Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Postpourri, while we wait for the next hurricane to form

-- Nice one here about Hurricane Dean hitting the island of Jamaica by Attytood.

-- Lady Bird isn't cold in the ground and TxDOT already wants more billboard revenue -- or maybe more fear, or perhaps both. Racy Mind beat me to this last week, but jobsanger today reminded me again of the outrage it made me feel.

"HURRICANE FORMING NEAR GULF -- KEEP YOUR TANKS FULL". Did you see this message flashing on the highway electronic travel advisory boards last weekend?

I think it's actually less advertising than it is a terror threat when the government scares the suburban sheeple into filling up just as the price of gasoline is running up (ahead of a hurricane that never was headed close to Houston).

-- "I'm the proud owner of Karl Rove's father's solid gold cock ring." NSFW. Really NSFW. But click on the Boing-Boing link at the lead-in -- or here -- and you'll be OK. Just be careful not to laugh so hard you throw up.

-- A little protest here today:

“We will protest at the 200-year-old oak tree where black people were illegally lynched many, many years ago. Today lynching in Texas is legal and it is done by the government in Huntsville. But Texas does not have the moral authority to execute anyone. The death penalty is used only against the poor and is a racist attack on the African American and Latino communities.”

Update (8/23): The state of Texas went ahead and killed Johnny Conner yesterday, making him #400. Here's video of the protest at the Hanging Tree, downtown:

-- Advanced Conspiracy Theory, as instructed by RG Ratcliffe:

Black helicopters, the Illuminati, Gov. Rick Perry and the Trans-Texas Corridor are all now part of the vernacular of the global domination conspiracy theorists.

Perry's push for the Trans-Texas Corridor super highway is part of a secret plan, the conspiracy theorists say, to create the North American Union — a single nation consisting of Canada, Mexico and the United States with a currency called the Amero.

Government denials of the North American Union and descriptions of it as a myth seem to add fuel to the fire. A Google search for "North American Union" and "Rick Perry" returns about 13,400 Web page results.

Ya gotta love it. Especially when the Texas Eagle Forum gets in on the action:

Perry enhanced the conspiracy buzz earlier this summer by traveling to Turkey to attend the secretive Bilderberg conference, which conspiracy theorists believe is a cabal of international monied interests and power brokers pressing for globalization.

And the conspiracy rhetoric is likely to ratchet up this week as President Bush meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Quebec in their third summit to discuss North American relations under the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

"There is absolutely a connection with all of it," said Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams. The Trans-Texas Corridor "is something not being driven by the people of Texas."

Keep reading:

Fast-forward to March 2005 to Crawford, when President Bush, Harper and then-Mexican President Vicente Fox agreed to pursue the Security and Prosperity Partnership, SPP. The idea was to promote cooperation among the countries on economic and security issues.

But conservative author Jerome Corsi — in his new book: The Late Great U.S.A.: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada — argues the SPP is a "stealth" attempt to wipe out the nations' borders and form a single economy like the European Union.

With an entire chapter dedicated to Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor plan, Corsi says the first step to integrating the economies is to integrate the transportation infrastructure.

"His (Perry's) actions have been to fight hard to build this toll road and not listen to the objections expressed by the people of Texas," Corsi said.

Corsi became nationally known in 2004 as the co-author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. Corsi said extensive research shows the SPP has created working groups on the North American Union that answer to presidential Cabinet secretaries.

"This is more of a shadow bureaucracy, a shadow government already in effect," Corsi said. "Unless it is stopped, it will turn into a North American Union with an Amero."

Wait for it ...

The official federal Web site for the SPP has a section dedicated to busting the North American Union as myth.

"The SPP does not attempt to modify our sovereignty or currency or change the American system of government designed by our Founding Fathers," the site says.

But that has not stopped a growing opposition to the North American Union by groups such as the Eagle Forum, The Conservative Caucus and the John Birch Society.

Pow. Money shot.

Now see, ya gotta hope that the Swifties together with the Birchers can derail the TTC -- pun intended -- once and for all. Because if the Lone Star conservatives have one last spasm of outrage left after they finally realize they've lost the battle over immigration, that no one is going to be rounded up, then maybe they'll realize they can still triumph here.

The Chronic was compelled to follow up with a disdainful editorial rejoinder to Ratcliffe's tale of intrigue. You can almost hear their sniffing. Fortunately they managed to nail the real issues, though:

Like a throbbing artery, the Trans-Texas Corridor has become the crucial connection between these theories in recent years. But anxieties about foreign infiltration and loss of national sovereignty have periodically flared in American culture for centuries. Current talk of a looming "North American Union" began in 1992- 92, when first a Republican and then a Democratic administration implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement. The tragedy of our Iraq adventure and the overheated campaign rhetoric about immigration — plus completely rational concerns about shrinking manufacturing here and lower wages for U.S. workers — are setting the NAU fears on boil.

Yet the Trans-Corridor Conspiracy crowd in Texas is looking too far abroad. There's no reason to try to smoke out secret international cabals in this deal. Spanish company CINTRA has already proudly prevailed in the 50-year, multibillion-dollar deal. Though foreign investment brings Texas needed economic juice, 50 years is too long a time to cede control and revenue from the very heart of the state.

Nor are Mexico and Canada the first beneficiaries of Perry's plan. Those would be the contractors — including three of Perry's top campaign donors.

Poorly thought-out trade deals at the federal level certainly can hurt us. But there's little chance that easing the drive from Laredo to Kansas will by itself spawn one-continent government.

All too real, on the other hand, are the effects the corridor itself will have on Texas. Bisected communities, carved-up farmland and devastated wildlife habitats are some of the provable results the corridor will leave in its wake. These threats are considerably more real than the possibility of continental government, and it doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to worry about them.

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