Best Campaign Email Headline of the Month

Received this morning at Ted Rall headquarters:


Dozens of national and Missouri leaders to thunder across Iowa in support of Gephardt “

Who headlines Gephardtpalooza? Do the Heck’s Angels provide security?

The Taliban’s Offer to Turn Over Osama

Faced with certain annhilation the Taliban regime of Afghanistan repeatedly offered to turn over Osama bin Laden during the weeks between 9/11 and the 10/4 start of the US invasion of Afghanistan–and even after the start of the war. Oddly this has become, along with the failure of US air defenses to scramble jets to investigate the four hijacked planes, one of the great lost stories of the “war on terrorism.”

I have received several inquiries from readers about the Taliban offer after posting this week’s column, which references this unequivocal fact. Some of the best sources still available to verify the fact that George W. Bush deliberately allowed Osama to “get away” include the Associated Press’ report about the Taliban offer, the UK Guardian’s account of Bush’s rejection thereof and a Washington Post transcript of a press conference with Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Bush’s New Immigration Proposal

Since the news that Generalissimo El Busho is proposing to allow employers to hire foreigners for jobs here broke today, it’s too late to get a column out this week to deal with it. (I did, however, manage to sneak a cartoon out under the wire. It’ll hit the streets tomorrow.)

Bush is certainly correct in his assessment of the problem. The current state of affairs, wherein America makes little to zero effort to guard her borders, then drives its illegals into hiding, is absurd and immoral. It has the practical effect of creating a workforce composed of de facto slave laborers, many toiling for subminimum wages under dismal, unregulated conditions, while driving down wages across the board, even for those who earn higher incomes.

I agree that the 8 million estimated illegals who are already here should be permitted to remain legally. After all, we all but invited them. But the door–to illegal immigration–should slam shut immediately. Vigorous enforcement at the borders and requiring tracking of long-term visa holders would help make sure that only people who are here legally could remain.

That said, the cornerstone of Bush’s proposal has nothing to do with helping beleagured illegal immigrants. Under his plan, any employer who “couldn’t” find an American worker to fill his job opening could post ads for it overseas and invite “guest laborers” to come here and take the spot. Liberals like to argue that illegals take jobs that Americans “won’t” take. That’s bullshit. Truth is, Americans–particularly now, with high official and higher unofficial unemployment–will take any job that pays a salary that justifies the work. Offer me $500,000 a year to shovel dog feces and I’m there. The only reason employers say they can’t fill a job is because they’re unwilling to pay a living wage.

Bush’s immigration reform proposal would elevate one-way free trade to the point that it would destroy the ability of Americans to earn a living. If we workers have to compete with the world’s desperately poor and dispossessed–something we’re already doing when employers move factories overseas–right here at home, we’re screwed. There will always be someone somewhere, in Gambia or Uzbekistan or Vietnam, willing to work for minimum wage. This is Bush’s biggest business giveaway ever–and its effects would be devastating.

Fortunately, true conservatives care enough about the rule of law and national sovereignty to stand fast against this insanity. The horror is the first liberal reaction–that Bush’s plan doesn’t go far enough! What the hell are these people thinking?

Pat Buchanan, call your office.

A Peaceful, Easy Feeling

It’s done. I’ve sent the final draft of my new book WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL!: HOW WE CAN TAKE AMERICA BACK FROM THE RIGHT to my publisher.

I say this with every book I do, mostly because it’s true: this was the hardest project I’ve done. Roughly 350 pages, all prose, insane amounts of research (the bibliography is 20 pages alone), dumping most of my thoughts about contemporary party politics, forming a coherent party platform for a revitalized Democratic Party, coming up with new solutions for what ails us, forming an argument that flows progressively and organizing it logically…it’s the product of years of work and now it’s done.

I’ll post the cover art and ordering information as soon as they become available. In the meantime watch Soft Skull Press’ website and this blog.

I can’t believe it’s finally done!

Basic Details: Wake Up, You’re Liberal! How We Can Take America Back From the Right will be published by Soft Skull Press in April 2004. Approx. page count: 350. There will be both hardback and paperback editions.

BOOK REVIEWERS/EDITORS: Contact me to receive an advance review copy.

And don’t forget to put in an order for ATTITUDE 2: THE NEW SUBVERSIVE SOCIAL COMMENTARY CARTOONISTS (NBM Publishing, February 2004, $13.95) today! 128 pages of ass-kicking cartoons and interviews with the men and women who make them, out in February:

Y’All Come Back, You Hear?

Talk about hospitality. From now on tourists visiting the United States (with the exception of 28 mostly European nations where the people happen to mostly be Caucasian) are being fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival at the airport.

Called US-VISIT, or U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, the program will check an estimated 24 million foreigners each year, though some will be repeat visitors.

Inkless fingerprints will be taken and checked instantly against the national digital database for criminal backgrounds and any terrorist lists.

Homeland Security spokesman Bill Strassberger said that once screeners become proficient, the extra security will take only 10 to 15 seconds per person. Foreign travelers also will continue to pass through regular Customs points and answer questions.

Photographs will be used to help create a database for law enforcement. The travel data is supposed to be securely stored and made available only to authorized officials on a need-to-know basis.

A similar program is to be installed at 50 land border crossings by the end of next year, Strassberger said.

Brazil’s Foreign Ministry has requested that Brazilians be removed from the U.S. list, and police started fingerprinting and photographing Americans arriving at Sao Paulo’s airport last week in response to the new U.S. regulations.

“At first, most of the Americans were angered at having to go through all this, but they were usually more understanding once they learned that Brazilians are subjected to the same treatment in the U.S.,” Brazilian (news – web sites) police spokesman Wagner Castilho said last week.

The U.S. system consists of a small box that digitally scans fingerprints and a spherical computer camera. It will gradually replace a paper-based system that Congress ordered to be modernized following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

A person whose fingerprints or photos raise questions would not be turned away automatically. The visa holder would be sent to secondary inspection for further questions and checks. Officials have said false hits on the system have been less than 0.1 percent in trial runs.

Yes, we need to take security measures. But treating visitors like criminals is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The thing is, no other nation in the world subjects tourists to this kind of degrading treatment. Some of the most arduous countries to visit include the Russian Federation, which charges extravagant fees of up to $600 for a visa and whose customs officials like to relieve new arrivals of their cash and cameras, and the Central Asian republics like Turkmenistan, where you have to register with the former KGB every time you change hotels. But even these nasty trouble spots don’t fingerprint you.

Terrorism? Russia has been victimized by Chechen and other terrorists a hell of a lot more than we have. 9/11 doesn’t make us special, folks. All of these tourists are going to go back and tell their friends and family that the U.S. treats them like scum.

Still wonder why everyone hates us?

U.S. May Cede Afghan Provinces to Taliban

The Financial Times reports that the U.S. military is starting to soften its anti-Taliban policy in view of the reality that it does not possess sufficient troops to control the entire country on behalf of the weak central government of Hamid Karzai.

The US military supports Afghan government efforts to court moderate members of the former Taliban regime in a strategy to win political support in the troubled south, the leading US commander in Afghanistan has said.

General David Barno, commander of the US-led military coalition that is hunting al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Afghanistan, called government overtures towards the moderates a “terrific effort”, but denied the US military was directly involved in talks.

“It’s a hugely important initiative that will help fracture the Taliban movement and bring the Taliban who are not criminals back into the realm of active Afghan society,” Gen Barno said in an interview with the Financial Times.

His comments reflect a shift in the US posture towards the former hardline regime and a change in strategy as it turns to political tactics and reconstruction, rather than solely military means, to counter Taliban insurgency.

“If you’re a rank and file Taliban member and you reject your past . . . then you can become part of the future of Afghanistan,” said Gen Barno. He believes there are between 100 and 150 Taliban leaders who were “essentially criminals”.

A reliable Pentagon source has told me for months that the Bush Administration is beginning to realize that Afghanistan will be Talibanized one way or another. Since a return to 2001 conditions seems more or less inevitable, U.S. planners are starting to consider negotiating a friendlier relationship than the one that prevailed before the October 2001 war. The first step to reaching an accomodation with the radical Islamist clerics we accused of harboring Osama bin Laden is cooperating with mid-level Talibs. If that works out well from the American standpoint, high-level Taliban leaders like Mullah Mohammad Omar could be in control–with U.S. approval–of such provinces as Helmand as early as 2005.

The Bush Administration, as I wrote in my book “To Afghanistan and Back” and subsequent columns, was never seriously dedicated to the occupation of Afghanistan or in establishing a viable post-invasion regime in Kabul. Many Central Asia watchers expect Afghanistan to be fully back into Taliban, or Taliban-like, control within about three years. The Defense Department’s new accomodationism would seem to be a first step towards withdrawal.

2004 Book Tours and Appearances

I’m starting to put together book signing tours for my upcoming books WAKE UP YOU’RE LIBERAL and GENERALISSIMO EL BUSHO, due out in April and June, as well as speaking appearances related to the elections. If you or someone you know is interested in bringing me to your city, now’s a good time to let me know. Send me an e-mail and let’s work something out!

We’re All Judged by Our Enemies

I’d like to (sniff) thank my cat…the food I ate…my dead friends…everyone who made it possible for me to be named No. 1 Most Annoying Liberal by the Right Wing News blogger site! This is the second year in a row that this list, which travels around the Usenet faster than the I Love You virus, has been compiled by the friendly fascists, but the first time that I beat out such worthies as Michael Moore (#2), Gov. Howard Dean (#3), Nobel Prize winning President Jimmy Carter (#7), Al Franken (#15) and yes, the Dixie Chicks (#20)!

The best part is reading the justifications for each entry. It seems that, to these brave teenagers, anyone with an original thought in his or her head is a danger to the republic. I’ve won many awards, but this is one is nearly as good as a Pulitzer Prize!

Will I make the list next year? Just wait until these goofs read my upcoming book WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL: HOW WE CAN TAKE AMERICA BACK FROM THE RIGHT (Soft Skull Press, April 2004)!

USA Patriot Act II Partly Enacted

Thanks to FOR Russ Williams for forwarding this interesting tidbit from the San Antonio Current alt weekly newspaper. Generalissimo El Busho, it seems, took advantage of the Saddam capture hype to sneak part of the neofascist USA-Patriot Act II legislation into law without the trouble of unseemly public debate.

A brief cut:

The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies tucked away these new executive powers in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, a legislative behemoth that funds all the intelligence activities of the federal government. The Act included a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of “financial institution,” which previously referred to banks, but now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business “whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters.”

Saddam in Custody, US Less Safe Than Ever

Among the silliest of charges leveled at Democratic presidential nominee apparent Howard Dean is that he somehow mispoke when he remarked that the capture of former CIA errand boy Saddam Hussein–nothing more than the latest chapter of a lengthy labor-management dispute if you think about it–hasn’t made Americans any safer, whether in Iraq from local resistants or here in the U.S., from terrorists.

With news of U.S. troops continuing to come under heavy fire in Iraq, it’s time for former contenders like Dick Gephardt and John Kerry–both worthy men who would have made fine opponents to Generalissimo El Busho had they not already lost–to stop criticizing Dean for speaking something that’s so plainly true. Dean’s plainspokenness, after all, is what has brought him so far. It’s also time they drop out of the race and endorse Dean.