Friday, February 29, 2008

No Longer A Government Of The People




Reviewing these past seventeen years alone, it has become very obvious to most of us that the United States government that we stupidly keep electing, no longer cares about nor serves the will of the people of our nation.


Founded on the principles of freedom and unalienable rights, our country has slipped further and further into the dark ages of history, slowly but insidiously resembling the old Soviet Union, with a fascist twist.


Take for instance the right to free speech, the right to be free from religion if one so chooses, the right to a free and unencumbered press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition our government for redress of grievances. Let's also toss in the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure without a warrant that shall not be issued without probable cause, the right to due process, and the more recent right to transparency in government.


During the Clinton make believe Democratic years, these rights were slowly eroded. Nothing really noticeable at first, but a slow realization in the country that something was wrong, but we just could not put our finger on it. Then came the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco, and it suddenly became clear. The government was developing an us versus them mentality.


Since taking office in 2001, Bush has so accelerated the destruction of the Bill Of Rights, while evoking the names of our founding fathers, that were one to sit and examine just how much damage he has caused with his reckless disregard for the rule of law, the people of the nation would rise up and demand change immediately.


We no longer have true free speech or the right to peaceably assemble without fear of police tasering, tear gassing, or batoning us into submission. We have 'free speech zones', sometimes set up in underground garages, with the intent that no one be allowed to see the protests.


No longer free to choose our own religion, although this right is still paid lip service to, we must all, including the candidates for President, declare our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ, or we are considered to be inferior, and if running for office, be rejected outright.


The right to a free and unencumbered press is and has been long gone since the time that defense contractors took control of the media. Instead of hundreds of sources of information, we now have conglomerates that own everything from television to print to small town newspapers, all spewing the government's propaganda, no real questions asked.


Unreasonable search and seizure? You're kidding right? Airports force you to almost strip naked in order to board a flight, police can stop you any time and under the color of 'suspected terrorism', demand to search the contents of your person, your packages, your purses, and your luggage.


The FISA Act in and of itself was unconstitutional, as in secret, away from all public review, warrants were issued to search your property without ever telling you that it ever happened. But Bush went a lot further. Disregarding the FISA laws, he ordered the data mining of ALL calls made in the U.S., (although denied by the liar in chief), every internet hit is recorded and stored, your phone could be tapped for 'national security' reasons, and he did this illegally and had accomplices in the very same telecommunication giants that swear they serve the people.


Due process and reasonable bail are laughable as first time offenders caught with minimal amounts of drugs are given bail amounts of tens of thousands of dollars, suckered by overwhelmed legal aid attorneys into waiving the 90 day trial rule, and languish for up to a year awaiting trial. If found innocent, they are not paid for that year, it's just the way things work. The finding that one in every hundred Americans is in prison should so frighten every one of us, that in and of itself, should be cause for a screaming outcry.


Your transparent government is long a thing of the past. Once John Ashcroft and Gonzo got through with the Freedom Of Information Act, it is now close to impossible to force the government to fess up without a protracted legal battle.


Police taserings resulting in deaths going unchecked, missing emails from Darth Cheney's office, and the White House, acts of treason by lying us into a war, outing a secret agent in the employ of the People to score political revenge, any of these alone would be enough for impeachment, but the people we elected to do just that betrayed us and refused to do what we tasked them to.


So who do we turn to, and what do we do about this? These are two questions that had better be answered by us, the People, the rightful rulers of our land, before these idiots who believe that they are the American aristocracy decide that we no longer even have to pretend to have elections and just appoint people to office. Oh. Right. They already did that didn't they?


It is time for the People of this country to wake up and understand what is going on right in front of your faces, and not let your eyes glaze over because the truth is hard to bear. Watch how fast things change when there is even a hint of a grumble from the masses, as the biggest fear of these tyrants is an awakened and angry populace. Stand up and do something, because believe it or not, one person can make a difference despite what the wingnuts will try to tell you. Write someone. Call someone. Act. Let these so called 'elites' know that we are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. Because if you don't and you one day find yourself sitting and wondering what happened, they'll be no one left to blame but yourself. Batmanchester


Thursday, February 28, 2008

American Internment Camps-Part Two




On Camp Norwesca Road, just outside of Chadron National Park in Berryville Nebraska, lies an old World War Two internment camp where German prisoners of war were held. Berryville is not a town per se, just a hodge podge of houses and general stores scattered along the outskirts of the Park, but the people who live in the area like to consider themselves unified enough to be considered a village of sorts. The camp has been newly refurbished with razor wire along the top of the fence, and inside one can see the brand new buildings, along with the train station leading into loading bays. The buildings themselves look like barracks, are huge and painted dull gray.


As one drives south along Camp Norwesca Road, leaving the park area, the road itself starts to fade away into a dirt track, and within 20 miles there are roadblocks declaring the area off limits. No reason is given as to why the area is off limits, and when one ventures about a mile further on foot, the reason becomes apparent.


A huge facility is housed there, one so large that the people of Berryville think that it is a federal prison that was never put to used, (dang that old gubmint for spending our tax dollars on nuttin')


A walk around this place reveals the exact same military barracks style buildings, razor wire, train tracks with a loading bay, and the more curious sectioning off of certain places of the humongous loading docks into color coded sections of red, orange and green. One can only speculate as to what the color codes are for, and hopefully we never find out. Taking pictures and video, we patrolled around the southwest corner to get a better angle on one of the 15 guard towers, when a black SUV rolled up behind us, and three men jumped out, one in military fatigues, the other two in casual attire. Wanting to know what we were doing there, we told them, and we were informed that this was a restricted zone.


Inquiring as to what this base was being used for exactly, we were given the answer that it was a closed down training facility, but if it closed down, why did they confiscate our cameras, gear and all? I mean lenses, scopes, everything, including the carrying bags. Refusing to even identify themselves, they let it be known that we could be arrested for telling anyone else about the facility, asked us how we found out about it, and when we told them we were just sightseers who happened across it, they let us go.


Escorted back out to the main road they sat at the barrier to make sure we left, which we did in a hurry.


East of Fort Leanard Wood in Missouri, is a small town called Rolla that is just a little south of I-44. Approximately ten miles south of the town proper is what locals call the old prison. Nobody bothers to go look at the facility, and haven't in years they say, but the one thing they're sure of is the peculiar activity that goes on in the area, especially at night. Military flatbed trucks come and go, hauling material every so often, and the people of Rolla imagine that the military is just taking apart the old German internment camps that are located there. There's also another one located nearby in the Mark Twain National Forest.


A closer inspection, with a local teem as our guide, indeed showed brand spanking new fencing, the tell tale razor and barbed wire fences, and the buildings we've come to know by know. Although smaller in scale than the facility in Nebraska, this camp could easily hold up to ten thousand people, with the capacity for more due to the mobile housing type units on the base itself. There were guards patrolling this empty campus, but these guys seemed uninterested in us.


We left for home with a queasy feeling, after knowing of these camps for so long and finally deciding to go look at a couple of these sites. No longer doubters. No longer under any illusions as to the purpose of these camps and who their intended residents might be.


Getting back home, we compared the notes we had jotted down, and all of us had come to the same conclusions. FEMA camps. There were no other explanations for the refurbished, well kept remote area facilities being guarded so closely and to the point that at the one in Nebraska, we had our equipment confiscated and we were threatened with arrest just for telling anyone what we think we might have seen. (Their words)


As the state of our economy worsens, and being fully aware of the orders contained within both the false Patriot Acts and Executive Directives that make it possible for the President to declare martial law in the event of a financial crisis such as the one we are heading full tilt into, we urge everyone to locate the rest of these facilities, and go and examine them. Once you do, write it up, sneak photos, (don't let them see you taking pictures, or it will cost you), and post them everywhere.


because despite the naysayers and the tin foil hatters, this phenomenon is real, and if you look inside of yourself, and what our government has been doing lately, you may feel that twinge of fear inside, not of terrorists living in caves, but of the terrorists that reside in our nation's capitol. Batmanchester


Friday, February 22, 2008

In Times Of National Crisis




On January 2nd, 2003, The President of the United States said "I have no heart for somebody who starves his own folks." He was speaking of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, but knowing what we know now, he could have been speaking about himself.


Appointed to the White House by friends of his father who just happened to have a majority on the Supreme Court in December of 2000, Bush took the reigns of power speaking of a new 'compassionate conservatism.' But nothing even resembles compassion in the wake of social program gutting and the more recent refusal by the Republicans to give a boost to the poorest of the poor during the voting for the much ballyhooed stimulus program. Give the poor more food stamps so they can eat? You must be crazy.


Social workers, those who run homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and organizations nationwide all agree on one thing. After Bush took office, the number of hungry people in the U.S. skyrocketed to numbers that rival the days of Herbert Hoover. Numbers that some put at forty million Americans going to sleep at night hungry.


All across the nation, America's dirty little secret is that because of the new budget cuts to programs such as LIHEAP, Food Stamps, Health and Human Services, the CDC, the Dept. of Education, as well as eliminating the seed money for the Communities Block Grants, more Americans than ever, in record numbers, are going to be joining the ranks of the poor, the homeless, and the hungry this coming year.


We don't talk about it much in this country. It's an embarrassment I know. How shameful it must feel to awake every morning, pop the toast in and drink some coffee, knowing full well in the back of your mind that an American child is going to school with no breakfast, and may not even eat at all that day because of cuts to school breakfast and lunch programs. I wonder how that hungry child feels when the lunch bell rings and he or she gets to sit and watch everyone else eat, but they must curtail their hunger. How awful it must feel to most of us when we pass that homeless person or family on the street, and due to our conditioning, we look away from their pain and devastation.


Americans don't like to visit this issue. It makes us uncomfortable to know that while we who have plenty get to eat and sleep in a bed at night, millions upon millions of our fellow citizens will not have anywhere to go, or food to eat. And so we only talk about the homeless and the hungry during Thanksgiving or Christmas. Sweeping it under the rug the rest of the year, we don't scream out loud about budget cuts for domestic programs, cuts that will place in direct harm, the very same American children that Bush's new war machine is supposed to be protecting. We feed that machine. And feed it and feed it until it is gorged and fattened like a pig feasting on the remains of the dead, which is of course what it actually does.


But we ignore the plight of our fellow humans, believing that the government is taking care of them somehow, ignoring the fact that food banks are overwhelmed, homeless shelters have no more room, and that in the richest, most powerful nation ever known to man, there are millions of forgotten citizens who need our help right now. Not tomorrow or the next day, but right now.


You're already saying to yourself, "I've heard all of this before. What am I supposed to do about it?" The answer is twofold. First, since our government has decided that it's best to let Americans starve to death, or freeze to death, or press the notion into people's heads that it's the Christian thing to do in letting them 'pull themselves up by the boot straps', then we all must take the moral high ground ourselves.


There are those in this nation that call themselves Christians, run mega churches, have television shows, call themselves saints, but only pay lip service to helping the poor, and in fact, there are the far right 'Christian' fanatics who even preach against it.


To refute these charlatans and hucksters, and to show who we truly are as a people, let's all actually put our words into action. All it would take to stop this hunger in America problem would be for every single one of us to make a commitment to bring a food item or two to our local food banks every week. A can of soup, some Spam, a can of corn or other vegetable. A box of crackers. Anything that is non-perishable. If we all did this, and encouraged others to do it, there would be no empty shelves at the food banks, no turning away of hungry families. You can find your local food bank under 'Social Services' in your phone book in most cases.


The second thing we can all do, is to out email the far right, and let every Senator, every House Representative, every state Governor and legislator, every Presidential candidate know that we are America, and we will no longer tolerate the turning of our country into a third world banana republic. Tell them we demand the restoration of our domestic programs, because we are Americans, and we do not countenance the attempt to starve a portion of our own people.


In times of national crisis, we Americans have always pulled together and solved every bad situation. This is another national crisis, even though the government likes to pretend it doesn't exist, we all know the truth. And so, we, us, the people must do what our elected officials refuse to do. Feed our own people first. We can feed the rest of the world once we have fed every American.


By doing this, we can regain some of our true morality, our self respect, and hopefully no longer read about the starving children in this, the greatest nation on earth. Don't wait until tomorrow, people are hungry right now. Drop off something on your way to work, your way home, and do it again once or twice every week. Your action could truly mean the difference between life and death to another American.


Not only will your fellow Americans be eternally grateful, but whichever deity you believe in will surely smile down upon you, and if you believe in Karma, you know what they say about that.


Batmanchester


Thursday, February 21, 2008

No Justice For Rape Victims




I didn't intend to write this story today. I didn't even realize just how widespread this issue was until I started researching more about the RNC coming up in September, and stumbled upon a story in today's local paper that made me stop and sit up. The story so angered me, that I started to look and see just how many recent cases were similar to the one I had just found. These are some recent stories of no justice whatsoever for the victims of rape and child molestation and we had better take note of this trend, although I'm sure it's more widespread than this angry writing realizes.
Yesterday, in St. Paul Minnesota, a man who was convicted of raping a 13 year old child was given 6 months in jail, and since he has already served 5 months awaiting his day in court, he'll be out in thirty days to rape again. The conviction was for an incident where the suspect and a cohort lured two 13 year old girls to the suspects apartment, and got them so wasted on pot and booze that they passed out. One of the girls woke up to find the suspect having sex with her, the other awoke naked in the bathroom, bleeding from her vaginal area, because she was a virgin before she had just been raped. Prosecutors decided to go with the light plea bargain due to the fear that a jury might see the girls as tramps or something. What?! Are they crazy? You're letting a child molester out on the street because you can't be bothered with a trial? The prosecutor and the judge should be fired.

Minnesota seems to have a major problem when it comes to sentencing child molesters though, because not two days ago in Winona, a man was given 180 days in jail and 20 years probation for his role in raping an unconscious 15 year old girl with a beer can. Her injuries were so severe that she required surgery to save her life, so the compassionate judge also ordered the suspect to pay $618 in restitution to the victim. Another judge and prosecutor that need to be fired.

As bad as these two cases are, a case in Maryland last year is even more apalling. A Maryland State Trooper was convicted of possesion of child pornography, and even though the judge said at his sentencing that the crime was heinious, because they suspected, but couldn't prove his deeper involvement in a child porn ring, he let this child molester off with 3 years probation.

But the one that really smacked me in the face is the one from last year in Tampa, Florida. A woman was enjoying the festivities at the annual Gasparilla, sort of like Mardi Gra on a smaller scale. Tired, she told her friends she was going home and headed for her car. Before she got there however, a man grabbed her and dragged her behind a building, where he brutally raped and beat her. This was in broad daylight. Afterwards, the man ran off and the woman called police. In the course of taking down her information, the responding officer ran HER name through the system, and discovered that she had an outstanding JUVENILE arrest warrant for failure to pay a fine. She was arrested, taken to jail and the rape investigation stopped while she was booked. The first jail doctor she saw gave her the first morning after pill to prevent pregnancy. Then the judge decided that this dangerous criminal had to stay where she was and set no bail. That meant the weekend because this was a Friday. The next day a different jail doctor refused to give her the second of the morning after pills to prevent pregnancy due to his religious beliefs. It was not until Monday when her lawyer went to the press, that this victim was finally released from the debtors prison, and allowed to go home. Needless to say, the suspect is still at large and has raped who knows how many women.

This is justice? I thought we had done away with the smirking, 'oh she must be a slut' attitude in this country? The 'she had it coming' treatment by the justice system. Apparently not, as just these few cases would indicate. Just who is it that speaks for the victims in cases of travesties such as these. We will, that's who. So, if you're as outraged as I am, then make yourself heard.
To contact the Ramsey County 2nd District Court and tell them how you feel about Judge Michael Talbot DeCourcy's decision in the first case, call
Administration Information
(651) 266-8266
To contact Winona County officials: Call (507)457-6350 Fax: (507)454-9365 or email: djohnson@co.winona.mn.us
The other two cases are from last year, so it's probably too late to say anything, but feel free to go ahead anyway. Because it really doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum you come from, right is right, and wrong is wrong, and in these cases listed just here, there's something very wrong going on indeed. Batmanchester

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

With Liberty, Justice, And Tasers For All




In the land of the free and the home of the brave that we all like to think of as a shining beacon of democracy and free speech, there is a growing trend of police officers tasing anyone who even looks at them side ways.
We've all heard of the man at the speech by John Kerrey who was tased for no real reason and who coined the phrase "Don't tase me bro!" But there's another story brewing that is only receiving local attention at the moment, but had better get all of our attention pretty quickly before something truly ugly happens.
The Republican National Convention will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota between September 1st and September 4th. The last such convention held by the Republicans in Minnesota was all the way back in 1892. So why would they suddenly choose to host this convention in a city that is predominantly left leaning? Could they be hoping to swing voters around to their point of view? Maybe catch a few Independents who might otherwise vote the other way?
No. They picked St. Paul because they knew full well that there would be trouble. Protest groups are already gearing up for the trip to Minnesota. They're going to protest the war. They're going to protest the religious takeover of the Republican Party. They're going to protest everything from illegal wiretapping to the environment to the redistribution of wealth during the Bush years.
The St. Paul police department has a remedy for this though. They're not going to have any unruly protesters breaking up the Party's party, and they're certainly not going to stand for anyone leaving the designated 'free speech zones.' The reason that they won't have to tolerate any of this is because every single cop in St. Paul is going to be armed with brand spanking new tasers, courtesy of the $210,000 the city is spending to purchase 234 'extra' tasers.
When local news outlets got wind of this, the St. Paul police department assured the populace that this was not the reason they were purchasing the tasers. That the fact that they would be receiving shipment of the brand new zapper toys just days before the RNC was a mere coincidence. But their attempt at back stepping from the issue doesn't jive with this statement by police spokesman Tom Walsh, who said of the arrival of the shipment coinciding with the expected arrival of protesters "Our hope is that no one will have to use any degree of force, If it becomes necessary, will that be one of the tools available to them? I suppose that's safe to say. That's why we're getting them."
This, even though 140 officers are already carrying tasers in St. Paul, and the death of a man just last month in New Brighton Minnesota, after being shocked with these evil little weapons.
But even more shocking has been the response by right wing posters on many a message board since yesterday when the subject was brought up. One poster writes: " The use of tasers against liberals is just fine with me. If you don't want to get tased, stay away from our convention. You're not welcome there, and if you show up, you get tased. It's that simple."
That is the mindset of the new Republican Party I suppose. Their vision of Police State America coming to fruition.
But before they start handing out these tasers like so much candy they had better understand the phenomenom known as the 'snowball effect'. That's the scenario wherein one cop will fire a taser at someone, and suddenly you've got all the police shooting tasers into the crowd. I suppose it's better than shotgun blasts, but what we're talking about here is another attempt to stifle free speech. By using the threat of tasing protesters, it is hoped they either won't show up, or they'll be very quiet if they do. Why not just do what Giuliani did in New York, and order 'free speech' zones to be set up in underground garages?
Deciding to find out what precautions were being taken at the Democratic National Convention in Denver between August 24th and the 28th, I learned that while the Denver P.D. is going to be stepping up it's presence in co-ordination with the Secret Service, there are no plans to equip officers with tasers. There are also no plans to set up 'free speech zones'. And the only real trouble they are expecting is from a group that calls itself Unconventional Action, who claim they're going to shut the whole thing down. Uh Huh. And I'll be flying to Mars tomorrow.
In Janurary of this year, there were five taser deaths caused by police using the device when witnesses to the incidents say the usage was clearly not needed. The 'crimes' committed by these 'criminals' were driving erratically, taking a drug overdose, crashing into a wall, getting into a car accident, and asking the police for help. In all of these taserings, the 'suspects' were on the ground, three were already handcuffed, so the threat to the officers involved was minimal at best, but faster than you can say zap, they were tased to the point that they died.
There used to be a police doctrine in this country called stepped escalation. It started with verbal commands, the use of physical restraint, the baton, and only then did the consideration of lethal force come into play, and only if the officer's life was in clear jeapordy, or the life of an innocent. The doctrine now seems to have turned into verbal command, tase, period.
This has happened due to the dramatic shift away from checks and balances on the police by the Republicans, who are seeking to implement a police state mentality and fear into the hearts of every American. Nothing can drive that point home any harder than the RNC coming up in September, where every cop is going to have one, and despite assurances to the contrary, they'll get used.
Is this the America we want? To live in fear? To have to do as any cop demands, show I.D., have police with machine guns everywhere, German sheperds at their sides, and a taser for everyone who dares to even think about questioning what the government that is supposed to be working for us does? So many have no idea of what is going on in this country, and many more just don't want to know. It's up to the rest of us to wake everyone up, or the next shock you feel is going to be that little dart that just hit you in the chest because you didn't move fast enough when you were ordered to. Batmanchester

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The New American Internment Camps




Waiting for today to write about a subject many believe is very real, and to them, very terrifying, I wanted to examine what are being called the new American internment camps. Because today is the day in 1942 that the President of the United States issued Executive Order number 9066, the order which made it possible to send almost 150,000 Japanese and Japanese American citizens to what many accounts called concentration camps.
This is not some fantasy conspiracy theory, these are facts. And the fact is that by interning these people, 70,000 of whom were American citizens, and with no outcry from the people, because then, like now, it was a time of war, a precedent had been set that made this government believe that it was just fine and dandy with us if they locked up anyone they chose to, without ever giving them a day in a court of law.
Another group that was interned during that bloody war were the Aleuts of Alaska. They too were American citizens, but when the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor in Unalaska in 1942, the Navy took almost 1,000 citizens from their homes, burned their villages to the ground, and interned these people for the duration of the war in conditions some compared to the Nazi death camps. Ah, you'd forgotten about that one, hadn't you?
Again, precedents being set, and not a peep from the masses. What had the Aleuts done to deserve this treatment? Well, they kind of looked a little Oriental.
Flash forward to the present day. We all are very much aware of the prisons being run by our government that hold upwards of 30,000 Iraqis, and possibly more. Many have been held for years just because they were caught up in sweeps by our military. Ok. It's war time. Understanding the need to be cautious to the extreme, do we not then, as we export our 'American values', have an obligation to accord these prisoners, many of whom are clearly innocent, the right to a fair and speedy trial? And let's not forget all of the so called secret CIA prisons, and Guantanamo Bay while we're on the subject.
Given our predisposition to incarcerate people on little or even no grounds whatsoever, even our present day citizens on minor menial offenses, then the following should make us all pause and demand some answers, and not the goobledygok the official government line tells us.
By Executive Order of President Ronald Reagan, FEMA put together a plan called Rex 84. The official story tells us that it is a contigency plan in case of a mass influx of illegal aliens from Mexico. But as we all know by now this government could care less about any massive invasion from south of the border, and pays only lip service at best to stopping illegals from entering the U.S. The true nature of the program was actually revealed during the Iran Contra hearings in 1987, but the whole story has never been told.
Ever wonder why FEMA can't get their act together even now, to help Katrina victims? Maybe because they're too busy working on this.
Part of Rex 84 is something called Garden Plot. This phase of FEMA's Rex 84 program spells out the control of the population of our country. The second phase of the plan is called Cable Splicer, which spells out the federal takeover of all state and local governments. Although, officially, the program was only an exercise, the reality is that these plans are still very much in play today.
Now, before you go running for your tin foil hats, bear in mind the internements mentioned above, and consider that there are literally thousands of Americans all over the country who are documenting the building, the refurbishment, and the extremely unusual activity at some 600 or more sites around the country.
To delve a little deeper in some of this, let's look at the case of one of the camps that was inspected up close by concerned citizens. It's in the San Fernando Valley, adjacent to the Water District. The area around the Water District itself is fenced in with barbed wire and the fence itself pointing outward at the top to keep people out. Right across from it lies this so called new section of the Water District with miles of fencing topped with razor wire, and pointing inward. To keep what in exactly? From the road, one can not see into the camp, due to berms being built to block any sight. But if one travels around to the other side and goes to a restaurant called Odyssey, the view with binoculars looks down into the camp itself. From there one can see a landing strip, brand new military style buildings, military personell and armed guards patrolling the perimeter, and police cars circling the fences.
In Alaska, just outside of Fairbanks, sits a sprawling empty complex that the government officially calls a mental health facility. Problem is, there's no one there except armed guards, the same razor wire fencing pointing inwards, brand new military style buildings, and is said, along with the one near Anchorage, to be able to hold at least 500,000 people. So we're going to send all the illegal aliens to Alaska? How absurd.
Now all of this could be dismissed and explained away as crackpots fomenting some sort of 'conspiracy theory', save for the fact that they are being reported by well adjusted stalwart members of the community all over the country. Are some of these people kooks? Of course they are. But that doesn't explain away the concerns of the still thousands of people who are not crazy and are reporting and keeping track of the building, refitting, and guarding of these places.
I thought back to something that was bothering me and it came to me finally. In North Carolina there was an 'exercise' in which the government was supposedly looking for a lost survivalist named Eric Rudolph. The operation expanded into the federal takeover of a small town in the search area, in which no one was allowed to enter or leave the town without permission, travel in the town was restricted, and most residents were compelled to stay in their homes. I add this out of memory, so if some details are off, forgive me.
Here's what it boils down to. The American government has been waging a war of terror against us for so long, and repeated the same lies so many times that they are starting to believe them, that we can not simply ignore this. Take the announcement yesterday by Amtrak that henceforth, all passengers would be subject to random searches, no warrant, nothing. Police armed with automatic weapons and dogs would be patrolling both trains and stations. Undercover personell would also be on the trains.
Whoa! Hold on there Big Brother! This country is starting to resemble a police state. But of course, we all know by now that this was the plan all along. If anyone believes anything that this government says, then you are obviously the ones watching American Idol while fiddling your Playstation all day.
What are these camps that are all across the nation really being built for? Oh, I think I have a prety good idea, but I'm not going to voice it. Just know this. This is reality. This is happening right now. And someone had better figure out what is going on before someone bangs on all of our doors. The first thing everyone should do is read these Executive Orders: Numbers 11921, 11049, 11310, 11051, 11005, 11004, 11003, 11002, 11001, 11000, 10999, 10998, 10997, 10995, 10990. And then understand that before we dismiss all of this as 'conspiracy theory' all it would take to implement all of these orders would be a stroke of the President's pen and the Attorney General issuing a warrant with a list of all suspected 'dissidents'. Which at this point would be millions of us.
Illegal wiretapping, the Senate refusing to impeach, refusing to hold corporations accountable for breaking the law, the White House refusing any Congressional oversight, including contempt of Congress citations, the President and his Star Wars vice-president claiming powers they do not have, and oh by the way, one of the executive orders allows for the implementation of all of the above Orders in time of financial crisis in our country. Nah. Wall Street would Never collude with our government, would they? Decide all of this for yourself. Batmanchester

Monday, February 18, 2008

Suffer The Little Children




A recent trend appears to be taking shape in our nation, one that should alarm every American, because what is happening may end up forever changing the way some children see the world, growing up to be maladjusted adults.The number of incidents of child abuse nationwide has risen dramatically since 2003, with some states seeing an increase of forty seven per cent.
In Arkansas last year, child abuse hot lines received 50,000 reports of child abuse or neglect, and of that number, 30,000 were found to be legitimate cases warranting further action. Take that number and expand it nation wide, and what we have is an unspoken crisis in the United States. We're talking numbers in the hundreds of thousands, and possibly closer to one million. That doesn't even consider the cases that go unreported, nor the children who run away from home, only to be abused by other adults along their journeys.
Despite the way that child abuse is typically viewed, ie; that it's mostly poor families that experience and perpetrate the abuses taking place, studies done by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that the phenomenon is spread pretty evenly along the economic scale.
What is causing this sudden upsurge in violence against the babies in our midst? What could cause a parent to lash out so at their own child to the point that they must be removed from the home? How could anyone even conceive the thought in their mind to actually kill a child? According to studies that have been done recently by RTI International and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health, they believe they may have some answers for us.
Going back ten years, the study shows that when the country is in relative peaceful times, the incidents of child abuse slowed down. The same can also be said for the prosperity a family feels. But they draw a direct correlation between a time of war, combined with the absolute economic insecurity many families are experiencing, to the rise in incidents of child neglect and abuse.
Some of the recent cases are horrifying. Such as the case in Lake County, Florida, where a couple was just arrested on child abuse and neglect charges after neighbors finally convinced the Florida Dept. of Health and Human Services to come and look into allegations. They found three starving children, ages 8, 15, and 16, living with no running water, no electricity, filth and garbage all over the house, and none of the children had ever been to school. They weren't allowed to leave the house. The complaints of abuse had been received by the welfare dept. for Nine Years before any action was taken. They also found starving animals in the family home.
In Plattsmouth Nebraska, a man was arrested for shaking his 17 month old baby so hard, in the middle of the street, in full view of witnesses who called police, that the child was hospitalized and then put into foster care.
In Phoenix, a man has been arrested for beating his 2 month old baby son so badly that the child is in the hospital with broken ribs and skull fractures. Authorities don't know if he'll live or die.
Of note also is the rise of these types of incidents in military families this study also says. Funded in part by the Army Medical Research Lab, they discovered that when one of the parents had been deployed for tours of duty overseas, the chances that a child in the home would be abused by the remaining spouse rose almost 50 per cent. The figure was even higher for multiple deployments.
Of even more concern to many social workers nationwide is the dramatic rise in child abuse cases among middle class families, such as an Indiana case where one set of parents had two teen aged daughters pregnant, with one ordered by doctors to be on bed rest. Yet when investigated by child safety workers, the children had no bed to sleep in, had not been to school in four months, and hadn't had any food for three days. The fact that both young teen children were pregnant would be bad enough, but factor in that this was a suburban middle class neighborhood, and one can start to see the problem here.
What can anyone do about this? Is this just the way it's going to be until conditions improve in our country? Are we allowing the frustrations of the economy, the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan eat away at our very souls?Even if we are angry and frustrated and feel helpless to stop the madness our country seems to have descended into, we can not turn that fury and direct it at our future generation.
The scars from being abused as a child last forever. They do not ever go away. The child grows up learning what hate and fear mean, how to hurt people, and upon reaching adulthood they display sociopathic tendencies. Such as not caring for their fellow man. Not feeling sorry if they hurt someone. Or they take another route such as suicide.
This is our greatest responsibility. The children of our nation are the future, the ones who may come up with cures for diseases, take off to the stars, or come together as a peaceful world. But that will never happen if we keep hurting our young. As a parent, I feel the same frustrations sometimes, but when that happens, walk away, and come back later when the anger has passed. How anyone can discipline a child when they are angry is beyond my comprehension. How someone can hurt the little person who only wants to put their arms around your neck, and feel you hug them back is so surreal, but yet happens so often and to such an extent that over 3,000 kids are killed here in America alone. And how in the world anyone can look upon any child and experience sexual arousal is well beyond any knowledge that I could impart. Forget about the rest of the world, the numbers would make you cry.
Try to remember how fragile these gifts we receive are when they throw dirt on the windows or spill milk on the rug or smack the neighbors' kid. Take a deep breath and go back inside your memories to the times when they look up at you with such unconditional love that your heart just melts. Then let it melt right then and there so you can decide the discipline accordingly. Hug your kids today, and tell them how much you love them. The world will be a better place because you did. Batmanchester

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Forever Means One Day




It was a sunny afternoon on the day the two lovers were married in the traditions of their faith. Long betrothed, the wedding was a giddying experience for the people of the town of Rafah Yam, where there is not much to celebrate these days, especially since the group known as Hamas took control over the Gaza areas.
Jamil Abded Jamad, the groom, and his new wife Amatullah, a name that means faithful female servant of Allah, were one of the lucky couples to marry in the Arab world, in that they were truly in love. Both grew up near each other in Gaza, and would see each other many a time as they grew up in the occupied territories. Over time, familiararity led to a locking of eyes as they passed each other on the dusty roads to market, and when the time came that the Israelis pulled out of Gaza, Jamil knew that the time was right to approach Amatullah's father, the way things are done in a land we can not possibly understand.
Arrangements were made, promises that I imagine included some sort of dowry, as Jamil was an up and comer amidst the devastation of an area that was virtually sealed off from the rest of the world. Hard to come by goods were a specialty of Jamil's, and he had made a modest business of procuring items that others could not. Not weapons mind you, but food and medicines that Palestinians did not have readily available.
By accounts and emails that I have received, it is said that Amatullah was the most beautiful young woman in all of southern Gaza, the wishful thinking of many a young would be suitor, and the envy of other young devout women, who would have had themselves be the ones that Jamil showed his attention to.
The wedding was a huge gathering it is said, any excuse for a massive party in the Gaza is any excuse indeed. Guests were dancing joyously, chanting Arabic phrases of praise to both Allah and the newlywed couple, wishing good fortune and long lives, and many children together. The party, nearby the Palestinian Interior Ministry building, now abandoned, was gathering a wider audience, as well wishers that didn't even know the couple came to give blessings, and of course to crash the in full swing festivities.
Jamil had wandered over to a table laden with such delicacies as al-motobug, a pastry, sigora boregi with a side dip of muhammara, stuffed olives, roasted lamb, and many other foods that Jamil was known for being able to get just as the Israeli war plane screamed overhead, dropping a bunker buster bomb on the side of the building where Israeli Intelligence said that some Hamas leaders were.
The bomb leveled one wing of the building as well as the huge gathering of nearby guests, with blood and body parts flying in all directions. People that were able scattered in all directions as the plane came back over head to asses the damage, then took off back in the direction of Israel.
The tables of food were so much pulp, mixing with the blood and the dirt, as screaming men and women, some missing limbs cried out for help. The music no longer played. The dancing was over, and as Jamil, blood running from his head, stumbled into the center of where the party had been, there lie Amatullah, legs blown off, most of an arm gone, her hair all but singed off by the heat of the blast, and very much gone from this world.
Jamil's wailing and the moaning of the gathered could do nothing to bring back Amatullah, nor the joy that had been in the air but moments before. The injured could hear the sirens coming, as rescue efforts got underway. The Palestinians have rescuing survivors of air strikes down to a science it is said, due to the amount of times they have had to do it.
In the aftermath of the attack, a response by Israel to Hamas rockets being fired into their land, Palestinians were enraged, as many pointed out that the Israelis had chosen an empty building to bomb, and as many point out, the Israelis have the best intelligence apparatus in the world. The feeling was that the site was chosen because of the huge gathering, and the bride that was killed along with the 50 other seriously injured people were the intended targets of the attack, but we know that can't be true, as that would be a war crime to purposely attack civilians, as well as an act of terrorism.
Without trying to say who is right and who is wrong in this conflict that, just like Iraq, has no clear end in sight, it should be noted that Hamas has imposed itself on the Palestinians of the Gaza strip. They are the ones launching mortars and rocket fire at the Israelis, not the civilian population. They have made themselves legitimate targets for retaliation, and a nation that has intelligence services far superior than ours can not possibly say they did not know the building they were bombing was empty, because it had been abandoned for months. It gives credence to the claims that the huge wedding party was indeed the target after all.
This madness must stop. Some country, some nation that is not in the pocket of Israel must step into the vacuum we pay lip service to filling, and mediate an end to this killing field. Because the Palestinians in Gaza are literally sitting ducks, with no protection as Hamas continues their ruthless attacks, seeming not to care about the reprisals they must know their actions will bring.
And with the Israelis not caring, and possibly even targeting civilians in their reprisal attacks, then The Hauge must get off it's backside and start looking at these retribution attacks, and demand accountability.
Because if someone does not stop this from continuing, then people like Jamil, for whom forever meant one day, and the people who were there on that fateful day, will forever become jihadists, hating Israel, hating America, hating everyone who they feel has slighted them, and the bloodshed will never end.
Whoever you pray to, whatever faith teaches you your morals, take a moment today to say a silent prayer for Amatullah, the most beautiful woman in all of southern Gaza, who did nothing more than want to be a wife and a mother in a war zone not of her making. Batmanchester

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Encountering The New American Customer Service




A recent escapade involving the customer service section of a major U.S. firm that I suscribe to can only be described as the most exasperating experience that I have had for a long time. Many of you will see yourselves in this piece, and in retrospect, it is kind of funny what I went through. I'm relaying the conversations that I had, and some of the other aspects of the experience to highlight what outsourcing U.S. jobs can do to our quality of life.
It all started when a service that I suscribe to went kaputz. I didn't realize it at first, because I thought it was somthing that I did, or the equipment that I was using. After deducing the problem was not of my own making, I got on the phone to customer service to have them connect me to tech support. Here's what transpired.
Call # 1: The phone rang 5 times before an automated voice started giving me options to push buttons for. After choosing an option, the voice told me that I didn't have to call them at all, that I could solve all my problems by visiting their web site. Yeah. Yeah. I know, thought I, but it didn't help, that's why I'm on the phone, duh. After another round of voice automated options, I waited patiently for almost 30 minutes before a voice that was part English, part Indian, and so low that I could barely hear it said "Please to thank you for calling blank company today, where we give to you the very best customer inside service, my name is blank, what for can I help you with today sir, please?
Me: "I'm having a major problem with my blank service. It isn't working at all. I did a check and the problem isn't on my end, so I could use some help in getting the situation fixed."
Service: "Ok, very good sir, I am understanding you very completely and we are very sorry that trouble is causing you, may I have your telephone number please?"
Me: "555-555-5555"
Service: "And to do security, may I have the last four numbers on your credit card?"
Me: "5555"
Service: Very good sir, and thank you for that information, what problem is bothering you today?"
Me: "Uh, I just told you, I don't have any service, and I performed all the checks that I know that you're going to tell me to do."
Service: "Very good sir, and to thank you again, please wait while I bring up your account"
Me: "Uh, ok." Thinking to myself that why did he ask me for my account info if he hadn't brought up my account yet. I'm on hold for about 3 minutes.
Service: " Please to sir, I believe the problems may be on equipment. Are you minding us run a check?"
Me: " Ummm, ok, but I already did that."
Service: "Please do blankety blank blank blank."
Me: "Ok all done. It's not on my end"
Service: "Ok to you sir. I am not seeing problem from here. I will send in a ticket, and someone will call you tomorrow."
Me: " Uh, is there another number that I can call?"
Service: "Please sir, you will wait for the morning call ok?"
Me: " Well, alright, but I really need this fixed."
Needless to say, the next day went by with no call, nor the next day after that. After talking to three more 'tech' workers from somewhere overseas who had no idea of how to fix my problem other than to send a service ticket in, I was ready to throw my phone across the room.
I decided to try a different tactic the next day. I called the auto voice and told it that I was a brand new customer seeking service from the company. Within 20 seconds, a pleasant American woman cheerfully offered to assist me. Ah ha! So that's the secret!
Telling her my problem, and demanding that she not switch me to India again, I asked if I could speak to a tech support person from my local office. She told me that she would switch me to their U.S. tech support division. Their U.S. tech support division?! Are you kidding me? Whatever. Just anyone who speaks English will be fine.
Getting switched to the U.S. techies, he had me run through all of the tests once again. Grrr,
dang it, ok ok whatever you say I'm thinking, as I do everything once more. Nope, still not on my end I tell him, and after waiting on hold for about ten minutes, he confirms that yes indeed it's on their end after all. Well, saints be praised! Someone who knows what to do I thought. But that went right out the window as he told me that he would have to put in an 'escalation' ticket. No. No. Wait. Don't do that I tell him, just give me someone who knows what to do. Don't worry, this will be fixed by the morning he reassures me.
The next day I call back and get the same pleasant woman on the phone. Sorry to say, I was not pleasant. By now, I am angry, upset, ready to cancel my service, climbing the wall in frustration, and told her that under no circumstances was she to route my call to India.
She connected me to a supervisor who had me relate the entire scenario again. She said she was going to connect me to the 'escalation' team herself, and after waiting on hold at the place she switched me to for almost an hour, I got through to a helpful fellow at some office in Ohio, who promptly told me they had switched me to the wrong division. He gave me a brand new number to call, toll free of course, which I immediately dialed when we hung up. Well, at least I'm getting somewhere I thought, waiting for someone to answer on the other end.
An automated voice began to give me options, and my stomach started to get a knot in it, but I perservered and got through all of the different sounding choices of who to connect to, and after waiting another 45 minutes, a familiar sounding Indian voice answered.
Oh, you're kidding me right?! "Hello to you Mr. Batmanchester, what for the problem is you are receiving today sir?" I hung up.
Finally the next day, I looked online for the company's corporate offices here in the U.S. I went to the Standard and Poors index. I found out who the company CEO was, who their media contact was, who washed their floors. I wrote an article naming the company, their horrible service, their run arounds, the fact that no one knew what the hell they were doing, my experience with them, etc. I entitled the piece, "America's Worst Company" and emailed it to the CEO and their media contact, asking if they would be so kind as to give a comment on the piece that I was going to post online not only on my own blog, but also to 108 web sites, as well as every message board I could find.
Within one half hour of sending the emails, the company's head of customer relations called me. I relayed the entire sordid affair once more. Sounding horrified, he assured me that things would be fixed forthwith. 20 minutes later, the head of my local office called, and stayed with me while he got tech people on the line in a conference meeting. I relayed the story again. I was offered a tour of their facilities. Three free months of service, and needless to say, the problem has been corrected. Call me a cheap whore, but for three months free service, I'm not going to name the company nor what they do.
My point is this. First they told us that they needed to outsource all of our manufacturing jobs in order to make way for the future, which would be service oriented, information industries, and we'd all be prosperous again. But they lied and scammed us with that line. They are outsourcing the information and service jobs to India and Pakistan, leaving us poor English speaking people to whirl around endlessly when we have questions about a product or service, to say nothing of the jobs being lost in that sector now.
This can not possibly be in our best interest, and just this one experience I had with customer service and the result of outsourcing should make that pretty clear. So, the next time you need to get something done, don't bother calling the customer service number. Send an email to the CEO of the company you're contacting. If it worked for me it can work for you. And somehow, we need to make it clear to our elected officials that the pillaging of our jobs must stop. Batmanchester

Barack Obama: Latest Video

Friday, February 15, 2008

Still Want To Teach Kids How To Shoot?




A recent article in which I told of the state of West Virginia's plans to teach school children how to shoot guns as part of their regular classroom curriculum, and how I was vehemently opposed to this plan, was met with fierce and stiff resistance on Newsvine, as well as a few other web sites that carry my blog. The responders spoke of hunter's rights, gun owners rights, and said they would rather have kids know how to safely handle guns. This, despite the fact that the West Virginia plan was being foisted on the populace by state officials, not because of any desire to teach gun safety, but outright greed in the thinking that the newly taught to shoot kiddies would buy hunting licenses, thereby fattening state coffers. Although many supported my position, many outright accused me of some sort of treason.
Yesterday's horrific and unholy shootings at Northern Illinois University, where five younf people were killed should illustrate once again just how dangerous it is for children to have the knowledge of how to fire a weapon. The fact that news reports are filtering in that the shooter, Mr. Kazmierczak, was mentally ill, but yet was able to obtain not only the weapons legally, shows once more just how flawed the system is, and how easily one can come by guns if they want to shoot up a school.
The effort in West Virginia is till being moved forward despite opposition from groups such as West Virginia's chapter of Youth Summit, who say their members are terrified of a school massacre happening in their state due to more teens learning how to fire weapons, and West Virginia's lax gun sale laws.
A recent example in West Virginia of just what can and will go wrong when you get teens around fire arms would be the recent arrest of a mother in Welch who left several teens in her home while she went shopping. The kids came across a rifle, and in the course of horsing around, one of the kids got killed. The mother has been arreested for felonious child neglect.
Just one incident in a growing pattern of teen violence across the state of West Virginia, including increases across the board for teens commiting acts of domestic violence, robbery, getting caught on school grounds with weapons, drug use, prostitution, and various other offences.
And yet, there are still proponents who think that teaching these children how to shoot weapons will somehow make their lives better. That teaching them the correct way to handle a gun or rifle will make them less likely to use it carelessly or against anyone. How they come to these conclusions are beyond me, because even though they insist that they are correct on teaching children how to shoot, they offer no explanations for the kid who is mentally unstable getting ahold of a weapon and killing people.
Understanding full well and agreeing with the right to bear arms, and even going one further and saying that in this day and age of government run amok, the need for an armed populace to guard against a complete fascist takeover, I still oppose any plan that is going to offer children the chance to learn how to fire weapons. The risks far outweigh any benefits, as can be evidenced in Littleton, Colorado, Virginia Tech, and Northern Illinois University.
Can we look the parents of those poor kids in the eye and say, sorry but gun rights take precedence over your dead child's life? Let the schools, that can't even teach kids how to read any more, be focused on the three R's a little more, and give these little ones a chance to grow up before we teach them how to kill each other. Batmanchester

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Women Don't Always Get Roses On Feb. 14th




A box of chocolates and a dozen bright red roses are pretty much what many a woman will recieve today from their paramours around the country. Of course, nowadays, it's perfectly acceptable for a man to recieve roses from a woman also. Some will be luckier than others, some will be all alone today, but despite that fact, they'll still be better off than millions upon millions of women the world over.
In Saudi Arabia today, they plan on hacking off a woman's head because they convicted her in a court of law, In A Court Of Law, of being a witch. This is not unusual for the Saudi nation. They routinely behead women for minor crimes, or even for daring to get themselves raped. We just hear about the really unusual cases.
Another 'ally' of ours, Pakistan, allows for the women of the Hindu faith to be kidnapped by Muslim men, forced into marriage, be taken into a court room, where she is then forced to proclaim her allegiance to Islam, and is whisked away afterward, never to be seen or heard from again by anyone she formerly knew. But since the courts say it is legal, therefore it must be perfectly ok.
Filipina and Bangladeshi women accepting jobs as maids that are advertised in their local newspapers, soon find themselves in virtual slavery in countries such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Lebanon, as well as some other oil rich nations like Russia.
Not ever mentioned in the press are the women in Nigeria, who when just suspected of infidelity, are routinely stoned to death in the streets. Or also not worth mentioning would be the female infanticide occuring in China again, nor the millions of African women who are infected with AIDS by promiscuous male folk, then left to die on their own, shunned as 'unclean' by their own people.


Or the other women of Africa, who when they reach their teen years, will have their genitals mutilated in a twisted ritual to keep them pure.


In Turkey, women who are arrested for any crime are subject to 'virginity testing', a practice wherein male guards apply electric shocks to the genital area of the women, then rape them with blunt objects. Most are them sexually assaulted by the guards, but since Turkey is 'with us', I guess this practice can be overlooked. After all, they're just criminals, right?
Many a woman the world over has made it hee, to the land of the free, only to find that the freedom and equality they thought they had achieved was a scam. Forced to work twelve to sixteen hours a day in a sweatshop to pay back a never ending 'loan' is the fate that the lucky ones find themselves in. The others are usually forced into sexual slavery, forced prostitution, and bartered between pimps like so much cattle.


Despite the way we like to think otherwise, it happens to U.S. women every day also. They are beaten by their men folk, forced into prostitution, and they come from places such as Des Moines, Witchita, New York, Gainsville, Corpus Christi, and all points in between.
The fact is that although women make up about fifty per cent of the world's population, they own less than one per cent of all property worldwide, and even as they work two thirds of the world's working hours, they recieve only about one tenth of the world's income.
So, as we here in America and elsewhere go around giving out flowers and candy, maybe we should instead take today and celebrate it as a day of equality between men and women, between black and white and brown and yellow. Maybe that would be the greatest expression of love we could ever muster. Fighting for justice for those who are oppressed, and taking our supposed 'allies' to task for the treatment of their women, demanding real change and equality, and stop looking the other way when it's convienient for us.
Give your loved one a hug and a kiss today, hold them tight, and those of you who feel alone and blue, consider the above, and perhaps you'll feel somewhat better off than what many a woman is going through right now. Buy Yourself a box of chocolates, and eat every one of them yourself.
Batmanchester

Monday, February 11, 2008

Leave My Cigarettes Alone!




There are currently 124,273 American farms, in 23 staes on which tobacco is grown. Altogether, the combined total of U.S. production of tobacco products comes out to 487 billion cigarettes,
2.5 billion large cigars and cigarillos, 14.2 million pound of pipe and roll-your-own tobacco,
63.3 million pounds of chewing tobacco, and 60 million pounds of snuff. I know I'm not possibly smoking that much.
Lighting a Camel Wide, I pondered these numbers and checked to see just how much all of this nicotine added up to in revenue for the tobacco industry. I was surprised at the relatively low number of around 2.9 billion dollars that the farmers of these products make. Considering that sales of tobacco products make up almost 50 billion dollars that is pumped into the economy and government coffers each year, you would think that people would have the good sense to treat us smokers with some respect.
Initiatives underway in several states to try to raise even further the taxes we pay on cigarettes and cigars are little more than extortion schemes in my mind. If the extra money would be going into paying for health care or prevention of our youth from ever starting to smoke, that would be one thing. But most of it is not.
Let's break down the average amount of tax on a pack of cigarettes so you can get a better idea of where I'm heading here. The Federal government rakes in some 14 billion dollars a year from cigarette taxes, while state and local governments get close to 12 billion. When you realize that the government is also subsidizing the tobacco growers, there's even more tax dollars going out the window. But the hook is this. In many of the states where they keep raising taxes on smokers, they claim they do this in order to penalize bad behavior, and to fund health and preventive measures. Only it doesn't work out that way.
Some of the money gets used for billboards and such, but the vast majority of these tax dollars go into 'general funds', which means the money can be used for anything. Like a new lamp for some politicos desk, or a flower pot for a corridor. Little pet projects of other politicians are favorite uses for this money. But yet, even though this has been pointed out by the press on several occasions, states keep trying to raise the taxes paid on all tobacco products. What kind of scam do they think they're pulling on us? And penalizing us for a legal activity?
We can't smoke in restaurants, when all they have to do is build a glass wall between sections. Several states and many cities have now made it illegal to smoke in bars! In bars, for God's sake! Beer and cigarettes go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly, yet now you can see us poor suckers standing out in the snow, puffing away just to keep from traumatizing non smokers.
I know. I know. Health, second hand smoke and all that phooey. So, don't breathe in the smoke!
Jeez, all this talk about smoking and now I have to light another one. Here's my point. You non smokers have chased us out of virtually every place we used to be able to smoke. Buses, airplanes, taxis, restaurants, bars, public buildings, etc. You've made it a crime for us to imbibe in a past time that is subsidized by the government.
Bu we've got to draw the line when you attempt to rip us off for even more tax dollars, all in the name of health and prevention, when we know full well the money won't be used for these purposes. How would you like it if we decided we didn't like your bottled water and we need to put a 3 dollar a bottle tax on all of it? No? Well, then why don't you help us by insisting the government lower the taxes on a legal product, and we can save some money to buy even more cigarettes, thus helping move the economy forward? Or in other words, leave my cigarettes alone! Batmanchester

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mrs. Clinton, You're Unfit To Lead This Nation




Hillary Clinton, in what has become a hallmark of her campaign, is milking the incident with David Shuster, an MSNBC correspondent over the use of the words 'pimping out' that Mr. Shuster used during a report he was giving on daughter Chelsea. Despite the fact that Shuster has been suspended by the network, in what most people thought was a wrongful caving in to a political campaign, The elder Mrs. Clinton is now back in the news demanding even harsher punishment over the use of what is basically the slang tossed around by the youth of our country in almost every sentence they can utter it.
By Mrs. Clinton's demands for more and harsher sanctions against Shuster, she shows us all, quite publicly, that she does not have the emotional fortitude to lead this nation, especially not at this time. Her empty and shallow threats made against MSNBC should have been taken for just that when they made the decision to suspend Shuster in the first place. This media whore is not about to pass up free air time when her entire campaign is so broke that she had to lend it 5 million dollars just to make it through till Super Tuesday.
Wait a second. She 'lent' her own campaign 5 million dollars, after boasting record campaign donations? Where did all of the money go? Even if all is on the up and up with that situation, then it shows such fiscal irresponsibility, that she can not be allowed to be in charge of spending at the national level.
Her latest national hissy fit over an issue that she should have allowed to die off due to the backlash that is already making itself evident at the polls yesterday, shows us that this woman is too unstable to be trusted with the nuclear launch codes of our country.
And do we really want a President who may end up spending time fighting off court battles, such as the one filed by Peter Paul on Jan. 12th against her husband, former President Bill Clinton, alleging a scheme to rob Mr. Paul and business partner Stan Lee, of Marvel Comics fame, out of 17 million dollars? You do remember Peter Paul don't you Mrs. Clinton? Oh, that's right. You swear that you never met the man, despite the numerous videos of you together with him, and the recorded telephone conversation that proves beyond any reasonable doubt that you were involved in campaign finance fraud back in the 2000 Senate race in New York.
Should we once again dredge up the $1,000 you invested in the cattle futures market, and then less than a year later, recieved an unbelieveable return of 1,000%, which we all know was a disguised bribe made by Tyson Foods?
Lets tell the voters how you speculated in the Health Care futures while you were overseeing legislation for the reform of the same.
While you were co-President, it was you who ordered the shredding of documents by the Health Care Task Force, that were the subject of a court probe, stole documents and billing records being sought from Vince Foster's office, and only when real threats started to come by the court, did you release the billing record, but not the other documents.
Also forgotten by the voting public is the fact that you ordered the use of the F.B.I. to discredit employees of the Travel Office, who were complaining about the fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars to shuttle big wigs around.
Don't you think the voters in a national election should know that Rudy wasn't the only one who tried to cash in politically on 9/11? Oh yes. What? Did you think we'd all forgotten that while Steven Brill was researching his book about the aftermath of the events of that day, it was your office and you personally who sought the author out to tout your 'comfort meetings' with some of the 9/11 families? You even provided the author with documentation. Only the entire story was bogus. The papers were made up. And the families that you purported to meet with and comfort say that the meetings never took place, that they never met you, and that you were lying through your teeth in order to score political points with New Yorkers.
What could be so damaging to you that Judicial Watch, the organization that probes and prosecutes government corruption has had to file suit against the National Archives in order to obtain records of your daily White House activities? At issue are over 10,000 pages that the courts have said must be released, but yet, your husband is still holding up the process. One must wonder what you're trying to hide.
Just what did you mean when in 1996 you said" We will never build enough prisons to solve our crime problems"?
I also wonder if proponents for net neutrality know that in 1998, you called for 'gatekeeping' of the internet? You remember. Some sort of government editing controls to delete whatever the government decided just wasn't true. Nice try on that one.
This list could go on for page after page, but Mrs. Clinton, even ignoring all of the criminal activity by yourself and your husband, the shame and embarrasment that the both of you caused while in the White House, your recent plugs for public sympathy are pathetic at best, and coldly calculated at worst.
Just taking the case of MSNBC, your blatant attempts to control and cow the media during your campaign shows us exactly what sort of administration you would run. Freedom of the press? Bah! Not if you can help it. You forced Chris Matthews to cower in fear. You caused David Shuster to be suspended over what amounted to nothing, but your vindictiveness now bares it's teeth for all to see with this morning's demands for harsher punishment. Would his being drawn and quartered on national television satisfy your blood lust?
As far as I'd be concerned were I in charge of that network, I'd laugh in your face, and say go ahead and skip the next debate on our station. We'll be more than happy to give your opponent a platform all to himself. I'm sure you'd just love that, would you not?
No. Your barking and yapping show us that you are not fit to lead this nation Mrs. Clinton. We've had more than seven long years of one bully in the Oval Office, and don't want yet another tyrant stomping through the halls of power. If you're a mother first on the campaign trail, what would you be as President of the United States? A wife and mother first, leader of the people second? Batmanchester

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Force Congress To Pass H.R. 676




Travelling in committees for over two years now, and not allowed by either the Democrats or the Republicans to come to a vote, H.R. 676, a proposal put forth by John Conyers, would lead to the eventual Universal Health Care that the Presidential candidates only speak lip service to.
Every time the measure is brought forth by a member of Congress, it gets shoved into some committee, such as the House Committee for Energy and Commerce. Even though Conyers' bill has 78 co-sponsors, the insurance industry lobbyists have managed to stifle all debate on the issue, and while not actually killing the bill, it sits in a limbo, awaiting someone with the guts to push it forward, and force a yea or nay vote.
The bill itself has been much maligned by opponents that are deep in the insurance industries' pockets, claiming it would be a government run socialized medicine program. They have blatantly lied about what is in the actual bill, which would take existing resources along with a portion of sales taxes, and insure every single American, and said that doctors all over the country are opposed to this idea.
The lie to this argument can be evidenced by the group Physicians For A National Health Program which boasts the membership of more than 4,000 doctors nationwide.
In fact, in a statement to a gathering of the group, Dr. Quentin Young had this to say: "Good news, There is now a way to exit the nightmare of a collapsing health system. We no longer have to put up with the outrageous costs that keep millions of Americans from receiving medical care and needed medications. Nor will tens of thousands of families have to declare bankruptcy over medical bills. Universal national health insurance (single payer) takes the resources we have in place and deals with them in an intelligent manner, excluding the tragic hemorrhage of resources into non-health entities."
Dr. Martin Luther King said many years ago: "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."
Imagine that. Doctors, nurses,dentists, eye care specialists, medical professionals from across the spectrum all calling for true Universal Health Care. All of them decrying the current system for the waste, the corruption, the callous disregard for human life by the HMO's, but yet their voices have never been heard by the American people. The reason for this couldn't be that the insurance industry and the drug companies pay such huge fees for commercial air time, now could it? Tell me it's not because many members of the Senate and the House, including Hillary Clinton, derive great portions of their campaign contributions from these very same conglamerates.
They wouldn't sell out the American people over money would they? No. Of course they wouldn't. That's the reason that I believe that if you all go to John Conyers web site and sign his petition to move H.R. 676 to a vote, then our Congress, who only has our best interests in mind, will move swiftly on this issue, because now they'll know that we're aware of this little scam they've been pulling on us. The petition site is here: http://www.johnconyers.com/HR676
Just imagine. All of us, rich and poor alike, having access to the same type of health care, and not having to worry about our wages being garnished because we can't pay the premiums on a forced, mandated government giveaway to the insurance industry.
If you'd like to read the full text of H.R. 676 go here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.676
After you read the truth about what all of the sponsors and co-sponsors of this bill, go and sign Mr. Conyers petition. Tell Congress to stop trying to bury legislation beneficial to the American people. Let them know they work for us, and not the insurance industry or the drug companies.
Bring H.R. 676 to a vote, and let us see, before the elections, who stands with the People, and who stands against our best interests. Batmanchester

Friday, February 8, 2008

Nebraska Will Vote For Whoever Shows Up




As the Democratic candidates gear up for the five states that will be either caucasing or voting in a primary this Saturday, the state of Nebraska has taken on an unusual importance due to the closeness of the Democratic race.
With Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton virtually tied in the delegate count, Nebraska's 24 delegates and 7 super delegates took on an urgent importance to both campaigns, but the voters here say they'll go with the candidate who actually shows up to talk to them.
While Obama spoke before a crowd of ten thousand in Omaha, and his wife Michelle was due to speak to a crowd at the Memorial Auditorium in Lincoln today, the best the Clinton campaign could muster was to send daughter Chelsea to this state where voters are as fickle as the wind.
Adding in the fact that the mayor of Lincoln, Chris Beutler, Omaha mayor Mike Fahey, and Sen. Ben Nelson have all endorsed Obama, and one can see the Obama campaign taking most, if not all of the delegates from the Cornhusker state.
Chelsea Clinton spoke to a group of students here and was asked by one of them to explain why they should trust her mother. "She does what she says she will do," Chelsea Clinton said. And went on to say that her mother never gave up when her 1993 Health Care Initiative fell through.
On the flip side, many people skipped seeing Chelsea Clinton in Lincoln, opting instead to drive to Omaha to see Obama. Many were upset that candidate Clinton didn't consider Nebraska to be important enough to come and personally speak with them. "I'm going to see Obama because at least he'll come and tell us what he has to say." said Amy Goodwright of Lincoln. Chris Slaughter, who attends the University of Nebraska added ""He speaks to us, He's a once-in-a-generation candidate. I've never felt this close to a candidate before."
Those sentiments seem to be the prevailing thinking going into Saturday. Nebraskans want the candidates to come here and sit down in the coffee shops with them, just as they did in new Hampshire and Iowa. Many call it a case of Iowa envy. Feeling ignored in the last few Presidential races, and being in the position they find themselves in, voters here are screaming for attention and their votes can be had by the candidate who gives them the attention they rightly deserve.
At the Omaha event, Obama told the crowd "You're here because you don't want to just be against something, you want to be for something." Meanwhile Chelsea Clinton didn't do her mother any favors with answers like "It's not how people react when they succeed but how they react when they fail."
Nebraskans are seeking a new face, a new start, and someone who can deliver on the message of hope. The voters here overwhelmingly support Universal Health Care, but are stridently opposed to any mandate such as Mrs. Clinton speaks of, where she held up the possibilty of wage garnishment to enforce her plan. Bob Michaelson of Lincoln states " I'll move to Canada if she wins and tries to take the food from my family's table to give to the insurance companies."
A look at the other side of the Saturday event does show support for Clinton though. Former Senator Bob Kerrey has endorsed Clinton, as well as Nebraska Public Service head Ann Boyle.
But if you balance this out with the endorsements of the so called super delegates such as National Committeeman Vince Powers who said he would endorse whichever candidate that showed up, and Andra Austerguard, a Democratic party official and super delegate, as well as the endorsement of Iowa Governor Chet Culver, who was at the Omaha rally and is also a super delgate endorsing Obama, and a Nebraska landslide could be in the making for the only candidate with the brains enough to know that even the little people need to feel important sometimes. And as it stands right now, that candidate is Barak Obama. Batmanchester

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Your Papers And Password Please




Just in case anyone missed the story in the Washington Post, and featured on MSNBC's web site, I'll run it down for you in quick step. The story deals with the issue of security personell at airport security checkpoints here in the United States, demanding access to personal laptop computers, passwords and all, before allowing people to board their flight. The searches included the downloading of all web sites visited by the computer. No warrant. No suspicion of a crime being committed. Just, your papers and your password please. Included in these unconstitutional searches are children who have MP3 players, whose songs are downloaded for some reason, and people's cell phones being taken so that phone numbers to and from it can be copied and stored.
On top of this story, we also read yesterday (or you should have) about the F.B.I.'s newest billion dollar grant to start a program that will biometrically store information on people, such as facial features, retinal scans, medical records, and much more.
Somehow I don't recall any of this being passed in front of the People to get their input on any of this stuff, it was just done. Of what possible use is any of this to fighting the war of terror? Are terrorists flying in and out of the U.S. on such a regular basis that the Bush administration feels the need to further violate the Constitution's protections against unreasonable search and seizure? Or is this all just more of the far right's plans to complete hold up to scutiny every single aspect of our lives?
Because if these measures were truly about preventing terrorism, they would have started on our southern border first. They would be doing something about the area in South America known as the Three Corners, that borders Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, where they know that terror suspects wander the streets with impunity. In Ciudad del Este, on the Paraguayan side of the Parana River, Dark skinned Arab men regularly buy Paraguayan passports, which they use to enter Mexico.
From Mexico, where everyone is on the take, they obtain Mexican identification, passports, etc. and cross the U.S. border. If caught, they can claim to be Mexican, and get sent back to Mexico, only to try to cross the border again.
But this danger doesn't seem to worry this administration at all. They're more concerned with what's on your cell phone, your computer, and your child's MP3 player than any actual threat. They're more interested in data basing your face, your phone calls, your purchases, your medical data, your DNA, and every other aspect of your life, than they are in any threat from the boogeymen.
Fourth Amendment? Bah! We don't need no stinking Constitution! The President himself said so!
As our democracy fades away into a distant memory, and the fascists from the far right impose more and more restrictions on our lives, at what point do the American people say that we've had enough? Because make no mistake about any of this. They are leading us down the path to a police state faster than you can keep up with it all. So what are you prepared to do about any or all of this. Will you email your Senator? The White House? Or will your complacency spell the beginning of the end of the America we all knew and loved, in favor of a nation that oppresses it's people, and is feared the world over?
Other nations are arming themselves to the teeth to prevent us from attacking them. Is this the America we want? Social programs are being decimated, causing untold misery, sickness, hardship and even death. Have we become so immune to the suffering of others?
Our fathers and mothers fought and died in a war so great and so violent, that we as a nation swore to never allow anything that even resembled the Nazi regime to ever take hold anywhere on the planet ever again. But now, it is here in our land, and if we do not demand an end to the policies and program implementations, then when you are asked for your papaers and your password, you can not argue. You will have to meekly submit like a lamb to the will of the government, and the will of the People will be lost in the history books as a failed experiment.
Do it now. Write to your Senator, your Congressperson, and anyone and everyone you can think of, and demand an end to the surveillance society they are shoving down our throats and a return to Constitutional law in America. Batmanchester

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The President Lost His Mind Over The Weekend




While everyone in the country was watching the Super Bowl or preparing for today's critical primary and caucas votes, the President of the United States was busy plotting the destruction of our country. Attempting to sneak his 3.1 trillion dollar budget proposal past the public while our backs were turned, the Bush budget would increase military spending to levels that would only be needed were he planning to start World War Three before he leaves office. That is, unless he plans to declare martial law and suspend the elections as Musharraf did in Pakistan.
Also done by this maniac in the White House, and again attempted to slip by us under the radar, was his announcement that he would veto any FISA bill that the Senate sent to him, unless it includes retroactive immunity for the telecom corporations.
After years of shrill banshee screaming by this President of imminent annihilation, the gall that reeks and stinks from his threatened veto tells the American people all in one fell swoop just who and what this Republican Party has been about these last two torturous decades. It has not been about protecting the American people, nor our interests. It has not been about making America freat once again. It has not been about some boogeymen that may attack us from caves. It has been about the corrupt use of power and color of authority to further the interests of the 'elites' and the richest among us. It has been about siphoning off tax dollars not to fix the infrastructure of our country, or help children get an education, but to further enrich oil companies that helped get this imbecile appointed to the Oval Office.
In the new Bush deficit budget, he proposes to cut off more than 100,000 families from housing assistance, which would cause a rise in the number of homeless people, but I imagine sacrifices must be made in order to pay for the pork barrel miltary projects the Pentagon has in mind.
In this budget massacre, he proposes to cut over 200,000 families off of heating assistance, allowing them to freeze to death in order to pay for some wild scheming and planning by the war mongers amongst us.
As he espouses the virtues of our police and firefighters, he proposes to slash spending for those services by almost 50%. That's pretty much in line with Bush's bait and switch rhetoric we've come to recognize these last seven years. Praise a sector of society in order to make them feel good and vote for you, then cut their knees out from under them, all for the good of the country of course.
As Medicare and Medicaid recipients already face increasing hardship due to the cruel callousness of this President's past cuts, he now proposes slashing the programs even further. Co-pays would rise, the cost of prescriptions would go up, and there would be savings all right. But the savings would come with dead bodies attached, because when the co-pay rises on the poorest of the poor, they can not afford them, and therefore stop going to the doctor. This is the new Republican preventive medicine campaign. 'Let the poor die and we'll save money.'
Not to worry though, because this fiscally irresponsible President will be giving away Homeland Security dollars to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a town of less than 100,00 citizens, which has inexplicably turned up as a terrorist target
But the veto threat against a bill that would help protect the country, according to Bush's own words, shows us as clear as day that this war on a noun has been a farce from the beginning. This war of terror has been aimed at the American people all along. To take away our rights. To stifle voices of dissent. To throw the Constitution out the window, and replace it with a corporate controlled fascist government that could run roughshod over the people with the police state powers they would foist upon us.
Congress must send this huckster in chief the FISA bill without any immunity for the telecom companies, and let Bush veto it. Let this man show us where the concerns of the Republican Party truly lie. Not with the American people as a whole, but with the rich and the power mad war mongerers. Toss this new 'budget' out the window, and restore the money to the domestic programs like infrastructure rebuilding and programs for those with the least, because if the Congress caves in to this lame duck in chief, this maniac, then they will be condeming this country to decades of hardship while the oil companies and multi-nationals collect corporate welfare and laugh in the face of us all. Batmanchester