Beast Banner April 2008
ISSUE #125
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Features

ArrowThe Icewoman Cometh
An actual BEAST report from Ohio
Ian Murphy & Paul Jones

ArrowLast Tangle in Persia
This time, it's demented
Allan Uthman

ArrowCastle of the Darned
Embracing your inner orc
Michael J. Smith

ArrowStop Blaming Ralph
The Nadir of Democratic Credibility
Allison Kilkenny

ArrowThank Heaven for 7-11
Democracy rots from the inside out as a nation of telemarketers and war criminals parties on amid the stench
Joe Bageant

ArrowTriumph of the White Man
"We win again!"
Stan Goff

ArrowApathy Victorious in Iraq!
Millions of Americans Indifferent
Steve Gordon

Faux-tures

ArrowFrom the desks of Alan Schwartz, CEO of Bear Sterns and James Dimon, Chief Executive of JP Morgan
A joint message of hope

ArrowBEAST '08 Presidential Campaign Issue Cards
Play them, or be accused of it anyway!

ArrowThe Wright Stuff
The true story behind Obama's pastor problem
Allan Uthman

ArrowThe BEAST Field Guide to Endangered Voters
Know your demographic strata!

ArrowThe BEAST Campaign Cliché Top 20
Which lazy metaphors are hitting this month?

ArrowA Final Farewell
I'm in a more appropriate place
William F. Buckley Jr.

ArrowThis Just In: You're a Jackass
A Personal News Exclusive
Stone Rockman

ArrowTop 10 Signs the U.S. Economy is Collapsing
Leading indicators of your financial ruin

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 5
Disturbing Senatorial Neck Bulge

ArrowKino Kwikees: Movie Trailer Reviews

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
Your completely accurate horoscope

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DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

United Way Campaign -- Evil Questions

You know those billboards, "Which one will be abused?" "Who will live in poverty?" "Who will be neglected?" Where can we vote, and when will they announce the winners?

Johnn D. Craik

Dear Johnn,
That all depends on the superdelegates.

TARDBALL

As someone living in Pittsburgh and hating it, I can actually see this kind of meeting taking place [Ian Murphy, Hardballin’ with Chris Matthews,” issue 124]... only with an actual local, not Chris Matthews in disguise...
Will

Dear Will,

But how would you know? HOW WOULD YOU KNOW, WILL?

FALSE DICHOTOMY

So, are all the editors actually angry gay men or potential serial killers? The "women's history" bit was a little much you stupid pricks.

Ulrike

Dear Ulrike,
Why force us to choose?

DULLULATIONS

...''fron HERE on out...the Shrub...MAY SHOULD BE KNOWN AS SCRUB'...i LEAVE IT TO YOUR LIT'URARY device's to bring back 'Molly's Model'...updated, lookin' for a place to ...Rock and Roll! I met her and shared thoughts...1st in the young years of the 70' as a G.I., stuck-down-in-'Ft.Hood at the end of my X2 year in the last of the ''Better Dead than Red''...wars of the 20th century AD...I will not belabor that point...mostly because I I was a GI...did that & all that...but ''that & all that just don't desire a 'fuck and Fig)...her Writing make her both timely and pointedly', UP THERE IN COMMUNITY with...alive and still 'throwing SOCIAL Thought...down the "by-ways...in this...a 'Country I no longer know...Ok...I have lost IT to 57' Chevy Nomads...(my dream-wheels), up for sale @ 5 thousand american... ohh my...!

lg...send unedit

Dear lg,
Really, why send anything at all?

UNINTENDED CON[sic]QUENCES

Your article was WONDERFUL! I'd begun to think that this country only had unquestioning, mindless little SHEEP! You've restored a sense of hope in me. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
Steve

Dear Steve,
Why do e-mails like this seem so depressing?

INQUI[sic]IVE

How does one become a contributor to the Beast?
Joseph Marhee

Dear Joseph,
One contributes.

GREAT EXPECTORATIONS

Haven't even finished reading it yet [Ian Murphy, “Let There be Retards,” issue 117]. Just getting over this flu/cold that has filled everyone's lungs with crud, and which makes every third breath end in a cough. Why tell you this? Because you just can't slip captions under pictures like that first one, with the velociraptor and "Ken Ham, at right." I am torn now between ignoring it for a few days, or showing it to my humor-handicapped wife, and again collapsing (and I mean that literally) in a prodigious coughing fit from the laughter this one caption causes... Is it subtle, or is it a bludgeon? BTFOOM, but I will steal it, for future use, and always with attribution. Keep it up. ...and take that anyway you'd like.

-k-

Dear K,
Caption this! Us kicking the crap out of your feeble, phlegmatic frame for using a stupid acronym like BTFOOM. Is it really that hard for you to just type “beats the fuck out of me?” Did you really have to force us to look this stupidity up at urbandictionary.com? Well, maybe we shouldn't be so uptight. AA, INL TEL WW&D IWADTS. Don’t understand? Too fucking bad.

THE ANSWER

Having waded all the way through this dreadfully overwritten piece [Allan Uthman, “Immune to Reality,” issue 124] I have the answer.

It's short.

Without telecom immunity, the American pubic will soon learn that Bush started illegally spying on American citizens BEFORE 9/11.

That's it.

AntiSpin

Dear AntiSpin,
Whoah, that would be a real mind-blower, huh? It’s not as though that story has ever been reported before—like, say, in the Washington Post on October 15, 2007, or Bloomberg News on June 30, 2006—because knowledge like that would, like, cause a revolution or something. Right? Bye now.

DAMAGE INCORPORATED

The Tip of the Corporate Culpability Iceberg

Somehow Democrats stumbled onto the biggest issue since Edison's light bulb. I think they sense, as the author implies, that the strangely stubborn resistance by the Bush Reich and their Congressional gauleiters simply does not match the perceived importance of the immunity section:

"There’s more than pedestrian corruption at work here."

And much more than federal corruption and/or illegal acts, too.

Democrats somehow, against all previous records of past performance, have correctly sensed that they are onto something much bigger than what originally bargained for. And, for once, they are right. Now, will they stupidly cave or will they hang onto to this and ride it out no matter what like they should?

What they have stumbled onto is corporate spying completely separate from that associated with government complicity. The NSA merely utilized a system already in existence. What corporation would build separate rooms and electronic systems merely in anticipation of possible government (illegal) need? No, what we have here is corporate spying on U.S. citizens on a massive and illegal scale (there are a variety of privacy laws violated, even though a private entity cannot violate constitutional rights against unwarranted search and seizure).
The feds can be nailed for acquiring information they shouldn't have w/o probable cause, so the immunity does not protect them.

This opens the Pandora Box of corporations acting as private tyrants, and where this could lead, no one knows. Repubs are nothing more than corporate agents. They are merely following orders like good lackeys do, and good Germans did.

PS Dems should never tire of asking surveillance goosesteppers to name one instance where a terrorist avoided detection because FISA refused to issue a warrant. Failures before 9/11 were due to stupidity and complicity, never FISA.

It wouldn't hurt to point out that Repukes are putting the telecom bottom line ahead of citizen safety, AGAIN as always, since that is the ONLY reason Bush is threatening Veto.

SnoopDopeyDogg

Dear Snoop,
InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States. InfraGard Chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.” -infragard.net

Corporations spying on Americans? Don’t be silly.

REACH OUT AND TAP SOMEONE

The short story is, the telecom companies, who are big political donors across the spectrum, have realized that they've opened themselves to massive liability, and are putting pressure on the administration to fix things.

Working backwards (since the facts are hidden behind state secrets walls for now), we can put together a decent picture. In 2003, the NSA paid Telecom companies to install special rooms, as detailed in the case of AT&T by Mark Klein's documents. These rooms probably scan the "headers" (by which I mean destination info - receiving phone number, or destination isp, or what have you) of all the data.

This information, which may not exactly be wiretapping (because they're not listening to the conversation/reading the email itself, just where it's going), is then used by the NSA or other agency to identify candidates for FISA warrants. This would explain the surge in FISA applications in 2003. In 2007, realizing that this was at best questionably legal stuff, the Administration got nervous and had the Protect America Act passed, explicitly allowing that behavior on nothing more than the AG's authorization.

However, the PAA has expired now, so they can't continue on the AG's sole authorization (or at least the Telecos aren't buying), so the new push is to make the PAA's amendments to FISA permanent. Oh, and throw Telecom immunity in there as well.
Oregon 2L

Dear Oregon 2L,
No, not “throw it in;” more like “throw a screaming fit if anyone takes it out.” It’s not just pressure from the telecom lobby—immunity is obviously very important to the administration itself, as well as the Republican Party. But hey, thanks for the rudimentary summary of the story so far, which we’d have to be total idiots not to know before writing anything about it. You’ve been a real help.

REALITY IS FOR SISSIES

Get some balls America ...

Allan, something astonishing happened the other day in America!

Your country forgot, or chose to ignore, the overwhelming need for a meticulous and truly transparent high-level investigation into the Bush administration's obvious master-minding of nine eleven.

Do you think Americans have the balls for that? They look pretty tough pushing Iraqi civilians around.

Okay, that's a little brash. Americans have demonstrated remarkable sacrifice and tenacity in defending our world from the true terrors of radical fascism. The entire free world is indebted to America, no argument.

As a nation, you are self-assured and extremely capable. So, why should anyone believe Mr. and Mrs. America would collapse like frightened children in the face of some serious introspection?

Why don't the citizens of your powerful and fascinating country demand the truth about nine eleven? Why don't they expose the inconceivable greed of Dick Cheney and prosecute the entire Bush administration like the murderous criminals they are?

I just don't get it!

Are the American news media really so pathetic as to actually believe the official nine eleven commission report? Are devoted Republicans really so mindless as to swallow the insipid banality of these fear-mongering regurgitants?

I really hope not!

But if they are, I have another question. What the hell is wrong with you people? Get some balls, look in the fucking mirror, and put at least a shred of dignity back into your national government.

A public lynching of Dick and George would do nicely!

Cobman

Dear Cobman,
The Bush administration couldn’t mastermind a tee-ball game successfully. Fuckhead.

WHAT WE SAID

Andrea Mitchell let slip that a journalist was being wiretapped. What if many journalists were being wiretapped ? Would we know if wire tapping was used against the Democrats in the 2004 races ? Did Carl Rove get to use the wire tappping aparatus, he was after all granted deep security clearance. And finally, what the Democrats in Congress reallly want know, were they wire tapped, are they being wire tapped to this very day in their day to day operations ?

These questions must be answered. Even the yelllow belly Dems need to know exactly what information Bush has on 'em.

mmckinl

Dear mmckinl,
We have a feeling they’ve already seen that evidence, delivered to them each in a blank envelope with a note that read, “you don’t want to find out what will happen if you fuck with us.” Looks like Spitzer found out.

BONKER BUSTER

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
I did, but I called it genocide.

I did that too, called it genocide. This week I spoke on and off the record Monday and Tuesday down at the county offices. I told my public officials marijuana prohibition is genocide to my people based on religious discrimination. I gave them personal examples of business and police abuses I have suffered over the issue BECAUSE of my race and religion. The hearing gets broadcasted locally on TV.

ATT and COMCAST have a business relationship with me. I knew COMCAST was cooperating with the terrorism Bush was laying on the people. This is one reason I call them so much to complain about it.

Naturally I called my phone company, ATT, to complain when someone attempted to assist my suicide by screwing around with my phone service. Both of these companies have a collection of recorded phone messages to them from me complaining about instances of the government spying on me. I also post about them here so the dates are in the public record. Those messages can be, or perhaps already have been, subpoenaed.

So their crime isn't just eves dropping with me, but someone is actively interfering in my free speech to the point of torture and genocide. My statements about it are recorded, destroying them would be another crime.

I feel like Anne Frank. You know how you are being treated is wrong, but what can you do?
Hide and hope they don't catch you.

Lauren

Dear Lauren,
We find it troubling how often our work seems to draw the interest of seriously crazy people, but not troubling to the point of torture and genocide. Do you understand what the word “genocide” actually means? Anne Frank did. So, just to fill you in: Anne Frank was hiding from real people who really would have killed her; you are just another paranoid maniac, hallucinating powerful enemies to stave of the terrible truth of your total insignificance. Can we try some of your pot?

CROOKY MONSTER

It is essential to keep immunity off the table. It is part of the evidence trail that might put impeachment back on the table. I am, though, suspicious as to the source and motive of the spine that the House suddenly acquired when they stood up and offered up their "Protect America" bill absent the "protect the telecoms and W's ass" version. It is no longer possible to look at a positive event without suspecting a crooky somewhere lurking.

Jeanne

Dear Jeanne,
Your suspicion impresses us. While there can be no doubt that the House majority leadership doesn’t give a crap about our rights, it’s probable that their pollsters told them telecom immunity is a good wedge issue, or their lawyers told them this is how to drag out a major legal embarrassment for the GOP in an election year. No doubt they will cave in short order come December.

FOLLOWING ORDERS

This issue makes no sense and stamps the democrats, the house anyway, as weak on security.

Why on earth would anyone in their right mind want to hold a company liable for agreeing to work with the government on security issues. Congress should be held liable - they all are the government.

The senate seemed to see the light. Pelosi is playing politics - and not very smart. Now she wakes up and it's on this issue??

carbon-based

Dear Carbon-based,
Ah yes, we were waiting for this gem—congress is responsible for the secret actions of the president, because they are all The Government. You know, come to think of it, shouldn’t the New York State legislature all be arrested for soliciting prostitutes? Or, barring that, being prostitutes?

BOY WHO CRIED WOLFOWITZ

To the Editors, Your defamation of one Jeff Chism in the last issue of your magazine constitutes libel. Period. I have contacted Mr. Chism personally to make sure my Jewish eyes were not deceiving me in what I read. He is a religious man and would never denigrate the proud Jewish tradition and peoples. Accepting an anti-Semitic e-mail and putting a fake address on it is not only unethical but it is revolting and quite illegal. I have not contacted the Anti-Defamation League—yet. But if you do not print a retraction and an apology for smearing the Jewish race and an innocent man, I will be forced to do so. Free speech has its boundaries, Sirs. And you have crossed the line. Good day, Noah Goldman

Dear Noah,
We didn’t “fake” Chism’s e-mail, although it’s possible someone else did—someone who hates Jeff Chism for some reason. Maybe they paid sticker price for their Maxima. But this has really got to be the flimsiest pretext yet for calling us antisemitic. Keep flinging those meshuga accusations, Noah, because we have a feeling that eventually, if everyone in America is labeled a Nazi every time they eat a ham and swiss sandwich for a few more years, the spell will break, and people will feel free to speak their minds about Israel. You’re doing God’s work, ironically enough. But please, Noah, do not spare us the attention of the Anti-Defamation League. No retraction, so—you promised!



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