.”
The headquarters of the militia, called the Arizona Guard, sits along the U.S./Mexico border near Douglas, Arizona, in the Southeastern corner of the state.
Pointing again to the vehicles, Nethercott continued, “You’ll get killed without them, here’s been so many shootouts out here.”
So many shootouts, he said, that the back wall is riddled with bullet holes of all sizes from drug smugglers who open fire on the compound; prompting the group’s border project, tentatively planned for July 4th.
"When this Minuteman thing is over, if it doesn’t work, we’re going to come out here and close the border with machine guns,” Nethercott said.
Nice. I’m sure this is what Jefferson et al. had in mind when the penned “a well regulated militia” into the Constitution.
Hasta La Vista Peleadores! And Remember to Beware Rovians in Coyote Skins.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Protect Our Troops... before they're born...
Protect our troops - from the womb to the war. What if the fetus you were going to abort would grow up to be a soldier bringing democracy to a godless dictatorship?
Plastic replica of an 11-12 week old fetus, 3” long, holding a firearm in its precious little hand, with an assortment of other military paraphernalia, encased in a translucent plastic ornament, with a patriotic yellow ribbon on top. Includes a metal ornament hanger. If only a womb were this safe, attractive and reasonably priced!
Show that you support the “culture of life” by buying and proudly displaying one of these patriotic unborn Americans.
Also available in a “Brown” model
Support our Troops - $1.00 from every sale will be donated to Homes for our Troops, which builds “specially adapted homes for our severely disabled soldiers and their families.” Think outside the womb and help a post-born person!
Slideshow - The Rich, The Poor And The Beautiful In Southern Arizona
My guest post one week ago zoomed out from the immediate and increasingly ugly redneck context of the Minutemen in southern Arizona, to the stark and powerful contexts of wealth, poverty, and desperation; the dead end of failed national-level policies; the turbulent and colorful border history; and the real scenic beauty within which this drama is playing out.
Today I would like to present these same stark contexts for you in the form of a visual essay. In these 57 slides you will not see any Minutemen. But you will witness the contexts of wealth and poverty, of the history of the area, and of the flowers, trees, meadows, rivers and mountains that make up the natural canvas.
Please click here for the slideshow... and a suggestion here: either now or later, print out my note for each slide below, if you care to follow them along with the slides. Welcome to my world and good viewing!
1. For Richer…
1. A new McMansion. For $250k you can buy a â€œcorrectlyâ€? zoned five acre-lot. Upon which you can then build one of these - a $500k house - within the agreement of the “land covenant” you sign. After which the delicate desert is fucked and further desiccated by your well and septic system and the scraping of the thin layer of life that extends just a few millimeters from the surface. At great cost to the entire biosphere, so that the perfectly legal exploiters may live here. For a few months out of the year at most.
2. Plonk!! It is right here that for $250k that you can buy your â€œcorrectlyâ€? zoned five acre-lot. Aliso (Sycamore) Canyon and Mt Sardinia (roughly 5700 ft) are there in the background
3. Tubac Golf Resort. Look closely. There are two cows behind the golfers. The cienegas of Tubac (bac is an O’odham word for that peculiar and precious phenomena in the Sonoran desert - a swamp, or cienega) are long gone. They now dump precious water in the same place to grow these expensive greens. Iâ€™m torn here in another way: I recognize that my livelihood as an artist in wood is tied in with the rich people who are attracted here. My family rents a gallery right inside the country club and owns another one in the Village.
4. Sycamore lined driveway on a ranch in the Santa Cruz River channel, formerly owned by one of richest ranching families in southern AZ. These were the folks that owned the famous Empire Ranch that stretched from Tucson to Mexico and east to cover 1 million acres of once pristine desert thorn scrub and grassland…
5. McMansionettes in Rio Rico, a NAFTA infused “suburb” of the bi-national city of Nogales. Much of the produce that enters the US in the winter months comes through warehouses here. The hillside homes on the North End attract a disproportionate number of retired white folks who can’t afford to buy into Tubac, but want a “western retirement home” These go for about $125K-250K right now but that’s doubled in the last five years. The older, more “blue-collar” Mexican neighborhoods closer to the border cost less.
2 For Poorer...
All these “for poorerâ€? shots are right at the base of Mount Tumacacori along the cool, wet, and heavily treeâ€™d river channel. Interstate 19 to Mexico barricades the mountain just to the west of the towns of Tumacacori, Carmen and Tubac. This corridor is south of the very gentrified Tubac area and displays a lot of sixties era highway schmaltz, for businesses that never quite made it because the interstate went in shortly thereafter and diverted the tourist traffic headed to Mexico.
6. This is the trailer park in Carmen. There are a lot of trailers hidden in the trees along the River Bosque, from here all the way to Mexico. Every year or two a trailer in Carmen gets busted for a half ton or so of pot. Meanwhile at parties up the street in the country club really good (sic) coke is served in china sugar bowls…
7. Though it has been broken for years, there was an old sign next to the house this shrine belongs to that read JC’s Bar. Maybe I read too much Faulkner as a kid.... but I’m thinking thatâ€™s just a little too crazy. These folks must be devotees of the Narco Saint Malverde from Sinaloa.
8. The Maria Shrine
9. This kind of family shrine is a very common sight around these parts. Notice the state of disrepair...the family wouldn’t pose or let their house be photographed - though quite baroquely beautiful, if destitute and spiraling down to desiccated disintegration. I wonder where the adult children are. If you look closely, the lights are still on and crosses for everyone in the family hang on an almost native-American looking cross. I wonder if these folks have some O’odham blood.
10. Yes somebody lives in this adobe. Notice the Nopal, the cactus of the legendary landing spot of the Golden Eagle and its Rattlesnake supper. This was the omen that guided the Mixtecas, who gave their name to Mexico, and the Aztecs with its “noble” warrior-caste to Tenochtitlan. It graces the national flag of Mexico today.
11. A Mesquite and Hackberry tree (favorite food of Coatimundi and Trogan in June) can be seen in the foreground. The corral is made of mesquite branches, and is the traditional method of constructing corrals in Sonora. Here it keeps the dogs out of the trash and hides the giant propane tank…
12. This is the north end or Rio Rico, a “suburb” of Nogales, and home to a hundred or so produce brokers responsible for putting red tomatoes and other sundry luxuries on American tables throughout the winter season By the way these “produce broker” guys are notorious for trafficking. The company rumored to be the biggest fish in this particular sea rents a large facility to the Border Patrol just north of Nogales…
3 Agua Linda Exit Border Patrol Check-point On I-19
13. The checkpoint pictures are rough. I was kinda of nervous, and didn’t want to make a scene, so they’re mostly through the bug-splattered windshield of the old ranch truck. Please note this is a checkpoint well within the borders of the continental United States and on a major Interstate spur. It lies 26 miles from the border at Nogales, which BTW is one mile outside of their jurisdiction for this type of “warrant-less search” under the USC. The folks in Alamagordo, NM, have to deal with a checkpoint over 100 miles past the border, and my sister on the other side of the Santa Rita Mts. has one some 42 miles north of the border, so I guess I shouldn’t bitch.
14. This migra picture with the â€œdo not enterâ€? and â€œone wayâ€? sign is cool in close-up.This is normally the Agua Linda (another disappeared cienaga) exit ramp on I-19. The full blown “temporary” entry checkpoint is just beyond. We locals use the exit to avoid the long traffic line under the overpass beyond. Most days the agent at the stop sign never gets out of his Blazer, and so we can re-enter the freeway ahead of the line. What a fucking joke, and at better than $30k a year per agent - and with less training and more firepower (every car has at least an M-16, some of the big Blazers have M-60’s) than the average metropolitan cop...!
4. Landscapes (1)
15. Tumacacori Highlands. These mountains are part of a felsic lava complex that reach into south into north eastern Sonora...There are jaguars here, and coyotes of both the four legged and the two legged kinds
16. Tumacacori from the southeast with horses and cows and “haunted adobe” in the river channel from the Palo Parado (upright stick, or “hard on” ) Road interchange with I-19. The town of Otero was just to the right in the picture, but it was destroyed over eighty years ago in a catastrophic flood
17. Mount Tumacacori from the southern foothills.
18. South from Rock Coral Canyon to San Cayatano Mts. and beyond to Mexico
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19. Aloe vera flowers. They are quite pretty and naturalize splendidly when placed in the right spot…
20. Lupine or Bluebonnets to Texans; Lupinus sp.
21. I don’t know what this is. I’m betting its an introduced “weed” and if it was given better dirt and more water it would grow taller. Probably not native, but who cares, when it is this lovely. This is a rose of the dirt.
22. Not native, obviously. From in front of my family’s gallery in Tubac, where I exhibit my wood-turnings and furniture as well as take our trash to the local dump.
23. Pentsemons, Penstemon sp. - native and widespread
24. Milk Thistle Silymarin spl. A very useful herb for liver ailments. Its extract finds much use in Europe for treatment of alcoholics amongst others.
6 A Real Cowboy Saloon
25. Abe’s Tumacacori Bar. This bar is typical of the architecture found scattered about the Tumacacori-Carmen-Tubac-Amado area. It was built by the WPA workers who also built the highway in front of it (which is now a frontage road to I-19). I believe Abe, the original owners son (he’s over eighty) said his dad opened it as a bar in ‘33. Five miles up the road in Tubac, Bing Crosby and Will Rogers, Jr. started a country club (no lie!) that has recently been purchased by the same “developer” that brought you “Telluride; the Condo!” in the late 70’s. Ahhh.... progress.
26. Another shot of Abes.
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27. These are Bosidica cows, as opposed to the Angus we saw here before. These are the first ones I’ve ever seen in Santa Cruz river area . They are more typical of cattle found much further south and in tropical zones worldwide. This is the type of cattle whose dung produces so many Stropharia cubensis mushrooms just a few hundred miles to the south. I’m hoping that more of these type cows get raised here. Mushrooms whoopee!
28. Yes baby hamburgers indeed. This is just above the river channel.
29. Well, Will Rogers said, “I never meet a horse I didn’t like” I can’t agree with him, there are some mean-ass hosses out there, but then again there are probably some mean ass cowpokes as well.
30. An old Aeromotor windmill at the confluence of Rock Corral Canyon Creek (dry most days) and the Santa Cruz River
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31. Argemone mexicana, Cardo Santo (literally “holy thistle or thorn") or Chicalote to the mestizo curendero, it is “prickly poppy” to we gueros. A non Papaver member of Papaveraecea, it contains none of the codein or morphine found in the Papaver sominiferum but its infusion is effective against pain and supposedly its caustic sap will remove a wart with diligent application.
32. Another shot of the Poppy and Tumacacori Highlands.
33. Some kind of Asteracaea (so sue me for cheating, nobody said I had to classify every frigging flower out to the varietal level! ‘sides I’m just a weirdo and not a real botanist.)
34. Ah yes the femme fatale, the dominant Solanacea of the Southwestern Deserts, Datura inoxia, “Jimsonweed”. Although formally, I believe, that is the stramonium species found on the east coast, Mad Apple. Toloache to Aztecs and modern day Mestizos, it is very toxic, not to mention hallucinogenic. But in the hands of a skilled curendera very useful for a wide variety of ailments. Opthalmologists use a diluted solution of its principle alkaloid,scopalamine, to dilate patients pupils and once upon a time the AMA thought dosing women in labor to a “twilight sleep state” was good practice (my mom endured 17 hrs of it for me). This was the Sorcerers plant of Castenedas fictitious Don Juan, but its use among the Yaqui and Apache is well documented, and every “plant doctor” of every stripe is familiar with it…
35. Cottonwood or in Spanish Alamo, as in “Remember the Alamo!”
9 Santa Cruz River
36. This shot starts off a series in and around the Santa Gertrudis Lane River Crossing, which is just north of the (now) dry drainage of Rock Coral Canyon and the Western slopes of the Tumacacoris. The Santa Cruz river flows from the left side, the south side of the shot you can see Mt Sardinnia of the Tumacacori’s
37. looking north, downstream at Santa Gertrudis Lane crossing
38. Mexico is thataway! About 19 miles. The fence is for cows and less-so for humans.
39. Another river shot looking south; the perceptive herbalist will notice the deadly water hemlock in the foreground
40. This is the front of the infamous haunted barn… Okay, I don’t know how infamous it really is, but the drunks at Abe’s make up stories about the ghost herds from flooded town of Otero. I don’t know about the stories of those borracheros vabosos but I do know that there are some weird phenomena in the area.
41. More of the haunted barn
42. From inside the haunted barn looking north
43. A cholla behind the barn. I don’t know the exact species of cholla, but its not really “the jumping cactus” variety of its low land brothers; I bumped up against it taking the shot and it didn’t grab me. I’ve heard that the native folks burned off the spines they collected.
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44. The meadow in the Rock Corral is on the Western Slopes of the Tumacacoris at the convergence of many, many box canyonlets. The corral was used for ranching from the beginning of the colonial period. But prior to that it yielded much food (yucca root, tuna (prickly pear fruit, and acorns) and the volcanic (felsic) extrusions above it provided “fortresses” of piled stonewalls against Apaches, going back prior to the colonial period, as well as “gossip rocks” (depressions where acorns were leached of tannins and ground to flour). I’d like to note here that the “Anazazi of the desert” the Hokokham left behind them pictograms everywhere here. But gringos in the 60’s and70’s stole almost all of them, even though some were on enormous boulders
45. Cholla sp.
46. Argentinian Expatriate, I forget its name but I do know its non-native though widespread.
47. Monkey Flower or Mimulus. This is right in the River Channel
48. A Yucca flower spike on its way up. The flowers won’t appear until May or June, and will be primarily pollinated by moths attracted to the white flowers under the moon at night…
49. The Arizona variety of the California Golden Poppy, Eschelozkia californica.
50. Close up of a Sycamore tree, or Aliso en espanol...I can’t recall the Latin name but its gonna be pretty durn close to the Spanish…
51. Lichens on the canyon floor.
52. More Lichens
53. This kind of erosion was not seen before the 1850’s when the arroyo-cutting phase and the drying out of the west began.
54. From a derelict barn in the Santa Cruz flood plain. I took this shot close-up to show the texture of weathered wood and adobe. A recently “spring leafed” mesquite is in the background
55. A large spider and very large web with seed “duff”
13 The Tumacacori Mission
Slides 56 and 57: Here’s a thumbnail history of this famous old mission
Located on highway I-19 about 18 miles north of Nogales, Tumacacori was first listed in 1691 as an outlying visita by the famous Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. By 1701, the village was a visita of the mission at Guevavi, and in 1771,under the Franciscans, the village with its primitive church was made the head mission of the district, and Guevavi was abandoned. Father Font spent several days at Tumacacori while Anza marshalled his forces at Tubac, and the mission contributed a small herd of cattle to the expedition. Construction of the present mission church was begun around 1802. Tumacacori is a National Histiroric Park and includes the Calabasas and Guevavi sites.
And finally an update for you on the Minutemen. This is just in. From The Arizona Daily Star
The Minuteman Project will expand its border watch efforts from Arizona to include California, New Mexico, Texas, Michigan and Idaho, said organizers Chris Simcox and James Gilchrist at a press conference held in Tombstone Monday. Citizens there have begun organizing their own Minuteman spinoffs, Simcox said.