Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Syrian Memo

When I'm making decisions about American national security and the potential for taking additional action in terms of responding to chemical weapons use, I've got to make sure I've got the facts.
Barak H. Obama, President of the United States

Well that would be a refreshing change. Especially when you consider the fanciful bullshit that was used to con us into charging head long across the Iraqi border.

There is no telling what exactly is on the president's mind when in comes to Syria, but there can be no doubt that any sort of direct American intervention, ie boots on the ground in Aleppo, is going to be one tough sell. We've been down that road before and huge portions of the public have no desire to make another trip.

In fact, thanks to the great Bush/Cheney Iraqi scam, there are going to be large numbers of Americans who will steadfastly refuse to believe there are any sort of chemical weapons in Syria at all. Even documented photographic evidence won't be enough this time around. The truth be told, Barak Obama could have SEAL Team 6 plop a stolen chemical warhead down in the middle of the white house rose garden and the average citizen would still say no to any sort of miltary involvement in Syria.

Yes, this war stuff is finally wearing us out. It seems like every time we turn around there is some new crisis that calls for us to sacrifice our sons, daughters, and grandchildren on the altar of a foreign policy that rarely makes sense to anyone and certainly doesn't earn us any international good will. It seems that the population has finally realized that while we can pick a fight easily enough, we have no clue when it comes to ending one.

That and we know it will end badly, no matter how many Syrians we kill in the process. Granted Bashar Assad is a rotten and deadly ass and the Iranians like him which makes him immediately suspect on a number of levels, but who will replace him? Mubarak was deposed, but the guys running Egypt now are a bit dicey at best. Things aren't exactly peachy keen in Baghdad either despite all our efforts. And, honestly, there isn't a sane bookie on this blue ball who will give you odds on Hamid Karzai's life expectancy once the last U.S. troops finally exit Afghanistan.

No, the more we try to make things better the worse they become. It always feels like we're some guy trying to get rid of bees with a baseball bat. It works just fine on the hive but it isn't worth a shit when the pissed off survivors come swarming out after you.

Ultimately to reach our perfect version of a middle east we'd have to permanently garrison the entire region and that really isn't an option even to the boys who run Haliburton and, hell, they like wars.

NBC News reports that as long as a year ago Obama asked the pentagon to prepare contingency plans for Syria. Lets hope some one had the guts to tell him the only good plan is to not have one. After all, we're stretched a bit thin here, Mr. President, especially if the pudgy little twerp in North Korea goes off his nut.

There have simply been too many flag draped coffins coming home these past dozen years. At some point the government has to recognize we can't police the entire globe. At some point the state department and all the other foreign policy wankers have to understand that most people don't want us to. 

A lot of us have gotten that memo. Hopefully the president has too.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Great Bullet Shortage, Sorority Girls Are Whores in Tucson, and Evil Wins One In New England

In Washington D.C. Chris Casteel of The Oklahoman's capitol bureau is reporting that Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressman Frank Lucas have co-sponsored a bill that, if passed, will prevent the federal government from stockpiling ammunition. No, they aren't trying to limit the defense department from doing such a thing. Lord knows that both of them consider the defense department the great golden calf that should be worshiped lavishly and sacrificed to daily. They are taking aim at the Department of Homeland Security and the agencies that come under its umbrella. We're talking about border patrol agents, Federal Air Marshals, Federal Protective Service Officers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and others.

Lucas and Inhofe aren't doing this as a cost cutting measure, despite their stated desires for deficit reduction. They are out to make sure the U.S. government doesn't create a bullet shortage that will cause NRA members and other gun lovers the inconvenience of not being able to fully load their high capacity ammo clips. You know, the ones that people like Adam Lanza and James Holmes favor. Casteel quotes Inhofe as saying, "(Obama) has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans access and opportunities to exercise their second amendment rights." He went on to state, "One way the Obama administration is able to do this is by limiting what's available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition."

Lucas said that he'd heard from constituents who are worried about shortages of ammunition in Oklahoma. Casteel quotes him as saying agency purchases should be limited, "so Americans can exercise their second amendment rights without being encumbered by the federal government."

It is good to know that while these two statesmen have been working day and night to cut services to the infirm, aged, and indigent they are going to make sure everyone can keep their AR-15s loaded.

Slate and @GunDeaths reports that as of April 25 at least 3,700 Americans have been shot to death since the Newtown, CT murders in December. A more cynical person might contend that such a high casualty rate is one of the reasons for any temporary shortages of bullets. After all, it takes a lot of rounds to off nearly 4,000 people, especially the fast ones.

Out in Tucson, University of Arizona student Dean Saxton, otherwise known as "Brother Dean," caused a stir. The April 25th Huffington Post reported that Saxton, a junior who is studying classics and religious studies, took to the campus carrying a sign that said, "You Deserve Rape." He is reportedly outraged by female students who wear shorts, or what he describes as, "sex shorts." When confronted by a female student wearing a pair he told her, "You're disgusting. God's going to vomit you out on judgement day." In a fit of what some might consider irony he was in possession of another sign that read, "Rapists Deserve the Death Penalty."

I know, the duality there is a tad odd. He also had signs that said, "Frat Boys Are Rapists" and "Sorority Girls Are Whores." To prove he isn't just a one issue sort of guy, in the middle of his demonstration, he yelled out, "All Muslims are pedophiles." In the past he has claimed gays will be condemned to hell. And just to make sure the gays don't get lonely in perdition he believes that everyone who masturbates will be going there too.

In an interview he was quoted as saying he, "was looking for a way to be on fire for God." It is unclear what Christian denomination Brother Dean belongs to, however I'm sure the folks at the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka would love to have him come by for a visit. I'm betting a Deaconship, or some other such position of importance could be made available for a man of his talents and verve.

Finally up in New England it is reported that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing and an American citizen, was questioned for sixteen hours before being read his Miranda rights. It was during that time frame NBC News sources say he confessed to the bombings. Once someone finally got around to telling him he didn't have to talk and that he had a right to legal counsel he clammed up.

I'm a fairly simple guy, but it seems to me if we consider the rights of one citizen, even one who may have committed an appalling act of mayhem, null and void for any length of time then evil has won a major victory. It doesn't matter where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born, what his religion is, or what crime he committed. As an American he should have been afforded the same rights as any citizen charged with a crime in the American justice system. To do anything less is to show fear. Ultimately what happened in that hospital room was an act of cowardice. We should be ashamed.

So there you have it. Another week is in the books.

Just remember the words of George Bernard Shaw in his play "The Devil's Disciple."

Major Swinden: What will history say, sir?
General Burgoyne: History, sir, will tell lies, as usual.

Mr. Sulu you have the con. Over and out.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Post Boston Craziness: Conspiracy Theories and Magic Mushrooms

Is it in the water, or are the spores spread through the air? You know, that strain of lunacy that appears far more wide spread than any variety of bird flu has ever been. Lets face facts, it is has infected huge numbers of the human race and there seems to be no cure for it.

NBC News reports that in Russia, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of the Boston bombing suspects, was interviewed by a local media outlet and said that she never saw any violent tendencies in them. That is all fine and good I suppose. I mean she is a mother and many mothers find it hard to believe their children are capable of deadly mayhem. However at one point during the interview she stepped straight onto the crazy train by claiming, "America took my sons away from me, I'm sure my kids were not involved in anything." She also asserted that her surviving son, Dzhokhar had not been questioned by the police and in fact not even been identified as a suspect by authorities. She blamed all of her son's bad press on--well--the press.

Previously her husband had said that Tamerlan, the older of the two, was a famous boxing champion in the United States and Dzhokhar was a medical school student. Toward the end of the interview Mrs. Tsarnaeva was quoted as saying she regretted ever coming to the U.S. No doubt, on that point at least, huge numbers of people will agree with her.

Here in the states, right wing babbler, Glenn Beck went on the air claiming there was a vast conspiracy afoot that has been designed to cover the tracks of a third man involved in the bombing. Beck, who is such a quack that even Fox News had to get rid of him, believes a Saudi national with a known terrorist past was arrested, released, and is now about to be deported. On his independent radio broadcast he doesn't say who he believes is letting the guy off the hook, but does claim that all the subterfuge began after John Kerry, the Secretary of State, Vice President Joe Biden, and Barak by God Obama himself had conferred with various Saudi officials, including the ambassador and the foreign minister.

All this started when a Saudi national was wounded in the bombing, then questioned by authorities who even searched his Revere, MA apartment. Before the questioning began he was put on a watch list in order to keep him in the country. After clearing him of any wrong doing his name was removed from the watch list. At about the same time a second Saudi man was picked up when it was found he had overstayed his visa. Beck claims all this is a government created fog, that the two men are one in the same, and that nefarious powers removed the man's name from the watch list presumably at the behest of the Saudi government.

Fox New reporter, Bret Baier looked into the whole thing and basically said there was nothing to it. Beck, however, won't be deterred. He claims that, "we have a media so out of control they will destroy anyone who tries to protect America." He also assures us that the burden of proof  is on the federal government to disprove his theory, which is highly convenient for Glenn Beck and his ratings. In the future he can argue that since the government is behind the conspiracy everything they do to disprove it will be--yes--just another part of the conspiracy.

Which leads us to New Hampshire republican lawmaker, Stella Tremblay. She wrote this on Beck's facebook page before the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaeva, "The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops "terrorist" attack. One suspect dead, the other one will be too before they have a chance to speak. Drones and now, "terrorists" attack by our own government. Sad day, but "wake up" to all of us."

Ms. Tremblay's source of information regarding this crafty, not to mention, deadly government plot was Alex Jones' Infowars web site. Brother Jones, out of Austin, TX and another independent radio host, also claims the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 9-11 attacks on New York City and Washington were both government black ops. In addition he says NASA faked the moon landings and that "thousands" of astronauts have been killed.

Matthew Slater, New Hampshire republican executive director said Representative Tremblay's remarks were, "bizarre, embarrassing, and unfounded." The GOP leader in the N.H. state house described them as, "highly offensive, egregious, and irrational." A Democratic spokesperson said they represented, "an epidemic of disgusting and shockingly inappropriate behavior by members of the New Hampshire republican party."

Last year Ms. Temblay emailed all of her fellow state representatives an eight minute video that she said proved Barak Obama was not a citizen of the United States. Today she claims she has nothing to apologize for.

Yes, something is going on around here that can't be explained in the realms of logic and reason. Perhaps the real conspiracy is that all these rubes have stumbled upon the most potent species of psilocybin mushroom ever found and are keeping it to themselves. Whatever the case it seems to be working out for both Jones and Beck despite the fact the two of them have been canned by main stream media outlets. Stella Tremblay is currently serving her third term in the N.H. legislature so all this bat shit insanity hasn't derailed her career either, at least not yet.

We used to have brains in this country. I don't know when it all fell apart for us. Perhaps it was when Jack Kennedy was murdered. That terrible act let all these crazed fucks out of the closet and into the mainstream. It has been down hill ever since.

Thanks to the propensity of so many people to believe anything they see, or hear broadcast we've stepped off the deep end. And ultimately, in the final analysis, what television did for all those slick and perfectly coiffed, greed head born again Christian evangelists, the internet has done for the likes of Alex Jones. It has given the most perverse and ruthless hucksters, con men and midway geeks a global stage and an audience whose numbers are so vast they can't be counted.

After all, like the woman in the car insurance ad says, "They can't put it on the internet unless it is true. I read that on the internet."


sic vita est


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lonely No More In North Korea: The Day of the Sun and Religionists

And all this time you thought North Korea was a hermit nation with barely a whisper of international support voiced by the world community.

Obviously you and I have been the victims of a vast imperialistic propaganda plot. Don't think so? Just check out the news releases issued by the Korean Central News Agency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK for short.

There is quite a list of stories bragging about international support for Kim Jong-un and his crowd. Some of them are a bit dated, but hey, other than ratcheting up for nuclear war, it has been a slow news month north of the DMZ.

One release talks about the Poland-Korean Association. It's central committee is headed by someone named, Slaboy January Guzowski. Back in March he and the committee began planning to celebrate "The Day of the Sun," which is the term used to describe Kim Il-sung's birthday. News out of Poland, according to the KCNA, is that the association was setting up events, "including a seminar on exploits, celebration meeting, lecture (sic) and film shows on April 15 (The Day of the Sun) and other significant dates. Kim Il-sung is the first of the three Kims. He was born in 1912, or what the North Koreans refer to as Juche 1. This year is Juche 102 for those of you who have lost track.

In addition the KCNA reports that beyond Poland, Kim's birthday was being celebrated in countries such as Britain, Romania, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Uganda. The article was vague on where the galas were being held in those places, although in the UK the highly influential Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) was sponsoring the festivities.

Not to be outdone, international media outlets were noting the big day and praising Kim lavishly. The magazine, Hong Kong, China International Ties (sic) was mentioned as was the Russian publication, Khabarvoski Ekspres, Mexico's United Nacional, and Peru's Accion Nacionalista.

I will admit that I've never heard of Slaboy January Guzowski, or the Poland-Korea Association and to be honest I had a terrible time finding mention of him or it anywhere on the web, outside of KCNA news releases. However, I'm sure many fine people are involved and the party was a grand one.

I also have to tell you that I couldn't track down United Nacional, or The Hong Kong, China International Ties or even Times. I couldn't find a publication called Accion Nacionalista either, although there does seem to be a leftist political movement in Latin America falling under that name, so who knows. The Khabarvoski Ekspres is a weekly paper published in Khabarvosk, Russia. Khabarvosk's population in 2010 was 577,441 hearty souls. It is located 30 km from the Chinese border in far eastern Siberia.

Well you have to start someplace and these journalistic enterprises are probably as good as any.

The other tidbit of news available on the KCNA's site is that religionists in the people's democratic republic have blamed the United States and South Korea for escalating tensions on the peninsula. The story assures us that, "Not only Koreans and the world's progressives, but American religious leaders and other people with differing political views and religious beliefs have appreciated the undying feats by President Kim Il-sung and General Secretary Kim Jong-il." I missed that part of the sermon in church last week, but to be honest I only go for the wafer and wine, a lot of the rest of it just sort of goes in one ear and then out the other. In the same story we find that, "The public at home and abroad are increasing voices praising Marshal, Kim Jong-un."

Make no mistake, this was a heavy weight group of theologians meeting in Pyongyang. Included at the confab was the chairman of central committee of the Catholic Association of Korea, the secretary general of the central committee of the Christian Federation of Korea, the secretary general of the central guidance committee of the Chondron Association and the chief priest of the Songbul Temple. All these guys are members of the--yes, you guessed it--central committee of the Religious Believers Council of Korea. Obviously there will never be a shortage of central committees in the DPRK.

So there you have it straight from the horse's mouth. The place is rife with religionists and North Korea is no more alone than you and I are on this great globe. Friends of theirs abound from the old world to the new.

That's a good thing too. About three hours ago The Huffington Post reported that the DPRK's ambassador asked the Mongolian government for food aid.

It would appear you can't serve either undying feats or central committees for dinner.

It looks like some of the time life imitates literature. George Orwell didn't know how close to the truth his fiction would come. I doubt he'd be pleased if he did.


Monday, April 22, 2013

There Be Monsters Out There

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
Blaise Pascal

Krystle Campbell, one of the three people killed at the Boston Marathon, was buried today in Medford, MA. Hundreds of union members were there out of respect for her and because some folks from the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS had said they'd be there too. Of course the WBC group wasn't going to attend out of respect for the dead. They were going to be there in order to claim, God Almighty Himself had made sure Krystle Campbell was killed because the United States tolerates homosexuals.

Apparently the membership of the WBC decided discretion was the better part of valor, because according to the Boston Globe they were no shows. Well who can blame them. There is God in heaven, but He seems a long way off when confronted by several hundred extremely pissed off Teamsters who would just as soon cave your skull in with a tire iron.

A quick glance at the Westboro web site, the one with the ever so charming name, godhatesfags.com, reveals that the congregation is now promising to picket the memorial service of MIT police officer Sean Collier. Collier was killed on Thursday night allegedly by the brothers, Tsarnaev when they realized they were screwed, glued, and tattooed by the cops, the feds, and the media.

According to the WBC press release, issued yesterday announcing the upcoming protest, "God sent the Boston Marathon bombs. Adore and give obeisance to God! Not the vile dead human creature."

Luckily for the family and friends of Sean Collier the Westboro Baptist Church is rather like the leadership of North Korea. It promises to do a lot of monstrous things, but rarely follows through on them.

For those thinking about actually taking a look at the rest of the release, be warned it takes some truly monumental detachment to cruise the Westboro Baptist Church site. They really don't like anyone and aren't shy about telling you. A list of "sister sites" includes the following, "GodhatesIslam, Godhatesthemedia, JewskilledJesus, BeastObama, Priestsrapeboys, Americaisdoomed, and my personal favorite, Godhatestheworld. One would assume the lack of a GodhatesBhuddistsandHindus site is simply because of some editorial mix up. Rather like when the closed captioning on a Fox TV station identified, Zooey Daschanel as the suspected bomber on the loose in Watertown Friday. Yes, self editing can be a real bitch sometimes.

The problem here is that the Westboro Baptist Church, like the NRA, makes more noise and trouble than we should ever allow it. Wikipedia says that as of 2011 it had only forty members and most of them are relatives of Fred Phelps, the guy in charge. It isn't affiliated with any Baptist organization, or denomination, in fact real Baptists won't have anything to do with them.

I guess the lesson learned is even the Nazis started small, so you can't let some noxious weed like this go unwatched. The Anti Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center keeps an eye on them just in case they start to metastasize in the body public.

It is hard to imagine it happening, but then it is hard to imagine a lot of the things that have happened on this blue ball lately.

Indeed, that roll call has proven to be long, gruesome, and unfathomable. Unfortunately it doesn't appear we're anywhere near the end of it.

So, as they say, keep an ear to the ground and a clear eye.

And always, always, be aware of your surroundings. After all, there be monsters out there.

sic vita est


Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Long Day in Watertown

On Monday it was the shock and horror of the act itself. The two bombs shattered the joy and triumph at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It killed three and ripped the limbs from more than just a few. By Tuesday there was that terrible numbness that always follows such barbaric acts. There was that grotesque sense of violation and a pall of sadness. The adrenaline was gone, the storm had blown through, and all that was left was to clean up the wreckage and wonder who and why.

Then the photos hit TV and computer screens. Two guys wearing different colored ball caps. They were young fellows with dark hair and blurry faces strolling through the crowd near the finish line, seemingly calm, but with purpose. They didn't look agitated, but they were definitely going somewhere.

On Thursday it began to fall apart for them. Apparently there had been a planned campaign of sustained terror, but they had badly underestimated the police and FBI. Now their mugs were all over the place and it was just a matter of time before their names were too. Because they had been so sure of themselves there was no contingency for a quick getaway. It suddenly dawned on them they were, in the truest since of the word, fucked. Panic set in.

That night they killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus policeman named Sean Collier. He didn't even have time to get out of his car. Why they did it is still unclear. It probably wasn't just for fun, although that remains a possibility. After all, what is one cop after you've killed three and wounded 176, many of them gravely. No, most likely he drove past and glanced over at them. Perhaps he stopped to get a better look. No matter what the case they weren't taking any chances. Officer Collier was shot multiple times.

Things had spun out of control with breathtaking speed. Not only were they loaded down with bombs of various sizes, but they were on foot, they had been identified. and they had just guaranteed themselves that hundreds of police were headed their way.

They car jacked a civilian at gun point. They made sure to tell him they were the guys. They grabbed his ATM card and it took them three attempts to get $800 out of his account. They let their victim go without harming him, knowing he'd tell police they were the world famous Boston Marathon Bombers.

The game was, as Sherlock said, afoot. So was the chase that ended in Watertown, MA which is west of Cambridge. The older of the two, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed on the street during a wild firefight. Police claimed he had a bomb strapped to his chest. They also said when his younger brother, Dzhokhar made a break for it in the jacked SUV he ran his body over.

What followed was nearly 24 hours of painstaking, grueling, footwork by an army of police and federal officials as the search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dragged on. Watertown and the rest of the Boston metro area went into a complete lock down.

The rumors flew fast and furious as cable news talking heads tried to keep track of what was going on. Reports of other bombs being found, of one, or two accomplices on a train that had been stopped and surrounded in Connecticut, of the suspect himself trapped in a Watertown home were blurted out and then abandoned. Network "analysts" speculated on terrorist connections, Chechen separatists, Islamic fundamentalists, police negotiating tactics and the price of rice in China; anything to fill the time and keep people tuned in. In Maryland, an uncle of the two ranted about them being, "losers." Their father was tracked down in Russia and and he began babbling gibberish about how Tamerlan was a three time U.S. boxing champion and famous. He claimed his younger son, 19 year old Dzhokar was in his second year of medical school. The truth is the older Tsarnaev was a golden glove boxer, but hardly a U.S. champion, although he is certainly famous now. Dzhokar was attending a branch of the University of Massachusetts, but his grades were less than spectacular.

You knew things had gone surreal when the president of Chechnya issued a statement blaming the whole macabre circus on the United States. Around the same time, proving that stupidity and cruelty go hand in hand, a republican state lawmaker in Arkansas tweeted, "I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity (sic) magazine."

Well it is over for now. Dzhokar Tsarnaev was dragged wounded out of a boat stored in a Watertown back yard last night. He is in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital as I type.

The obvious question--why--hangs in the air like fog on a damp still night. What happened to set him and his brother off? At what point did it occur to them that all of this deadly bullshit was a good idea?

If they can keep him alive hopefully authorities will find out, although reports are circulating that as he was being transported to the hospital Dzhokar Tsarnaev was incoherent. It may well be he has tripped over the edge and entered a deep impenetrable place where he'll never be found. The only thing really certain is that, as an Oklahoma bail bondsman once said of Tim McVeigh, "That boy needs a lawyer more than anyone I've ever seen."

Ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, the end came quickly and we can all breathe easy for a while. At least until it happens again. And it will. That is something you can be assured of. We are a nation of soft targets. What makes us great also makes us vulnerable and there are a whole lot of people out there who hate our guts. And the terrible truth is that each and every one of them knows how to make bombs.

So, until next time enjoy the ball game, America. Just don't forget that beer sales stop at the end of the 7th inning. Oh, and you might as well leave the back pack at home. There is no way you're getting into the stadium with it. Trust me on that.

sic vita est


Thursday, April 18, 2013

E Pluribus NRA

They look at you with blank eyes. There is no compassion in their eyes.
Carlee Soto, sister of Victoria Soto who was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Ms. Soto wasn't speaking of either sharks or barracudas, although she might as well have been. She was talking about the United States Senators she spoke to while lobbying to get a bill passed. It was a law that would require a buyer back ground check to be run before a weapons sale at a gun show or over the internet could be completed.

The bill was sponsored by Joe Manchin, D-WV and Pat Toomey, R-PA. In rational parts of the world it would have passed because the vote was 54-46 in favor. However since the vote was taken in the U.S. Senate, which will never be accused of being rational, it needed 60 votes to move forward.

Most credible polls have shown that 90% of the American public supports expanded background checks. In fact according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released today 86% are still for it, while only 13% are against it.

Unfortunately for most of us, you know the 86%, that 13% includes the NRA, their unlimited treasury, and a following that screeches louder than the the mythical Irish banshee.

The National Rifle Association fired up its troops by issuing a statement that said, "(The bill) would criminalize certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring life long friends, neighbors, and some family members to get federal permission to exercise a fundamental right, or face prosecution."

Senator Manchin had three words for that release. "The NRA lied."

Well of course they did. Never has any government anywhere been so influenced by such an amoral, in fact sociopathic, outfit as the NRA. How long will it take for everyone to understand they are capable of anything to keep the gun manufacturers happy? Lying is a given and probably the least of a myriad of sins they have and are prepared to commit.

Want proof? In a display of abject sadism a few weeks ago the NRA bombarded the population of Newtown with calls urging them to defeat pending gun control legislation in the Connecticut General Assembly. Lately their field hands in the Senate have been busy attempting to discredit gun violence victims and their families because they have been lobbying for the Manchin-Toomey bill. Last week republican Jim Inhofe said the families of victims have nothing to do with it. This week Rand Paul was quoted as saying, "In some cases I think the president is using them as props."

Young Ms. Soto's response to Senator Paul was, "He's absurd."

In a statement at the white house, President Obama said, "I've heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced--a prop somebody called it. Are they serious? Do they really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don't have a right to weigh in on this issue? Do they think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this debate?"

In other words, Carlee Soto has just as much of a right to lobby her cause as the NRA does.

Mark Kelly, the husband of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords called yesterdays vote, "A moment of shame for the Senate." He went on to say, "If that vote had been a secret ballot, it would have passed with 80 votes." It is pure speculation of course, but it feels true. Before the roll call the NRA issued a stern warning that it would be keeping an eye on who supported it and who didn't and that they'd dole out their political support, or opposition accordingly. After vomiting with fear the meek caved in.

On MSNBC, former republican congressman Joe Scarborough said flatly, "The American people were insulted yesterday.

That is putting it mildly.

So the tyranny of the minority continues in the United States for the time being. The Senate has proven it does not serve the people of the nation, or the best interests of the republic. It is wholly owned and operated by a cabal of gun manufacturers and a loud paranoid mob that in truth is a very small fraction of the population.

In the mean time we are just waiting on the next James Holmes, the next Adam Lanza, the next mass murderer who will kill dozens, if not more, innocent people with a weapon that was bought legally. He is out there right now. He is listening to those voices echo in his head and he is convinced he has been terribly wronged by civilization and life itself. If he hasn't all ready, he is about to walk into a sporting goods store to buy a weapon and ammunition clips that should be restricted to military use. The clerk will joke with him about the number of prairie dogs, or rats he plans on killing without having to reload. He probably won't laugh at such witticisms because, after all, he is a quiet man: one we've grown to know all too well.

Slate and @GunDeaths reports that as of April 17th at least 3,513 Americans have been shot to death since the Sandy Hook attack. That is a little over 878 people a month.

Apparently it's not enough. At least not yet.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Familiar Numbness in Boston: Al Gerhart, Political Martyr

And today there is the all too familiar numbness. Yes, it is that terrible moment we've come to know too well when all the adrenaline has ebbed and the gruesome photos no longer shock, but sink into the core of our being and sit there as a heavy black void.

In Boston there are three confirmed dead, but 17 of the 176 wounded are in critical condition so the toll may rise. The wounded range in age from two years to seventy-one. Two of the casualties are brothers Paul Norden, 31 and J.P. Norden, 33. They each lost a leg in the explosion.

One of the dead is eight year old Martin Richard. He was near the finish line with his mother and sister to cheer on his father who was running in the race. NBC News is reporting that his mother, Denise suffered a brain injury in the blast and his sister lost one of her legs.

A 29 year old woman from Medford, MA named Krystle Campbell has been identified as another fatality. Reports are she was there to root for a friend who was also running in the race.

Authorities are now saying that the bombs were packaged in pressure cookers, loaded with shrapnel such as steel pellets and nails and hidden in back packs. The prevailing opinion at this point is that both devices were detonated by timers. There is no word on suspects, or if police and the FBI have any inkling if this was a domestic or foreign act of terrorism. Apparently instructions on how to construct devices like the ones used yesterday are readily available on the internet to anyone who hears voices in his head, howls at the moon, and can read. All the parts and ingredients needed are reported to be easily bought and perfectly legal.

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, reporter Nolan Clay writes in today's The Oklahoman that Sooner Tea Party head Al Gerhart, who is charged with blackmail, turned himself into police on Saturday and now is out on $15,000 bail.

Gerhart, a man who believes brute intimidation and crude threats made against a politician's family and friends equates with political activism, is screeching that he is being politically persecuted. Well of course he is. That is always the last refuge of these right wing meatballs. They morph instantly from a street punk wildly swinging a Louisville Slugger baseball bat into a martyr dangling naked from a cross. Everyone is out to get me only because I was out to get them. I am but an innocent guardian being attacked by a pack of vengeful wolves.

Actually Gerhart is such a well known thug that a judge issued an order prohibiting him from coming within 1000 feet of republican state senator Cliff Branan, or any member of his family. He has still failed to provide any proof of the infidelity he claims Branan committed. Apparently that snide attempt at character assassination turned out to be just a silly mix up, or something he simply pulled out of his ass.

Clay reports that Gerhart didn't surrender himself to police until the weekend because he was out of the country last week. There was no explaination of where or why. Perhaps it was to someplace exotic like the Cayman Islands. After all, one can always use an open bank account in distant locales in case there is a need for speedy immigration at some point in the near future. Indeed, a thinking man needs to be prepared for all contingencies.

It is an uncomfortably cool and gray day here on the southern plains.

Unfortunately it fits the mood perfectly.

sic vita est


Monday, April 15, 2013

Patriot's Day 2013: A Symphony of Sirens

On April 19th, 1775 British forces moved out of Boston and to the west to confiscate arms and ammunition held by a group of people the Crown considered probably treasonous and most definitely out of control. Early in the day two battles were fought. The first was at the Lexington green, the second was at a bridge in Concord. Given what was to come even in the revolutionary war and certainly in the civil war these actions were minor skirmishes. After the engagement at Concord the British troops began a long and painful retreat to Boston. They were met at nearly every turn in the road by snipers hidden deep in the leafless underbrush who would fire and then fade away into the woods. It is the wet dream of many NRA members to face down Federal troops in just such a manner.

But I digress.

In Massachusetts and Maine, because at the time Maine was a part of Massachusetts, April 19th became a holiday, referred to as "Patriot's Day." As with all holidays politicians and business people got involved and "Patriots Day" was moved to the third Monday of April, no matter what the date.

Here is what happens on "Patriot's Day" in the Commonwealth. No one goes to school, no one goes to work, tens of thousands of people converge on the city of Boston, which is a pretty small place. The Red Sox play a game starting in the morning so that their patrons, in theory, can get out of the stadium and watch the end of a marathon race that was first run over 100 years ago. In short, once the game ends, it is shoulder to shoulder people all through the back bay and Copley Square areas. I know this because I lived in New England for five years and went to a couple of baseball games on "Patriot's Day." 35,000 Red Sox fans, many of whom started drinking around 9am run smack into tens of thousands of Boston marathon fans. At times in Kenmore Square, which is a block or so north of the Green Monster left field fence at Fenway Park, it is hard to even move. People in this large open space are shoulder to shoulder trying to edge there way somewhere, anywhere.

Everyone is happy and excited, unless the Red Sox choked again, but even then it remains a festival the likes of which someone who hasn't been there can't really comprehend.

Today the monsters arrived and blew up two bombs near the finish line of the race. The latest count is 100 plus wounded and two dead, but the list is growing. There were no previous warnings, at least none that authorities are admitting to, and as of last look no one is taking credit for it.

This bullshit has hit a little too close to home for me. In 1995 I was driving a cab and trying to sell a novel to just about any publisher who would give me a dime or two when Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City. I was a twenty minute commute from downtown OKC but the concussion set off car alarms in the parking lot where I was collecting a fare. In 2005, I was sitting in Oklahoma Memorial Stadium with my youngest daughter watching a football game between Oklahoma and Kansas State. Right before half time there was an explosion. Some in the lower deck reported it as sounding like thunder. We were in the upper deck and I knew it was more than that. About 200 yards west of the stadium a young engineering student had blown himself to bits as he sat on a campus bench. To this day no one knows for sure what his real intent was.

Right now, other than mayhem, no one knows what the bomber, or bombers in Boston real intent is. It could well be some demented we must have our guns outfit. After all, McVeigh and Nichols used the 19th of April, "Patriot's Day," as a symbolic date. It could be some off shoot of al-Qaida who finally scored a hit after years of failures. It might be some dummy who thinks stuff like this is fun: just another mutant persona of Jimmy Holmes, or Adam Lanza. And, for all we know, North Korean saboteurs might have pulled the trigger, although that seems remote to the extreme and so incredibly self destructive on Li'l Kim's part that the mind boggles at the notion.

What we do know for sure is that in the midst of all the initial confusion and wild speculation the President of the United States, Barak Hussein Obama has said, " we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable." This would be the same president who okay'd the hit on Osama bin-Laden.

In other words, ladies and gentlemen, if you're the ones who pulled off this gruesome act of hate keep in mind you can run, but you cannot hide. As of today you have a limited amount of time left on this planet and the clock is running.

CNN interviewed a marathoner who is also an editor at the Washington Post. His name is Vernon Loeb. He said he heard the explosions shortly after he finished the race and then in his words, there was a symphony of sirens.

After the Oklahoma City bombing I picked up a very old African American woman in my cab. We started talking about the attack. I ran through the normal cabbie macho BS. She just shook her head and told me, "All they are trying to do is make you just like them."

True story.

It was the only tip she left me. I've treasured it ever since. I just wish I could keep it in my heart on days like this.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tom Coburn the Traitor, Tony Perkins Makes a Threat, and Is Big Al Gerhart on the Lam?

What is up for consideration is how to improve a broken system that literally allows illegal aliens, drug traffickers, child molesters, rapists, felons, members of  al-Qaida cells and mentally deranged persons to buy firearms. If you believe the Second Amendment gives these people the right to arm themselves then we have an irreconcilable difference of opinion.
Senator Tom Coburn, R-OK

Well you have to hand it to ol' Tom. Even when he disagrees with the lunatic right and they come down on him with all the wrath of a wounded Cape Buffalo he knows how to push every xenophobic and law and order hot button they love so dearly.

In today's, The Oklahoman, OKC's daily paper, Washington bureau chief Chris Casteel reports that Coburn's Facebook page has been hit with a barrage of outrage and obscenities from the we can't get a hard on unless we own a lot of guns crowd. Casteel writes that the word traitor is among the kinder things he is being called.

All this not because Coburn voted in favor of some sort of ban on assault style weapons, high capacity magazines, or even expanded background checks, but because he voted to simply allow a debate about pending legislation that would require background checks before a gun sale could be completed either over the internet, or at a gun show.

The level of education found in the posts is apparently not quite that of the first graders who were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary in December. Casteel reports that many of the correspondents swore they would work tirelessly to make sure Coburn would be defeated when he runs for re-election. Coburn has stated repeatedly over the last few years he would not seek another term in the Senate. With friends like these who can blame him?

Meanwhile Mr. Tony Perkins, the president of The Family Research Council fired off an email to that groups supporters saying they, "shouldn't send them a dime of your hard earned money until republicans grow a backbone." This is because a handful of republican lawmakers have shifted their stance on gay marriage. Perkins promised the GOP that Born Again activists would, "move to create a third party" if the republican leadership approves any law that would allow such a thing.

The Family Research Council web site provides reading material such as, "The Southern Poverty Law Center and Its So Called Hate Groups." An article by Sr. VP Rob Schwartzwalder rambles on about, "...world views and values cloven by the blunt maul of post modernism, secularism, neo paganism, scientific rationalism, etc. in our time." And one would suppose, lions, tigers, and bears: oh my.

It would certainly seem a line has been drawn in the sand. However best guess is that when Hilliary Rodham Clinton is nominated as a presidential candidate the panic will be such that it and any others will be thoroughly ignored.

Finally here in Oklahoma again, the great debate is over whether Sooner Tea Party head, Al Gerhart's threatening email to a republican lawmaker is free speech, or a crude attempt at blackmail. Most of the old guard republican elite, such as Mike McCarville and The Oklahoman op-ed staff tend to believe that Gerhart stepped over the legal line, while many of the grass root hoi polloi think he didn't. The only thing all of them seem to agree on is that Gerhart is an asshole.

Al himself has been keeping a low profile. In fact there is a chance he has taken it on the lam. He was charged with two felonies on Tuesday, but as of late Thursday afternoon he had not surrendered himself, or been picked up by authorities. A quick check of the on line OKC police blotter this morning shows that his name was not included on the list of those booked into the county jail yesterday and there was no mention of his status in the paper today. Perhaps he has fled to the hills of southeast Oklahoma with a few armed supporters to begin the revolution. Or it might be he simply can't find a lawyer who can put up with him for more than ten minutes.

The weekend has arrived, so I suppose we can all catch our collective breath for a few moments while we wait on the North Koreans to launch a missile or two. If you don't think Li'l Kim will just ask the people who wrote those vitriolic posts to Coburn. After all, as they know so well, the bigger the bang the larger the penis.

Thank God for Samuel Adams and pulled pork sandwiches.

Over and out.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Savage Minds: Holmes, Purfield, Gerhart, and Inhofe

Savagery comes in all manner of people and in a variety of places these days. Sometimes it arrives in waves that simply threaten to overwhelm.

Jimmy Holmes we know about. NBC News is reporting that recently released court documents show that a full month before Holmes shot up a crowded movie theater, killing 12 and wounding 70, his psychiatrist reported to University of Colorado Police he had threatened her via emails and text messages. She described the threats as, "homicidal statements." The same day she made the report university officials deactivated Holmes' student ID, officially removing him as a member of the student body. Apparently that was enough for the campus cops. There is no evidence they ever questioned Holmes, or that they reported him to any other law enforcement agency. Meanwhile our man continued to case the theater where the shooting took place and amass a vast array of weapons, ammunition, and explosive material. The rest, tragically, is history.

Reuters' Teresa Carson posted a story online today that Portland, OR. police arrested a man named Keven Michael Purfield. Apparently Purfield has been contacting relatives of Holmes' victims and harassing them over the phone and through emails and social networks. According to Aurora, CO police the number of people Purfield got a hold of is in the dozens. They claim he initially began telling them, "conspiracy theory stuff." Then it escalated to name calling and "hoping bad things would happen to them." On a Facebook page Purfield maintained that some of the coffins of the Aurora dead were empty. There were also references to Sandy Hook Elementary and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Purfield was charged with five misdemeanor counts of telephone harassment and one count of stalking. Bond was set at $10,000.

Our old pal Al Gerhart didn't get off so lucky in Oklahoma City. Gerhart, co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party (Not to be mixed up with the Oklahoma City Tea Party, which disavowed his foul ass as soon as this story broke) had emailed republican state Senator Cliff Branan threatening to "...dig into your past, your family, your associates and once we start there will be no end to it." He also promised to make Branan the "laughing stock of the Senate." All this because a bill he wanted passed was languishing in Branan's senate committee. Tuesday he was charged with blackmail and violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act. Both counts are felonies.

According to a story in The Oklahoman by Nolan Clay, Gerhart has maintained his email was free speech and that he was being harassed because Sooner Tea Party tactics were effective. At a news conference last week, Brother Gerhart delivered on his promise by claiming that the scuttlebutt was that Branan had an affair with an aide, told his wife he wanted a divorce, but was later spurned by the aide. Branan says that the scuttlebutt is simply vile bullshit. When pressed for proof of the alleged affair, Gerhart admitted he had none.

Clay reported that the judge set bail at $15,000 and because Gerhart is such a ruthless and perhaps violent cretin he issued an order that prohibits him from coming within a 1000 feet of the Senator and any member of his family. In yesterday's story, Clay wrote that as of Tuesday night Gerhart had yet to surrender to authorities.

Then in Washington, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe proved once again why many people consider his brain the most reptilian of any man alive. The Huffington Post quoted Inhofe as saying of the Newtown, CT parents who lost their children in December's deadly shooting spree, "See I think it is so unfair of the administration to hurt these families, to make them think this (the gun control debate) has anything to do with them, when in fact it doesn't." When reporters informed the senator that the families thought it had a lot to do with them, Inhofe responded, "Well that is because they've been told that by the president."

Jim, trust me on this. If my six year old was shot multiple times by some demented geek who was armed with a semi automatic assault style weapon and high capacity ammo clips I'd think gun control legislation has everything to do with me. I wouldn't need anyone, up to and including the President of the United States of America, to tell me it does. And I certainly wouldn't need some crass bastard such as yourself to dismiss that notion with such off handed cruelty.

No one has ever accused Inhofe of decency, or even of possessing higher thought processes, but it takes a rare beast to make the likes of Mitch McConnell appear civilized. The only question at this point is where the Oklahoma republican hides his tail.

How we got to this level of dementia is unclear. Unfortunately we are here and we're going to have to deal with monsters such as these on a daily basis.

As Thomas Paine once wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls."

Little did he know.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The NRA's Senate Posse: Screw the People and Forget the Dead

The least republicans owe the parents of those 20 little babies who were murdered at Sandy Hook is a thoughtful debate.
Nevada Senator Harry Reid

Yeah, well tell that to these guys.

Ted Cruz, R-TX
Rand Paul, R-KY
Mike Lee, R-UT
Jim Inhofe, R-OK
Richard Burr, R-NC
Mike Enzi, R-WY
Marco Rubio, R-FL
Jerry Moran, R-KS
Pat Roberts, R-KS
Ron Johnson, R-WI
Dan Coats, R-IN
Mike Crapo, R-ID
James Risch, R-ID
Mitch McConnell, R-KY

It is a gruesome list of cowards, fools, and feral weasels. They are the fourteen United States Senators who say they will filibuster to block any and all debate on gun control measures that might be proposed by their colleagues. Yes, not only do they oppose any sort of gun control, they are going to make damn sure no one even talks about it.

To call them obstructionist is to be kind. Several republicans have touched upon the subject. Peter King, republican congressman from New York was quoted as saying, "The public deserves discussion. To stifle debate and cut it off almost makes it as if these Senators are afraid of something." Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia says a filibuster would be "inappropriate." John McCain stated on Face the Nation that, "The purpose of the Senate is to debate and vote and to let the people know where we stand. I would not only encourage it, I don't understand it. What are we afraid of?"

Indeed, what is this gaggle of conservatives afraid of? Are they afraid of losing an up and down vote on universal background checks? It is an issue that polls show 90% of the American people support, so they certainly aren't afraid of the public. In fact it is brutally obvious they don't give a rat's ass what the vast majority of Americans think. Are they afraid they'll lose votes on bills that ban military style assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines? Maybe, but they also know that any sort of bill like that must eventually pass in a much more conservative House of Representatives and that isn't likely.

Their fear even extends beyond the Senate Chamber. The Huffington Post is reporting that all 14 have refused interview requests by CBS News. It could be they know they are defending the morally reprehensible, although in truth, most of them have never let morally reprehensible behavior stop them in the past.

Yesterday President Barak Obama made a speech in Hartford. In the middle of it he touched on that spot that caused these distinguished gentlemen to turn their backs on the dead that are strewn across the country from Newtown, Connecticut, to Aurora, Colorado; from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Chicago, Illinois. In his words, "What is more important? Our children or an 'A' grade from the gun lobby?"

Well I guess we know the answer to that question. Rest easy boys, those NRA checks are in the mail as I type. Wayne LaPierre has your backs so there is nothing to worry about.

The National Rifle Association likes to talk about how it represents the majority of Americans. It has 4 million members. It looks like a lot, until you realize that in the 2012 presidential election 118 million people voted. In addition there was another 101 million eligible voters who sat at home last November. Best guess at the current United States population is 315 million people.

I'm not a whiz at math, but it looks to me like there are a lot of fucking people around here who the NRA doesn't represent. Of course the key to the problem is that every gun manufacturer in the world supports the NRA, so it has, for all practical purposes, an unlimited supply of money. And money buys elections and Senators.

Yes, you can piss off some of the people most of the time and even most of the people some of the time, but what you can't do is piss off your source of cash. If you do it will end up in the pocket of the guy running against you in the next primary. Now that is fear.

So now we know. All this caterwauling about the constitution is just so much noise. Hell, if you were to stick some truth serum into Jim Inhofe's veins he'd tell you he thinks parts of the constitution itself are unconstitutional. No, this is all about the NRA and the money and holding up your end of the bargain. Don't even talk about this gun control shit. Nip things in the bud right now before something goes wrong. Screw the people and forget the dead. And, oh, before we forget, here is the money for those new campaign ads.

Slate and @GunDeath are reporting that as of yesterday at least 3,345 Americans have been shot to death since the Newtown murders.

Luckily for the 14 Senators none of them will be voting in the next election cycle.



Monday, April 8, 2013

Korea on the Brink: One Kim Too Many

The Queen of Great Britain, Elizabeth the II has a few titles. In fact it takes two or three lines of this blog to list them all. However Her Majesty has nothing on Dennis Rodman's pal, Kim Jong-un. He is--take a deep breath--First Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea, presidium member of the central politburo of the Workers Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army. In short, if you want to get something done in North Korea, he is the man you need to see.

His standing army is 1.1 million strong. He has an unknown quantity of biological and chemical weapons, a bunch of missiles, and a handful of nuclear warheads. He might also be bat shit crazy.

Over he last few month or so Mr. Kim has brought saber rattling to new heights on the Korean peninsula. He has done things like say the armistice between his country and the south is over with and that a state of war exists between them. His news agency has issued statements such as, nuclear weapons are part of "the nation's life and won't be traded even for billions of dollars." He has cut off hot lines to the south. Recently he warned foreign embassies in his country that his government cannot guarantee their safety after the 10th of this month. He has moved at least two long range missiles to his country's east coast and finally he shut down a shared industrial complex, kicking out South Korean workers and withdrawing the North Korean work force.

The South Korean public has had to put up with all manner of bombastic bullshit from the Kim family for three generations now and most haven't blinked an eye while the rest of the world has grown edgier and edgier. However, today NBC News is reporting, that even the placid ROK goverment has begun to distribute handbills instructing the civilian population on what to do in case of a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. This after the new president of the republic, Park Geun-hye issued a statement last week saying "as commander in chief of the armed forces I will trust the military's judgement on abrupt and surprise provocations by North Korea."

Down in Havana Fidel is calling this crisis the most dangerous since the old Soviet Union and the United States came within an inch or so of total nuclear war because of Russian missiles located in his country. Vladimir Putin has claimed the situation in Korea could make the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl  look like a "fairy tale." The Chinese are saying things like, "No country should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain."

So assuming Kim isn't delusional, what exactly is it that he wants? Is it more food aid? The prevailing reports in the west and elsewhere are that his people, at least in the rural areas, are hard pressed to put a decent meal on the table, although sometimes you have to wonder how much of that is our own propaganda. Is it economic investment from someone besides the Chinese? If it is, this sort of crazed nonsense seems counter productive to that goal. Lets face it, not even the greed heads at Nike will build a plant in a place where the leadership might go off its nut at a moment's notice.

No, it may be something so profoundly juvenile that it makes George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq look responsible. Think back to the "nukes are our nation's life" statement and the assertion North Korea won't give them up for even billions of dollars. Almost lost and nearly ignored because of that sensational and surreal statement was the announcement that North Korea had passed a law regarding the use of her nuclear weapons. In fact the law stated that North Korea would use nuclear weapons only to "repel invasion or an attack from a hostile nuclear weapons state and make retaliatory strikes." It also promised to never use atomic weapons against non nuclear armed countries and oh by the way, North Korea is prepared to participate in non proliferation talks.

What Kim seems to be saying is, world you need to recognize us as a power and behave toward us as if we're an equal. We are all grown up and we have the nukes to prove it. There is no giving them up, so you should treat us like you would any heavy weight and we'll act responsibly.

Although it may be far more complicated than just that one has to think it is a large part of it. If this version of Kim gets that sort of recognition for North Korea he will have accomplished something his grandfather and his old man didn't. He will have made North Korea a world player instead of an isolated pariah. All the rest will eventually come and it will come on his terms.

The problem is that he may not know when to shut up. If he pushes just once too hard it could prove to be disastrous. After all the rookie president in the south has all ready said, hey, its up to my military now, I'm not making the call, they are. That is never a good thing. Soldiers aren't trained in the fine and subtle art of diplomacy. They are trained to shoot to kill.

And of course if Kim actually does believe his own propaganda machine, if he really is just as loony as say James Holmes, none of this speculation means squat. He is going to do what ever it is those little voices in his head tell him to do, regardless of the consequences.

If that is the case we're going to find out soon. The cryptic date of the tenth is right around the corner while joint military exercises between South Korean troops and American forces are scheduled to last until the end of the month.

So does the little man go over, or does he ease his foot off the pedal before the bus gets to the edge of the cliff? Unfortunately for all involved these things tend to take on a life of their own and right now Kim Jong-un himself might not even have the answer to that question.

Here is hoping someone in North Korea does and it favors sanity.

sic vita est


Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Adams Family and Joe Cyr

I am letting any willing man come and have his way with my wife with a little compensation for us to help with our holiday funding we need.
An online ad posted by Justin Dewayne Adams

So it is safe to say that the Justin and Jaymie Adams family dynamic didn't resemble that of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, or Ward and June Cleaver. In fact from the outside looking in words like unimaginable, bizarre, and weird come to mind, but hey, there is no accounting for taste. As Kinsey said, "there is no such thing as normal sex."    

According to her husband, Jaymie Adams, who was 25 and pregnant with her fifth child, went off into the night on December 9th, 2011 to meet what was originally described to the cops as a friend. Later, as his story began to shift some, Justin Adams admitted it was really to hook up with a client, who, in less polite company, could also be described as a "john." Something went terribly askew that night though. By the morning of the 10th, Justin Adams called police to report her missing.

Her body was found in southeast Oklahoma City, near Lake Stanley Draper on January 7th. She had been stabbed 29 times. 18 of the wounds were in her back. In addition her jaw was broken in three places. The investigation almost immediately homed in on her husband, who by then was telling police that he and his wife were swingers who both advertised on Craigslist, looking to meet men in order to have sex with them.

To make a long story short, Justin Adams' actions and conflicting stories led police to take the path of least resistance. He was charged with two counts of first degree murder. One for his wife, one for the unborn child. However things were never that clear even in the beginning. According to a story in today's The Oklahoman, written by Tim Willert, a man named Joseph Cyr was interviewed by police as early as December, 19th, 2011. Cyr reportedly told investigators he had been in contact with Jayme Adams and that they'd exchanged emails and text messages the night she went missing.

According to Willert, Cyr also told police that after getting pictures and prices from her and talking to her on the phone, he decided to take a pass on the transaction. He claimed then and still does that he never met her. Willert reports that Detective Chris Cunningham wrote in an affidavit, Cyr was very evasive with his responses and would not answer questions directly. He denied engaging in sexual activity with her. He denied killing her.
Well that certainly doesn't seem particularly surprising. There are probably a whole lot of guys who would be a tad evasive when it comes to answering questions about the act searching out a prostitute. After all, it isn't something you brag about. Later police obtained a search warrant and got a sample of Cyr's DNA. Willert reports that in July of last year police found out the sample was a match to DNA taken from the victim. On Tuesday Cyr was arrested in the Tulsa area and charged with two counts of first degree murder.

Charges against, Justin Adams were down graded to first degree manslaughter. His attorney, Irven Box claims the new accusations lack merit and he doesn't believe they'll hold up in court.

It has been a long and twisted road since that winter evening in 2011. It was apparent months ago prosecutors had realized Justin Adams wasn't the killer. In January the DA office announced the OKCPD was looking for additional evidence against Mr. Adams. The first truly overt indication came in July when a local judge allowed him out of county jail on $100,000 bail, even though he was still technically charged with murder. Finally in October the judge went so far as to rule that police should remove Adams' ankle monitor.

Since then other reports have been drifting about. Rumors of Cyr being spotted on a Wal-Mart security camera buying items that were found near the body being the most sensational.

The fall and winter of 2011 was a particularly gruesome time in Oklahoma City. First Carina Saunders' dismembered body was found, then Kelsey Bransby was shot to death in her south side apartment. In November the nude body of Alina Fitzpatrick was found on the far east side of town and in December, Jaymie Adams disappeared only to turn up dead a little less than a month later. The Saunders' murder investigation was so mishandled by the Bethany police it might not ever come untangled. When it comes to Fitzpatrick the Oklahoma City cops apparently haven't a clue as to who might be involved. Two of Bransby's friends were charged in her death, but local media outlets have been completely mum about the disposition of her case. Now it looks as if the authorities initially charged the wrong guy with the murder of Jaymie Adams. It isn't the first time. In February prosecutors had to let Luis Ruiz and Jimmy Massey off the hook after they'd sat in the county lock up for months accused of murder in the Saunders' case.

According to Willert prosecutors came up with manslaughter charges against Justin Adams because he, aided and abetted Jaymie Adams in engaging in acts of prostitution, participating in criminal conduct that resulted in the death of Jaymie Adams. Well either that or because he is an asshole and they desperately need to save some face in light of all these screw ups.

Obviously there are no Lt. Columbos or Jack McCoys in the real world, just as there aren't any Perry Masons. However, it appears that right now in this town, the railroad known as justice not only lacks a conductor, but an engineer as well. In fact it wouldn't be unreasonable to consider the term cluster fuck appropriate when it comes to all of this.

Hopefully, at last, the police and D.A. have their man and he is the right one. It would be a refreshing change from what has become the norm.

It is time for a smoke.

Over and out.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Al Gerhart, the Great and Powerful

Political pain and embarrassment will be necessary if the citizens expect to regain control of this Senate down here from the state chamber of commerce and special interests. The time for "nice" behavior is over with.
Al Gerhart, co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party and the man who wants to be in charge of everything.

Al Gerhart has been accused of many things by his fellow travelers in that netherworld known as conservative politics, but "nice" has never been one of them. Apparently he has been pushing people around like he was Joe by God McCarthy for years now.

A sampling of comments from state wide conservatives found on Mike McCarville's republican newsletter, mccarvillereport.com reveals Brother Gerhart has a long and gruesome history of bellicose bullying and intimidation.

One Steve Dickinson writes, I don't know what his agenda is or what he hopes to accomplish, aside from destruction. Dickinson adds that Gerhart's attacks on him and his wife have led him to seek legal counsel and perhaps civil action against the Moore based carpenter turned political tough guy.

Jillian Harvey writes, He has slandered and libeled many, but narry (sic) gives it a thought. In essence he has no conscience to speak of.

Christ Kurtz claims Gerhart is simply chasing and craving media attention, power, or a title.

An anguished conservative who identified him, or herself only as "Edmond Voter," pleads, For the sake of our state and nation don't let this bad man stop good legislation because of his bad actions.

That good legislation would be House Bill 1412. It is a bill which prohibits any state community from having anything to do with the U.N. Agenda 21 plan, which is about as threatening to U.S. sovereignty as is the nation of Luxembourg. It is, however, a hot button issue to many on the far right, including Gerhart who is demanding its passage in the Senate.

When the bill appeared stalled in a committee chaired by republican, Cliff Branan, Gerhart went on the offensive with a vicious email that threatened to make the law maker a "laughing stock" in the senate. Gerhart promised he would dig into Branan's past, his family's past and the past of any and all of his associates unless he made sure the bill moved to the Senate floor.

In a news conference yesterday, Gerhart continued the attack. Nolan Clay of The Oklahoman quotes him as saying, (Branan) is concerned that we have some information on him on an alleged infidelity. That is why Mr. Branan has reacted the way he does. It's the real reason he's attacking us, according to suttlebut inside the Senate. Why shouldn't I bring it up?

Branan's response was, It just makes me sick. He has no shame. It was a crazy untrue allegation that was just shameful. We've been happily married for 18 years...our marriage is awesome.

The immediate consequence of Gerhart's savage assault was to have the bill's Senate sponsor, Patrick Anderson, a republican from Ardmore, pull it. In a statement he said, I'm appalled at the personal attacks and false accusations that you (Branan) have endured regarding your family in an attempt to influence your decision to hear HB 1412.

At about the same time Anderson was pulling the bill, Branan issued a statement saying his committee wouldn't take it up during its next meeting, meaning it would be rendered dead during this session of the legislature. Among other things, Branan claimed the bill was a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. It's more of a fringe conspiracy issue that is frankly just bad public policy.

So in the end, Gerhart's actions not only helped kill the legislation, but put him in a position where he could possibly be charged with blackmail. Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokesperson, Jessica Brown confirmed that the OSBI has begun looking into the affair to see if criminal charges are warranted.

When The Oklahoman's Clay pushed Gerhart for proof of Branan's infidelity, he admitted he had none. Clay then noted that what Gerhart had to say during the news conference could be used as evidence against him if he is formally accused of the crime.

McCarville's site reported that Gerhart is holding another news conference this afternoon at the capitol. The subject will be "when activism is criminalized."

Well, as the song says, when you're hot you're hot and when you're not, you're not.

After googling Mr. Gerhart yesterday and today and reading some of the things his fellow republicans have to say about him one has to be a little suspicious when he uses the words we and us. Indeed, unless he is using them in the imperial sense one could reasonably assume we and us means I to him.

Simply stated this guy, besides being the worst sort of brute thug, is increasingly looking like a publicity hound who won't be satisfied until he is crowned, King Al I, the Great and Powerful, Ruler of the Universe, Protector of the Faith, and God's Own Arbiter.

The GOP controls this state and will for the foreseeable future, however what is happening right now in Oklahoma is a perfect example of why Barak Obama won last fall. It is the reason the very future of the republican party as a national entity is in question. They opened their door to the tea party radicals and now they are stuck with a bunch of nihilistic losers who equate compromise with defeat and reason with weakness.

It isn't the party of Lincoln any more. It isn't even the party of Cliff Branan. It is the party of Al Gerhart.

Think not? All you have to do is ask him. Just don't disagree with him, or you'll end up on his list too.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ugliness, Thy Name is Al Gerhart

Here is how ugly it can get.

In today's edition of Oklahoma City's daily paper, The Oklahoman, reporter Nolan Clay writes that republican law maker, Cliff Branan received an edgy and threatening email from Sooner Tea Party co-founder Al Gerhart. Gerhart is hot to trot on House Bill 1412 which is Sally Kern's anti U.N. Agenda 21 measure. It passed the house, but is now sitting in Branan's committee in the senate.

Clay quoted Gerhart's email which said, Get that bill heard or I will make sure you regret not doing it. I will make you the laughing stock of the Senate if I don't hear this bill will be heard and passed. We will dig into your past, yoru (sic) family, your associates and once we start there will be no end to it. That is a promise.

Yes, that does seem a tad over the line doesn't it. Branan certainly thought so. According to the story he turned the email over to a Highway Patrol officer who gave it to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Clay writes that once their investigation is complete the OSBI will hand over the results to District Attorney David Prater. The possible charge? Blackmail.

Clay notes that under Oklahoma law blackmail can involve a written communication that threatens to expose information about someone which would in any way subject that person to the ridicule and contempt of society. He adds that it is blackmail if the communication is meant to "extort or gain any thing of value from another, or to compel another to do an act against his or her will."

Brother Gerhart initially told Clay that he was simply a constituent who was telling a senator about what repercussions there might be if he didn't get the bill to the floor. When Clay pointed out that Branan is term limited and can't run for re-election, Gerhart went off. He was quoted as saying, We want to know what is going on down there. We want to know if his wife has a criminal history. We want to know everything about him. We want to find out if this man is a responsible citizen, if he's even got his family under control, much less his office.

How charming.   

He went on to tell The Oklahoman reporter, These politicians need to know that it doesn't end when their term is over. They need to know that their decisions are going to follow them the rest of their days. They need to know the Tea Party is not going away--that if we don't win it the first time, we're going to come back the next year and the next year and the next year after. And we don't forget these people that are traitors to the Oklahoma people. He assured Clay that the tea party investigation would report what it found on the internet, in Branan's district, and his church. He ended the tirade by saying, I want people in his church to know what he is doing. That its wrong.

So who is this vicious little rodent? Besides being co founder of the Sooner Tea Party, he was, briefly anyway, state coordinator for the Ron Paul presidential campaign in Oklahoma. They fired him when they found out he apparently told Paul supporters that any Paul delegates to various county and district GOP conventions had to be vetted and approved by the national campaign. It turned out he and he alone was doing the "vetting." If you didn't pass the Al Gerhart purity test you weren't going to be a delegate. To this day his tea party "meet up" site, which claims 36 members, warns that anyone who wishes to join the group must first be approved by one of the "organizers." He is one, the other is listed as, Guy Fawkes

A brief look at the internet shows that Mr. Gerhart is utterly loathed by not just a few members of the republican party. Conservative activist Kaye Beach wrote in her blog that she had received an email from him that said, This would be a good time to take your medicine and remain silent about anything I do or say.

Cherokee County Paul supporter, Oadoshyah Fish claimed Gerhart ultimately cost Paul a win at the republican district two convention. Porter Davis, a long time local conservative politico, has written that he never understood how Gerhart got to be Ron Paul's state coordinator in the first place.

Now he may have taken his poor man's Joe McCarthy act a bit far. Looking at the letter of the law Al Gerhart seems to be standing on some shaky ground. It doesn't help that another one of his favorite whipping boys is, you guessed it, District Attorney David Prater.

In the end, he fell back on the old, "I'm being martyred" argument that so many of these right wing hacks do. He told Clay, My friend, they get me, they'll be after you next. That's all I can say.

Why do I think Al Gerhart is eating all of this up at the moment? I mean someone wrote a front page story about him in the state's largest newspaper, he got his picture on page three, and he worried a politician enough to make him call the cops. It is a bully's wet dream.

And in the final analysis that is all Al Gerhart is. He is a cheap jack bully who will continue to run amok until someone, anyone, finally bitch slaps him.

We can only hope it is soon.

Forgive me, I need to go spit.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Justice For James Eagan Holmes

It is my determination and my intention that in this case, for James Eagan Holmes, justice is death.
George Brauchler, Arapahoe County District Attorney

Well it should come as no surprise. After all, we aren't in Norway. The writing was on the wall that this was the road we would be traveling as soon as the prosecution turned down the public offer of a plea bargain by James Holmes' attorneys last week.

According to a story written by NBC's Erin McClam, Brauchler claims that last week's offer to plead guilty in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table was nothing more than attempt to generate public sympathy for Holmes.

That motive would seem to be a bit of a reach. I mean we are dealing with a geek who appears to have meticulously planned a military style attack for weeks if not months and then carried it out with deadly efficiency. Sympathy for a guy who killed twelve innocent people and wounded 70 is going to be a tough sell to just about the entire population of the United States. The truth probably is that by going public with the plea the defense was not only trying to save their client from the needle, but they were telling the victims and their families this entire horror show could be over quickly and without all the pain and angst of a jury trial. In other words, everyone pick up the phone, call the D.A. and tell him to take the deal so you can get this beast behind you and move forward.

Whether that ploy backfired or not has yet to be seen, but Brauchler wasted no time turning the offer back onto itself and exploiting it. He is quoted by McClam as saying, The only conclusion to be reached from the offer, is that the defendant knows he is guilty, the defense attorneys know he is guilty and both of them know that he was not criminally insane. 

Well the first part of that statement belabors the obvious. Hell, everyone knows Jimmy Holmes is guilty. In this case there is no alleged to it. The prosecution's problem is that everyone with half a brain also knows the guy is as crazy as a badger on acid. Brauchler just has to make sure the jury understands the difference between crazy and legally insane. Luckily for him a quick review of Colorado statutes concerning the subject reveals that when a defendant pleads innocent by reason of insanity the burden of proof immediately shifts from the prosecution to the defense. The defense is now going to have to convince twelve men and women, good and true, that their client's mental defects fall within some extremely narrow guidelines. All those weeks or months worth of planning stuff that will come out during testimony is not going to help their argument. To the lay person's eye this looks to be someone who knew exactly what he was doing and knew, without a doubt, that it was wrong.

The trial itself has been delayed until February of next year and a new judge has been assigned to the case. At any point during this danse macabre Brauchler can reverse himself and accept a plea deal that will chuck young Mr. Holmes into a pen for the rest of his life, without any possibility of a parole. It is just a matter of whether he will do it. According to McClam the DA interviewed 800 victims and family members before deciding to pursue the death penalty. District Attorneys are politicians too, so one would assume this course of action is playing to the majority of those he talked to.That will make it harder for him to back out of it, unless large numbers of those he interviewed have changes of hearts over the next ten months, although even then it is unclear whether he would want to or not. An op-ed piece he wrote that appeared in the Denver Post on Sunday paints the picture of a man who isn't the least bit squeamish when it comes to going for the death penalty.

Only two things are certain right now. First is that come February, if the trial does proceed, we will watch an endless parade of psychiatrists called by both sides who will ramble on ad nauseam about studies, mental diseases, child hood traumas and God knows what else. Second, there isn't a jury to be found anywhere on this planet that will acquit if they think there is even a tear drop's chance in hell of James Holmes ever walking free again.

Yes, Jimmy Holmes is going away forever, there is no doubt of that, it is just a matter of how long forever turns out to be for him.

sic vita est