So I happened to be just about to get out of my car at five minutes to 7:00 in the evening today, and NPR came on with a sort of "oh, by the way" story. It was about this bill that is floating around congress regarding America's nuclear arsenal. I've actually heard a little bit about this before, but in the past, the discussion has always been about the debate on whether or not to keep all our assorted nuclear weapons at various bases scattered across the country, or to build a new facility that will do nothing but house all America's nukes (the theory being, it would be cheaper and easier to secure one location than many).
I could really understand both sides of the argument. The opposition was saying that the process of moving the weapons across the country would create an easy target for a horrible terrorist attack, which could put nuclear capabilities in the hands of Al Queda.
I try to pay close attention to this stuff, because frankly, nuclear weapons scare the shit out of me. And not necessarily out of concern for my own personal safety (although, admittedly, that is a part of it), but simply for the sheer destructive power of such weapons. Such monumental loss of life and devastation of the earth should never, ever, EVER be used under any circumstance. The U.S. was clearly wrong to bomb Japan in WWII, and it would be an even worse crime for anyone to repeat such an action now, given the enhanced power of modern nuclear weaponry, and the greater breadth of knowledge we bear on the subject. In fact, I personally believe that the initial construction of the atomic bomb is one of, if not the single worst thing humanity as a collective has ever done.
But anyway, the reason I bring this whole thing up, is because this particular story brought to light some new details of this particular proposal by the energy secretary.
The Good News:
This proposal would include the accelerated dismantling of most of our Soviet era nukes, and ultimately lead to a much smaller nuclear arsenal
The Bad News:
The proposal also calls for the construction of new fucking A-Bombs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What in the nine hells could have possibly gotten it into Sam Boden's nutty skull that it would be a good idea for us to be building new nuclear bombs, especially considering we have spent the last five years telling the world that we were trying to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, and the last 50+ years trying to convince other countries NOT to build their own nuclear weapons! This is a dumb idea of monumental proportions, and somehow, it is being totally buried in the news.
Just think about it. Say you're Iran, or North Korea, and you have the U.S. telling you "no, you can't build nuclear bombs (even though we have them), and in fact you can't even research nuclear power, because it might lead to you building bombs." You'd be pretty pissed off (as they are). Now imagine that the U.S. is telling you "not only can we have bombs and you cant, we're going to be building newer, better bombs. And by the way, you're the axis of evil, so don't piss us off too bad…"
A blind monkey could see the idiocy of this, yet I'm sure the plan will pass, because it was proposed by the Republican President's Republican appointee to the Energy Secretary position, and it's been taken up by a Republican house and a Republican senate, and by the time someone finds a way to get it to the Supreme Court, the right-wingers will be in the majority there, too. I hate to say it, but unless a sudden storm of common sense hits all three branches of government, we are all pretty well screwed.
It really seems that the news lately has been a perfect storm of things to piss me off, too. My next point is about another news story I heard on the way in to work today. In L.A. S.W.A.T. got into a shoot out with this guy, and ended up killing him and his hostage…his own 18 month old baby! Now, obviously there is a whole level of dementia involved in the brain of someone who would use their own infant as a human shield, but that's essentially beside the point. What I see as the real problem here, is that the cops saw that this guy was holding the baby out in front of him in an effort to get them not to fire, and they still opened fire on him! I understand that the police need to control the situation, but how about we don't open fire on children under two, huh?
The worst part about the whole story was listening to them interview the wife/mother of gunman and baby. She said she was sitting next to the police, begging them not to shoot. She was screaming and crying "My baby! My baby!" And the bastard opened fire anyway (19 times, by the way). There just must be a better way to deal with that sort of situation. Carl, that's your area…have you heard anything more about this?
And of course, there is this whole thing with Karl Rove. I wish I had the time to get into the whole thing here, but I don't. Essentially, the key points are this: Joe Wilson was sent to Niger prior to the war to help bolster the claim that Iraq was trying to get nuclear materials (because only we are allowed to have those). When he got back, he reported to a newspaper (after the president had made the famous "yellow cake uranium" speech) that Iraq was in fact, not trying to get said uranium. Shortly thereafter, someone leaked to journalist douche-bag extraordinaire Robert Novak that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was an undercover CIA operative, and he promptly reported this in his column. In doing so, he blew not only the identity of Plame, but also of her front company, which the CIA may have been using for any number of other operations (suddenly signaling to anyone overseas involved with that company to pack up ship and run away). It will probably never be known if and how many undercover CIA agents' lives were endangered by this leak, nor what the potential damage to national security was for disclosing the information. This is why blowing the cover of an undercover CIA operative is a federal crime. When accusations flew that someone in the Whitehouse staff was the source of the leak (which was obviously a payback for Joe Wilson's undermining of the Iraq War's credibility), President Bush said that if someone inside his administration was the source of the leak, he wanted to know; and that if that was the case, the person responsible would be fired (and should be imprisoned, but we can't even dream of that).
Well, it has recently come to light that the source of the leak was indeed…Karl Rove! Yes, the man who planted a bug in his own office and accused Democrats of spying on him; the same man who launched a viscous smear campaign against triple-amputee and war hero Max Cleland, the man whole stole his opponent's letterhead and used it to create a bunch of flyers indicating there was a kegger planned at their office, thereby getting hundreds of kids looking to party to show up there, and in fact, the very same person who started a rumor that ex-P.O.W John McCain was the father of an illegitimate black baby in the heart of the racist south just to crush his 2000 presidential bid before it could get off the ground. This man has now officially stooped so low as to compromise national security in the name of political revenge.
For the unabridged version read this.
And now that we're all up to speed with the dime-store tour of this story, here's what really gets me about this (well, everything about this story bugs me, but here's one of the big ones). For a few days, no one in the Republican Party really knew how to spin this deal. They just sort of shut their mouths and waited for the memo. And when the finally got the official spin, it was that, of all people KARL FUCKING ROVE is the victim in all this! If it wasn't so fucking disturbing, it would have been really funny, actually, because the day whatever spin-czar came up with and released the official Republican talking points, Randy Rhodes read them off on the air, and since then, every Republican/Conservative/Right-Winger that I've heard asked about the situation has recited the talking points almost verbatim.
If these people get away with this; if they can pull the wool over America's eyes on something this big; there will simply be no stopping them. George Bush could appoint Jerry Falwell to the Supreme Court while raping the corpse of his grandmother on national television, and he would still be made out as the hapless victim. Please, please, PLEASE sign this petition courtesy of Air America Radio, urging the President to make good on his promise to fire Karl Rove. He almost certainly won't do it, but the more people who sign it, the more he will see that he can't fool everyone. And in the mean time, listen to Air America to get the full story on this, because the Republican Party is counting on how confusing this situation is, and hoping that people will just not understand it and move on.
The final thing I'll be able to stomach discussing here is Exxon-Mobile. We all know Exxon-Mobile. You know, the company that is the primary reason that there is any question about the fact that global warming exists? The only major oil company still pushing for drilling in the Alaskan wildlife refuge? Well, there has been a boycott called against this company. Yeah, I know, this is nothing new. You've probably gotten a dozen emails trying to convince you to boycott one company or another. But here is what makes this one different, and the reason I am participating in it. This boycott has been called by a coalition that consists of all the members of The Sierra Club, GreenPeace, Defenders of Wildlife, MoveOn.org, and U.S. Pirg (among others).
The point is that the oil industry pretty much dominates Capital Hill, and if we want to get anything done to show these environmental hate companies that they can't continue raping the earth, the effort is going to have to go straight to the people. It's not hard to take part in this. Just don't buy gas from Mobile stations (and I'm sure others…if anyone else knows for certain which gas companies are owned by Exxon-Mobile, please post it here). For more information, visit www.exxposeexxon.com.