Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Americans don’t live here any longer

What’s Become of Americans?

By Paul Craig Roberts

03/22/06 "LewRockwell" -- -- Imagine knocking on America’s door and being told, "Americans don’t live here any longer. They have gone away."

But isn’t that what we are hearing, that Americans have gone away? Alan Shore told us so on ABC’s Boston Legal on March 14:

When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out not to be true, I expected the American people to rise up. They didn't.

Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to régimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.

Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called terrorist suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we would never stand for that. We did.

And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people will have had enough. Evidently, we haven't.

In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is we're okay with it all. Torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended.

There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people even seem to notice. . . .

The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain, control and, in effect, criminalize protest. Stop for a second and try to fathom that. At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you’re wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.

This! In the United States of America.

Readers tell me that Americans don’t live here any more. They ask what responsible American citizenry would put up with the trashing of the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers, with wars based on deception, and with pathological liars in control of their government? One reader recently wrote that he believes that "no element of the U.S. government has been left untainted" by the lies and manipulations that have driven away accountability. So-called leaders, he wrote, "talk a great story of American pride and patriotism," but in their hands patriotism is merely a device for "cynical manipulation and fraud."

The Bush regime acknowledges that 30,000 Iraqi civilians, largely women and children, have been killed as a result of Bush’s invasion. Others who have looked at civilian casualties with greater attention have come up with numbers three to six times as large. The Johns Hopkins study accounted for 98,000 civilian deaths. Patrick Cockburn, using more sophisticated statistical analysis, concluded that 180,000 Iraqis died as a result of Bush’s invasion. The former prime minister Iyad Allawi says that Iraqi sectarian violence alone is claiming 50–60 deaths per day, or 18,000–22,000 annually, a figure that could quickly worsen.

Some were killed by “smart bombs” that weren’t very smart and dropped on hospitals, schools, and weddings. Others were mistaken for resistance fighters and killed. Still others were killed by spooked, trigger-happy U.S. troops. And many died due to the breakdown of the Iraqi health system.

Now comes a report in the online edition of Time magazine that U.S. Marines went on a rampage in the village of Haditha and deliberately slaughtered 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes. The Iraqis were still in their bed clothes, and 10 of the 15 were women and children.

The Marines turned in a false report that the civilians were killed by an insurgent bomb. But the evidence of wanton carnage was too powerful. Pressed by Time’s collection of evidence, U.S. military officials in Baghdad opened an investigation. Time reports that "according to military officials, the inquiry acknowledged that, contrary to the military’s initial report, the 15 civilians killed on Nov. 19 died at the hands of the Marines, not the insurgents. The military announced last week that the matter has been handed over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which will conduct a criminal investigation."

If this story is true, under Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush’s leadership, proud and honorable U.S. Marines have degenerated into the Waffen SS. Those of us raised on John Wayne war movies find this very hard to take.

A fish rots from the head. Clearly, deception in the Oval Office is corrupting the U.S. military. One reader reported that on March 19 his local PBS station aired a program which discussed the deaths of two young American soldiers in friendly fire incidents similar to Pat Tillman’s death. In each case, he reports, "elements within the military falsified reports and attempted to shift blame to either enemy combatants or allied (Polish) forces."

The neocons have yet to tell us the real reason for their assault on Iraq, which has so far produced 20,000 dead, maimed, and wounded U.S. soldiers, between 30,000 and 180,000 (and rising) dead Iraqis, and demoralized U.S. Marines to the point that they commit atrocities on women and children.

Would real Americans accept these blows for the sake of an undeclared agenda? Perhaps it is true that Americans don’t live here any longer.

Dr. Roberts is Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Deflated "Dr. Howdy" the SPAMMER cries "Uncle!"

Part I

See if you can follow this chain of events:

* SPAMMER "Dr. Howdy" posts on my blog -- where any and all opinions (except those from exposed SPAMMERS) are welcome

* Soon after SPAMMER "Dr. Howdy" posts here I receive an onslaught of SPAM from SPAMMER "Dr. Howdy"

* I write to "Dr. Howdy" asking to be taken off his emailing list. I hate the kind of stuff with which he fills his "newsletters"

* Nothing happens; SPAM from "Dr. Howdy" continues to arrive

* I visit "Dr. Howdy"'s convoluted laugh-at-the-SPAM-victim unsubscribe page and find that the so-called information I require to get off his list is not in the email newsletter he sends to me

* SPAM continues to arrive from "Dr. Howdy"

* One too many items of SPAM arrives from "Dr. Howdy" and I vociferously communicate my displeasure to him. To which "Dr. Howdy" makes no offer to unsubscribe me, but weirdly informs me that someone else signed me up for his newsletter (something I am going to pursue and investigate with Yahoo! Groups until I'm satisfied)

* I ask "Dr. Howdy" the SPAMMER to identify who signed me up for his lame newsletter -- no reply about this; a hollow pantomime of "ethics," no doubt

* I write a blog posting here unmasking "Dr. Howdy" as a SPAMMER -- squishy blind things that dwell beneath rocks hate it when they are exposed to the light

* "Dr. Howdy" posts on my blog, contrite, tail-between-his-knocked-knees, saying, "Hey man, what's the problem? Anyone can unsubscribe from my newsletter any time." This is an outright lie -- if it were that easy, I would not have had to go to all of the trouble of unmasking "Dr. Howdy" as the SPAMMER he is

"Dr. Howdy" and his kind (i.e. SPAMMERS who scoop peoples' email addresses without their knowledge or permission and then plague these unsuspecting victims with SPAM) are not welcome inside the hotdog factory.

After numerous verbal squirts of Murphy's Oil Soap on "Dr. Howdy" via his blog, hoping simply to get my point across that I want him to leave me alone, he sulks and skulks around here, whining like some wounded thing. When, in fact, he has proven to have the resilience and soul of a cockroach. I'm not fooled.

So let this put "shut" to this miserable situation.

P.S. Howdy -- my readers are not only well familiar with my use of bad language, it's often applauded. Posting an edited version of one of my missives to you in the Comments section of a posting will shock no one.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Catch a SPAMMER By the Toe... Dr. Howdy of "Thought & Spam" Fame, You're Going Down

I have caught a live, active SPAMMER and his name is alternately "Dr. Howdy" or "Professor Howdy".

Interested in telling an honest-to-God spammer how you feel about such people and their chosen method of spending their spare time? Contact this puss-filled miscreant at the following: (

This cretin has been in my life for about three or four months now. One day he posted on my blog, the next day came this plague of unwanted email newsletters purporting to be of a "humorous" nature. They're not. They're lamer than the lamest "office humor" that used to cripple fax machines. Since the first rancid missive, I have attempted to get myself off this myopic jerk's emailing list. Today I received the last spam I'm willing to receive from this jackass, Dr. Howdy. As of this evening, Dr. Howdy is going down.
2 of 116 comments on the supposed "unsubscribe" page of the Dr. Howdy Lame-O Web site:

Your unsubscribe information is idiotic and makes absolutely no sense. My 11 year old brother could probably make a more technologically sophisticated blog and newsletter than this one. I have tried repeatedly over the last year to get off this email list. I guarantee that I WILL find a way to report you to some sort of Yahoo internet authority if I recieve anymore of your "i am hilarious and jesus loves you" crap in my inbox. I am way too busy to try to sift through all the howdy garbage I receive in my inbox daily. If I ever come across a college student who knows about and actually enjoys this email, I will be sure to punch them in the face.


Howdy is's the horrendeous amount of terrible spam I've been getting lately that I can trace directly back to Howdy's email /blogs. Shame on YOU!

Dr. Howdy the SPAMMER's reply:

Oh you found me out.
I knew I should have
been content with just
causing the earthquake
in Pakistan as well as
Hurricanes Katrina
& Rita, but just last
month I decided why
not cause one of my
faithful readers since
Apr 2, 2004 to start
receiving lots of SPAM.
Oh, you found me

Actually in reality, I was
offered $1.5 million for
your e-mail address by
a Spammer. So now I'm
rich and you have to live
with SPAM!!!

Now you have discovered
the real reason for 'T & H'
and why I spend 70 hrs./week
for the last 8 years in sending
out this publication to well
over 2 million folks.

Fortunately for everyone
else's sake, I don't plan to
sell their addresses because
now I'm filthy rich...

Very Sorry,
Getting a mental picture of this idiot? His email address is

After a few cutting messages from me today, Dr. Howdy the SPAMMER informed me that someone else was kind enough to sign me up for this daily detritus. Yes, someone signed me up for this crap without my permission. Someone who obviously knows me well and knows how much I relish gum-on-the-shoe Internet humor. And Yahoo! Groups is more than glad to be this SPAMMER's enabler. I guess Yahoo! is too busy turning information over to Chinese authorities for the jailing of journalists to be bothered sending out verification email messages when someone signs up for one of its groups' newsletters. And it's not like Dr. Howdy the SPAMMER is going to request permission because who would give it? No one. The newsletters are the most infantile, thoughtless garbage you can (or can't) imagine. Makes the pizza parlor fliers you get in the mail seem like literature -- at least the pizza fliers have coupons! As for unsubscribing, Dr. Howdy the SPAMMER refers people to his ridiculous, convoluted page, which is quite obviously a joke on anyone seeking to unsubscribe.

So, just for starters, the moment I'm finished with this post I'm going to report Dr. Howdy the SPAMMER to and Yahoo! Groups, that wretched outfit that makes signing people up without their permission for such newsletters possible in the first place.

Let's see what thinks about this scumbag using its free service as an online "base of operations" for finding victims for his SPAM. And let's see if Yahoo! can bother its ass to reply to the multiple complaints I have sent in regarding its very lax and irresponsible monitoring of who signs up for its newsgroups.

I hate spammers.

Update 03/11/2006:

No big surprise, but it seems our nefarious "Dr. Howdy" is a liar as well as a SPAMMER. I have contacted everyone in my email address book and no one claims responsibility for signing me up for "Dr. Howdy's" SPAM. Unlike "Dr. Howdy," I deal with honest, truthful people. I imagine lowly "Dr. Howdy" SPAMMING me and his many other victims on a wireless laptop, holed up in a decrepit toilet stall in a fetid, forgotten MENS room in some abandoned rail or bus station. "Dr. Howdy" doubtless deals only with liars and thieves, addicts, cross dressers, and child molesters. His word is not to be taken.

However, on the off-, off-, off-chance a syllable of truth has entered "Dr. Howdy"'s vocabulary, I have demanded he provide me the email address of the brain damaged person who signed me up for his vomitous newsletter. So far, no reply on this. It's impossible to imagine "Dr. Howdy" objecting on anything approaching ethical grounds. What ethics? This moron is a SPAMMER. And given the high tech production value of his "newsletter", he can no doubt lay his hands on the email address of the ignoramus who signed me up for his drek.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Incidental History - My Childhood Home Goes Up For Sale

After 40 years living at the same address, my parents are selling their home. As Thomas Wolfe wrote in his essay "The Return:" "I was a child here."

My family had a large console television in the basement; the only TV in the house until I was about ten. My father was a elementary school principal and sometimes brought home a tiny black and white television on weekends. We set it on the stereo cabinet in the living room for my younger brother and I to watch Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk and Delta House (the shortlived TV spinoff of Animal House) while my parents watched their shows in the basement. It was on that small black and white set that I saw Animal House when it was broadcast on network TV for the first time. The film had the effect on me that the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel has on most adults: It was a revelation. After seeing John Belushi's legendary scene in the Faber College cafeteria, ludicrously loading up his tray, stuffing whole sandwiches, Jell-O platters, and hamburgers into his mouth, my eating habits forever changed. During lunches, I stuffed whole peanut butter and jam sandwiches into my mouth, to the shrieks and confusion of my mother. How I missed choking to death, I'll never know.

Beyond the right-hand upper floor window was my bedroom in which I wrote my first song with I was twelve. I had been playing guitar with more passion than expertise for about two years by that point. After creeping through the age-old Standard Guitar Method series, which had me plucking dissonant notes for months on end, I revelled in strumming full chords. Around this time I saw Woodstock for the first time and sought to emulate Richie Havens' bombastic strumming style. Having no ear for learning to play songs just by listening to them, I practiced my chord-changes and slowly learned to combine them in ways that sounded good to me. All laborious key-of-G, but it was a like a door on the universe opened a crack through which I made my own contact with the invisible hand that guides creativity.

I was the only oldest sibling among my friends. All my buddies had older brothers, some of whom were as much as a decade older, and from these surly, impatient older brothers we learned about music (among many other sordid subjects). Detroit FM radio was all we listened to: 101.1 WRIF, 98.7 WLLZ, and a slew of other here-today-gone-tomorrow stations. While so many people today are revealing their closet-affinity for 1980s music -- all the techno-pop crap that made absolutely no impression on me -- my friends and I listened to the best of 1980s rock 'n' roll: Billy Squire, the J. Geils Band, The Cars, Jefferson Starship, Aldo Nova, The Romantics, Rush, .38 Special, Bitter Sweet Alley. The first cassette I ever purchased was The Rolling Stones' Tattoo You in the music department of Zeller's in the Ambassador Mall in 1981, when I was ten. When the Stones came to Detroit during that tour, months later, it was like a visitation from Moses or Ezekiel; someone from On High. The eldest brother of my friends next door actually saw the Stones at Cobo Hall in Detroit. Afterward, I looked at him as though he had been to the top of Mount Sinai and had the soot from a burning bush on his cheeks and forehead.

By the time I was twelve I had an ancient black and white television in my bedroom; yellowed plastic faceplate, the entire set bolted to a frail wheeled stand. It stood at the foot of my bed. Those were the days before my family had Cable. Still, that TV pulled in a decent number of Canadian and Michigan stations. However, there were only two UHF stations that mattered to me: WKBD Channel 50 and Channel 56, Detroit Public Television. Channel 50 filled me with reruns of Sanford & Son, Happy Days, Three's Company, CHiPs. But most importantly there was the Channel 50 Eight O'Clock Movie, which played every modern classic film imaginable: The Deer Hunter (uncut), Marathon Man, Coming Home, Taxi Driver, Sleeper, and dozens and dozens of other films that shaped or warped me into the person I am today.

The highlights of all this television-watching came every night at 10:30 on Channel 50 in the form of The Odd Couple, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. Then at 11 p.m. came a double shot of The Twilight Zone. At midnight were Comedy Classics, which alternated between Three Stooges films and Laurel & Hardy.

On Saturday nights, it was Channel 56 at 10 p.m. to watch Monty Python's Flying Circus, which was followed by a local music video show called The Beat. I cannot overstate the importance of The Beat on my life. Hosted by longtime Detroit DJ, Doug Podell, the show was simulcast on 98.7 FM, allowing me to tape the music from the show on cassette. It was on The Beat -- a makeshift production with all the showy frills of early public access television -- I first saw U2's video for "A Sort of a Homecoming", and on which I saw the newly unearthed footage of Jim Morrison and The Doors performing "Love Me Two Times" in Europe from 1968. Jim Morrison was among my first cultural titans -- whether deservedly so, or not, I'm still deciding -- and by that night in 1983 I had only ever seen black and white photographs of him; heard the radio tracks from Doors' albums on WRIF. Seeing actual footage of Morrison and the Doors was like being handed the Shroud of Turin for personal inspection. It might sound strange in this age where we can't escape music videos or tiresome celebrities, but at that time there was such a dearth of Doors' material outside the official canon of ordinary album releases and the very rare magazine article. I videotaped that performance of "Love Me Two Times" and watched it until I had memorized every frame of it. Soon after came release of the video constructed around the Doors' performance of Van Morrison's song "Gloria," which was also a minor seismic event in my life.

The basement of the house was finished around the time I was born. As a kid, I was avid about cartoons and cartooning. My parents were kind enough to buy me a desk where I worked on drawings and comic strips. By the time I entered high school, my interests had shifted to music and would soon shift further to fiction writing. It was down in that basement, with my levithan tape cassette collection at my side, my portable radio/tape deck next to it, that I began writing. Within months of composing my short story I tried my hand at novel writing and made the disovery that writing a novel was more than simply writing a lot of words. Armed with an IBM clone PC and a Panasonic dot matrix printer, I churned out the pages day after day, submitting stories to Weird Tales, Story, Amazing Stories, Haunts, and countless other journals and magazines. Every single one of those stories rejected as quickly as the mail would allow.

It was there in the basement, in 1990, that I first began writing a story called "The Block Buster", which soon expanded into a novel-length idea. My first genuine crack at the story spanned 184 pages. My second draft came out to 464 pages. Years passed, I tinkered with draft after draft of the novel, changing the title to "Bad Moon Rising," and then finally to Randham Acts. All the while I had other projects on-the-go, and eventually got to a point where I tried simply forgetting about Randham Acts. But the story persisted and I eventually completed what felt like the definitive draft, which I submitted to Better Non Sequitur, a small press publisher in San Diego, California. The night I received the email saying BNS accepted Randham Acts, the decade and-a-half I'd spent writing the novel seemed to accordion into a surreal blur of notes and drafts that lost all detail.

And so that house on Cameron Avenue is up for sale. I was a child there. I first heard music there, read my first book there. The feeling I have about it resembles what I experienced when losing girlfriends in my youth -- terminally ordinary. The consolation is that "ordinary" is not at all a bad state of being in which to exist. That ordinary house on that ordinary street on the west side of Windsor, Ontario provided me all I needed with regard to inspiration, environment, atmosphere, mood, color, texture, not to mention shelter. I'll miss the old house. As it watches my folks pack up and leave in the next few months, the house will doubtlessly be left knowing it had been lived in.