Faneufy's Truth

Friday, February 11, 2005

Tighter Bankruptcy Laws Still Favor The Rich.

Reality has once again invaded Faneufy's life, and I'm here to tell you, it sucks! Vacation is over, it's back to work and the hard facts of living paycheck to paycheck are here again. I do not whine because I know many Americans who are in the same boat or worse off. At least I had the money for the Super Bowl and vacation. When you combine that with your team winning the game, establishing the first NFL dynasty in many years, getting and staying drunk for a week, eating around forty varieties of chicken wings, (I did not know there were more then about five chicken wing recipes out there), hitting the end of Mardi gras, and then somehow finding your way home safely - priceless! Ah, such is life.

One of the first things I had to deal with today concerns my girlfriend. A few years back she had some medical problems which her insurance only paid a percentage of, and in the end left her with final expenses to the tune of around $28,562. That's a lot of donut money! There are many families and individuals that have run into the same financial situation with medical expenses. Medical expense is not the same as walking into JC Penny and maxing out your credit card, then heading to Boca for a week on the VISA, and so on, and so on until you wind up in bankruptcy court. Then, in seven to ten years you get to do it all over again. Why not? Every day I open the mailbox and there are at least three credit card applications, which by the way is one of the reasons contributing to the national debt and impending bankruptcy legislation.

Medical insurance just is not what it used to be. My girlfriend has Blue Cross through work and it is I believe the best program offered, but compared to what insurance used to be, still sucks. I remember a time years ago when I used to pay around $6.20 weekly for BC/BS and the insurance covered everything along with a prescription drug plan. Nowadays, I'm paying over $300.00/month for health insurance and it almost makes me want to go to the doctor just to feel I'm getting use out of the thing, and while I'm there, get some drugs to use the prescription plan which is adequate. Unfortunately, my girlfriend just couldn't pay off the bill fast enough. The bill was referred to a collections attorney who was a complete asshole and wouldn't cut her any slack as far as working out a reasonable payment plan. He wanted something like $500.00/month at least, plus he was charging interest on the unpaid balance. I tried to talk to him and almost threw him out his eight story office window. Jail was nice, it seems that they had just reopened the floor I was on after redecorating, however the food sucked. Our little one-on-one did accomplish something though in that it cut the phone calls to the house right down. The attorney wouldn't call our apartment after his introductory flying lesson so all was not wasted. The end result of all of this is she has no choice but to file Chapter 7 which I think is her only recourse.

So, today I'm reading the news and I come across this little news piece entitled, "Tighter Bankruptcy Law Favored." Bills Making It Harder to Erase Debt Set to Clear Congress. My first reaction is to think, you know it's always something. Then I read on and I come across something within the piece that really bugged the crap out of me. I fathomed from reading the article that Congress has been trying to pass some kind of bankruptcy legislation for some years now. Twice in the last seven years, bankruptcy bills have passed both the House and Senate, only to go down in defeat, once vetoed by Clinton and another time after originally backing the bill, House Republicans voted it down after an amendment was attached to it that they didn't like. Two more bills have been reintroduced within the last week that both the House and Senate like, and the President has said he will not veto.

Lobbyists for the credit card industries want the legislation in order they say to close loopholes that make it too easy for people to wipe out their debts when they could repay some of them. Really now! These are the same idiots that stuff at least three offers a day into my friggen mail box and want me to play god damned The Price is Right, but now they seem to think they have no responsibility or blame in why a whole bunch of American consumers have overspent themselves into bankruptcy? I don't get it. Consumer advocates say that the bills would still allow some rich debtors to continue to hide wealth through homeownership while bankruptcy relief would be denied to many people with low or moderate incomes who have fallen on hard times because of illness, job loss or divorce. Credit card companies must share the blame for increased bankruptcies because they aggressively market products and inadequately disclose how interest rates and penalty fees mount up. And that's just the consumer advocates gripe with the credit card companies, because think of it. If the credit card companies are crying that they need legislative reform, then you tell me why they are still offering credit cards to just about anybody and in record numbers?

Under the current law, individuals filing under Chapter 7 can wipe out their debts if they agree to give up most of their assets, excluding in most cases their house and other essentials, like an automobile. You do not have to prove insolvency, but a court can deny you bankruptcy status if a judge thinks the law is being abused. OK, seems simple enough, but you know rich people, even so-called bankrupt rich people can hide stuff. Here comes the good part. You see, this whole legislative thing boils down to a huge case of GREED! Greed on the part of, in this case, the credit card lobbyists, and greed on the part of the rich little bastards who got themselves in trouble by god only knows how. Maybe they shouldn't have bought that $3.5 million dollar yacht down in Boca while my girlfriend is driving around in a 98 fucking Neon! Here's the good part.

It just so happens that there are a couple of states in which you, (or I should say a rich person), can buy or shall we say hide assets during bankruptcy by buying expensive houses because these states provide broad exemptions for these expensive homes. Would anyone care to fathom a guess which two states they happen to be? If you pulled the brass rings for Florida and Texas, you would be correct sir! Seems to me that there is a familiar name associated with those two states, but I just can't think of it, Hhmm. This whole debacle is sad for my girlfriend because I don't think that anyone who has ever declared bankruptcy has ever done so lightly, unless of course you're loaded, but no poor person ever has. It screws up your credit and your life for 7 - 10 years, at least. This new legislation is supposed to be voted on next week, so now instead of giving my girlfriend and I a little time to think this through and talk about it, I have to tell her to basically buck up and do it now. Thank you Richie Rich and a special thank you to the Bushs'. I don't understand why a states legislature just can't fix laws at the state level instead of screwing it up for the little people that actually have no recourse, but to file Chapter 7. Wealthy people will always make due. Living paycheck to paycheck, well that is not so easy.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

Dynasty!


A Dynasty Is Born!

I'm not going to gloat. Yes, I am! I can't help myself. I can now truly die a happy man. The Red Sox and the Patriots in the same year. Who could ask for anything more. Well, maybe another beer! Congradulations to the New England Patriots!


Saturday, February 05, 2005

I Wonder If We Could Learn Something From This?

It seems a judge in Yemen may have come up with a rather unique way to combat terrorism within his country. He and four other Islamic scholars basically go into the prisons that house al Queda prisoners and challenge these prisoners to a "Koranic duel". Judge Hamoud al-Hitar and his four scholars walk into Sanaa prison in Sanaa, Yemen, armed only with the Koran and throw down the gauntlet, so to speak, to defiant al Queda prisoners. The challenge?

"If you can convince us that your ideas are justified by the Koran, then we will join you in your struggle," Hitar tells the militants. "But if we succeed in convincing you of our ideas, then you must agree to renounce violence."

The prisoners, driven by ideology and doctrine eagerly agree. When western antiterrorism experts first heard of al Hitars plan they warned that the plan would end in disaster. Now, two years later after the first five prisoners have renounced violence and been released from prison these same western terrorism experts who doubted the experiment are eager to hear how Hitar's "theological dialogues" with captured militants have helped to bring peace to a part of the world that was once considered a failed state like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hitar says, "That since 2002, when the first round of the dialogues ended, there have been no terrorist attacks here,even though many people thought that Yemen would become terror's capital." "Three hundred and sixty four young men have been released after going through the dialogues and none of these have left Yemen to fight anywhere else."

"Yemen's strategy has been unconventional certainly, but it has achieved results that we could never have hoped for," says one European diplomat, who did not want to be named. "Yemen has gone from being a potential enemy to becoming an indispensable ally in the war on terror."

The prisoner release program is not solely responsible for the absence of terror attacks in Yemen. For years Yemen was synonymous with violent Islamic extremism. It is the ancestral home of Usama bin Laden, has provided two-thirds of the recruits for the Afghan terror camps, was notorious as a center for the kidnapping of foreigners and famous for the bombing of the American warship USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 sailors. Since then Yemen has undertaken a range of measures to combat terrorism from closing down extreme madrassahs, the militant Islamic schools, deporting foreign militants, and now, Hitar's experimental program. The only thing that Yemen hasn't done is met violence with violence despite pressure from the US. Yemen is quick to point out that the attackers of the USS Cole were tried and put to death, as were the terrorists who carried out attacks on the French oil tanker, the SS Limburg, all received death sentences. Yemen argues that holding and punishing all militants would create only further discontent. Yet despite the apparent success in Yemen, some US diplomats have criticized it for apparently letting Islamic militants off the hook with little guarantee that they won't revert to their old ways once released from prison.

No matter where you stand on this issue it does bring up an interesting point. That being that terrorism is an ideology and is taught. The ideas from the Koran are twisted and warped and retaught to disillusioned young men. If you can teach a warped ideology, then I say that with enough time, given an open mind, you can teach sound ideology. The key like anything else is time. The US diplomats are exactly right however in that there is no guarantee that upon release from prison these now supposed reformed militants won't revert right back to their old ways again. Just as there is no guarantee that a murderer released on parole will not kill again. I would only say that in the war on terror we could use all the tools we can get. A few things are true though. When you belittle or torture a prisoner they will do or tell you anything just to get you to stop! Humiliation will piss a prisoner off! Disrespecting a prisoner will get you disrespect and stubbornness back!

Believe it or not the old saying about catching more flies with honey works. Now ask me how I know this? If you want to change a persons ideology or thought process then the first thing you have to do is to understand his. Know your enemy. Secondly, you have to respect that person. I don't care if that person is a terrorist or not. You don't have to like the guy, but if the end result that you want is information or a change in behavior then you had better find some common ground for respect or remove yourself from the process. Then, if you can and the prisoner is open to it, you can attempt to change ideology by letting him see for himself that his ideology is wrong. How you go about doing that is the key. Judge Hitar uses the Koran as his weapon and his ideology, so does a terrorist. You always hear bin Laden or that wing nut Zawahiri spouting off verses from the Koran and twisting them trying to suit their own ideology and purpose. Hitar lets the prisoners see for themselves what the verses actually say and what they mean, the end result is that the prisoners change their own ideology by realizing that what they were originally taught is wrong.

The process is more complicated than the simplified version above. However like I said, I think the tactic or whatever you want to call the process that Judge Hitar has come up with is unique and deserves a look. I really don't think that it's all about bombing the shit out of everybody. In the end it's the ideology of hate that has to change.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

What Happens If You're 54?

Last nights "State of The Union" speech by Mr. Bush was at times, a real tear jerker. The purple stained index fingers, the applause, and the hug, which appeared to be spontaneous, between Safia Taleb al-Suahil, the leader of the Iraqi Women's Political Council and Janet Norwood, the mother of marine Sgt. Byron Norwood, who was killed fighting in Fallujah on November 13, 2004. But, the real tear-jerker for me was as you may well have guessed was Social Security. I heard crying, some screaming, and a great Biblical gnashing of teeth throughout my neighborhood last evening during this part of the presidents speech, most of the gruesome noises coming from my own living room! I had planned on listening intently to this part of the presidents speech because after all, the days are getting shorter, so to speak, and retirement isn't that many years away anymore.

I do remember listening, intently, and then I was told he said these words, "Today, more than 45 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, and millions more are nearing retirement. And for them, the system is strong and fiscally strong. I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way." (Then there was a lot of noise after that statement which I was later told was applause.)

This is what I think I actually heard the President say, "Today, more than 45 million .... Nearing retirement. And for them, the system is strong and fiscally strong. I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. Blah, blah, blah .... Anyone 54 and younger should now shoot yourself in the head! Do yourself a favor. You haven't got a pot to piss in anyway, so just get it over with!" (Then there was a lot of noise after that statement which I think was the sound of my head exploding.)

All morning I have been searching the internet looking for some kind of clarification as to what it means if you are presently 54, which if you haven't guessed by now, this old guy is. Does that mean that you can turn 55 in 2005 and be safe? Do you have to be 55 as of the month of February 2005? Or does it mean that you have to be 55 as of 2004? I like 55 in 2005, sounds like a slogan doesn't it? - "55 in 05!" What the hell does it mean? The only thing I have been able to find so far is a tiny blurb that basically says if you are 54 and under, your social security benefits will have to be cut. There is no mention of how much benefits would be cut, or if and how this fix of the present system would at least have the illusion of some kind of equitableness. Is the cutoff of 54 in place now..., or 54 when and if the reform measures are passed. If the cutoff of 54 is in place now, the government has just "cut the throats" of the largest percentage of baby-boomers on the way to their retirement. Those born between 1951 and 1955.

I realize that Social Security was never meant to be a so-called "retirement plan" in and of itself, however; it has figured into how much money has gone into my main retirement accounts and now the government wants to screw with the formula, in effect, "my formula." Most people my age that have money in the stock market for retirement have taken a range of hits the last couple of years, some small and some large, depending on your diversity, knowledge, and involvement in your own accounts, i.e.: moving money around, etc. I have just more or less gotten comfortable again with the stock market after moving retirement money around. If the government wants to now cut Social Security benefits for 54 and younger, even to a small extent, it just throws another wrench into the mix. If it sounds like I am whining, you're damn right. If it was your money, your retirement, and your future, you would be whining also, just wait, their's plenty of time to mess with everyone's money.

Right now, I like everyone else, has to take a wait and see attitude until the political rhetoric stops and someone puts a solid plan on the table. Until then it's just a lot of bullshit, political bantering and maneuvering. The Democrats are already promising a "fight to the death", so to speak, to block anything to do with social security reform which goes right along with the view of some others who do not even think that the social security system is broken. Right now all I know is that I'm broken! Somebody or something better get this thing fixed so that maybe I can get myself fixed. I love camping per say, but have no desire to spend my waning years "living in a van down by the river". Help me!


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Iraqi Vote: A Beginning I Hope


"Who you voting for?" "Number 421 I think."

Sunday, January 30, 2005 will surely go down in both Iraqi history and American history as a great day for both countries. Considering that there were at least 8 suicide bomber attacks, mostly against polling sites, for all intents and purposes the elections were a resounding success. There was death however, with at least 40 people killed along with the 9 suicide bombers across the country. These incidents did nothing apparently to stem the tide of jubilant Iraqis who ventured to the polls on foot to exercise for the first time their legitimate, free right to vote. It was a great first step. Al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian leader of the insurgents in Iraq had promised to light up the country with 400 suicide bombers and failed miserably. I doubt that he will wallow in defeat for long however. He has vowed revenge on the purple fingered, ink stained Iraqis that took part in Sundays election and he unfortunately will find a way to kill again. But for now let the people of Iraq dance and celebrate. I hope they realize that the real work is only just beginning.

As I was sitting at the table reading accounts of the elections on Sunday I found myself thinking back to when I sat in high school many centuries ago studying American history. I vaguely remember accounts of the 1st Continental Congress, where in 1774 we first came to think of ourselves as Americans. Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, where those first shots fired opened our new American minds to the idea of independence from Britain and the reality of war to obtain it.
When in January of 1776, Thomas Paine had written "Common Sense", it had offered Americans a powerful case for independence and showed that it was winable and that Americans deserved Independence. In May of 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress directed the old colonies to write new Constitutions to replace their original colonial charters; little by little Americans' new commitment to liberty and the idea of freedom were pushing them farther out of the grasp of the British Empire. In June of 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, introduced to the 2nd Continental Congress three resolutions, the 1st declaring that the colonies "are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states," the 2nd authorizing negotiations with such European powers as France and Spain, and the 3rd called for "articles of confederation and perpetual union." On July 2, 1776, Congress adopted those resolutions and two days later, on July 4, 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress adopted a declaration drafted by Thomas Jefferson, which set forth the Americans' case against King George III of England, and for Independence. As far as I'm concerned, the "Declaration of Independence" is a written masterpiece. To me, the preamble is an indictment against King George of his failure to deal with the Americans in a fair and reasonable manner although given many chances to do so. The preamble was the key to the colonies case against the king. The use of the terms "inalienable rights" and "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" was the basis for the Americans to go to war against the tyrannical king. The preamble also contains the principles on which Americans would build their own constitution, political system, and govern themselves.

In November of 1777, Congress sent the Articles of Confederation for ratification. It took almost 4 years for all 13 states to finally ratify the Articles. Finally, on June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the 9th state needed to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America, thus finally putting it into effect. From the initial meeting of the 1st Continental Congress in 1774 to the final ratification of the Constitution in 1788 it took 14 years to work out, hash out, experiment with, argue about, fight a war over, and fight a rebellion with,etc., before our form of government finally took hold. Even then we were not totally done with writing this document as most of us know or should know. On December 15, 1791, Virginia ratified 10 proposed constitutional amendments and the "Bill of Rights" was added to the US Constitution. We have been adding amendments, when necessary ever since. The last one, the 27th Amendment was ratified on May 7, 1992. So you see, government is always a work in progress which in a round about way brings me back to Iraq.

After reading the paper I went to my trusty newsreader and downloaded the news for the morning. An article from MSNBC, written by a Fareed Zakaria caught my attention. The article is entitled, "Elections Are Not Democracy." I found myself agreeing with some of the points that this guy was making, for instance one election does not a democracy make. As you can read from my little synopsis above on our own American struggle for Independence and Democracy it took us 14 years just to set up the basic ground work and to get working documents in place. Now, admittedly Iraq is a much smaller country than the US, however; the country has enough ethnic divide to keep the flow of arguments going for a good long time. Hopefully, if this election shows the Iraqi people anything, it will show them that taking charge of their future is possible. True there will be bloodshed until that is brought under control or eradicated. There was bloodshed during our war of independence also until we ousted the British.

There were three main points in the article by Mr. Zakaria that he says Iraq either must avoid or have in place are, 1.) avoiding major ethnic or religious strife. Elections where one group has the majority over another can lead to tensions unless things are worked out between the groups. We have already seen this in the elections in Iraq and the concern now is how will the Shite majority treat the Sunni minority. 2.) Iraq must create a non-oil-based economy and government. When a government has easy access to money, it doesn't need to create a real economy. In fact, it doesn't really need its citizens because it doesn't tax them. The result is something like a "royal court", distant and detached from it society. 3.) You must have the rule of law as a final and crucial condition. Without it, little else can work. There have been complaints lately of the same abuses suffered under Saddam inside the police forces.

These three points are already in place in Iraq, however maybe, just maybe after Sundays election the Iraqi people will find a new courage and direction that until now seems to have evaded them. I, like others I believe have the bad habit of trying to compare everyone else in the world with us and our fight for freedom. I cannot do that. I've come to the conclusion, right or wrong, bad or good, that we just love to fight in this country and we are damn good at it. From what I have witnessed in Iraq, they are not good fighters, nor do I think that they will ever be on par with us, so what. They don't have to be I suppose. They just have to be good enough to fight and win their own battles against their own enimies so that we can bring our young men and women home, and they can govern and live in their own country in whatever measure of freedom they can bring to it. I'm almost sure it will be nothing like ours, so what. I just hope that it doesn't take them 14 years!


Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Only Rod Flying Around Here is Escamilla

In yesterdays blog I introduced everyone to a man named Jose Escamilla who for the last ten years has had quite a time for himself supposedly investigating what he has described as some kind of flying alien life form which he named "Rods." He has studied these anomalies for over ten years and if you read yesterdays blog you will see that he has actually obtained little specific information on these creatures. That in itself in the scientific world may or may not be all that unusual depending on the circumstances such as availability of money, or grants, lack of research equipment, and so on. In Mr. Escamillas case there may be the lack of only a few things.

He has a research team, such as it is, although I would say that they lack what I would call real research oriented credentials. For a professional videographer he seems to have trouble with or the availability of equipment for his so-called expeditions to study these creatures. In general there are more disturbing questions surrounding this guy and his Rod research than answers, and I'm not the only one asking them. The one thing that Mr. Escamilla doesn't seem to have a problem with, until recently anyway, is obtaining money!

Jose may not be much closer in ten years to answering the question of what these creatures are, however; in that time he has shall we say expanded his interests into other areas. First of all, his "Roswell Rods" website has been up and running for a long while. Lately however there appears to be a few glitches with links, all except the donations link that is. His little donation speech is quite moving and there appears to be just a tad bit of anger involved in the writing of it, almost as if the funds are drying up? Now, I wonder why that could be happening? Let us delve a little further into the reputation and Rod research of Mr. Escamilla. Jose is by profession or was, an Entertainer, and a decent video editor. Now that should be worth something. Oh wait, that's right, I forgot about the three very well produced and packaged videos/DVD's that Jose has been selling on his site. They were made by collecting images of these so-called Rods. Some were shot by him as I understand it and some were sent to him and he used these images in his video. I also remember reading in my research about a few people not being too happy about the use of their images and not receiving at the least any credit and at the most any compensation. Hhmm.

Then, of course, there were questions. You would figure that after ten years of "research" that Mr. Escamilla would have something other than the amount of info on one pageof paper, but nope. The questions for Jose kept coming. Legitimate questions, especially questions from videographers, like himself and photographers. Rods, it seems were showing up accidentally on film anywhere and everywhere and not everybody was as amazed or as curious as Jose. There were actually people out there who seemed to know what Rods were. However, as we shall see, the more questions and inquiries sent to Jose's website, the more Jose seemed to be avoiding answering his critics.

Believe it or not there have been many serious and scientific studies done about what these objects are and as I said before they seem to show up quite a bit on video tape and on certain exposure and shutter speed settings on a still camera. I have gotten this effect on my Canon AE1 35mm SLR with shutter speeds around 1/60sec and 1/30sec when taking pictures of bees and other flying insects. I have provided links to a few of the studies, if you would like to read them. Once you get to a page there are other links on that page you can link to. These studies are much too detailed to even try and summarize in a blog. However, the conclusion of most of these studies, not all, but most seem to be that "Rods" are a videographic artifact that is caused by a flying insect. This photographic illusion is based on the frame capture rate of the video camera versus the wingbeat cycles of the insect on each frame of the video, thus creating the illusion of a "Rod."


You're A Bug, No you Are, No I'm A Rod! Is Jose Here?

Look at the photograph above. It is an example of this relationship between frame capture rate and wingbeat frequency which obtains the desired effect whether by accident or by design. In simple terms NTSC (National Television System Committee) video always runs at 30 frames/second regardless of the shutter speed. Without getting too technical, there are 2 fields/frame and these fields are interlaced, alternating odd and even numbered scan lines. The fields are captured consecutively which gives NTSC video an actual speed of 60 fields/second. The slowest exposure time for a NTSC camcorder is 1/60 second. When you put the relationship of 1/60sec of exposure so the shutter is open to capture the entire field and when viewing this on TV because of the way it scans, you get a continuous streak. If you shoot at 1/60 sec and capturing 60 fields/second, the exposure is continuous so that the flying bug will form the illusion of a continuous streak across the monitor and presto-chango, you've got a "Rod." Whew!

Anyway, the people doing this research have been sending their findings to Mr. Escamilla and he has sort of dropped off the map and ignores these people. He continues to insist that these images are of an alien life form and that "irrefutable proof is forthcoming." Meanwhile, Jose has been a busy little trooper trying to put together a cable television network called "The Borderlands Network" and has a nice looking website up looking for money and investors. From what I hear, he has no takers and the cable people won't touch him because they don't think his network has a chance in hell of success up against the sci-fi channel. He's still talking a blue streak and now he is trying to convince people or himself that they will launch their network when they get their satellite. Okey Dokey. Yeah, like this guy is going to raise enough money to build and launch a television satellite for his delusional shit. Look, if I was this guy I think that I would head for the Borderlands of Mexico or South America. I don't think his claims are worth a dam. He won't confront his critics and all he wants is money to produce and sell more videos about some imaginary life form in order for him to pursue his other delusional ideas.

There are rods, but they don't fly around the sky and they don't do whatever it is that ten years of research has shown they don't do either. There's this rod that lives in New Mexico who is trying to bilk people out of money for one delusional scheme after another. That's the true definition of a rod. Unfortunately, there are still people out there that rods can prey on. The people that "want to believe." You know, the Fox Muldars of the world. I don't know what it is that makes these people easy prey for these fast talking dreamers and schemers who always seem to be one step ahead with the right answers or just enough unsubstantiated silly-ass proof to keep the money coming and the interest peaked. But it is time to put this rod to rest.


Friday, January 28, 2005

There's Something Flying Around Up There!


Look! Up in The Sky It's, What The Hell is It?

What the hell is this that FOX News caught on their Baghdad camera on April 3, 2004, at about 4:00pm EST during the early going of the Iraqi war? Is it some kind of Iraqi Bathist stealth technology our war planners were caught unaware of secretly sent out to scout the location of our troops? Is it one of the madman, jihadist, millionaire bin Laden's newly built flying bombs caught on its way to crash into and kill hundreds of our troops while they sleep? Or is it something more benign, such as some kind of Iraqi child's flying toy? Or is it some kind of unknown alien flying creature called "Rods" that have been showing up all over the world lately? If you happen to be a man named Jose Escamilla, you should have figured by now that these images are of what he claims to be, as yet an unknown life form called a Rod.

Jose has been shooting, editing, directing and producing video for over 20 years. Jose has done work about LA Gang Violence, and a cartoon series called "Donny - The Educational Dinosaur. Jose also performs, arranges and produces music as he has done for Tito Guizar, best known as the "Mexican Troubadour" in 1990. Apparently, all that changed on March 5, 1994 in the town of Midway, NM. On that day his sister had called him and told him to come to the house, and oh by the way, bring your camcorder because there is a UFO zipping around the skies out here. Not one to pass up a good UFO sighting as I have come to learn while researching this guy Jose gets his camera and he is off and running. Later, in his editing bay thinking he is going to edit a tape containing a few UFOs on it Jose is surprised to see that the video camera has picked up more than sixty objects of all shapes and sizes. Jose is amazed. Fourteen days later he witnesses the event that he claims will change his life. Since his first sighting and documentation of these Roswell Rods as they have become known he has appeared on numerous television shows such as The Learning Channel, Geraldo Rivera, Hard Copy, Sightings, and Encounters to name but a few. Jose has also appeared in many UFO related magazines and has his own web site called Roswell Rods.

On March 19, 1994 Jose Escamilla caught his first glimpse of what he claims to be a new life form on video at Midway, NM. According to Mr. Escamilla this encounter forever changed his life to the point of a passion to find out just what these flying creatures were. He assembled a team of researchers with various education and backgrounds, some with previous UFO experience, (I should say encounters), some without. Jose has spent ten years filming and studying these creatures while through the years gathering to himself quite a following of interested people, some freely financing his operations. For his ten years of research and filming Jose has produced and sold videos and DVDs containing footage of Rods of all shapes and sizes, some of the video shot by him while some shot by other people from around the globe. If you ask Mr. Escamilla just exactly what his research has discovered about these creatures in ten years he will tell you that:
  • Rods are cylindrical or cigar shaped objects that are not like the typical "cigar" shaped UFOs that have been reported throughout history.
  • They are from four inches to a hundred, (or more), feet in length.
  • Some are thin like spears.
  • Some Rods have what appear to be "appendages" along their torsos resembling Centipedes.
  • They travel at extremely high velocities barely visible with the naked eye.
  • They do exhibit some form of intelligence.
  • They are appearing everywhere.
  • They don't appear to be mechanical or made of metal.
  • They appear to be alive.
  • Recently his research team received footage from Rhode Island of a "Cigar shaped object" that has a Rod zipping through the same sequence.
Wow, that's a hell of a lot of information for ten years of research, wouldn't you say? One of his team, Dave Blackburn, who is the research teams resident Virtual Reality and Real-Time 3D character animation guy. Oh yes, he also has a BS degree in Industrial Engineering, but as I'm sure everybody is well aware of TV Animation and a BS in Industrial Engineering more than qualifies anyone in the 3 years that Dave has been with Jose to come up with a scientific notion that attempts to explain just what these anomalous flying creatures are. According to Dave, the resident Digital TV Animation scientist, Rods are specifically the phylogenetic descendants of the long thought-to-be-extinct (cookie monster), no sorry I mean Protopterygote, whose name is actually derived from the Latin word for "First Flying Organism." I think that they should have been named from the Latin word for "First Flying Orgasm." Ah, come on, it's funny. This would be the theoretical intermediate species or "missing flying link" if you will, that possibly evolved survival mechanisms through natural selection, that brought about the first biological capabilities of gliding, soaring, and eventually flying. Holy shit! Wasn't that a mouthful? And just think of the accomplishment. Dave thought this theory up in three years, that's it. Jose runs around with four people for ten years and gets what he gets, but it takes a TV guy to actually come up with a theory. Now if I only knew what the fuck this guy was talking about. I just want to know one thing. Are these little beasties getting ready to chow down on humanity or what? What are they really and why are they flying around in my neighborhood? Come to think of it why haven't I ever seen a dead one in the street or on my lawn? Why have I never hit one with my pickup or shot one out of the sky in one of my drunk-ass, redneck, gun-swinging, 600 round/minute bullet shootin' tirades out in the back forty? This is just a little bit disturbing come to think of it. I meant me drunk with a loaded gun.

The only thing disturbing to Jose Escamilla apparently is that for ten years of film and research he has very little in the way of positive proof as to what these creatures are except for what was laid out above. He also says that he needs more money in order to continue his research. I find his lack of proof for ten years of work disturbing especially since by his own admission Jose has practically grown up with UFOs. Oh crap, I should have known. In 1966, near Carlsbad, NM, Jose claims to have had a close encounter with a UFO while traveling with a fellow band member. This wasn't his first encounter with UFOs and would not be his last, only this one he hinted many years later ended with a possible alien abduction. These first hand experiences with UFO and rod phenomenas along with his background in the Entertainment Industry would give him a unique talent later on in presenting his ideas on UFOs, especially his somewhat disturbing view on Rods to the public.


Two Rods Using Video Technique of "Skyfishing"

This brings me to my position I reached while researching this guy. In my book at least there are many things about Mr. Escamilla, the self-proclaimed "ROD MAN", entrepreneur, producer, entertainer, and alleged alien abductee that I find disturbing and a whole lot suspect. As I said before Mr. Escamilla claims to have been researching Rods for over ten years now and in those ten years all he has amassed in knowledge about these creatures is stated above. However, the above few sentences is not all that Jose himself has gotten from his experiences. Over the years Jose has built up somewhat of a following among UFO enthusiasts, the paranormal investigators and generally people into weird phenomena. I'm sure we all know somebody into the weird stuff. He is always looking for donations to continue his so called work which has to include collecting film and pics from all over the world. Why? So far I believe that he has released a total of three DVDs on the subject of Rods, well done, narrated, the whole bit. These discs go for about $25.00 a pop. His primary web site is a pretty slick production yet when you log onto the site itself there is little information about Rods actually contained within it and a lot of the links don't seem to work. Of course, the links to the donation page, (check the donation page out, it's hysterical), and the DVD sales page work and he makes no bones about asking for money. My guess would be he needs the money for his other projects. What would they be. Well one is an attempt at launching a Television network called, "The Borderlands Network", which claims paranormal programming 24/7. The site is another slick operation with very little actual information. I could find nothing about the actual so-called corporation anywhere. If you click the link on the website to the investor information link, guess what? They want you to sign up, obtain a password, and apparently get checked out in order to see if you are a legitimate or verifiable investor. I've seen this crap before and it's usually associated with "bullshit" money bilking type schemes. It's also crap. Any legitimate company would be glad to send a prospective investor a company prospectus and a company plan without hesitation and without all of this sign up or sign in baloney. Jose talks a real good marketing pitch, but apparently what I did find out is that he has no takers as far as cable or satellite dish networks. They don't think that he has a viable commodity, in other words, nobody is going to subscribe to his network when there is already a scifi channel. Mr. Escamilla is still trying to sell the stupid thing and speaking of stupid, I'm beginning to think that maybe when Mr. Escamilla was allegedly abducted that maybe the little grey guys just may have sucked out a tad too much grey matter. He also has another web site called, "JEM Works" or "Jose Escamilla Music Works." Jose is a musician and I guess now he thinks he is some kind of producer also. Just off the top of my head I would say that Jose hasn't necessarily anything for ten years of Rod research. Sounds to me like he's come into some money lately or something?

As is too much the norm in life there usually comes a time when all good things must come to an end and it looks like for Jose that may be happening. A lot of his former following of believers are beginning to bail on him and his "just wait until the overwhelming evidence comes out," rhetoric. The evidence never does come out. Little by little as new opposing evidence comes to light on what these creatures probably really are Mr. Escamilla is losing friends and money. Mr. Escamilla still steadfastly proclaims that Rods are still an unknown alien life form in spite of growing evidence that may point the flying fickle money finger of contributors to another cause. Tomorrows blog will continue to look at the possible explanations for Rods and hopefully conclude the mystery of these creatures. However, nothing is a sure thing so it will have to be left up to the reader once all the evidence is presented to come to their own conclusions whether or not these creatures really exist. Meanwhile I hope everyone sleeps well tonight. Don't leave your windows open and watch out walking after dark. The Rods like it best at night. Ha, ha, ha.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

The First Legitimate Iraqi Election, Huh?

In two days Iraqis will go to the polls to freely elect another kind of interim government, hopefully. An election that will elect a 275 seat Iraqi National Assembly which will in turn choose a Presidency Council and then draft the country's first legitimate democratic constitution. Or will it?


That seems to be the big question on everybody's mind except for President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, our newly sworn in Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, General Abazaid, and a few more of the inner circle neocons that drafted and implemented the plan for Iraq to receive the precious gift of Democracy. In fact, the Washington crew and a majority of congressional republicans appear to be the only ones on God's green earth that seem to think that the outcome of the Iraqi poll on Sunday is in the bag, so to speak. I don't even think that Tony Blair shares the same enthusiasm as does Washington anymore. With elections coming up in England and with the comment made the other day by the British prime minister referring to America needing to get more onboard with the European agenda, it almost seems as if Mr. Blair might be trying to distance himself a little from the Bush neocon view of the world. I wonder if he is secretly hoping that after the elections in Iraq he can find a way to bring the British troops home. That would do well for his election chances. Even before the elections what I feared would happen seems to be happening.


The Arab League and the European Union have both come out and warned that if the Sunnis boycott the elections on Sunday that the credibility of the outcome of those elections would be suspect.

"The boycott will affect the credibility of the outcome and if the outcome is to be a national assembly that is to draft a constitution, there will be a major problem," Arab League spokesman Hossam Zaki told Reuters on Tuesday, January 25.

"You end up having an electoral process that is secretive because of the security situation and which is not comprehensive because of a boycott by a significant component of Iraqi society," Zaki added.


Some of the major Sunni groups which include the Association of Muslim Scholars and the Islamic Party are boycotting the election and have said it should be delayed as long as it will be held under an occupying power and in view of the prevailing insecurity. There has been a call by the Arab League for the US backed interim government to hold a conference to promote reconciliation with its opponents to ensure election participation. The US has said right along that this is just another attempt by the Sunnis to halt the election process. The Sunnis know that when the elections are held that the Shite majority will most likely win a majority of seats in the assembly and they will effectively be out of power. Some hope that the insurgents will cause the elections to either be postponed or called off all together for security reasons.


European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana has warned that it would be a "catastrophe" if Sunnis do not vote in this month's landmark elections in Iraq.

"I don't think that Iraq could be stable if the Sunnis do not participate in the political process," Solana told the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament.

"If there were no Sunni representative, it would be a catastrophe," Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted Solana as saying Monday.

Solana went on to say that at least the Sunnis should take part in drafting the new constitution and the new electoral process if they remained reluctant, saying, "Otherwise, I don't think we will have a stable Iraq if the Sunnis are not part of the process. Every sensitivity in Iraq has to participate in the electoral process."


What and who the fuck does this guy think he is! I will admit that I am not a big fan of the war in Iraq. I really don't see what it has to do with 9-11 or the hunt for terrorists. Now, before any of you junior terrorist hunters jump in my shit and try to explain the new world to me - don't! I was in the military for 28 years and for 22 of those years all I did was chase terrorists and bad guys, so please don't try and enlighten me as to how it is done, ok. But, this Solana guy is off his nut to suggest that no matter what the outcome of the election that we should give the Sunnis a place at the table. Fuck the Sunnis. If they don't want to vote, then fuck 'em! What's the point of having elections if that's how this guy feels? Fucking Europeans, trying to kiss everybody's ass. Go have a fucking donut, make it a French one. Kiss their ass for awhile. If you just let them be part of the government, no matter what, then you just might as well say that all of the coalition troops over in Iraq died and got their friggen asses blown to shit for nothing! Not going to happen even if I do not entirely agree with Bush and his plans.


OK, 'nough said. I took a pill and feel much better. People seem to be crawling out of the woodwork to sound off about the legitimacy of the Iraqi poll. The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that this weekend's Iraqi election would not fully be democratic and was unlikely to stem violence or help stabilize the country. Erdogan characterized the elections as a transition to democratic elections, but not fully democratic, again because of the threatened boycott by the Sunni minority. Of course, Turkey as you probably know may have just a bit of a vested interest in how stable Iraq is or isn't which is due to the large population of Kurds in the northern part of Iraq. Turkey has a large population of Kurds.

The Kurds residing in Iraq have a good thing going. They were semi-autonomous under Saddam and have their own provisional constitution given to them in March of 2004. They have a good economy and want to stay hooked up with Iraq because of the profitability. On Sunday the Kurds will be electing their own autonomous parliament plus an Iraqi national assembly, the best of both worlds. However, the Kurds do have certain demands they feel the Iraqi government must meet and continue to meet even after the election regardless of who controls the government. Failure to abide by these demands would result in a Kurdish separation from Iraq. Iraq's Kurds are not actively seeking independence but will be unable to remain Iraqis if the Baghdad government fails to observe their key demands, a top Kurdish official has warned.

Noshirwan Mustafa, an aide of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Jalal Talabani, said in an interview that there were "three red lines for us," that if the Iraqis crossed, we would no longer be Iraqis. "If the Arabs do not accept the principle of federalism, we will no longer be Iraqis. If they insist on a theocratic regime, we will no longer be Iraqis. And Kurdish terrorists must be returned to Kurdistan," Mustafa said.

I just want to know who has been coaching these guys? My god, it sounds like the 1st continental congress. Federalism! Madison has got to be cracking up right now, somewhere.


All in all, it sounds like it's shaping up to be one hell of an election already. So far the election has all the makings of a great novel. It's got drama, plenty of drama. It's got intrigue, oh yeah, nobody knows from day to day who's going to be alive tomorrow, either to vote or to actually run in the election. Most people don't even know what the candidates look like because they are afraid to show their faces in the street or on television. They might as well be signing their own death warrant. That's freedom and democracy folks. Iraq's first virtual, invisible election, brought to you by the folks at Halliburton. Don't worry folks, just vote, honestly somebody is there behind the curtain, trust me! Our little novel has death, boy does it. Every damn day somebody is getting their ass blown up or shot. It's got spies. How else did the insurgents know what polling places to blow up when the list was supposed to be secret? Oh yeah, it's got spies. It's got good guys? And it's got bad guys? That, of course depends on whose side your on. And our novel will eventually have an ending. Just what that ending is remains to be seen. I, for one hope that it turns out well and we can get our people out of that god forsaken country. No offense to the Iraqi people intended, it's just that I think the price has been to high.


There are many endings that could flow across the pages of our novel, again I suppose depending on whose side your on. If you happen to be Linda Heard, who wrote an article for the American version of Aljazeerah, then the election is already in the bag according to her. Why, because an unnamed source, in this case an Iraqi diplomat, who swears that he is a close friend of Eyad Allawi told her, "The outcome of the elections is more or less a done deal. Allawi is set to continue." Of course, she says that she originally took this statement with a grain of salt until reading last Sunday's Times: "fears of a takeover by Shite clerics have prompted speculation that Washington might have been trying to strike a deal with Al Sistani to keep Allawi as prime minister after the election." Hhmm! I wonder how that is going to work?


Well, all of this drama and intrigue called the Iraqi elections will come to fruition on Sunday and then we may all be able to breathe a sigh of relief when everything goes as smooth as silk, and a new government is elected. The Shites will become the duly elected majority, and in a magnanimous showing of love and forgiveness will forget all about past abuses at the hands of their previous deposed Sunni masters, and in front of the whole world embrace each other. Iraq will stabilize because now, realizing the error of their ways, the insurgents will see the futility of more fighting in the face of such love and kindness. They will pack their weapons and go home. Oh glourius day. Mr. Bush, having bested the nay sayers and disbelievers of his plans for a democratic middle east will go in front of the cameras to gloat some and I say, hurrah! let him. Everything will be fine and all will be right with the world. Next stop Iran! Right? Yep, and if you believe all of that I've got some prime land in the Everglades that I'll sell you cheap. Well, maybe all except for the Iran part.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Was The Inauguration Worth The Cost?

I talked to a friend today for the first time since he had been back from attending President Bush's inauguration festivities and after talking with him at length, to put it mildly, he said for the most part that he was quite disappointed with the whole experience. He had quite a story to tell, mostly about the tight security measures throughout the city of Washington D.C. His words were, "Security was tighter than a fleas ass." My friend was also disappointed that he actually never got to see the President during the parade. "That's really the only god damn reason that I made the trip down there," he said, "What a fuckin' joke, the whole fuckin' thing, a pain in the ass joke." "Every five friggen' minutes, every hundred friggen' feet, someone asking you for a fucking ID. It was ridiculous." To listen to him tell the story was hilarious, well because my friend is a funny guy to begin with and he tells a funny story. I also know that he hates being hassled. All I guess he really accomplished was a couple of days away from work and spending a lot of money for a lousy place to stay and some lousy food - his words.

I had another friend that had attended the festivities and not one to put all of my eggs into one basket I decided to give her a call and get her perspective on things. What she told me was much the same, only she said that because it was such a pain getting around that her and her friend had actually left to come back home even before the parade started. She said that it was doubtful that her and her friend would be able to get close enough to see anything. She laughed and said, "I guess that's the price we pay for 9-11 and all the security bullshit." "Yeah," I said, "All the bullshit is right."

I'm sure that everybody has a horror story about fending for themselves in order to try and participate in a historical event, a chance to see the president being sworn in from a half mile away or maybe even getting lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time when he walks by during the parade. Unless you happened to be one of the republican elite or the invited elite that's about all that you could have hoped for. Reading the news reports on Saturday, I remember phrases such as, "unprecedented security", the inauguration cost about $40 million, security costs were around $18 million, and Mayor Anthony Williams of D. C. wanted to know how the hell he was going to pay for it and why he had to pay for it when in previous inaugurations the government had picked up the tab for security. Ah, those were the days, huh? Those were the days come to think of it!

I hate to say this, but in some small way "terrorism" has accomplished part of what it has set out to do. It has got us all walking around like chickens with our collective heads cut off, looking over our shoulders and paranoid as all hell! Our Republic is an armed camp, with machine pistol toting cops on every corner of Manhattan and Patriot missile batteries setup in fields in our nations capital. Our Democratic ideals are now subject to constitutional debates on how far we can go before some forms of questioning are considered torture, exactly how long you can hold someone in custody without letting them make a phone call or speak to an attorney, what exactly constitutes illegal search and seizure, or do we really need probable cause to kick a door in or is I think I saw someone that looked 'Arabic' waving a copy of the Koran O.K. The American Eagle that Mr. Ashcroft sings, well shall we say waxes poetic, about wouldn't dare fly across America's skies for fear of being shot down by a patriot missile or a patrolling F-16.

Most law enforcement people, when asked their opinions of the unprecedented level of inaugural security responded with what you would expect, a typical response summed up by D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey who said that he felt security levels were appropriate and was happy with how the parade and other events turned out on Thursday. "The security was adequate," Ramsey said, "I have absolutely no regrets, I think everything was fine. The crime was low, and the event went off without a hitch. The cold weather had more to do with turnout than anything. Overall, I think the security was very, very good. I was very, very pleased." Good ole' Chief Ramsey. He only thought that $18 million in security was apparently only adequate. Oh well, maybe by the time the next event rolls around and with a little more planning he will be able to have the force get the portable "barbed wire" fence in place around the entire city, with just a little more time and planning. Maybe next time Chief Ramsey can get his buddy Chief Terrance W. Gainer of the U.S. Capitol Police Force to help him with the security projects. Chief Gainer agreed with Chief Ramsey about the security situation saying that the massive number of officers and federal agents were needed. At least Chief Gainer took a more philosophical stance on the issue stating, "I believe that regrettably we have to do it now," who had streets shut down and had taken other somewhat controversial steps to make the Capitol Hill more secure. "Because of the state of the world today, we have to take these precautions. It only seems like overkill when nothing happens." "After 9-11, we started finger-pointing, and everyone wanted to know why law enforcement didn't do something to prevent it," Gainer said. Gainer also said that the world, because of 9-11, will never be the same and that the world of law enforcement has had to change with it. The Secret Service, not to be outdone and not being so secret had this to say from spokesman Tom Mazur. Mazur said that the level of security was just right. (Now how did I just know that the Secret Service would say that?) "Overall we were pleased with the operation of our security plan," Mazur said. "The levels of security were appropriate in this post 9-11 environment, and current world events dictated some of the precautions and security enhancements that were taken. Of course, the Secret Service will have an after-action review, and hopefully we will be able to strengthen our plans in the future." (Yeah, maybe next time you could have the president drive around in an M1 tank).

I haven't quoted law enforcement just to take up space, nor to over-exaggerate the point that I am trying to make about how much this country has changed since the events of September 11, 2001. One day in the fall of 2001, one day, a day that started out warm and sunny in New York, most people on their way to work, maybe walking a little slower because of the great weather. Then, in a matter of a few hours, tragedy struck, and turned the nation, turned my nation, the one that I fought in an unpopular war for, fought voluntarily for, left a few pieces of me in some god-forsaken southeast Asian country for, from a fucking war we didn't even win, and then in the course of one day, I watched my country start to turn into something that I don't particularly care for! If you ask most law enforcement people about the level of inaugural security, like I said, you will get a positive response. The level was good or adequate because that's the way it has to be because of 9-11 and the world we live in. If you ask a regular person, a civilian, (although I sincerely believe that because of bin Laden's "fatwa" issued against all Americans, anywhere, anytime, that there are - no civilians anymore), security during the inauguration was, and I quote, "A pain in the ass." The biggest complaint from people that I have talked to was that you couldn't get close enough to really see anything. If you ask a Washington, D.C. business person about the security for the inauguration they will tell you that years ago they could expect to make some money generated from the foot traffic, but last Thursday, downtown was like a ghosttown. Imagine the capital of the nation deserted. It is almost unimaginable. If you ask a legislator, depending of course on their political affiliation, how many martinis they have had, if there is any press around, you get the drill. They will either say that security is just right, too much, or that maybe next time some sort of middle ground, or compromise could be worked out in order to make everyone happy. Yah right! It must be an election year for that guy. If you ask the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Anthony Williams, well I don't know if I would because he would probably ask you to help pay for the security costs that his city is now apparently stuck with. Mayor Williams is not a happy camper these days and I don't blame him.

Finally, if you ask me, which nobody did, and most likely nobody will or actually cares what I think, which is exactly why I am going to give my honest opinion. What I referred to before as having watched, and to this day I am still watching, as my country continues to turn into something that I personally do not think is the right path. I don't care about politics in the sense of political parties or whether the democrats or republicans run the country better. I will tell you this much. From what I have seen, both political parties can screw the country up without much of a problem. What I am referring to is more of what this country is and stands for in terms of its ideals, its values, its place in the world, that sort of thing. Since 9-11 there have been many changes brought about by that horrific attack, some good, some not-so-good, and some, I believe very bad for us, as people, and very bad for the country. It has been mostly sad to see my country turn into a country with very little freedoms anymore, concerned more with security than liberty, it's truly sad. What concerns me the most is precisely all of this security. I'm not saying that some security isn't necessary, of course it is, however; I just want to be responsible for myself, more than my government seems to want to allow me to be. There's talk of a national ID, computer chips under the skin, national databases. Holy shit, that kind of stuff scares me more than bin Laden does. It is impossible to protect everybody from everything and eventually we are going to be attacked again. I think that we had better get used to the idea. I am, and what I want is to be able to protect myself and my family from those attacks. I know the government cannot protect me, so help me protect myself instead. Instead of scaring everybody or trying to attack every non-democratic country in order to bring them democracy before the next attack I think the government should be in the business of helping people help themselves. People can help themselves also because the more they know the less fear they have. The less fear people have, the more people are apt to lead more normal type lives without fear and the terrorists do not win. Remember that is what terrorism is all about - fear. If the people are allowed to help themselves it also frees up the government to allow it to do what it should be doing and that is prosecuting the "war on terror."

Michael Moore is right about one thing, believe it or not. There is no such thing as the "war on terrorism", there cannot be a war on terrorism. "Terrorism" is a "tactic" used by "terrorists" to instill "terror" into people. In English, terrorism is a term used to describe the scare tactics, usually violent in nature, that are used by terrorists, not for political gain, (that's bullshit!), not for any cause, (that's also bullshit!), these tactics are used to instill "fear"/"terror" into people, to scare the shit out of them. Some groups will use "terrorism" as a means to an end, in other words, they will try to persuade or influence a certain outcome through the use of fear! In my book, this is not political, nor causal because even if the desired end or effect is achieved it is achieved by and through the use of "fear", not through the use of legitimate political campaign or influence. I feel that this distinction is important because I hear this phrase used a lot in the US, and it bugs the shit out of me. It achieves the very thing that terrorists want. Fear! We are involved in and will be involved for some time in a "war on terrorists" or a "war with terrorists". I suppose we could even say that we are involved in a "war on terror", because to a large extent we are involved in a "war on fear", or a "war against the fear of terror." This fear, above all things is what I see destroying the country I love and would, if necessary, give my life in order to protect it from enemies, foreign and domestic, as corny as that sounds, there are some of us left.

History will have the last say in the matter of George Bush's and the nations 55th presidential inauguration. How much was actually paid in dollars and cents for security, and who in the end paid for it will probably end up, at best a two sentence blurb beneath the lines listing the contributors for the actual inauguration events supposedly paid for with donations from the republican elite. Great, who cares? What I care about is this. In four years we get to do this all over again. I'm just wondering if maybe we could save the nation and its citizens a crapload of money if we just all plan now to stay home and watch the festivities on television like us normal poor people do now anyway? Think of it. The Secret Service would spend about 5 minutes planning security: Drive the president from point A to point B; and we're done. The D.C. Police, another 5 minutes: nothing; and we're done. Get the picture? I mean if we continue on this "path of paranoia" that the nation seems "hell bent" on remaining on, then we might as well surrender to al Queda now. Before someone out there without a sense of humor or who doesn't understand "sarcasm", most of this post has been, just that, except when, of course, I've been serious.

We must Remember that we are Americans, Citizens of the United States of America, Citizens who Reside in one of a Group of separate States that having Agreed to Join together as one Country in order to Form a more perfect Union, are Forever Banded, as Brothers and Sisters to a Higher Cause, that of Truth and as a Beacon for the Light of Freedom and Justice Wherever the Darkness of Oppression and the Inequality of Injustice Reside. This is still the Greatest Country on the face of the Earth. To have to defend it to European friends is insulting. I want my old country back, you know the one, where even if there was some dislikes involved, at least the country was still respected because of what it stood for - Freedom & Liberty.




Sunday, January 23, 2005

Hook 'em Satan Followup

"Hook 'em Satan, Oops, I mean horns!"

There was a little follow up published in that sacred pillar of literary truth, (I just love it when a good pun comes completely by accident), "The Truth Seeker", by a Rixon Stewart, who I believe is one of the editors, which is printed below. It is almost sad to note, that these people actually believe this stuff. Every time that someone, somewhere in the world flashes this horn sign, "hook 'em horns" sign, the Horned Hand, or The Mano Cornuto, they are in fact giving the "Satanic Salute" and in doing so signaling their allegiance to their "horned god", a sign of recognition and allegiance. OKey Dokey!

UPDATE
Hidden in Plain Sight

Rixon Stewart - Friday January 21, 2005

Some dispute the notion that the hand signals pictured here are really satanic gestures, claiming instead that they are flaunted as signals of support by University of Texas Longhorns fans. But so many prominent individuals have been pictured making the "hook 'em horns" sign that one really has to ask: is it a coincidence that George Bush, his wife and daughters, plus Bill Clinton and Al Gore to name but a few who have been photographed making the gesture, are all such big fans of the University of Texas Longhorns?

Not to mention the fact that Italy’s Berlusconi and Prince William of England have also been pictured making the same gesture. Are they also big fans of the University of Texas Longhorns? Or is something else going on?

Every criminal has an alibi, genuine or otherwise, and there is a cover story for every crime. Like the ‘All Seeing Eye’ on the dollar bill that is an ancient Masonic symbol, the ‘Satanic Salute’ has long documented association with the darker arts.

Like the 'All Seeing Eye', it's also hidden in plain sight, concealed behind mundane explanations so that only those few initiated into darker secrets understand its real significance. While the broad mass of the populace, the so-called ‘useless eaters’, continue to believe that it is really a Texas Longhorns "hook 'em horns" salute, not a signal of allegiance to satanic forces.



Now this is where I draw the line. Stewart Little and Spiderman, two American icons associated with Satanic Forces. The Horror! Where will it end? The Green Hornet? Batman? Superman? Oh My GOD! The Horror! I think these guys are in definite need of a screw tightening. I'm sorry, maybe I'm one of the "useless eaters" as they would have you believe, that everyone who doesn't believe their story is. This whole scenario just smacks of another wild offtake of another biblical "Revelation" story in a real twisted sense. The world is full of them and these guys are no different.

I think that I'll stick to what Jesus said in the Gospels, not what somebody's interpretation of signs might be or how many gods their are in heaven or whether or not flashing some sign is satanic or not. The Devil is real all right, but this sign is not used exclusively as a symbol as an allegiance to him. I'm sorry boys, but you're wrong. Stop being so paranoid. Sometimes it's just rock n' roll and I like it!


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Whom Does Bush Serve? Mean God, Good God, or Satan?

Hello Satan !

Not hi dad, Mr. Bush Sr., but apparently hi dad Mr. Satan Sr. is what Michael A. Hoffman II claims is taking place in this photo of President Bush during his inauguration ceremony on Thursday. I've always thought that this sign meant "hook em' horns", having to do with the University of Texas football team. Boy, was I wrong. I had no idea that anybody who flashes this sign, according to Hoffman, is embroiled in a satanic conspiracy so heinous that the rest of us so-called "useless eaters" are so ignorantly brainwashed that we refuse to see any meaning in the use of this symbol other than the Texas Longhorns, "hook em' horns" sign, and not what it really is, a signal of allegiance to satanic forces. Brazen Presidential Satanism like this is a clear indicator that the System believes it has the situation so locked down that it can reveal it's true nature, symbolically, from time to time, in public, again according to Hoffman, who associates the System with a shadowy and mysterious group of media and industrial tycoons, European royalty and banking dynasties referred to as the "Illuminati." According to Hoffman, our conservative, born-again Christian president does not serve the people of the country he took an oath to protect and defend. Bush may not even serve the same God that most Christians worship or may not worship any God at all, but an entirely different being, one usually depicted in folklore as having horns on his head. Hoffman states that Bush wasn't even elected by the people, but appointed by this group, like his counterpart across the pond, Tony Blair, in order to serve the interests of the Illuminati. The interests of this clandestine group of the mega rich are what else, the planet, which Hoffman claims they effectively own. The Illuminati are not united by any high ideals, or any ethnic bond, but simple self-interest, money, and that means that the individual members don't always see eye to eye. The one pre-eminent faction among the group is supposedly the Rothschild banking dynasty, (and I was hoping it was the wine guys), shit! The Rothschilds, aside from being closely connected to European royalty, are also rumored to be on intimate terms with Lucifer. Thus, the Illuminati are allegedly "diabolically" inspired with their power resting on the ignorance of the masses. Reinforced and enhanced with gifts given by Lucifer -- and in words derived from his name -- the group uses illusion and delusion through the media, to obfuscate and conceal their true agenda from the masses, which of course, leaves the masses incapable of independent thought. Thus, says Mr. Hoffman, the Illuminati owe their power to Lucifer and he in turn uses them to further his hold over humanity. Speaking of locked down, I wonder if this guy Hoffman needs to be locked up in a nice padded room somewhere, with a big window to look out of onto some nice shrubbery! I've known that Mr. Bush has a very diverse fan base, but this almost takes the cake so to speak.

Hi Uncle Satan, I See You!

As you can see from the above picture, like father, like daughter and according to Hoffman both Bush daughters, as well as the first lady, you know Bill Clinton is, Tony Blair, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, Prince William, why not, his brother's a Nazi, Al Gore, and even Dan Qayle are all serving the dark forces, and I might add, serving these forces willingly! That's it, I quit and I'm moving to Jamaica except that the whole island of Jamaica is supposedly in the devils front pocket. Is there no place safe on earth from this evil menace? I think I mean Mr. Hoffman in this case. I can't help it, something isn't right with this whole scenario or this guy. I've heard some pretty interesting and sometimes scary ideas, and conspiracy theories on a lot of subjects to do with the government. I've even heard that George Bush is the anti-Christ. That theory was presented with more clarity and better ideas than this guy's stuff. Mr. Hoffman runs a website called "The Truth Seeker." In and of itself it is not a bad site. Some of the ideas presented on his web site are like any other site that seems to specialize in the "conspiracy" genre, and as I usually find with most of these sites you have to pick and choose your way through what seems credible and what seems science fiction. At the very least most is good reading and entertainment, especially if you find yourself suffering from insomnia. I could not find out much about this guy in the way of a biography, however; I came across a little blurb that appears to sum up what most who deal with this man think about him and his credibility.

"The reign of Satan has officially commenced -- in the name of Jesus Christ."

(The obscure Michael A. Hoffman II is boycotted by Right and Left; revisionists and religious; New Agers and conservatives. He is seriously underfunded, militarily hounded, banned from the Establishment media, blacklisted in the publishing industry, exiled to Idaho and constantly threatened with death while teetering on the verge of insolvency, even as he manages to consistently disseminate the most accurate counter-intelligence on the epistemology of the Cryptocracy available anywhere. In July of 2001, two months prior to 9/11, Hoffman published the extended edition of his book, "Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare" (revised in April of 2001 and printed in July), warning of Arthur C. Clarke's prediction that 2001 would be the iron gateway to the Cryptocracy's new aeon of what Antonin Artaud had profiled decades before as open-air, "civic Satanism").

Holy crap, we are all doomed! Doomed I tell you! I don't know, if this guy is so underfunded, where is he getting the money for a web site that is quite sophisticated, or the money to publish books? He is right about one thing though and that's being exiled to Idaho - that's scary, I've been to Idaho! Mark Furman lives in Idaho, again scary! I have never heard the phrase, "epistemology of the Crytocracy" before either, although it's quite impressive, and I'm very afraid to even try and look it up.



As you can see from the above picture, it seems that the whole family is blatantly in on this Illuminati thing. I tell you, it's horrifying. If you believe anything that Mr. Hoffman claims then you must also believe that most anyone in power anywhere, and anyone having a bank roll anywhere is in on this thing, including I would imagine the Pope. Hoffman also claims that Bush worships the old testament God, you know the one, fire and brimstone, do what I ask and I will reward you, don't and you will surely fry. I have heard the two God theory and if it's presented by someone who doesn't sound like they are suffering from a case of paranoid schizophrenia, it's quite an interesting theory. In short, there seems to be a difference between the God of the old testament and the God of the new testament. Fire and brimstone vs. love and compassion, that sort of thing. Of course, then you have Satan and when you throw him into the mix, well all Hell breaks loose, get it, ha, ha, ok cheap shot.



The above picture is a drawing of the satanic symbol that Mr. Hoffman claims that whenever Mr. Bush or anyone else flashes this sign they are in reality pledging allegiance to Lucifer, and here I just thought that it was either a "hook em' horns" sign or a universal rock n' roll sign.




One of the claims Mr. Hoffman makes is that Prince William doesn't know who the University of Texas football team is. OK, I'll give him that one, but I'll bet you dollars to donuts young Prince Willie knows what rock n' roll is. I mean, come on, the kid has head phones on for crien' out loud Hoffie! Look, maybe he's listening to some old Black Sabbath. Would that satisfy you or are you just one of those people like my dad used to be when I was a kid and thinks that rock n' roll is the devils music, or do you honestly think that everyone who flashes that sign is saying hi to Uncle Satan? Jeez man, get a grip! You are going to have to come up with something better than what you got to convince me.




I have a sneaking suspicion that the Pres' might be flashing this sign to all of this nonsense. I don't think it's a love sign to daddy Satan and I don't even think the picture is real, but it's a cool picture. I'm going to have to find out more about this nutjob. He has peaked my interest. At the very least I want to know who it is that has supposedly been leading me around by the nose all of my life. I've got to do some more digging. Maybe I'll start a weekly thing with my blog. Like on Fridays or Saturdays I'll run with the wack job of the week or something like that. You know they're out there just waiting to be discovered. I feel that it would be a shame, no criminal to leave them in obscurity and mediocrity. In fact, I've got a good one for next week, anyone heard of Rods?



Thursday, January 20, 2005

It is After All, The President's Day!

Today, as we all know is the second inauguration of President George Walker Bush. It is a day of celebration, a day of solemn oath taking and reflection, a day of fashion - who's wearing what, a day of parades, a day of inaugural balls, parties and festivities, a day of protest, a day to stop for a moment and remember our military around the world, thanking them for their sacrifice, a day to thank our military families for their sacrifices, a day for spending $40 million (I could have got George a deal down at Barney's for $26.95 which includes the buffet plate), and for me, a day for work. It is also a day for Democrats to lock themselves in closets without any form of modern communication and to dream about the way things might have been. A day to get stinking drunk and later on under the depressing effects of alcohol meet up with other Democrats at your favorite watering holes to reminisce about just having a few more votes in Ohio, or if only this or if only that and the way that it could have been. Blah, blah, blah, pass the bullets.

Oh well, in four years everybody gets to do it all over again. I've really never understood the political passion machine that seems to overtake some involved in managing the campaigns of, or even getting out and passionately campaigning for a candidate. It all seems rather funny to me. I have friends that are still upset over John Kerry not winning the presidency, like it's some kind of megabucks lottery prize, in fact if they won the lottery my friends would most likely be happy, but not as happy as they would be if John Kerry was president. I say, I like you John, but show me the money!

I had a few minutes today to listen to some of Bush's speech he gave after taking the oath of office for the second time. From what I was told, the words "freedom" and "liberty" or derivations thereof were said something like fourty-nine times. That in itself isn't bad, however; I heard the same philosophy about spreading freedom, liberty and democracy around the world that I heard four years ago, and all through his first term in office. Oh crap, I immediately thought, it's going to be a long day. Mr. Bush made a pledge to spread freedom "to the darkest corners of the world" and "show the meaning and promise of liberty." He also said, "There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom." Oh crap, it is going to be a long day! On the surface, nice words, but I can't help wondering what he actually means by those words.

I have said before that I am freedoms biggest fan, however; I'm not sure how much of a right our country has of saying to a sovereign country, either change your ways or we will change your government and your ways for you. Mr. Bush did say that spreading freedom didn't necessarily entail the use of force all of the time. His exact words were, "We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed." Oh crap, it's going to be a really long day! Doesn't that really mean, "It's our way or the highway?"

I don't know,think about it, if I am a foreign dictator or the king of a Muslim country right now I'm thinking, here he goes again that cowboy, nutjob, and his Christian holier than though bullshit. I wonder exactly what and where Mr. Bush draws the line in terms of what his criteria is for say the king of some country being a good guy to his people, or what constitutes abuses of human rights? Exactly what countries is he talking about anyway?

Let's list some countries shall we:

  • Jordan - is Jordan on that list of countries set to receive the gift of Democracy? King Abdullah was appointed by his old man and hasn't done a bad job. He remains friends with Israel, he is a friend to the US, and has made real efforts to stop the human rights abuses in his country. He is still up against the different factions of Islam who don't like him, would like to see him dead, and institute sharia.
  • Syria - we all know about Mr. Assad. He's a jerk, but his people for the most part like him. The US suspects him of harboring terrorists, hiding nukes from Iraq, allowing fighters into Iraq without stopping them, trying to acquire nuclear and chemical weapons. Who would they use them against, guess who - Israel.
  • Lebanon - what about Lebanon? Israel thinks that southern Lebanon is hiding terrorists. Lebanon has the distinction of having the infamous Bekaa Valley, home of many terrorist strongholds, supposedly. For the most part though Lebanon tends to stay out of things. There is a large Christian influence in Lebanon.
  • Libya - I thought Ghadafi and GW were buds since Libya gave up her nukes.
  • Egypt - now there's a hotbed of Islamic rhetoric. I don't know how Mubarik has managed to stay in power with most of the Muslim groups thinking that he is an infidel. Oh yeah, he's got an army, but does that qualify Egypt for the gift of Democracy?
  • Saudi Arabia - here's my personal favorite. They've got a lot of oil, we know that. How is GW going to treat them? If GW lets the Saudi's slide in the human rights dept., then this whole democracy thing is a sham in my book. Saudi Arabia, because of its many Islamic factions, Wahabe's are notorious, are prime territory for abuse and the Saudi's don't even try to hide it.
I have tried to present just a little food for thought and have left a few of the more obvious countries off the list that are "no-brainers." . Even if the Bush administration has no intention of military intervention in half of these countries another thought comes to mind. Where are we going to get the money to pay for all of this? I really have doubts as to whether all of these countries are going to blindly and happily run into the arms of freedom, which brings up another question. What if the country we have chosen to receive this wonderful gift doesn't want it? How can this be you ask? Simple, I do not even remember the number of times I have tried to impress upon people that a lot of the common folk that live within these countries haven't a clue what Democracy is, how it works, or how to vote. They sure as hell have no concept of what a Constitution is. Another question I have is how long is this democracy building going to take? Years at least. Doesn't this great plan of Democracy for the world, at least assume that from now until whenever that this administration and every administration following will be on the same foreign policy page? Or does Mr. Bush never plan on leaving office?

Throughout my more than half-century life span I have spent more than a few years in the middle east, traveling all over. I have seen the good and the bad. I've been to some really nice places and some real scum holes. I've been shot at and well taken care of in the middle east. The Arab people are some of the most hospitable people on the face of the earth. I hope that some day I get a chance to repay some of the hospitality that I received while traveling throughout the middle east. A couple of things that I did come away with from my travels in the middle east were that generally speaking most of the people that I encountered like Americans, they like the people. Some have a different view of the government, for instance if you are a teenager growing up in the middle of Gaza you may not be particularly too fond of the USA because imagine your surprise upon looking up, seeing an Apache helicopter made in the US and watching it kill your brother. Go figure. The middle east is a wonderful and mysterious place. The people are magnificent. If we are going to bring or encourage democratic ideals and governments in and to the region, then I hope that we do not abandon these people. It will not be enough just to install or change a government to one of our choosing. The US will have to spend time there, maybe many years there, teaching and encouraging democracy, encouraging human rights and first of all, teaching the people there just exactly what "dignity" is before we teach the people how to apply those teachings. This whole venture is a very risky and could be a very dangerous proposition. It could backfire royally. If we do not follow through with these things, we will lose it. We will lose the region. We will lose the people, we will lose respect, we will lose any semblence of credibility anywhere from then on, and we will lose the future, and the greatest hope for the future, which are the children. If we lose the children we haven't seen anything yet in terms of what terrorism could become.