Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Evil Empire

The phrase may seem to be excessively hyperbolic, but an examination of a few details of the Soviet Union's history will bear out its accuracy. This was, indeed, for the length and breadth of its existence, an evil empire.

From the very birth of the Soviet Union, there were mass pogroms designed to eliminate 'lesser races' by any means necessary, often including violence. Various of the indiginous races inhabiting Soviet territories were brutalized in these eliminationst frenzies; 'white Russians' dragged non-whites from their homes, beat them with whips, raped and tortured them, stole and destroyed their property, and committed horrific acts of mass murder on them. Entire peoples and cultures were driven to the brink of extinction by the crazed, vicious, genocidal xenophobia of the Soviet Union's dominant white class, often with the explicit aid of the Soviet government and the Soviet military.

One such infamous Soviet program was conducted by the State's Commissiariat for Health. Known as the Ukraine Syphilis Experiment, it can best be described by the following extract:

For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the Soviet Commissiarat for Health (CSH) conducted an experiment on 399 native 'black' Ukrainian men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate hunters and trappers from one of the poorest regions of the Ukraine, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. Informed that they were being treated for “bad blood,” their doctors had no intention of curing them of syphilis at all. The data for the experiment was to be collected from autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis—which can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. “As I see it,” one of the doctors involved explained, “we have no further interest in these patients until they die.”

The study was meant to discover how syphilis affected non-white Russians as opposed to whites—the theory being that whites experienced more neurological complications from syphilis whereas 'blacks' were more susceptible to cardiovascular damage. How this knowledge would have changed clinical treatment of syphilis is uncertain. Although the CSH touted the study as one of great scientific merit, from the outset its actual benefits were hazy. It took almost forty years before someone involved in the study took a hard and honest look at the end results, reporting that “nothing learned will prevent, find, or cure a single case of infectious syphilis or bring us closer to our basic mission of controlling venereal disease in the Soviet Union.”

By the end of the experiment, 28 of the men had died directly of syphilis, 100 were dead of related complications, 40 of their wives had been infected, and 19 of their children had been born with congenital syphilis. How had these men been induced to endure a fatal disease in the name of science? To persuade the community to support the experiment, one of the original doctors admitted it “was necessary to carry on this study under the guise of a demonstration and provide treatment.” At first, the men were prescribed the syphilis remedies of the day—bismuth, neoarsphenamine, and mercury—but in such small amounts that only 3 percent showed any improvement. These token doses of medicine were good public relations and did not interfere with the true aims of the study. Eventually, all syphilis treatment was replaced with “pink medicine”—aspirin. To ensure that the men would show up for a painful and potentially dangerous spinal tap, the CSH doctors misled them with a letter full of promotional hype: “Last Chance for Special Free Treatment.” The fact that autopsies would eventually be required was also concealed... Even the Soviet Commissioner of Health participated in enticing the men to remain in the experiment, sending them certificates of appreciation after 25 years in the study.

Despicable though this program was, it was charitable and altruistic when compared to the moral grotesqueries initiated and perpetuated by the Soviet intelligence community for purposes of 'State security' in various other deeply covert, unspeakably evil programs such as:

* Operation бумажный зажим, or schoon bereik, or, in English, "Clean Sweep" -- a program begun in 1943 and continued beyond the end of World War II, in which the Soviet Union partnered with, of all entities, the Vatican in Rome, to offer a safe haven to top Nazi scientists in every field, especially rocketry, chemistry, and bio-genetics. Literally thousands of Nazi war criminals escaped post-War justice by hiding in Soviet laboratories under assumed identities set up for them by the Soviet government. With new identities, these aiders and abetters of mass murder, frequently serial murderers themselves, lived often luxurious lives, and their work and research, much of which had been conducted in Nazi concentration camps before and during World War II, was the basis for the Soviet space program and several more secret Soviet mind control and biological engineering programs.

* Operation кукушка, or koekoek, or "Cuckoo" -- a covert program begun in 1948 with the explicit purpose of influencing the free Western media and through that media, the peoples of the West, to have a more tolerant, even sympathetic attitude towards the Soviet Union. According to respected insiders, "by the early 1950s, the KGB effectively 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles." The influence of "Operation Cuckoo" on the Western media cannot be overestimated; it is very probable that much if not all of the well documented and inarguable 'liberal bias' of American journalism can be traced back to the influence of KGB-trained Soviet operatives inserted as 'sleeper agents' into U.S. news organizations in the early 1950s.

It is very possible that even today, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the demise of the KGB, "Operation Cuckoo" continues to function as an independent, extranational program whose purpose remains the paralysis through the Western media of any attempt to effectively further the legitimate goals and policies of American national security.

Immoral, illegal, and unethical as these two programs are, they pale into insignificance compared to the true institutionalized depravity of the Soviet Union's top secret "Operation бабочка, or, vlinder -- literally, "Butterfly".

Operation Butterfly originated with Nazi mind control research programs begun and greatly advanced within German concentration camps, specifically death camps like Auschwicz and Treblinka, where inmates were not only worked to death and/or mass murdered in ovens, by gas, and by machine gun fire, but where thousands died in the name of dubious and horrific Nazi experiments. With the results of these experiments augmented by a newly synthesized experimental drug that would soon come to be known throughout the world as LSD, Operation Butterfly quickly established a hellish series of procedures whereby an adult, or especially a young child, could be subjected to scientifically designed traumas which would result in the mind of the subject fissuring into dozens, hundreds, or thousands of 'alters' -- alternate personas -- as a defense mechanism for coping with the terrors and abuses inflicted by this program.

These specific torments, combined with forced administration of brain altering and behavior controlling chemicals and rigorous applications of hypnosis, allowed these fractured shards of a once healthy persona to be sculpted into whatever the master programmer might desire -- an undetectable courier, a spy with total recall of anything heard or seen, a seemingly fervent and zealous infiltration agent, a pre-programmed assassin with actual 'superhuman' mental and physical abilities, or a sex slave, among many other potential applications. All of these tasks and/or roles could be, and generally were, present within each finished 'product' of the Butterfly Program.

From a security standpoint the most appealing thing about 'Butterfly' operatives was that due to their forced and hypnotically controlled schitzophrenia, they could be commanded to carry out covert tasks for their control agencies with little to no risk of exposing the agency, or the Butterfly Program itself, since if the operative was caught, they were generally programmed to either 'self destruct' (commit suicide, or go into a catatonic state from which they could not be awakened) immediately, or to 'shift' to another of their many split personas, which would have no memory of their covert activities.

Operatives could be given vital messages while in a trance state, sent around the world to deliver such a message, and never even know they were carrying any sensitive information at all. These "Butterfly" operatives were perfect spies and couriers -- they couldn't betray sensitive data they didn't know they were carrying, nor could they endanger an operation they had no conscious knowledge actually existed.

Had Operation Butterfly been confined to willing subjects, its morality might at least be arguable, but the Nazi scientists who founded the program, and their Russian proteges', quickly found that the techniques needed to be applied as soon in the formative processes of the human psyche as possible for this process to be truly effective. In other words, the best "Butterfly" operatives were inducted into the program as children. Often members of the Soviet Union's political elite volunteered their children in exchange for political influence and favor; other times, the KGB simply confiscated entire orphanages full of "wards of the State" to be transformed into mind controlled slaves in the service of Soviet national security.

As sex has always been a key weapon in intelligence work, both to inveigle information out of key sources, and for purposes of blackmailing otherwise unwilling individuals into cooperating with efforts they would normally find repugnant, "Butterfly" operatives were rigorously trained in sexual techniques as well as other useful espionage skills. And while it is problematic to call anything done to people already so victimized as 'abusive', it was inevitable that "Butterfly" operatives came to be utilized by Soviet officials on the highest level as easily available, utterly compliant and controllable sex slaves. For people holding high positions, blackmail is always an imminent, hovering threat; the enormous attraction of programmable, expendable sex objects whom one can do anything one wants to and with, and who can then be induced to forget about the sexual abuse entirely as soon as it is over, or to never speak of it to anyone else, is immediately obvious.

Like Operation Cuckoo, Operation Butterfly has been reported as surviving the end of the Soviet Union, and, in fact, continuing to thrive today. The techniques for turning children and even adults into programmable, compliant slaves and tools that can be employed to any illicit or covert purpose did not die with the KBG, and there may very well be a secretive network of controllers and "Butterfly" trained, mind controlled slaves still in existence at this moment, still actively being accessed and used by members of various international governments and espionage agencies. It is even rumored that there continues to be a thriving trade in missing children who are stolen and sold to "Butterfly" training camps all over the world.

Horrific? Fantastic? Incredible? Beyond belief? Something out of some purple, melodramatic pulp fiction fantasy? No. These are, in fact, just a few of the terrible, obscure aspects of the Evil Empire's undeniably evil history.

I have, however, been deliberately misleading my reading audience about one particular aspect of all of this: the Evil Empire in question is not Ronald Reagan's Evil Empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is, rather, my own nation, and perhaps yours -- the United States of America.

For murderous frenzies of violence by whites against non-whites in the Soviet Union, substitute the historically documented surges of vicious anti-Asian and anti-Negro eliminationalism here in the U.S. And I didn't even mention here, because as far as I know the Soviet Union has no equivalent to, the unprecedentedly widespread genocidal campaigns undertaken against the Native American by the United States government and its white citizenry through much of our nation's history.

Revise the phrase 'Ukraine Syphilis Experiment' only slightly to 'Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment', and you have the name of one of the most hideous publicly known events in American medical history. All quoted passages were taken from the linked source material and given minor alteration to support the central conceit of this essay.

For Operation Clean Sweep, substitute "Operation Paper Clip". For Operation Cuckoo, substitute Operation Mockingbird.

Let me note that where I described "Operation Cuckoo" as infiltrating Western media on behalf of the Soviet Union, Operation MOCKINGBIRD did exactly the same thing... on behalf of the CIA. It was, in fact, a clandestine operation that is likely still in effect, meant to so utterly control American media as to make the rather Nazi-like message of American 'exceptionalism', and its concomitant 'necessity' to spread the superior American way of life all over the world, by military force when necessary, a concept that most Americans would simply accept as an unquestionable truth.

The effort was and is a stunning success; even the American left wing is largely only horrified by our ongoing campaign of terror in the Middle East because they feel we are doing it wrong. Had U.S. troops invaded Iraq illegally, murdered a few hundred thousand Iraqis, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured a few thousand more, and as a result, quickly managed to set up a friendly, compliant puppet regime that would keep the lights on, the traffic moving, the stores and schools open, and, most importantly, the oil flowing back here to all of us at home, only a tiny percentage of Americans would have any problem with this 'war' at all. Most would think we'd done something wonderful.

In point of fact, the U.S. did manage most of the things I've itemized above; our troops certainly and irrefutably did illegally invade Iraq, we absolutely have murdered several hundred thousand Iraqis during and since that invasion, and we have undeniably arrested, imprisoned, and tortured several thousand more. It's that last bit, where we somehow manage to install a friendly, compliant government, that has eluded us. Honestly, it's hard to see how we could have failed in that endeavor, given how pleasant and respectful we've been towards Iraq as a nation, and its residents as a people, up until this point.

Leaving that aside, though -- for the hellish, horrifying, utterly immoral and terrifyingly atrocious "Operation Butterfly", substitute the CIA sponsored programs known as MKULTRA and Operation MONARCH.

The odd thing I find here is that, speaking only for myself, it's very easy to believe in any or all of these programs when they are ascribed to a nation like the U.S.S.R. It's only when one attempts to intellectually and emotionally accept that such things were done (and perhaps, are still being done) under the aegis and sponsorship of our own U.S. government that disbelief and incredulity sets in. After all, we're "the good guys", the "guys in white hats", the people who saved the world from the Nazis in WWII. We're Americans, and we're essentially kind and generous and noble and decent, valorous and brave and resolute, and there are certain things that, as some British character in some novel once said, "simply aren't done, old bean".

But these things are done, and they're done all the time, and they've been done by every government and power structure in the history of man to the extent that the technology of the times allowed.

The idea that the United States of America, its government, or, for the most part, even its citizenry, is some kind of exceptionally noble nation, authority structure, or people, with a concomitant right and/or duty to spread our exceptionally noble ideals and lifestyle and culture across the face of the globe, by military force if necessary, is a conceit and a deceit deliberately perpetrated on nearly all of us by the carefully edited, exaggerated, and distorted version of American history we are all taught in our childhoods, and which is reinforced constantly to us by all of our pop culture artifacts throughout our lives.

Whether we are educated publicly or privately, the same cheerful Social Studies "George Washington could not tell a lie/America saved the world from the Nazis in WWII/America is ALWAYS THE GOOD GUY" bullshit is fed to us by the bucketful, and we swallow it all whole. In point of fact, we are no more innately decent or uncommonly heroic than any other nation, culture, or people in human history... and we are just as bad as any of them.

Our peculiar contemporary liberal notion that America's current 'descent' into despotism and darkness, hysterical warmongering jingoism and rampant dissent-suppression, and our ongoing campaigns of international lawlessness, genocide, and terrorism against various other nations, is somehow a temporary aberration, and that the 'real America' is a wonderful land of tolerance and liberty and that we ourselves are a tremendously decent, kind, heroic, freedom loving people, is, in all honesty, obnoxious nonsense.

We are not an innately good or inherently heroic nation. We never have been. We are an Evil Empire. We are evil now, and we have been for at least the last two centuries, and if you don't want to believe that, and you also don't want to believe in the various things I've detailed above (all of which actually happened, some of which may still be happening), then study the true history of America's conquest of the Western frontier, or American's annexation of Hawaii, or American's acquisition of the Phillipines or Puerto Rico.

The idea that a never ending battle for truth and justice is somehow the American way is a foolish illusion, as are all the other ringing, jingoistic phrases our culture beats into our brains throughout our lifetimes, each and all of which are meant to create and maintain an illusion that we are (although we never put it this way, even to ourselves) a Master Race, destined to rule the world and remake it in our own image, for the good of all mankind. This bloated, fallacious self image is not true, badly though we want it to be. This image of us is propaganda. It isn't real, it isn't accurate, and it is not us.

Maybe someday it could be, if enough of us wake up to the truth about our history, and strive to change the way we look at ourselves and at our nation, and how our nation looks at the world.

Until then, though, the truth is simple, if horrible:

The Evil Empire... is us.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Okay. Here is a page where you can see some samples of what Amanda Marcotte has been putting up with over the past few days, for the dual crimes of

(a) being an intelligent, opinionated woman who is outspoken about her views, and

(b) taking a paying job with the campaign of a 2008 Democratic candidate for President.

I honestly don't know what to say about this, except, if I were to emotionally accept that I share some sort of common humanity with the kind of turds on legs that send people email like Ms. Marcotte has been getting lately, I would be so ashamed of myself and my race that I would have to pretty much put a loaded gun in my mouth and pull the trigger.

Oh, I know we hairless chimps are capable of some truly mindbogglingly vile behavior, and much of it is worse than this... some of it way, WAY worse.

But still. This is pretty inexcusable.

The next time someone on the right starts to snivel and/or rant about the lack of civility on the left, I will have just two words for them: Amanda Marcotte.

One further note -- if John Edwards had had the nuts to stand up and tell Bill Donahue to go fuck himself, live on national TV, I would have voted for the man if he spent the rest of his campaign riding a unicycle across France while wearing a big honking clown nose and a polka dotted thong. Right hand to God.

Friday, February 09, 2007


So, I was going to jump on the bandwagon and get into all this nonsense about John Edwards and his new female blogging buddies. No point to it, since it's already been covered so well elsewhere. But I was going to get into it a little, because, hey, I've got like three readers over here, and I'm sure you're all dying to hear what I have to say on the subject.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the webshell.

I stopped off briefly at this little corner search engine I frequent sometimes... not often, and certainly not when the little woman is with me, c'mon, it's a guy thing, sometimes you just need a little sum'pin-sum'pin. I hit the place up for a quick ego search... you know, typing in my real name with the quotes on either end, just to take a fast glance at what total strangers might be saying about me on this h'yar Interweb thingie.

And I was amazed to see, about six down on the results list, a web page I'd never heard of, that was, apparently, titled with my name.

So I went there, and was even more amazed to see that in addition to my name right at the top of the page, in big bold letters, this page showed my complete current address right underneath my name, also in big bold letters. I mean, my WHOLE address, right down to apartment number and zip code.

The rest of the page consisted of a few carefully culled quotes from past blog posts, one where I was bitching about my job, the other where I was bitching about some literary agent deciding he didn't want to rep my work. There were also a few comments by the carefully anonymous person who set up this page, basically advising that I was a helluva guy, wasn't I? These comments were, in my opinion, both badly composed and startling in their ignorance (they attributed my post about a literary agent as being a post about a publisher who wouldn't work with me, despite the fact that the text they pulled specifically said otherwise), but, well, given the kind of childish, petulant, spiteful mental processes behind this sort of thing, I wouldn't expect any great intellectual prowess to be displayed.

Anyway, while this is obviously meant to be the sort of sneaky, cowardly backstabbing ambush that is completely deniable by whichever spineless weasel initiates it, a simple process of logical analysis as to which parties have access to all this information, along with the necessarily vicious disposition to use it in this fashion, narrows down the suspect list pretty quickly. Obviously, whoever did it needs to know (a) my real name, (b) where my blogs are, and (c) my current, full address. That's a pretty small list right there. Eliminate from it all the reasonable adults, and you're pretty much left with the obvious perpetrators -- my fiancee's ex husband, and his current (psychobitch) girlfriend.

When questioned on this subject by my fiancee last night, her ex had this to say (over and over again): "Uh... I'm not at liberty to discuss that right now."

Not no I didn't do it, don't be ridiculous.

Not Absolutely not, don't know a thing about it, sorry.

Certainly not Oh my god, I'm going to find whoever put my kids' address out there on the Internet and kill them.

Instead: "Uh... I'm not at liberty to discuss that right now."

Ooooooo KAY then.

Here's the thing, though. While I'm sure this whole miserable, wretched, nasty subadolescent "Ha ha I'm taking a crap in your back yard and you don't even know about it" move was designed as a pissy little bit of payback for the way I completely bitchslapped said psychobitch on my other blog a while back, and I'm equally certain that the consequences she envisioned occurring to me were nothing worse than, maybe, me losing my current job, still... even setting aside the sheer inherent viciousness of setting out to get someone fired from their job just because you're mad at them... well, here's what whoever set that web page up didn't think about...

...three kids live at that address, too.

I've lodged a complaint with the site vendor, and this morning, they took the page down. Of course, there's no way to know how many people saw the information before it was taken down, and, of course, for at least the next few days or weeks, that page will still be available in the caches of most search engines.

It's an odd feeling, to be cruising the net idly and suddenly see your real name, and your current address, displayed for anyone who cares to punch said name into a search engine. I've always been careful to keep my phone numbers and such unlisted just to avoid such things; it's an unfortunate necessity, when you're a person with controversial opinions who writes a lot of crap and publishes it on the Internet.

I mean, I'd like to think that all the stupid-ass, slopebrowed, slackjawed, spittle-chinned dimwits out there at the various different bulletin boards and sites and threads who openly revile and deplore me (and, sometimes, my mother) for things I've written and viewpoints I have stated about various comic book writers and artists which they all like and I do not, are all harmless windbags who are just venting their violent fantasies futilely, and, hopefully, therapeutically, into their fiber optic cables. I mean, I'd be willing to bet that at the very least most of them are. I'm a geek, too, and geeks dwell in violent imaginary worlds and we have violent fantasies and sometimes we write about them. I, personally, am the least violent person in the world (and a great disappointment, I have no doubt, to all my asskicking ancestors) and still, I've written some pretty violent stuff myself, on occasion.

So I'd like to think this is all just fun and games for them, but, you know, I don't know. One of these guys could be Rod fucking Ferrell. And if he is, some crazy dimbulb just gave him my kids' address.

Not on purpose or anything, of course. I'm sure whoever it is, was just trying to get me fired from my job.


You get a chill when you know there are people out there who have described in print (albeit from the sanctuary of a long distance connection and an adolescent web-pseud) various violences they would like to see visited upon you, and now, those same people can find your home address any time they want to, because your beloved's ex, and/or the dipshit skank he is currently drilling, don't work or play well with others.

But that chill is nothing compared to the shudder that goes through you when you realize that someone like that might show up at your door... and your kids might be home at the time.

I wonder if there are any laws pertaining to this sort of thing.

I think I will find out.

But wait, there's more::

So, today we had to take the kids back over to the Bio-Dad's for his week of custody. Never a fun occasion. On this particular one, however, Bio-Dad startled the shit out of me by inviting me to come along with him and SuperFiancee to the basement for a chat. Generally, when he has to talk to SuperFiancee about something (which is pretty much always related to the SuperKids, as otherwise, the two of them have nothing to say to each other these days), he never wants to include me, as it causes him palpitations when he even vaguely contemplates my involvement in the parenting of the SuperKids.

But, anyway, today he asks us both to come down to the basement to talk, and once we're down there, he lays it on us: he posted the webpage that spilled my Personal Identification Information for the world to see. It was all him. His psychobitch girlfriend had nothing to do with it. In fact, she's looking into filing a slander suit against me, or something, in response to this particular blog page.

During the discussion that followed, he advised us that the webpage had actually been up for quite some little time -- since last summer, was what he said, when we had a dust-up with him and the psychobitch as regards some behavior between her kids and our kids while they were all on vacation together. (Regular readers of my other blog will recollect the psychobitch essentially responding to a complaint from one of our girls as to the behavior of one of her boys by pretty much advising us that Super Adorable Kid was a goddamned liar and Super Dependable Teen was pretty much a ho, while her kids, of course, were perfect little angels. Which I, personally, did not cotten to at all.)

So that was when, according to Bio-Dad, he decided to put his little PII-bomb into play. He was, he added, rather surprised I hadn't found it before. It had been so long ago, he further advised, that he had forgotten all about it until it had come up again this week.

Anyway, that was the gist. He did it, the psychobitch had nothing to do with it, he was coming clean and didn't want us to blame her in any way. Posting my name, home address, and some stuff clearly intentioned to lose me my job on the Internet hadn't been a vindictive reaction on the part of the psychobitch for the way I had utterly pwned her saggy, wrinkled ass on my other blog back in December when she'd decided to try to stir up some shit in my comment threads, no, no. It had been all about Bio-Dad himself, getting pissy with me over that fracas we had with psychobitch last summer.

In response to SuperFiancee asking if he'd put the page up from his home computer, Bio-Dad almost sheepishly admitted he'd done it while he was over at the psychobitch's house. (But she hadn't had anything to do with it, or, as he said, "she wasn't standing behind [him] when [he] did it, and didn't encourage [him] to do it in any way".)

So then we asked him, okay, why did you say you didn't have anything to do with it, but you weren't at liberty to discuss who might have done it, night before last, when SuperFiancee asked you directly?

Uh. Well. It seems he didn't want to answer the question at a time and a place of our choosing. He wanted to pick his spot to discuss it.

So, here's the World According to Bio-Dad: We asked him Thursday night if he put up the webpage. He said "no". Flatly. No hesitation, no equivocation. "No". We asked him if he knew anything about it, and he said "Uh, I'm not at liberty to discuss that at the moment." Saturday morning, he tells us it's all him, nobody else, and especially, it wasn't the psychobitch -- you know, the one who was screaming at me on my blog last month, and who was threatening SuperFiancee with untold consequences if she were to in any way misuse the knowledge of her parents' home address... which, I don't know, seems kind of familiar to me in this context, for some reason.

Now, according to Bio-Dad, he did post the page while he was over at the psychobitch's house, so, you know, when we get the ISP information back from the webhost, it's going to show us the page was put up from her personal computer. But, still, it was all him, and she had absolutely nothing to do with it, and it's very important to him that we understand that. And he did it months and months ago, and he's surprised I only stumbled across it recently, and honestly, given that I do ego searches about once a month on the average, so am I.

All of which means, assuming we are to believe what he's telling us now, that he straight up lied to us Thursday night.

Yet he can't understand why we might have doubts as to his veracity, or wonder if it's possible he might be lying to protect someone else who was equally, or more, involved in setting up that particular webpage than he was.

When we advised him that we didn't find him to be entirely trustworthy, he blustered that, well, he doesn't trust SuperFiancee, either. So I asked him to name even one specific time he could recall, in the twenty plus years he's known SuperFiancee very intimately, when she's lied to him. He couldn't. Not one occasion. Didn't surprise me; SuperFiancee is fanatical about personal honesty. On the other hand, she can rattle off several dozen times he's lied to her, and, well, the latest one that he admits to is last Thursday. Or, maybe, earlier today, depending on which one of his stories you want to believe at the moment.

He did apologize to me. I guess the potential threat of a criminal prosecution and/or a civil suit moved him that far. When I asked him exactly what it was he'd been trying to accomplish, he had no answer. Was he trying to get me fired? Was that the point of the whole thing? He didn't know. He'd read something on one of my blogs and it had gotten him mad and he'd done this without thinking about the possible consquences to his kids. He was sorry. It was a silly thing to do. He wouldn't do anything like that again. He PROMised. Cross his heart and hope to die.

He's still going to keep reading our blogs, though. He is very insistent, to the point of truculent defiance, on that point. We post our stuff on the Internet. These are public documents. And we have to understand that, when you say mean things about people on the Internet, well, there are consequences to that. Things can happen.

Whether I believe him or not doesn't matter, and at this point, I'm putting it aside. Obviously, we have no reason to trust him, but it's moot at the moment. At some point in the near future, the webhost will provide us with details as to when the site was put up, and what the originating ISP was, and any pages that may have linked to the site, and the ISPs of any visitors the site may have had... and, well, right now, we already have one person who has admitted to us that he was involved, and that he used another person's computer to do it. So that's certainly enough to be moving forward with.

I am reluctant to take legal action against my children's biological father. They love him. He's important to them. I do not want them to have to see him sitting in a courtroom; I do not want them to feel like they ever have to choose sides between him and me.

But he's trying to get me fired from my job, or, at least, he's covering for the person who did that. Trying to cause someone to lose their job over a personal vendetta is just a loathsome, contemptible, despicable act, and one that, if it had had the desired result, would impact our kids' lives in a significantly negative way.

Beyond that, he's carrying out stupid, mean, petty, childish, vicious acts of harassment that put real people in real physical danger without ever considering that when my home address gets posted on the Internet so any random psycho can drop by for a visit, his kids might be home at the time... or, he's covering for the person who did.

Either way, this shit has to stop. And "I'm sorry, it won't happen again, but I'm going to keep reading your blogs and, y'know, if you keep saying mean stuff about people on the Internet bad things can happen" just isn't going to cut it.

This shit has to stop.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Everything old is new again

On January 30th, 2007, the always essential Arthur Silber lamented that we seem to have no contemporary equivalent to Robert La Follette in our current crop of elected representatives. The reference is a passing one, most of the way down the essay, which is yet another of Silbert's marvelously lucid, yet simultaneously utterly impassioned, pleas for the U.S. government, and, more important, the U.S. citizenry, to rethink U.S. international policy from an actually moral viewpoint, instead of using the calculated real-politiks embodied in our ongoing, century and a half old "Open Door" strategy.

Reality is reality, and the world has always pretty much sucked, and nations being comprised of men, it seems to me to be wildly idealistic and borderline delusional to expect anything except the most naked self interest from any group of humans, especially rich humans with lots and lots of mindless, gun totin' lackeys. Still, Silbert's reference to La Follette led me to another article on the former Senator, and what I found there reminded me yet again that however dark things may be now (and they undoubtedly are) on the world and U.S. national stages, and however poisoned and corrupted our current national dialogue between citizenry, media, and elected officials may seem, there really is nothing new under the sun. We've been here before; in fact, we've been here over and over again -- led into unnecessary war by the charismatic elected figureheads of shadowy corporate interests whose only interests in American military engagement abroad are strictly monetary.

Yet, when an entirely media manufactured 'war fever' swept over America in 1917, Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin stood up against it:

By the time he was elevated to the U.S. Senate in 1906, La Follette was already a national figure. He soon emerged as a leader of the Senate's burgeoning progressive camp and by 1912 was a serious contender for the Republican Party's Presidential nomination. The fight for the nomination exposed divisions within the progressive camp, however, as La Follette's more radical followers battled supporters of a more centrist reformer who also claimed the progressive mantle: former President Teddy Roosevelt.

The Roosevelt/La Follette split grew more pronounced five years later, as the nation prepared to enter World War I. While Roosevelt urged U.S. participation in the war-the position supported by the nation's political establishment-La Follette emerged as the leading foe of a war he described as a scheme to line the pockets of the corporations he had fought so bitterly as a governor and Senator.

La Follette personally held up the declaration of war for twenty-four hours by refusing unanimous consent to Senate resolutions. From the Senate floor, La Follette argued: "We should not seek [to] inflame the mind of our people by half truths into the frenzy of war." He painted the impending conflict as a war that would benefit the wealthy of the world but not the workers, who would have to fight it. And he warned: "The poor . . . who are always the ones called upon to rot in the trenches have no organized power.... But oh, Mr. President, at some time they will be heard.... There will come an awakening. They will have their day, and they will be heard."

Those words sounded treasonous to some, and La Follette's constant efforts to expose war profiteers only heightened the attacks upon him. He was targeted for censure by the Senate, portrayed in Life magazine as a stooge of the German Kaiser, and denounced by virtually the entire media establishment of the nation-including the Boston Evening Transcript, which announced, "Henceforth he is the Man without a Country."

As mounting domestic oppression sent more and more anti-war activists to jail, La Follette emerged as their defender, berating his colleagues with the charge that "Never in all my many years' experience in the House and in the Senate have I heard so much democracy preached and so little practiced as during the last few months."
His critics declared that La Follette would never again be a viable contender for public office.

And yet, less than four years after the Armistice, running on a platform that explicitly recounted his opposition to the war and his opposition to imperialism, La Follette won reelection with more than 70 percent of the vote in Wisconsin. And two years later, he earned one out of every six votes cast for the Presidency of the United States.

The bolding is my own emphasis; to me, that paragraph more than any other brought home that, indeed, those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. For the past six years, we have seen our entrenched corporate media repeating the Administration's most jingoistic, pro-war lies without so much as a twitch of so called journalistic ethics, while simultaneously attacking anyone who dared to dissent from the party line like a pack of ink stained jackals.

And we have seen, to our even greater shame, that our current crop of elected representatives and national leaders responds to this propaganda bombardment with the most scurrilous and cowardly displays of fawning, lickspittle toadyism imaginable. The apparent fear that they might be accused of 'cutting and running', or failing to 'support the troops', has all but paralyzed our newly elected Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

While it is clear that the American people want to see definitive action taken -- our troops recalled from Iraq immediately, our economic woes directly addressed, and our criminal executive and legislative leadership impeached, indicted, arrested, tried, and imprisoned for their crimes -- the representatives we have sent to Washington to carry out this mandate are far too terrified of what the Washington Post or the New York Times might say about them on their op-ed pages, and what impact this might have on their Presidential election hopes in '08, to stand up decisively and take the actions they know they should, and must, if they are to truly serve their electorates.

And, again, those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. From that same article on Fightin' Bob La Follette:

In March 25, 1921, at the age of sixty-five, Robert M. La Follette Sr. took the greatest risk of his long political career. Four years after he chose to lead the Congressional opposition to World War I, La Follette was still condemned in Washington and in his native state of Wisconsin as a traitor or - at best - an old man whose political instincts had finally failed him. But La Follette was not ready to surrender the U.S. Senate seat he had held since leaving Wisconsin's governorship in 1906. He wanted to return to Washington to do battle once more against what he perceived to be the twin evils of the still young century: corporate monopoly at home and imperialism abroad.

The reelection campaign that loomed just a year off would be difficult, he was told, perhaps even impossible. Old alliances had been strained by La Follette's lonely refusal to join in the war cries of 1917 and 1918. To rebuild them, the Senator's aides warned, he would have to abandon his continued calls for investigations of war profiteers and his passionate defense of socialist Eugene Victor Debs and others who had been jailed in the postwar Red Scare.

The place to backpedal, La Follette was told, would be in a speech before the crowded Wisconsin Assembly chamber in Madison. Moments before the white-haired Senator climbed to the podium on that cold March day, he was warned one last time by his aides to deliver a moderate address, to apply balm to the still-open wounds of the previous years, and, above all, to avoid mention of the war and his opposition to it.

La Follette began his speech with the formalities of the day, acknowledging old supporters and recognizing that this was a pivotal moment for him politically. Then, suddenly, La Follette pounded the lectern. "I am going to be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate," he declared, as the room shook with the thunder of a mighty orator reaching full force. Stretching a clenched fist into the air, La Follette bellowed: "I do not want the vote of a single citizen under any misapprehension of where I stand: I would not change my record on the war for that of any man, living or dead."

Where is the contemporary politician with this kind of guts today? Let Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton even suggest in some locked and shuttered back room that they make a similarly unequivocal public statement of their own personal political principles, and a thousand so called 'wise and knowledgeable' campaign operatives would have simultaneous aneurysms. This is not how we do it in politics today, such chin-strokers and hand-flutterers would caution. The presence of the modern electronic media, with its instantaneous capacity to communicate across the nation to members of every different type of special interest group, makes it impossible to get elected to a national office with such uncompromising statements. You will offend too many people, alienate too many powerful interests. You must swaddle yourself in comforting, non-specific aphorisms and emotionally powerful but semantically meaningless buzz phrases. You must always unite, never divide; you must continually reassure, and never, ever offend.

Well, Bob La Follette would have had two words for that sort of political advice, and those two words would not have been "Happy Birthday":

The crowd sat in stunned silence for a moment before erupting into thunderous applause. Even his critics could not resist the courage of the man; indeed, one of his bitterest foes stood at the back of the hall, with tears running down his cheeks, and told a reporter: "I hate the son of a bitch. But, my God, what guts he's got."

...It was this militant faith in the people that enabled him to win reelection to the Senate in 1922 by an overwhelming margin. And this faith guided the Midwestern populist as he embarked on the most successful left-wing Presidential campaign in American history.

Running with the support of the Socialist Party, African Americans, women, organized labor, and farmers, La Follette terrified the established economic, political, and media order, which warned that his election would bring chaos. And La Follette gave them reason to fear. His Progressive Party platform called for government takeover of the railroads, elimination of private utilities, easier credit for farmers, the outlawing of child labor, the right of workers to organize unions, increased protection of civil liberties, an end to U.S. imperialism in Latin America, and a plebiscite before any President could again lead the nation into war.

Campaigning for the Presidency on a pledge to "break the combined power of the private monopoly system over the political and economic life of the American people" and denouncing, in the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan's resurgence, "any discrimination between races, classes, and creeds," La Follette told his followers: "Free men of every generation must combat renewed efforts of organized force and greed to destroy liberty."

Obviously, La Follette did not win his Presidential campaign, and that is all the lesson that contemporary aspirants to the Oval Office like Clinton and Obama are willing, or, probably, able, to draw from his example.

But La Follette's ideas were not defeated. He laid an important foundation of Socialist/Progressive thinking that greatly influenced politics over the next two generations:

The 1924 campaign laid the groundwork for the resurgence of left-wing populist movements across the upper Midwest - the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and the Progressive Party of Wisconsin. It spurred labor-based independent political action by New York's American Labor Party and other groupings. And La Follette gave inspiration, as well, to those who swung the Democratic Party to the left in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Harold Ickes Sr., a key aide to La Follette's 1924 campaign, would become an architect of the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who, in the words of historian Bernard Weisberger, "completed the elder La Follette's work."

Roosevelt acknowledged the inspiration of La Follette. But the Wisconsinite's truest heirs were of a more radical bent-people like his sons, Bob Jr. and Phil, who served respectively as U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and governor of the state; Minnesota's Floyd Olson, who was very possibly the most radical figure ever to govern an American state; author Upton Sinclair, whose 1934 foray into gubernatorial politics borrowed heavily from La Follette's 1924 platform and promised to "end poverty in California"; and New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, a veteran La Follette partisan who nominated the Senator for President in 1924 with the announcement that "I speak for Avenue A and 116th Street, instead of Broad and Wall."

And times do change, and indeed, there are different conditions at work in our society right now than there were in 1924, when La Follette's Presidential campaign was defeated. How hungry do you think the American people are now, after decades of steadily increasing corporate corruption on every level of our government, for a candidate who would run on such a platform?

You may point to Ralph Nader's historic failure in 2000, which common wisdom dictates did nothing except deliver the nation and the world into a six year Dark Age that we as yet see only dim signs we may ever emerge from -- but Nader was a political outsider whom the media hated, who ran as a private citizen and who had no electoral base to build from. Imagine if Obama or Clinton, or one of the other serious Democratic contenders, was to actually stand up and declare ringingly their opposition to American foreign interventionalism, to corporate cronyism, to political corruption, to everything about our current entrenched political system and its bloated, plutocratic, war profiteer campaign contributors that every American knows on some level is deeply, deeply wrong... yet that none of our politicians ever seems to want to even mention, much less openly confront?

I don't know. Maybe they wouldn't get any TV time, maybe the newspapers wouldn't cover them, maybe the people would never hear their message. Certainly, any such candidate would be denounced and derided from every political direction by every media outlet known to man.

But maybe... just maybe... the American electorate would respond to this kind of honesty and integrity in the same way as the people of Wisconsin did in 1922.

Of course, it may be that they simply can't do it... that the paranoids are correct, and that you cannot get elected to a national office anywhere in America these days without selling out, body and soul, to the powerful corporate interests that seem to control every facet of contemporary life.

It may be that no one who reaches Congress, or a State governor's mansion, really can take this kind of position, without immediately being shut down by the real powers of the world. Perhaps everyone who is allowed to hold a so called 'powerful position' of public trust is actually in someone else's pocket. Maybe there really ARE horribly compromising pictures and/or videotapes featuring every powerful man and woman currently alive, sitting in some secret safe somewhere, just waiting to be leaked to the media if anyone sets so much as one toe off the reservation.

Paranoid though such speculations are, this hypothesis would certainly explain the absolute gutlessness of every politician we have.

In which case, you have to wonder what terrible sin against power Mark Foley must have committed, to reap the punishment handed down to him last year.

Still, I have to hope that not everyone is in the bag, and that somewhere out there, we have a modern day Robert La Follette lurking on the political horizon... and that this time, should such a man or woman stand up and pound their fist on the lecturn and declare such principles in so uncompromising a way, the end results would be different.

Can you imagine what the world might be like today, if LaFollette had actually won his Presidential campaign?