Saturday, October 21, 2006

Republican Scumbag Outs Other Republican Scumbag

Oh, this is too rich... watch as the pedophile caucus of the Republicans turn on one another to preserve their electability...Representative Jerry Weller refers page incident to House

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Morris, through his election attorney, moved Thursday to inform the House that a former male page or intern may have been the subject of inappropriate attention from another lawmaker. Weller's campaign manager Steven Shearer said the congressman was not prepared to reveal the identity of the youth, the timing, nor the identity of the lawmaker, but felt confident that a former page or intern was "inappropriately invited to a social function by another congressman."

Weller and his staff learned of the alleged incident through conversations with reporters and others Thursday. Shearer said Weller directed his campaign attorney to inform the House Page Board and the House Ethics Committee of the incident. The committee is investigating inappropriate contacts by former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., with former pages and the handling of the matter by House leaders and staff.

Shearer said Weller's name came up before the page inquiry within the last week, but as far as the congressman knows, solely in the context that he was the sponsor of the page or intern in question. He said neither the congressman nor his office ever knew of the invitation, what became of the incident, and have yet to confirm the identity of the former page or intern. He said the congressman would provide whatever information might be asked of him by the Page Board or the committee, and stressed that neither had contacted Weller for any reason.

"When it comes down to it, we are very, very confident that's the extent of anything associated with Congressman Weller," Shearer said.

The unconfirmed mention of Weller in the page inquiry had inspired intense speculation on Democratic-leaning Internet Web blogs about what role he might have played. Shearer accused the congressman's opponents of leaking his name in connection with the page inquiry, and said it came from "national Democrats what want to put another seat in play for free."

Weller's 11th Congressional District seat has been considered relatively safe by independent observers in recent weeks, though predictions of a disastrous Nov. 7 election for incumbent Republicans have many Democrats hoping that the party will post unexpected victories in seats like Weller's. The race, however, has yet to attract big money from national party organizations on either side, indicating Weller is thought to hold the advantage over Democratic opponent John Pavich, a Beecher attorney and political newcomer.

Well, this is an interesting turn... the same reporters who were talking about Weller as the SUBJECT of an investigation into an illicit affair with an underaged page are still saying that it's him. Perhaps he's just throwing out chaff to cover his own ass?

This brings up an interesting question: Just who the hell is Jerry Weller? Well, he's a Republican from Illinois who sits on the House International Relations Committee Committee where he serves as Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, which oversees all legislation and policy regarding the nations of the Americas, including coutries like, oh, say Guatemala. In a hilarious coincidence, he's also married to three-term Guatemalan Congresswoman Zury Ríos Montt, the daughter of the former brutal dictator of Guatemala!

Yes, Weller's father-in-law is an infamous former dictator accused of genocide, with an international warrant for his arrest hanging over his head. No wonder Weller doesn't support the creation of an International Criminal Court... his own father-in-law would be dragged in front of it! Let's get a run-down on this fellow, shall we?

On March 7, 1982, General Ángel Aníbal Guevara won the Guatemalan presidential election. On March 23, General José Efraín Ríos MonttRíos Montt seized power in a coup d'état, that was quietly backed by the CIA. Ríos Montt and his junta immediately suspended the constitution, shut down the legislature, set up secret tribunals, and began a campaign against political dissidents that included kidnapping, torture, and extra-judicial assassinations. The activities of political parties and labor unions were officially suspended under the threat of death by firing squad.

Ríos Montt unleashed a scorched earth campaign on the nation's Mayan population that, according to the United Nations truth commission, resulted in the annihilation of nearly 600 villages. The administration established special military courts that had the power to impose death penalties against suspected guerrillas. A 1982 Amnesty International report estimated that over 10,000 indigenous Guatemalans and peasant farmers were killed from March to July of that year, and that 100,000 rural villagers were forced to flee over the border into southern Mexico.

According to more recent estimates, tens of thousands of non-combatants were killed by regime's death squads in the subsequent eighteen months. Based on the number of people killed per capita, Rios Montt was probably the most violent dictator in Latin America's recent history, more so than even other notorious dictators such as Chile's Augusto Pinochet, Argentina's Jorge Rafael Videla, and Bolivia's Hugo Banzer.

In 1999, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú presented charges for torture, genocide, illegal detention and state-sponsored terrorism against Ríos Montt and four other retired Guatemalan generals. In September 2005 Spain's Constitutional Court ruled that Spanish courts can try those accused of crimes against humanity even if the victims were not of Spanish origin. In June 2006, Spanish judge Santiago Pedraz traveled to Guatemala to interrogate Ríos Montt and the others named in the case. However, at least 15 appeals filed by the defense attorneys of the indicted prevented Pedraz from carrying out the inquiries. On July 7, Pedraz issued an international arrest warrant against Efraín Ríos Montt. For his part, Rios Montt admitted in a July 2006 press conference that there were "excesses" committed by the army during his reign, but strenuously denied his culpability. Ríos Mont is the founder of the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), a Guatemalan political party which his daughter (Jerry Weller's wife) now leads. He ran for President of Guatemala in 2003, but only drew 10% of the vote.

One wonders if Republican Jerry Weller's unrelenting support for Torture is a result of his association with General Ríos Montt, or if he was drawn to the family because of his love of Torture?

In 2004, Weller's Democrat opponent, Tari Renner, asked that Weller make a public statement denouncing General Ríos Montt's past actions, and those of his wife. Weller refused. Renner also asked that Weller step down from his seat on the International Relations Committee, because of his marriage to a foreign legislator. See, Weller's committee seat requires that he oversee all of the Americas, including Guatemala... but Republicans have never met a conflict of interest that they haven't embraced with open arms. Weller's advocacy and vote for CAFTA is just such an example, and is particularly egregious because he had promised prior to his marriage to Ríos Montt that he would not vote on any legislation involving Guatemala. As a FRG party leader, Rios-Montt de Weller is also a supporter of CAFTA.

So, in the long run, is Weller worse for reputedly having sex with a 16-year-old female page, or for supporting and aiding the political ambitions of a brutal dictator? Either way, he's a torture-loving scumbag who deserves to lose in November.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More Sex Scandals On The Way

For many Americans, the recent political news seems more and more like a multi-count indictment, what with Bob Ney pleading guilty to bribery last week, the Tom Noe "Coingate" trial reaching the courts in Ohio, the Duke Cunningham scandal, the investigation into Jim Kolbe's camping trips with pages, Curt Weldon's sudden FBI problems, and lingering questions about Dennis Hastert using highway earmarks to increase his net worth from $300,000 to $6 million by forcing a freeway to go across land he owned. All of this crap is also piled between two slices of sandwich bread known as Tom DeLay and Mark Foley. The bad news for the Republican Party just keeps getting worse and worse and it keeps going on and on, one new corrupt example after another...

the punchline being that President Bush has declared October 15th-21st to be National Character Counts Week. No irony intended, I'm sure, though it abounds, regardless.

There's also the as-yet-unexploded "Hookergate" scandal involving various Republican congressmen taking sex as bribes in return for votes and earmarks for Brent Wilkes, a corrupt defense contractor/pimp who is said to have paid for poker 'n' poontang parties at the Watergate Hotel (yes, THAT Watergate). Duke Cunningham has already been investigated for it, and the FBI has been unable to get the hookers' madame to flip on her Congressmen clients, but a simple examination of Wilkes' money takes us to (on the Armed Services Committee) Duncan Hunter (CA), Chairman - $43,200, Jim Saxton (NJ) - $1,500, Ken Calvert (CA)- $8,000, (Appropriations) Jerry Lewis (CA), Chairman - $86,252, Bill Young (FL) - $6,500, Tom Delay (TX) - $70,000, Henry Bonilla (TX) - $19,500, Joe Knollenberg (MI) - $13,000, Robert Aderholt (AL) - $2,000, John Doolittle (CA) - $103,000, Don Sherwood (PA) - $1,000, Mark Kirk (IL) - $5,000, (Select Committee on Intelligence) Peter Hoekstra (MI) - $4,000, Heather Wilson (NM) - $3,000, Darrell Issa (CA) - $5,000, as well as Roy Blunt (MO) - $21,000, Larry Craig (ID) - $43,000, Benjamin Gilman (NY) - $42,146, Robert Livingston (LA) - $10,000, Devin Gerald Nunes (CA) - $13,000, Ronald Packard (CA) - $11,000, Charles Robb (VA-Senate and the only Democrat on this list) - $17,000, Billy Tauzin (LA) - $18,587 and Jerry Weller (IL) - $10,000. No word on this story lately, so it's up in the air as to whether the FBI is simply waiting until AFTER the election before dropping the bomb, or if the case has honestly gone nowhere.

Ah, but now, there's rumors of yet ANOTHER House page sex scandal, this one involving a 16-year-old female page and supposedly a congressman from Illinois who is supposedly going to resign tonight from the House (but, obviously, not before the House Leadership can get their lies straight this time). Rumor has it that it's a Republican Congressman, which means another pickup for Dems.

Interestingly, there aren't a LOT of Republican Congressmen from Illinois, so it's pretty easy for someone to figure it out in advance, if there is ANY truth to this rumor. We're limited to a suspect pool of: Henry J. Hyde (R - 06), Mark S. Kirk (R - 10), Gerald C. (Jerry) Weller (R - 11), Dennis Hastert (R - 14), Timothy V. Johnson (R - 15), Donald A. Manzullo (R - 16), Ray LaHood (R - 18), or John Shimkus (R - 19). There's also Judy Biggert (R - 13), but we'll go on the assumption that the rumors of Illinois/Republican/Male/Straight Sex are all correct. Pretty much ANY of these guys (except for Kirk who seems somewhat sane) would be great to shoot out of a scandal cannon into a brick wall, but Hastert, Shimkus, LaHood and Hyde are all virulent homophobes.

Shimkus is already toast because of his involvement with the Foley scandal (including allowing Foley ufettered access to pages even after being made aware of Foley's "problems" and hiding the entire scandal from the one Democrat in charge of the pages). I hope it's not Shimkus. I doubt it's Hastert... he'd have to be utterly retarded to get caught with his hand in the cookie jar like that. I'd love for it to be any of the Super Moralists such as Ray LaHood, Tim Johnson, Jerry Weller, or Don Manzullo, all of whom are homophobic war-loving retrograde maroons.

Again, this is all going on the assumption that the rumors of Illinois/Republican/Male/Straight Sex are all correct.

One certainly hopes that it's a Republican, if only to blunt the recent accusation/twist/spin making waves in Evangelical circles that the Foley Scandal isn't a case of powerful Republicans ignoring a child molester in their midst to maintain their political power, but instead a problem created by the existence of a cabal of closeted gays in the Republican Party.

A good straight Male-Republican-Congressman-on-underage-female-page scandal should let ALL the air out of that anti-gay scapegoating bullshit, though probably not in time to head off the Republicans' rumored purge of all gay staffers. I'd feel bad for the gay staffers in question... but they helped write and pass laws which stripped them of their own legal rights when confronted by firing for sexual orientation, so my pity meter is rather low when it comes to self-emasculating idiots.

So, let's see what Dana Milbank's got up his sleeve, shall we? And let's see it before the election.

President Bush Signs Torture Enabling Act of 2006

President George W. Bush signs into law S. 3930, the "Military Commissions Act of 2006," during a ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006, in the East Room of the White House. Joining him on stage, from left are: Utah Rep. Chris Cannon, Indiana Rep. Steve Buyer, Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, California Rep. Duncan Hunter, and Sen. John Warner of Virginia. General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are in the background.

Now... look closer...
Closer... closer... closer on the photo...YES! Your president is SMILING while he signs into "law" a bill which allows him to torture anyone he wants, then use their testimony gained under torture as "evidence" in kangaroo court "trials" and execute these "enemy combatants" at his whim, all without Supreme Court interference, which the lickspittle Republican Congress cut out of the picture by stripping the combatants of their rights to Habeus Corpus.

Why are Republicans so THRILLED to reverse 791 years of Ango-American jurisprudence? One can only suppose that it's because they know the TRUE identity of George Bush:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Minister Has Been Away

The Minister has been away in Miami Beach, Florida. He was invited to speak at The Wolfsonian Museum and the Miami Ad School about the subject of Propaganda and the Propaganda Research Project.

The Miami Ad School students were an amazing audience. They laughed where they were supposed to and asked a lot of questions afterwards. Hell, they even sat still, long after the Minister accidentally went over his time limit. The presentation that night involved the various types of Propaganda, how to see through them, and then some examples of the Minister's own Propaganda. The Minister kicked himself later for not speaking about fonts, the care he uses to replicate old 40's fonts, and the difficulty involved with picking a replacement font when the original is not available (or was hand-drawn). The Minister will make up for that next time.

The Wolfsonian audience was kept low due to a ferocious rainstorm which raged for two hours prior to the event. Still, for the 20 or so who turned out, a good time was had by all. The presentation on that night focused on the Bush Administration's attempts to propagandize the American citizenry through the use of subliminal signage and religious imagery in official press photographs, followed by a historical examination of the President's term in office as told through the Minister's propaganda pieces.

The Minister's favorite attendee at the Wolfsonian was the beefy white man, mid-40's with a crew-cut blocked three inches above the collar of his tweed coat, who was sitting in the audience taking notes on a clipboard. Afterwards the Minister ran into the man in the hallway and thanked him for coming to the event:

The Minister of Propaganda: "Hi, thanks for coming out. Oh, hey, I saw you taking notes... You're not with Homeland Security, are you?"

Sinister Man In Tweed: "See you in Gitmo, Kid!"

The Minister of Propaganda: "Ha ha... huh?"

For the rest of the evening, the Minister signed all books like this: "Dear __________, You're a traitor for owning this book. See you in Gitmo, Kid!"

The Minister has no idea if the crew-cut was indeed a military snitch, but the stories in the paper the next day where the ACLU once again proved that the Pentagon is spying on non-violent anti-war protestors like it was 1972 all over again didn't ease the mind.

Oh, and the Minister's bags were searched both when flying to Miami and flying home to Los Angeles. Probably because of the high incidence of published authors/anti-war activists who have joined Al Qaeda and blown up airplanes, right? Polite notecards were even left in the Minister's bags by the TSA, informing him of the search. That wasn't necessary though: the Minister always knows when his bags have been searched because they're the first ones off of the baggage carousel. Why, it's so convenient that it's almost worth surrendering your civil liberties for!

This marks the 19th and 20th consecutive times that the Minister's bags have been searched. Simple probability math results in a box set showing that the odds of this happening at random are approximately 1 in a few billion.

Lest you sneer and delcare that the Minister is suffering from delusions of grandeur, reflect for a moment on the fact that the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York City wrote the text for the Minister's first book of posters. Then reflect on the fact that Barbara Olshansky, assistant legal director of the CCR in New York, reports that she has been stopped and searched every time she has flown since 9/11. On several of those occasions, she was forced to pull down her pants in view of other travelers. On one flight in 2002, six members of the CCR's staff, including Olshansky, were stopped and subjected to intense scrutiny, even though they had purchased their tickets independently and had not checked in as a group. On that occasion, Olshansky got angry and demanded to know why she had been singled out. The airline agent at the gate threatened to bar her from the plane if she raised a fuss and added brusquely, “The computer spit you out. I don’t know why, and I don’t have time to talk to you about it.”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is authorized by law to maintain watch lists of names of individuals suspected of posing "a risk of air piracy or terrorism or a threat to airline or passenger safety." While initially denying to the media that such a list existed, the TSA finally acknowledged the No-Fly List's existence in October 2002. In December of 2002, the Electronic Privacy and Information Center (EPIC) sued the TSA and DHS to force them to reveal details of the No-Fly List and any evidence of the suspected "Hassle When Flying" List.

The documents obtained by EPIC establish that the TSA administers two lists: a "No Fly" list and a "Selectee" list, which requires the passenger to go through additional security measures. The names are provided to air carriers through any number of local and federal police agencies and are stored in their computer systems so that an individual with a name that matches the list can be flagged when getting a boarding pass. A TSA "No Fly List" name match requires the agent to call a law enforcement officer to detain and question the passenger. In the case of a Selectee, an "S" or special mark is printed on their boarding pass and the person receives additional screening at security. The TSA has withheld the number of names on each of the lists. The TSA has also withheld information about any existing approval process for putting citizens on the lists. Nor will the TSA reveal who (if anyone) verifies that the names are selected appropriately and whether the information is accurate. Nor does the TSA have a centralized standardized way to challenge or remove your name from either list.

In other words, even if the Minister has been put on the Selectee List, there's no way to verify that he has been, no way to discover why, no way to challenge said placement, and no way to get the Minister's name removed from the list.

While the Minister fully supports catching air-travelling "Terrorist Suiciders" he doesn't support the Bush Administration using a non-partisan government agency to target Americans based on their political beliefs.

Airport Security in this country has gotten painful in America since 9/11. Our Government's immediate response was to blame failed airport security for the failures of the CIA and FBI and Customs & Immigration services in allowing known terrorists into the country, to live here for years while planning and training for their attacks, and for not stopping them before they slammed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, a third into the Pentagon and a fourth into a field a few hundred miles short of the Capitol Dome or the White House.

This over-reaction to perceived (but not real) failures and the corresponding bulking up of Airport Security is stupid, futile and, in the long run, utterly pointless.

On September 11th, 2001, airport security did exactly the job that it was meant to do that day: it x-rayed the terrorists' carry-on baggage and ran them through a metal detector. The box cutters and Leatherman tools that the hijackers used on 9/11 were detected... and ignored because they were all perfectly legal to carry onboard of airplanes. If they hadn't been, they would have been confiscated.

Even that wouldn't have stopped the 9/11 hijackers, however. Ban whatever you like, it doesn't take the world's smartest criminal to smuggle a dangerous item onto plane. There's an entire class of people who spend all day concocting nefarious, and ultimately undetectable, instruments of destruction... prison inmates. As any Corrections Officer can tell you, prisoners are ruthlessly inventive when it comes to improvising weaponry with which to cause their fellow prisoners harm. Hell, G-10 laminate is an ultra-hard, metal-free material used in circuit boards, and can be carved into a wicked razor-sharp credit card knife that would pass any x-ray screening or metal detector. We can't keep weapons out of maximum security prisons... so how can we hope to keep them out of airports? Let's just stipulate that the hijackers would have boarded the planes on 9/11 despite whatever kind of weapons they had on them at the time.

So what's that mean? Quite simply, it says that metal detectors and X-Ray machines are the last line of defense designed to prevent a criminal from getting onboard a commercial airliner with an obvious weapons such as a handgun or a knife. They are not, and we should not expect them to be, front-line anti-terror tools. Stopping terrorists is a police and intelligence matter. Terrorism needs to be stopped at the planning stages. That's where increased security spending could do the most good. By the time the terrorist gets to the airport, it's too late... the primary line of defense has already failed and no amount of bullshit airport security will stop them at that point. If they've avoided detection, then these theoretical terrorists are easily clever enough to sneak weapons onboard the planes.

Despite whatever paranoid bullshit terror plots the Administration might bring up to scare Americans into surrendering civil liberties and expanding airport security measures, there remains one highly exceptional anti-terrorist protection scheme: the onboard passengers.

On September 11th, 2001, the era of the Al-Qaeda Passenger Airplane Bomb was both born... and strangled in its cradle. Prior to 9/11, terrorist hijackings typically ended with extended hostage negotiation situations and special-forces-shootouts on airport tarmacs. When those planes were hijacked, the passengers in them could only imagine that their flights would end the same way. But when the first three planes hit the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon, word went out to every plane in the air, including United Flight 93. There were no armed pilots or Air Marshals on United 93... instead, average American citizens discovered that they were NOT going to be landing in Cuba and traded for PLO "prisoners of war" but instead that they were going to be slammed into a government building. So they charged their attackers and forced them to prematurely crash the plane.

Today, there will be no "maybe this will all work itself out" phase for airline passengers. Today, EVERY passenger knows what will happen if terrorists get control of the plane: either they'll die when they're slammed into a building or they'll die when Dick Cheney orders them shot out of the air. NO ONE will EVER allow their plane to get taken over by Terrorists ever again. People will stand up, push one arm through the strap of the flotation devices that they're sitting on, and charge whatever stupid Al Queada Suicider was dumb enough to announce his intention to hijack the plane. Then that stupid terrorist will be kicked and stomped to death by the panicked passengers. United 93 wasn't the first time passengers had risen up against people trying to take over the plane, but it was certainly the LAST time that any passengers anywhere will allow a small group of terrorists to hijack their plane. Knives or no knives, guns or no guns, bombs or no bombs, shoebombs or no shoebombs, liquid explosive bombs or no liquid explosive bombs, no terrorist will ever again be able to take control of an airplane once it is in flight.

Osama (or whoever) has to know this. It's why Al Qaeda hasn't tried the same tactic again. It's too bad that the TSA insists on always protecting us against YESTERDAY'S threat.

Yes, Al Qaeda has tried other things, such as the stupid Richard Reid shoe bomb plot attempt which utterly failed... and yet accomplished Al Qaeda's primary goal of spreading fear and panic... because now the TSA (reacting to yesterday's threat) makes us take off our shoes at the security booth and stand around waiting for our shoes to come out of the x-ray machine. Reid's lame shoebomb attempt was foiled not by an x-ray machine, but by a flight attendant and some passengers who punched his lights out (thus proving my above theory).

Yet again, though, we see the average passenger being punished for the actions of one lone nutcase who was easily stopped. Enough with the x-raying of shoes... it's inconvenient for passengers, the Department of Homeland Security said that x-raying shoes doesn't detect bombs,and even if some idiot winds up on the plane with a shoe-bomb, he's going to get kicked and stomped to death. Give us some credit for a sense of self-preservation, would ya?

Incidentally, all airport security is rendered moot by the simple fact that for $50, any Al Qaeda Terrorist can put a package onto any airliner he wants simply by sending it "air freight." To this day, a full five fucking years after 9/11/2001, Air Freight packages are NOT x-rayed, nor does the Al Qaeda shippen even have to get on board with his bomb!

Only a moron would allow potentially bomb-filled packages to be shipped on civilian airliners while simultaneously making fliers take off their shoes, not carry liquids, or like in Britain, check their laptops and ipods. The simple fact that air freight isn't x-rayed means that ALL airport security is merely a Kabuki Dance designed to make the sheep feel safe-ish, all while reinforcing the need for an all-powerful police state.

See ya in Gitmo, kids!