Thursday, May 12, 2005

What America Means To Me


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Sun rising over
the mountain path---
scent of plums.

---Basho

Everything is miraculous. It is a miracle that one doesn't melt in one's bath.

---Pablo Picasso

I learn every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: PATIENCE is everything.

---Rainer Maria Rilke

Remember when the American Legion or the Daughters of the American Revolution used to sponsor that essay contest for schoolkids? They probably still do, and maybe the prizes are the same---and the best behaved student in the class still cranks out that same essay...and even reads it to us at some compulsory assembly. I never tried to write one because, even as a kid, the topic seemed so huge I just couldn't get my head around it.

Tuesday night, teacher and writer William Rivers Pitt unloaded bigtime at a meeting up in Cambridge. If you get your news online since 9/11, you've heard of Mr. Pitt...no matter if you're liberal or conservative. He used to write for Online Journal and now keeps us hopping once a day, it seems, at Truthout. He's also written a couple of books about Iraq and the great silence of the American people---which void seems to be what America means today.

His topic Tuesday night was supposed to be corporate control of the formerly free press. But what happens if there's also corporate control of the White House and the other branches of our government, and all the media does is spin out their scenarios? I believe that all Americans know this has happened, and that a few generations have come along, since Reagan, who don't know the United States can be any other way than the storybook we're living in now.

Many people I know, including managers and administrators, no longer pay any attention to the "news" or even elections anymore at all. I really don't know by what Hope they live, except whatever patch of ground they can carve out to call their own---and the next memo from a supervisor. I understand the dilemma of a money-manufactured reality (instead of Freedom) and their silence, but I cannot live that way. It's not what America means to me. Here's a taste of what William Rivers Pitt had to say the other night...and the link to the rest of the talk~~~

"For me, that's it in a nutshell. That's what ails us as a nation. The corporate media does not report the news anymore. They create consensus, they manufacture the common fictions under which we are expected to live. With the TV media, this behavior is all the more insidious because TV reaches everyone.

"Television is the most extraordinarily effective tool of mass control that has ever been invented by anyone anywhere.

"If this MSNBC producer (mentioned earlier) is an appropriate example - and I think she is, because she was asking me to basically be yet another Bush administration mouthpiece - the fictions they create do not merely soothe and placate the populace. They kill. They kill in large numbers, and a few people (who coincidentally own large chunks of the corporate news media) get paid handsomely for that killing.

"The print media is not in any way immune to this. Their disinformation does not have the reach of television news, simply because nobody reads anymore, but it is there all the same. My most recent brain cramp actually came up this morning, and has to do with the venerable New York Times. It was the Times that allowed the Bush talking-point about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to be broadbanded across the media spectrum.

" Times reporter Judy Miller hunkered with convicted embezzler and alleged Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi, and reported on the pages of the Times that Iraq was absolutely covered with weapons of mass destruction. This helped Chalabi, you see, because he had been chosen by the Bush folks to run Iraq after the war. So far, he has only gotten to be the Oil Minister...yes, the embezzler is now the Oil Minister, but that's a whole different mess.

"The point is that like it or lump it, the Times is the flagship of American journalism. If they say it, it must be true, and so when Miller reported that Iraq was covered with weapons, it became axiomatic. Then the TV outlets felt safe in saying it, and we were off to the races.

"Well, my brain cramp today came when I read the Times' response to the fallout from this situation. They were duped by a Bush administration lackey, the published gross fabrications, they empowered the war rhetoric...and in response to criticism, they have decided to move their perspective farther to the right. Yes, you heard me, and welcome to my brain cramp.

"The frustration I feel personally knowing that I and everyone else are being deliberately deceived and misdirected is topped by only one thing: The rage, horror and sorrow I feel when I finally do manage to carve through the crap and get to the truth. Because the truth, friends and neighbors, is so much worse than you can possibly imagine."

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/051105A.shtml

6 comments:

sparkle said...

Hi jazzolog, really nice picture you got here, thanks for the sharing *smile*

jazzolog said...

The Fall of the American Media
Twenty-seventh – thanks to Ann Coulter it isn’t lower!
© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
5/14/05
http://zeppscommentaries.com/VRWC/mediafall.htm

Bartcop had a link to an article at Arab News which stated that an outfit calling itself "Freedom House" had rated the world’s media, and that in terms of having a free press, America ranked only 27th in the world.

That the free press in America has taken a catastrophic plunge over the past 15 years is pretty much beyond dispute. One can spend a few days reading the Washington Post and realize that the glory days of Woodward and Bernstein are long passed. One can read its crosstown rival, the Washington Times, and realize that some segments of the American press are no better than the once-ridiculed Pravda of the Soviet era.

The Arab News story on the survey began with the acid remark, "Recent polling data shows that most Americans think their press is the freest in the world — indeed, some believe it is too free." Obviously, an attitude like that left a lot of room for encroachment that an at best passive and at worst timid populace would tolerate quite willingly.

But I got around to wondering what the criteria of the survey was, exactly. On one end of the American journalistic spectrum, you had outfits like Moon’s rag or Faux News, which are often only one step above newspapers in some countries where the daily headline better sing the praises of the Glorious Leader, or a certain managing editor would be taken out and shot. At the same time Bartcop could level his daily blasts against Putsch and manage to avoid falling into the American Gulag. Did Freedom House factor in such wide variation?

So I went to Freedomhouse.org and examined their methodology. I was wondering if they considered the influence of private ownership on the media. They do, along with a host of other factors. Their methodology statement includes:

Our examination of the level of press freedom in each country is divided into three broad categories: the legal environment, the political environment, and the economic environment.

The legal environment encompasses both an examination of the laws and regulations that could influence media content as well as the government’s inclination to use these laws and legal

institutions in order to restrict the media’s ability to operate. We assess the positive impact of legal and constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression; the potentially negative aspects of security legislation, the penal code and other criminal statutes; penalties for libel and defamation; the existence of and ability to use Freedom of Information legislation; the independence of the judiciary and of official media regulatory bodies; registration requirements for both media outlets and journalists; and the ability of journalists’ groups to operate freely.

Under the category of political environment, we evaluate the degree of political control over the content of news media. Issues examined in this category include the editorial independence of both the state-owned and privately-owned media; access to information and sources; official censorship and self-censorship; the vibrancy of the media; the ability of both foreign and local reporters to cover the news freely and without harassment; and the intimidation of journalists by the state or other actors, including arbitrary detention and imprisonment, violent assaults, and other threats.

Our third category examines the economic environment for the media. This includes the structure of media ownership; transparency and concentration of ownership; the costs of establishing media as well as of production and distribution; the selective withholding of advertising or subsidies by the state or other actors; the impact of corruption and bribery on content; and the extent to which the economic situation in a country impacts the development of the media.

That is pretty hard to fault. One of the biggest threats to American freedom is the strange notion that tyranny and repression are all right if inflicted by the private sector. Thus Americans are watched by more cameras, are accustomed to having every move they make at their jobs closely scrutinized. Americans are convinced that employers have a "right" to tell employees how they must dress, how they must act, even how they must behave when off duty. People cheerfully become wage slaves while inveighing that government must always be watched because it might encroach upon one’s personal sovereignty. "Recent polling data shows that most Americans think their press is the freest in the world — indeed, some believe it is too free."

Freedom House took that into account, along with the effects of collusion between government and reporters (Armstrong Williams, Robert Novak, Jeff Gannon, etc.) and self-censorship as a result of social, political, or economic factors. The US, which ranked 15th in the 2004 survey, still had a ranking of "free."* Pretty bad for a country the inhabitants like to brag is "the freest on earth," but compared to everyone else, pretty good.

In just one year, it slid to 27th, putting it on a par with Canada, the Barbados, Estonia, and Latvia.

It would have been much worse, but for two things. First, there is the fact that the government and the corporate interests haven’t figured out how to squelch the independent media that remains. They are trying, of course: the most recent story reported in the remaining free press was efforts by the new chairman of CPB, the parent corporation of public broadcasters NPR and PBS, to introduce "more conservative" coverage to the already decidedly right-leaning networks. Later it was revealed that the chairman was in fact a toady to the White House who, despite frequent meetings with Karl Rove and other admin officials, actually tried denying any links to the White House.

So there is still an independent media, and of course, there are tens of thousands of people like myself and Bartcop who are willing to talk about this kind of stuff.

So that pushes the freedom rating up a few notches.

The second is that the study isn’t really designed to distinguish between sloppy journalism and deliberate lying. Diana Griego Erwin, the renowned Sacramento Bee columnist, resigned the other day when a in-house investigation revealed that some of the sources in her recent stories could not be properly attributed. [Note: I wrote an essay on her back in 2001. If we assume that the newspaper has justification, was it sloppy journalism, or deliberate lying? And how do you tell? Either way, though, the study would consider Griego Erwin – if guilty – an example of repressed press.

At the same time, the Lord Haw-Haws of the right, such people as Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Michael Weiner sometimes speak out against the government (usually pretending that the people who are out of power, be they liberals, Jews or gays, are actually secretly running everything) and of course aren’t being suspended by their editors for breaches of journalistic ethics. (Just try to imagine EIB or Newsmax demanding journalists submit to fact-checking!)

I won’t insult the intelligence of my readers by pretending we can’t know if they are lying or not. Of course they are lying. They are paid liars for the GOP. But the study would have to classify them, with their outspoken "anti-government" stances, as examples of a free press.

There you have it: Griego Erwin may have invented sources, and that’s a less free media. Ann Coulter simply lies, but she claims to lie about the powers that be, so that’s evidence of a free media. Amazing, isn’t it?

So if the ranking of 27th for "the freest nation on earth" (something Americans used to refer to themselves as) strikes you as appalling, remember: it’s actually even worse.

jazzolog said...

Hello White House!
How much more did you say you want Newsweek to do?

Does anyone consider the Bush Administration rather passive-aggressive?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
May 26, 2005

Documents Say Detainees Cited Abuse of Koran by Guards
By NEIL A. LEWIS

WASHINGTON, May 25 - Newly released documents show that detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, complained repeatedly to F.B.I. agents about disrespectful handling of the Koran by military personnel and, in one case in 2002, said they had flushed a Koran down a toilet.

The prisoners' accounts are described by the agents in detailed summaries of interrogations at Guantánamo in 2002 and 2003. The documents were among more than 300 pages turned over by the F.B.I. to the American Civil Liberties Union in recent days and publicly disclosed Wednesday.

Unlike F.B.I. documents previously disclosed in a lawsuit brought by the civil liberties union, in which agents reported that they had witnessed harsh and possibly illegal interrogation techniques, the new documents do not say the F.B.I. agents witnessed the episodes themselves. Rather, they are accounts of unsubstantiated accusations made by the prisoners during interrogation.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon dismissed the reports as containing no new evidence that abuses of the Koran had actually occurred and said that on May 14 military investigators had interviewed the prisoner who mentioned the toilet episode to the F.B.I. and that he was not able to substantiate the charge.

The accusation that soldiers had put a Koran in a toilet, which has been made by former and current inmates over the past two years, stirred violence this month that killed at least 17 people in Muslim countries after Newsweek magazine reported that a military investigation was expected to confirm that the incident had in fact occurred.

Newsweek retracted the report last week, saying it had relied on an American government official who had incomplete knowledge of the situation.

None of the documents released Wednesday indicate any such confirmation that the incident took place.

One document released Wednesday is an Aug. 1, 2002, memorandum from an agent whose name is deleted that recounts a pair of interviews the previous month with a prisoner whose name is also deleted.

The prisoner said that "the guards in the detention facility do not treat him well," the agent wrote. "Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet. The guards dance around when the detainees are trying to pray. The guards still do these things." The document does not indicate whether the agent believed the account.

The documents include several other accounts of detainees' complaints about disrespectful handling of the Koran, but none describe its being flushed in a toilet.

Bryan Whitman, the deputy Pentagon spokesman, said Wednesday that the newly released document, a summary of an interrogation, "does not include any new allegations, nor does it include any new sources for previous allegations." Mr. Whitman said the source of the accusation "is an enemy combatant."

Since the Newsweek article was published, the Pentagon has been reviewing records, but "we still have found no credible allegations that a Koran was flushed down a toilet at Guantánamo," Mr. Whitman said.

Until the new batch of documents was released, no previously released F.B.I. documents were known to have mentioned abuse of the Koran of the type Newsweek reported.

Earlier complaints came in statements of inmates after they were released from custody or, more recently, in statements of current inmates to their lawyers.

Another memo released Wednesday, dated March 18, 2003, is an account by an agent whose name is deleted who writes that another detainee told him of purposely disrespectful handling of the Koran. The detainee acknowledged, according to the memo, that he did not witness any of the incidents he had discussed.

The agent reports that the detainee said the use of the Koran as a tool in interrogation had been a mistake. "Interrogators who had taken the Koran from individual detainees as a reprisal or incentive to cooperate had failed," the detainee said, adding that the only result would be "the damage caused to the reputation of the United States once what had occurred was released to the world."

Jameel Jaffer, a senior lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union who is coordinating the review of documents obtained in the group's civil suit against the military, said the documents were part of more than 300 new pages received last Thursday from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He said staff members spent days reviewing the documents.

Ken Weine, a spokesman for Newsweek, said the magazine would have no comment on the disclosures.

The disclosures Wednesday did not support the specific assertions in the original Newsweek item that military investigators concluded that a Koran had been flushed down a toilet. They do, however, reinforce the contentions of human rights advocates and lawyers for detainees that accusations of purposeful mishandling of the Koran were common.

A former interrogator told The New York Times in a recent interview that friction over handling of the Koran began with guards' regular searches of the cells. "Some of it was just ignorance," the former interrogator said, insisting on anonymity because soldiers are barred from discussing camp operations. "They didn't realize you shouldn't handle the book roughly."

Though complaints about the handling of the Koran were routine, the former interrogator said, the situation eventually escalated. "It was two things that brought the desecration issue to a higher level," the former interrogator said. "The rumor spread among detainees that a Koran had been flushed down a toilet and that some interrogators brought Korans to the interrogation sessions and stood on them, kicked them around." The former interrogator had not witnessed those occurrences.

Erik Saar, co-author of "Inside the Wire" (Penguin Press, 2005) and an Arabic language translator in 2003 in Guantánamo said in a recent interview that "the detainees actually liked to complain about how the Koran was handled because they viewed it as a cause to rally around" and one that would get the attention of the camp's authorities.

Mr. Jaffer of the A.C.L.U. said the errors in the Newsweek report had been improperly used to discredit other information about abusive practices at Guantánamo "that were not based on anonymous sources, but government documents, reports written by F.B.I. agents."

The new documents and 30,000 pages previously released were disclosed as part of a suit brought by the A.C.L.U. and other groups trying to learn whether and what kinds of coercive tactics were used at Guantánamo.

The earlier release of reports in which bureau agents recounted witnessing harsh interrogations resulted in an investigation by an Air Force general of interrogation practices. That report, which was completed at the end of March, has not yet been released by the Pentagon.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/26/politics/26koran.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all

jazzolog said...

YAHOO! News
Amnesty defends 'gulag,' urges Guantanamo access
Reuters, Thu Jun 2, 9:50 AM ET

Human rights group Amnesty defended its description of Guantanamo prison as a "gulag" Thursday and urged the United States to allow independent investigations of allegations of torture at its detention centers for terrorism suspects.

A verbal feud between Amnesty International and Washington has escalated since Amnesty last week compared the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the brutal Soviet system of forced labor camps where millions of prisoners died.

President Bush dismissed as "absurd" the Amnesty report, which also said the United States was responsible for an upsurge in global human rights violations, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called the description "reprehensible."

"The administration's response has been that our report is absurd, that our allegations have no basis, and our answer is very simple: if that is so, open up these detention centers, allow us and others to visit them," Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Zubaida Khan told a news conference.

"Transparency is the best antidote to misinformation and incorrect facts," said Khan, who is here to meet with Japanese officials.

The United States holds about 520 men at Guantanamo, where they are denied rights accorded under international law to prisoners of war.

Many have been held without charge for more than three years.

Khan rejected a suggestion that Amnesty's use of the emotive term "gulag" had turned the debate into one over semantics, and distracted attention from the situation in the detention centers.

"What we wanted to do was to send a strong message that ... this sort of network of detention centers that has been created as part of this war on terrorism is actually undermining human rights in a dramatic way which can only evoke some of the worst features of human rights scandals of the past," she said.

Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050602/ts_nm/rights_usa_amnesty_dc;_ylt=Ap.ZqW6Rhxg3dEaLwcBmXt1Z.3QA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

jazzolog said...

They went to their usual name-calling work (reframed "intelligent debate") against Amnesty International last week. Now this (undoubtedly "activist") judge and the American Civil Liberties Union must face similar slander. Or is it time for our conservative friends to admit they haven't been right in their defense of the Bush Gang---not even once?

HoustonChronicle.com -- | Section: National
June 3, 2005, 12:26AM

Army told to release abuse videos
ACLU prevails in lawsuit over Abu Ghraib images
Associated Press

NEW YORK - A judge has ordered the government to release four videos from Abu Ghraib prison and dozens of photographs from the same collection of photos that touched off the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal a year ago.

The federal judge issued the order late Wednesday requiring the Army to release the material to the American Civil Liberties Union to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

The ACLU said the material would show that the abuse was "more than the actions of a few rogue soldiers."

Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the 144 pictures and videos can be turned over in edited form to protect the victims' identities. He gave the Army one month to release them.

The judge ordered the release after he viewed eight of the photos last week. They were given to the Army by a military policeman assigned to Abu Ghraib.

In October 2003, the ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking information on treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and the transfer of prisoners to countries known to use torture. The ACLU contends that prisoner abuse is systemic.

"These images may be ugly and shocking ... (but) the American public deserves to know what is being done in our name," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU.

So far, 36,000 pages of documents and the reports of 130 investigations, mostly from the FBI and Army, have been turned over to the ACLU.

The group is seeking documents from the CIA and the Department of Defense as well.

The judge said last week that he believed photographs "are the best evidence the public can have of what occurred" at the prison.

Government lawyer Sean Lane had argued that releasing pictures, even in redacted form, would violate Geneva Convention rules by subjecting the detainees to additional humiliation.

Lane did not immediately return a telephone message for comment Thursday.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/3209344

jazzolog said...

Zepp is blogging at MyTown.ca now and wrote a humdinger yesterday. It's almost got me motivated enough to do some writing myself, instead of spending all my days carrying buckets of precious water to the garden~~~

Summertime
And the livin’ is sleazy

Congress has adjourned for the summer, which, according to the pundits, means that Putsch has the opportunity to abuse the recess appointment loophole and ram the violent and unbalanced John Bolton down the throats of the UN as the American ambassador, and thus further cement America’s Nazi Germany-like alienation from the world.

The rest of the world isn’t wasting much time on America these days. We’ve gone from “We are all Americans” less than four years ago to an increasingly coordinated attack against the neo-fascist regime of America, the folks that think that John Bolton is the face America should present to the world.

In recent days, China, Russia, and several smaller central Asian countries have come out formally and said that it is time for America to abandon the military bases it has erected around the Caspian and Black seas, and throughout the middle east. Uzbekistan was more direct, simply ordering the Americans out in six months.

America is frantically pressing the parliament of Iraq to erect a constitution, any constitution, so they can declare victory and pull out, leaving behind 60,000 troops to try and maintain control of the pipelines Halliburton is busily building for the multinational corporations that pull America’s strings. Why the administration thinks Iraq would want American troops to remain in those huge new permanent bases they’ve been building is something of a mystery. Perhaps Putsch is just too used to simply taking what he wants to consider offering any sort of a deal.

Iran, happy that an old enemy on their western border has been replaced with a powerful new ally, announced today that they are continuing with their nuclear program. Why shouldn’t they? America is a paper tiger, Iran has realized. Just occupying Afghanistan and Iraq has left the Americans strapped, and unable to use the threat of military force. And since the Americans have refused to trade with Iran since the hostage-taking, they have no economic clout with which they can threaten Iran. The EU will continue to negotiate with Iran in the hopes of stopping proliferation, but they, too, realize that as long as America shows willingness to attack nations that don’t have WMDs while avoiding confrontation with those that do, the rush to secure Putsch deterrents will go on.

China finally did something with their yuan while avoiding any movement toward economic scrutability. But now, instead of pegging it to the dollar, they seem to have made it responsible to the arbitrary notions of their government, a policy that seems destined to fail, but which will cause America to use the dollar to keep the yuan stable. In other words, the Chinese are bowing to American demands to stop pegging the yuan to the value of the dollar by creating a situation where the Americans will peg the yuan to the value of the dollar. The admin got snookered on that deal.

The thing about Putsch and his junta is that while they may be pure-d fools who can’t keep friends or win a single hand of poker, they are still consummate thieves and liars. The Congress passed an energy bill that, among other things, gives the oil companies another eleven billion in tax subsidies and incentives. Some of the bigger outfits have been pulling in a half a billion a week in net profits, but they just don’t feel like going out and doing anything to enhance profits unless motivated by a multi-billion dollar gift from the people they are cheating. Poor fellows. I’m sure glad we’ve got a honest Congress that represents the people. Aren’t you?

At least the Congress was shamed into dropping Tom DeLay’s demand that the manufacturers of MTBE be shielded from any liability due to the damage their product has caused to America’s water supplies. Tom, who recognizes that the corporatization of the American dream is the only thing keeping his thieving ass out of jail, felt that just because the manufacturers of MTBE demanded the right to conduct the testing procedures themselves, faked the results, and sold Congress on using MTBE instead of safer, less expensive alternatives based on those lies, they shouldn’t have to pay for the damage. Congress narrowly decided that maybe they should have to at least be asked to pay for the damages they did. Good old noble Congress!

Tom DeLay? Well, maybe not so noble. Sinbad, over at PHX News, writes: “Here is the anatomy of DeLay’s scam: The 1.5 billion bucks is designated for ‘oil and natural gas drilling research.’ Ordinarily, any company could apply for this money directly from the government. But the crooked DeLay does things a little differently. In this case, the bulk of the money must be handed over to ‘a corporation that is constructed as a consortium.’ Guess what? As it so happens, ‘the leading contender for this contract appears to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) consortium, housed in the Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas,’ Tom DeLay's home district. RPSEA ‘has been advocating such a research program and is in a better position than any other group.’ You gotta admire a thief so dedicated he keeps on stealing with both hands even when he’s trying to stave off the US marshals.

Of course, the media ignored the vast giveaway to ChevronExxonMobilStandardTexaco and the fact that they nearly did the equivalent of passing a law to protect people who cheat the public as long as they used fraud to do so, and instead focused on the utterly meaningless fact that by extending daylight savings time a week in the fall, it would now end after Halloween. If it wasn’t for that, most Americans wouldn’t know that the energy bill had passed.

In a hilarious side note, the EPA deliberately tried to delay release of the mileage averages for the national automotive fleet, which is – surprise! – down 4% from the previous year. People are driving gas-guzzling testostertrucks instead of sedans, and as a result, we’re more dependent on foreign oil. Purchase price for that HumVee: your neighbor’s children! What a deal!

The bill dropped the provision for drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, but Republican leaders hastened to assure their corporate masters that it would be taken up again in the fall.

They also passed a bill that took gun manufacturers off the hook for the damage their products do if used according to directions. The NRA, the manufacturer’s puppet organization, making America safe for criminals and terrorists so those manufacturers can sell unlimited guns, had pressed hard on this one, outraged that anyone should hold them responsible, for (as Greg Palast noted) deliberately flooding the market with guns, and selling the majority of them to places where regulation of guns sales was weakest. Where, in other words, the guns were most likely to end up in the paws of criminals and terrorists.

I can’t wait to read that some guy got popped for taking pictures of the local kids and selling the pictures, along with names and addresses – innocent in and of themselves – to pedophiles. After all, he’s not responsible for what pedophiles do with those pictures, right?

Lenin once remarked that he would sell capitalism the rope with which it would hang itself. By playing on the cowardice and paranoia of many people, the NRA is selling America the guns with which it will blow its brains out. They deliberately oversaturate the market because the more armed a society is, the more armed it feels it needs to be, until the entire country looks like the Mexican standoff scene in “Reservoir Dogs” – and ends in much the same way.

So: Congress is adjourned, and good riddance to bad rubbish.

America, figure out when you are tired of being screwed by these corporate whores, and want your country back. The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be.

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
8/1/05
http://mytown.ca/zepp/