Friday, November 30, 2012

Amir Jennings is Still Missing

A little over a year ago, then eighteen month old Amir Jennings went missing in South Carolina. While there was a great deal of local coverage, the story of his disappearance never hit the national media hot button like Caylee Anthony's did. There are a number of theories as to why that was and still is. Most of them have to do with race and gender. Apparently the national media decided the public just isn't as interested in missing cute young black boys as they are in missing cute young white girls.

This blog posted about his disappearance and his mother's subsequent trial back in September. Since then the breaking news is that there is no breaking news. In fact the entire gruesome mystery has dropped completely out of sight, much like the Oklahoma City death of Alina Fitzpatrick has. Only family and friends remain concerned, heart sick, and desperately pressing for answers.

The last time anyone saw Amir Jennings it was the 23rd of November, 2011. A time line furnished by WBTV in Charlotte, N.C. reports that in early December of that year family members began to confront Amir's mother, Zinah about his location and safety. Dear old mom took it on the lam and on December 18th her mother, Amir's grandmother, reported both of them missing to police. On Christmas Eve of 2011 Zinah Jennings was involved in a car wreck and picked up by the cops. At first she denied she even had a child, then she said he was with friends in Georgia. Just to cover all her bases she then told authorities he was actually with friends in North Carolina. Finally, in a spasm of intense maternal concern, she told police that her son had disappeared and it was up to them to find him. The only thing the police did find was a blanket in the trunk of her car with blood on it. It eventually turned out to belong to Amir.

Cadaver dogs were called in, but an extensive search of an eight mile radius around the Jennings home turned up nothing, despite one relative recalling seeing Zinah with a shovel in the back yard after her child had dropped off the face of the planet. A $10,000 reward for information yielded none. By the end of January of this year Zinah Jennings was charged with "unlawful conduct toward a child." Her lawyer claimed she was mentally ill and "lacked sufficient insight, or capacity to make responsible decisions." Another relative claimed she displayed symptoms of schizophrenia. Whatever the case, when the trial was over she got ten years of hard time. To this day she refuses to say where her son is. Her mother has speculated that she might have given him away, or sold him. Tragically, those are the most optimistic scenarios available.

A quick glance at Google shows about nineteen pages of posts and stories about Amir before they peter out and morph into other things. Almost all of the stories come from the Columbia, South Carolina media. There are a few other articles from other nearby outlets, but in truth the big boys, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and NBC have very little, if anything, to say about the disappearance or his mother's trial. It would seem little Amir is just another lost soul in a world too chock full of lost souls. The outrage and scrutiny that followed Caylee Anthony's case simply did not exist.

The suspicion here is that it didn't have to be that way. That if some producer, or reporter at any of the national news organizations would have pushed hard for extensive coverage of Amir's disappearance the public would have been all over it.

You hear about FOX being the red network and MSNBC being the blue network and such and such. That is all fine. When it comes to politics any more I just assume I'm getting a biased review of what is happening. What is truly bothersome is that the national media decides what we will know and how much we will know about it. Amir Jennings' disappearance had nothing to do with politics, it is just that some wankers in three or four editorial board rooms decided he wasn't important enough to warrant our attention.

If you want to find the true threat to an informed public, you don't have to rage about slanted politics, or government censorship. All you have to do is think of Amir Jennings. If a dangerously few people in this country don't believe we need to know about something, no matter what it is, then we won't. The lives and deaths of human beings will fall through the cracks That is the power of the press in the early 21st century. It isn't a comforting thought, but few of us will dwell on it. The rest of us won't because we haven't been told to do so by some news anchor. Stories which focus on minority kids obviously don't sell advertising time. The brutal truth is if some cretin who has a mind focused on nothing more than the bottom line decides Amir Jennings' story can't sell ads, then screw the kid--let's talk about something else.

Such is the attitude and soul of what we can call the new journalism.

sic vita est


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Deja Vu for Egyptians Everywhere

That didn't take long did it? Mohammed Morsi, the first democratically elected leader of Egypt in its roughly 5,200 year history took office in June of this year. This month he has begun acting suspiciously like his predecessor, the deposed and imprisoned Hosni Mubarak. Morsi, who has been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood since 1977, moved quickly after his election to solidify his position with the Egyptian army by replacing a number of high ranking officers with people he could trust. By last week he must have decided he was in solid enough with them that he could begin the hallowed process of becoming "president for life." He issued edicts which in effect told the nation's judicial system that they couldn't rescind, or challenge anything he said or did until a new constitution was approved by a parliament his party controls. Think Dick Nixon's most intense wet dream coming true.

This really isn't something new in Egypt. In fact it is a tradition of sorts dating back to the Pharaohs. Before Morsi there was Mubarak who is currently, if he's still alive, doing life in prison for his part in the killing of protesters prior to his ouster. Before Mubarak there was Sadat. He was assassinated after an eleven year reign by fundamentalist army officers. Prior to Sadat there was Gamal Abdel Nasser, a former Colonel in the army who, with Muhammad Naguib, led the overthrow of King Farouk I in 1952. Naguib actually served as Egypt's first president for a while, before Nasser grabbed power and chucked him into indefinite house arrest. Farouk himself was more concerned with high end European shopping sprees and dining on raw oysters than he was with running the place, so no one was sorry to see him go off into exile. Then there were the British. They actually controlled the country from 1879 through the second word war, although they let Farouk and others of the Alawiyya Dynasty act like they were the head of state. It was sort of like the Romans did with Herod back in the day.

The problem Morsi has is that until Mubarak's last stand none of the other guys who were in charge had to worry about the people of Egypt. No, their main concern was the support of the Egyptian military. As long as the guys in the tanks were in your pocket it didn't matter what the average Joe in the market thought of you. That appears to have changed and changed dramatically. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets when they'd finally had their fill of Mubarak. He responded brutally and was eventually run out on a rail. Yesterday a report by the AP says close to 200,000 people filled Tahrir Square in Cairo and they were not happy campers. The focus of their anger was their new president and his sudden drift toward another autocracy.

The AP story, written by Maggie Michael and Sarah El Deeb, says the protests weren't confined to just Cairo. That in fact some Morsi opponents mounted attacks on several offices of the Muslim Brotherhood across the country, setting fire to at least one. The report also states that at least 100 people were injured in what amounted to a massive gang fight between protesters and Brotherhood members in the city of Mahalla el-Kobra.

So it would seem Morsi is at a crossroads. He can back off his Tsar like proclamations and lose face with his base. He can strike some sort of compromise with the judiciary that will mollify the masses, although what that could be remains unseen. Or, he can go all Mubarak by calling out the troops and turning them loose on the crowds.

Morsi has a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Southern California and was a professor before entering the frenzied world of Egyptian politics. He also spent seven months in the slammer because Mubarak didn't like his attitude and what he was saying. Presumably he understands that a show of deadly force would only push Egypt to the brink of complete anarchy. Of course you never know what wildly elegant dreams are swirling in his head right now. Obviously he believes he has all the answers and everyone else in the country can't do anything but foul them up.

It certainly appears he badly underestimated the Egyptian populace's desire for real democracy. The people in the streets don't want just a name change at the top, they want a fundamental change in the way the system works. They thought they had it when they dumped Mubarak and elected Morsi. Now he is starting to look like every other guy they've had to deal with. The difference, at this point anyway, is that it seems they aren't going to put up with that sort of political buggery any longer.

Perhaps a call to Hugo Chavez over in Venezuela is in order. He probably has some helpful tips on how to pull this sort of thing off and I'm sure he'd be open to helping out a rookie. After all solidarity must be maintained among those in charge.

Democracy is a pesky thing, especially when you're the only one who knows what is right and good. God only knows what sort of cracked ideas the Hoi Polloi might have when it comes to The Grand Plan.

The AP says more demonstrations are in the works for Friday. Look for this to get ugly in the extreme. Right now the only real question is the size of the body count.


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Great Texas Secession

It appears the hyper-conservatives in Texas have decided that since they can't run the United States of America the way they want to they'll just leave. Well, not leave as in move to Belize, or Ecuador, but secede from the U.S. I'm sure that sounds like a great idea to someone, but hasn't it been tried before?

It certainly has. In fact one hundred and fifty one years ago when Texas and other parts of the south couldn't get their way they all jumped ship. It ignited what is known around here as the Civil War. By the time it was over, depending on which figures you go with, between 620,000 and 750,000 Americans were dead. That was back when the population of the nation was 31 million. If the same proportion of people were to die of combat and disease right now there would be 6.2 million fewer of us.

Of course the neo secessionists insist their withdrawal from the states united would be a peaceful one. A big bunch of them even signed a petition saying so. It has been forwarded to the white house for further review with 116,000 signatures. Boy that sounds like a lot doesn't it? A quick glance at the 2011 U.S. census bureau's estimate of the Texas population reveals that the state has 25,674,681 residents. Now I'm not a big math whiz, but simple subtraction tells me that leaves 25,558,681 people who haven't signed up for the trip. In addition some guy in Austin has started his own movement. His petition calls for Austin to secede from Texas if Texas secedes from the Union. He has 8,000 signatures.

I'm not sure how serious these clowns are. It is obvious though that what we have here is a gaggle of frustrated loons who still can't believe the republican party didn't win the presidency a few weeks ago. Barak Obama is the rusty nail they can't get out of their foot. He is the itch they can't scratch.

The conservative site admits that for every dollar Texans send to the IRS the state gets ninety-four cents of it back. Then again I suppose they wouldn't need it if they never sent it in the first place. Of course they might miss the $4 billion in federal research and development funds they get every year. I'm thinking they would probably miss the four naval air stations, the seven air force and twelve army bases and all the ensuing money they bring in. I didn't even try to look up how much federal money is spent on highways, lakes, dams and other infra structure. Then there is that social security money that would suddenly go missing as well as medicare, the border patrol, the postal service, NASA, and God knows what else. Galveston, I wouldn't count on a whole lot of help after the next big hurricane blows through.

Is this nonsense really going anywhere? Obviously it isn't. It is just a bunch of redneck hooligans venting and trying to draw attention to themselves. I suppose we should simply be grateful they're not burning crosses on the town green, although that could be coming. You never really know what will happen when the trailer park trash gets cooked on meth and runs amok.

Actually if you think about it long enough there is this terrible urge to agree with them. Let them secede and fend for themselves. At least it will reduce the number of republicans in the house and will raise the national IQ by a couple of dozen points.

In fact I should start a petition of my own, a nationwide one. It will say something along the lines of, "We the People of the United States of America want Texas kicked out of the Union. They're nothing but a bunch of arrogant assholes anyway and we'd be better off without them." Indeed. It is worth pondering.

E Pluribus without out 'em.

All in favor say aye.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

So yesterday, here in the United States, it was Thanksgiving Day. The origins of the holiday are a bit murky, but it is generally agreed that it began with small band of European immigrants who were barely scratching out an existence on the rocky shores of Massachusetts in the 17th century. These, "colonists" threw a harvest feast and it was attended by a number of Native Americans who provided much, if not most, of the food. This was during a brief period of time during which Native Americans actually thought the Europeans were a small and stupid lot and were to be pitied rather than feared and hated. It didn't take long for them to figure out the reality of the situation.

During the American Civil War Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, declared the fourth Thursday of November to be a national day of thanks giving. Many of the Federal forces exercised a cease fire on the day and it was recognized by at least some of the confederate armies squared off against them. Of course by then the rebels were, thanks to massive casualties, dramatically shrinking in number so any day that would stop the bleeding, even for a few hours, probably seemed like a good idea to their commanders.

As with all things the day evolved and by the 20th and 21st centuries it became the day that kicked off the frenzied Christmas shopping season. A great feast would be enjoyed with the family, football would be watched, then all hell would break loose in department stores nation wide for the next month.

It was certainly that sort of day around here yesterday for us. Before it was over three kids, one fiance, and two grandparents were in attendance. We gorged ourselves on roasted fowl, corn, a casserole of seasoned bread crumbs, celery, onion, herbs, and chicken broth known either as dressing, or stuffing; brown and serve rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, apple pie and whipped cream. A moderate amount of wine and beer was consumed. After it was done everyone went home with full bellies and slept soundly. Well at least I did.

Of course things aren't nearly as cushy as our crowded apartment was yesterday for vast numbers of people on this blue ball we call earth. The World Bank estimates in Asia, Africa, and parts of Latin America 500 million people live in "absolute poverty." That 15 million children die every year of hunger. That one third of the world is under fed and and another third is starving.

UNICEF estimates that 1.3 billion human beings live on less than $1 U.S. per day and that 3 billion exist on less than $2 per day. They also believe around 24,000 people die of hunger, or hunger related diseases every day. That is pretty simple math. I usually take about two hours to write and edit a post. That means while I'm typing and correcting what I've written, 2,000 will have perished from the face of the planet because they didn't have enough to eat.

Well, as Judge Smails said in the movie "Caddy Shack," "The world needs ditch diggers too." Besides those are places far, far away from the north side of Oklahoma City and people none of us know.

Unfortunately that isn't entirely true. The Oklahoma Food Bank web site says this state ranks 7th in the number of people per capita who are hungry. That 13% of Oklahoma's population is "food insecure." It also says that of the elderly clients it serves, 32% report they have to choose between medicines, or medical care and food. The Families Feed Families web site says 54% of children enrolled in Oklahoma public schools qualify for reduced cost or free lunches. Other sources say the figure is 59%. In the Oklahoma City school district alone 83.5% of the students qualify for free or reduced cost lunches. It is estimated that 13% of the elderly here are at, or below the poverty rate.

Yes, for some of us, as Dickens said, "it is the best of times," but for billions of others of our species "it is the worst of times."

I have several friends, close ones, who criticize me for being too negative, for always pointing out what is wrong rather than what is right with this nation and world. They are probably correct. I mean I could have spent all this time talking about what a perfect Norman Rockwell scene it was at our's and tens of thousands of other places yesterday. However, given the numbers, it is really too easy to remind some of us that everything isn't so peachy either locally, or abroad. I'd like for it to be hard. I want it to be hard, but the despair is too wide spread and deep to utterly ignore it. It won't just go away if we don't think about it. It won't stop from happening unless we do something about it.

Do I have that answer? Nope. I'm not even close to having one.

It is a small planet though. The devil isn't that far away from any of our doorsteps. That is something all of us might keep in mind. Most of us have worked hard to achieve what we have and enjoy, but thousands of millions never even got a chance to succeed. They were, in essence, shot down on take off. It is tough to concentrate on learning anything when your stomach is shrinking to the size of a prune and the flies swarm all over your baby brother.

In the end John Donne said it the best. He wrote, "No man is an Island of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away to sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Think about it while you enjoy your leftover turkey and all the fixin's. If for just a second, think about it.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Infidelity, Lawyers, PR Firms, Political Posturing, a Dismembered Body and Another Lunatic

It didn't take long. Three of the four principals in the scandal that ended David Petraeus' tenure as the head of the CIA have hired pros to watch their backs.

NBC News has posted a story by Reuters that says Petraeus has hired D.C. lawyer Robert Barnett of the firm, Williams and Connolly LLP. Barnett is a high profile guy who is reported to have negotiated book deals for both Barak Obama and Sarah Palin. It was not mentioned whether he has any divorce trial experience which, in all probability, will come in handy for the retired general in the very near future.

Paula Broadwell, the general's biographer who had the affair with him, has taken on the Glover Park Group to represent her. It is a PR firm, and who doesn't need a little good PR, especially when you end up taking down a war hero and the head of the CIA. Glover Park Group lists, among others, former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers as a consultant. Broadwell is reported to have recently returned home to Charlotte, NC for the first time since all this hit the fan. She is married to Scott Broadwell, who wikipedia says is a Interventional Radiologist. They have two sons together. One has to think that the dinner table conversation on Thursday will be a bit strained, not to mention awkward. Lord only knows how the question, "So, did you enjoy the stuffing?" will be delivered and interpreted.

Jill Kelley, the woman who Broadwell is accused of harassing through emails and who enjoyed a little risque cyber chat with General John Allen, is reported to have hired D.C. trial lawyer Abbe Lowell. Reuters notes that Lowell has represented such luminaries and moral stalwarts as former senator John Edwards and former GOP lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. Wikipedia says he also served as minority house counsel to the democrats during the impeachment of Billy Jeff Clinton. All that makes him one heavy hitter. The Reuters story also says that Kelley has hired Judy Smith who they report is a "well known crisis PR manager." Given reports of the Kelley family's finances and debts it is easy to assume both parties wanted cash up front for their services.

I suppose we should have expected all this. Everybody hires a lawyer now days. Everyone wants some spin meister to clean up the detritus left behind in the wake of lust and stupidity. After all, image and litigation are everything and can turn any situation completely around with a quick, soulful, look at the camera. Watch for book deals and extensive TV appearances for all involved. The media is going to want a piece of this action and they have deep pockets. After all, if you're going to behave like some run amok Roman noble you might as well have someone figure out a way for you to make a buck at it. This is America you know, we aren't all communists for God's sake.

Meanwhile here in Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has announced that the state will not expand the medicare health program, thereby leaving an estimated 150,000 state citizens uninsured. In a story in the Oklahoma City paper, "The Oklahoman" Megan Rolland reports that Fallin claims the health care program is "unaffordable" and in any event will be "stymied by strict federal guidelines." Those strict guidelines probably have to do with things like contraception, preventive care and pre existing conditions. What Fallin is doing is playing to her political base, which here is an especially vitriolic branch of the Tea Party. She knows the Feds will now do what she refuses, but she can look at her somewhat wildeyed constituents and say she didn't play along with Obamacare. The story quotes state house minority leader, Scott Inman as saying, "Instead of allowing Oklahomans to establish and create an Oklahoma health care exchange, she (Fallin) and republicans have simply extended the invitation to the Obama administration to come to our state and do it for us."

Well you have to do what you have to do, especially when you're up for re election in two years and many, if not most, of the people you need to vote for you think Barak Obama is a Muslim socialist who wants to cede the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N.

Finally, in Oklahoma City, in what is becoming an annual autumn ritual, police discovered the dismembered body of a woman. Pieces of Janet Kay Hume, age 77 were found in different parts of her home last Wednesday. Her son is accused of shooting her and storing at least some of her body in a freezer. In a story in today's "The Oklahoman" written by Andrew Knittle and Nolan Clay, a relative of Gerald David Hume is quoted as saying he is "a known schizophrenic who hears voices and requires treatment." According to the report police removed from the home a serrated kitchen knife, a reciprocating saw, a Whirlpool freezer, a pair of blood stained safety glasses, a trash bag with blood stained and cut up women's clothing and, inevitably, rifles, handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

So there you have it. Infidelity, lawyers, PR firms, political posturing, a dismembered body, and another deadly lunatic. I'll say this, if we're anything we are predictable.

sic vita est


Friday, November 16, 2012

Exuses, Excuses, and More Excuses

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day:
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Yes, from every nook and cranny of the republican party the anger has blazed since election night. Mighty Mitt struck out and blame is being placed everywhere and on everyone.

The former candidate explained it this way to his money people. Obama's big policy gifts won him the election, "the old playbook of using targeted initiatives to specific interest groups, especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community, and young people." In other words the president bought the election. It had nothing at all to do with the Romney campaign's cynical and racist suggestion that Obama had purposely removed work for welfare requirements so black people could sit on their ass and wait for their checks. Or his party's own record of claiming that just about every Latino in the country is illegal and should be forcibly removed from the premises. Or the suggestion that if young people want to go to college they should borrow the money from their parents. It certainly couldn't have been that ad about Chrysler moving jobs to China which was a blatant lie. And it could not have had anything to do with Mr. Romney changing positions on issues with about the same frequency as the rest of us change clothes. Indeed, the 47% turned out to be more than 50%. It wasn't my fault.

Paul Ryan explained the disaster this way. "I think the surprise was some of the turnout, especially in urban areas which gave President Obama the big margin to win the race." Well when you do everything in your power to make it impossible for some people to vote, it tends to piss them off and make them want to vote even more than they would have under normal circumstances. Americans are weird that way. Tell them they can't vote and they'll show up in record numbers. And when they do, they'll vote against the yahoos who tried to keep them away from the polls.

GOP guru Karl Rove has been babbling insanely ever since FOX declared Ohio would go to Obama. He is talking faster than an auctioneer on speed and as near as anyone can tell has blamed everyone and everything, including a democratic plot to suppress the vote. Well you have to say something when you've blown hundreds of millions of other peoples dollars and don't have squat to show for it. My $150 donation to the Obama campaign not only helped put my man back in the oval office, but scored me two free bumper stickers. Tell me who got more bang for their bucks, me, or the Koch brothers.

Then there are the Tea Party people who blame the GOP establishment for forcing Romney down their throats. They moan that if only a true conservative had run the election would have been theirs. Yessiree Bob everything will be fine if we just move further to the right. That will certainly sway the 39% or so of the white people who voted for Obama. One can only pray that in four years that is exactly what the republicans do.

And speaking of Tea Party guys, there is Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. He went on the radio and had this to say about why Obama won the Hispanic vote so convincingly. "Recently most immigrants come from the third world where people don't possess the Protestant work ethic and expect government to take care of them." Obviously the man hasn't checked out the ethnic make up of most contract construction crews, or even taken a peek into the kitchens of just about every restaurant in the United States. He also failed to explain why, if third world governments are so busily taking care of "them," all these folks decided to move here. I mean if it is all that cushy in say Honduras, why make the trip at all?

Of course it gets weirder, because the Tea Party is inherently weird in an ugly fashion. There is a web site that claims Obama was re-elected because of massive voter fraud.The authors contend Romney actually won by a landslide, but the tabulation software was rigged thanks to a company owned by George Soros. The site is circulating petitions for a recount. That would be a recount everywhere.

In October Georgia GOP state senators sat in on a four hour briefing which explained how Obama was using the "Delphi" mind control technique to get Americans to accept his plan for a UN run communist dictatorship. Obviously to get to that point he had to win re-election. Who knows what sort of subliminal hocus pocus was used to program untold millions of Obama voters. Luckily white males, or at least most white males were apparently immune to the nefarious goings on because they refused to vote for him. Finally there is a guy named Alex Jones. He suggests that Obama used the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project, or HAARP to create and then guide hurricane Sandy into the east coast thereby ensuring his re-election. HAARP actually exists. It is based in Alaska and scientists there do experiments in the ionosphere testing technologies that apply to missile detection and radio transmissions. Hurricane creation and guidance is not on the agenda, at least not the public one.

So there we have it. Obama bought the election and despite every shred of evidence to the contrary, Rove is convinced republican votes are being supressed. The tea party whacks are howling their republican candidate wasn't conservative enough and claiming Hispanics are genetic socialists. Then, when it comes to the real fringe, Mitt actually won, but George Soros caused us to miscount the ballots, and finally, mind control came into play.

Yes, everything has been explained perfectly. The idea that a majority of voters simply didn't buy into the bullshit ideas of republicans had nothing to do with it. The reality is you can't win with just white folks anymore. And the notion that you can spend a year insulting every person of color, including Latinos, then not see them flock in droves to the other side is, pardon the irony, completely alien.

Actually I prefer Rush Limbaugh's analysis of the situation. He went on the air and predicted the republican establishment would blame him and him alone for the debacle. That's my Rush. The man and his ego never rests.

Thank God for weekends and football. Sometimes this simply becomes a bit much.

Warp speed, Mr. Sulu, warp speed.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Curiouser and Curiouser: The Kelleys, John Allen, David Petraeus, and Paula Broadwell

Then things became, as Alice said in another context, "curiouser and curiouser." In a USA Today story written by Donna Leinwand Leger and Tom Vanden Brook, Jill and Scott Kelley, key figures in the downfall of David Petraeus and a growing scandal involving General John Allen, appeared to everyone to be charming and fabulously well to do. However, according to their report the Kelleys are far from fabulous and not all that well to do.

The Kelleys were popular co hosts of elegant parties where they hob nobbed with senior U.S. military officers and foreign representatives of coalition forces involved in the war in Afghanistan. In fact, Jill Kelley was named an honorary consul of the South Korean government.

The authors point out that behind the swank facade things were a bit dicier for the couple and Jill Kelley's twin sister, Natalie Khawam. The report details a trail of law suits and debt. Apparently the Kelleys have been sued at least nine times over money owed to a variety of sources. They note Regions Bank sued in 2010 for $1.8 million and again for another $453,000. In addition Bank of America has gone after them for $25,000 in credit card debt as has an outfit known as FIA Credit Card Services. Also, in 2011 Central Bank sued for $2.2 million over money owed for a downtown Tampa office building, which a judge finally ordered sold.

Jill's sister Natalie moved in with them after her marriage hit the rocks and has called the police at least five different times regarding a stalker who might be connected with her divorce proceedings. It was a breakup so ugly in nature that Mrs. Kelley solicited Petraeus and Allen to send letters vouching for her sister's character to the presiding judge in a custody dispute. Both men did so, despite on record statements by the judge that pointed out things like, (Natalie) has "severe personal deficits in the areas of honesty and integrity" and (she displays) " a stunning willingness to say anything, even under oath, to advance her own interests." This all had to do with restrictions the court placed on her visitation rights to her four year old son.

Kelley and General Allen reportedly have exchanged over 20,000 messages and emails and one official has stated that a "small number of them contained language that could be considered inappropriate, or even suggestive." Other wags have said in fact those messages and emails amounted to what is called cyber sex. For those unfamiliar with the term, as a comedian once said, "cyber sex is just like phone sex, only sadder."

In the meantime a small amount of the content of Paula Broadwell's emails have been leaked. The emails came from several different anonymous accounts and said things like, "What kind of person are you?" and warned her husband, "Do you know what your wife is up to?"

Broadwell apparently didn't stop there. She allegedly sent an email to Allen under the name, "kellypatrol" that said, "Beware of Jill Kelley, she's the kind of person who could ruin you." Allen is reported to have initially thought the email was a joke sent by Kelley herself and forwarded it to her regular account. Imagine his surprise when Kelley told him she knew nothing about it.

Paula Broadwell might be many things, but shy isn't one of them. She showed up at an Office of Strategic Services Society awards dinner in a nearly backless gown and chatted with Petraeus after she had admitted to the FBI that she had an affair with him. This was only two weeks before he called it quits as head of the CIA.

Can someone say, movie of the week? This whole thing reeks of southern decadence and manly men run amok. Viagra? We don' need no stinkin' Viagra.

Obviously more unseemly details will emerge as will Broadwell's motives for cranking out the threatening emails. God only knows what she was thinking. Was she simply jealous of Kelley's relationships with various members of the Central Command including Allen? Or, was she genuinely concerned that Kelley was some sort of ruthless whore who was trying to get guys like Petraeus and Allen to bail her and her family out of civil and financial trouble, thereby possibly compromising their careers? If the latter was the case she certainly screwed the pooch, because now everyone is going down the tubes.

Petraeus is finished and all reason says his marriage of thirty-eight years probably is also. Allen is now under the dark cloud of scandal and his nomination to head the U.S. European Command and NATO are on hold and most likely headed into the crapper. Jill Kelley and her family are holed up in their Tampa home, trapped there by a battalion of hungry and aggressive members of the media. She has reportedly called the police on more than one occasion asking for protection because of her, "diplomatic status."

Yes, lust, vanity and finally delusion are rife in this ugly affair. No doubt the Limbaughs and Hannitys of the world are feverishly working to somehow link it all to Barak Obama. Why not? As Francis Bacon said long ago, "Slander boldly, something always sticks." Besides they haven't anything better to do at the moment and it beats the hell out of trying to explain why their guy got whacked in the election.

sic vita est


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Petraeus, Broadwell, Kelley, Allen and Some FBI Guy: Babes, Emails, and Scandals

I don't know what it is about us men. No matter what the career, no matter what the wealth, no matter how precious our marriages are to us, sometimes we meet some babe a third or half our age and all the blood immediately drains straight from our brains down to the little head between our legs. Judgement and caution are thrown to the winds for a tumble in the sack. Repercussions from such carnal stupidity and raw lust don't matter in that frenzied moment, or moments. All that counts is that she can, as Willie Nelson once said in a movie, "suck the chrome right off a trailer hitch."

The latest case in point is retired general and now former CIA Director David Petraeus. He was the hero of the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. He was the public face of those conflicts, the man with the plan as they say. In 2011 he had been appointed to run just about every U.S. intel op in the world as the chief U.S. spy. Now he has given it all up for a toss or two with some chippy named Paula Broadwell.

I will give it to the General, Ms. Broadwell is way out of a lot of dudes league. A South American hooker she is not. She was his biographer. She is forty, which makes her twenty years younger than Petraeus and is married with two sons of her own. She is also a graduate of the United States Military Academy, a reserve officer, and trained in military intelligence. In other words she not only looks darn good, but she also has brains. Which, of course, in the end, makes the whole thing even more of a train wreck. Both of them knew the risks and the consequences all too well.

Unfortunately there is more to this sordid affair than just the General fucking not only Broadwell, but his marriage and career. Apparently, for reasons known only to her, Broadwell became concerned about the intentions of one Jill Kelley. Kelley is a Tampa social butterfly who, with her husband, is friends with not only Petraeus, but several senior army officers.

At some point Broadwell allegedly began sending Kelley anonymous emails telling her to back off from her relationships with the director and the brass. The emails, as they progressed, are alleged to have become threatening in tone and included information about schedules and meetings of senior commanders that were unknown to the general public. According to reports Kelley became concerned and notified the FBI which initially began investigating the case on the grounds of internet stalking and bullying. It was only after tracking down Broadwell that they found romantic emails linking her to Petraeus.

Then comes the weird part, as if it needed to get any weirder. The FBI agent Kelley initially contacted was a family friend. He took the info to his superiors, However they eventually pulled him off the investigation. It was felt he had not only become obsessed with it, but they discovered he'd sent Mrs. Kelley some emails himself, ones that included photos of him sans shirt.

Petraeus is said to be shocked that Broadwell sent the emails. He has fessed up to his affair with her, but denies ever having hit on, or scored with Jill Kelley. However, Lord this gets complicated, it turns out the FBI uncovered over 20,000 documents and emails between Kelley and current U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen. NBC News is reporting that sources close to the investigation say some of the correspondence is "flirtatious" in nature. It also reports that Allen's nomination to be head of the U.S. European Command and NATO has been put on hold. Allen denies he did anything wrong. NBC says it isn't clear who was being "flirtatious."

Members of congress are expressing outrage, because honestly that is all they do any more. The FBI says they didn't notify either them or the president prior to November 6th because they hadn't found any evidence of a security breach in the emails. Apparently none of this had anything to do with the national well being, it was all just plain and simple sweaty humping.

Meanwhile, family friend and former Petraeus spokesperson, Steve Boylan is reported to have said Petraeus' wife of thirty-eight years, Holly, "is not too pleased." Oh you think? Does the name John Wayne Bobbitt ring a bell, General? I suggest you not fall asleep on the couch until all the cutlery is locked away and only you have the key. Odds are Mrs. Petraeus is on the phone right now with the former Mrs. Tiger Woods getting tips on the correct way to grip a one iron.

It never ceases to amaze that in this day and age these guys and women think they're going to get away with debauched behavior such as this. No one can keep a secret and the internet hasn't a shred of privacy. Although I suppose it is fair to say that thinking really didn't come into play at any point during what amounts to a ribald soap opera of epic proportions.

The mighty Petraeus has fallen and it looks as if there will be others to follow. It would seem all glory is indeed fleeting. Especially when you sell out to your own penis.

sic vita est


Friday, November 9, 2012

Florida and the Dodged Bullet

At last glance Barak Obama led Mitt Romney by 56,000 votes in sunny Florida. Things are far enough along there at last that Brother Romney has conceded defeat which pushed the electoral college vote to 332-206 in favor of the president. That would be just about opposite of what GOP operative Dick Morris promised FOX NEWS devotees last week. When questioned about his numbers prior to the election Morris assured the FOX anchor that he read polls for a living, so he knew what he was talking about.

Yes and Ed Wood Jr. knew how to make movies, but that doesn't mean they were any good. I mean "Plan 9 From Outer Space" isn't really considered a film  masterpiece and wasn't exactly boffo at the box office.

Be that as it may most "experts" felt there were nine battleground states that would swing the election one way or the other. Counting Florida, Barak Obama carried eight of them.

The nation is all fine and good now if you're a democrat and a liberal, but the truth is there was something a bit sinister in the way the election was conducted and is still being tabulated in Florida.

Republican congresswoman Ilena Ros-Lehtinen bluntly called the process in her home state, "a disaster." Susan MacManus of the University of South Florida was quoted as saying, "Get the job done. Get it fixed! Right now! Florida doesn't need this type of embarrassment."

Then there is former Tampa mayor, Pam Iorio. She said, "It's an embarrassment. Had the numbers been a little different this would have been a repeat of 2000. We wouldn't have hanging chads, but we'd have a newer version of it. As a Floridian I find it very disturbing to me."

Indeed, something does seem to be rotten in the state of Florida, which is run by republican governor, Rick Scott. The ballot approached a novella length, ten pages and early voting was curtailed. Voters were forced to stand in lines for hours upon hours Tuesday. Then finally the results went off into never never land and still haven't fully returned.

The suspicious side of me thinks things in Florida went down exactly the way Governor Scott wanted them to. One has to feel that he, like almost everyone other than Morris, believed the national election would be decided by merest of margins. Every thing he did prior to Tuesday was geared to suppress the vote and everything he did on Tuesday was engineered to make it so dreadfully painful to vote that people would just give up and go home.

In fact, a person such as myself might suspect that he was planning a November surprise. That he, Rick Scott, through the Florida election board, was going to make a president and hand deliver the election to Mitt Romney.

There was only one flaw in the plan. Obama whacked Romney early and often so the nefarious plot was rendered useless. Instead of holding the election and therefore the nation hostage and becoming a conservative hero, Scott and the Florida election commission simply ended up looking like incompetent boobs. So much so a conservative friend of mine declared last night, only half jokingly, that Florida should never be allowed to participate in a national election again.

You know you've screwed the pooch when your own people are saying things like that.

So now we move onward as Obama settles in for a second term. The GOP right wing is howling that if only a true conservative had been their candidate they would have won. Right. One can only imagine how well Rick Santorum would have fared against this president. That total of 332 would be so much higher a hole would have been punched through the roof.

In truth it is hard not to gloat after watching the people at FOX and certain radio outlets do nothing but demonize Barak Obama for nearly a half decade. We should remember a couple of things however. One is that if you're a liberal don't become as dependent on the wags at MSNBC as the conservatives did on the yahoos at FOX. And two, if a couple of percentage points had gone the other way in three or four states, Rick Scott would be personally deciding the 2012 presidential race either today, or next week.

It was a bullet we dodged by inches.

But enough reflection, I believe it is time for that bottle of Samuel Adams and the weekend.

regnat populus


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Party is Over

Well as Dandy Don Meredith used to say at the end of pro football games, "turn out the lights, the party's over." It certainly is for Mitt Romney. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars and the entire, corrosive, weight of the right wing propaganda machine he managed to blow a winnable election. Even though they are still counting ballots in Florida the deal is done. Barak Obama passed the magical 270 electoral vote plateau around 10:40 pm central time last night.

It was a result that made many FOX contributors look like fools. In fact Karl Rove was reduced to babbling idiocy on camera when told his own network was awarding Ohio and therefore the election to Obama. He ranted on and on about some mythical lead of a mere 900 plus votes when the graphic next to him clearly showed the president pulling away with a two to three thousand vote lead. It was a display that left Chris Wallace sitting in stunned embarrassment and led one analyst to mutter, "well, that was awkward." Indeed, you can spew all the bullshit numbers you want before people start to actually tabulate the vote, however it is another matter entirely when you become clearly delusional on national TV and deny hard data. Obviously the man was deep in the throes of an acid flashback and believed himself to be looking at the early 2000 Florida results.

So, as they say, how did we get here? The speculation is flying. Some have written that the GOP's fealty to the tea party mob finally caught up to them. The theory is Romney sold out to the extremists so early and often to guarantee himself the nomination he couldn't effectively back away from their lunacy. That, in the end, he painted himself into a corner and moderate independents and conservative democrats became scared his administration would be held hostage by the "chock full o nuts" wing.

Others, including Politico, blamed it on the blunt reality that the current GOP, as they put it, "is too old, too white, and too male." It is a theory which might have more than just a little validity. As this blog pointed out after both conventions the camera shots of the those in attendance were a stunning picture in racial contrast. The hall in Tampa was an almost unbroken sea of white faces. The crowd in Charlotte was a patchwork of every racial group found in the country.

The brutal new truth that the republicans found out yesterday is that you can't win with only white folks any more. Early demographic breakdowns show Barack Obama won a mere 39% of the white vote. Unfortunately for Mitt, the president won 93% of the African American electorate, 71% of the Latinos and 70% of the Asians. In addition he won among all women by 11%. His total among unmarried women skyrocketed to 67% and when it came to the 18 to 29 year old age group he won 60% of the vote. That Ward and June Cleaver United States just doesn't exist anymore.

The country is growing more diverse every year and the Anglo-European population is shrinking in comparison to the rest of the nation. If the GOP won't or can't recognize that and accept it they are going the way of the Whig party in the next couple of decades.

As with everything it is no doubt a combination of factors that led to Mr. Romney's defeat. I personally like to think a major contributing factor was that surreptitious video of him speaking to his big dollar donors in Boca Raton. In truth, as he stood there in front of his kind of people, the extremely wealthy country club crowd, he seemed for the only time in the entire campaign relaxed and comfortable. He was, for that terribly fatal moment, the real Mitt Romney. And the real Mitt, while human at last, was an arrogant bastard that most of us would rather avoid.

Reaction from the lunatic fringe has been sparse, but ugly. Rush Limbaugh was on the air raving about the U.S. now having to welcome with open arms every illegal immigrant in the world. Donald Trump tweeted something about us needing a revolution, then quickly deleted the post, no doubt after one of his legal staff pointed out the definition of the word sedition to him.

Meanwhile the republican establishment, if there is such a thing anymore, is desperately looking for an answer to the most basic question. How do we attract people of color and different ethnic backgrounds to the party? That one will be a tough nut to crack given the current policies and platform of the GOP. Ultimately if they want that to happen they must, as the Lord said, "be born again."

The next four years will be a struggle. The republicans couldn't unseat the president and were beaten like gongs in senate races they thought they'd win. However, they still have a firm grip on the house. Hopefully they will finally see the reality of the situation and begin to work with this administration to cure the lingering ills of the economy.

Only two things are certain at this point. Right now the republican house is facing a chief executive who doesn't have to worry about re-election. When they push he will shove back without hesitation. And, somewhere in this fair land, in a dark little print shop, someone is cranking out "Hillary in 2016" bumper stickers.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Day is Here At Last

So there we all were standing in line. The crowd was older and mostly white, reflecting the neighborhood.  It seemed the only people there under 50 years old were black and they comprised maybe ten or twelve percent of everyone. Truly young people, early twenties, were extremely rare. In fact I only saw one.

If history has taught us anything it is that precinct 124 of Oklahoma County, of the State of Oklahoma will be carried overwhelmingly by Mitt Romney. The retirees, the gray tigers both afoot and in wheel chairs will throw reason to the winds not because they will be better off under a Romney administration. In fact given the stated policies of both candidates a Romney presidency almost guarantees that these people will get relentlessly screwed. No it is something else.

Is it because Obama is black? With some that will be an issue. Is it because Obama might be from Kenya? No, no one in their right mind pays any attention to the birther crap any more.What it ultimately comes down to is that Barak Obama represents real change. He is a dramatic shift in everything they've ever known in national politics on every level imaginable. For many in that line an Obama presidency makes them feel as if they've stepped out of the fifties and straight onto the set of the movie "Blade Runner." Oh they lived through the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and all of that, but this man makes them feel as if those decades didn't happen at all. To them everything, in the merest blink of an eye, is completely different. They are the rotary phones and he is the Ipad. The old don't deal with sudden change well, even when their lives today really aren't what they thought they'd be thirty or forty years ago.

No, there wasn't one white senior in that line who actually thinks Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will fuck them over royally when it comes to medical care and their social security accounts. To them that is unfathomable. To them they are untouchable. Their unsaid mantra is, "I only have a few years left, leave me alone."

Four years ago Barak Obama didn't carry a single county in Oklahoma. The suspicion here is that this time around he'll grab a couple over in the northeastern part of the state, but there is absolutely no hope of him winning the popular vote overall.

Actually, Obama winning Oklahoma never even entered my mind as I stood there. The only reason I spent 45 minutes of my life in that line this morning was to make sure Mitt didn't win the precinct unanimously and to put my two cents worth in on another hopelessly lost cause, the local congressional race. No, it wasn't the notion of my vote somehow having an impact on this race, it was simply frayed idealism that moved me off the couch. Well, you gotta do something don't you?

The day is here at last. Battalions of lawyers are at the ready in numerous locales. By dawn tomorrow there will be great jubilation in some corners and in others a gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth. It is an even bet that litigation will follow vote counts in a couple of states. The nightmare of the 2000 Florida recount looms over the whole proceeding like a dark cloud.

The gut says the national popular vote is too close to call, but Obama will win the electoral college and another term. Of course that same gut told me Oklahoma would drill Notre Dame a couple of weeks ago. It will be a long night no matter what. Don't touch that dial.

Regnat Populus


Monday, November 5, 2012

Specialty Group Inc. Call Us For A Quote, Liberals Need Not Apply

Have you ever heard of Specialty Group Inc? I didn' think so. Neither had I until I read a piece by Michael Beckel and Reity O'Brien who are with the Center For Public Integrity. NBC news published their essay on the net a little bit ago. Specialty Group Inc. is based in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was started up about a month ago. Messers Beckel and O'Brien did some research and they found out some interesting facts about this, "corporation."

Number one is that the principal office of the outfit is the $634,000 home of attorney William Rose, who is the registered agent for the company. Mr. Rose's published phone number has been disconnected. Number two is that the corporation apparently makes nothing, doesn't manage a thing, and hasn't any consulting contracts. What it does do is contribute boatloads of money to conservative super pacs who are desperately trying to unseat the president, strengthen republican control of the house, and take back the majority in the senate.

In fact recently Specialty Group Inc. handed the Freedom Works for America super pac $5.3 million. They promptly spent $1.7 million of the cash on ads in Illinois as they try to defeat democrat Tammy Duckworth. She is running for congress against first term tea party savant Joe Walsh. Ads run by FWFA portray Ms. Duckworth as cohort of disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich. In one spot she is shown making this statement, "Governor Blagojevich has charged me with the mission of taking care of my buddies." Sounds pretty darned nefarious doesn't it? Especially when you consider Blagojevich is doing 14 years in the slammer. The only problem is that the video was shot right after she was named the head of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. The buddies she was referring to were her fellow veterans. Ms. Duckworth was severely wounded in Iraq and is a double amputee. In response to questions, FWFA legal counsel and treasurer, Ryan Hecker stated that his organization only supports candidates who are ethically right.

Beckel and O'Brien estimate corporations have donated as much as $660 million to super pacs and 85% of all that money went to GOP controlled ones. The list is long and filled with some familiar names and others not so recognizable. 7-11 is a contributor as is Chevron, Exxon, and Walmart. So is someone named Weaver Holdings. The story says one of the things Weaver Holdings does is package and distribute the popcorn that the Boy Scouts sell during their fundraisers. Then there is the payday lender QC Holdings, White Castle Hamburgers and some outfit known as The Apollo Group. The list goes on and on.

On the other side of the coin that bugaboo of all things capitalistic, organized labor has managed to contribute only $60 million.

Given this disparity one has to wonder why Mitt Romney isn't ahead by about sixty points in the polls. The Citizens United ruling by the supreme court has tilted the playing field so drastically in favor of corporate barons and conservative candidates that it seems any goof who sells his soul to the shadowy figures behind the super pacs should be a shoe in.

This is, in the eyes of those fans of Ayn Rand, the way things should be. The unwashed masses are really incapable of making correct choices about their own lives and government. If they were intelligent they'd be running a business. Besides 47% of them are nothing but leeches anyway. Actually I'm surprised that none of these cretins have publicly endorsed a suggestion that Bunker Hunt made decades ago. That was, you get one vote for every dollar you have in the bank. Although given what is happening during this election cycle that piece of legislation might be in first draft form right now, just waiting for Mitt to win tomorrow.

I don't really remember the country being this way when I was growing up. Maybe it was and I was just too naive. I do know that things have continued to grow uglier and more corrupt these past twenty years. Cash payoffs, lies, election fraud, and voter intimidation  have become a way of life for the right wing. None of it can be connected to Romney of course, but then you have to remember that Al Capone was in Miami that fateful St. Valentine's Day decades ago.

I fear for the democratic process. When a candidate's main attribute is his or her ability to sell out to people who basically run rigged carnival midway games we have some real problems. The great divide will become nothing but deeper and wider. The poor will grow poorer, the rich will grow richer and the middle class will evaporate into thin air.

The late author Mike McQuay predicted it years ago. One of his characters looked cheerily into they eyes of a poor man and assured him, "Son, the meek shall inherit the earth, but not until we're done with it."



Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Ugly Business and Leave It To Beaver Wasn't Real

Politics is ultimately an ugly business. Especially when you are dealing with high roller types who are used to getting everything they've ever wanted and don't mind crushing a few people here and there in order to achieve their goals.

The current republican party is financed and influenced to the extreme by two elements. One is the tea party. It is a wild and terrible anglo saxon mob who see America slipping into the hands of people different from themselves. They scream, wail, and whirl like dervishes claiming they want smaller government, but the reality is, beyond cutting funds and programs to the poor and infirm, they could give a shit about smaller government. What the tea party is all about is maintaining white power in an increasingly diverse nation where the white majority is quickly becoming a minority. They have numbers though. They also have complete lunatics running for senate seats. Guys like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock who have certain and peculiar views on women's reproductive systems, rape, and God's Great Plan For Life: none of which are founded in any sort of science and ultimately reach out into the realms of sociopathic ignorance.

Then come the guys who finance this whole terrible scam. The ones who are fabulously wealthy and would have us believe that if we'll just let them do whatever they want, completely unfettered by any sort of law or regulation, we'll all be better off. They are the ones who brightly say they envision Americans of every social class making huge amounts of money, but at the same time are doing everything they can to fuck their employees and if the opportunity presents itself, their investors and clients. They are the corporate Dons who make the fictional Corleone family look absolutely benign.

These are some serious heavy hitters and they don't mind letting you know you're screwed if you mess with them. Guys like the Koch brothers out of Wichita, who, through their surrogate, Dave Robertson told 45,000 employees that if Barak Obama is re-elected they could "suffer the consequences." Guys like Arthur Allen of ASG and David Siegel, who told their people the same things. They are guys like Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul, who became an American citizen, not because of any love for the country, but because American law wouldn't let a foreign national control a news outlet. He was pissed off that Chris Christie, the republican governor of New Jersey, thanked the president for his help with the recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy disaster.

This was the tweet he sent out to everyone, "Now Christie, while thanking O, must re declare for Romney, or take blame for the next four dire years." Look for that severed horse head on your bed tomorrow morning, Chris. You've just run afoul of a gang so perverse, so evil that they will eat their own when it comes to crunch time.

And now is crunch time. Within forty-eight hours either Barak Obama, or Mitt Romney will be the president of the United States of America.

I've been following presidential elections since I was ten years old. The first race I was emotionally invested in was the Jack Kennedy victory. I liked Kennedy because both my parents did and quite frankly Kennedy was a lot cooler than Dick Nixon. Is Barak Obama a lot cooler than Mitt Romney? Yeah, he is. However, I'm a little more sophisticated now politically. I look at them both and I see the future in Obama. In Romney I see a past that was never real. I see a past that is simply a fond memory of the "Leave it to Beaver" television show. It is a quaint fictional place where people of color don't exist, Ward knows best, and Mom wears pearls while she vacuums. Folks, trust me, it really wasn't like that. 

The end is near.

Thank God


Friday, November 2, 2012

Mitt Goes All Desperate: One Year in the Blogosphere

For all the talk of momentum, surges, and narrowing demographic gaps it appears that Mitt Romney and company are becoming desperate. Lately they dragged Karl Rove out of the closet to talk about how Mr. Romney will sweep to a victory with 300 plus electoral votes. This is a favorite trick of our old pal, Karl. He did it in 2000 as his man George W. Bush was running against Al Gore. Right before the election Rove made statements saying the vote wouldn't be close and in fact Bush would not only win big, but pull off a huge upset in California. He would have bet his reputation on it, but given his reputation, or lack there of, there weren't any takers.

As anyone with a memory can tell you Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, but lost the election thanks to some shady dealings in both Florida and Ohio. Mr. Rove's prediction of a landslide then, just as his iron clad prediction of a Romney win next week is a ruse. Go on the air and tell everyone your guy is ahead by a wide margin. It energizes the base, everyone wants to vote for a winner and it suppresses the opposition turn out. After all, why stand in line for three or four hours when your guy is going to lose anyway.

Another sure sign of the walls closing in on the Romney adventure is the utterly cold blooded and mis-leading series of ads in Ohio. Those spots claim that Chrysler is going to ship jobs in its Jeep division to China. It is such a blatant twisting of facts that the management of GM and Chrysler are saying things like, "We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days." Other words and terms expressed by both companies are things like "the cynical worst" and "no validity to the idea we're shipping jobs overseas." Big Bill Clinton was a bit more blunt. He referred to the ads as, "...the biggest load of bull in the world."

Of course the whole concept of Mitt Romney as the savior of both the auto industry and domestic jobs is rather like idealizing the musical career of Charlie Manson. Both of those somewhat breathless ideas are better left to those who are heavily dependent on psychotropic drugs.

The feeling here is that with only three days left before the election the number of truly undecided voters can be counted in the tens of thousands rather than any huge number that must be swayed. Now each campaign, especially Romney's, must concentrate on switching  those who lean to the other guy, but still have grave doubts. That is why Mitt is running all that Jeep to China horseshit. For the next seventy two hours we can be assured of one thing. Brother Romney is going to lie out his ass without any regard to not only the truth, but to even how quickly his lies are exposed. The clock has just about run out. From this moment on everything is a hail Brigham Young pass to the end zone. Reality is a luxury the republican candidate can no longer afford.

On a personal note Ghost Shirt Papers first appeared on this site one year ago today. In that year, as of a couple of hours ago, it has taken over 5,800 hits. That isn't a huge number, but honestly, I didn't get into this for the number of hits. Yes, I wanted readers, or I wouldn't have started it, but I had no idea what to expect, so right now every page view is a plus to me.

Of the two hundred plus posts seven of the ten most viewed have to do with the murders of Carina Saunders, Kelsey Bransby, and Alina Fitzpatrick. Those murders are still open wounds in this community and there is no resolution at this point to any of them. That is especially true of Alina Fitzpatrick's death. No one is in custody, no persons of interest have been identified and the local media seems to have moved on completely. As the father of two daughters I can only imagine the pain and suffering that all three families have gone through. I will not stop writing about any of them until people are held responsible. Even though this is an extremely small platform I will not let them be forgotten. It is the least I can do, not as a blogger, but as a human being.

Now, I see that it is 530pm on Prince Edward Island and that calls for a chilled Manhattan.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Day of the Dead

A long time ago November 11 was called Armistice Day. It was a day of prayer and thanks commemorating the end of World War I. That was the one that was naively called the war to end all wars. The world had never seen such carnage in so short a period of time. Little did we know we were just getting warmed up. Sometime later, in the United States, we changed the name of the date to Veterans Day in order to honor those who not only fought in that war, but all the others. Someone must have decided that peace is so elusive, so fleeting, that taking time to recognize the end of just one conflict denigrates all the others that came before and those that followed. After all, there is no official holiday for VE Day, or VJ Day. There isn't a Korean Peace Treaty Day, no, We Killed a Lot of Vietnamese Day, and certainly no, Desert Storm Day, or Saddam Got His Clock Cleaned Day.

We do have another holiday, called Memorial Day. It calls for us to remember our war dead. Most Americans have the day off, drink a bunch of beer, watch a ball game, or a car race and generally don't think about the dead for one moment.

Today in Mexico and other countries it is, The Day of the Dead. Dia de los Muertos. South of the Rio Grande banks are closed and parades are held as people dress up in macabre costumes, usually depicting themselves as skeletons. It is a day to remember relatives and loved ones who have departed from this earth.

Over in Afghanistan just about every day is Dia de los Muertos. We went there to throw out the Taliban because they were supposed to be harboring Osama bin Laden and honestly, because they were and are a bunch of gruesome assholes. We began the campaign, the war, in October of 2001. It is now November of 2012 and we're still there. Bin Laden isn't. Apparently early on he moved to the suburbs in Pakistan. In the end that didn't save him. Navy SEALS gunned him down like they would any mad dog either in his bedroom, or a hallway of the house he was holed up in. It really doesn't matter where, or how, what matters is that our purpose for being in Afghanistan, in theory, ended as soon as the son of a bitch ate a bunch of lead.

But, we're still there, in Afghanistan. So are plenty of other people. It seems we can start a fight, we just don't know how to end one.

As high noon passes on the Day of the Dead a quick check of wikipedia provides these statistics. Since 2001, 2017 Americans have been killed. 439 British soldiers are dead as are 157 Canadians. There are more of course: 88 French, 39 Australians, 42 Danes, 56 Germans, 52 Italians, 10 Norwegians, 10 Kiwis from New Zealand, 34 Poles, 91 Spaniards, 5 Swedes, 19 Dutch, 20 Romanians, 18 Georgians, 7 Hungarians, 2 Jordanians, 12 Turks, 9 Estonians, 1 Albanian, and 1 South Korean. God in heaven is the only one who knows how many Taliban and Afghan civilians have been killed. As I type the numbers grow. If we know anything it is that killing each other is often far too easy.

In the long and terrible history of American wars this one wins the prize for the longest. We've had more people killed in other wars, actually a lot more, but frankly that really doesn't matter to a young widow, or the parents of a kid who graduated from high school just two years before he got blown to bits by a road side bomb. Yes, explaining that stat to a four year old as he watches his father's casket being lowered into the ground probably won't be a great consolation, or even make much sense.

The presidential election is less than a week away, unless some states delay voting as they recover from the storm that ravaged the eastern seaboard earlier this week. I don't know who is going to win. I do know what I want from the guy who does, however. I want him to say, "That's it, everyone comes home now!"

The truth is we don't need every day of the year to be Dia de los Muertos. Just one is enough for me. It should be for all of us.