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Postby MonarchSmile » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:53 am

Because we are creating Universal Health Care through out the world?

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Postby MonarchSmile » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:40 pm

MonarchSmile wrote:Because we are creating Universal Health Care through out the world?


While You Are Minding Your Own Business, the U.S. Is Constantly Making War Around the Globe
By Tom Engelhardt,
Posted on September 22, 2009, Printed on September 24, 2009

"War is peace" was one of the memorable slogans on the facade of the Ministry of Truth, Minitrue in "Newspeak," the language invented by George Orwell in 1948 for his dystopian novel 1984. Some 60 years later, a quarter-century after Orwell's imagined future bit the dust, the phrase is, in a number of ways, eerily applicable to the United States.

Last week, for instance, a New York Times front-page story by Eric Schmitt and David Sanger was headlined "Obama Is Facing Doubts in Party on Afghanistan, Troop Buildup at Issue." It offered a modern version of journalistic Newspeak.

"Doubts," of course, imply dissent, and in fact just the week before there had been a major break in Washington's ranks, though not among Democrats. The conservative columnist George Will wrote a piece offering blunt advice to the Obama administration, summed up in its headline: "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan." In our age of political and audience fragmentation and polarization, think of this as the Afghan version of Vietnam's Cronkite moment.

The Times report on those Democratic doubts, on the other hand, represented a more typical Washington moment. Ignored, for instance, was Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's end-of-August call for the president to develop an Afghan withdrawal timetable. The focus of the piece was instead an upcoming speech by Michigan Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He was, Schmitt and Sanger reported, planning to push back against well-placed leaks (in the Times, among other places) indicating that war commander General Stanley McChrystal was urging the president to commit 15,000 to 45,000 more American troops to the Afghan War.

Here, according to the two reporters, was the gist of Levin's message about what everyone agrees is a "deteriorating" U.S. position: "[H]e was against sending more American combat troops to Afghanistan until the United States speeded up the training and equipping of more Afghan security forces."

Think of this as the line in the sand within the Democratic Party, and be assured that the debates within the halls of power over McChrystal's troop requests and Levin's proposal are likely to be fierce this fall. Thought about for a moment, however, both positions can be summed up with the same word: More.

The essence of this "debate" comes down to: More of them versus more of us (and keep in mind that more of them -- an expanded training program for the Afghan National Army -- actually means more of "us" in the form of extra trainers and advisors). In other words, however contentious the disputes in Washington, however dismally the public now views the war, however much the president's war coalition might threaten to crack open, the only choices will be between more and more.

No alternatives are likely to get a real hearing. Few alternative policy proposals even exist because alternatives that don't fit with "more" have ceased to be part of Washington's war culture. No serious thought, effort, or investment goes into them. Clearly referring to Will's column, one of the unnamed "senior officials" who swarm through our major newspapers made the administration's position clear, saying sardonically, according to the Washington Post, "I don't anticipate that the briefing books for the [administration] principals on these debates over the next weeks and months will be filled with submissions from opinion columnists... I do anticipate they will be filled with vigorous discussion... of how successful we've been to date."

State of War

Because the United States does not look like a militarized country, it's hard for Americans to grasp that Washington is a war capital, that the United States is a war state, that it garrisons much of the planet, and that the norm for us is to be at war somewhere at any moment. Similarly, we've become used to the idea that, when various forms of force (or threats of force) don't work, our response, as in Afghanistan, is to recalibrate and apply some alternate version of the same under a new or rebranded name -- the hot one now being "counterinsurgency" or COIN -- in a marginally different manner. When it comes to war, as well as preparations for war, more is now generally the order of the day.

This wasn't always the case. The early Republic that the most hawkish conservatives love to cite was a land whose leaders looked with suspicion on the very idea of a standing army. They would have viewed our hundreds of global garrisons, our vast network of spies, agents, Special Forces teams, surveillance operatives, interrogators, rent-a-guns, and mercenary corporations, as well as our staggering Pentagon budget and the constant future-war gaming and planning that accompanies it, with genuine horror.

The question is: What kind of country do we actually live in when the so-called U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) lists 16 intelligence services ranging from Air Force Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency to the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency? What could "intelligence" mean once spread over 16 sizeable, bureaucratic, often competing outfits with a cumulative 2009 budget estimated at more than $55 billion (a startling percentage of which is controlled by the Pentagon)? What exactly is so intelligent about all that? And why does no one think it even mildly strange or in any way out of the ordinary?

What does it mean when the most military-obsessed administration in our history, which, year after year, submitted ever more bloated Pentagon budgets to Congress, is succeeded by one headed by a president who ran, at least partially, on an antiwar platform, and who has now submitted an even larger Pentagon budget? What does this tell you about Washington and about the viability of non-militarized alternatives to the path George W. Bush took? What does it mean when the new administration, surveying nearly eight years and two wars' worth of disasters, decides to expand the U.S. Armed Forces rather than shrink the U.S. global mission?

What kind of a world do we inhabit when, with an official unemployment rate of 9.7% and an underemployment rate of 16.8%, the American taxpayer is financing the building of a three-story, exceedingly permanent-looking $17 million troop barracks at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan? This, in turn, is part of a taxpayer-funded $220 million upgrade of the base that includes new "water treatment plants, headquarters buildings, fuel farms, and power generating plants." And what about the U.S. air base built at Balad, north of Baghdad, that now has 15 bus routes, two fire stations, two water treatment plants, two sewage treatment plants, two power plants, a water bottling plant, and the requisite set of fast-food outlets, PXes, and so on, as well as air traffic levels sometimes compared to those at Chicago's O'Hare International?

What kind of American world are we living in when a plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq involves the removal of more than 1.5 million pieces of equipment? Or in which the possibility of withdrawal leads the Pentagon to issue nearly billion-dollar contracts (new ones!) to increase the number of private security contractors in that country?

What do you make of a world in which the U.S. has robot assassins in the skies over its war zones, 24/7, and the "pilots" who control them from thousands of miles away are ready on a moment's notice to launch missiles -- "Hellfire" missiles at that -- into Pashtun peasant villages in the wild, mountainous borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan? What does it mean when American pilots can be at war "in" Afghanistan, 9 to 5, by remote control, while their bodies remain at a base outside Las Vegas and then can head home past a sign that warns them to drive carefully because this is "the most dangerous part of your day"?

What does it mean when, for our security and future safety, the Pentagon funds the wildest ideas imaginable for developing high-tech weapons systems, many of which sound as if they came straight out of the pages of sci-fi novels? Take, for example, Boeing's advanced coordinated system of hand-held drones, robots, sensors, and other battlefield surveillance equipment slated for seven Army brigades within the next two years at a cost of $2 billion and for the full Army by 2025; or the Next Generation Bomber, an advanced "platform" slated for 2018; or a truly futuristic bomber, "a suborbital semi-spacecraft able to move at hypersonic speed along the edge of the atmosphere," for 2035? What does it mean about our world when those people in our government peering deepest into a blue-skies future are planning ways to send armed "platforms" up into those skies and kill more than a quarter century from now?

And do you ever wonder about this: If such weaponry is being endlessly developed for our safety and security, and that of our children and grandchildren, why is it that one of our most successful businesses involves the sale of the same weaponry to other countries? Few Americans are comfortable thinking about this, which may explain why global-arms-trade pieces don't tend to make it onto the front pages of our newspapers. Recently, the Times Pentagon correspondent Thom Shanker, for instance, wrote a piece on the subject which appeared inside the paper on a quiet Labor Day. "Despite Slump, U.S. Role as Top Arms Supplier Grows" was the headline. Perhaps Shanker, too, felt uncomfortable with his subject, because he included the following generic description: "In the highly competitive global arms market, nations vie for both profit and political influence through weapons sales, in particular to developing nations..." The figures he cited from a new congressional study of that "highly competitive" market told a different story: The U.S., with $37.8 billion in arms sales (up $12.4 billion from 2007), controlled 68.4% of the global arms market in 2008. Highly competitively speaking, Italy came "a distant second" with $3.7 billion. In sales to "developing nations," the U.S. inked $29.6 billion in weapons agreements or 70.1% of the market. Russia was a vanishingly distant second at $3.3 billion or 7.8% of the market. In other words, with 70% of the market, the U.S. actually has what, in any other field, would qualify as a monopoly position -- in this case, in things that go boom in the night. With the American car industry in a ditch, it seems that this (along with Hollywood films that go boom in the night) is what we now do best, as befits a war, if not warrior, state. Is that an American accomplishment you're comfortable with?

On the day I'm writing this piece, "Names of the Dead," a feature which appears almost daily in my hometown newspaper, records the death of an Army private from DeKalb, Illinois, in Afghanistan. Among the spare facts offered: he was 20 years old, which means he was probably born not long before the First Gulf War was launched in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. If you include that war, which never really ended -- low-level U.S. military actions against Saddam Hussein's regime continued until the invasion of 2003 -- as well as U.S. actions in the former Yugoslavia and Somalia, not to speak of the steady warfare underway since November 2001, in his short life, there was hardly a moment in which the U.S. wasn't engaged in military operations somewhere on the planet (invariably thousands of miles from home). If that private left a one-year-old baby behind in the States, and you believe the statements of various military officials, that child could pass her tenth birthday before the war in which her father died comes to an end. Given the record of these last years, and the present military talk about being better prepared for "the next war," she could reach 2025, the age when she, too, might join the military without ever spending a warless day. Is that the future you had in mind?

Consider this: War is now the American way, even if peace is what most Americans experience while their proxies fight in distant lands. Any serious alternative to war, which means our "security," is increasingly inconceivable. In Orwellian terms then, war is indeed peace in the United States and peace, war.

American Newspeak

Newspeak, as Orwell imagined it, was an ever more constricted form of English that would, sooner or later, make "all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended," he wrote in an appendix to his novel, "that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought... should be literally unthinkable."

When it comes to war (and peace), we live in a world of American Newspeak in which alternatives to a state of war are not only ever more unacceptable, but ever harder to imagine. If war is now our permanent situation, in good Orwellian fashion it has also been sundered from a set of words that once accompanied it.

It lacks, for instance, "victory." After all, when was the last time the U.S. actually won a war (unless you include our "victories" over small countries incapable of defending themselves like the tiny Caribbean Island of Grenada in 1983 or powerless Panama in 1989)? The smashing "victory" over Saddam Hussein in the First Gulf War only led to a stop-and-start conflict now almost two decades old that has proved a catastrophe. Keep heading backward through the Vietnam and Korean Wars and the last time the U.S. military was truly victorious was in 1945.

But achieving victory no longer seems to matter. War American-style is now conceptually unending, as are preparations for it. When George W. Bush proclaimed a Global War on Terror (aka World War IV), conceived as a "generational struggle" like the Cold War, he caught a certain American reality. In a sense, the ongoing war system can't absorb victory. Any such endpoint might indeed prove to be a kind of defeat.

No longer has war anything to do with the taking of territory either, or even with direct conquest. War is increasingly a state of being, not a process with a beginning, an end, and an actual geography.

Similarly drained of its traditional meaning has been the word "security" -- though it has moved from a state of being (secure) to an eternal, immensely profitable process whose endpoint is unachievable. If we ever decided we were either secure enough, or more willing to live without the unreachable idea of total security, the American way of war and the national security state would lose much of their meaning. In other words, in our world, security is insecurity.

As for "peace," war's companion and theoretical opposite, though still used in official speeches, it, too, has been emptied of meaning and all but discredited. Appropriately enough, diplomacy, that part of government which classically would have been associated with peace, or at least with the pursuit of the goals of war by other means, has been dwarfed by, subordinated to, or even subsumed by the Pentagon. In recent years, the U.S. military with its vast funds has taken over, or encroached upon, a range of activities that once would have been left to an underfunded State Department, especially humanitarian aid operations, foreign aid, and what's now called nation-building. (On this subject, check out Stephen Glain's recent essay, "The American Leviathan" in the Nation magazine.)

Diplomacy itself has been militarized and, like our country, is now hidden behind massive fortifications, and has been placed under Lord-of-the-Flies-style guard. The State Department's embassies are now bunkers and military-style headquarters for the prosecution of war policies; its officials, when enough of them can be found, are now sent out into the provinces in war zones to do "civilian" things.

And peace itself? Simply put, there's no money in it. Of the nearly trillion dollars the U.S. invests in war and war-related activities, nothing goes to peace. No money, no effort, no thought. The very idea that there might be peaceful alternatives to endless war is so discredited that it's left to utopians, bleeding hearts, and feathered doves. As in Orwell's Newspeak, while "peace" remains with us, it's largely been shorn of its possibilities. No longer the opposite of war, it's just a rhetorical flourish embedded, like one of our reporters, in Warspeak.

What a world might be like in which we began not just to withdraw our troops from one war to fight another, but to seriously scale down the American global mission, close those hundreds of bases -- recently, there were almost 300 of them, macro to micro, in Iraq alone -- and bring our military home is beyond imagining. To discuss such obviously absurd possibilities makes you an apostate to America's true religion and addiction, which is force. However much it might seem that most of us are peaceably watching our TV sets or computer screens or iPhones, we Americans are also -- always -- marching as to war. We may not all bother to attend the church of our new religion, but we all tithe. We all partake. In this sense, we live peaceably in a state of war.

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's He is the author of The End of Victory Culture, a history of the Cold War and beyond, as well as of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing. He also edited The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire (Verso, 2008), an alternative history of the mad Bush years.
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Postby frrostedman » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:55 pm

Twinkie production
The Twinkie was invented on April 6, 1930 by a bakery manager James Dewar in Schiller Park, Illinois, making thrifty use of pans that were used for shortcake production only in strawberry season. Twinkies originally contained a banana cream filling, but this was replaced with a vanilla cream filling because of a banana shortage during World War II. The original flavor would be revisited more than half a century later as an alternative flavor.

In June 2007, Hostess announced the return of the banana-flavored Twinkie. The banana-flavored version had previously been offered as a limited-time promotion.

Continental Foods admitted on a 2006 episode of television's How It's Made that Twinkies are, in fact, baked, ending years of speculation. The Washington Post reported on April 13, 2005 that "the cakes are baked for 10 minutes, then the cream filling is injected through three holes in the top, which is browned from baking. The cake is flipped before packaging, so the rounded yellow bottom becomes the top." Hostess was the implied source of this information. A 2007 book, Twinkie, Deconstructed, examines where all the ingredients come from and how they are made.

Deep-fried Twinkies

A deep-fried TwinkieA deep-fried Twinkie involves freezing the popular Hostess Twinkie cake, dipping it into batter and deep frying it to create a variation on the traditional snack cake. According to the Hostess website, Shea Apple, from Rugby, England, invented the "fried twinkie" in 1992 at the ChipShop, his restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. According to CNN, the dish was adopted by Chris Mullen, but invented at a "Brooklyn restaurant."

It was described by a The New York Times story in this way: "Something magical occurs when the pastry hits the hot oil. The creamy white vegetable shortening filling liquefies, impregnating the sponge cake with its luscious vanilla flavor... The cake itself softens and warms, nearly melting, contrasting with the crisp, deep-fried crust in a buttery and suave way. The piece de resistance, however, is a ruby-hued berry sauce, adding a tart sophistication to all that airy sugary goodness."

The deep-fried Twinkie was a runaway success after Mullen and his brother started selling it at county fairs in mid-August. "We sold 26,000 Twinkies in 18 days," By 2002, the Arkansas State Fair had introduced the fried Twinkie to great popular acclaim, and the notion spread to other state fairs across the U.S., as well as some establishments that specialize in fried foods. Fried Twinkies are sold throughout the U.S. in state fairs, as well as ball park games.

Although variations exist in the form, the deep-fried Twinkie is usually prepared with a batter intended for fish, typically consisting of flour, egg and vinegar. Prior to dipping, a wooden or plastic stick is often inserted through one end (to allow the consumer to hold it), and the Twinkie is then frozen overnight to prevent melting while being deep fried. After coating, conventional cooking oil is typically used, although beef suet or tallow is sometimes used to give a "meaty" flavor.

When prepared formally, the deep-fried Twinkie is usually topped with powdered sugar and accompanied by a fruit dipping sauce. Raspberry sauce is the most frequently utilized in recipes, although some restaurants may use chocolate or caramel sauce. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is sometimes added.

Cultural references: Twinkie defense
The Twinkie defense is a derogatory term for a criminal defendant's claim that some unusual factor (such as allergies, coffee, nicotine, or sugar) diminished the defendant's responsibility for the alleged crime. The term arose from Herb Caen's description of the trial of Dan White, who was convicted in the fatal shootings of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk. During the trial, psychiatrist Martin Blinder testified that White had suffered from depression, causing diminished capacity; as an example of this, he mentioned that White, formerly a health food advocate, had begun eating junk food. Twinkies, specifically, were never actually mentioned in the case.

In Role-playing games, the term "twink" is used to describe someone who, within the confines and restrictions that a game provides, attempts to maximize the effectiveness of his character in one or more categories. The process is called twinking and a character made in this fashion is considered "twinked" or "twinked out". The term "Twinkie" was used in Everquest in 1999, where players could acquire a bronze plate armor that could be equipped by lower level characters. The low level characters were completely clad in golden bronze armor with a high armor value but still only had a handful of hitpoints, hence the referral to a "Hostess Twinkie" - bright golden outside, soft and squishy inside. Prior to this, the term was used in the mid-1990's on MUCKs and MUDs for a player who would not concede to defeat or play fairly with others.

Other uses
The Minnesota Twins baseball team is sometimes called the "Twinkies" by Chicago White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson in a derogatory manner. The term originated in the Twin Cities area and gains considerable currency whenever the Twins are doing poorly.

Archie Bunker, on the popular 1970s television series All in the Family liked Twinkies and became irate whenever his wife, Edith, forgot to put one into his lunchbox.

In the game of airsoft, jokes have gone across the web of how players often eat twinkies during games. This originated as paintball players tend to talk bad about airsoft, and the term "Twinkies" were referring to how they were apparently weaker than paintball players. Airsofters have embraced this idea however, and many now do eat Twinkies while playing.

The 1975-1976 novelty song "Junk Food Junkie", written and recorded by Larry Groce, mentions the Hostess Twinkie in its opening lines.

In the 1984 film, Ghostbusters, Egon Spengler relates the psychokenetic energy level of New York City to a Twinkie 35 ft. long and weighing 600 lbs.

Twinkies also appear in the movie Die Hard and its sequel Die Hard 2. In the first movie, the cop Sgt. Al Powell buys them for his pregnant wife. Later, the character John McClane "fires down a 1000-year-old Twinkie". In the sequel, when McClane first connects to Powell on the phone, he says, "Get that Twinkie out of your mouth and grab a pencil".

In some ski resorts in Canada, "Twinkies" has been used as a somewhat derogatory term for ski instructors, by other mountain workers. It has been said it refers to the way they often ski in a synchronized manner.

A centuries-old Twinkie-like parody - a Kremie[9] - is briefly seen in the 2008 animated film WALL-E by Pixar Studios. In an early scene, the robot WALL-E sets the Kremie out as food for his cockroach companion on one of the rotating shelves inside WALL-E's makeshift abode.

Molly Peterson asks her husband Carl, how many Twinkies he had eaten that day, with later reference to his weight increase, during the film You, Me and Dupree.

In the Family Guy episode "Da Boom," when the Millennium Bug wipes out society, Peter Griffin leads his family to a Twinkie factory in Natick, Massachusetts, a reference to the urban legend that Twinkies have a indefinite shelf life (see below). In another episode "Sibling Rivalry," Morgan Freeman is heard narrating the fictional film "The Narrator", in which he describes the soft substance on the walls as being "Like a twinkie, like a twinkie".

In the film UHF, "Weird Al" Yankovic makes Twinkie Weiner sandwiches, wrapping the twinkie around the hot dog like a bun.

In Men vs. Wild a Man vs. Wild special featuring Bear Grylls and Will Ferrell as a special guest. Will eats a Twinkie, their lone survival ration, after only being on the ground for a matter of minutes while Bear was off in the distant collecting sticks. Upon Bear's return to Will he finds out that the Twinkie has been eaten already, by finding the wrapper in Will's bag.

The slang "Twinkie" can also be used by East Asians describes other East Asians with very little difference in lifestyle and/or mannerisms to caucasian or "white" people. The term is further described as being "yellow" on the outside and "white" on the inside, similar to the appearance of the Twinkie snack.[10] The term Twinkie generally has very negative connotations and most East Asians use it in a derogatory manner to put down those Asians they perceive as "self hating" or not being able to maintain their heritage (e.g., they do not speak their parents' native language or practice certain customs expected of East Asians). It is akin to calling an African American person an Uncle Tom or Oreo; or coconut for South Asians (India|Pakistan|Sri Lanka|Bangladesh).

In the 1980’s teenagers would refer to younger teenage girls, or teenage girls who had not sexually matured, as “Twinkies.” The term was used in a derogatory manner as a putdown from one girl to another, or to poke fun at teenage boys who dated younger girls by ridiculing their less than mature girlfriends.

Thanks, friend :D
Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein
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Postby frrostedman » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:56 pm

frrostedman wrote:Thanks, friend :D

You're Welcome! :)
Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein
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Postby MonarchSmile » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:27 pm

frrostedman wrote:
frrostedman wrote:Thanks, friend :D

You're Welcome! :)

Just got here again, shoveit :lol:
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