Denmark Vesey's Plantation

A place to discuss whatever comes to mind.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Going Postal...

What in the blue hell is up with postal workers?

Deadly postal shootings
Associated Press

Some shootings at post offices:

Jan. 30, 2006 - A female ex-postal worker opens fire at a mail processing plant near Santa Barbara, Calif., killing six people before committing suicide, authorities say.

April 17, 1998 - Maceo Yarbough III, a 27-year-old letter carrier, fatally shoots a post office clerk in Dallas after they argue in a break room. He is found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

Sept. 2, 1997 - Jesus Antonio Tamayo, a 21-year postal veteran, leaves his counter at a Miami Beach, Fla., post office, gets a gun from his car, walks back in and critically wounds his ex-wife and a friend, who were waiting in line. Tamayo, 64, then goes outside and kills himself.

July 9, 1995 - Bruce William Clark walks up to his boss in a processing center in City of Industry, Calif., pulls a handgun from a paper bag and shoots him to death. Clark, 58, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced in 1996 to 22 years in prison.

March 21, 1995 - Christopher Green, 29, a former postal worker burdened with "a mountain of debt," kills four people and wounds another during a holdup at the Montclair, N.J., post office. Green was sentenced to life in prison in September 1995.

May 6, 1993 - Postal worker Larry Jasion kills one and wounds two at the post office garage in Dearborn, Mich., before killing himself.

May 6, 1993 - Fired postal employee Mark Richard Hilbun kills his mother, then walks into a post office in the Dana Point community near Los Angeles and shoots two workers, killing one. He was convicted of murder, attempted murder and other felonies and sentenced to life in prison.

Nov. 14, 1991 - Fired postal worker Thomas McIlvane kills four supervisors and wounds five employees at a post office in Royal Oak, Mich., and then killed himself.

Oct. 11, 1991 - Joseph M. Harris, a fired postal worker, kills a former supervisor and her boyfriend at their home in Wayne, N.J., then goes to the Ridgewood post office where he kills two mail handlers as they arrive for work. He was sentenced to death and was on death row when he died in 1996 after suffering a seizure in his cell.

Aug. 10, 1989 - Postal worker John Merlin Taylor of Escondido, Calif., shoots and kills his wife at their home, then drives to the Orange Glen post office, where he shoots and kills two colleagues and wounds another before killing himself.

Aug. 20, 1986 - Patrick Henry Sherrill, a part-time letter carrier in Edmond, Okla., kills 14 people in the post office there before taking his own life. Sherrill had a history of work problems and faced the possibility of being fired.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Jean Grae: One Of The Best You've Never Heard

Jean Grae - Rich in ability, poor in bank account
story by Ronnie Reese

Last summer, Talib Kweli had this to say about Jean Grae: "She makes me think of Lauryn Hill, just more fierce. Lauryn is one of the best MCs ever, but she didn't have a love for MCing. If Lauryn had a love for MCing, she'd be like Jean Grae."

Respected by peers and critics alike, hers is an oft-told story: Formerly What? What?, now Jean Grae. Born Tsidi Ibrahim in South Africa, the birthplace of her parents, self-exiled jazz musicians. Her mother, a schoolteacher and singer, her father, African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim. Moved to the United States as an infant, later becoming the youngest member of Alvin Ailey's second company at age 13. Attended the LaGuardia School of the Arts and Performing Arts in Manhattan, famous for being the model for television's "Fame," itself famous for introducing Irene Cara to the world as "Coco." Began running the streets of the West Village and learning culture in her mid-teens, dipping in and out of two early crews before going solo in 1999. Appeared on anything and everything prior to recording her 2002 debut, Attack of the Attacking Things, followed by the preposterous Bootleg of the Bootleg EP a year later.

After touring with the Roots in the spring of 2004, Grae - who has also produced records under the playful aliases Run Run Shaw and Nasain Nahmeen - went to work on her second full-length, This Week, released last October. With as much effort as she's put in over the past few years, it's hard to believe that Jean Grae is poor, but she is, and will usually be the first to admit it. Near-poverty is a reality for a lot of struggling rappers, something the general public is largely unaware of. Says Grae, "I was reading some Web site the other day about how artists like Jean Grae can still live comfortably making $70,000 a year, and I was like, ' this the other Jean Grae?...because I want to make $70,000 a year!'"

The yin to Grae's open bar-hopping, fried bologna-eating yang is an exceptional handle on her craft. She's arguably one of the best lyricists in recent history, rapping from a wellspring of experience and education, fueled in part by personal battles and industry frustrations in what has been a prolific career to date. When asked about an infamous onslaught written to a popular hip-hop Web site, where she unmasked the "old thugs club" mentality prevalent in the rap business, she replies, "I think it's definitely a situation where you don't want to get beat by a girl...whether you're in the first grade or in your thirties. They [men] will definitely give each other a chance before they'll let a girl in, unless you're willing to play by their rules."

Seems rather catty for a bunch of dudes. "I want a chance to play," Grae continues, "I just want a chance to play on my own terms." This independence and refusal to compromise, while admirable, may be the reason why she has yet to experience the fruits of labor one would expect a person with such immense talent would already have. "It's not like I'm choosing to go left," she explains. "I just don't know how to do the formula. I honestly don't know. If I could do it, I probably would be, but I just don't know how."

What Grae does understand is that you don't necessarily need rapping ability to succeed in hip-hop, but she is cursed with having too much of that unnecessary ability to do anything about it. "I definitely understand that it's easier to love celebrity and love the life," she states. "That's sort of an illusion of what your life could be, and that's what sells...that's what drives. If I were living a different lifestyle, I might be talking about that. Since I'm not, I have to talk about what I know."

Jay-Z once admitted, "I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars," but Grae doesn't have that option. Her mother would kill her. Furthermore, she says, "It's difficult when you're not in a category people can put you in. Why do I have to be in a category? Listen to it and enjoy it without having to put a label on it. There is no label, it's just me.

"Can I be me? Is that okay?"

It is okay, for some. Grae is blessed with a loyal following. To her disadvantage, however, is the fact that broke rappers are often "supported" by even broker fans. The situation is noticeably apparent while on independent tours, where she finds that due to a lack of promotion, there is no demand for her music in certain places. Part of being an artist is being able to share - to present your art to an audience, yet there has to be a demand for it. At times, the lack of support can be a tough sight.

"It's definitely a struggle to balance the marketing and promotion," Grae says. "If you have enough money behind you, it doesn't really matter what you sound like. I could put out a record of me farting and burping, with a 10 million dollar budget, and it would sell. I'm thankful to be able to sell records without actual promotion, or without video or radio play," she continues. "To be thought of as important and the semi-recognition I do get makes it worth it, but I think the perception of it is really not what we're going through and sometimes it's difficult to get that across."

Then there's the girl thing. At a seasoned 28, Grae has the skills and potential to become the best female emcee rap has ever seen, even if she's not quite ready to burn belly shirts and spit vagina monologues. "Don't categorize me as a female emcee, although beyond that, I am still a female," she affirms. "I want the shoes." Grae's demure, engaging and engaged, happily in love with fiancé and manager Colin Afflick, and staying wary of how she and other female rappers are portrayed. "On photo matter how many times you ask for exclusive sneakers and no bathing suits, bathing suits somehow always end up on the rack," she explains. "It makes no difference what magazine it is.

"Every now and then," Grae reveals, "I wish I had gotten into this a long time ago, when it wasn't so much about these labels and categories, and we were afforded the luxury of versatility and definitely had a lot more control. It got to the point in the mid-'90s where [record] companies began to realize exactly how much money they could make off of this music. They tried with disco and alternative, but it stuck with rap."

Grae also might simply be so good that gaining commercial acceptance will always be a struggle. On her Bootleg of the Bootleg EP, where Grae raps her own lyrics over popular Jay-Z and Scarface instrumentals, as well as Nas and Mobb Deep classics, her lyrical abundance is often too much for the mainstream production. The EP includes seminal tracks from an early clique, Natural Resources, where ironically, Grae displays an innocent, more accessible style better suited for album sales. What she has become since then is a freak of the industry, a rap scholar falling somewhere among MC Lyte, early Eminem and some kid in a Bushwick cypher with a blunt behind his ear. It's a worthwhile mix, no doubt, just not one people are paying to hear. Although "if someone would send me that $70,000 I made last year," Grae suggests, "that would really help."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dr. King On The Vietnam War...

Just replace Vietnam with Iraq and you can see how Dr. King's words TRULY apply to today's world.

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church -- the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate -- leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

The Importance of Vietnam
Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the "Vietcong" or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Strange Liberators
And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.

Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not "ready" for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.

Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators -- our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change -- especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy -- and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us -- not their fellow Vietnamese --the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go -- primarily women and children and the aged.

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one "Vietcong"-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them -- mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force -- the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?

Now there is little left to build on -- save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.

Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front -- that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the north" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them -- the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.

When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

This Madness Must Cease
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:

"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.

Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.

Protesting The War
Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove thosse conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

The People Are Important
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.

Supreme Court halts US execution


The US Supreme Court has blocked the execution of a Florida man to consider his appeal over the method used to carry out the punishment.

Clarence Hill was to be executed on Wednesday for the 1982 murder of a Pensacola police officer.

But the court wants to consider if the chemicals used in the execution cause pain - thus violating a Constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Anti-death penalty campaigners say the move could delay other US executions.

Hill had been strapped to a gurney and intra-venous lines were running into his arms late on Tuesday night, his lawyer said, when Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a temporary stay.

The full court continued the stay on Wednesday.

"What a fantastic day! What a fantastic day," Hill's attorney D Todd Doss said, calling the ruling "a relief".

Oral arguments were set for 26 April, meaning it will likely be the summer before the court issues its opinion, Mr Doss told the Associated Press.

'Lethal cocktail'

Lethal injection is the most widely used method of execution in the US, although some offer inmates the choice of alternatives like electrocution or the gas chamber.

Lethal injection: Authorized in 37 states
Electrocution: In 10 states (sole method in Nebraska)
Gas chamber: In five states (all of which have lethal injection as alternative)
Hanging: Only in New Hampshire and Washington
Firing squad: In Idaho and Oklahoma
Source: DPIC

The exact combination of chemicals used varies, but the process usually involves three stages, according to the Death Penalty Information Center - an anti-death penalty group.

The condemned inmate is injected with an anaesthetic, which puts the inmate to sleep. Next flows pavulon or pancuronium bromide, which paralyses the entire muscle system and stops the inmate's breathing.

Finally, the flow of potassium chloride stops the heart.

Richard Dieter, head of DPIC, told the BBC: "The argument is that the chemicals may mask the pain of what is going on - we assume people are just put to sleep, but if you are paralysed it may mask the fact that these people are under extreme pain."

Mr Dieter added: "It is too early to say what bearing this case will have on the many other lethal injection executions scheduled, but it could potentially be very significant.

"It could hold up a lot of other cases and I think that is why the Supreme Court wants to expedite its consideration of this appeal."

No challenge to injection

The case allows the court to revisit a 2004 ruling in an Alabama death case, in which justices said that David Larry Nelson could pursue a last-ditch claim that his death by lethal injection would be unconstitutionally cruel because of his damaged veins.

While Hill does not have damaged veins, his appeal cites medical studies about the drug cocktail used by Florida and other states.

Mr Doss told the high court that there is a risk his client will not be fully anaesthetised at the time of his death and that courts should look at his latest claims.

Like the Nelson case, the new appeal is more about stopping an execution than a direct constitutional challenge to using the lethal injection.

Thirty-eight of the 50 US states and the federal government permit capital punishment.

In December, Kenneth Lee Boyd, a 57-year-old Vietnam veteran, became the 1,000th person to be executed in the US since the Supreme Court re-instated capital punishment in 1976.

"We assume people are just put to sleep, but if you are paralysed it may mask the fact that these people are under extreme pain"
Richard Dieter, Death Penalty Information Center

Story from BBC NEWS

Monday, January 23, 2006

Thought For The Week....

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often,
and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the
privilege of owning yourself.":Rudyard Kipling - (1865-1936)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Deceptions in Military Recruiting

Deceptions in Military Recruiting:

An ex-Insider Speaks Out

by Chris White

The points in this essay concerning the dark side of military recruiting largely inform my decision to work incessantly to dissuade young men and women from enlisting. My primary audience is every U.S. citizens because it is necessary that as many people as possible understand the manipulation used by the military to lure young Americans. It is important to question the notion that the all-volunteer military is truly made up of volunteers. If one is lied to about a profession by the people who convinced them to join that profession, then is the person who was lied to a volunteer in the clearest sense of the word? My research has led me to forsake the ideology of "once a Marine, always a Marine", that imposes on us to refer to ourselves as "former Marines" and never "ex-Marines". I condemn my past Marine identity, and therefore, I proudly call myself an "ex-Marine" who is against any offensive use of the U.S. military.

I am not against the men and women serving in the military per se; I am against the way in which they are used by the government to promote the interests of its richest constituents. My doctoral research on U.S. foreign policy also convinces me that when viewed through the lens of the deceptive process of military recruiting, our actions abroad are further exposed as corruptly violent. Furthermore, I have learned that rarely has our military been used for national defense in its 228-year history. We can remember the War of 1812 and WWII as possibly the only national defense wars, but mostly poor young men and women, for the cause of defending the interests of the rich and the politicians, have fought hundreds of other engagements both here and abroad. Every service member contributes their share, which is why I work hard to dissuade anyone from joining the military.

The Bush administration's justification for waging war on Iraq is permeated by a fleet of hypocritical holes. From the absence of proof, to the double standards, to the erasure of history in public discussions, to all of the other deceitful practices that support the military industrial complex, it is clear that those who favor peace are up against a simultaneously powerful and tenuous force. The force is powerful because it has monetary and physical strength as well as the media to maintain power over the masses. Yet, the grip of the warmongers is tenuous as long as there are those who will speak out to expose the hypocrisies and lies that legitimize their rule in the first place.

Military recruiters are the first line of offense in this machinery that serves the interests of the power elite at the expense of the less fortunate. Recruiters creep into the civilian world touting slogans to make an otherwise dismal job seem appealing. Their training is largely oriented toward marketing and sales techniques: on the first day at recruiting school, a recruiter friend of mine was told to come up with a gimmick for selling a pen. What business does the military have teaching recruiters to sell anything? Are the lives of America's youth just another commodity for the government to exploit? If the war is justified, then why do recruiters have to exist at all? Why do they even have to sell the military to young people? Why do they have to use manipulative sales techniques to convince young, uneducated minds to carry out the dirty work of war? As an assistant recruiter, I witnessed first hand how recruiters manipulate the poor and young into fighting for the rich!

First, recruiters have every incentive to be dishonest. Speaking for the Marine Corps only, recruiters have monthly quotas and, once filled, they can slack off for the rest of the month. However, the more people they sign up, the better their chances for promotion. Therefore, the incentive for dishonesty is high indeed. Recruiters lie about college benefits, duty station assignments, veterans' benefits, and countless other aspects of the military in order to convince their clients to sign. Once you are in boot camp, it is too late to change anything.

How do they lie about college benefits? They fail to tell you that you must pay 1200 dollars in your first year of the military in order to get the G.I. Bill, which is quite a chunk of money when your salary is only 700/mo. You will be lucky if you get your monthly G.I. Bill check in your first three months of college anyway, as the bureaucracy is so inept that you had better hope to have enough money saved up before you arrive. Another point recruiters leave out is that most students who are independent and over 25, civilians and veterans alike, are eligible for enormous amounts of financial aid anyway. That is, unless you already receive the G.I. Bill.

Wait a minute. Back up. So, if I earned the G.I. Bill for serving "my country", then I may not be eligible for any financial aid? Yep, ask any veteran over 25 working in college, and they will tell you that the financial aid office determines one's eligibility for grants and fellowships (free money) according to one's income, and then deletes one's income from the amount of aid one is eligible for. Therefore, if one were eligible for 9,000 dollars in grants, but received 9,000 from the G.I. Bill, well, one gets no grants. One can get loans though. All the loans one desires. This may seem like a petty argument, but remember, recruiters use the G.I. Bill to lure civilians into joining the military. So, if the G.I. Bill is not necessarily a benefit, then why should one join for the college money?

How do recruiters lie about duty station assignments? Recruiters tell potential reservists that they can go to college and serve one weekend a month, with very little chance of being called back to active duty. However, the current administration wants to call up to 300,000 reservists to the Gulf alone. I can further illustrate this with the story of my neighbor's daughter who had considered joining the National Guard. As an incentive to get her to sign, her recruiter told her that she would be stationed in Kansas, but luckily, I persuaded her not to join. Her friend was not so lucky. Shortly after joining the Guard, he was called to active duty and sent to Bosnia for two years. Thousands of National Guard and other reservists have been called back to active duty since 9/11, and thousands more will still be called to go to Iraq.

How do recruiters deceive us about veterans' benefits? I can use VA medical facilities if I want to wait five months for an appointment, but my wife cannot use them (at least in Kansas). We are both veterans, but I am 30 percent disabled, and she is not at all. Of course, who would want to use the VA hospital in Kansas City anyway? According to an AP report in March 2002, the infestation of mice, maggots, and flies in the years leading up to 2001 created such as scandal as to pressure VA Secretary Anthony Principi to remove "the director and deputy director for the regional network, which includes Missouri, Kansas, and southern Illinois." (1) The janitorial staff did not touch the food storage areas or cafeteria for a year, and maggots had nested in two of the comatose patients' noses! This is not necessarily the fault of the VA because the federal government decides how much money will be allotted to our disabled veterans.

Ron Kovic exposed the horrible conditions of the VA hospitals during the Vietnam era in his book, Born on the Fourth of July. As a wounded Vietnam veteran, Kovic was outraged at the outdated equipment, under-qualified and uncaring staffs and the unsanitary conditions that disabled veterans were forced to endure. Therefore, not much has changed since 1970s, and any hope of future change is diminished by dubya's slashing of the VA's healthcare budget by 275 million dollars in 2002, and further cuts all around to the VA. Of course, recruiters never mention this in their deceit-filled speeches about the benefits of the military, which is why more veterans need to speak to high school students and parents about the realities of military life.

Although the lies are bad enough, interactions with recruiters can be hazardous to one's health. One poolee (person waiting to go to boot camp who has already enlisted) wrote me that my first essay had helped him to decide to leave the Marines. The recruiter lied to the poolee by saying that it was too late, that he had already enlisted and therefore he was obligated for the next four years. During my recruiting days, I learned that any poolee can get out before boot camp, and after several more e-mails, the poolee told me that he had finally received his discharge after pushing the matter a little more. His recruiter responded to him with a physical threat by saying, "If I was in front of you right now I'd knock you out." Great example of the quality of leadership instilled by military service.

My recruiter in 1994 was a Marine sniper who had served in El Salvador and Somalia among other places. He actually admitted to me with excitement that he had killed non-combatants in Somalia with a .50 caliber sniper rifle, a weapon only to be used on vehicles, and that he had taken pictures of his victims afterward. His story was semi-confirmed for me seven years later, once I read Scott Peterson's Me against my Brother. Peterson wrote, "the snipers killed more than 14 Somalis, some of them children who were found later to have a toy pistol, or nothing." (2) UN spokesperson George Bennet later told Peterson, "They were shooting at anything by the time they left," and this statement only further confirms my recruiter's story. (3)

Unfortunately, I too am guilty of following an unlawful order from that same recruiter, but of a much lesser magnitude. While assisting him for two weeks just after I graduated from boot camp, part of my job was to make poolees lose weight before they shipped out. One poolee was still twelve pounds overweight the day before boot camp, so naturally my recruiter ordered me to force the poolee to eat an entire box of Ex-lax, after which I had to make him do calisthenics until he lost the twelve pounds. Needless to say, he was admitted to boot camp the next day, but I am still ashamed that I made him do that. The business of recruiting is dark indeed.

Recruiters now have even more access to the young minds of America, with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002. These Acts require every high school receiving federal education funds to hand over the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every junior and senior to local recruiters upon request. (4) That means that even 15 years olds, with no idea whatsoever about the real world, let alone the military, are now vulnerable to the manipulation and deception of recruiters in their own homes. If a school refuses to hand the information over, the Department of Defense steps in and pressures the school, after which federal funding may be withdrawn. According to Secretary of Education Rod Paige and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Acts give students more access to college, but we need to ask why it is that the government does not offer any alternative to the military for unskilled high school graduates that wish to go to college but are unqualified for college.

Our commander in chief himself took the opportunity to join the military, then took a Bush prerogative and failed to return to his duty station for a year and a half. Of course, he did not have to serve the prison sentences that others who left for that long did. Nevertheless, it makes perfect sense. After all, the president is not any different from half of Americans, who support our impending war on Iraq. While over fifty percent support an invasion, approximately 1 percent serves in the military. Therefore, only 1 percent of us is willing to fight a battle that over 50 percent of us favor, which makes it much more palatable to start a war. As long as the majority faces no direct military consequences, I guess anything, including deceptive measures in recruiting, goes. Thus, the cycle of historical amnesia is allowed to continue, and future U.S. military action will surely bring about more 9/11s.

Chris White, a contributing writer for Liberal Slant, is an ex-Marine
infantryman with experience as a recruiter-assistant. He is currently
working on his doctorate in history at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.
He served from 1994-98, in Diego Garcia, Camp Pendleton, CA, Okinawa,
Japan, and Doha, Qatar. He is also a member of Veterans for Peace.

(1) Libby Quaid, "VA Officials Reassigned Amid Scandal," Associated Press
28 Mar 2002.

(2) Scott Peterson, Me against my Brother: at War in Somalia, Sudan, and
Rwanda (New York: Routledge, 2001) 149.

(3) Quoted in Peterson, 149.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Real Reason We're In Iraq

I. Economics of Empires

A nation-state taxes its own citizens, while an empire taxes other nation-states. The history of empires, from Greek and Roman, to Ottoman and British, teaches that the economic foundation of every single empire is the taxation of other nations. The imperial ability to tax has always rested on a better and stronger economy, and as a consequence, a better and stronger military. One part of the subject taxes went to improve the living standards of the empire; the other part went to strengthen the military dominance necessary to enforce the collection of those taxes.

Historically, taxing the subject state has been in various forms—usually gold and silver, where those were considered money, but also slaves, soldiers, crops, cattle, or other agricultural and natural resources, whatever economic goods the empire demanded and the subject-state could deliver. Historically, imperial taxation has always been direct: the subject state handed over the economic goods directly to the empire.

For the first time in history, in the twentieth century, America was able to tax the world indirectly, through inflation. It did not enforce the direct payment of taxes like all of its predecessor empires did, but distributed instead its own fiat currency, the U.S. Dollar, to other nations in exchange for goods with the intended consequence of inflating and devaluing those dollars and paying back later each dollar with less economic goods—the difference capturing the U.S. imperial tax. Here is how this happened.

Early in the 20th century, the U.S. economy began to dominate the world economy. The U.S. dollar was tied to gold, so that the value of the dollar neither increased, nor decreased, but remained the same amount of gold. The Great Depression, with its preceding inflation from 1921 to 1929 and its subsequent ballooning government deficits, had substantially increased the amount of currency in circulation, and thus rendered the backing of U.S. dollars by gold impossible. This led Roosevelt to decouple the dollar from gold in 1932. Up to this point, the U.S. may have well dominated the world economy, but from an economic point of view, it was not an empire. The fixed value of the dollar did not allow the Americans to extract economic benefits from other countries by supplying them with dollars convertible to gold.

Economically, the American Empire was born with Bretton Woods in 1945. The U.S. dollar was not fully convertible to gold, but was made convertible to gold only to foreign governments. This established the dollar as the reserve currency of the world. It was possible, because during WWII, the United States had supplied its allies with provisions, demanding gold as payment, thus accumulating significant portion of the world’s gold. An Empire would not have been possible if, following the Bretton Woods arrangement, the dollar supply was kept limited and within the availability of gold, so as to fully exchange back dollars for gold. However, the guns-and-butter policy of the 1960’s was an imperial one: the dollar supply was relentlessly increased to finance Vietnam and LBJ’s Great Society. Most of those dollars were handed over to foreigners in exchange for economic goods, without the prospect of buying them back at the same value. The increase in dollar holdings of foreigners via persistent U.S. trade deficits was tantamount to a tax—the classical inflation tax that a country imposes on its own citizens, this time around an inflation tax that U.S. imposed on rest of the world.

When in 1970-1971 foreigners demanded payment for their dollars in gold, The U.S. Government defaulted on its payment on August 15, 1971. While the popular spin told the story of “severing the link between the dollar and gold”, in reality the denial to pay back in gold was an act of bankruptcy by the U.S. Government. Essentially, the U.S. declared itself an Empire. It had extracted an enormous amount of economic goods from the rest of the world, with no intention or ability to return those goods, and the world was powerless to respond— the world was taxed and it could not do anything about it.

From that point on, to sustain the American Empire and to continue to tax the rest of the world, the United States had to force the world to continue to accept ever-depreciating dollars in exchange for economic goods and to have the world hold more and more of those depreciating dollars. It had to give the world an economic reason to hold them, and that reason was oil.

In 1971, as it became clearer and clearer that the U.S Government would not be able to buy back its dollars in gold, it made in 1972-73 an iron-clad arrangement with Saudi Arabia to support the power of the House of Saud in exchange for accepting only U.S. dollars for its oil. The rest of OPEC was to follow suit and also accept only dollars. Because the world had to buy oil from the Arab oil countries, it had the reason to hold dollars as payment for oil. Because the world needed ever increasing quantities of oil at ever increasing oil prices, the world’s demand for dollars could only increase. Even though dollars could no longer be exchanged for gold, they were now exchangeable for oil.

The economic essence of this arrangement was that the dollar was now backed by oil. As long as that was the case, the world had to accumulate increasing amounts of dollars, because they needed those dollars to buy oil. As long as the dollar was the only acceptable payment for oil, its dominance in the world was assured, and the American Empire could continue to tax the rest of the world. If, for any reason, the dollar lost its oil backing, the American Empire would cease to exist. Thus, Imperial survival dictated that oil be sold only for dollars. It also dictated that oil reserves were spread around various sovereign states that weren’t strong enough, politically or militarily, to demand payment for oil in something else. If someone demanded a different payment, he had to be convinced, either by political pressure or military means, to change his mind.

The man that actually did demand Euro for his oil was Saddam Hussein in 2000. At first, his demand was met with ridicule, later with neglect, but as it became clearer that he meant business, political pressure was exerted to change his mind. When other countries, like Iran, wanted payment in other currencies, most notably Euro and Yen, the danger to the dollar was clear and present, and a punitive action was in order. Bush’s Shock-and-Awe in Iraq was not about Saddam’s nuclear capabilities, about defending human rights, about spreading democracy, or even about seizing oil fields; it was about defending the dollar, ergo the American Empire. It was about setting an example that anyone who demanded payment in currencies other than U.S. Dollars would be likewise punished.

Many have criticized Bush for staging the war in Iraq in order to seize Iraqi oil fields. However, those critics can’t explain why Bush would want to seize those fields—he could simply print dollars for nothing and use them to get all the oil in the world that he needs. He must have had some other reason to invade Iraq.

History teaches that an empire should go to war for one of two reasons: (1) to defend itself or (2) benefit from war; if not, as Paul Kennedy illustrates in his magisterial The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, a military overstretch will drain its economic resources and precipitate its collapse. Economically speaking, in order for an empire to initiate and conduct a war, its benefits must outweigh its military and social costs. Benefits from Iraqi oil fields are hardly worth the long-term, multi-year military cost. Instead, Bush must have went into Iraq to defend his Empire. Indeed, this is the case: two months after the United States invaded Iraq, the Oil for Food Program was terminated, the Iraqi Euro accounts were switched back to dollars, and oil was sold once again only for U.S. dollars. No longer could the world buy oil from Iraq with Euro. Global dollar supremacy was once again restored. Bush descended victoriously from a fighter jet and declared the mission accomplished—he had successfully defended the U.S. dollar, and thus the American Empire.

II. Iranian Oil Bourse

The Iranian government has finally developed the ultimate “nuclear” weapon that can swiftly destroy the financial system underpinning the American Empire. That weapon is the Iranian Oil Bourse slated to open in March 2006. It will be based on a euro-oil-trading mechanism that naturally implies payment for oil in Euro. In economic terms, this represents a much greater threat to the hegemony of the dollar than Saddam’s, because it will allow anyone willing either to buy or to sell oil for Euro to transact on the exchange, thus circumventing the U.S. dollar altogether. If so, then it is likely that almost everyone will eagerly adopt this euro oil system:

· The Europeans will not have to buy and hold dollars in order to secure their payment for oil, but would instead pay with their own currencies. The adoption of the euro for oil transactions will provide the European currency with a reserve status that will benefit the European at the expense of the Americans.

· The Chinese and the Japanese will be especially eager to adopt the new exchange, because it will allow them to drastically lower their enormous dollar reserves and diversify with Euros, thus protecting themselves against the depreciation of the dollar. One portion of their dollars they will still want to hold onto; a second portion of their dollar holdings they may decide to dump outright; a third portion of their dollars they will decide to use up for future payments without replenishing those dollar holdings, but building up instead their euro reserves.

· The Russians have inherent economic interest in adopting the Euro – the bulk of their trade is with European countries, with oil-exporting countries, with China, and with Japan. Adoption of the Euro will immediately take care of the first two blocs, and will over time facilitate trade with China and Japan. Also, the Russians seemingly detest holding depreciating dollars, for they have recently found a new religion with gold. Russians have also revived their nationalism, and if embracing the Euro will stab the Americans, they will gladly do it and smugly watch the Americans bleed.

· The Arab oil-exporting countries will eagerly adopt the Euro as a means of diversifying against rising mountains of depreciating dollars. Just like the Russians, their trade is mostly with European countries, and therefore will prefer the European currency both for its stability and for avoiding currency risk, not to mention their jihad against the Infidel Enemy.

Only the British will find themselves between a rock and a hard place. They have had a strategic partnership with the U.S. forever, but have also had their natural pull from Europe. So far, they have had many reasons to stick with the winner. However, when they see their century-old partner falling, will they firmly stand behind him or will they deliver the coup de grace? Still, we should not forget that currently the two leading oil exchanges are the New York’s NYMEX and the London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), even though both of them are effectively owned by the Americans. It seems more likely that the British will have to go down with the sinking ship, for otherwise they will be shooting themselves in the foot by hurting their own London IPE interests. It is here noteworthy that for all the rhetoric about the reasons for the surviving British Pound, the British most likely did not adopt the Euro namely because the Americans must have pressured them not to: otherwise the London IPE would have had to switch to Euros, thus mortally wounding the dollar and their strategic partner.

At any rate, no matter what the British decide, should the Iranian Oil Bourse accelerate, the interests that matter—those of Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and Arabs—will eagerly adopt the Euro, thus sealing the fate of the dollar. Americans cannot allow this to happen, and if necessary, will use a vast array of strategies to halt or hobble the operation’s exchange:

· Sabotaging the Exchange—this could be a computer virus, network, communications, or server attack, various server security breaches, or a 9-11-type attack on main and backup facilities.

· Coup d’état—this is by far the best long-term strategy available to the Americans.

· Negotiating Acceptable Terms & Limitations—this is another excellent solution to the Americans. Of course, a government coup is clearly the preferred strategy, for it will ensure that the exchange does not operate at all and does not threaten American interests. However, if an attempted sabotage or coup d’etat fails, then negotiation is clearly the second-best available option.

· Joint U.N. War Resolution—this will be, no doubt, hard to secure given the interests of all other member-states of the Security Council. Feverish rhetoric about Iranians developing nuclear weapons undoubtedly serves to prepare this course of action.

· Unilateral Nuclear Strike—this is a terrible strategic choice for all the reasons associated with the next strategy, the Unilateral Total War. The Americans will likely use Israel to do their dirty nuclear job.

· Unilateral Total War—this is obviously the worst strategic choice. First, the U.S. military resources have been already depleted with two wars. Secondly, the Americans will further alienate other powerful nations. Third, major dollar-holding countries may decide to quietly retaliate by dumping their own mountains of dollars, thus preventing the U.S. from further financing its militant ambitions. Finally, Iran has strategic alliances with other powerful nations that may trigger their involvement in war; Iran reputedly has such alliance with China, India, and Russia, known as the Shanghai Cooperative Group, a.k.a. Shanghai Coop and a separate pact with Syria.

Whatever the strategic choice, from a purely economic point of view, should the Iranian Oil Bourse gain momentum, it will be eagerly embraced by major economic powers and will precipitate the demise of the dollar. The collapsing dollar will dramatically accelerate U.S. inflation and will pressure upward U.S. long-term interest rates. At this point, the Fed will find itself between Scylla and Charybdis—between deflation and hyperinflation—it will be forced fast either to take its “classical medicine” by deflating, whereby it raises interest rates, thus inducing a major economic depression, a collapse in real estate, and an implosion in bond, stock, and derivative markets, with a total financial collapse, or alternatively, to take the Weimar way out by inflating, whereby it pegs the long-bond yield, raises the Helicopters and drowns the financial system in liquidity, bailing out numerous LTCMs and hyperinflating the economy.

The Austrian theory of money, credit, and business cycles teaches us that there is no in-between Scylla and Charybdis. Sooner or later, the monetary system must swing one way or the other, forcing the Fed to make its choice. No doubt, Commander-in-Chief Ben Bernanke, a renowned scholar of the Great Depression and an adept Black Hawk pilot, will choose inflation. Helicopter Ben, oblivious to Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression, has nonetheless mastered the lessons of the Great Depression and the annihilating power of deflations. The Maestro has taught him the panacea of every single financial problem—to inflate, come hell or high water. He has even taught the Japanese his own ingenious unconventional ways to battle the deflationary liquidity trap. Like his mentor, he has dreamed of battling a Kondratieff Winter. To avoid deflation, he will resort to the printing presses; he will recall all helicopters from the 800 overseas U.S. military bases; and, if necessary, he will monetize everything in sight. His ultimate accomplishment will be the hyperinflationary destruction of the American currency and from its ashes will rise the next reserve currency of the world—that barbarous relic called gold.


Recommended Reading
William Clark “The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War in Iraq”
William Clark “The Real Reasons Why Iran is the Next Target”

About the Author
Krassimir Petrov ( has received his Ph. D. in economics from the Ohio State University and currently teaches Macroeconomics, International Finance, and Econometrics at the American University in Bulgaria. He is looking for a career in Dubai or the U. A. E.

Also by this author
“China’s Great Depression”
“Masters of Austrian Investment Analysis”
“Austrian Analysis of U.S. Inflation”
“Oil Performance in a Worldwide Depression”

Military Service is Hazardous...

WARNING: Joining the Military Is Hazardous

Military recruiters tour the country selling a dangerous product with glamorous ads, just like tobacco companies or drug pushers. The ads promise opportunity and adventure -- but don't believe the hype.

1. Joining the military is hazardous to your education.

The military isn't a generous financial aid institution, and it isn't concerned with helping you pay for school. Two-thirds of all recruits never get any college funding from the military. Only 15% graduated with a four-year degree.

What about going to school while you're in? Many GIs report that military life leaves them too busy and exhausted -- and doesn't really make time for them to go to class.

2. Joining the military is hazardous to your future.

Joining the military is a dead end. After you've spent a few years in the military, you're 2 to 5 times more likely to be homeless than your friends who never joined. And, according to the VA, you'll probably earn less too. The skills you learn in the military will be geared to military jobs, not civilian careers; when you come out, many employers will tell you to go back to school and get some real training. As former Secretary of Defense Cheney declared, "The reason to have a military is to be prepared to fight and win's not a jobs program."

3. Joining the military is hazardous to people of color.

During the Gulf War, over 50 percent of front-line troops were people of color. Overall, over 30 percent of enlisted personnel but only 12 percent of officers are people of color, who are then disciplined and discharged under other than honorable conditions at a much higher rate than whites. When recent studies showed a slight dip in young African-Americans' (disproportionately high) interest in the military, the Pentagon reacted with a new ad campaign. They're targeting Latino youth with special Spanish-language ads. The recruiters' lethal result: tracking high achieving young people in communities of color into a dead-end, deadly occupation.

4. Joining the military is hazardous to women.

Sexual harassment and assault are a daily reality for the overwhelming majority of women in the armed forces. The VA's own figures show 90 percent of recent women veterans reporting harassment - a third of whom were raped. Despite the glossy brochures that advertise "opportunities for women," the military's inherent sexism is evident from sergeants shouting "girl!" at trainees who don't "measure up," to the intimidation of women who speak out about harassment and discrimination - not to mention military men's sexual abuse of civilian women in base communities.

5. Joining the military is hazardous to your civil rights.

If you aren't willing to give up your rights, the military isn't for you. Once you enlist, you become military property: you lose your right to come and go freely, you're ordered around 24 hours a day, and you can be punished by your command without trial or jury. Free speech rights are severely limited in the military. You can be punished for being honest about being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Worst of all even if you hate your job, you can't quit.

6. Joining the military is hazardous to your health.

The military can't guarantee you'll be alive at the end of your eight-year commitment: they can't even promise you won't be desperately ill from "mystery illnesses" like those of the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. Whether it's atomic testing in the 1950s, Agent Orange during the war against Vietnam, or experimental vaccines and toxic weapons in the Persian Gulf, the military shamelessly destroys the health of its personnel -- and then does its best to downplay and ignore their suffering.

7. Joining the military is hazardous to the environment.

The US military is the single largest and worst polluter in the world, from toxins at bases to nuclear-tipped missiles to the destruction of ecosystems from South Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. And in today's military, the tanks and weapons are coated with depleted uranium from toxic nuclear waste!

8. Joining the military is hazardous to our lives.

The "adventure" in the commercials is code for war, the "discipline" code for violence. The military trains recruits to employ deadly force, yet recruiters rarely discuss the dehumanizing process of basic training, the psychological costs of killing, or the horrors of war.

The ads lie because the product is lethal -- not just to you, but to all of us.

For more information contact or write:

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors:

630 20th Street #302,
Oakland, CA 94612
Fax 510 465-2459


1515 Cherry Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Fax 215-567-2096

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Old Scratch Is Lookin' For Work.....


Name: Satan/El Diablo/Thunder From Down Under
DOB: I never can remember dates.
Marriage Status: Single, dating Laura Bush.
1. Right Hand of God
2. MBA, Harvard
3. Yale Law School

Voted Most Likely to Go to Hell
Member, Sigma Sigma Sigma Fraternity
Ralph P. Eubanks Negative Action Scholarship

The Seven Deadly Sins
The Old Testament (only the Book of Leviticus)
The Book of Mormon (that was a lot of fun)
Dianetics (as by L. Ron Hubbard)

Other Writing Credits:
Sketch writer, Saturday Night Live (1992-94)
Designed Proctor & Gamble Logo

Employment History
1. 80,000 BC - 7,000 BC: Angel
Responsibilities: Sweeping up heaven, washing
linen, various other menial chores.
Salary: All the manna I wanted.
Reason for Leaving: Creative differences.
2. 7,000 BC - 6,999 BC: Computer Consultant
Accomplishments: DOS 640K Memory Limit
3. 6,998 BC - 1,996 AD: Independent Contractor
Accomplishments: Sodom and Gomorrah
Fall of Rome
The Nicean Council
The Black Plague
The Inquisition
John Calvin
Various Wars, Pestilences
The Confederate States Of America
The Great Depression
Adolph Hitler
Joseph Stalin
Chairman Mao
Joseph McCarthy
Three-D Movies
Easy Listening Music (Kenny G)
GW Bush
Moral Majority/ 700 Club
"Three's Company"
Maury Povich
Saddam Hussein
Lil' Jon
"Laffy Taffy" song

Works in Progress: Global Warming
Republican Party
Rap Music

Soon to begin: Mariah Carey's next movie

Dick Cheney
GW Bush
Pat Robertson
Mike Tyson
Anna Nicole Smith
Suge Knight

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Chuck Norris Is a BAD Man....

I've done some research and I've discovered that Chuck Norris is truly a badass!! Here is a list of "facts" about Chuck Norris. LOL
1. Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried. Ever.

2. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

3. Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

4. The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

5. If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris, you may be only seconds away from death.

6. Chuck Norris has counted to infinity. Twice.

7. Chuck Norris does not hunt because the word hunting implies
the probability of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.

8. Chuck Norris doesn't wash his clothes, he disembowels them.

9. Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate a fucking Indian.

10. In fine print on the last page of the Guinness Book of World Records it notes that all world records are held by Chuck Norris, and those listed in the book are simply the closest anyone else has ever gotten.

11. There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.

Additional Chuck Norris Facts

* Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean.

* Crop circles are Chuck Norris' way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie the fuck down.

* Chuck Norris is ten feet tall, weighs two-tons, breathes fire, and could eat a hammer and take a shotgun blast standing.

* The Great Wall of China was originally created to keep Chuck Norris out. It failed miserably.

* Chuck Norris always knows the EXACT location of Carmen SanDiego.

* If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, "Two seconds 'til." After you ask, "Two seconds 'til what?" he roundhouse kicks you in the face.

* Chuck Norris drives an ice cream truck covered in human skulls.

* When Chuck Norris sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to attack. Chuck Norris has not had to pay taxes, ever.

* Who let the dogs out? Chuck norris let the dogs out... and then roundhouse kicked them.

* Chuck Norris invented Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Fear.

* Chuck Norris can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves.

* There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live.

* Chuck Norris once ate three 72 oz. steaks in one hour. He spent the first 45 minutes having sex with his waitress.

* In a fight between Batman and Darth Vader, the winner would be Chuck Norris.

* Chuck Norris is the only man to ever defeat a brick wall in a game of tennis.

* Police label anyone attacking Chuck Norris as a Code 45-11.... a suicide.

* Chuck Norris doesn't churn butter. He roundhouse kicks the cows and the butter comes straight out.

* The quickest way to a man's heart is with Chuck Norris' fist.

* A Handicapped parking sign does not signify that this spot is for handicapped people. It is actually in fact a warning, that the spot belongs to Chuck Norris and that you will be handicapped if you park there.

* Chuck Norris will attain statehood in 2009. His state flower will be the Magnolia.

* Nagasaki never had a bomb dropped on it. Chuck Norris jumped out of a plane and punched the ground.

* Chuck Norris originally appeared in the "Street Fighter II" video game, but was removed by Beta Testers because every button caused him to do a roundhouse kick. When asked bout this "glitch," Norris replied, "That's no glitch."

* Fool me once, shame on you. Fool Chuck Norris once and he will fuck you up.

* The opening scene of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" is loosely based on games of dodgeball Chuck Norris played in second grade.

* Chuck Norris once shot down a German fighter plane with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"

* Chuck Norris once bet NASA he could survive re-entry without a spacesuit. On July 19th, 1999, a naked Chuck Norris re-entered the earth's atmosphere, streaking over 14 states and reaching a temperature of 3000 degrees. An embarrassed NASA publically claimed it was a meteor, and still owes him a beer.

* Chuck Norris has two speeds: Walk and Kill.

* Someone once tried to tell Chuck Norris that roundhouse kicks aren't the best way to kick someone. This has been recorded by historians as the worst mistake anyone has ever made.

* Contrary to popular belief, America is not a democracy, it is a Chucktatorship.

* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is based on a true story: Chuck Norris once swallowed a turtle whole, and when he crapped it out, the turtle was six feet tall and had learned karate.

* Simply by pulling on both ends, Chuck Norris can stretch diamonds back into coal.

* Chuck Norris is not hung like a horse... horses are hung like Chuck Norris.

* Faster than a speeding bullet ... more powerful than a locomotive ... able to leap tall buildings in a single bound... yes, these are some of Chuck Norris's warm-up exercises.

* Chuck Norris is the only human being to display the Heisenberg uncertainty principle -- you can never know both exactly where and how quickly he will roundhouse-kick you in the face.

* Chuck Norris can drink an entire gallon of milk in forty-seven seconds.

* Little known medical fact: Chuck Norris invented the Caesarean section when he roundhouse-kicked his way out of his monther's womb.

* In the Bible, Jesus turned water into wine. But then Chuck Norris turned that wine into beer.

* Time waits for no man. Unless that man is Chuck Norris.

* Chuck Norris discovered a new theory of relativity involving multiple universes in which Chuck Norris is even more badass than in this one. When it was discovered by Albert Einstein and made public, Chuck Norris roundhouse-kicked him in the face. We know Albert Einstein today as Stephen Hawking.

* Chuck Norris' favorite cereal is Kellogg's Marbles 'N' Gravel.

* The Chuck Norris military unit was not used in the game Civilization 4, because a single Chuck Norris could defeat the entire combined nations of the world in one turn.

* In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Chuck Norris could use to kill you, including the room itself.
* Chuck Norris does not teabag the ladies. He potato-sacks them.

* Pluto is actually an orbiting group of British soldiers from the American Revolution who entered space after the Chuck gave them a roundhouse kick to the face.

* When Chuck Norris goes to donate blood, he declines the syringe, and instead requests a hand gun and a bucket.

* There are no steroids in baseball. Just players Chuck Norris has breathed on.

* Chuck Norris once challenged Lance Armstrong in a "Who has more testicles?" contest. Chuck Norris won by 5.

* Chuck Norris was the fourth wise man, who gave baby Jesus the gift of beard, which he carried with him until he died. The other three wise men were enraged by the preference that Jesus showed to Chuck's gift, and arranged to have him written out of the bible. All three died soon after of mysterious roundhouse-kick related injuries.

* Chuck Norris sheds his skin twice a year.

* When Chuck Norris calls 1-900 numbers, he doesnt get charged. He holds up the phone and money falls out.

* Chuck Norris once ate a whole cake before his friends could tell him there was a stripper in it.

* Some people like to eat frogs' legs. Chuck Norris likes to eat lizard legs. Hence, snakes.

* There are no races, only countries of people Chuck Norris has beaten to different shades of black and blue.

* When Chuck Norris was denied an Egg McMuffin at McDonald's because it was 10:35, he roundhouse kicked the store so hard it became a Wendy's.

* Chuck Norris can't finish a "color by numbers" because his markers are filled with the blood of his victims. Unfortunately, all blood is dark red.

* A Chuck Norris-delivered Roundhouse Kick is the preferred method of execution in 16 states.

* When Chuck Norris falls in water, Chuck Norris doesn't get wet. Water gets Chuck Norris.

* Scientists have estimated that the energy given off during the Big Bang is roughly equal to 1CNRhK (Chuck Norris Roundhouse Kick)

* Chuck Norris' house has no doors, only walls that he walks through.

* When Chuck Norris has sex with a man, it won't be because he is gay. It will be because he has run out of women.

* How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could Chuck Norris? ...All of it.

* Chuck Norris doesn't actually write books, the words assemble themselves out of fear.

* In honor of Chuck Norris, all McDonald's in Texas have an even larger size than the super-size. When ordering, just ask to be "Norrisized".

* Chuck Norris CAN believe it's not butter.

* If tapped, a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick could power the country of Australia for 44 minutes.

* Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

* The grass is always greener on the other side, unless Chuck Norris has been there. In that case the grass is most likely soaked in blood and tears.

* A picture is worth a thousand words. A Chuck Norris is worth 1 billion words.

* Newton's Third Law is wrong: Although it states that for each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, there is no force equal in reaction to a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick.

* Chuck Norris invented his own type of karate. It's called Chuck-Will-Kill.

* When an episode of Walker Texas Ranger was aired in France, the French surrendered to Chuck Norris just to be on the safe side.

* While urinating, Chuck Norris is easily capable of welding titanium.

* Chuck Norris once sued the Houghton-Mifflin textbook company when it became apparent that their account of the war of 1812 was plagiarized from his autobiography.

* When Chuck Norris talks, everybody listens. And dies.

* When Steven Seagal kills a ninja, he only takes its hide. When Chuck Norris kills a ninja, he uses every part.

* Wilt Chamberlain claims to have slept with more than 20,000 women in his lifetime. Chuck Norris calls this "a slow Tuesday."

* Contrary to popular belief, there is indeed enough Chuck Norris to go around.

* Chuck Norris doesnt shave; he kicks himself in the face. The only thing that can cut Chuck Norris is Chuck Norris.

* For some, the left testicle is larger than the right one. For Chuck Norris, each testicle is larger than the other one.

* When taking the SAT, write "Chuck Norris" for every answer. You will score a 1600.

* Chuck Norris invented black. In fact, he invented the entire spectrum of visible light. Except pink. Tom Cruise invented pink.

* When you're Chuck Norris, anything + anything is equal to 1. One roundhouse kick to the face.

* Chuck Norris has the greatest Poker-Face of all time. He won the 1983 World Series of Poker, despite holding only a Joker, a Get out of Jail Free Monopoloy card, a 2 of clubs, 7 of spades and a green #4 card from the game UNO.

* On his birthday, Chuck Norris randomly selects one lucky child to be thrown into the sun.

* Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee. Except Chuck Norris.

* Chuck Norris doesn't throw up if he drinks too much. Chuck Norris throws down!

* In the beginning there was nothing...then Chuck Norris Roundhouse kicked that nothing in the face and said "Get a job". That is the story of the universe.

* Chuck Norris has 12 moons. One of those moons is the Earth.

* Chuck Norris grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage.

* Archeologists unearthed an old english dictionary dating back to the year 1236. It defined "victim" as "one who has encountered Chuck Norris"

* Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.

* Chuck Norris and Mr. T walked into a bar. The bar was instantly destroyed, as that level of awesome cannot be contained in one building.

* If you Google search "Chuck Norris getting his ass kicked" you will generate zero results. It just doesn't happen.

* Chuck Norris doesn't bowl strikes, he just knocks down one pin and the other nine faint.

* The show Survivor had the original premise of putting people on an island with Chuck Norris. there were no survivors and the pilot episode tape has been burned.

* It takes Chuck Norris 20 minutes to watch 60 Minutes.

* You know how they say if you die in your dream then you will die in real life? In actuality, if you dream of death then Chuck Norris will find you and kill you.

* Chuck Norris has a deep and abiding respect for human life... unless it gets in his way.

* The Bermuda Triangle used to be the Bermuda Square, until Chuck Norris Roundhouse kicked one of the corners off.

* The President was lying about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Everyone knows Chuck Norris has never lived there.

* Chuck Norris ate the Six-million Dollar Man. Then he shit out 120 million nickels.

* When Chuck Norris is in a crowded area, he doesn't walk around people. He walks through them.

* James Cameron wanted Chuck Norris to play the Terminator. However, upon reflection, he realized that would have turned his movie into a documentary, so he went with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

* Chuck Norris can touch MC Hammer.

* Thousands of years ago Chuck Norris came across a bear. It was so terrified that it fled north into the arctic. It was also so terrified that all of its decendents now have white hair.

* Chuck Norris played Russian Roulete with a fully loaded gun and won.

* It takes 14 puppeteers to make Chuck Norris smile, but only 2 to make him destroy an orphanage.

* Chuck Norris is responsible for China's over-population. He hosted a Karate tournament in Beijing and all women within 1,000 miles became pregnant instantly.

* Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

* Chuck Norris once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him blink.

* The song, "Dust in the Wind" was inspired by a battle between Chuck Norris and the Sahara Lake.

* When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

* Chuck Norris invented the bolt-action rifle, liquor, sexual intercourse, and football-- in that order.

* When Chuck Norris plays Oregon Trail, his family does not die from cholera or dysentery, but rather, roundhouse kicks to the face. He also requires no wagon, since he carries the oxen, axels, and buffalo meat on his back. He always makes it to Oregon before you.

* Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

* When God said, "let there be light", Chuck Norris said, "say 'please'."

* Chuck Norris does not eat. Food understands that the only safe haven from Chuck Norris' fists is inside his own body.

* One day Chuck Norris walked down the street with a massive erection. There were no survivors.

* Chuck Norris built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Chuck met all three bullets with his beard, deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

* Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

* Chuck Norris uses a night light. Not because Chuck Norris is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Chuck Norris.
* A high tide means Chuck Norris is flying over your coast. The tide is caused by God pissing his pants.

* Chuck Norris keeps his friends close and his enemies closer. Close enough to drop them with one round house kick to the face.

* There is in fact an "I" in Norris, but there is no "team"… not even close.

* Scotty in Star Trek often says "Ye cannae change the laws of physics." This is untrue. Chuck Norris can change the laws of physics. With his fists.

* An anagram for Walker Texas Ranger is KARATE WRANGLER SEX. I don't know what that is, but it sounds AWESOME.

* Chuck Norris doesn't stub his toes. He accidentally destroys chairs, bedframes, and sidewalks.

* Using his trademark roundhouse kick, Chuck Norris once made a fieldgoal in RJ Stadium in Tampa Bay from the 50 yard line of Qualcomm stadium in San Diego.

* Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks don't really kill people. They wipe out their entire existence from the space-time continuum.

* Chuck Norris does not own a stove, oven, or microwave , because revenge is a dish best served cold.

* Tom Clancy has to pay royalties to Chuck Norris because "The Sum of All Fears" is the name of Chuck Norris' autobiography.

* Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

* Chuck Norris is expected to win gold in every swimming competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, even though Chuck Norris does not swim. This is because when Chuck Norris enters the water, the water gets out of his way and Chuck Norris simply walks across the pool floor.

* Chuck Norris built a better mousetrap, but the world was too frightened to beat a path to his door.

* The original draft of The Lord of the Rings featured Chuck Norris instead of Frodo Baggins. It was only 5 pages long, as Chuck roundhouse-kicked Sauron's ass halfway through the first chapter.

* Hellen Keller's favorite color is Chuck Norris.

* Chuck Norris eats beef jerky and craps gunpowder. Then, he uses that gunpowder to make a bullet, which he uses to kill a cow and make more beef jerky. Some people refer to this as the "Circle of Life."

* If, by some incredible space-time paradox, Chuck Norris would ever fight himself, he'd win. Period.

* Chuck Norris is currently suing myspace for taking the name of what he calls everything around you.

* The crossing lights in Chuck Norris's home town say "Die slowly" and "die quickly". They each have a picture of Chuck Norris punching or kicking a pedestrian.

* Science Fact: Roundhouse kicks are comprised primarily of an element called Chucktanium.

* The Sherman tank was originaly called the Norris tank until Chuck Norris decided it wasn't tough enough to be associated with him. The Army, for fear of Chuck Norris, renamed the tank and promised to develop a weapon more fitting of his name. To date, no weapon created has been badass enough to be named after Chuck Norris.

* Chuck Norris proved that we are alone in the universe. We weren't before his first space expedition.

* Superman once watched an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. He then cried himself to sleep.

* Chuck Norris doesn't step on toes. Chuck Norris steps on necks.

* The movie "Delta Force" was extremely hard to make because Chuck had to downplay his abilities. The first few cuts were completely unbelievable.

* Movie trivia: The movie "Invasion U.S.A." is, in fact, a documentary.

* Chuck Norris does not "style" his hair. It lays perfectly in place out of sheer terror.

* There is no such thing as global warming. Chuck Norris was cold, so he turned the sun up.

* A study showed the leading causes of death in the United States are:
1:Heart disease
2:Chuck Norris

* It's widely believed that Jesus was Chuck Norris' stunt double for crucifixion due to the fact that it is impossible for nails to pierce Chuck Norris' skin.

* Chuck Norris did in fact, build Rome in a day.

* Along with his black belt, Chuck Norris often chooses to wear brown shoes. No one has DARED call him on it. Ever.

* Anytime someone is elected president in the United States, they must ask permission from Chuck Norris to live in the White House. The reason for this is because Chuck Norris had won every Federal, State, and Local election since 1777. He just allows others to run the country in his place.

* Once you go Norris, you are physically unable to go back.

* Ninjas want to grow up to be just like Chuck Norris. But usually they grow up just to be killed by Chuck Norris.

* Chuck Norris once sued Burger King after they refused to put razor wire in his Whopper Jr, insisting that that actually is "his" way.

* The last thing you hear before Chuck Norris gives you a roundhouse kick? No one knows because dead men tell no tales.

* Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.

* 4 out of 5 doctors agree: They don't wan't to meet Chuck Norris in a dark alley when he is in a bad mood. The fifth doctor has nothing to live for.

* Chuck Norris doesn't play god. Playing is for children.

* As a teen, Chuck Norris had sex with every nun in a convent tucked away in the hills of Tuscany. Nine months later the nuns gave birth to the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only undefeated and untied team in professional football history.

* When in a bar, you can order a drink called a "Chuck Norris". It is also known as a "Bloody Mary", if your name happens to be Mary.

* Some people ask for a Kleenex when they sneeze, Chuck Norris asks for a body bag.

* There's an order to the universe: space, time, Chuck Norris.... Just kidding, Chuck Norris is first.

* A man once asked Chuck Norris if his real name is "Charles". Chuck Norris did not respond, he simply stared at him until he exploded.

* Chuck Norris starts everyday with a protein shake made from Carnation Instant Breakfast, one dozen eggs, pure Colombian cocaine, and rattlesnake venom.

* In a tagteam match, Chuck Norris was teamed with Hulk Hogan against King Kong Bundy and Andre The Giant. He pinned all 3 at the same time.

* Chuck Norris doesn't see dead people. He makes people dead.

* Chuck Norris is the only person who can simultaneously hold and fire FIVE Uzis: One in each hand, one in each foot -- and the 5th one he roundhouse-kicks into the air, so that it sprays bullets.

* Chuck Norris likes cherry chewing gum. He spits the used-up red wads to Jupiter, where they've been accumulating.

* For undercover police work, Chuck pins his badge underneath his shirt, directly into his chest.

* In the X-Men movies, none of the X-Men super-powers are done with special effects. Chuck Norris is the stuntman for every character.

* We live in an expanding universe. All of it is trying to get away from Chuck Norris.

* It is said that every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten. Every time God masturbates, Chuck Norris kills a lion.

* Chuck Norris is the only person in the world that can actually Email a roundhouse kick.

* Chuck Norris won super bowls VII and VIII singlehandedly before unexpectedly retiring to pursue a career in ass-kicking.

* Wo hu cang long. The translation from Mandarin Chinese reads: "Crouching Chuck, Hidden Norris"

* Chuck Norris can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. At night.

* It was once believed that Chuck Norris actually lost a fight to a pirate, but that is a lie, created by Chuck Norris himself to lure more pirates to him. Pirates never were very smart.

* Some kids play Kick the can. Chuck Norris played Kick the keg.

* 'Icy-Hot' is too weak for Chuck Norris. After a workout, Chuck Norris rubs his muscles down with liquid-hot MAGMA.

* Chuck Norris cannot love, he can only not kill.

* When Chuck Norris was a baby, he didn't suck his mother's breast. His mother served him whiskey, straight out of the bottle.

* If he were to eat raw coal, Chuck Norris would excrete diamonds.

* Chuck norris once pulled out a single hair from his beard and skewered three men through the heart with it.

* In an act of great philanthropy, Chuck made a generous donation to the American Cancer Society. He donated 6,000 dead bodies for scientific research.

* Chuck Norris' favourite cut of meat is the roundhouse.

* When J. Robert Oppenheimer said "I am become death, the destroyer Of worlds", He was not referring to the atomic bomb. He was referring to the Chuck Norris halloween costume he was wearing.

* Chuck Norris recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. We know this beverage as Red Bull.

* In a recent survey it was discovered the 94% of American women lost their virginity to Chuck Norris. The other 6% were incredibly fat or ugly.

* Chuck Norris' theory of relativity goes like this: CN = P10. In laymans terms, Chuck Norris = Pain to the tenth power.

* Mr. T pities the fool. Chuck Norris rips the fool's fucking head off.

* Chuck Norris has never been accused of murder for the simple fact that his roundhouses are recognized world-wide as "acts of God."

* Chuck Norris has volunteered to remain on earth after the Rapture; he will spend his time fighting the Anti-Christ.

* It was Chuck Norris who killed Col. Mustard, in the Library, with a roundhouse kick to the head. If anyone tells you different, they're a damn liar.

* Chuck Norris is the only known mammal in history to have an opposable thumb. On his penis.

* A man once taunted Chuck Norris with a bag of Lay's potato chips, saying "Betcha can't eat just one!" Chuck Norris proceeded to eat the chips, the bag, and the man in one deft move.

* Chuck Norris does not use The Force. Chuck Norris IS the force.

* Chuck Norris can do a roundhouse kick faster than the speed of light. This means that if you turn on a light switch, you will be dead before the lightbulb turns on.

* When Chuck Norris goes to out to eat, he orders a whole chicken, but he only eats its soul.

* Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse-kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

* Chuck Norris has never won an Academy Award for acting... because he's not acting.

* Chuck Norris can turn normal water into holy water by beating the hell out of it with his fists.

* Not everyone that Chuck Norris is mad at gets killed. Some get away. They are called astronauts.

* Godzilla is a Japanese rendition of Chuck Norris' first visit to Tokyo.

* Chuck Norris has to register every part of his body as a separate lethal weapon. His spleen is considered a concealed weapon in over 50 states.

* Chuck Norris has chunks of Jean-Claude Van Damme in his stool.

* They once made a Chuck Norris toilet paper, but there was a problem-- It wouldn't take shit from anybody.

* Chuck Norris is not capable of hitting a target on the broad side of a barn. Every time he tries, the whole damn barn falls down.

* Before each filming of Walker: Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris is injected with fourteen times the lethal dose of elephant tranquilzer. This is, of course, to limit his strength and mobility, in an attempt to lower the fatality rate of the actors he fights.

* When Bruce Banner gets mad, he turns into the Hulk. When the Hulk gets mad, he turns into Chuck Norris.

* Chuck Norris kills anyone that asks, "You want fries with that" because by now everyone should know that Chuck doesn't ever want fries with anything. Ever.

* Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its decendants are known today as Giraffes.

* Sticks and stones may break your bones, but a Chuck Norris glare will liquefy your kidneys.

* Human cloning is outlawed because if Chuck Norris were cloned, then it would be possible for a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to meet another chuck Norris roundhouse kick. Physicists theorize that this contact would end the universe.

* Chuck Norris once shot a spitball, but promised never to do it again. One Grand Canyon is enough.

* In the first Jurassic Park movie, the Tyrannosaurus Rex wasn't chasing the jeep. Chuck Norris was chasing the Tyrannosaurus AND the jeep.

* Chuck Norris had to stop washing his clothes in the ocean. The tsunamis were killing people.

* According to the Bible, God created the universe in six days. Before that, Chuck Norris created God by snapping his fingers.

* Chuck Norris doesn't say "who's your daddy", because he knows the answer.

* According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the Native American "Trail of Tears" has been redefined as anywhere that Chuck Norris walks.