Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

Here's the latest use right wing lawmakers have put the ever-extending term "terrorist" to. It's a further riffing on the "eco-terrorist" label that has environmentalists, using direct action to halt natural degradation, getting thrown into jail.

A "terrorist" is someone who uses violence against innocent, unarmed people engaged in daily activities such as shopping in the market or going to work.

Every act of protest or dissidence cannot be considered "terrorist" in nature because we will have lost all freedom to influence the political process that affects us each and every day.

The jerk who has come up with this nefarious piece of legislation is Rep. Thomas Petri (r).

Give him a call at (202) 225-2476.

Here's more on the legislation itself.

This "Party's" Not Over Yet

  Posted by Picasa
As was to be feared or expected, the electoral/judicial panel decided there was no visible corruption or vote tampering down in Mexico.

The upshot is we get another puppet of the rich and more immigrants coming north, no matter how dangerous the circumstances, because they can’t get a fair shake in their own country.

The campaign by establishment and conservative forces both inside and outside the country has been textbook with the right wing Calderon talking a lot about the rule of law and Presidente Fox preempting the election panel’s decision by using his bullypulpit to declare the guy from his party the winner.

The press campaign in the exterior has been just as shameful with the “New York Times” and the “Los Angeles Times” defaming the guy standing up for the right of his people to have, not only their votes counted, but their lives improved by a fair and equitable distribution of Mexico’s wealth.

Almost alone stands highwayscribery, doing what it can to provide you with the “other” side’s story, because we stand, first and foremost, for the other side.

Here’s a little translation from an article in Mexico’s "La Jornada."

The headline notes that the Revolutionary Democratic Party’s candidate, AndrĂ©s Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), accused the current ruling party National Action Party (PAN) and other establishment elements of “using racism to discredit our ongoing resistance" to the usual swindle that passes for an election in Mexico City.

Lopez Obrador was in the state of Tabasco to help the gubernatorial candidate of his party, who is about to fall before a cynical pact of the old and corrupt Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) and the new and corrupt, PAN.

Cynical because just six years ago, Fox and his PAN were heaping all manner of deserved invective upon the PRI, which had discredited itself with seven or so decades of “soft dictatorship” and the occasional massacre of rebellious students.

The two parties are also forming a coalition in the Congress to lock AMLO’s party out of important functions and committees. The left wing is calling this coalition "PRIAN," which is funny if you're attuned to Latin sensibilities.

AMLO is calling them a “gang of rufians” who robbed the presidential elections “cleanly” won by his own Coalition for the Good of All, “because they want a puppet in the presidency so that they can continue control of the nation’s wealth...”

The same forces, he said, are using racism to disqualify his efforts towards a more transparent democracy. “They think they are the blue bloods and we’re the rabble, the nacos. I’m proud to represent the humble, the poor people of Mexico.”

Rotten bastard. The “Times” papers are right. Mexico needs to MOVE ON from this guy.

AMLO again characterized Fox as a traitor to democracy and promised he wouldn’t get away with his attempt at imposing an illegal president supported by “false institutions of lies.”

“I’m reading that the panel’s decision was a terrible ‘blow’ to us. Do you know how we are the next day? Very well, very well indeed and we will continue our fight, happen what happens. We are not standing here with our arms crossed, we won’t sell off or negotiate away the will of the Mexican people.”

(Al Gore and John Kerry take note)

He continued his tour through Tabasco offering mild variations on this theme: “We have to do away with the reigning corruption, the eternal corruption, that every three or six years elevates new groupings of the rich, of people who come to public office with the sole purpose of robbing money from the national budget. This is what moves us to continue our movement and fight until the last moments of our lives. We will continue this movement, of which we should be very proud because the truth is, we are making history."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Three Dead Servicemen

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Two Twentynine Palms Marines

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the deaths of Cpl. Adam A. Galvez of Salt Lake City, UT and Lance Cpl. Randy L. Newman of Bend, OR:

"Each day the men and women of our nation's armed forces courageously risk their lives protecting our freedoms. Cpl. Galvez and Lance Cpl. Newman stood proudly beside their fellow Marines to serve our country. Maria and I send our condolences to Adam and Randy's families and will keep them in our prayers."

Galvez, 21 and Newman 21, died Aug. 20 of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. They were assigned to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, CA.

In honor of Cpl. Galvez and Lance Cpl. Newman, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Twentynine Palms Sailor

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Hospitalman Chadwick T. Kenyon of Tucson, AZ.

"Hospitalman Kenyon's death is a painful reminder of the dangers that come with serving and protecting this country. During this difficult time, Maria and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Chadwick's loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

Kenyon, 20, died Aug. 20 as a result of injuries sustained when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, CA.

In honor of Hospitalman Kenyon, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Save The Dogs

  Posted by Picasa
Okay, things keep happening so the scribe will post despite his pledge to rest a bit.

Here are some photos of what's going on in China because of rabies concerns. Hundreds of thousands of dogs are being killed. China, folks, is a pretty fucked up place and it's a little hard from here to find the heart in that country (towards people or animals). The scribe's not sure what writing/calling the Chinese embassy will do, but it's worth a try.

Pity these poor animals...and pity humanity.

Chinese Embassy
221 Wisconsin Ave.
N.W. Washington D.C. 20007

(202) 338-6688

Being Strangled.
Thrown off a truck.
Caught by a pole.


the highway scribe's taking a few days off. The news is slow and net traffic's even slower. Rest your minds. We'll be back...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Update on "The Bush Government: Your Friend"

This is from Claire Safran at the American Society of Journalists and Authors, in response to highwayscribery's query about the status of things in the Katrina trailer parks discussed Aug. 22.

Thanks for posting the release on your blog.

There's good news on this issue. Originally, FEMA had denied it was limiting media access to people in their trailer parks. But on 7/28/06 FEMA representative James Stark admitted that it was wrong to try to muzzle the press and promised that FEMA would no longer try to block reporters with valid credentials from entering the trailer parks and interviewing whomever they liked.

So every now and then, the good guys do win one. To date, though, there's been no response to ASJA's letter.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Bush Government: Your Friend

This was put out by the American Society of Journalists and Authors, which counts the highway scribe in its number. Matter of fact, he published "The Sidewalk Smokers Club" through their services.

It came out last month, but is no less timely (okay, a little less)":

Leading Journalism Organization Protests FEMA Restrictions on Free Speech, Says Policy Against Allowing Evacuees to Speak to Reporters Violates First Amendment

The First Amendment Committee of the American Society of Journalists and Authors today (July 24) called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to stop violating the civil rights of residents of FEMA trailer parks in Morgan City and Davantt, Louisiana. FEMA officials have been prohibiting Hurricane Katrina evacuees living in those trailer parks from speaking with reporters trying to do stories, according to a recent report in the Baton Roughe newspaper "The Advocate." ASJA, a leading organization of nonfiction writers in America, urged FEMA Director R. David Paulison to instruct all FEMA employees, staff and consultants to immediately end this obviously illegal restriction on the civil rights of U.S. citizens. "The First Amendment prohibits government restrictions on free speech and the free press, and this policy of ordering evacuees residing in FEMA-established trailer parks is a violation of both," said Timothy Harper of the ASJA's First Amendment Committee in a letter to Paulison.

In addition, ASJA encouraged more than 1,000 members, and all citizens concerned about this policy restricting free speech, to protest in an e-mail to the Department of Homeland Security's computer hotline for reporting fraud, waste and violations of civil rights:

The American Society of Journalists and Authors is a trade association of freelance writers founded in 1948 with more than 1,100 members who have met the ASJA's exacting standards of professional achievement.

highwayscribery will check to see what kind of success ASJA has had with Homeland Security.

Monday, August 21, 2006

AMLO, Mexico and All That...First Hand

  Posted by Picasa
For some time now highwayscribery has ballyhooed the candidacy of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) for the Mexican presidency.

(Yes, we do ballyhoo here).

Time and space have also been spent on events after the election, the opinion of this Web log being that something's about to happen in Mexico, something violent.

the highway scribe offered the "L.A. Weekly" to go down and hang around the tent cities that AMLO has called for and gotten from his supporters in Mexico City and elsewhere. There was no response and the scribe would like to think it's because "The Weekly" had already dispatched a well-prepared observer and journalist to the scene.

Here's a very interesting article by Daniel Hernandez called "Down and Delirious in Mexico City; a pocho among the culturistas of the D.F."Hernandez provides the 21st century artnick perspective, checking in with the known elements of a cultural surge in Mexico City that has been written about by the big boys such as the "N.Y. Times" etc. etc.

The election fiasco aside, these people, he concludes, are proof positive that Mexico is morphing into a modern, Western democracy, what with their detached and apolitical attitudes, there "homogenized" urban lifestyles, and pop-ironic fascinations.

The writer takes you through Mexico City with a middle-class family that voted for the old PRI, or Revolutionary Institutional Party, because that's who butters their bread. AMLO's Revolutionary Democratic Party, they say, are classic Mexican "socialist-capitalists" concerned both with the poor and the quality of their car.

They are upset with all the cheap goods from China on the streets of Mexico City that have supplanted local product: something that happened under Lopez Obrador's turn as mayor.

The city itself is too fun, and too sexy for the art-left class to attend the rallies in support of AMLO, whom they only tepidly supported. Many, two million nationwide, went for another left-wing candidate promising legalized marijuana, gay rights, and help for Mexico's indigenous.

The same people who abandoned Al Gore in 2000 for Ralph Nader abandoned AMLO in Mexico.

The successful left coalition is the same in both countries somebody in the article notes, perhaps novelist Francisco Goldman: minorities, unions and blue collar workers, and progressive, upscale liberals.

The betrayal, it is noted, has come from the third group in both countries.

And for all that, or maybe because of it, AMLO's problems are hiding the fact that his party is now running about half the country - the true electoral victory.

Read the piece and travel with Hernandez to the outskirts of the city to a district occupied by direct descendants of the Mexica who lived their prior to the Spaniards' arrival. Here is the node of Lopez Obrador's support and you can read the article to find out why.

Friday, August 18, 2006

"There are no hereditary Kings in America..."

"There are no hereditary Kings in America," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in slam dunking the (p)resident's secret surveillance program.

And there's so much more highwayscribery has dug up for you in reading the full 44-page written decision!

Suffice it to say, the administration must be embarrassed by the rotund rejection of its illegal (says the court) snoopy spy program and its raggedy defense of same.

Even though the court granted the Bush administration's (defendants) invocation of state secret privileges in the case, these aspiring little dictators do not fare well.

That's largely because the lawsuit is rooted in things already known and, to quote the judge, "the government has already admitted the program exists," operates without warrants and targets communications between someone inside the U.S. and someone outside it who, ostensibibly, has something to do with Al-Qaeda.

Somebody like Ned Lamont (if you're reading Prick Cheney).

Instead, the scribe recommends you read Diggs Taylor's decision because it is a wonderful piece of intersecting histories: on the one hand, an account of surveillance in this country; on the other, a history lesson rooted in our inception as a nation that makes clear why we don't care for spy programs used against our fellow citizens.

It's not a complicated legal document, this decision. Rather it is based upon a simple reading of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) at the root of the debate.

FISA, the court observed, "was essentially enacted to create a secure framework by which the executive branch may conduct legitimate electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence while meeting our national commitment to the Fourth Amendment."

Then Taylor Diggs quotes the noble constitutional entry, probably for the benefit of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez (who's a crappy lawyer), the president and vice president, who think they're running the old Soviet Union:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be searched.

Pretty clear stuff, no?

The judge thought so, but again for the benefit of the little dictators atop us all wrote, "The Fourth Amendment, accordingly, was adopted to assure that executive abuses of the power to search would not continue in our nation."

Taylor Diggs noted that in passing FISA, Congress gave considerable leeway from nettlesome constitutional protections to a president conducting a foreign war and related surveillance.

By way of example, one such condition was that the government could apply for a warrant after the surveillance had begun. So Congress wasn't being selfish of its power at the expense of the president's "duty to protect the American people" that Bush is always babbling about.

All of which turned out to be futile and useless in this case.

The judge said, "The wiretapping program here in litigation has undisputedly been continued for at least five years, it has undisputedly been implemented without regard for FISA and, of course, the more stringent standards of Title III (of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968), and obviously in violation of the Fourth Amendment."

Undisputedly, obviously.

Again, Taylor Diggs quotes the Constitution, this time the First Amendment (the scribe's favorite):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting thhe freee exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech, or of press,; or the right of the people peacably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress grievances.

After serving up the heavenly filet, Diggs Taylor digs in: "The [p]resident of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these amendments, has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment rights of these plaintiffs as well."


That's a great riff there, "creature of the same Constitution..." and Diggs Taylor will dig it up once more, which is important because Bush thinks he's above the Constitution, rather than a creature of it, bestowed with the power to pick and choose what he likes and what he doesn't about it, independent of the two other branches of government.

The court served up an interesting discussion through its presentation of Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer in which Supreme Court Justice Jackson wrote that the powers of the president fluctuate, "depending upon their junctions with the actions of Congress. Thus if the president acted pursuant to an express or implied authorization by Congress, his power was at its zenith. If he acted in absence of Congressional action, he was in a zone of twilight reliant upon only his own indepdendent powers."

In this case, Diggs Taylor said, "the president has acted, undisputedly, as FISA forbids. FISA is the expressed statutory policy of our Congress. The presidential power, therefore, was exercised as its lowest ebb and cannot be sustained."


The government also argued that, after Sept. 11, 2001, the Congressional authorization for use of military force (AUMF) granted Bush the right to violate FISA and the Constitution.

"The court must note that the AUMF says absolutely nothing whatsoever of intelligence or surveillance."

Absolutely nothing.

The authorization to flatten Afghanistan and destroy Iraq preemptively, "gives no support to defendants here. Even if that resolution superceded all other statutory law, defendants have violated the constitutional rights of these citizens including the Fourth Amendment, First Amendment, and the separation of power doctrine.

"There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all inherent powers must derive from that constitution."


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Welcome to the Democracy Mr. (p)resident

Judge Nixes Warrantless Surveillance

Published: August 17, 2006
Filed at 12:03 p.m. ET

DETROIT (AP) -- A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.


The question of course, is how could we know they have followed the judge's order? Here's the rest of the article by the "Washington Post's" Dan Eggen.

And here's actual written decision.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Where there's a (George) Will, there's a way

 Posted by Picasa
When you spend your life being told your politics of peace and community sharing our “outside the mainstream” a lot of second guessing comes with the territory.

For instance, when this whole WAR ON TERROR thing started and the Bush administration responded, as is its wont, by literally rearranging the landscape of Afghanistan through bombing, but letting the leader of the Taliban movement and Usama Bin-Laden get away, it looked like a failed strategy.

Who was responsible for 9/11? (the scribe asked himself).

Well, it looked like a bunch of fervent intellectuals advocating violence while residing in European provincial cities like Hamburg. That, of course, fit the mold set by terrorist groupings like Spain’s ETA and the Irish Republican Army.

It seemed these groups resorted to terror as a semi-efficient way of offsetting the state’s monopoly on power and the overwhelming force at its behest; that the idea was to take conventional warfare off the table and make use of a lower intensity type of conflict.

It seemed to the scribe that Spain’s central government was never taken with the notion of bombing the Basque Country to do away with ETA. Great Britain, while maintaining overwhelming force in Northern Ireland never figured out how to impose such strength against cowards who left bombs in parked trucks to kill whomever fate had placed in the unfortunate position of passing by when they detonated.

But that’s the highway scribe who is, admittedly, no military scientist.

In fact, when the scribe goes off to New York and Washington D.C. on occasion he’s always taken with the brilliance and exemplary preparation of people holding positions of power, and flattened with a sense that there are many people smarter than he in this world.

Then John Kerry came out during the 2004 campaign and said pretty much the same thing. Kerry’s a titan, a U.S. Senator who went to Yale, just like the genius in the White House, so he added a little heft to the scribe’s sentiments.

Of course, Kerry did not fare well with his position, spending most of the time defending the fact he’d gone to Viet Nam and got shot while the other guy, well, the other guy we're still not sure what he was doing, although we’re pretty clear he wasn’t in Viet Nam getting shot.

But now George Will, he of the pinstripes and bow ties, has joined our ranks in an intriguing article entitled, “The Triumph of Unrealism”.

And here we engage in a highwayscribery tradition, wherein the thoughts of an august and consecrated member of the commentariat are conjoined with those of a guy he'd rather not have anything to do with... the highway scribe.

Will’s article covers much ground in few paragraphs. He’s quite frank about the disastrous result of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon where a lot of innocent people were killed and almost none of the bad guys.

He points out that the new Middle East we are witnessing being born, brainchild again of the White House, looks a lot like the prior one and “reflects the region’s oldest tradition, the tribalism that preceded nations.”

He was talking about Hezbollah triumphing, “often using World War II-vintage rockets” and suddenly embodying, “as no Arab state ever has, Arab valor vindicated in combat with Israel.”

As Will switches gears to discuss the proper way the WAR ON TERROR should be conducted, it seems as if he’s engaging in non sequitir or writing a different, second article.

Alas, that’s not Will’s fault, he’s simply trying to bridge the policy gap between the conventional bombfests and occupations the administration has struck, and the actual way things work.

Here’s some of it: “The London plot against civil aviation confirmed a theme of an illuminating new book, Lawrence Wright’s ‘The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11.’ The theme is that better law enforcement, which probably could have prevented September 11, is central to combating terrorism. F-16s are not useful tools against terrorism that issues from places such as Hamburg (where Mohamed Atta lived before dying in the North Tower of the World Trade Center) and High Wycombe, England.”

So, you see this aversion to bombfests and occupations is not just a kooky, left-wingy type thing.

He goes on to point out how Kerry (if not the highway scribe) told the “New York Times” back during the campaign that, “many of the interdiction tactics that cripple drug lords, including governments working jointly to share intelligence, patrol borders and force banks to identify suspicious customers, can also be some of the most useful tools in the war on terror.”

The administration, confronted with the British success in defusing the threat of MASS MURDER ON AN UNIMAGINABLE SCALE and the fact Kerry had a point, answered in a way typical of the FOX News-shop talk it loves to generate in lieu of genuine debate.

“The idea the jihadists would be all peaceful, warm, lovable, God-fearing people if it weren’t for U.S. Policies strikes me as not a valid idea. [Democrats] do not have the understanding or the commitment to take on these forces.”

highwayscribery would like to point out that jihadists are nothing if not “God-fearing,” but Will is more to the point, and he’s having none of it:

“This farrago caricature and non sequitir makes the administration seem eager to repel all but the delusional. But perhaps such rhetoric reflects the intellectual contortions required to sustain the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, and that the war, unlike ‘the law enforcement approach’ does ‘work.’.”

By George, the scribe thinks he’s got it!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sargent Brown and Corporal Long

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Camp Pendleton Marine

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Lance Cpl. Jeremy Z. Long of Sun Valley, NV:

"At this incredibly difficult time, Maria and I want to express how grateful we are to Jeremy for his dedicated service. As a member of the United States Marine Corps, he was committed to protecting our country. We send our condolences to his loved ones and will keep them in our prayers."

Long, 18, died Aug. 10 of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, CA.

In honor of Lance Cpl. Long, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Trinity Center Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Sgt. Jeffery S. Brown of Trinity Center:

"Sgt. Brown willingly put his life on the line as he courageously took extreme risks to assist fellow servicemen and women. Maria and I send our thoughts and prayers to Jeffery's family as they bear this painful loss."

Brown, 25, died Aug. 8 of injuries sustained when his UH-60 Blackhawk crashed into a lake in the vicinity of Korean Village in Rubtbah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 82nd Medical Company, Fort Riley, KS.

In honor of Sgt. Brown, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.


Here is another poem from the WriteGirl compilation, "Nothing Held Back." This is not written by one of the WriteGirls, but by one of the professional mentors who sign on to give 'em that important push, and with whom they share an editorial space. Her name is Marietta Putignano, and she must be over 23 (the cut-off for women) because her age is not listed.

It is simple and straightforward and almost too powerful to bear. the scribe would like to dedicate it to Glenn Totten.


If only I could take away your pain
as I watch you struggle
oxygen, painkillers, pumps
The disease courses through you like a thief
stealing your strength, but not your will
Your delicate skin aches with every touch
gentle eyes heavy with medicated slumber
The amber desert shines outside your window,
pink hyacinth blooms abundantly,
We gather together as much for you as for each other
surrounding you like a fortress
your spirit fights as you drift out to sea
only to float back to the safety of the shore
every smile a gift, every wink a priceless treasure
The stillness comes, the promise of peace
your soul soaring, singing the aria of your life
If only I could wake you
with my love

Monday, August 14, 2006


Here's a poem from "Nothing Held Back" a compilation of prose and verse put out annually by WriteGirl. This nonprofit group out of Los Angeles pairs young female writers with mentors in the t.v., film, publishing, and public relations games. The goal is to improve their ability to communicate and, ostensibly, improve their survival chances in a rather dicey world economy. There's a link to WriteGirl under our list of "Friends" at left.

Here's a poem by 16-year old Zoe Beyer:


A textbook example.

a mother shakes a tree and an apple doesn't fall far.

She eats the fruit of the same girl in the backseat of that car.

Canned oranges, dripping wet

cotton T-shirts like summer,

like starfruit holidays in chlorine and whiskey --

no ocean water surprises,

sea sand and salt,

like mother like daughter.

Ms. Baer's opening line makes her plight universal; something we should lend our attention to, if only for a moment. Her second line is gorgeous even if it twists a piece of conventional wisdom but mildly, it focuses us upon the piece's subject, laserlike. The insinuation of a mother devouring her young in the ambiguous third line infuses the poem with a degree of ferocity we know exists between some mothers and their girly offspring. And then the circumstances which serve to embellish and flavor the memory while engaging in wordplay with those "starfruit holidays."

"No ocean water surprises," prods us on in search of meaning and there it is: no suprises in the watery ocean between these two ladies -- "sea sand and salt." She doesn't even need the last line, her work is so completely done... but she can have it.

Petty Officer Mark Lee

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of San Diego Based Navy SEAL

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc A. Lee of Hood River, OR:

"Answering the highest call of duty, Petty Officer Lee risked his life to protect our freedom. As a member of the SEAL team, Marc will be remembered for his strength and commitment in fearlessly serving our nation. Maria and I send our condolences to his family and friends for the loss of such a courageous individual."

Lee, 29, died Aug. 2 of injuries sustained during combat operations while on patrol in Ramadi, Iraq. He was an aviation ordnance man and a member of a West Coast-based SEAL Team, San Diego.

In honor of Petty Officer Lee, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Irregularities II

An article in Mexico's "La Jornada" talks about the second day recounts in the partial review ordered by the federal court in charge of elections.

Opened vote bundles or paquetes, the disappearance of ballots, and "pregnant" vote tallies for the right-wing guy, Felipe Calderon, were all reported.

In Aguascalientes, the federal delegate overseeing the recount said there was evidence of fraud because there were not enough votes to match the number of ballots distributed.

Apparently, political parties pay people for these votes so they can do whatever it is you do from there to subvert an election.

The recounts discussed in the article are exclusively in the states where Calderon won, not those which went for the left-wing guy, Lopez Obrador.

In Jalisco, Lopez Obrador picked up 813 votes, in Baja California and Nuevo Leon, he pickd up 400 and 180 respectively. In Sonora his Revolutionary Democratic Party recuperated 300.

Eight hundred here, 300 there, and pretty soon you're talking about real votes.

The aformentioned paquetes are bundled votes with the tally labeled on the exterior. Lopez Obrador says they should be opened and counted to be sure the label matches the actual votes inside. That packets are being found unsealed and that Calderon is getting more votes than possible in selected district's controlled by his party do a lot to bolster Lopez Obrador's case.

They have a Mexican election blog, periodically, on the Web page of the "Washington Post."

The posted comments demonstrate bad feelings amid cultural groupings a little difficult for the unindoctrinated to discern. This one is a chilanga from Mexico City and the other one's a chicalanga because of a diffent admixture of geographical and geneological characteristics, and so on.

Intra-cultural insults fly fast and furious, the Calderon people sounding updated, net savvy, and involved with careers; Lopez Obrador's followers like something out of a clandestine, 19th century meeting on the universal rights of man.

The diatribes come with a Latin twist, often striking the battle with a mild insult: "Babosa, don't you know that little Stalinist Obrador will take Mexico back to the nineteenth century?!"

the highway scribe left a link to his prior post on Mexico, an interview by Elena Poniatowska of Mexico City's mayor, and caught a sling (if not an arrow) from the self-dubbed scribe, "emptyboxes".


Anyway, there is plenty of venom being directed at Lopez Obrador and the general sentiment projected outward, even by progressives, is that he's really pushing it.

Which is to say highwayscribery finds itself right where it belongs.

Some people on the "Washington Post" blog have nothing but insults for "La Jornada" and we've got no problem telling you that. The position of the editorial board here at highwayscribery is that the "sore loser" "messianic left-wing dictator" point of view is well aired in the media and that it might be a good idea to go to the horse's mouth in search of Lopez Obrador's and his followers' perspective.

Not that many of you are interested in this stuff, but, hey, it's the highway scribe's blog.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Manuel Andres Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has continued the exercise of his popularity in recent days, stretching his supporters across the doorways of banks, occupying toll boths on highways and permitting drivers to pass through without rendering tithe.

Our post on the mayor of Mexico City Aug. 7 made clear that control of the municipal police by AMLO's Revolutionary Democratic Party had permitted the creation of an anarchic temporary autonomous zone, the kind which highwayscribery would like to turn the whole world into.

When Obrador's request for a vote-by-vote recount was denied by a federal tribunal, he took his street actions up a notch, out of Mexico City's historic core and across the country. From here the efficiency of that effort cannot be measured, but its resonance, or lack thereof, is most important to goings on in that tense country.

Meanwhile, judges from the federal government were dispatched to different polling stations outlined by the court with authority over the elections.

If reports from the left-wing, pro-Obrador "La Jornada" are any indication, the partial recount ordered has revealed a rather high incidence of tampering and irregulaties.

From what the highway scribe can determine, votes are counted and placed in packages or, paquetes, with the tally recorded on a label binding them. Lopez Obrador has contended that the figures on the labels are incorrect and that the paquetes should be opened and their contents verified.

According to the report, the seals on packets in the test voting districts have been broken, evidence of vote tampering.

Obrador's street tactics are bordering on militia-like and paramilitary; he seems convinced that only this kind of pressure can lead to a proper accounting of the election.

The opposition and everyone else say he's threatening Mexico's democracy.

They should open the packets and count those votes once more. That's what they're saving them for. Then Lopez Obrador can shut up and go home, put in his place by the undeniable evidence of that same Mexican democracy.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lance Corporal Dechen

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Camp Pendleton Marine

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Lance Cpl. Kurt E. Dechen of Springfield, VT:

"Lance Cpl. Dechen valiantly served and protected the lives of his fellow Americans. Maria and I send our thoughts and prayers to Kurt's loved ones. His passing is a painful reminder of the sacrifices made by the courageous men and women of our armed forces to ensure the protection of our country."

Dechen, 24, died Aug. 3 as a result of wounds received while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, while attached to Regimental Combat Team 5, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA.

In honor of Lance Cpl. Dechen, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Just One Man's Opinion

"I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family, and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give."

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter dated February 1788

A March Toward Democracy

“The matter of the election in Mexico is being taken up by some special court or other. Will it care much about the demands of a bunch of Nacos closing off the streets? Probably not, and there’s your problem.”

That quote appeared at highwayscribery a few days ago (“Beware Mexico, August 4), and that’s what happened a few days later in Mexico City.

No recount, a partial something or other, a call by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) to maintain the street activity and to push the Revolutionary Democratic Party’s demand for a vote-by-vote recount.

And there’s your problem.

The situation remains unresolved. The American press continues to work the “sore loser” card, accusing AMLO of undermining the civic structure, such as it is, in Mexico.

For those of you who are not following this with any particular focus, the left-wing guy who ran for president has demanded a recount in a close election he lost. He says there was fraud and that he won.

AMLO filled the streets of Mexico City with camping demonstrators whom shut down the historic core. He petitioned a federal election tribunal to get a recount. The tribunal said no, the people are still camped in the streets.

The mayor of Mexico City has let all of this go down, much to the political advantage of Lopez Obrador. In other words, the guy who ran for president says his troops are acting within the law, and the mayor of the invaded city agrees.

That man, Alejandro Encinas, and the Mexican newspaper “La Jornada” ran an interview with him which appeared on the Aug. 7
web page.

You have to read Spanish, but if you don’t the scribe can tell you something about it. The person conducting the interview was Elena Poniatowska, an avowed progressive writer of considerable weight and respect in that country.

She is author of the stunning biographical novel “Tinisima,” about the life of Tina Modotti, silent screen actress, renowned photographer, and international communist agent.

Poniatowksa noted in her preamble that plenty of folks want the mayor’s head because the disorder has arrested commerce, stymied traffic and turned Mexico City into something of a midsummer’s nightmare.

“Do the Job or Leave the Job,” “They Ask Encinas: Do Your Job,” and other slugs of similar timbre are enumerated by her. But the portrait Poniatowska paints is of a guy calmly doing his job, adapting city administration to a problem created at the national level with the elections.

Poniatowska: What would you do if the opposition party (PAN) took over El Zocalo?

Encina (more or less): “I’d do the same thing if the PAN took over El Zocalo, as it has in acts of civic resistence over many years at the national level and in the states, I would respect it under the same terms and conditions I did with strikes and obstructions by the teachers union, the march against public insecurity, the world water forum...because I’m convinced that not only should the exercise of liberty should be complete, it should be afforded every sector of society, whether we agree with them or not, because I think the path to resolution is through reason and that the use force only creates new problems.”

The journalist then asked the mayor to put the demonstrations within the context of Mexico’s march toward open democracy. Encina said that march was comprised of four milestones.

The first was the 1968 encounter between university students and federal troops, which wound up in a massacre, which is to be a little to succinct, about what went down. The march maintained expression through guerilla movements in the 1970s, repressed by a “secret war” the kind which was very popular in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay at the time.

The second milestone, Encina asserted, was the earthquake of 1985. The government’s failure to care for those in need, and the lesson in self-organizing learned by many communities, opened a door to the third milestone: the establishment of a real political alternative to the long-governing Revolutionary Institutional Party, which we always like to say, was more institutional than revolutionary.

The PRD came very close to winning that election, and feels it was robbed. The guy who won, by the way, ended up fleeing the country to avoid corruption charges. His brother was jailed etc.

Encina: “Today we are experiencing, from my point of view, a fourth milestone in the road toward democracy with this electoral process. I’m talking about 2006, but this is a result of a campaign and process over many years, starting with el paraje San Juan, the videoscandles, the impeachment, the dirty campaign in the mass media against certain candidates, and we’ve been able to consolidate a democratic pole that will mark the coming years.”

I think we are giving a lesson in democracy to the world. Mexico has been fortunate in knowing how to channel its protests, whereas when you look overseas at countries with supposedly more developed institutions, not only do they have problems running their elections, they can’t manage the disagreements that follow. This is a lesson for the candidates in the United States [John Kerry/Al Gore] who were not up to the job in fighting for their supporters’ claims.”

Poniatowska recounts for the mayor a recent personal experience wherein a citizen of Mexico City verbally assaults her, promising to burn copies of her books he owned, accusing her of selling her down the road with support of the movement of Lopez Obrador.

Encinas: “That is the result of the campaign to discredit and sow fear, the supposed danger Mexico faced in supporting us, which drew reactions from the crudest sectors of our society whom fanned the winds of racism, disdain, and discrimination, that idea that the Coalition for the Good of All” represented people without education, the poor, the downtrodden - an enormous disdain.”

Friday, August 04, 2006

Animal Crackers

The Humane Society of the U.S. would like you to know about two legislative victories for the animals in Congress Thursday night.

You have to love victories for the animals.

In the wake of so many unfortunate abandoned pets, pet residents of New Orleans were forced to leave behind and other Katrina-related disasters the animal kingdom suffered, the Senate passed - unanimously we might add - the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS).

You have to marvel at the creativity of congressional staffers who always seem to come up with an acronym drawn from the circumstances of the legislation they are drafting.

Anyway, the bill calls, for “emergency preparedness plans to include consideration of people with pests and service animals before disaster strikes.”

Okay, that language sounds a little tepid, but one can only wonder what animal advocates really needed, but didn’t get.

Now the House and Senate must work out their differing drafts when they come back for the electoral thrashing awaiting them just over the horizon.

Also, the big pension bill on its way to the White House contains eliminates a “trophy hunting tax loophole.” Seems some hunters shoot exotic animals the world over and then donate them to “phony museums so that they can take a tax deduction.”

How about that for red state thievery? Indirect; through firearms and a tax cut.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Corporals Baucus and Higgins Remembered

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Four Twentynine Palms Marines

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the deaths of Cpl. Phillip Baucus of Wolf Creek, MT, Lance Cpl. Anthony Butterfield of Clovis, Pfc. Jason Hanson of Forks, WA and Sgt. Christian Williams of Winter Haven, FL:

"By courageously putting themselves in harm's way to defend freedom abroad, these four Marines exemplified the selflessness that guides our men and women in uniform. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones."

Baucus, 28, Butterfield, 19, Hanson, 21 and Williams, 27, died July 29 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. They were assigned to 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, CA.

In honor of Cpl. Baucus, Lance Cpl. Butterfield, Pfc. Hanson and Sgt. Williams, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Camp Pendleton Marine: Lance Cpl. James W. Higgins

Governor Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Lance Cpl. James W. Higgins of Frederick, MD:

"Maria and I extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Lance Cpl. Higgins. We are indebted when someone makes the conscious decision to risk sacrificing themselves for our country and our freedoms. James and his family have our respect and gratitude."

Higgins, 22, died July 27 from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA.

In honor of Lance Cpl. Higgins, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Scroll On Sweet Saint

Posted by Hello

“I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.”

That’s the first line of Jack Kerouac’s legendary “On the Road” – a part of our American literary canon.

Turns out that either Jack didn’t write that line or, that it if he did, it wasn’t meant to be the first line.

The heavy hand in the whole affair was a famous editor at Viking Press by the name of Malcolm Cowley, who took the manuscript from Kerouac, changed it around and never even extended the author a courtesy look at what he’d done, let alone ask him for a little feedback.

The year was 1957. Kerouac had written “On the Road” on a 119-foot continuous scroll of paper in a famous “three-week frenzy” a few years before. He struggled thereafter to get it published and by the time Cowley got it, the publishing world was in a tizzy over the federal obscenity case against the poem “Howl,” written by Kerouac’s close friend, Allen Ginsberg.

So Cowley was charged with being sure Viking stayed out of court, not only over “On the Road,” but a few others Kerouac had just produced.

Ginsberg famously took note of the writer’s prodigious output, referring to Kerouac as the, “new Buddha of American prose, who spit forth intelligence into eleven books written in half the number of years.”

Buy yourself a copy of Ginsberg’s “Howl” and you’ll still find those words inscribed as dedication to our King of the Beats.

Ann Charters, the Kerouac scholar who has edited two enormous volumes of the Beat scribe’s letters, and which are available from Viking, noted in “Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1957-1969,” that while Kerouac was preparing to write Cowley regarding when he could see the galleys for ‘On the Road,’ “Jack received a box of the finished books from the Viking Press. He was so overwhelmed he didn’t protest that he hadn’t been given the opportunity to see the editorial work on his manuscript.”

That’s how they treat you, great or otherwise.

Kerouac ate the crow because he’d waited so long, but we have an idea from a letter he wrote to another editor, Don Allen, about his feelings regarding the editing of his work. “The Subterraneans”:

“[B]ut Don, I cant possibly go on as a responsible prose artist and also a believer in the impulses of my own heart and in the beauty of pure spontaneous language if I let editors take my sentences, which are my phrases that I separate by dashes when I ‘draw a breath,’ each of which pours out to the tune of the whole story its own rhythmic yawp of expostulation, & riddle them with commas, cut them in half, in threes, in fours, ruining the swing, making what was reasonably wordy prose even more wordy and unnaturally awkward (because castrated). In fact the manuscript of Subterraneans, I see by the photostats, is so (already) riddled and buckshot with commas and marks I cant see how you can restore the original out of it. The act of composition is wiser by far than the act of after-arrangement, ‘changes to help the reader’ is a fallacious idea prejudging the lack of instinctual communication between avid scribbling narrator and avid reading reader, it is also a typically American business idea like removing the vitamins out of rice to make it white (popular). American publishing has no criteria for evaluating popular taste other than what it preconceiving feeds the populace. Who’s to say what people like? I say they have yet to see the sprung-free language of storytelling and poems that is to come in the American and World Literary Renaissance if the Big Castrating Scissor be only put away. As for me, that scissor doesnt exist. The changes you asked me to make for the sake of the magazine mails, taking out sexy words, spoiled the book enough I thought...”

Rest in peace sweet saint because here is news the true ‘Road’ is about to be published.

The original scroll, according to the article the scribe has linked for you, his loyal readers, was bought in 2001 for $2.43 million by the guy who also owns Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts – James Irsay.

Boy, reading through these letters, it’s painfully clear how differently things might have turned out for Jack with just a fraction of that money.

But that’s an old saw.

The rest of us can look forward to the fact the manuscript will read the way the saint wanted it to read, complete with “some sections that had been cut from the novel because of references to sex or drugs.”


A guy named John Sampas, brother of Jack’s third wife Stella, is executor of the writer’s estate and will apparently see to that.

It’s the fiftieth anniversary of the famed novel's publication and there are, according to the article, other Kerowackian treats awaiting the faithful next year now that the fact Jack liked his sex, drugs, and Jazz has been dwarfed by the larger achievement of his work.

For instance, there will be a new first sentence and a more abrupt ending to the big long one-paragraph book, because a cocker spaniel owned by one of his friends ate the original one.

That was one doggone ending.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mexico Beware

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO as he is known in the Mexican press, launched a massive protest throughout that nation’s capital in an effort to get a “vote-for-vote” recount of the elections that went down July 8.

Here is an article typical of the coverage in this country.

Ineffectual, it dwells on denizens of Mexico City who feel put-out (an “Inconvenient Truth 2”) by the fact the poor of Mexico have come to protest the fact they’ve been screwed again.

Here, gray editorialists attack Lopez Obrador for his “messianic” vision of himself or his “irresponsibility” in putting millions of supporters in the streets to shut things down, as if the fate of democracy should be sacrificed to a reduced rush-hour commute.

Mexico may be on the verge of something terribly violent, if not revolutionary altogether, and the world’s attention is taken up with the novelty of Jews and Arabs at each other’s throats.

The tag-line to news reports in the United States has been that AMLO wants to throw out, and the scribe quotes, “the cleanest, fairest, most transparent elections” in Mexico’s history.

This is largely because the guy who investors prefer supposedly won.

But if you’ve just had the “cleanest, fairest, most transparent elections” in Mexican history, you wouldn’t have people camping out in the streets protesting the results.

Mexico is a stunning country; rich in geographic beauty, natural wealth, and three levels of culture (pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, Mexican modern), but also, as a gallery owner down in Rosarito Beach (Baja California, Mexico) told the scribe a year or so ago, full of huevones.

What’s that mean?

Never mind. We run a PG-13 enterprise here at highwayscribery, but needless to say, Mexico's is a people burdened with the cross of terrible corruption – top to bottom – and anyone calling the victory of Felipe Calderon, a nice boy from Harvard, clean and transparent, has erased a few decades of Mexican history from the hard drive.

What we’re seeing across the world, from the United States to Italy to Mexico, are elections that reflect perfectly the failure of neo-liberal politics en vogue for the past 26 years – politics that put an end to wealth redistribution and make a fetish of the businessperson’s creed.

Politics that swell the wallets of one half a country and leave the other half without hope and a nasty nickname as in Mexico – Naco. Politics that generate elections which illustrate the divisive nature of the free market credo.

To wit: if your policies are working for all, you don’t have 49 percent of the people betting on the other guy who’s calling for wiping them from the books, and you don’t have a goodly portion of them camping out in the streets with nothing better to do.

They’d be whistling on their way to well-paid, life-fulfilling jobs.

Folks on the “winning” side in Mexico, and on the dexter-hand side beyond its borders, are asking AMLO to put the interests of the country’s “fragile democracy” before his own.

AMLO says those interests are one and the same and nobody is doing a very good job of vetting his claim or figuring out why so many people are willing to go to the lengths they are in supporting him.

Nobody knows better than a Democratic rank-and-filer from the U.S. that you cannot save civil institutions by failing to test them. Al Gore, a good guy and highwayscribery favorite, sought to preserve ours by reining his troops in, but it didn’t work out that way.

What we got was a band of thugs whose earliest maneuvers showed a disdain for those institutions, nationally and worldwide, trashing them for six years almost beyond recognition with institutionalized torture, domestic eavesdropping, suspension of habeas corpus, and unprovoked war based upon unsubstantiated claims.

The matter of the election in Mexico is being taken up by some special court or other. Will it care much about the demands of a bunch of Nacos closing off the streets?

Probably not, and there’s your problem.

It might be worth pointing out that AMLO’s political party is called the Democratic Revolutionary Party and that a good portion of the rank-and-file take the name to be more than a branding device.

the scribe fears things could get ugly and good people hurt. Outgoing President Vicente Fox says the demonstrators are within the law and that his "hands are tied."

But they were tied a few months ago in San Salvador de Atenco and that didn’t keep people from getting killed by police.

Mexico beware.