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We only believe what we want to

I was right. Here's the follow-up from our friend, sent the very same day I posted his last grumbling missive. He sent this to my editor as well -- an action that deserves much stronger words than I wil render here. I post the letter for your enjoyment. Let it never be said I cannot take criticism with a sardonic grin. My response is below.
Hello Mr. Webster,

I just wanted to get this out to you the same day you asked for it. The fiver is yours. When would you like to collect it?

You branded me a hater. How does the offering of an opposing view become hate? It is only in your interpretation. I intend to rebut your diatribe point-by-point. I wonder if you will print this response or simply claim that you correctly predicted it.

You were wrong that I failed to address the Halliburton issue. That was the actual subject of my letter to the editor of your employer. All of the emails between us about the matter were written in response to a second note that I wrote. In the first email, printed in part in the paper and in your weblog, I first touched on the Executive Order regarding FEMA and then on USNORCOM. I then wrote:

“Emergency facilities and detention centers may be established should the need arise. This need could be due to a larger than normal influx of illegal aliens. It could also be due to destruction of homes by military or natural means which result in a massive population migration. KBR was awarded the nearly $400 million, 5-year contract to build these facilities, just as they were awarded the previous contract in 2000. That earlier contract yielded KBR $6 million, but could have been much more if they needed to build those facilities. Perhaps the plan should have been implemented years ago and there would have been additional shelter during the past hurricane season. Regrettably it was not, and we have seen the devastating results of poor planning coupled with natural disaster.

Mr. Webster stated that the plan to build the “concentration camps” described above, in conjunction with President Bush’s argument that Posse Comitatus be overturned, were evidence that the current administration is seriously considering martial law. Posse Comitatus has been virtually ineffective and bypassed for many years except in cases where it quite neatly blocks beneficial effects of military involvement, such as troop movement to assist in hurricane aid. One does not need to look far to discover past administration’s use of the military for aid in blocking smuggling and immigration operations (with sometimes regrettable results as encountered in 1999).”

Please direct your criticism of my sloppy rebuttal to the person responsible for cutting this portion out. The fact is that I did address the central issue of your column. The fact is that the detention camps have existed for quite some time. The fact is that they have been seriously overcrowded since the previous administration of the US stepped up efforts to regain control over immigration issues. The fact is that KBR has been given a contract to build more. The contract is basically an extension of one they had been awarded during that previous administration. The only thing that is not a fact (and the one thing you are clinging to) is that they are currently building more.

You state that I accused you of plagiarism. I did say that it appeared you had used the bulk of someone else’s idea without proper credit. After you had written back I changed my opinion and said that “your opinion piece sounds more like a "me-too" reactionary post on a forum than an incisive presentation.” I stand by that statement. Also, while I am disagreeing, presenting reasonable discussion of the topic in the process, you are living up to my prediction of further liberal name-calling (yes, I realize I just called you a liberal – my stars! You say I am a garden variety NeoCon, but I would term myself a paleoconservative.) You condescendingly ask me to be like another jackass. You start cursing at me in German. Damn swine? Please. You call me a politi-thug and say I am intolerant. Who is doing the shouting in this match?

My claim that you mangle facts is backed by, for example, your link to President Bush’s proclamation of May 1 as Loyalty Day in 2003. You suggest this was the idea of the current administration and was intended to be intolerant and divisive. Loyalty Day has been celebrated since the 30’s in various ways as an alternative to the May Day celebration. It was originally meant to celebrate the process of being and becoming an American. It was made a legal holiday in 1958 by President Eisenhower. Maifest, another reference you made, is a German holiday period for the Spring – a calendric counterpart to Oktoberfest. It does not refer to anything remotely sinister.

I have no intention of trying to whip up a frenzy in my community. The only person I am trying to prod is you, Mr. Webster. On that front I would say, mission accomplished. I will continue to address things with which I disagree as they come up. If you are the source, so be it. If you think that I have any other agenda I would say that you are just being paranoid.

The last point I would like to address is where you claim I have called you a traitor. I did no such thing. I mentioned your self-branded patriotism and said that I would call it something quite different. That statement was bait, Mr. Webster. Thank you for taking it. I would brand you an antiestablishmentarianist. By the way, a disestablishmentarianist is someone who opposes the establishment of a state religion. I don’t think that was what you intended.

Mark Everett
Flower Mound, TX

Mark.Everett@Inficon.com
Three excerpts ...

"(yes, I realize I just called you a liberal – my stars! You say I am a garden variety NeoCon, but I would term myself a paleoconservative.)"

My Stars! He has aligned himself with a crushed and forgotten sect of the ruling party. The Paleoconservatives opposed Civil Rights, The New Deal, and even The League of Nations. I wonder how the now-powerless underling feels about the new immigration policy that would classify over 11 million hard working people as felons. Given their track record for isolationism, I'm sure our friend would have a much more extreme version of the bill in mind. But that is an assumption.

Also of interest - Famous Paleoconservative and now-dead former Senator Prescott Bush helped fund - and profited handsomely from - the rise of Germany's Third Reich. Ha! Ich hatte Recht, auf Deutsch zu verfluchen! Für immer Wahrheit!

The only thing that this person and I (probably) agree on is that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is downright evil. But I do find it interesting that he insists on being part of the "Believe Bush First" crowd. One would think he may fall in with Paleos who feel they were the first victims of Bush's deceptive platform ... like Texas Congressman Ron Paul (who is The Man for opposing the Iraq war, in my opinion).
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"My claim that you mangle facts is backed by, for example, your link to President Bush’s proclamation of May 1 as Loyalty Day in 2003. You suggest this was the idea of the current administration and was intended to be intolerant and divisive. Loyalty Day has been celebrated since the 30’s in various ways as an alternative to the May Day celebration."

To wit, I quoth Des Prez ...

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2003, as Loyalty Day. I call upon all the people of the United States to join in support of this national observance. I also call upon government officials to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Loyalty Day."

Now, Therefore, I, Stephen C. Webster, writer of little or no regard, do hereby proclaim March 28, 2006 as Logic and Reason Day. I call upon the readers of this blog and the network of weeklies that publish my column to rise up against those who would seek to control their minds with a false sense of Loyalty and Nationalism. INASMUCH as one of my belittled stature could invoke the names and sayings of those who came before me, I do so now as a Free Thinking citizen of a country befouled. For as Socrates said, "I am not Athenian or a Greek, I am a citizen of the world." And indeed, our famed man of science, Albert Einstein, considered Nationalism "an infantile disease" -- "the measles of mankind." I find myself recalling the teaching of Buddha in these days of turmoil. "To him in whom love dwells, the whole world is but one family." I could only hope to speak such truth before my time amongst my people expires.

Enlightenment, it seems, has its virtues.

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"I would brand you an antiestablishmentarianist. By the way, a disestablishmentarianist is someone who opposes the establishment of a state religion. I don’t think that was what you intended."

Ah, so very right. Half the time I do not even know the definition of these words that pour off my fingers. I knew I should have paid attention in English class! CURSES! Those perfidious educators!

Ho-ho. The term "DISESTABLISHMENTARIANIST" describes exactly where I stand in the religious debate. The NeoCons are fueled by religious supporters who would love nothing more than mandatory Christian prayer in schools. And the push has already begun. They seek to influence domestic and foreign policy through religion, thereby establishing a state-sponsored faith. For a good example of this, see American involvement in Afghanistan. The sad part is, even the forgotten Paleo's circle their wagons around the "moral center." But they seemingly ignore the fact that the NeoCons are FAKE CHRISTIANS who only seek the support of America's faithful to further their agenda of endless war.
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That is all the time I will spend on this and future letters.

If I have learned one thing from these pointless exchanges, it is that I should never respond to a reader with more than "Thank you for taking the time to write" ... let alone sending my research notes to one who simply seeks to cause me headaches by running to my editors every time he disagrees with me.

Mai liefern Ihre Geschichte die Zukunft, die Sie verdienen.

And so ends this experiment in unprofessionalism.

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