Saturday, August 23, 2008

Joe Biden: Will He Rip John McCain's Face Off and Restore Truth, Justice and the American Way?

It's pretty bad when the best you can hope for in a VP candidate is that he will rip John McCain's face off. Today, that's about as audacious as we dare hope, having nearly lost all hope of seeing real integrity restored to American politics. Sure, we'll cast our vote for Obama-Biden, even if they, themselves, seem to have lost -- if ever they owned -- the integrity and chutzpah, to state, outright, that the emperor and his entire entourage are stark-raving naked.

As is, it seems that both Obama and Biden tow the main line, the main line being a veritable sewer pipe full of lies, misinformation and innuendo spit out by Bush-Cheney, then sanctified by the media. And it is this raw sewage that forms the "truths" upon which America's domestic and foreign policy is built. This was most recently evidenced in Biden's statement on the Georgia-Russia conflict, when he said, "The war that began in Georgia is no longer about that country alone. It has become a question of whether and how the West will stand up for the rights of free people throughout the region."

Superman couldn't have said it better himself. No need to extrapolate on the not-so-subtle nuances of the situation -- nuances which, in another time, would have been called by name: the truth.

American politicians, on both sides, have lost their bearings and have taken with them the American people. Our politicians have been reduced -- willingly, it seems, even as they've been bribed and blackmailed, too -- into playing understudies to the real truthsayers on the world stage, reading from a playbook written by swaggering warmongers and disreputable liars & cheats. Biden's assessment of the Russia-Georgia conflict more or less echoed Obama's words, which more or less echoed the words of Condi, Bush and McCain. Nowhere in the dialogue-proper of American politics can we hope to hear the truth: "What in the hell is the U.S. doing in the first place, by funding, arming and prodding Georgia to go to war with South Ossetia and, by extension, Russia?"

With few exceptions, truth has evaporated from our polical landscape to the extent that truth, itself, has become so audacious that it offends the sensibilities to even acknowledge that such audacities could be true. But they are. And to ensure that no one speaks these truths, the Bush Administration has effectively, by design, disgraced truth by relegating it to the minions of the conspiracy theorists.

Last February (sometime after Edwards bowed out, yet months before discovering that Edwards was a liar and a hypocrite)we pinned our hopes onto the Obama campaign to forge a renaissance of truthfulness. Then we watched as, molecule by molecule, it evaporated, sort of like a shallow mud puddle on hot summer pavement. At first, we made concessions on his behalf: "He's doing what he has to do to get elected," we told ourselves. "The media will fry him if he doesn't give the appearance of moderating on this particular position."

But at some point, after staring overlong into that non-descript residual of dust on the pavement, we had to acknowledge the truth that Americans don't really want truth, and especially if it takes more than 5 words to convey that truth. What the American attention span best responds to is a dummied down, black and white, right vs. wrong version of the truth -- something that can be condensed into a sound-byte, emblazed below the talking heads on CNN -- a mantra that be quickly transcribed into email missives: freedom fries, the war on terror, the axis of evil, weapons of mass destruction, Barrack Hussein Obama, evil empire, surge success, I'm proud of my country, g.d. America, stay the course, chickens coming home to roost, pledge of allegiance, flag pin, elitist liberal ....

Our politicians more closely resemble the protaganists in dime store novels than the statesmen who forged, then held together our Constitution and our country for over 200 years. But, apparently, this is what the majority of Americans want in their leaders.

After all, it was "they" who voted Bush into office -- not once, but twice. And it is "they" who know, but simply don't care, that the war in Iraq that has killed upwards of 100,00 innocent Iraq citizens was waged on an elaborately designed facade of lies, so that we could steal Iraq's oil. It is "they" who slather their bumpers in American flags and who rabidly salivate over a one-inch flag pin, yet couldn't care less that our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been decimated. It is "they" who have gladly surrendered our economy, our jobs, our homes, our health, our Constitutional rights, our environment, our children's and our grandchildren's futures over to a band of theives.

It is, therefore, "we" who are out of step with America.

Still.... We haven't entirely abandoned all hope. Our hope, today, is that Joe Biden -- in his infamy for speaking before thinking -- will do the right thing and rip John McCain's face off. You never know. The trend could catch on: it may once again be fashionable for politicians to be so outraged by the b.s. and lies that they will state, outright, for all the world to hear, that the emperor and his entire entourage are stark raving mad. It happened to Nixon in the 1970s. It could happen again.

For this reason, and this reason alone, we are glad to see Biden on the ticket, instead of, say, Jack Reed -- an infinitely more qualified politician, who would never have made the cut with Americans: he's too honest, he's intellectual, he's thoughtful, he's solidly grounded in foreign policy and diplomacy, he's well-respected on Capitol Hill and, besides, it would have been only a matter of time before the media took note of his height, or perhaps they would have sleuthed out that he drinks lemon in his tea, or perhaps he was the best in his class at West Point -- something terribly terrible to entirely disqualify him for the office of vice-presidency.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Why Are the FBI and Attorney General Mukasey in Cahoots with Barney Fife?

Earlier this week, while America's attention was fixated on the Olympics, John Edwards' love child, and the Georgia-Russia war (necessarily in that order) this tidbit quietly slipped into the headlines: FBI to get freer rein to look for terrorism suspects. Herein, Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that the FBI and the Department of Justice have formed a brand new front in the war on homegrown terror. Working with the existing Joint Terrorism Task Force, this new effort will borrow what little is left of our constitutional rights, and hand them to the care of, say, your local Barney Fife.

Reading the above-mentioned article, it takes a little doing to get to the facts, because -- if there's one thing this administration does well, it's cloaking outrageous truths in the most innocuous language possible. It takes either a skilled translator or a patient researcher to glean facts from the language of this administration -- seeded as it is with vague euphemisms and benign jargon.

Here is one example, pertinent to the article. The word 'agent' was repeatedly used, in reference to those specific individuals, who will be empowered with violating our constitutional rights, while tracking terrorists. While the term 'agent' is nothing new, the word drew our attention after its ninth mention in the article. Just to be sure, we decided to check on the official meaning of the word, 'agent' with specific regard to our government's work in tracking terrorists.

The answers can be found in White House press releases from 2001-2008, along with various documents from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Department of Justice. As it turns out, until 2005, the word 'agent' referred to only federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials. Beginning in 2005, however, the language morphed to federal, state, local, tribal and private sector officials. Just to be sure, we decided to check on the official meaning of the term, 'private sector.'

Are You a Terrorist? Only Your Hairdresser Knows for Sure

Turns out, a 'private sector' agent can be most anyone. All that's needed is a keen eye for spotting terrorists and the opportunity to spot them. Is your neighbor a computer specialist? A department store security guard? A meter maid? A city sanitation worker? A private eye? A sheriff's deputy? A dog catcher? A beautician? An unemployed mama's boy? An ex-con? A murderer? He or she may have a keen eye for spotting terrorists.

Or maybe you, yourself, have a keen eye for spotting terrorists. If so, the FBI will pay you royally to work as an informant. How about your co-worker? Your ex-spouse? Your ex-spouse's lover? Any of these people have a grudge against you? They could become a paid informant. What about your meter reader, the cable guy, the garbage man, the clerk at city hall? Have any neo-Nazi friends? Know anyone who needs a few extra bucks? If so, they can become a paid informant and finger you to a keen-eyed official, who has the authority to deem you a terrorist suspect, then launch an investigation -- tapping your phone, monitoring your computer and cable TV habits, and physically spying on you. You may even get to be the focus of a real live sting operation! Naturally, there are many in this country who wouldn't feel the least bit threatened to investigated as a terrorist suspect, because they know they're not terrorists and, besides, as President Bush often reminds us, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Are You Sure You're Not a Terrorist?

So you think the FBI could never accuse you of being a terrorist? Before taking that leap of faith, it'd be good -- just to be sure -- to make sure you know the offical definition of a 'terrorist suspect.' (<---- our apologies for the source, but this was the clearest copy we could find on the fly).

You May Be A Terrorist, and Not Even Know It

The reality is, just because *you* know that you're not a terrorist suspect, doesn't mean that *they* will also know. For instance, if you write a letter-to-the-editor speaking out against cruelty to animals, or in defense of free speech or environmental issues, or if you are a vegan, or a peace activist, or a protester, or have a bumper sticker related to any of these issues, the FBI (via local law enforcement or a tip from a keen informant) may deem you a domestic or homegrown terrorist. Alternately, your name (and the names of your friends & associates) may be entered into the FBI's terrorist database. Do you wear certain ethnic clothing, or associate with certain ethnicities, or are you a black activist, or do you resemble one, or are you a Muslim, or do you resemble a Muslim? You may be a terrorist suspect.

Do you have fingerprints? You may be a terrorist suspect.

And what if you're some (or none) of the above, yet get stopped for a speeding ticket by the local Barney Fife....? Are you wearing bulky clothing? Did you forget your driver's license? Are you alone and nervous? You may be a terrorist suspect.

Of course, the Bush Administration has been using these tactics for years now. But as the FBI, the CIA and Department of Justice reach further into our lives, who's to say any one of us couldn't be shoe-horned into their profile? We, here at the canarypapers, are free-thinkers. We disagree with nearly everything. We especially disagree with everything the Bush Administration has ever done. So I guess you could say we're defenders of the Constitution. We certainly make enough references to it in our rantings on the Bush-Cheney regime. We're vegans too, which is another strike against us but, fortunately, we're too anti-social (woops) to attend vegan potluck dinners. Of course Zeus -- darn him to heck -- insists on using his nickname, which is another strike against him and, by association, me.

We'd like to think that justice would prevail if our viewpoints were ever used as evidence to accuse us of heinous crimes we didn't commit. Better still, we'd like to think we live in a country where something like this could never happen. But the truth is, justice doesn't always prevail.

"If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government." --Dwight D. Eisenhower

The power to arbitrarily brand people as terrorist suspects is serious business. It becomes dangerous business when placed in the hands of the wrong person, even if that person happens to be the Attorney General of the United States. This sort of power belongs in corrupt dictatorships, not democratic societies.

This would be a good time to call and/or write your state representatives and any other member of Congress inclined to respond to such issues. Protest this dangerous intrusion into our constitutional rights. Tell your representative you are AGAINST implementing Attorney General Mukasey's 5 new guidlines to transform the FBI/Department of Justice anti-terrorism unit into an elite national security organization, as announced on August 13th.

Tell 'em Checkpoint Chickie sent you.