Some Things Detwaddled

April 13, 2012

Cops, Race, Reporters

by Fred Reed

Nobody starts a fist fight with a man holding a gun. Nobody holding a gun starts a fist fight with his left hand. Nobody who is winning a fist fight pulls a gun.

Journalism in America, and perhaps everywhere, works according to unacknowledged templates in which the reporter fills in blanks, thus saving him the nuisance of thought, for which he is generally not well suited anyway. In matters of race, it also saves him from being drawn and quartered for Crime Thought. If he follows the template, he is safe. Stupidity, sloth, and cowardice are thus fertilized.

A favorite template is: evil racist white cop shoots meritorious black because the cop hates blacks.

This is twaddle. Why is it twaddle? Because every white cop knows that if he shoots a black, he will first be savaged in the local and quite likely the national media. He will then be suspended and probably fired, losing both income and years toward retirement. An ambitious prosecutor will charge him with murder and, in the cities, a black jury will lynch him. A civil suit may follow, led by a lawyer seeking a national reputation. The cop, freshly fired, will not be able to pay his legal bills or his mortgage.

Do you really think he is going to do this to himself intentionally?

A variation on the template is: evil white cop deliberately shoots unarmed meritorious black. The “deliberately” part is tacit but strongly implied. The cop usually says he thought the dead guy had a gun. The media dismiss this with an implicit “Oh, sure.”

Let us play a little game in the peace and security of your living room. You will be a cop responding to an armed-robbery call at a Seven-Eleven, and you will have your pistol in your hand. I will play the robber, initially with my back to you as you enter the store. I will tell you before the game begins that I will have in my hand, close to my body, either a (toy) gun or a dayglo-yellow plastic banana.

You will yell “Freeze!” or something else suitably dramatic. I will then turn, very fast—which is how it would go down in real life—and point the object in my hand at you. Your job is to decide to shoot me or not.

If I am holding the gun, and you don’t shoot, I will, and for a month or so your kids will say, “Mommy, why doesn’t Daddy come back?” If I am holding the banana and you do shoot, you just killed an unarmed kid, he was such a nice boy, everybody liked him, it was a banana for god’s sake. The joker in this deck is that I will, every time, be able to get a round or two off before you can shoot—if you wait to see what I am holding—because you have to make a decision and I don’t. Do you see how this might make for an unstable evening?

That’s in your living room. Try it for real. You’re a cop and you screech into the parking lot, bar lights going. You are scared. You are pumped up on adrenaline. People are screaming. You don’t know who the hell the bad guy is. Somebody is on the floor bleeding out. A guy turns suddenly toward you….

If the robber is white, you will be suspended, there will be a one- or two-day story in the papers, the incident will be investigated until everyone forgets about it, and you will be back on duty. If the dead man is black, you killed him for his color, you racist swine. Tell your wife to get a job.

Another media template is “profiling.” In real police work, it means simply the recognition of patterns. Let me give a few examples.

In a region known for prostitution, a young woman is leaning against a lamp post in fish-net stockings, a plastic mini-skirt up to her armpits, and eight pounds of lipstick. A cop will profile her as a hooker.

Maybe she isn’t. Profiling is statistical. Maybe she just didn’t have enough money for a longer skirt, and she may think the lamp post is about to fall down and wants to support it. But the odds are with the profile. This is how profiles work, and why they are sometimes wrong.

A cop is patrolling in ritzy Montgomery County, in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. A pricey car full of white teenagers tops beside him at a light. The kids see the cruiser and look straight ahead, fixedly, like statues. This isn’t how kids normally act. The cop runs the tags. Stolen, for a joy ride. He is profiling.

A cop sees a scruffy unshaved man driving a new BMW. Nine times out of ten, the car has been stolen. People who buy Beemers do not usually look as if they slept in dumpsters. The cop finds an excuse, which a cop can always do, and pulls him over.

If the driver is white, he is arrested if the car is stolen, or sent on his way if it isn’t. Either way, it is profiling. If the driver is black and scruffy because he is seventeen and making an adolescent statement, and the car belongs to his father who is a surgeon, then it is racial profiling. In the real world, the kid will get stopped over and over and be furious. But if the car was stolen, and the cop doesn’t check it out, daddy’s new Beemer will be in a chop shop in twenty minutes. Take your choice.

Whites all engage in profiling, chiefly of blacks. If you are white, when was the last time you went at night into the black inner city for dinner? Why?

Whether your profiling is in fact racial is debatable. You are walking down a dimly lit street and hear footsteps behind you. You turn and see three black men in business suits, carrying briefcases. Do you worry? No. If you see three young blacks in hoods, or three Hell’s Angels with bicycle chains in their hands, you do. Maybe they are very nice Hell’s Angels on their way to repair a bicycle, but you play the odds. You are profiling.

Let’s play another game. We will recruit a group of black students from Yale, put them in hoodies and butt-hanger pants, and have them walk by night, talking loudly in Ebonics, through a neighborhood inhabited by the staff of the Washington Post, crossing lawns. You will give me a dollar for every call the cops get about it.

Profiling. I’ll spend the summer in the south of France.

All original material © Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
http://www.FredOnEverything.net


Flash Editorials April 7, 2012

April 7, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

The Nation I: This week, President Barry got caught talking in front of a microphone without a teleprompter telling him what to say. For those of you living under a rock, the Supremes are going to rule on whether or not Obamacare is Constitutional. Barry called them an “unelected group” (true and intentional), and that overturning the law would be an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” and that they should not overturn the law which was enacted by a “democratically elected Congress.” God, where do I start? Let me start here…Barry’s right. Not that overturning law would be unprecedented…it’s not. But judicial oversight was INVENTED by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison in 1803. The doctrine of judicial review cannot be found anywhere in Article III of the Constitution. The state legislatures and state courts are where liberty should be protected and where Federal tyranny should be nullified. But poking the bear with a stick is never a good idea, and Mr. President may be sorry that he did not stay with prepared remarks. These nine robed bears remember full well when he invited them to sit in the front row at the 2009 State of the Union Address, and then scolded them in front of the world for a decision he did not like on campaign finance. Curious, though. Back then, superPACs were evil. This year, he’s planning on having some of his own. May the bears eat his law and shit it back at him.

The Nation II: What practical lessons can we all learn from the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman fiasco? First, don’t ever join or become the neighborhood watch guy. Mind your own business and be the watch guy for your own family or just you and a close neighbor. Do you have any idea how much personal liability you open yourself up to by patrolling your neighborhood with a firearm? I am sure most neighborhood watch groups do not buy a liability insurance policy for their acts. Second, you must know the law in your own state for the use of deadly force. I’m not saying Zimmerman violated Florida law. I’m just saying that the deadly force doctrine is complicated and changes very quickly in a physical confrontation. For example, if you’re being threatened by an assailant and you draw your firearm, OK. But unless that assailant makes a move on you, you cannot shoot him lawfully. As soon as the threat is diminished, such as you move away or he moves away, the deadly force justification goes away. If you must shoot, put two in his torso and one in his head. Dead guys don’t testify. Make sure your story is the only one you have to deal with. Third, don’t talk to cops. I’m not saying you should not cooperate, but everything you do and say will be used against you in court. And fourth, if you can leave the scene before police arrive, I recommend it. Even if you are the shooter. Get away from the scene and call an attorney immediately. “Lawyer up,” as the saying goes. So shoot, scoot and lawyer up.

The Nation III: The General Services Administration (GSA) had a big conference in Las Vegas recently, for which they spent over $800,000. They spend money on clowns, a mind reader and a standup comic. They spent $75,000 on a team-building event in which they built a bicycle. They sent attendees home with commemorative coins and a yearbook for the event. This is the government agency that is the landlord for all the federal buildings and is supposed to hold down costs. When this came to light this week, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson got the axe. I’m amazed at the amount of outrage this has generated. People, listen up. The Congress spends $2.2 trillion a year, and you get your panties in a wad over eight hundred K? Get some perspective. The GSA party in Vegas is not what is stealing your liberty and taxing you to death. Sure, it’s an example of how out of touch Washington is. But America should be storming the Capitol. Congress and the White House don’t fear the people, and until they do, not much in Washington is going to change.

International I: Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, has been in Cuba undergoing cancer treatments since late March. I understand he got a few minutes with Pope Bennie last week. Let’s hope the Pope brought his little vial of healing oil with him to Havana. Chavez is 57 and does not want to die just yet. He wants to dick with Washington a little more before his candle goes out.

International II: Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika, age 78, died this week of a heart attack. He was a reformer and pretty popular in Malawi. They export a lot of tobacco in Malawi, although the tobacco goes into cigarettes, not cigars. Which brings me to a point. Are you aware of all the toxic chemicals that go into making paper? Bunches of nasty stuff. If you’ve ever lived near a paper mill, you will never forget the stench of the mill. But people around the world think it’s OK to grind up some tobacco, wrap it in paper, light it on fire and breathe in the smoke. What a lousy way to get your nicotine fix!! If you’re going to smoke tobacco, why not at least look for a stick with a tobacco wrapper instead of paper? Smoke cigars. Smoke pipes. But cigarette smoking is kind of stupid if you ask me. White men learned tobacco smoking from the American Indians. I’ll bet they didn’t die of lung cancer. I could be wrong, though.

Business: Remember back about a month ago, when the Obama Justice Department struck a deal with the mega-banks to limit the amount of money they were liable for because of the “robo-signing” of mortgages as well as lots of other criminal shenanigans in the real estate foreclosure debacle of the last 5-6 years? Well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Part two of the housing slump is getting ready to happen. The big settlement now allows banks and lenders to finish foreclosures that were previously clogged up. It doesn’t matter whether the banks have legal title to the house. The inventory of troubled homes in America is said to be north of 9 million. That means that (1) in the process of liquidating these properties, values are going to continue plummeting, and (2) the housing market will not find bottom any time soon, and (3) the housing market will not begin to recover until 9 MILLION houses clear the market. That means somebody will have to accept the losses on all the foreclosures and write them off. Don’t expect the banks to do this. They’re too big to fail. By the time the housing market hits true bottom, expect to see housing prices about a third of what they used to be. Not 33% lower…67% lower. A $100,000 house in 2006 could sell in the mid-$30,000 range over the next 2-5 years. Are you in the real estate business? Are you in the mortgage business? Perhaps you might think about another career path. Last week, we talked about trends, and sunset industries. Real estate is a sunset industry. Massive amounts of overpriced inventory can only mean one thing…fire sale pricing. Does it make sense to keep trying to milk a dry cow?

That brings me to tonight’s commercial message. Energy is the last industry in North America to deregulate. Think about all the industries that have deregulated in the last hundred years…shipping, trucking, air travel, long distance services, the phone companies, and more. When deregulation happens, there is always a massive transfer of wealth from the old monopolies to the new competitors. Companies like UPS, Fedex, Sprint, Verizon, Southwest Airlines and Airtran….none of them existed until deregulation happened. And now energy deregulation is sweeping across America. The energy industry is also the biggest industry ever to deregulate, a $500 Billion a year giant. The new trend, my friends, is energy deregulation. Here’s my question: Do you want to take advantage of a fast-growing trend that will continue growing over the next 20-30 years? Every adult that lives indoors pays an energy bill every month. Energy is a non-negotiable life-essential monthly expense. Many people will pay the light bill before the rent simply because if they don’t, the utility will cut off their service. But YOU can position yourself so that you get paid a monthly income when hundreds or thousands of individuals and businesses pay their monthly energy bills. Those visionaries who get in early stand to make fortunes over the coming years! To learn more about my Energy business, go to: MasterpieceEnergy.com. Watch the opening video about “Lifestyle.” Then look to the left and click on “Defining Moments” to learn about a truly recession-proof business.

Economy I: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 311,339 in the week ending March 31, down only 12,054 from the previous week. Yet, the Labor Department reported 357,000 new jobless claims…a number higher than the real number by over 46,000!! Folks…what am I missing? What possible benefit is there to the Obama Administration to over-report new jobless claims numbers week after week? Apparently, I’m missing some Machiavellian reason for lying to America.

Sports Part I: The University of Kentucky stepped up strong Monday night and beat Kansas for the Men’s basketball national title. Congratulations, Wildcats!

Sports Part II: The Baylor Women’s basketball team went 40-0 this season, and their last win was the national championship. And most of their star are undergrads and will return next year. I wonder how far they can extend this streak? Should be a great year for them next season.

Entertainment: Professional smartass Keith Olbermann got his smartass fired last week from Current TV, the cable channel founded by Al Gore. With a decidedly liberal, socialist-loving, big government supporting viewpoint, the channel decided that Olbermann was too much of a petulant wannabe star to put up with any longer. Current TV hired Olbermann and was building their whole persona around him. Olbermann sued Current TV for about $50 million, and his former bosses are countersueing for unspecified damages. Think about it. How bad do you have to be to get Al Gore to get a belly full of you? Go back to sports, Keith. I liked some of your stuff on Current TV, but stop being a prick.

That’s all for tonight. Thanks for watching. I am Russell D. Longcore. For all of us here at Dump D C: Good night and good luck.

Dump DC: Six Letters That Can Change History.

Copyright 2012: Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Ron Paul Ends Presidential Bid, Resigns From Republican Party and Congress

April 1, 2012

Paul Will Lead State of Texas To Secede From Union

By R. David Murphy
Royters News Service

LAKE JACKSON, TEXAS – Congressman Ron Paul announced today that he is ending is bid for the Republican Presidential candidacy for 2012. But the rest of his speech today was shocking and holds serious ramifications for himself and the State of Texas.

Congressman Paul called a press conference at a makeshift podium in the driveway of his Lake Jackson, Texas home. With his wife Carol at his side, and his son Senator Rand Paul standing to his left, next to Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, Paul quietly but forcefully read from a prepared speech.

Doctor Paul said, “It has become clear to me that the election system in America is hopelessly corrupt and broken. In every caucus…in every primary…in every state where we worked tirelessly to spread our message of smaller Constitutional government, we found widespread vote counting fraud. We won many caucuses and primaries outright, but the Republican political bosses would have none of it. Continuing to campaign between now and the Republican convention would be an exercise in futility, and a betrayal to the hundreds of thousands of Ron Paul supporters. So, effective today, April first, my quest to become the Republican presidential candidate is ended.”

“Now, I would like to speak to all the faithful men and women, old and young, who have been so supportive of my candidacy over the last eight years: Thank you so much for your faith in me. To quote the writer Victor Hugo – ‘There is nothing that is stronger than an idea whose time has come.’ The goal of smaller, manageable, lawful government is that powerful idea. But the remaining presidential candidates do not hold to this idea. Each one, it his own way, embraces big government and endless wars. So I hereby release all delegates to the Republican convention with the hope that each delegate will refuse to vote for either Romney, Santorum or Gingrich.”

“In addition, I hereby announce that effective immediately, I resign from my position as Congressman from the 14th Texas Congressional District. I can no longer participate in what I have come to see is a government entirely out of control, which is running headlong toward economic and political collapse.”

“Further, and finally, I will continue to fight for accountability, small government, individual liberty and property rights. But not in the way you might think. I have come to a crucial philosophical conclusion. The only way that our goals and commitments can come true on the North American continent is through state secession. Nullification of Federal law will be ineffective because the states have neither their own money nor their own militias. Fighting in the courts takes too long, and we could not reasonably expect a Federal court to rule against itself. The only way left to do what the Declaration of Independence called us to do – to throw off such government, and provide new guards for our future security – is to secede from the Union.”

“I ask all the people who have supported the Ron Paul candidacy to join me in a commitment to liberty, and to the dream of secession. Toward that end, I hereby announce today that I will lead the fight in my home state of Texas for Texas independence. Texas was a sovereign nation before statehood, and in order to wrestle control away from the Federal government and merely survive as a people, Texas must secede from the Union and become a sovereign nation once more. I will gladly seek the office of President of a New Texas as soon as Texas is once again a nation.”

“Thank you for your attendance at this press conference. We will not be taking any questions at this time. Goodbye and God Bless Texas.”

And with his signature wide grin, Ron and Carol turned and walked back to their front door.

Daniel Miller, remaining at the podium, stated: “This is an historic day for Texas. We will move forward with all haste and urgency to lead Texas to independence. Ron Paul is the perfect man to lead Texas to sovereignty, and Texas will take its place among the nations just like Sam Houston predicted.”

Senator Rand Paul had these words: “I grew up being taught by a man who is a servant leader. I completely support my father’s decisions, and will do whatever I can to help him achieve his goals.”

Copyright 2012, Royters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Happy April Fools’ Day. Gotcha!!


Flash Editorials March 31, 2012

March 31, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

The Nation I: It is reported that Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant last Saturday. That’s not quite true. Yes, he did have heart surgery, but it was to install a heart that had never been there before.

The Nation II: John Corzine, the former President of MF Global, was found to have personally placed orders to move billions of dollars out of his own customer’s accounts into wildly risky Credit Default Swaps. And this criminal will not see one minute of jail time for his felonious actions.

The Nation III: Did you buy a lottery ticket for the Mega Millions lotto game for Friday night? The jackpot is an estimated $650 million, an all-time record. If you tune into this website next week and find it unchanged, you’ll know I won and I retired. I guess I could leave a final video saying goodbye. We’ll see…

The Nation IV: President Barry has been running around making speeches this week about how the big oil companies are making huge profits, that he wants to take their tax benefits away from them. Just like a socialist to blame everybody for the shit that he caused. Ladies and Gentlemen, the reason that American are paying north of $4 a gallon for gasoline is that Barry and the Congress borrowed trillions of dollars and then flooded the world with them. America, what you’re experiencing is INFLATION, not obscene corporate profits. When the value of the dollar drops, it takes more dollars to buy the same products and services. All of Washington lies, friends. They caused our economic trouble. They just count on you being too stupid to know the difference.

The Nation V: And here’s another stupid thing Obama is saying lately. He keeps telling audiences that the rich have to “pay their fair share.” I could go on for hours about this one, but let me make one point. I’ll even concede the high ground of the lexicon, and accept the ridiculous concept of the “fair share.” I will pay my fair share as a taxpayer after, and only after, Washington starts SPENDING its fair share. Spending $1.40 and only taking in $1.00 is not fair. Borrowing trillions is not fair. And a Federal budget running north of $2 trillion a year is not fair. When DC gets serious about making real spending cuts in current year budgets, then and only then will I come to the table and talk about paying my fair share.

The Nation VI: Final Obama story, I swear to God. I don’t want to create nausea in you fine viewers and readers. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments for and against ObamaCare this week. And many State Attorneys General were in attendance. But this is being handled in the wrong place. No state should come hat in hand to the US Supreme Court and ask for standing and a ruling against the FedGov. The State legislatures should pass laws nullifying the ObamaCare law in its entirety, with monetary and criminal penalties for Feds who try to enforce the law in states. Oh…I forgot. The state governments have accepted that they are little more then provinces of the kingdom and must bow to Washington. There is an old saying…“You train people how you want to be treated, even when you do nothing.” Apparently, the states like being slaves.

The Nation VII: Mitt Romney picked up the endorsement this week of globalist former president George HW Bush. So the New World Order has started to show its hand as to its chosen candidate. Folks, don’t you get it? The election system is rigged. If you continue to vote, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

International I: Pope Bennie spent three days in Cuba last week and met briefly with hard-to-imagine-he’s still-breathing Fidel Castro. So there they were together, face to face…two despots…one man representing a system whereby human beings are oppressed and impoverished while their human liberty is stolen by repressive laws, dogmatic rules and fear…and Fidel.

International II: Myanmar…formerly known as Burma, is having a national election soon. The Union Solidarity and Development Party is led by President Thein Sein. The nation has an autocratic president, a rubber-stamp parliament and a strong military. Even if the seats in parliament that are up for grabs are won by the opposing party, nothing will really change. Sounds exactly like the United States. Even the name “Union Solidarity and Development Party” is like Washington. The Federal Government is the honey pot for the unions in America, and in the USA, “development” means “fund-raising,’ like the Development Department of your favorite charity. So it’s unions and raising money in DC. Congratulations, Washington. You’re just like a repressive totalitarian regime in Southeast Asia. Or perhaps Myanmar is like you.

Business: Today’s business report is a lesson in trends. Electronics retailer Best Buy is in deep trouble. This week, they announced that the company is closing another 50 stores and laying off over 400 employees in management and support. Same store sales are down over 2%, and they are headed for doom like their old competitors Circuit City and CompUSA. Why? Because lots of shoppers go to the Best Buy stores to test out various electronics and games, and then go to the Internet to make their purchases for lower prices. Best Buy is trying to switch from its big-box-store format to smaller stores in a bid to save the company and maintain profitability. How is this about trends, you ask? Being on the back side of a trend is a ticket to oblivion. Think about all the trends you’ve seen come and go in your lifetime. Remember leisure suits, and disco, and vinyl records, then reel-to-reel tape machines, and cassette tapes, and urban cowboys, and day traders, and music on CDs, and pagers? And cell phones in a bag or the size of a brick? Trends are also some of the economic bubbles America has experienced, like the stock market run-up of the mid-80s with the Black Monday crash of 1987, the tech boom of the mid-90s to early 2000s, and the real estate boom that just collapsed in 2006. When a trend is building, it’s easy to make money. But on the down slope of a trend, lots of people go broke. If you were the best vinyl record manufacturer in the USA, who cares? And if you are betting your financial future on a sunset industry, you are in for some rough times ahead. So in business, don’t you think it would be best to take advantage of any trend that is gaining momentum…rather than losing momentum?

That brings me to tonight’s commercial message. Energy is the last industry in North America to deregulate. Think about all the industries that have deregulated in the last hundred years…shipping, trucking, air travel, long distance services, the phone companies, and more. When deregulation happens, there is always a massive transfer of wealth from the old monopolies to the new competitors. Companies like UPS, Fedex, Sprint, Verizon, Southwest Airlines and Airtran….none of them existed until deregulation happened. And now energy deregulation is sweeping across America. The energy industry is also the biggest industry ever to deregulate, a $500 Billion a year giant. The new trend, my friends, is energy deregulation. Here’s my question: Do you want to take advantage of a fast-growing trend that will continue growing over the next 20-30 years? Every adult that lives indoors pays an energy bill every month. Energy is a non-negotiable life-essential monthly expense. Many people will pay the light bill before the rent simply because if they don’t, the utility will cut off their service. But YOU can position yourself so that you get paid a monthly income when hundreds or thousands of individuals and businesses pay their monthly energy bills. Those visionaries who get in early stand to make fortunes over the coming years! To learn more about my Energy business, go to: MasterpieceEnergy.com. Watch the opening video about “Lifestyle.” Then look to the left and click on “Defining Moments” to learn about a truly recession-proof business.

Economy I: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 319,349 in the week ending March 24, down only 33 from the previous week. Yet once again, the Labor Department reported 359,000 new jobless claims…a number higher than the real number by over 39,000!! For an administration that wants to get re-elected in November, these bureaucrats certainly have forgotten how to cook the books to make Obama’s economy look better. If they just told the truth. But what was I thinking? The Federal Government NEVER tells the truth.

Sports: The NCAA Final Four is Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Kansas. Who do you like? I like coach Rick Pitino of Louisville. He’s been to the Final Four six times with three different schools. They spanked Michigan State to get there. Go Cardinals.

Sports II: Coaching legend Bill Parcells will be the head coach for the New Orleans Saints for this coming season, replacing Sean Payton who has been suspended from coaching for A YEAR by the NFL for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal that put price tags on opposing players. Good choice by the Saints. Parcells sure knows how to win, although he wasn’t able to put together a winning program as the VP for the Miami Dolphins.

Entertainment: The movie Hunger Games opened on March 23rd and took in $152.5 million in its first weekend. If you want to see a fantastic film that is entirely Libertarian in philosophy, see this flick. And remember that this book series is wildly popular with teens. So What? That means that the upcoming generation understands that big government is the enemy, and they will be looking for an alternative. Secession is the answer to all their questions.

Dump DC: Six Letters That Can Change History.

Copyright 2012: Russell D. Long core. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


The Receding Tide

March 28, 2012

Becoming Uzbekistan

by Fred Reed

Several things characterize countries of the Third Word, whatever precisely “Third World” means.

The first is corruption. America is rotten with it, but American corruption is distinct from corruption in, say, Guatemala or Thailand, being less visible and better organized.

Several major differences exist between the usual corruption in the Third World and that in America. In most of the Third World, corruption exists from top to bottom. Everyone and everything is for sale. Bribery amounts to an economic system, like capitalism or socialism. By contrast, in the United States, graft flourishes mostly at the level of government and commerce. You don’t (I think) slip an admissions official at Harvard twenty grand to accept your shiftless and dull-witted slug of a misbegotten offspring. Nor do you pay a local judge to drop dope charges against your teenager. And in the Guatemalas and Egypts of the planet, corruption tends to be personal. The briber and the bribed act as individuals.

In the United States, corruption occurs at the level of policy and contracts, between corporations, special interests, and Congress. It is done gracefully and usually legally. For example, Big Pharma pays Congress to insert, in some voluminous bill that almost no one will read, a clause saying that the government will pay list price for drugs instead of negotiating for a better price. Over time, this is worth hundreds of millions, paid by you. Yet the clause is legal. Or military industry pays Congress to buy an enormously expensive and unneeded airplane. It’s legal. Read the bill. Or agribusiness pays Congress to cough up large subsidies. Also legal.

In Mexico you pay your useless daughter’s useless teacher to give her grades she didn’t earn so that she can get into university. Corruption relies on individual initiative. By contrast, in America, corruption is a class-action industry. Large groups — blacks, women, Indians, unions — bribe or intimidate Congress into giving them special privilege: affirmative action, racial and gender set-asides, casinos, loans and preferences from the Small Business Administration according to sex and ethnicity. Corruption, plain and simple. But legal.

Second, unaccountable and often intrusive police not subject to control by the public. In America formal police departments rapidly grow more militarized, jack-booted, swatted-out, and their powers grow. A law-abiding citizen should never be afraid of the police, and a misbehaving cop should worry intensely when said law-abiding citizen records his badge number with intent to call the chief. Those days are over. Today the cops can bully, threaten, and harass, and there is precious little you can do about it. The proliferating laws against filming the police can have only one purpose, to prevent exposure of misbehavior. Third World.

Any organization involved in controlling a population is a de factor police outfit, as are TSA, “Homeland Security,” the FBI, NSA, ICE, and so on. Against none of these does the citizen have any recourse. In principle, yes, but in practice, no. Third World, but far more efficient.

Third, lack of constitutional government. This is not the same as the lack of a constitution. The Soviet Union had an admirable constitution, and paid no attention to it. America heads rapidly in the same direction.

In America, the Constitution is largely and increasingly ignored by the government. Constitutionally the three branches of government are co-equal, but in practice the Supreme Court is of little consequence and Congress is the action arm of a corporate oligarchy. Constitutionally Congress must declare war, but now the president sends combat troops wherever he pleases and Congress reads about it in the Washington Post. The president can order citizens murdered, ignore habeas corpus, monitor and store email. The government can search you at will with no pretense of probable cause. Third World.

Fourth, impunity. In the bush world, the rich and powerful are never brought to trial regardless of their crimes. We are there. Wall Street runs a clear and thoroughly documented scam, the subprime-loan racket, doing immense damage to the country. How many went to jail? How many were tried? How many now have high positions in the federal government? Third World.

Fifth, a yawning gap between rich and poor. As the American economy declines, the middle class sags into the lower middle class. The sag takes many forms. Prices rise but incomes don’t. Houses go into foreclosure. Student loans tied to the houses of parents become backbreaking. Businesses hire people as individual contractors, with no benefits. Increasingly the young live with their parents. The ship is taking water.

Yet the rich prosper. In America they carefully remain inconspicuous, not flaunting their money. But they have it. Third World.

Sixth, a controlled press. Many Americans I suspect will insist that the press is free, because they are repeatedly told that it is, because they have nothing to which to compare it, and because the control is most adroitly managed. But it exists.

In America control does not work as it did in the USSR, by savagely punishing the least expression of undesired ideas; this would be obvious and arouse opposition. American control works on the principle of fooling enough of the people, enough of the time.

Strictly speaking, the US does have a free press. You can easily buy the books of David Duke, Karl Marx, Hitler, or Malcolm X. The trick is that few read. Television and newspapers rule, and they are owned by large corporations concerned with furthering the interests of large corporations.

Those interests are maximizing the viewership for advertising, which is where the money comes from; keeping the lid on in a country in which various groups would be at each other’s throats if demagogues were allowed to provide the spark; keeping corporations from suffering any sort of control, and furthering the political agendas of the media.

Thus you never, ever, allow serious criticism of Israel, and you never, ever, allow an articulate Palestinian to offer his views. You do not allow any coverage of crime by blacks, which might lead to social upheaval. You do not allow distressing reportage of the wars—a little girl looking in puzzlement at her bowels hanging out thanks to shrapnel. You do not do any serious investigative reporting of corporate corruption. And so on. Keep it bland. Keep it reassuring.

Don’t let, say, a cop talk about what really goes on, or a GI to talk about what soldiers really do in Afghanistan, and don’t let political debates touch on substance. Don’t allow, for example, unrehearsed questions: “Mr. Santorum, can you name in order the countries that border on Iran?” Oh no. One mustn’t reveal to the voters that neither they nor the candidates know what they are talking about. Better to maintain the illusion of Informed Citizens Engaging in Democracy.

Mexicans know what kind of government they have. Americans do not.

All original material © Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
http://www.FredOnEverything.net


Flash Editorials March 24, 2012

March 24, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

To view this article as an animated video featuring ME, click below.

The Nation I: Romney won Illinois and Puerto Rico. The yawn-fest continues. And when I listened to National Public Radio on the way to work Wednesday morning, they announced that Gingrich was a “distant third.” The truth is that Newt finished behind Ron Paul in fourth place. The media blackout of Ron Paul also continues…

The Nation II: Remember the Emancipation Proclamation? Lincoln freed the slaves…in the SOUTH, which had already seceded and was a separate and sovereign nation. Well, President Barry did an Emancipation Proclamation of his own on Thursday. He flew to Oklahoma and said he would set free the Southern portion of the XL pipeline project. While he was walking around taking credit for the pipeline, he forgot to mention one thing. The only portion of the XL pipeline that requires his signature is the NORTHERN section that crosses an international border. He vetoed that portion a few months ago. Oooops.

The Nation III: Congressman Paul Ryan announced his newest new plan for reorganizing the Federal budget. His budget would spend $5.3 trillion LESS than the Obama budget over the next ten years. Both Ryan and Obama think it’s perfectly OK to spend over $3 trillion each year into the future. And at least 40% of those budgets are borrowed money. But remember that both budgets are projections and bullshit. And all politicians do these projections over ten years, when they know that the only budget they can control is the current year. Ron Paul said that if he was President he would cut a trillion dollars in spending IN THE FIRST YEAR. That is truth. Ryan is a lying piece of shyt trying to make a name for himself. But I wish him massive success because the faster Congress screws the country, the faster Washington and the dollar will collapse, and the faster secession will be able to happen here in North America.

The Nation IV: Our President/Overseer/Savior(aka POS) Obama cravenly told reporters today, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.” Here is yet another high-tech lynching, but this time, it will be a white guy. When asked about the shooting, Candidate Rick Santorum called it a “heinous crime.” Both of these empty suits are lawyers, and should know better. How about saving your comments until AFTER a thorough investigation has been done? Yes…a 17-year-old boy has been shot to death. But I don’t know it was murder, and neither does anybody else right now…except maybe the police. But George Zimmerman has yet to be arrested and charged with ANYTHING. Screaming crowds, talking heads and black activists do not constitute physical evidence of a crime. May the Sanford Police allow their professionalism to prevail at a time in which the media and masses have lost their minds.You might find this article about George Zimmerman a fresh breath of truth: Zimmerman’s Story

International I: I find it implausible that Iran does NOT already have nuclear weapons technology. They have had nuclear reactors for electricity since the Shah was in office. Maybe they don’t already have a nuclear weapon built. But enriching radioactive material the old way produces plutonium. But there is an alternative. The Liquid Sodium Thorium Reactor (LSTR) is a technology that goes back to the 1960s, and is entirely SAFE. There are no radioactive waste products and no plutonium. So my point is that the only reason any nation would continue to use uranium is that they WANT plutonium as a part of the process. And, are there any nations that use nuclear reactors for electricity that do not have nuclear weapons? It’s not a coincidence.

International II: Soldiers from the West African nation Mali overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure this week. The former president’s whereabouts are not presently known. Toure came to power in 1991 when he seized power in a coup, overthrowing another guy who had staged a coup in 1968. Apparently what goes around, comes around.

International III: Portugal is next in line for a bailout. They need $12 Billion in loans to avert default. Spain is making noises about default too. And Germany is expected to be the source of the bailouts. I love this. The Euro was a terrible idea back in 1999, and Europe is getting what it deserves. Nations that give up their sovereignty in monetary policy are stupid. If the Euro fails, will any of the nations of the European Union have the good sense to issue currency backed by gold? Don’t hold your breath. I see some new fiat currency based on nothing in Europe’s future.

Shameless Plug: Have you ever dreamed of owning a home-based business? It’s a dream shared by millions of people who crave freedom from bosses. But it’s much, much more…and today I want you to concentrate on TIME FREEDOM. You can always earn more money somehow, but you cannot earn more time. Spend it foolishly and it is forever gone. Long hours on the job steal time from you and your family. Did you get married and have kids just so you could bring home a paycheck but not spend time in their lives? Do you feel guilty when you miss important events because you have to work? You can take control of your life with the RIGHT kind of home business. To learn more about my Energy business, go to: MasterpieceEnergy.com. Watch the opening video about “Lifestyle.” Then look to the left and click on “Defining Moments” to learn about a truly recession-proof business.

Business: Corporations in America are hoarding cash. The Wall Street Journal says that non-financial corporations on the S&P 500 are retaining more than $1.2 TRILLION in cash. Why? Lack of predictability in the economy, and the fecklessness of Washington DC. Also, companies are anticipating and preparing for how hard they are going to get hammered by ObamaCare. Want to revitalize the economy, DC? Slash real spending this year. Lay off government workers, shrink government departments, dissolve programs. And stop “Quantitative Easing,” which is just another way of saying printing counterfeit money.

Economy I: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 315,636 in the week ending March 17th, down 24,441 from the week previous. Yet once again, the Labor Department reported 348,000 new jobless claims…a number higher than the real number by over 32,000!! Can someone out there explain to me why DC would over-report the number of new claims? What kind of drooling morons are on their payroll? Perhaps some of the unemployed could count better than the government employees.

Sports: Remember the nice things I said about the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, and that he had some common sense by releasing Peyton Manning? Apparently Pat Bowlen, the owner of the Denver Broncos, and Broncos executive John Elway, are suffering from altitude sickness. Not enough oxygen is getting to their brains. The Broncos bought Manning for $96 million over five years, and traded away Tim Tebow to the Jets. The rookie QB took Denver to the playoffs last year and put a lot of butts in the stadium seats. But I guess that wasn’t good enough for his rookie year. So let me get this straight. You spend a ton of money to acquire a 36-year-old player…great as he has been…that has had four neck surgeries in two years and represents the past. And then you trade away a 25-year-old spark plug that represents the future. This deal will work hard on Tim Tebow’s Christian forgiveness…and the Denver fans’ forgiveness too.

Sports II: Sean Peyton, head coach for the New Orleans Saints, has been suspended from coaching for A YEAR by the NFL for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal that put price tags on opposing players. Somebody on the team paid cash bonuses to players that injured key players on other teams. That’s thuggery, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was right to suspend Peyton. Winning is not everything.

Entertainment: Comedian Gallagher is retiring from performing after 32 years of cracking wise and smashing melons with a big hammer. Here’s one from Gallagher: “Why does it say “On” and “Off” on a light switch? If it’s on you can see it’s on and if it’s off, you can’t see to read.” One more: “How does a slut feel? Whore-a-ble.” Even Rush Limbaugh would like that last one!

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2012, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Flash Editorials March 10, 2012

March 10, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

This has been a news-filled week!

To view this article as an entertaining animated video, click below.

The Nation I: Breitbart’s revenge: On Wednesday night on the Sean Hannity Show on Fox, the Obama video footage was shown. It shows Barry on the Harvard University campus, speaking to a crowd of students, asking the students to “open up your hearts and minds to Professor Derek A. Bell.” Who is that? Bell…now deceased…was the first tenured black professor at Harvard, and was a Professor of Law. He was the leading American proponent of the Critical Race Theory, which basically holds that white people have systematically oppressed blacks and Latinos over centuries. His writings moved radical thought and led to the recent aberration of criminal law into “hate speech” and “hate crimes.” That’s YOUR president, folks. Derek Bell’s philosophy was integral to Obama’s “hope and change” and “fundamental transformation of America.”

The Nation II: On Super Tuesday, Romney won six of nine contests. There was outrageous vote counting fraud, just like in every other caucus or primary. But our boy Ron Paul came in second in Virginia and North Dakota. One question that comes to my mind is: What is Ron Paul going to do with all the hearts and minds he has won during this pre-election circus? There are tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers that did not vote in the primaries and caucuses, yet have been brought over to what I call “retro-conservatism.” Watch for an article about this topic at DumpDC next week. I have a suggestion.

The Nation III: The Federal Reserve now owns more United States Treasury bonds (debt) than China. Think about what a mega-Ponzi scheme this is. The very entity that prints greenback dollars…creating money from paper and ink…prints up a few hundred billion and hands them to the US Treasury to buy debt, thereby propping up the government. It’s the highest form of counterfeiting ever witnessed in human history. The tragic part of this story is that the Fed cannot stop printing and buying. If other nations around the planet want to dump DC debt, the Fed will be forced to buy it so that the bond market does not crash. Get ready for hyperinflation, ladies and gentlemen. It’s coming to a wallet near you.

International I: What would a Nobel Peace Prize winner do in the Middle East? Especially if he were President of the USA and serious about avoiding a war with Iran? He would call a summit between himself, PM Bibi Netanyahu of Israel, Iman Khamanei and President Ahmedinajad of Iran in a neutral place like Basel, Switzerland. At that summit, he would broker a peace agreement. Part of that peace agreement would be to look Bibi in the eye and say, “On the day that you make any military moves against Iran in any manner, I will cancel ALL financial and military aid of every kind from the USA to Israel…forever. Pre-emptive air strikes are not defense…they are offense. If you still choose to make war against Iran, I will tear up all treaties with Israel and you are on your own.” That is what a Peace Prize winner who actually wanted to live up to the Prize would do.

International II: Quick quiz: Which nation has the third largest population of Jews on planet Earth? The US is #1. Israel is #2. Give up? It’s Iran. If Iran was such a threat to Israel, why do the Jews in Iran live in peace with no persecution? There has been a Jewish community in Iran since the 6th century…BC!! Oh…by the way. If Israel starts raining bombs down on Iran, it will likely be killing its own Jewish people who live there. Collateral damage??

International III: Both Germany and Switzerland have begun the process of bringing their gold reserves back to their own soil. Where do you think they have been keeping their gold? In the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. But who knows if the gold is actually still there? By the way…Switzerland has always had this legendary reputation for secrecy and security for money. Why the hell would they send their sovereign gold to America? This is going to get interesting!

International IV: The Financial Times ran a story this week stating that China has offered loans to the other BRIC nations…Brazil, Russia and India…denominated in the renminbi, China’s money. This is a HUGE move away from the world reserve currency, the US Dollar. The four BRIC nations represent the strongest economies on the planet, and almost 3 Billion people out of the 7 Billion on earth. Dear readers, when the dollar is not reserve anymore, look for massive hyperinflation. We will make Zimbabwe’s experience look like kindergarten.

International V: Vladimir Putin was elected President of Russia this week for a six-year term. Expect little to change, since Putin was effectively running the country while he was Prime Minister. But he will preside over the fall of the United States. Ironic, isn’t it? In 1989, the Soviet Union imploded from many of the same things infecting America right now…socialism being one of them. Planned economies and imperialism don’t work on either side of the Atlantic. 23 years later, it’s America’s turn to implode. Only this time…we’re going to show ‘em how to do it RIGHT. Remember…the Ruble wasn’t the world reserve currency when the USSR tanked.

Shameless Plug: Nearly everyone over 16 buys insurance. But is it a good idea to switch companies? Are any of the TV commercials by insurance companies telling the truth about switching? How often should you shop for new coverage and lower rates? Does loyalty to one particular company matter anymore? How do you find the best value in insurance? A new way to shop is online. But low price is not everything. Learn to think like an insurance adjuster, not like an insurance agent. To learn more and get FREE quotes online, go to: www.InsuranceQuoteHQ.com

Business: We read today that certain executives of MF Global, currently in bankruptcy, are actually going to get bonuses this year. The Court actually approved the bonuses, said to be in the millions. Remember that MF Global embezzled hundreds of millions from their own customers in wildly risky commodities investments. Men who should be in prison are getting bonuses. This is what is happening in high finance in 2012.

Economy I: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 355,754 in the week ending March 3rd, a 31,000-claim increase over the week previous. The real unemployment rate, calculated by ShadowStats.com, a highly reliable DC Watchdog, is above 22% overall, and much higher in pockets of the country like Detroit. Looking for a job? North Dakota cannot find enough people to fill all the positions available. True unemployment in North Dakota is around 2%, which is statistically zero.

Economy II: Dr. Gary North’s articles can be found very regularly at LewRockwell.com. He has written a new book about money entitled “Banks, Bubbles and Busts.” If you click on that link, you can get a free copy. Do it. Do it NOW.

Sports: Peyton Manning seems to have become addicted to adoration. Why else would a superstar NFL quarterback who has had FOUR neck surgeries in the last TWO YEARS want to continue to play in the NFL? Manning has been paid perhaps a hundred millions dollars over his football career. Can you really imagine that his wife wants him to risk becoming a quadriplegic by playing again? Does anyone think that the opposing defensive squads would treat him softly so he doesn’t get another neck owwie? Apparently the owner of the Indianapolis Colts still has some common sense, and has placed Manning on waivers. Peyton…retire already. Don’t become pathetic…or become Christopher Reeve. You are magic in front of a TV camera. Take a color commentator’s job with a network for a couple million a year and relax. You’ll never buy a drink in another bar for the rest of your life.

Entertainment: The Hunger Games movie opens March 23rd at a theater near you. Based upon the books by Suzanne Collins, the movie is a loose update to the theme in the 1987 Schwartzenegger movie, ”Running Man.” In a post-collapse America, the nations goes buggy over the annual Hunger Games, in which only one contestant survives. The main character is a 16-year-old girl, Katniss Everdeen, who wins. (Spoiler Alert) I hear the film has a good anti-government message, so I’ll be seeing it first week it’s open.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2012, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Flash Editorials March 3, 2012

March 3, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

To watch an entertaining animated version of this article, click below.

The Nation I: Andrew Breitbart, the blogger that exposed Anthony Weiner for his sexual indiscretions, and became a high profile, Drudge-like alternative news figure, made a speech about three weeks ago at the CPAC convention that he would release footage about Barack Obama’s connections to Marxists Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn on March 1st that threatened to derail the Obama re-election. But late Wednesday night the 29th, he spent time in a bar near his home with friends, and then about 11:30, left the bar alone to walk home. On his way, he allegedly had a heart attack and died at age 43. This death is far too coincidental to be accepted at face value. We wonder if Andrew entrusted that video to others who will now release it? Julian Assange of Wikileaks, call your office.

The Nation II: Mitt won the Michigan primary, but not convincingly. In all but Oakland County…where he used to live…Santorum tied him. Mitt won by about 30,000 votes, and that was the difference in Oakland County. And Mitt and Rick both get delegates. Super Tuesday is coming next Tuesday. Oh Boy…

The Nation III: I stumbled and tripped into a story this week about the US becoming self-sufficient in transportation fuels. The biggest use of crude oil is in the production of gasoline and diesel fuel. That is the blood in the veins of the American economy. And every day we see headlines about how the price of fuel is rising. We feel powerless to do anything about it. But did you know that the technology ALREADY EXISTS to get America off foreign oil? The United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. We have hundreds of years of reserves of natural gas in our own country. And ALL internal combustion engines will run perfectly well on compressed natural gas (CNG). In fact, engines run cleaner, last longer and pollute less on CNG. There are tens of thousands of vehicles already operating daily on CNG, like buses, big trucks, and fleet vehicles. And the price of CNG for transportation fuel is only about $1.40 per gallon!!! So, why isn’t there a big push in America for CNG vehicles and CNG fueling stations? Honda already makes a Civic model that uses CNG. And when a diesel engine is converted to CNG, it becomes a hybrid, burning both fuels. There is absolutely no downside to CNG as transportation fuels and the more popular it became, the more the price would drop. That is, if Washington could keep their filthy mitts off the program. Another conspiracy? You explain why it’s not happening.

International I: The town of Rasquera, Spain has approved a land lease to private individuals who want to grow cannabis…hemp…or marijuana by any other name. There will be 7 hectares (about 17.33 acres) under cultivation. And in Spain, no one is getting the red-ass about it. Maybe this will be a good example for the rest of us.

International II: The bank of Israel began shifting some of its capital from US Treasury Bonds into US equities beginning Friday, March 2nd. This is a sovereign central bank that has committed $1.5 Billion to start, and will now invest directly in the stock of US companies. This is illegal for the Federal Reserve to do here in America. Why a problem? Because if the Fed is doing swaps with a foreign entity, it is equivalent to the Fed doing the same thing. And that means that central banks can take very aggressive stock positions and back them with Credit Default Swaps Then when the stock goes in the shitter, they can hit up the citizens for their losses. These guys just keep coming up with new and more cunningly dirty ways to rape and pillage the world economic system.

Shameless Plug: Nearly everyone over 16 buys insurance. But is it a good idea to switch companies? Are any of the TV commercials by insurance companies telling the truth about switching? How often should you shop for new coverage and lower rates? Does loyalty to one particular company matter anymore? How do you find the best value in insurance? A new way to shop is online. But low price is not everything. Learn to think like an insurance adjuster, not like an insurance agent. To learn more and get FREE quotes online, go to: www.InsuranceQuoteHQ.com

Business: In the theaters now is “The Lorax,” a Dr. Seuss knock-off that raps on consumerism and commercialization. Of course, you’ll have to pony up about ten bucks to take little Johnny to see this crap in the theater, and don’t forget to do business with the 70 or so companies that are using the Lorax images to sell their products, from IHOP pancakes to Mazda to HP. Why isn’t there a McDonald’s Happy Meal with a Lorax inside? I’ll bet that the Lorax and all the other little woodland creatures in the movie would be delicious on a toasted sesame-seed bun.

Economy: The number of actual new unemployment claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 331,906 in the week ending February 25th. But the “seasonally-adjusted” number reported by the government is 351,000. This week, the Labor Department actually reported 20,000 MORE new claims than actually occurred. If you haven’t figured out by now that these numbers are entirely cooked week to week, hold a mirror under your nose and check for fog on the mirror. Meanwhile, don’t forget that 331,906 people’s lives got severely changed in the last seven days because they got fired or laid off. A week ago they had a job. This week, none. 331,906…this week. Got any compassion?

Sports: NASCAR kicked off its season at Daytona last week, and Matt Kenseth won the 500-mile race. Here is how a NASCAR fan counts to ten: “McMurray, Keselowski, Dale, four, Kasey, Stenhouse, Robby Gordon, eight, Ambrose, Danica.”

Entertainment: The Academy Awards show was the women’s biggest fashion show of the year. The guys are mere extras. A silent movie got multiple Oscars, and Hugo mopped up the rest. The best Oscar of the night went to “The Separation,” for Best Foreign Language Film. It was made in Iran…you know that Islamic country that hates us for our freedoms. I always love to see somebody stick their thumb in DC’s eye.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2012, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Among the Terrorists

March 1, 2012

Sanctum Santorum

by Fred Reed

(Editor’s Note: Apropos of nothing…here’s one from Fred.)

Tangier, Morocco: Having passed the night in Gibraltar, Vi and I took the ferry across the Strait to Tangier in a state of grave trepidation, I more than she. We were going into the dark heartland of Islamic barbarity. I knew what Moslems were, having listened to the Republican candidates for the presidency, and I was obviously an American. There was no doubt about it: They would hate me for my freedoms, and perhaps blow me up. Yet such was my passion for journalism that I was going to risk it. I am that sort of man.

The day was mercifully warm after the chill greyness of Madrid, the sky blue and cloudless. The other passengers in the lounge were mostly Arabs. I watched them carefully. I knew that at any moment they might draw their scimitars and behead me for my freedoms.

We docked at the Port of Tangier, passed through passport control with suspicious ease, and caught a taxi for the long ride along the coast to Tangier proper. The driver was named Abdulah. I would soon conclude that all Moslems were named Abdullah. He was a roundish balding fellow in his mid-forties and looked as though he should have been a pizza chef in Brooklyn but had somehow missed his calling. He liked to talk and did so in good if not elegant Spanish.

Yes, he said, times were bad. The economy was wretched. In Morocco the politicians were corrupt bastards, he said, which was the root of the problem. I said that we had the same difficulty in the United States. Violeta, not inclined to allow Mexico to be diminished by comparison, asserted that her country’s cabrones politicos were as corrupt as any that Abdulah and I might present in evidence. Having established our common humanity, we rode on in peace. I’m not sure Abdulah even had a scimitar.

We checked into the Continental Hotel, the name being grander than the establishment. It seemed to have been left over from earlier times, with gorgeous Arabian interiors and wireless internet. Seaward, it overlooked expansive rubble, a concrete desert that might have been a parking lot, and the Mediterranean.

The staff were helpful and courteous, as nearly all people are nearly everywhere. I had read on websites dedicated to genetic speculation that Moslems were of low intelligence. In Tangier they characteristically expressed this inferiority by speaking five languages. The hotel staff recommended a guide, named Abdulah, associated with the hotel, for whose honesty they could vouch. Off we went.

The modern parts of Tangier are like the modern parts of anywhere, but the old city is a joy. There are twisting lanes sometimes only a yard wide, overhung by the second stories of building built God knows when, and blank doors through which sometimes one saw gorgeous interiors of Arabesque ornamentation, or sometimes simple poverty. In such places people had lived since Roman times and before.

Women walked about entirely covered, except for a narrow eye slit, often in brilliant green or magenta silk-looking stuff. They appeared to be about to pupate. Countless stalls sold countless things. We walked along a narrow sloping lane lined by the shops of goldsmiths. “The Jewish quarter,” said Abdulah. Oh, I thought, and asked whether there was trouble with Jews in Tangier. Nah, he said. We’ve got everything here, Jews, Christians, French, Armenians, whatever. Nobody worries about it.

I was astonished, and felt betrayed. I wanted to say, “Now see here, Abdulah. You are not playing straight with us. You are taking advantage of the ignorance of poor innocent foreigners. You don’t behead Jews, and you don’t behead Americans. Then who do you behead? That’s what I want to know.”

But I didn’t say it. I didn’t want to incite him.

The Ugly American...and Violeta

Left: Fred and Vi, 17 days into two-month trek across the trackless Sahara, under constant attack by terrorist Berbers, or perhaps Barbers, or maybe Beri Beris. Ignore Mediterranean: This column has no respect for geography. Note bloody bandage on Fred’s head from scimitar slash. Camel is named Clyde.

Now, something that all guides do all over the world is take you to places designed to skin tourists, for which they receive a cut from the merchant. There is no escaping. The stores they take you to always are the cheapest, with the best goods, with the highest quality of authentic local merchandise that China can make. The vender will tell you that he is actually taking a loss, such is his esteem for your taste and obvious good character. Thus Vi and I ended up at a rug-merchantry off a winding spaghetti alley out of the Arabian Nights. The owner was probably named Abdulah.

He began by welcoming us to his humble shop, which wasn’t, in rapid and nearly perfect English which sounded as though it might have come out of New York. Would we like tea? Several apparently mute employees ran for it. Ah, Violeta was from Mexico? He switched to good Spanish. Would we like to see some rugs? Just from curiosity, of course. He never pressured anyone to buy. Just as the sun never rose in the east, I thought.

For an hour Adbulah gestured and his workers silently unrolled rugs on the floor. Abdulah didn’t have a Democrat’s chance in Orange County of selling us a rug, but I didn’t want to make that too clear just yet. I wanted to see his wares. Nobody equals Arabs in ruggery, a high form of art, and Abdulah had lovely examples. Unfortunately we didn’t have lovely money in adequate amounts.

In the other part of Abdulah’s store, which sold everything from hookahs to jewelry, Vi found some shawls she liked. Seeing this, the staff set upon her like defense contractors upon the public treasury. The shawls, they assured her, cost only some amount. A good price, they assured her. A steal.

Vi hesitated, said not now, maybe tomorrow, but she had betrayed her interest. Ah, we give you discount, how about so much? Vi hesitated again, almost…no, no. Ah, well, maybe so much. At this price my children will starve, but for you….

Finally she named a price so low that the salesman looked at the manager for permission. The manager nodded almost imperceptibly. Deal. She had out-Arabbed the Arabs. I was proud.

On our last night in Tangier, we sallied forth from the hotel into the tangled lanes nearby in search of supper. Small shops sold fish fries and potato patties, milk and cheese and sweets. People were perfectly friendly, and showed no disposition to kill us for our freedoms. Perhaps they realized that we no longer had that many. Back in our hotel room we feasted contentedly and asked the desk clerk to wake us up in time to pack. I didn’t catch his name, but I think it was Abdulah.

All original material © Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
http://www.FredOnEverything.net


Hard-Boiled is Back!

February 21, 2012

Reversing the Tide of Compulsory Niceness

by Fred Reed

(Editor’s Note: I enthusiastically encourage you to go to Amazon.com, click on Kindle and type in “Fred Reed.” You’ll find all of his books there. Buy a few. And while you’re there, type in Russell Longcore and you’ll see my book also.)

OK, so eight years ago I got to Mexico, shortly after having spent another eight years as a free-lance police reporter on contract to the Washington Times, riding with the cops in various urban blasted heaths that groaned under the usual despair and injustice. Suddenly having leisure, I figured I’d read some crime fiction. You know, bludgeonings, cityscapes littered with corpses, psychopaths left and right, and a growly hard-eyed detective with the personality of a leather boot. Phillip Marlowe, Mike Hammer, that kind of gumshoe.

It wasn’t to be. All I found were tales of white wine and cheese, of sensitive detectives—sensitive?—who obviously had never seen the inside of a police car. It was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I decided I’d write the stuff myself. Why not? I was unemployed. I was a writer—barely, some would say, but today that’s enough. At least I knew the difference between a Remington 870 and a police-rebuild Crown Vic. I had kicked in doors in Chicago and been down a thousand dark alleys full of people your mother wouldn’t like at all. I knew that cops didn’t drink white wine. What the hell. I’d give it a try.

So I invented a totally imaginary charcacter, Robert Dawson, a free-lance police reporter working on contract to the Washington Herald. Dawson was a guy’s guy, an ashen-souled news weasel of the old school, before reporters began to come from Princeton. He was an ex-Marine, had seen too much to believe in any of it. Maybe he drank too much. Sometimes he thought maybe he didn’t drink enough. Washington will do that to you.

Cover by David St. John

As I got to know Dawson, I discovered that he owned a bird named Dipstick who thought he was a microwive, beep-beep-beep—and had a girlfriend, Attila the Liberal, a cute fluffy-haired number with a large brain who worked for one of the secret three-letter spook agencies. He also had a highly altered ’57 Chevy, Ruby the Bright Red Teen-age Orgasm Bucket. Ruby dynoed at 450 brake horsepower. A swell lady.

I decided that writing my old cop column (called, not too imaginatively, Police Beat) was actually good training for crime fiction. A column forces you to write lean and tight. It is easy to burn 750 words and find that you haven’t said anything. You need a grabby lead. News editors used to give cubs the classic example, “My god,” said the queen. “I’m pregnant again. Who can it be this time?” I couldn’t match that, but I came up with things like “The Saturday night we found Giarca with his face peeled, I was walking a foot beat with Mulroney in the glitzy section of Georgetown along M Street.”

I hope this infuses you with a desperate longing to know why Giarca’s face was peeled.

So I wrote a couple of novels,Killer Kink and Triple Tap, and tried to peddle them in New York. It didn’t work. These days God couldn’t get an advance for the Bible. Editors told me that hard-boiled was out. The market was for smart female dectectives from Swarthmore who knew what fork to eat snails with. Nothing wrong with that, I thought, but it weren’t Dawson. He doesn’t do snails. I put the books in a drawer and forgot about them.

Meanwhile Jeff Gutenbezos was inventing Amazon, and then the Kindle, and then Kindle Direct Publishing. With KDP you can publish your world-shattering novel on Amazon in about a week. Learning of this, I dragged Dawson out of his drawer and decided I kinda liked him. An incorrigible sardonic wise-ass, but a decent sort, though he would never admit it.

Now, Amazon is one killer outfit. In the book racket it is eliminating the middle men—publishing houses, editors, printing plants, trucks and, alas but eventually, book stores. I picture Random House as a dinosaur uneasily wondering why the water in its swamp is getting cooler.

Money has a lot to do with it. Kindle editions even of best sellers cost half of the print price. While it is not yet true that everybody and his pet goat has a Kindle, things gallop in that direction, thumpety-thump. You probably have noticed more goats reading on the subway. Project Gutenberg, which offers free downloads of huge numbers of books out of copyright, uses the Kindle format, which means that New York can’t charge you fifteen bucks to read Mark Twain or Cervantes.

Offsetting the still unstaggering number of Kindles is that on Amazon your book is instantly available to all of them. Getting a physbook on shelves in England, Australia, Battambang and Tasmania is close to impossible in a short life. It’s automatic with Kindle. If I were Random House in my chilling swamp, I’d pour in some gin and vermouth and sell myself as a martini. There would be more future.

And with KDP you can get royalties of seventy percent. Do you suppose that Gutenbezos is trying to attract writers?

I knew most of this. What I didn’t know about was the new approach to pricing. Today, a physical book goes for twenty-six rapidly withering green ones, the Kindle version for maybe twelve. However, it turns out that books priced way low— $2.99 (Dawson’s price; he would understand that any man can be bought)—or lower are making lots of money. The principle is that people will drop a couple of bucks without worrying about it. They won’t pony up ten times that amount.

And crime fiction is apparently the hottest selling genre on the net. Science fiction, I’m told, is next.

The fly in this happy ointment is marketing. I had friends who had worked years on a splendid tale of something or other, put it on Amazon, and sold seven copies. You still need New York, they said despondently. But then kids began to write awful misspelled ungrammatical Harry Potter facsimiles, price them at ninety-nine cents, and make bundles.

Apparently the social media like Facebook, all of which I abhor, are useful in flogging ebooks. I would rather have untreatable tuberculosis. I thought of sending a letter to my subscription list, “Buy the book, or else. I know where your children go to school.” A lawyer friend told me that this was extortion and involved prison time. To me this looked like restraint of trade. The government should stay out of free enterprise.

I put both books up on Amazon, and will see what happens. If they sell more than seven copies, I will inform readers of the progress of the thing, and provide any useful hints I may discover to help others similarly prosper. Meanwhile I am working on a drink called the Random House Dinosaur Martini. Shaken, though not yet crushed.

All original material © Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
http://www.FredOnEverything.net