Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Albuquerque Mayor: Strange Bedfellows

WOW! The neo-cons at the Albuquerque Journal like Chavez while the progressives at the local ALIBI like Romero! MeanMesa, a stalwart ALIBI reader who uses the Journal to line his bird cage -- unread, of course -- is amazed! New Mexico is the land of mystery and enchantment, and this is a story of the mystery part! A true, high desert tale of strange bedfellows, indeed!

For our MeanMesa visitors who live far away from Albuquerque, please stand by. An infrequent but necessary aspect of being a blog from the "Other Mile High City" calls for MeanMesa to pay just a little bit more attention to the local mayoral campaign. Because "all politics is local," and because MeanMesa is both about as political and as local as you can get while you remain standing, we have to jump into the fray with respect to the main "?Democratic?" contender challenging the incumbent mayor, Marty Chavez.

We're not going to trot out another toad strangling concoction of Chavez's accomplishments because MeanMesa just mailed our mail in ballot -- we voted for him. So, what does that leave "on the table" for a quick blog posting?

Actually, quite a bit.

Mayor Chavez's "?Democratic?" rival has already shown his colors. His early campaign literature railed about the "crime wave" inundating our city while proclaiming that his policies would re-invigorate small business. As Richard Romero's campaign matured from this first onslaught of ill-defined positions, it simply "grew like Topsey," engulfing Albuquerque's Public School System and blaming the incumbent for predictable set backs in local industry occurring due to the flaming case of "recession" left over from the Bush Autocracy.

For background on Romero's gaseous "crime and small business" claims, jump back to
"A Mayor for Albuquerque. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid."

Now, however, it turns out that Mr. Romero is quite the neo-con turn coat in his own right. For those MeanMesa visitors old enough to remember, this campaign reminds us of the ancient neo-con crookery called The Silent Majority of the last century. In that case, sterile, aging, corporate reactionaries actually descended to ground level to propose a strategic, proletariat scheme to undo what had become, for them, a troubling shift toward progressive ideas and a burgeoning Democratic demographic in the voting electorate.

Their strategy? As usual, an unruly crowd of the standard unwashed hill billies and bigots of the time, marching under the Crusade-like, inflammatory toxin of dirty shirt preachers such as Falwell and Dobson, and allegedly validated by equally suspicious sorts such as Ronnie Rayguns (who, BTW, raised taxes more than any other President in history) launched a 20th Century version of the 21st Century campaign to Take Back America. The tactics they cooked up for this ambition of theirs were to start at the bottom. That meant that their supporters were to take local elections for dog catcher, school board, museum committees and the like, insinuating themselves into positions of local government from which they could spring forth into more important roles and, uh, Take Back America.

Well, all this would amount to little more than a tedious recounting of local politics, gleefully left in the dust bin of history, except for the matter of Mr. Romero. Now that this strange beast has emerged to run for Mayor, we see a bit of that old deception returning, cleaned and painted, of course, but even more virulent (In the words of President Bill Clinton describing the "right wing conspiracy" in an interview with Kristina Wong, ABC News -- http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/09/bill-clinton-says-right-wing-conspiracy-now-after-president-obama.html ).

What exactly about Mr. Romero is so troubling?

Well, he recently ran in a New Mexico Democratic primary election to defeat "$ Halliburton Heather $" (Republican Representative Heather Wilson), and, thankfully, lost to a real Democrat, Martin Heinrich. Now, old Heather had horribly soiled herself performing years of political fellatio on the autocrat's (the "W") every crooked, uh, scheme, so it was actually no big shocker that a Democrat replaced her -- except, as it turned out, NOT Mr. Romero! Immediately after losing that primary election, Mr. Romero started divvying up what was left of his campaign funds in gifts to State REPUBLICAN campaigns!

What's the problem? Well, Mr. Romero dutifully followed the Silent Majority style of the old Take Back America scheme by serving in the State Senate and being Principle in a local school. Those were his versions of the dog catcher, museum committee jobs. However, good old Mr. Romero actually went a even a bit deeper into the muck of the neo-con "swamp of deception."

He successfully masqueraded as a Democrat in his "dog catcher" days!!

After prancing around New Mexico for a long enough period -- long enough, he hoped, for everyone to comfortably forget his true stripes -- he emerged in the Congressional race. After failing to win there, he gave $20,000, or more, of his left over war chest to state Republican candidates, then jumped back into Superman's phone booth, changed his costume back into a Democrat, and ran for Mayor. Yuck.

That's why MeanMesa voted for Marty Chavez. As a mayor, he ain't perfect. But as a candidate, he remains refreshing in line with what he has always been!

The following link will take you to another interesting local blog, Democracy for New Mexico.


Monday, September 28, 2009

The Problem with American Influence

United States foreign policy seems to now be stumbling at challenges it once faced much more effectively. The current difficulties in places such as Iran, Afghanistan and even in Somalia are clear reflections of our not having sufficient influence to support the goals of our international policies, and more troubling, this appears to be more the general case rather than a few unfortunate exceptions.


A quick note from MeanMesa: Please excuse the "font and size problems" with this post! We have a fabulous new computer -- generously supplied to us by one of our most frequent visitors -- but we are still experiencing a few operational problems. We hope you will be able to enjoy this latest post anyway! It's all here, just mixed a bit... We'll do better soon!


And yet, we see an approach quite removed from that we have been pursuing yielding significant and durable models of social and political influence in places where our own efforts have become dismal failures. In Gaza, the thoroughly questionable politics of the Hamas Party has successfully “sold” itself to the voting population, including the idea of its self-destructive aggression against Israel, with a package of modest public services as a redeeming “sweetener” in the mix. The influence of Hamas services rather easily crowded out the service neglecting corruption of the Fatah, the local party being groomed as our favorite partner.

Regardless of our impression of the relative value of peace compared to conflict, the daily, personal efforts of Hamas representatives distributing food and providing even a modicum of health care became a very effective foundation in the politics of the place. Palestinian voters were clearly willing to “live with” the Hamas rockets flying into Israel – and the predictable results – in favor of continuing this “on the ground” social support effort.

Iran's Hezbollah has performed equally well in the wreckage of Lebanon. Perhaps with substantial additional resources from neighboring Syria made available for its program of social services there, the party has demonstrated a very tangible ability to attract large parts of the Islamic population. That cultural loyalty remains in place today, even after the last violent incursion of the IDF as it attempted to suppress Hezbollah rockets launched from behind Lebanon's border into Israel.

Other examples of insufficient American influence, still developing at this present moment, are also plentiful. In fact, we can characterize almost all international difficulties in a common frame when they are viewed in this sense. Afghanistan is another revealing case which can be quickly added to those in the Gaza and Lebanon.

However, this posting is not about the specific difficulties of our foreign policy. It is about influence.

After subjecting Afghanistan to eight years in a military “meat grinder,” our influence is rapidly descending to an unsupportable nadir. In some important features, the citizens of Afghanistan are suffering the same hardships as the residents of Gaza or Lebanon. During the US occupation, those hardships have increased, not improved. Between the destruction of years of military violence and the apparent – at least in the eyes of many Afghans – support of government corruption by the NATO occupiers, there have been few successes in advancing the qualities of basic Afghan life.

In Iraq, a similar situation prevails, even in the improved security positions there. Years of violent military action coupled with claims of improved security have yet to provide fundamentals to the residents of much of Iraq. There are still grinding deficiencies in even the simplest public services such as water, sewer and electricity. The Iraqi government appears to be slightly less corrupt than the government of Afghanistan, but the hardships of life in both places seem to simply continue.

How can a military undertaking, especially an anti-insurgency strategy, expect to garner popular support when the public faces such static conditions of neglect? Further, in both countries, the United States has paid a gruesome wage for not having public support. During the worst period of the Iraqi occupation, a widely cooperating public could have provided intelligence of such great value that the military conditions would have been immensely improved. The same can be said for our efforts in Afghanistan.

Now, a few billions of the money the late autocrat borrowed for these wars was actually allocated to restoring some of these fundamental services. Yet, the material improvements remained little more than ludicrous public relations gambits for domestic consumption here in the US. Additionally, we can see that our local adversaries in both cases place a high value on denying us the tactical advantages such improvements, if they were actually ever completed, might bring. Al Quaeda in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan have both undertaken dangerous and risky – to them – missions to destroy such infrastructure when it might have increased our influence in a local region.

And if the Al Quaeda and Taliban were not enough of a destructive influence, all those insurgent goals were further amplified by outrageous corruption. Even good projects wound up with cracking foundations, doors which wouldn't close and pipes that leaked the first time water entered them. Such defects can not be blamed on military insurgency activities. No, these are the products of corruption and greed. Under the prevailing regimes in both Iraq and Afghanistan, what the insurgents can't destroy will fall apart predictably enough thanks to the corrupt extraction of everything that can possibly be removed from the project and added to someone's pocket book.

By the way, all that corruption and greed was not perpetrated solely by the locals, either. Yes, the contractors we hired to perform this work were already adequately corrupt to reliably sabotage the outcome, but it's now clear that the “watchdogs” we placed in charge of finding and correcting such corruption were just as corrupt as the contractors. The Bush Autocracy seemed to have enough energy to literally “search the world over” for something that, although it might have looked like a low bid, was actually simply someone willing to quietly participate in massive payola.

The Rumsfeldt Defense Department was unable to tell the difference between an electrical grid or a sewer system that actually functioned and another one which didn't. After all, every disastrous reconstruction project could be conveniently blamed on “security issues.”

Now, all those disasters are “coming home to roost.” We find ourselves seriously handicapped when it comes to popular support and cooperation – influence – which might have been based on improvements in the quality of life for those we claim to be committed to helping. We also see the equally uncomfortable, comparable results of similar, successful activities in places such as Gaza and Lebanon. Hamas and Hezbollah improved the conditions of public life in those places, and today, both enjoy significant support – they have influence.

There remains yet one final observation. This influence we are discussing cannot be “purchased” over night. Yes, Bremer, the American Viceroy in Iraq, was delivering multi-million dollar pallet loads of US $100 bills to practically everyone who would stand still long enough to take it during the early days of that war, but even that largess turned out to be severely lacking much effect in terms of generating noticeable popular support – influence of the kind that would assist US military intelligence efforts, for example, in locating IEDs being buried in the roads.

Consistent with historical US foreign policy traditions, we wound up with what turned out to be a very seedy collection of paid off nobodies who still couldn't be trusted. Although cast in a slightly different light, the same outcome seems to be prevailing in Afghanistan where we sponsor a similar situation in which the primary paths to prosperity remain a sickening mix of bribes, heroin making and brazen corruption. In both cases our reputation with the precise local citizens who could help us the most, frankly, sucks.

This is the basic paradigm we have consistently held for decades. Being suspicious of our basic natures, we have been plagued with the idea that influence can only be bought, not earned. Our behavior has, unremarkably, grown to complete this self-fulfilling, prophetic lack of self-esteem. Firmly founded on the principle that our essential natures were not up to the task of influencing anyone, we made sure that our actual natures followed suit. We habitually unleashed the most unsavory of our fellow Americans – miscreants ranging from the fascist United Fruit in Latin America to the Exxons and Chevrons unleashed decades ago all around the Middle East – with carte blanch marching orders implying that the ends of corporate profits justified any means necessary to gain them. We backed up that disastrous proposal by promising that we, as a nation, would assiduously avoid ever looking at those methods.

Now, it's pay back time. And that dramatic claim turns out to be much more than simply drama! Our traditional approach worked well enough in the delivery of the loyalty – or at least, the complicity -- of untrustworthy local criminals and other sociopaths cultivated by our “capitalists,” but failed miserably and in many cases, permanently, to create a foundation of popular influence. All the wealth extracted by those medieval, untethered, savage American plutocrats now rests comfortably in trust funds for their idiot progeny while we face the perpetually lingering distrust and hatred for those old crimes absent any of the influence we so sorely need right now.

It's no surprise that those same “trust fund” brats are spewing forth with monumental divisiveness and war mongering now. Because they think everyone is just as vacuous, avaricious and sterile as they are, they mistrust the entire process of “having a decent reputation” and the popular support it makes possible. Viceroy Bremer embodied this outlook to an unimaginable degree with his scheme to “buy friends” in Iraq with millions of US dollars. (His real face emerged when he attempted to corrupt his new prize from the autocracy, the IMF, by illicitly promoting his mistress.)

Anything goes.

Is MeanMesa careening “off the tracks” with this idea? You know, are there REALLY a clutch of billionaire monsters subverting a major part of the American ideal? Although the evidence is so voluminous that an eighteen wheeler couldn't carry a fifth of the books already written about it, consider the following two excerpts:

Wealth Inequality and Class

In 2004, the wealthiest 25% of US households owned 87% ($43.6 trillion) of the country’s wealth, while the bottom quartile held no net wealth at all. The middle 50% of the country held 13% or $6.5 trillion of the total household net wealth. The previous data are taken from analysis of the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) which over samples wealthy households. This over sampling more accurately represents the true wealth distribution [since most of the wealth is concentrated at the top]. This data shows that the top 25% of American society holds on average a net wealth of $1,556,801 which is 33 times more than those of the lower middle class, or the 25th-50th percentile.


World's richest 1% own 40%

of all wealth, UN reports

The richest 1% of adults in the world own 40% of the planet's wealth, according to the largest study yet of wealth distribution. The report also finds that those in financial services and the Internet sectors predominate among the super rich.

Europe, the US and some Asia Pacific nations account for most of the extremely wealthy. More than a third live in the US. Japan accounts for 27% of the total, the UK for 6% and France for 5%.

The UK is also third in terms of per capita wealth. UK residents are found to have on average $127,000 (£64,000) each in assets, with Japanese and American citizens having, respectively, $181,000 and $144,000. All data relate to the year 2000.


Gurdjieff said, “The man with a full belly cannot understand the man who is hungry.” We seem intent on repeatedly proving this annually.

Are these folks really the good citizens they pretend to be? Granted, the major part of these ugly, flippant thugs is now busy injecting more and more grotesque, half-baked ideology into the Republican party, but we can be comforted by the fact that they consider such an undertaking little more than a hobby. They are beyond even the savage greed of the neo-cons, their convenient puppets.

The domestic evidence of this curse has emerged a little in the health care debate. The well established plutocrats are simply calling the “cards” they bought and paid for in the Senate. Americans are not to be permitted a chance to purchase any sort of health care which cannot be looted to add to their already immense wealth. However, be assured, the stench ranges far and wide beyond health care to defense suppliers, Wall Street bankers and stinky contractors such as Blackwater and Halliburton, toward an odorous, toxic cloud filled with innumerable others.

In all those foreign countries where we wish we had a better reputation and more influence, we encounter the generational victims of the same petty criminals. Even more the case than in the US where distractions are plentiful and memory much more short lived, those folks seem to have an uncanny – and enduring – memory of the way they were treated.

MeanMesa presumes that our national image might be rehabilitated, but any counter insurgency plan in a nation filled with victims of the plutocracy's previous attention (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Iraq), will, of necessity, be based more on fleeting theoretical dreams than any likely popular support or assistance. But, we might ask, what about those who live places without resources or other treasures which might have caught the eye of these looters? Places such as Afghanistan? Absent the regional treasure which might have caught the eyes of our American billionaires, perhaps we still have the remnant of positive reputations in these “less fortunate” places which could yet yield the popular support we need for our present day military adventures.

Sorry. When there is no “prize” to be exploited, our US government still has all the bad habits it would have held just as if there had been a “prize” of some sort. For the poorer places where we wish to leverage our influence in favor of more purely ideological ambitions, such as Afghanistan, it turns out that we have already “soiled the chair” by acting with hubris just as outrageous as our policy toward and our treatment of those places where there were “prizes.” Sometimes, influence turns out to be a very valuable "prize."

Aren't we a lovable lot? It is at this point that our American neo-cons, accompanied by the predictable chorus of hill billies, bigots and other illiterate freaks, will place the blame for our intractable lack of influence squarely on the shoulders of our new President. Of course, this would never be an actual problem. Although no one else pays much attention to them, they still continue to obsessively believe and inspire each other.

So, how will we restore our influence sufficiently to re-establish our ability to successfully pursue our policy aims? We can begin with a single, very important idea. Our military efforts in Iraq, today, consume just under a billion dollars every twenty-four hours. We all now realize the sobering truth about how much influence all that cash, along with the presence of a 120,000 plus American troops, will buy us in that same twenty-four hours. Or, for that matter, also consider how much influence our massive occupation forces, along with their costs, “purchase” for us in Afghanistan.

Now, let's consider a short, fictional history where the United States actually wound up having some solid influence. There is nothing special about Tanzania, but it will serve just as well as innumerable other opportunities to explain just how this is done.

Step one, park all the bombers and battleships. MeanMesa is not particularly pacifist or isolationist. That stuff has a purpose in this world. It is intended for use in ways which keep us safe. It is not intended as a means to facilitate the Iraq Hydrocarbon Treaty with Chevron.

In Tanzania, that same billion dollars – when well managed – could build all sorts of things. Let's make a list. If clinics cost $100,000 each and another $100,000 per year to staff, equip and operate for each one, and schools (Have you ever seen a Tanzanian school?) cost $100,000 each and cost $50,000 per year to staff, equip and operate for each one, and a university $15,000,000 to build and another $3,000,000 per year to staff, equip and operate, our daily Iraq “price tag” would produce the following:

200 clinics and their cost of operation for ten years = $220,000,000

(220 Mn)

200 schools and their cost of operation for ten years = $120,000,000 (120 Mn)

2 universities and their cost of operation for ten years = $120,000,000 (120 Mn)

"Let's see. Add the twelve, carry the five, divide by ten andyour total comes to $460 million! "

Of the $1,000,000,000 (1 Bn, or, 1,000 Mn) “one day in Iraq” budget, we would have over half remaining!

That is how we wind up with influence. If we want influence, we know how to get it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Calling the Department of Defense

Informed Americans think about our troops all the time, read the newspapers and pay attention to what is happening with our military. These patriotic Americans occasionally have good suggestions for the Defense Department. Is it possible that our DoD is really too busy to even tell us to "go fly a kite?"

Meanmesa's attempts to reach an operational “suggestion box” anywhere in the Department of Defense have led to the conclusion that those boys are simply not interested in any advice they haven't contracted and compensated. In fact, the closest MeanMesa ever got to actually making a suggestion was a rather hefty set of “Contractor Identification Forms” a non-com was kind enough to issue as a reply to our inquiry. Naturally, as far as even a careful reader could get with those babies was that, once completed and approved, an authorized contractor ID number would be issued.

Of course, the forms couldn't be submitted for processing without the contractor ID number which would be assigned only after they were successfully processed. Any MeanMesa visitor who has served in the nation's military can easily understand such a humorous conundrum.

So, we'll just post a couple of suggestions here on MeanMesa. Perhaps one of our visitors will be impressed with it enough to figure out a way to forward to the DoD.

Suggestion 1: Additional, Low Cost IED Suppression

A modified crop duster – something the military might actually not have, but they're cheap – can overfly miles and miles of roadways in Afghanistan spraying an extremely light coating of a metallic trace mist which will cover the entire roadway. The result would be a uniform coating which covered all the areas in question, but, without sensing equipment would remain largely invisible to a possible insurgent approaching the area on the ground. A subsequent over flight by a UAV – or even a satellite – could rather dependably detect any areas of the coating which had been disturbed during one of the nightly “bomb burying adventures” by the bad guys.

Once the location of such a disturbance in the metallic spray was detected, during the over flight, the information could be relayed to our military folks who would investigate. Will such a program detect every IED? Of course not, but a robust stream of timely, interesting possible clues as to the whereabouts of these buried killers might be well worth the trouble and expense.

Now, once the adversary picks up on the general idea, we can expect him to be making false disturbances right and left. To exploit and counter this behavior, the mist which was previously sprayed on the road way could have the additional quality of being a lasting, permanent, ultraviolet dye. Whoever was doing the digging – whether planting an IED or just creating a bothersome false call – would unavoidably contaminate himself with some of the “spy spray.” For a few days, he would be detectable among the locals in the area where it occurred. Our military might be interested in figuring out who he was and talking with him about his digging habits.

The crop duster could stay busy all year round, even when the roads were covered with snow. If the mist being sprayed were just a little oily, it could be designed to withstand wind and dust storms. Because of the low cost of the crop duster and the spray material, road coverings could be refreshed frequently, creating a constant “heads up” especially in suspicious areas where someone might be likely to want to plant an IED. This program could be remarkably cost effective and quickly and easily implemented on a trail basis.

MeanMesa is tired of US military personnel being injured and killed by IEDs.

Suggestion 2: Tracking the Taliban

We hear frequently about the problem posed by the mountainous border with the problem areas of Pakistan. MeanMesa thinks that there might be a rather inexpensive, high tech solution.

Here, we can follow the effective example used by the Moroccans when they were facing a seemingly undetectable stream of insurgent Arabs who were gaining entry into the country from the East, across the desert. The government there deployed a large number of “tell tales,” small monitoring devices, all along the border. These little “eyes” could detect – via infrared scanning – nearby surface motion through the rather long, desert “back door.” When anything suspicious was detected, an automatic message code was transmitted to the Moroccan military, allowing them to dash right out to the scene and determine what was going on.

The Moroccans deployed so many of these little “tell tales” that the insurgents found it more and more difficult to sneak through the electronic barrier without being detected. There were other high tech components of the Moroccan “desert fence,” but the scattered, solar powered detectors were among both the most cost effective and easily managed.

Now, Afghanistan's insurgent migration problem is, granted, a little more complex. However, the fact that Taliban fighters can “disappear” while crossing those rocky mountains has become one of their foremost tactical advantages. An effective military program to neutralize that advantage makes good sense.

So, how could this work?

We would need to start with a bit of technology. Nothing new, mind you, just a new combination of some pretty much “off the shelf” items. What was avoided in cost and complexity would be counter balanced by simplicity and quantity. A single “tell tale” would duplicate many of the features the Moroccans found so effective.

Each of the little devices would require a “hard wired” code which could specifically identify it as the source during any of its communications with the “central” detection system. It would have GPS capacity so it could locate itself after deployment. The devices could be dropped from a low flying plane, each one making a safe descent with a small, biodegradable parachute. The plan should provide for the deployment of very many of these little “spies.” How many? Thousands, or, even, millions of them!

Even after DARPA is through complicating matters, each device should have a manufacturing cost of less than, say, a hundred dollars. A million of them would set the DoD back $100,000,000. That seems like a lot of money, but good intelligence rolling in constantly from such disbursed “tell tales” might prove to be worth the tab. Our extraction of operable intelligence from the Afghans, although impressive, hasn't really “blossomed” in our favor.

Once a device landed, it would deploy a small solar panel to charge its equally small battery. It should be able to operate effectively for a few days without much sunshine. Its first task would be to use its GPS capacity to locate itself. Once it had good coordinates, it could call the central computer and place itself in operation. Communications could actually be quite simple, perhaps no more than a beep every time it sensed something warm moving through its infrared scanning range. Lots of beeps would indicate that something interesting might be unfolding at that distant, deserted, dark mountain pass.

The Taliban would be motivated to find and disable the tell-tales, wherever they could, but even that would send a message to military commanders that something was going on. If a million, well camouflaged little devices were scattered without any particular pattern, we can assume that it would be almost impossible to eliminate enough of them to open an undetecteable corridor or otherwise seriously hamper the program's data gathering.

Some of these little machines would fall down under trees, between rocks and all sorts of other places where they could not function, but a myriad of others would find themselves perched all over the place. The mountains and plains between Afghanistan and the Pakistan border could gradually be saturated with so many “tell tales” that the possibility of an unseen insurgent column moving through the region would become less and less likely. The system could not be defeated by some of the devices falling into enemy hands, there are no expensive, high tech secrets incorporated in any of them.

The command procedure would be fairly straightforward. A main frame could easily maintain a field model which showed all the locations of devices which had successfully landed, identify each one by its unique code number and display the whole data set on a topographic map with aerial photographic details. When messages were received via satellite from the “tell tales,” additional observations could be ordered immediately. Guns and other metal weapons show up very distinctly from aerial surveillance – even at night.


Lynn Montrose in his timeless text War Through the Ages, gave example after example of the tactical benefits of denying an enemy his combat advantages. In Afghanistan, the enemy values more than anything else his ability to sneak around, showing up without warning. MeanMesa doesn't recall whether or not Mr. Montrose mentioned anything about Defense Departments having "suggestion boxes."

It's time to take this advantage away from our enemy. There are not really any very good excuses for the continuing losses the United States is suffering in the Afghan -- Pakistan theater.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Mayor for Albuquerque. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Beyond health care, what Else Is America Doing?114

The knuckle draggers of the national "Bite Game," now infamously famous for its grotesque, self-embarrassing performance at town hall meetings, its rude and tasteless grunts in Joint Sessions of Congress and its stale, perspiration soiled tea bagger buses, is trying to penetrate local Albuquerque politics.

In New Mexico, the home base of MeanMesa, our city of Albuquerque is entering a mayor's race within the next few weeks. Our current mayor seems to have done a fairly good job of watching over his responsibilities, but a new candidate has emerged. Now, this discussion could fairly easily slip into endless details of matters the current mayor has not handled in a way entirely to someone's liking, but we have to expect that.

We, as citizens of Albuquerque, owe the incumbent the advantage of a reasonable over-view. By and large, he has done an admirable job for several terms. The city is clean and fairly well managed. City water supplies, a big issue in New Mexico, have been seriously augmented by a major captial expenditure -- a project which was handled fairly well, taking several years and now, joyfully, complete and in operation. Compared to the rest of the country, Albuquerque has an impressive -- not perfect, mind you -- unemployment rate. The streets are clean -- not perfectly clean -- and fairly well maintained and modernized by both locally funded and stimulus projects.

It's a good place to live whether one is wealthy or otherwise.

So, what local issue is the new candidate basing his campaign on for the upcoming election? Well, MeanMesa has been getting a bit of the new candidate's campaign literature here in the aging apartment complex which is host to our galactic headquarters. One of the first questions which seems to launch itself, ready or not, into the mind of this dedicated voter has to do with party. What party loyalty does this new man claim?

Not a clue. Not a word spoken to the matter in any of the slick literature.

It is fairly clear that New Mexico political ettiquete considers a highly partisan mayoral candidate a bit passe. Most folks here apparently think a good mayor will probably be too busy taking care of our needs to do a lot of inflammatory campaigning. The incumbent has steered a sometimes frustrating course through the middle ground on such issues, but he seems to have pleased and displeased all the Albuquerque electorate in a coherent, even handed manner, that is, he seems to have consistently found some sort of "a little something" which has generally satisfied each part of our widely disparate citizenry.

But what about the new guy?

Is there anything in his campaign which reveals where his basic politics reside? Maybe. The new man's campaign has now cast out its own gauntlet, and that gauntlet is law and order. In fact, the new man has criticized the old mayor for being too keen on community improvement projects while neglecting law and order. Yes, the old mayor has championed a number of projects which, if completed, would serve to make Albuquerque into more and more of a modern city. Some of these, in fact, represent a pretty ambitious and brave embrace by the incumbent mayor of Albuquerque's future face.

However, that leaves the matter of the new man's law and order. Now, be assured, the residents of Albuquerque like the idea of law and order. Like any American city this size, we have a few problems with law and order. Over in the Southwest part of town there are a few gangs. Up in the prosperous Northern part of town, there are a few teenagers who like drugs and drinking, you know, raising hell, and sometimes, raising hell rather destructively. The State has some fairly egregious corruption problems, but, on a smaller scale, the city has a few, also.

However, the point is that Albuquerque doesn't have any law and order problems particularly more serious than most other cities this size. Yet, here is the new man promoting the idea that law and order problems are far more critically serious -- and requiring far larger resources -- than any of the old mayor's civic improvement projects. In no time, again without any new or particularly troubling law and order statistics, the new candidate intends to convince voters that law and order is the most serious problem we face, placing every honest, hard working citizen in mortal jeopardy! (Ohmigod! It's only a matter of time until you, too, are a victim of these lawless thugs roaming unchecked through our streets like packs of wild dogs...)

In fact, MeanMesa suspects that a suspiciously well funded campaign which is going to promote law and order as its central mast head will probably manage to inspire a good number of our local voters to start thinking endlessly about law and order. The new candidate intends to spend his campaign money creating enough frightened voters to carry him to an election victory.

Egads. Shades of Karl Rove himself. Right here in River City.

Gosh. What political party does stuff like that?

Great News from OUTER SPACE to MeanMesa!

What Else Is America Doing?

While the hill billies and bigots promote the sleazy distraction of their legislative health care cock fight, our country's more important work -- thankfully, done with far cooler minds -- also proceeds all around the planet. MeanMesa visitors share a common amazement at just how much a few incredible lies and other mischief can bloat the dead elephant already languishing in our swamp. Whew. That smell is getting nasty! One might think that the entire United States has nothing else to do but mortify itself with an endless stream of carefully crafted rantings of a few medievalist neo-cons.

Well, MeanMesa visitors, relax and enjoy an incredible "win" that is just now rolling in from outer space. Remember outer space -- even low Earth orbit? That's where industrious, well educated Americans have placed and maintained the Hubble Telescope. Those geeky types have done this amazing thing with our tax money! Of course, it wasn't cheap. On the other hand, it is one damned glorious accomplishment. The United States didn't do it all by ourselves, but we certainly carried most of the water, did most of the heavy lifting, well, you get the idea.

Five hundred years ago the neo-cons of the day were ripping arms and legs off people who dared think that this planet orbited the Sun instead of vice versa. Now we're snapping photos of galaxies five billion light years away.

With the new equipment just installed by our orbital space fleet and our brave astronauts, this baby can "see" more than halfway to the edge of everything! Some of the newest pictures are posted right here on MeanMesa for you to enjoy. (Google is chuck full of links to more beautiful shots of the cosmos. The links to these photos are below each one.)


So, MeanMesa visitors and fellow tax paying Americans, the next time you hear some water fountain cynic say that we are no better than the Taleban, well, remember the pictures.

Damn! This is a great country!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Complex Mathematical Equations Explain Everything

Any contemporary topic can be amplified by complicated mathematics making it overwhelmingly persuasive to the masses of American media consumers. 113

Part A: The Economy

During the intermittent periods of M3 "slippage" due to unforeseen variability in the previously stable projective instrument markets, i.e. M14, an unfortunate and spontaneous... yuck.

For MeanMesa visitors interested in understanding the current economic difficulty, try this.

The actual problem seems to be the "missing money." How much? The Bush cronies managed to extract roughly three to six trillion dollars ($3 - 6,000,000,000,000) from the national economy in eight years. Naturally, this has led to economic problems. The exact mouths now voicing the specious complaint that Obama's reconstruction plan isn't working are watching for their next opportunity to loot the United States for whatever is left. Those voices now tell us to "ignore the man behind the curtain" and listen to Dick Cheney telling us about "the threat."

It's time to take a look at the "man behind the curtain."

Oh, golly. There's just nothing to do now. We should look forward, not back. Really? Take a quick glimpse of events unfolding in the Taiwanese judicial system (link provided below). Does anyone figure that the "W" hasn't noticed? These things have a habit of creeping once they get started. Now, back to "the threat." Ignore the man behind the curtain.

Taiwan Ex-Leader Jailed for Life

Part B: Health Care

This mathematical equation is somewhat simpler.

No Robust Public Option = New Senator

There now, that wasn't so bad was it?

Stick to your guns. No amount of carefully crafted confusion can turn this sack of worms into anything besides what it is.

A quick note from MeanMesa:

It is now one more year after the 911 attack. Although conspiracy theories are running like lemmings over a cliff, there is one inescapable fact which doesn't rely on a thousand laymen pretending to be structural engineers, CIA agents or top secret diplomats. The fact? Most Americans don't believe the story prepared for our consumption by the "wholly owned" 911 Commission. That rag is falling apart a little more with every month that passes. The link below is not about the conspiracy.

It is about the cause.

In any event, MeanMesa was here a year ago. Take a few minutes to check out:
"Why Not Revisit 911 Seven Years Later"