Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Death By Ignorance

I see in the Kansas City Star http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/12495725.htm that the Kansas Board of Education, ever-vigilant to protect Kansas school-children from any education that can’t be traced directly from the Bible, may decide to require a parental permission form for children to sit through incredibly teen-age-angst-inducing sex education classes. Angst-inducing, indeed, but potentially life-saving, as well.

Well, it’s the beginning of the new school year here in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia, too. Busy, busy, busy! Lots of forms to fill out. “Student Code of Conduct Contract.” “No Child Left Behind Acknowledgment (With Military Recruiting Cluster).” “Food Sensitivity Form.” “Safe Schools Acknowledgment.” “Bus Schedule.” “Two Hour Delay Policy.”

Like I said, it’s a busy time. Children utterly tragedy-stricken because “I’m not in the same class as my best friend.” The already-churning virulent viral soup that seems to forever flow from every school, leaving some children to spend nine months out of every year with a permanent patina of crusted snot beneath their nostrils, like the vapor trails under George W. Bush’s nose after a wild twenty-something night in Old Matamoros.

Anyway, tucked away somewhere toward the bottom of the stack of forms, my wife found this: “Memorandum Regarding HIV/AIDS Education.” That form simply set forth the seemingly reasonable proposition that children attending public schools, from Grade 6 forward, would be taught about the disease known as HIV/AIDS in science and/or health classes. Just as other diseases and natural processes and really neat science stuff might be discussed. Influenza. Food Poisoning. Hurricanes. Plate tectonics. The groundbreaking discoveries of Gregor Mendel, or Linnaeus, or Kepler or Galileo. The mating dance of the common honey bee. What a bean looks like when it sprouts in a clear plastic cup. “What-will-surely-happen-to-you-Johnny-if-you-try-to-pick-up-a- rattlesnake.” Well, maybe not that last one. This is, after all, Appalachia, and there are places here where full-grown adults LIKE for Johnny to pick up that rattlesnake.

I guess it’s those same people whom we might expect to take advantage of something else mentioned in the memorandum, and the thing the Kansas story reminded me of: the fact that, pursuant to about six dozen separately listed West Virginia Code citations, parents can opt their children out of EVER being educated

Like me when I first read it, you decent, normal people, you liberals, you progressives, you Democrats, probably feel like you just ground your molars into a nasty hunk of gristle in the Thursday night pot roast. Sproing! And your lower mandible sets to vibrating and your ears flinch and you just sit there for a minute, waiting for the bone-jarring shock to pass.

But the shock doesn’t really pass, does it? In this case, you finally just find yourself sitting there: mouth hanging open, drool beginning to run and a mad little lunatic giggle rising from your diaphragm. And it turns into a full-blown guffaw as you realize that state legislatures all over the country, scared STIFF of groups that pass themselves off as being about “fambly valyooooz” have actually offered parents the right to sentence our own children to Death By Ignorance.

“Well, Bob, we can certainly teach our children about that AIDS thingy at home . . . or maybe at church. Pastor Whackbottom’s real good at that kinda thing.”

Really, Red State Mommy, can you? Can you REALLY teach little Johnny that, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, he can get a disease and DIE the very first time he has sex? Do you REALLY think, Religious-right Rita, that you can HANDLE a subject like that? Is that why the teen pregnancy rate in the red states is so much lower than in the blue ones? Oh. Wait a minute. It’s not. It’s significantly higher. Just like divorces and child sex crimes.

So, what, Rita, you couldn’t even tell your daughter how not to get all preggy? Or your son how not to get his little girlfriend that way?

“Well, Bob, we told her not to have sex. We told her Jesus wouldn’t LOVE her anymore if she had sex afore she’s a-married. What else didja want us t’do? By the way, ain’t the babies cute?! Me and my hubby, we uz plannin’ to retire in a few years. Reckon we won’t be doin’ that now! We gotta keep workin’ to support our baby . . . an’ HER babies. I think Wal-Mart’s gotta special this week on some o’ that baby formula they make over in China somewhere.”

Y’see how it goes. Hey, I’m progressive, and we’re not afraid to tackle tough topics with our kids. But the AIDS conversation? That’s a rough row to hoe, even for relatively enlightened human beings, let alone people who actually, really, honestly-and-for-truly believe the world got into the mess it’s in because some nekkid woman had a chat with a gossipy water moccasin.

But that “opt-out” exists. And it shows, for about the bajillionth time, that when it comes to family values, when it comes to being “pro-life,” the religious right is about as useful as a kickstand on a submarine. And it shows that our “pro-life” legislators can always, ALWAYS be trusted to do the WRONG THING when it comes to trying to save lives, can always, ALWAYS be trusted to choose jingos over real help, can always, ALWAYS be trusted to act from electoral fear instead of courageous intellect.

Let’s deal with this problem Head-On. This issue isn’t about HIV. It’s about condoms. And it’s about some weirdos who think condoms are worse than DYING FROM SEX.

Now, the other side, those bizarre little people who care more about microscopic wads of tissue than they do about fully formed human beings being blown to pieces in Iraq, or real, live American children who don’t have enough to eat every day, or, when they do eat, eat the from the endless, sugar- slammed, fat-filled slop trough that IS the American Fast-food Drive-through, they think things like opting their children out of HIV Education have something to do with “religious freedom.” But that position is, of course, a rotting corpse hidden in the pages of a Bible, wrapped in a flag and packaged for the sole purpose of garnering Republican votes. Because it’s fairly well established in this country, in our Constitutional Republic based upon Principles of Representative Democracy (that’s for the hardcore right-wingnuts who always love to scream about how “”Murrikkka ain’t no dee- maw-cursy”), an individual DOES NOT have the right to put loads of other people at risk based upon their own blinding, horse-gagging ignorance and obstinacy. Typhoid Mary, anyone? Ask yourself: would you find it a little extreme if, say, people who believed it was religiously forbidden to eat, say, raw vegetables, demanded that their children be exempted from learning about e-coli and how washing fresh vegetables will keep people from getting sick and maybe even dying? Of course you would! Because even if a few science-hating zealots didn’t like it, they could always remind their children at home or in church not to eat those forbidden fresh vegetables. Instead, we progressives cower in fear of the zealots, and our legislators enact policies that say “Abstinence from fresh vegetable consumption is the ONLY way to prevent e coli.” But there is a far greater good in helping protect the majority of our children from e coli poisoning than in allowing ignorance to foster sickness and death.

Every time these extremists from the Religion Industry sign this exemption form they do just that: foster sickness and death. They put my kids, your kids, all kids at hazard of a hideous, heart-rending death, a death that may not necessarily be absolutely preventable by so-called “abstninence,” but whose spread CAN be checked with something as simple as a condom.

Teaching little Red State Johnny and Janie about HIV and condoms isn’t going to kill them. Not telling about them can. And it can kill the normal peoples’ kids, too. And, being normal, YOU have the personal freedom to be infuriated by that.


- Bob Kincaid

Monday, August 29, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Periods of National Disgrace

Remember when words like torture and car bombings would disturb you? Remember when you couldn’t hear words like atrocity without feeling sick? When the world can come together over a disaster just to sell collector’s items and create memorabilia for it, when letters are sent immediately to acquire a copyright on a personal photograph of people jumping to their deaths we have something to worry about. Remember when you used to worry? It’s not that we are numb; I really don’t think that is it exactly. I think the word numb like many other words are thrown around too easily. After all, can you really recall off the top of your head what qualifies as an atrocity, or genocide? I don’t pretend to have the answers, all I know is that it doesn’t seem that enough people take the horrible events in this world seriously enough. How easy is it to read a headline about a child strangled in a public restroom and then walk into one the next time you walk into a mall?


- Chris Mansel

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

‘W’ and the ‘W’ Word

A piece by Matt Osborne whose piece Some Good Intelligence was well received by our readers.


After months of linguistic contortions by his subordinates, our president recently decided to put the ‘W’ back in ‘war.’ “Make no mistake,” he said, glowering and pointing his finger. “WE ARE AT WAR!” (Emphasis his.)

Funny, but I couldn’t tell there was a war on. You have to admit, it’s a bit confusing when your commander-in-chief gives press conferences in a golf shirt…from his Texas ranch…during his five-week vacation.

The ‘news’ is no help. The ‘war’ seems to occupy little time in the news anymore. I have no way to be sure, but I sense that Fox News has spent more time on Michael Jackson this summer than the rest of the world put together.

It’s also hard to take ‘war’ seriously when we have not been asked to contribute a blessed thing to any ‘war effort.’ No scrap-metal drives, no victory gardens, no war bonds – and definitely, no taxes.

In fact, I recently heard Brian Riedl, representing the influential, conservative Heritage Foundation, claim – I am not making this up – that tax cuts enacted in the last five years “make sense in peacetime.”

We have given George Bush wartime powers, but we are paying peacetime taxes.

To be fair, this is not the first time that Bush’s team has had trouble figuring out what to call our current state of affairs. On August 6 of last year, Bush declared that “we actually misnamed the war on terror. It ought to be ‘The Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe in Free Societies Who Happen To Use Terror as a Weapon To Try To Shake the Conscience of the Free World.”

What an acronym: ‘T.S.A.I.E.W.D.N.B.I.F.S.W.H.T.U.T.A.W.T.T.T.S.C.F.W.’ I have tried to pronounce this clever invention, but it sounds too much like the common noun for male cow manure.

Normally, such a gaffe would have been repeated eight million times on every news channel, but the sound bite was longer than eight seconds. Our attention spans couldn’t handle it, so Bush got a free pass from the “liberal” media. Newspapers didn’t pick up the story, either, since news editors would have torn up their AP manuals in despair over the headline.

The only people being asked to sacrifice anything are the soldiers. They are too few, have been ordered to do an impossibly big job, and to do it without any of the right equipment. They don’t even have enough armor. Armor would cost money, after all, and where would that come from? Budgets are tight these days.

Congress has decided to spend only $200 billion on shiny new Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force. True, America would only have to give up twenty-seven of these – less than two squadrons – to replace all 19,000 soft-skinned humvees in Iraq with armored ones. But that would leave the US Air Force with only 2,373 Joint Strike Fighters to defend America. We can’t ask the impossible of our fighter jocks, can we?

Bush just signed the largest transportation bill in history, replete with pork projects for every Republican district. Don Young, Alaska’s sole representative in the House, is bringing home $1,000,000 to build a bridge to an island with fifty inhabitants. Yes, armored humvees would be too expensive in peacetime.

But we’re still at war. Right?

Actually, Bush has been pretty confused about this war-peace thing, too. On June 18, 2002, he said: “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.”

Yes, dear reader, this is the source of our confusion: ‘war’ is actually ‘peace.’ In fact, I believe that about sums up the situation. Perhaps this should be the new slogan, replacing ‘Global War on Terror’: WAR IS PEACE. Perhaps we should all learn to say it out loud, right now.

And while we repeat it, there is one small contribution we can make for the ‘war:’ we can surrender our freedom to the Patriot Act. See? Now we’re sacrificing. Don’t worry: you won’t miss freedom. In fact, it was really a form of slavery all along. Repeat after me: FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

And though it may seem a digression, let’s go ahead and honor Our Divinely-Inspired Leader’s wishes by removing evolution from biology textbooks. Along with the Orwellian-titled ‘No Child Left Behind’ law, this will be GOOD for America! Repeat after me: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Repeat all of them together:
WAR IS PEACE.
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Don’t stop! Big Brother – er, Our Compassionate Commander – exhorts you not to stop. After all, The Esteemed Conservative told us in his inaugural address that the War on Terror “will be the concentrated work of generations.”

That’s generations, folks. As in, you’re not getting your freedom back. Or your children. Sorry, but that’s the way it is, from now on.

You there! Start chanting!


- Matt Osborne

The Putrefaction of the Meat on The Bone

“There is a stir of dust from old leaves
Will you trade roses for acorns…”

- Ezra Pound, from Canto 79



The air is thick these days with the regurgitation of lies to the point of a strange dissonance over the country. So much vile trading back and forth you can almost hear the cries and screams of a prison tier echoing from the quiet neighborhoods of suburbia. The tense moments of a car backfiring at a public event will send the hairs on the back of your neck straight up. You turn on the television or radio and you are bombarded with the language of dead citizens back to the Plymouth landing twirling in their graves for stillness. Bile reeks in the ear at a decibel previously unknown to man. Television used to be a respite from the haggard existence of daily life but now you are bombarded not only commercially but also morally and philosophically.
The election of 2000 and the shrieking and fraudulent success of the Right Wing changed this country more than any election in its relatively short history. Not only do the inmates have the keys to the weapons bin they also have the archaic task of carrying out a doctrine of raising the maggots to the living corpse, sometimes at birth. What little freedom this country has anymore will fall, collapse, and crumble at the very hands of the American public. Many of the voters that elected this wall of fascism around them will now criticize the war in Iraq but will unwaveringly support the domestic policy. How do you know you’re insane America? When you cannot see the trees for the forest? No, you are insane when you grovel at the feet of your own demise.



- Chris Mansel

Monday, August 22, 2005

Attack of the Luddites

A piece by our Chief Analyst Bob Kincaid


Last night, at the end of a very busy day of work on the Head-On Radio Network studios, my wife and I sat down for a few minutes of relaxation and television. At hand was the History Channel’s piece on ancient Roman medicine. It was a fascinating depiction of the work of Galen of Pergamum, including many of his theories for the treatment of sports injuries, not the least of which was his invention of traction in the treatment of broken bones and connective tissue strains.

Also featured on the program was an analysis of an ancient Roman surgical kit found in a burial in Colchester, England. Those instruments, laid side-by-side with modern ones were practically indistinguishable. Scalpels, retractors, hooks, forceps: they were all there.

At some point in the narrative, the voice-over remarked “But all this was lost to the world. Modern science did not discover them so much as they RE-discovered them.”

My pink little ears perked up at that frank admission and I said to my lovely wife “But what they fail to mention is WHY the technology was lost.” As is so often the case, there is as much knowledge in what is un-said as in what is said. It’s like what a music teacher told me many years ago: that there is as much music in the silences between the notes as in the notes themselves.

You know already why the technology was lost. You know already why Europe had to wallow in pain and ignorance and misery for fifteen hundred years.

What brought about the internal decay of the Roman Empire? What dashed all its learning, its scientific advances into the forgotten dust of the ages?

Here’s a hint: what destroyed the immense scientific learning of the peoples of Meso-America and South America? What destroyed those cultures so thoroughly that their science is lost until it is again re-discovered by some happily curious accident?

Christianity.

Christianity turned its back on the scientific advances of the Roman world. Christianity declared as heresy the ceaseless search for the advancement of knowledge. Christianity killed those who would have followed in the footsteps of Galen, or Archimedes. Christianity chose to replace knowledge gained by painstaking observation with superstition ginned up by pseudo-intellectuals debating the number of angels doing the Medieval Boogaloo on the head of a pin. Christianity replaced Galen’s early theories of antiseptics with the belief that bathing was witchcraft. Christianity and its popes and priests, its abbots, its nuns, cardinals and monsignors stood on the necks of those who dared revive the thought of the ancients. Galileo, after all, was sentenced to death by the Church for noting, as had the ancients, that the earth was not at the center of the universe; that, in fact, the earth revolves around the sun and not vice-versa. It is of no consequence that the death sentence was lifted, for the intellectual death sentence was carried out. Galileo’s sentence was commuted to life under house arrest on the condition that he never again argue that the earth was round, or not at the center of God’s creation, or, most importantly, not God’s creation at all.

So we have the Church to thank for fifteen hundred years of abject misery and toxic ignorance. I mention only in passing that the only reason ANY of the learning of the ancients survived was because the Muslims managed to keep some of that learning out of the pyromanic hands of the Church. But never mind. Muslims are backward, car-bombing bigamists, right?

So, apart from the fact that it provided good conversation between a married couple at the end of the day, what value did this line of discussion have?

You know there is one. You probably see it coming like a coked-up Casey Jones pushing the Orange Blossom Special till its rivets pop. And it’s here. And it’s now.

What ultimately occurred to me is that the “re-discovery” of those medical instruments and techniques was only possible with the rise of reason and common sense inquiry and the rejection of religious superstition. There’s a reason the Renaissance was called that. It was truly a re-birth of Western European humanity’s willingness to put reason ahead of religious superstition. And religion fought that intelligent choice tooth-and-toenail, and is fighting still today. And it fights for its very life; for in the realization that, for instance, diseases are caused by bacteria and viruses and not ill humors and demons, lies the ability of mankind to shuck the chains of ignorance and hate and superstition.

Y’see, the same people who destroyed science fifteen hundred years or so ago are at it again. You can read about them here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/21/national/21evolve.html?incamp=article_popular

That New York Times article details the efforts of something called “The Discovery Institute,” ground zero for the modern assault on science, learning and knowledge. It also unveils the rather shocking list of some of the organizations who make the institute’s very existence possible.

This time, however, instead of using the ham-fisted tactic of screaming “heresy,” the anti-human, anti- science crowd at the Discovery Institute has gotten a little more sophisticated. Now they call their hatred for scientific learning “intelligent design,” and attempt to pass it off as a legitimate scientific inquiry. Of course, “intelligent design,” by its very self-definition cannot be legitimate. It predicates itself on the existence of something that is neither qualifiable nor quantifiable, to-wit: a designer. “Intelligent Design” is a failure in its inception, but that doesn’t stop its proponents from shoving it at our wonderful, curious school children as some sort of received wisdom. It reminds me of the opening moments of “Mean Girls,” where a group of little boys is sitting in flannel shirts and overalls, one of whom proclaims “On the sixth day, Gawd created the Remington bolt-action rifle, so Adam could hunt the dinosaurs . . . and kill the homosexuals.”

You see, by teaching “intelligent design” to our children, we foster the hateful bigotry that says plagues kill millions of people, or other people kill millions of people because it’s “part of the design.” Why try to cure diseases? After all, it’s “part of the design!” Why bother shipping food to far-flung parts of the world? Famine, too, must surely be “part of the design.” Why treat people suffering from malaria? After all, mosquitoes are “part of the design!” Why bother with food safety laws? E coli 1-5-7-H-7 is “part of the design!” By teaching “intelligent design,” to our children, we tell them it’s OK to sit idly by, impotent spectators to a game whose goals are suffering and misery and grotesque, tortured death. “Intelligent design” is a syphilitic whore in a Chanel suit. “Intelligent design” says there’s no sense in trying to make things better. It’s “predestination” and “determinism” all prettied-up for an age that has already rejected them. It’s lipstick on a pig. (My apologies to the pig.)

“Intelligent Design,” with its fake scholarship, fake science and very real bigotry against learning is nothing short of the greatest threat facing the advancement of human understanding. Superstition is not science. Faith is not freedom of inquiry.

Of all the information present in the article cited above, nothing is quite as frightening as the monetary support offered to these sea-monkey scientists by outfits like the Verizon Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. To the tune of MILLIONS, these two institutions have made it more possible for these Luddites to nurture and grow their anti-science bigotry all over our country. Imagine that! Verizon, a company whose very corporate existence is predicated on the reality of the laws of science; whose ability to do what it does depends on the immutable laws of physics; whose ability to MAKE MONEY depends on light particles behaving in particular, scientifically defined ways, unimpeded by angels doing a buck-and-wing on the head of an optic fiber, are FUNDING THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DESTROY THEM! Bill and Melinda Gates, whose Microsoft Corporation created the wealth that enabled their foundation, are funding the people who think little demons are sitting in computers plinking away at an abacus; are funding people who think flash- frozen embryos are more important than it is for Stephen Hawking to go on thinking.

These are the threats to our civilization! Not liberals. Not progressives. Not scientists. Not even Muslim extremists with explosive Yugos or 747s. In the halls of the Discovery Institute lie the germinating seeds of the New Dark Ages. And their fruits are ignorance, superstition, pain and misery. And their blossoms perfume the air with the miasma of death.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Govt Loses 500,000 Oil Barrels Daily - Akpana

Site of Reference: http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/200508180137.html



Daily Champion (Lagos) NEWS

August 18, 2005
Posted to the web
By Tony Ita Etim
Port Harcourt


MORE than 500,000 barrels of crude oil are lost daily to community-related problems in the Niger Delta.
Chairman of House of Representatives sub-committee on Petroleum and Community Affairs, Hon. Daemi Akpana disclosed this during a courtesy call on Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State in Port Harcourt.
The loss Akpana said was a serious problem without immediate solution in sight.
He lamented that the National Assembly was worried about the situation, hence a mandate to the sub-committee to tour states where such community-related disturbances occur frequently.
Akpanan observed that community-related programmes going on now in the area are meeting with little success, adding that the sub-committee is determined to resolve the problems for good of the people and the country.
The committee, Akpana added, had visited Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom States pointing out that the committee had as its responsibilities, to interact with people of the region and find out the problems they were having with oil companies.
Responding, Governor Odili said the loss of such volume of oil on a daily basis, was a great leak on national economic.
According to him, oil accounts for about 85 per cent of Nigeria's national income and about 90 per cent of the country's foreign exchange earnings, hence it will be madness to allow such loss unattended to.
Some oil producing communities, Odili noted, cannot produce 500,000 barrels per day, yet they are referred to as oil producing, and appealed to the subcommittee to ensure that sacred facts about the situation are utilized in the decision making process.
Odili decried the total dependence on oil and gas, and advocated need to explore other areas to enable the nation's economy boom.
He commended the House for taking the steps and assured of the cooperation of Rivers people in the process.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Gaza Strips of Wrath

I wonder if the citizens now being dragged out of the Gaza Strip have ever read John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath. When Tom Joad returns home to find his family has been run off their land they have to venture to California, the supposed land of promise, they have to try and scratch out a living. What these citizens need to remember is once upon a time there were other citizens who were run off their land and loaded into train cars and were taken to camps. In Grapes of Wrath the Joad’s go into several camps but are able to choose where they sleep and are actually allowed to keep their children with them. The citizens that were taken and put into train cars were not so lucky, millions of them died. The ones that survived slowly made their way to Palestine. Once they were there they found another war. It appeared that no one wanted them. No one wanted the Joad’s unless they would work all day for someone else and to earn pennies a day.
Whether or not Steinbeck had a vision of Arab citizens living in a land that is not recognized by anyone and is under the constant threat of those citizens that escaped a war of genocide I do not know.. But as much attention is being paid to the citizens of the Gaza Strip being misplaced no attention is being considered those that once went looking for a home they could call their own.

- Chris Mansel

"I WANT THE TRUTH"

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Cindy Sheehan's of the World


Tonight on the Mansel Report let’s all take a moment and send the best of wishes to Cindy Sheehan. Her son that died was 24 yrs old. I read somewhere recently that the average age of the troops that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan are 19 yrs old. Cindy Sheehan is doing what very few people could do, she is standing up for her son who is dead now, she is standing up to the ridicule of the media, to the changing law, the daily changing laws in Crawford, Texas and she is being made a pawn by both right and left wing causes when all she wants is answers.
I was born in 1968, the year this country erupted in assassination and the year also that the war in Vietnam escalated. There were demonstrations on college campuses, in the streets, there were racial injustices all of this while I was living my first year of life. I look at where my life is now and I truly don’t see that there is that much of a difference.
In 1968 there were thousands dying, yet in 2005 there are millions. From war to poverty, to starvation to the AIDS epidemic millions are dying. There are protests but they are more subdued now because of the ferocity of the governments arm and its reach that extends beyond illegal search and seizure. A few men took the right to privacy away from a country upon which we depend. A country we will not investigate. A country we know is implicit and a country that is considered family to a president who will not be dissuaded from his mission of perfectly orchestrated and premeditated anarchy.
The Cindy Sheehan’s of the world are the ones next to the tyrants who are remembered in history. The young man who stood in front of the tank in China, no one knows his name but we remember the image. We remember Gandhi but do we know the face or name of the thousands that he inspired? So now millions are dying and one woman would like to ask a few questions about the death of her son, what is the harm? What the harm may be is that the president just doesn’t care.


- Chris Mansel

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Dialogue of Sadists

President Bush: What do we do about this new Iranian President? Do we let him have a visa?

Karl Rove: Of course, we can’t be perceived as being totally resistant to talks with them; that he wants to come here and that the press has not caught onto the fact that we invited him is working in our favor.

President Bush: Karl, you think they’ll get wind of it?

Karl Rove: No I don’t think so not unless we fall through on the aid we promised him under the table. We know he was in on the terrorist kidnapping we have slowly evolved that information. That is how he worked his way up through the ranks of the Iranian government. While we really have no problem with that, it’s not unlike a CIA operation we would carry out.

President Bush: So we have got things in common with terrorists?

Karl Rove: You’re in you’re second term I think there are some things you should be made aware of.

President Bush: Karl you old bastard you. Tell me what you want to, whatever you think I need to know.

Karl Rove: Halliburton has been doing business with terrorists for years. Whenever the books need to balance terrorists through the years have sabotaged or attacked certain installations built by Halliburton so they could re-build. It’s a clever and legal way of laundering money until you get found out.

President Bush: The citizens of this country have no idea just what lengths we will go to in order to protect them.

Karl Rove: Christ had his crucifixion and we’ve got the youth of America, kind of poetic if you think about it.


- Chris Mansel

Some Good Intelligence?

The following article was first published in the Times Daily, a newspaper in Florence, Alabama on July 22, 2005. The Times Daily is owned by the New York Times.

It's the season for revealing classified information, so I have decided to tell readers of an "incident" in 1997. You did not hear about it on the news, but it certainly happened. I know, because it happened to me.

I was in the Army, deploying to Kuwait on a chartered Boeing 747. On our final approach to the airport, the pilot suddenly made a hard, banking turn over the Persian Gulf. We landed more than an hour behind schedule.

Because I worked with the counter-intelligence team in Task Force 2-12, I was given the details after landing: Kuwaiti security forces spotted a local man aiming a Stinger missile at our plane. They shot and killed him.

In the course of further investigation, we found the man had no ties to Iraq -- he was a Saudi-born member of al-Qaida. His weapon was made in, and supplied by, America; it was a Cold War artifact of the CIA and the Afghan mujahideen. America refused to clean up that mess after the Cold War, and paid the price on 9-11.

Oops, I "blamed America." Sorry!

This "incident" happened two years after Osama bin Laden issued his fatwa declaring war on the United States. But most Americans didn't know about that -- or care -- because there were more interesting subjects for our 24-hour news cycle. We cared more about Monica's blue dress than Osama's Stinger missile, didn't we?

Oh, wait -- sorry. That's "blaming America again." My bad.

My experience was almost routine. For years, American soldiers took fire without Geraldo Rivera and Oliver North reporting it. Quite simply, the "war on terror" did not exist.

That's because a decade before this "incident," the Pentagon had invoked the Posse Comitatus Act, declaring terrorism "a matter solely for law enforcement." Passed in 1878, to protect Americans from military government, the law was an excuse to do nothing about terrorism.

I know this will be hard for some readers to accept, for it is contrary to popular imagination ("informed" by Hollywood fantasies like "Navy Seals"). Nevertheless, it is true: Before 9-11, our military's only response to terrorism was an occasional salvo of missiles.

Seen from Osama's point of view (I am not begging the reader's sympathy, only your imagination), our cruise missiles carried this message: "You are beneath us. We don't care enough about you to really get off our duffs and come after you."

This was not merely a "Clinton-thing," either. As late as June 2001, just months before our nation's day of tragedy, President Bush withdrew Marines from Jordan and canceled a joint exercise because of al-Qaida "chatter." This was called "force protection" in the Pentagon, but was labeled "cowardice" in Afghanistan.

Darn it, there I go with the "Bush-bashing." Sorry.

And if the Pentagon saw little gain in fighting bin Laden, there was even less incentive for a commander-in-chief. Let's be realistic: Before 9-11, if any president had sent 20,000 troops into the hills of Afghanistan, Americans would have called for his head. Popular opinion held Afghanistan even less important than Bosnia or Kosovo.

By the same token, no general wanted his troops in harm's way just to kill some cave-dwelling religious nut. Even today -- almost four years after 9-11 -- America still hasn't really sent everything we have after bin Laden. We've gone back to finish the war we wanted in Iraq, rather than finish the war we have with al-Qaida.

We should have gone after those wicked men in Afghanistan with everything we had, while our blood was hot and our cause just. We did not do that, and I fear we will pay a terrible price.Aww, there I go again, "Bush-bashing" and "blaming America." I just can't help myself.Saddam was no threat. In 1997, our single brigade was enough to keep Saddam contained for the entire year; Osama was shooting at us. Now, Saddam's in jail, surrounded by 140,000 troops, while Osama is still shooting at us. Clearly, we are not "better off," as the president claims.Before 9-11, Osama had already killed more Americans than Saddam, but we did not pursue him. Now, we lose almost as many Americans every day of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" as we have lost in pursuit of bin Laden since 9-11. Clearly, we are not "safer," as the president claims.But of course, these are facts; and they are not easy to swallow. Therefore, I am only "Bush-bashing" and "America-blaming." Obviously, I "do not support our troops," and I must be "with the terrorists."

Or, am I merely using good intelligence and common sense? I report; now, you decide.



- Matt Osborne

When What If Becomes How Could You

Let’s be honest here, I agree with President Bush it would be wrong to stop a war we started, it would be wrong to embolden the terrorists in Iraq who were formally elsewhere and targeting other nations, it would silly to bring our troops home and use them in other more meaningful ways, hell it would weaken defense contracts, we might have to put billions of dollars into education or into healthcare, or education. My god, what are these damn liberals thinking? Where would we be if we did the right thing? This insanity of peaceful thinking has got to stop. The next thing these dang liberals will want is an honest investigation into election misconduct or to hoist Tom Delay from his fortress of security guards grasp and return him to Texas to stand trial. It’s madness.
But on the other hand let’s say we did try this for a while. What if we did pull our troops out of Iraq right now you can be sure that if you dug up Nixon he’d get elected in 2008, any republican would. If you made the Saudi’s happy and gave them free reign in Iraq which is what they want anyway, if you were to arm their terrorists, the Saudi terrorists they could attack and attack and attack. What if we had the money to send every American child to school with a full belly and make sure they have food when they get home, just think of it. We’ll even sign in blood that the Bush family can have the oil if they will just move over and let us all survive. Both sides of the coin are flying against each other and if you catch a glimpse in the tear in my eye you’ll see that it’s a two-sided coin and it didn’t come from my pocket.


- Chris Mansel

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Embedded Reporter



Can you imagine the life expectancy of an embedded reporter in Kontum or Khe Shan in Vietnam? Don’t you think these war weary troops in 1969 far too grizzled beyond their years would have put up with a FOX OR CNN reporter in their tan jacket with the pockets in front? Staring brazenly and in the epitome of mock weariness of the struggle of the troops and what that reporter had been through that day?
The embedded reporters in Iraq were trained by the American military and for the most part, maybe 94 percent have been flag wavers for the bush administration. The same pundits who are raking every one who doesn’t play ball or tout the bush regime are the same kind who used to come to Da Nang and look out at the rice paddies in the distance and go to some cocktail parties and go back home and tell the tales of war.
Journalistic integrity is still alive and kicking especially when the embedded reporters look at themselves in the mirror, well, hopefully.


- Chris Mansel

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Current Conditions and the Neon of Pounded Railroad Steel

I would like to just remind the American citizen that we have complete and clear footage of this administration lying openly about many subjects. They have lied about the war, they have lied about 9/11, and they have lied about Medicare. So you can be sure that all of the reports coming from this white house about the war in Iraq can be called into question.
The question has been asked, are there nukes being brought across the border from Iran? The administration answer has been of course, sure there are. Asked about a year from now they may answer, sure, we thought they were but we had no proof and I don’t believe anyone in this administration used those words.
When the mainstream bloggers make an attack on a high profile figure it gets reported now on a major news source which is very interesting since about a year and a half ago conservative pundits stated that bloggers were just radicals sitting in their homes typing out manifesto’s, anarchist’s, etc. I’ve said before and I will say it again a writer who is not nailed down by a corporate ceiling of conservatism can reach as far as they want into a story and can confirm what everyone in the legitimate news sources already expected or knew. How difficult is it to capture footage of a politician lying at a rally when most make the footage available to get media attention? The best way to attack a conservative is to simply let them hang themselves with their own temper and anger. Avoid their talking points and stick to the subject at hand. Honesty comes into play with bloggers obviously as well. But to that point is candor. If a blogger does not have the resources that a so called legitimate reporter does, i.e. the budget to make the phone calls, the byline to get the person to accept the calls then the blogger does the best they can. There are bloggers that seek donations to keep them going and that is fine for them if they can prove to those giving that they can indeed work hard enough to earn what is given to them, but eventually the celebrity factor comes into play as it often does with the so called legitimate reporter and then the story is second seat to the messenger.


- Chris Mansel

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How A Documentary Became A Disaster Film

Take a look around you and you’ll a familiar theme. You’ll see the same storyline you have seen in many of the films you saw in your youth. The man in black and his gang of evil doers are carrying out their brand of evil and our hero the man in white is strapped to the railroad track as the train gets closer and closer. It all seems familiar correct? Now days the scene has changed and the film has changed its rating. There is still the gang of evildoers and his gang in black but even now the man in white isn’t as innocent or good as he may seem. Truly he may deserve to be tied to the railroad track. The gang dressed in black is so corrupt that the onlookers, the character actors, the Ward Bonds, the Harry Dean Stanton’s of the world have become color blind. Even the hero’s of today may not be worth saving. What is a hero today? Someone who doesn’t dirty himself or herself with the fight and only takes the high road or someone who gets in the middle of the fight and wears the scars, they are worn inside and out from the experience and speak from experience just what the gang in black is capable of. Now they face the real task, they have to convince the character actors, the day actors, and the people in the crowd shot that the plot is true. The light is on, the camera is rolling, and there is no need to say action, some of us have the scars already.


- Chris Mansel

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings



As the country now mourns the death of Peter Jennings, dead now, the ABC network having just announced his death about 30 minutes ago, many of the news personalities have said of Peter Jennings that he always tried to cover the hard stories. The hard stories in this country are a sanitized version of what is going on in the world and that is a fact that is unshakable. Born in Canada and just became an American citizen in 2003 he was certainly a good broadcaster but never for a moment should the journalist become more than what they are reporting, the story is what matters. From the days of Edward R. Murrow to Walter Cronkite to the modern days of color television and the fast cuts of a digital edge the story is where you should base your dial, whatever channel will give you the news that is the most honest, the least uncorrupted. So presumed to be buried in the United States Peter Jennings becomes just another story to wrap up yet another business day of broadcasting.

- Chris Mansel

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Zen and the Ballistics of Right-Wing Psychopaths

The right wing media to control sources is now exploring the use of a date rape drug. Who told what and when did they know it? It used to be easier to just get them drunk in the old days and take the photos, send a hooker in a summer dress to seduce the mark and secret service agents to coordinate the whole thing but now with the evil doings of the medical empires of the AMA.
Robert Novak used to participate in such cases but he figures now that he has been to enough of the “establishment’s” drown the poor kid parties he just assumes that the old order of doing things will persist. In a memoir planned for next fall Novak plans to expose that the entire Patty Hearst affair was a plan to expedite much needed funds for the George Wallace secret campaign against Richard Nixon, which led to the president’s dismissal through impeachment. Another item in the book will be the exposing of the use of the word Cuban in the Kennedy and Nixon White House. Whenever the word was used the real meaning was invariably liberal.
The one thing reportedly holding back the book by Mr. Novak for these last twelve years is the inability of the publisher to verify and fact check the issues raised.


- Chris Mansel

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Do What Thou Wilt Without The Guilt

In Sept. of 1972 Hunter S. Thompson wrote, “How low do you have to sink to become President?” In August of 2005 you have to ask how low do you have to sink to prove that you are the President? If you compiled a list of everything and I mean everything a President could do that was impeachable and not be called on the carpet for, you might find that same list in Karl Rove’s pocket scribbled in pen and dated from 1987.
The last few years have proved one fact and that fact is you can no longer look to the past to analyze the Bush agenda. It serves no purpose to look to the McKinley administration, or any other. The new ground being broken by this regime is already charred before the sun hits the remains. It’s almost as if the tractors were dispersed upon the graves of the unknown soldiers to build a pool for the Bush twins to paddle around in and hold keggers.
Somewhere in the bowels of the White House, directly beneath the tree house of Karl Rove, about a hundred feet straight down is a room that is fully secure from any listening source, even the Echelon listening posts spread out around the world. In these room minions of Karl Rove control data, video and print. Like a modern day Hearst Karl Rove decides which stories make it in front of American eyes and those that do not. Sound improbable? Then what is your answer?

- Chris Mansel

Because I'm Good At It

The following is a thoughtful and insightful piece from the Mansel Report’s chief analyst Bob Kincaid.

Democrats, Liberals, Progressives and other decent people can continue to operate on the other side’s paradigm, and they can go on getting their asses handed to them. It’s just that easy. They can go on with their America Coming Togethers and their “grass-roots efforts” and they can lose the ‘06 election and the ‘08 election and every election they care about from now on. And they can scratch their pointy little heads and wonder what the hell happened, while almost the entire American radio spectrum is controlled part-and-parcel by the right wing.

Then there’s the alternative: the principled left can stop playing nicey and trying not to offend the other side, holding “grass-roots” tea parties with hand-crocheted doilies while the other side pours out syrup to keep from slipping on the blood and fights with brass knucks and saps. Somewhere along the way, we have to take Sean Connery’s advice from “The Untouchables:” if they bring a rock, you bring a knife; if they bring a knife, you bring a gun.

I listen to a LOT of so-called liberal talkradio. You know what I’ve found? It’s not talk. It’s lecture, even when it’s fun. Once again, the left has fallen back into its snotty old ways. From Al Franken to Ed Schultz, our side has this dumbass idea that what America needs is a GOOD TALKING TO.

That’s what we do to our kids when they go astray. We give them a good talking to. So far, on the familial scale, it’s worked. We know it’s worked because while they tell us they wish we’d just give them the spanking and have done with it, they’ve generally taken the tenets of the lectures to heart. But it doesn’t work for our side with the entire nation. For one, we’re not beaters. For seconds, they’ve already had the lecture. For twenty years. America has grown up. They deserve discussion. You don’t address an issue the same way with an 18 year old as you do with an 8 year old. The Repiglicans are convinced we’re all eight years old.

America already knows that some people here, for reasons known but to GodOrWhatever, are liberal. America already knows that liberals think everybody ought to get to go to the doctor if they’re sick. America already knows that liberals think women ought to control their own bodies. America already knows that liberals think American people are more American than american corporations. That’s all easy. Americans have been told that a million times by very self-assured, well-heeled, well-educated, well-fed liberals.

What America HASN’T heard is that other, ordinary, meet-you-at-the-beauty-parlor Americans think that way, too. And that is the failure of “liberal” talk radio. We make a terrible mistake as liberals if we seek to replicate the success of the Repiglicans by screaming at the ignorant.and hoping they’ll swallow the hook.

We need to give America the chance to TALK! Screw a dittohead! We don’t WANT dittoheads. We don’t want to silently validate the thoughts of the moron in the pulpit. We want CONVERSATION. We NEED to work out the details. We NEED to foster a thousand little radio talk shows in a thousand little markets.

The idea is smart. Smart? It’s freakin’ brilliant! You can do with half the money being used to support “national” shows ten times more from voter to voter. The average listener doesn’t give a rat’s rear end what happened yesterday in Poughkipsie. The average listener enjoys some level of discussion, but she wants to PARTICIPATE. And she wants to make the linkage between what happens in Washington and what’s happening in her living room. And she wants to FIX what’s wrong with what Washington is doing to her family. And she doesn’t get to do that when some guy who’s pretty sure he’s really awfully damned smart spends his time on-air preaching at her instead of listening to her, or hustling her off 10 seconds after she’s given her name.

If we’re at all smart, we Liberals, we Progressives, we DEMOCRATS, dammit, will figure out that we’re about CONVERSATION. And we’ll have that conversation. We’ll invite it. We’ll foster young talent in small radio markets. There’s a reason Major League Baseball developed the farm system.

We dare not wait for some liberal performer with some downtime to decide he wants to do radio, if the price is right. What we must do is listen carefully for the passion of people who have the necessary hunger to talk to other people. Them we foster. Out of a thousand, three may go national. They will do so because they like to talk to people; not because a think tank has spoon-fed them their talking points. If their conversations are informed by their progressive thinking, others will be drawn to them, in one degree or another.

Here’s a comparison:

Right Wing Host “My friends, I come to you today FILLED with outrage . . . FILLED, I tell you! It has come to my attention that a little girl in Pocatalico was PREVENTED FROM PRAYING when her teacher sent her to beat the erasers! PREVENTED FROM PRAYING! Can you imagine? What do you think?” (Repeat for three hours)

Liberal Local “Jim, I know you called about the deficit, but did you also notice that Congress just gave a pass to the Saudis with the Energy Bill?”

Listeners aren’t MORONS. They’re generally capable of CONVERSATION. And it’s FUN! And it generates return listeners and return callers. And it changes the political landscape.

And it just happens to be the key to winning.

Karl Rove

The same joke is told to a republican and to a democrat. The man telling the joke doesn’t offer any political affiliation of any kind.
He says, here’s the joke, “A guy walks into a daycare center squeezing his scrotum and asks for a handout. The teacher answers that she has no money and that this isn’t the kind of a place that gives a handout. The man still squeezing his scrotum looks around the room and picks a small boy from the other boys and girls…”
At this point the republican falls to his knees laughing while the democrat looks on in horror. The man telling the joke waits for the republican to collect himself. Eventually the Republican stands up and through choking back laughter says, “1980 campaign, Karl Rove district of Columbia, on a Wednesday!”

- Chris Mansel

Nigerian Oil and Chevron




As I have reported earlier Nigeria has recently signed a deal with Russia to export its oil and a deal is in the works with China, two countries that are soon to conduct military maneuvers together. Today news comes from Nigeria that South Korea and the U.S.’s company Chevron may clash over a deal in Nigerian Oil. The U.S. media has no mention of this story or its impact on Chevron’s stock. It doesn’t seem to difficult to keep a story out of the press when the editors of most of the news outlets in this country are conservative.


- Chris Mansel

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Novak, "That's Bullshit!"

Robert Novak blurts out, 'That's bullshit!' and storms off the CNN set. When it comes to moral decencey and political correctness don't depend on a republican. As you can tell on the screen this is the new strategy for the Republican Party, if you are asked something you do not wish to answer simply use profanity and storm off. One can almost hear President Bush saying, "You won't have this Bush to kick around anymore."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bohemia Grove Texas Style (for the folks at Crooksandliars.com)

(The above photo drew many calls that an aircraft was flying towards a building in Washington)


On the same day his second father King Fahd was laid to rest in Saudi Arabia President Bush put on the same clothes he always wears to clear away brush, sweat, and hint at what he will do later in the day and get his hands into the dirt as to try and channel the goateed overweight sheik who meant so much to him that he had to hold his hand when he walked. If you will notice in the footage during the campaign he did not hold his mother or his father’s hand as he walked but then again there were not pretty flowers growing in a desert to gaze at.
In a story credited to Washington Post staff writers, I suppose all the big name writers were either overwrought at the King’s death, hung over from celebrating the King’s death or too tired from following ol’ puppy blood sucker Bob Novak to his office where he has a life size cardboard cut out of Ann Coulter with her mysterious Adam’s apple circled in red ink or back to his home where he enters into the basement and reappears hours later dressed for an appearance as to which he will be reminded of during the drive. The Washington Post story stated that this is the longest absence from the White House by a sitting president in 36 years. Now we won’t discuss Washington Post journalistic integrity but we all know who is minding the store even when ol’ Georgie is in the building. However, if you are still curious about all the clearing of brush on his Crawford, Texas ranch it is being done to secretly create a new Bohemian Grove on Texas soil. This news comes from an ex-lover of Karl Rove, the young man asked not to be identified, though at one time it is rumored he enjoyed a White House press pass.


- Chris Mansel

Monday, August 01, 2005

Never Go Against The Family

President Bush: Now you help us get into Iran, help us get permission to fire our nukes into Iran and Condi here will be real nice to you, won't you Condi? (pant, pant)

Condi Rice: "Thinking to herself"(Who do I have to fuck to get out of this administration?, Maybe Helen Thomas had a point...)

Roe V. Everyone Else

A short time ago I made a few predictions and one of them was the overturning of Roe V. Wade. It would seem that the nurturing of John Roberts has been just one of the well organized acts leading up to such an occurrence. Tonight on Law and Order Fred Dalton Thompson held up a plague of the constitution and said to the camera, “Tell me where in this document they said anything about privacy…they didn’t.” Sam Waterston then says to Fred Dalton Thompson, “Not until you get appointed to the Supreme Court and can rewrite the law.” Thompson replied, “God willing.” This is the man who is going to aid John Roberts through the processes of the hearings, etc. Tell me there is no agenda.

- Chris Mansel