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Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

SECRET AGENT MAN

I watched Traitor again last night. Great flick about a double agent. Less James Bond and more like Night of the Living Dead.

The hero is Samir Horn, a Sudanese-American; his father a Muslim and his mother an American. He was born on American soil and evidently had in his possession a proper birth certificate. And he is a practicing Muslim who deeply believes in his faith.

He is under deep cover as a Muslim terrorist and becomes a member of a terrorist cell. His cover is so deep, he has only one contact with someone at FEMA; an agent played by Jeff Daniels. No one else is privy to this ‘cover’ and our hero actually ends up on top of the ten most wanted list of terrorists.

Our protagonist is truly a volunteer. He was not coerced by our government to act the ‘betrayer’ of true believers. He was not under indictment and then ‘turned’ by the feds.

He ends up blowing up a building in Europe to prove his allegiance to the terrorist cause under orders of Daniels. The building was supposed to be empty but his actions killed eight people, injuring another nine; collateral damage as it were.

The fear of being found out by the cell, the fear of being killed by the forces he is working for is always present.

The cell sets upon a plan to terrorize America. And since the protagonist is American, he is the best tool the evil Muslims have. The plan is to use fifty Jihadists to get on fifty buses traveling throughout our country with bombs and simultaneously blow each of the fifty transports to smithereens.

Our double agent screws the jihadist pooch by getting all the suicide bombers to procure tickets on the same bus thereby blowing each other up on some lonesome highway to nowhere. The collateral damage is limited to one Ralph Kramden driving the bus thereby saving our Country and allowing Mrs. Kramden some survivor benefits.

I have an old paper back entitled Perpetua’s Passion by Joyce E. Salisbury. It is about a female aristocrat who goes gaga over the new Christian God at the turn of the third century in Rome.  She ends up a volunteer-martyr in a Carthaginian arena along with many of her volunteering cohorts.

Forget for a moment that the Christians, once they gained some power under Emperor Constantine a century later, sent pagans to death in those same arenas.

Some early Christians went willingly to their deaths in the arena. They were actually eaten by beasts of prey and sliced open by gladiators that could easily have played on the front lines of many modern day football teams.

Therefore, the film confirms a fact of human nature.. There are some people in this world with strange neuron connections will face death for their personal beliefs; civilians as well as soldiers will accept death willingly and some gladly for a cause.

But there will always be collateral damage in any cause.

Jihadists accept that others will die as a result of their ultimate sacrifice and this collateral damage is not just a consequence of their intended actions, it becomes the reason for their actions.

Jeff Daniels tells our hero that although it was a damn shame eight people died in the bombing which he ordered; but collateral damage must be expected in some instances.

The Jihadists expect collateral damage. Our spy agencies expect collateral damage. Double agents expect collateral damage.

Hell the entire Defense Industry in this country expects collateral damage. Our own weapons kill our own soldiers and contractors.

Anyway, this post is about a double agent working for the Feds.

James F. Hirni had the sort of political upbringing that GOP stars are made of: college class president, a stop at the Heritage Foundation, consecutive stints in the offices of Sen. Bill Frist (Tennessee), Sen. Jeff Sessions (Alabama), and Sen. Tim Hutchinson (Arkansas). “In this town, it’s not about how much you know, but about who you know,” he observed—a credo he lived and worked by as a lobbyist representing blue-chip clients such as Fidelity Investments.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-10-08/the-gops-donnie-brasco/?cid=topic:featured1

And what a credo indeed, kind of reminds me of Tom Tancredo. And here is some more credo:

In the interview, Hirni talked about the toll that the corruption investigation had on Abramoff and reflected on the challenges of raising money and building relationships in Washington.

“I think ethics is the single most important part of my job,” he said. “Once you violate ethics in this town, once you break that code, you break the trust.

Well Mr. Hirni got in a little trouble a couple years ago.

James Hirni, the former lobbyist who was charged last month in connection with the wide-ranging Jack Abamoff probe, pleaded guilty today to providing an all-expenses paid trip to the World Series in New York to two congressional staffers, including entertainment at a strip club and a chauffeur-driven SUV.

Hirni was at the time a lobbyist for an equipment rental company that was pushing legislation in Congress. He recently was fired from his job doing “Republican outreach” for Wal-Mart, after news of the charges surfaced.

But there is a twist to all of this. A ‘deal’ was struck by Hirni as part of his plea. He is now an informant for the Feds.

Today, he’s a designated government informant—the product of a plea deal with the Justice Department to spare him jail time. And lately, he’s been organizing fundraisers for such rising Republican stars as South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley and possible 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

That the Abramoff associate is playing matchmaker for Haley and Santorum has left some members of South Carolina’s political community dumbfounded. Although the Department of Justice says that Hirni is free to pursue political work, some question the wisdom of having Hirni anywhere near the financial heart of South Carolina politics—especially because, according to the nature of his plea agreement, Hirni has avoided jail time by promising to cooperate with federal authorities.

Today, he’s a designated government informant…

Talk about double agents. I mean this Hirni is an OPEN DOUBLE AGENT.

It is not what you know, it is who you know. Trust is the most valued commodity in Washington DC.?

Here is a man who really loves his country.

All the while he is receiving money from reub organization, he is secretly telling the Feds everything he is doing.

“The more he cooperates, the more benefit he is going to get,” said Washington attorney Barry Pollack, who represented defendants in the Abramoff case. “They might as well be talking to a federal prosecutor when they are talking to him.”

Then, according to an online résumé, Hirni began operating a firm called the H2 Group, described as a “small Charleston, SC-based political consulting and fundraising company.”

Now at last the Feds can better keep track of all the bribing going on in DC, James Hirni can make a mint, and the repubs can better keep track of their bribes and such.

This would be like our Jeff Daniels character sending a message to the terrorist cell, informing them that Samir Horn is working for FEMA.

How much more brilliant can our government be?

There is no greater criminal organization in this country than the republican party. None. The Mafioso is small time compared to the criminal organization going under the GOP banner.

The members of the GOP conspire to:

Give aid and comfort to international corporations who have absolutely no allegiance to this nation or its citizens.

Funnel taxpayer funds to giant international corporations through no bid contracts; corporations owned and operated by members of the GOP.

Funnel taxpayer funds to arms dealers who sell our Department of Defense weapons and then turn around and sell those weapons to our enemies.

Funnel taxpayer funds to friendly corporations who in turn pay back a percentage of those funds to the GOP under the guise of campaign contributions.

Funnel taxpayer funds to friendly corporations who outsource their labor needs to foreign countries, denying United States citizens the right to work.

Funnel taxpayer funds to huge pharmacological concerns and vote to deny a quarter of our citizenry adequate health care.

Funnel taxpayer funds to huge conglomerates and vote against the minimum wage for our own workers; allowing the conglomerates huge profits and lower taxes.

Funnel taxpayer funds into huge conglomerates and continually vote against any regulation of their industries.

Funnel hundreds a billions of dollars to independent contractors through the Pentagon and consistently vote against the rights of the soldiers who risk their lives every single day protecting corporate interests in faraway lands.

And all the while these GOP criminals take bribes from the corporations to which they owe their allegiance.

And all the while these criminals hide behind issues irrelevant to their true aims by calling for prayer in the classrooms, the end to abortion, guns in bars, and the rounding up of immigrants.

But not to worry; James Hirni, double agent is there to keep tabs on all of these matters

WAITING FOR THE WORMS

Most of my blog entries are political in nature, and I guess ultimately, this one is as well.

Last night I attended Roger Waters’ concert performance of the classic Pink Floyd album The Wall.  As I don’t really want this to end up being an in depth concert review, let me just say that it was an experience to say the least.  The staging, effects and imagery were very impressive, with the only possible exception being a remotely controlled dirigible swine that hovered above the crowd for some time, which struck me as a little cheesy.  Although to be fair, the anti-corporate imagery adorning the flying pig was pretty humorous.

Anyway, the concert did a few things for me.  First, I was impressed by Roger Waters’ activism.  He made bold statements on capitalism, fanaticism, fear, violence, and religion.  I was also reminded that the Wall is a powerful work addressing the effects of war, economic despair, and xenophobia and is striking in its relevance to the current social and political climate in the United States today.

“Would you like to see Britannia
Rule again, my friend?
All you have to do is follow the worms.
Would you like to send our colored cousins
Home again, my friend?

All you need to do is follow the worms.”

Sounds like some of the stuff we hear today, doesn’t it?

There are those who lament the supposed loss of this mythic notion of American Exceptionalism and want to see America ‘rule’ again.  The say it’s illegal aliens and their anchor babies. They say it’s Sharia law.  The say it’s entitlements.  They say that there are people with a deep seated hatred of white people trying to destroy ‘our’ way of life from within.   The say all that while denying all of the evidence that corporate greed is what is destroying the nation.

Waters pointedly depicts the armies of Capitalism as demanding our blind trust, while literally dropping religion and materialism as bombs, dividing and enslaving the people. Trust us; keep spending what you don’t have.  Keep giving us more, it will trickle down.

And just like the Worms, there are people in America who are wear their nationalism like armbands on their sleeves.  They’ve also been rallying and marching around with their answers to America’s woes; send our colored cousins home.

People like Mark Williams, Franklyn Graham and Frank Gaffney, and politicians like Michelle Bachmann and Steve King are all Worms not so subtly disguised as humans. Their plans read just like these lyrics.   They’ve been ginning up the fear and loathing non stop since the President took office, and now they are waiting for their Worms in Tri-Corner hats to give them the power to implement their plans.

“Waiting to cut out the dead wood.
Waiting to clean up the city.
Waiting to follow the worms.
Waiting to put on a black shirt.
Waiting to weed out the weaklings.
Waiting to smash in their windows
And kick in their doors.
Waiting for the final solution
To strengthen the strain.
Waiting to follow the worms.
Waiting to turn on the showers
And fire the ovens.
Waiting for the queens and the coons
and the reds and the jews.
Waiting to follow the worms”

There’s no shortage of blame being thrown around, except in the mirror.  The Worms don’t accept any responsibility for any of our problems.  They blame the queens and the coons and the reds and the Jews.  The Muslim has been replaced as the scapegoat du jour, but don’t think that the Jew isn’t privately assailed too as being too dominant in business.  Jews are, of course, historically tried and tested fall-guys for a nation’s economic woes.  David Duke must be bumming.  But most good fashions come back into vogue anyway.

But the queens and coons and the reds haven’t done so well in the current climate.  The Worms talk about regulating homosexuality. They talk about prohibiting homosexuals from marrying, adopting children or for serving as soldiers and teachers.  African Americans are labeled as lazy, shiftless, self entitled dead wood, fouling our cities.  And the catch all accusation for any white person who believes that the nation has a responsibility for providing a level of social services to its less fortunate regardless of race is calling them a Socialist.

The Becks and the Limbaughs and the Palins and the Boehners, Canters, DeMints, and McConnells spew forth about purity and pledges and bloodoaths just like Worms;

”We’re gonna find out where you fans really stand.
Are there any queers in the theatre tonight?
Get ’em up against the wall.
And that one in the spotlight, he don’t look right to me.
Get him up against the wall.
And that one looks Jewish, and that one’s a coon.
Who let all this riffraff into the room?
There’s one smoking a joint, and another with spots!
If I had my way I’d have all of you shot.”

So, where do we really stand?  Are we marching down the road with the Worms or is there a way to defeat the irrational fear of the weakening of the American strain?

 

 

MSNY  100710

How Did We Come To This?

OK, I’ve been a TV slug this Saturday. Today I’ve watched TCM, Turner Classic Movies, seeing The Journey, Rio Lobo and just now, Soylent Green. For the first time. How could a scifi aficionado like me have missed Soylent Green for 35 years? Well, I did. Having read reviews and seen references, I thought I knew the story pretty well. I actually planned to go biking after Rio Lobo, but Soylent drew me in.

The science fiction was thorough, starting with the very believable meltdown of culture. NYC is supposed to have 40 million inhabitants, then later we are told that 20 million have no jobs. Somehow that doesn’t sound so far-fetched today. When Thorn (Charlton Heston) investigates the murder of Simonson (Joseph Cotten) the apartment super complains that nothing works. That doesn’t sound far-fetched, either. Thorn calls Simonson’s young companion, Shirl (Leigh Taylor-Young), the “Furniture.” I had heard about that somewhere. She comes (hmmm) with the apartment like furnishings, but can be replaced if she gets old or worn out. To get around, Thorn has to step over the bodies of homeless people sleeping on stairs and sidewalks. My stepdaughter tells me that is already the case in Quito, Ecuador.

The reactions of Thorn and Sol (Edward G Robinson) as they ate the real food that Thorn stole from the crime scene hit just the right notes of physical pleasure and surprise (and was not that different than my reactions to the homemade bread, juice and ice cream that my wife has been making for the last year.)  And Robinson, who died two weeks after the wrap, struck just the right note as someone who was old enough to remember something of what Earth had lost when he asked, “How did we come to this?”

Perhaps Monsanto is sending us down that sort of path.

LIFE IN A BOX

File:Crimeandpunishmentcover.pngThe problem with life is that there are no clear directions on the box it comes in!!!

Oh we receive hints from time to time.

I love reading the Tao and Proverbs and a number of bundled hints telling us how to live a good life, but context is everything. And the hints are contradictory; even when they appear in the same tome.

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