Thursday, March 8, 2012

The state of American civil liberties, an image macro series

So the latest civil liberties tragedy that no one cares about is Obama and Holder's non-justification for killing American citizens abroad*. They might as well have kept their mouths shut because we didn't learn anything.

My first piece is a straightforward assessment of the situation:

If that's too demotivational, then turn those frowns upside-down and get to work:

This one's my homage to the good folks at the ACLU. Now would be a damn good time to donate or join them. They're kinda busy right now:

 This last one is a more general approach. Ron Paul could use it; I don't care.**

*The "abroad" part is weird because-- it's like, duh, executing Americans in America without trial is bad, but if you allow for extrajudicial execution abroad, then what stops you from extrajudicial execution inside the U.S.? The Constitution? Please. You've already argued that if certain conditions are met, then you can proceed with an execution, but if those same conditions are met on U.S. soil, then you're not going to execute? Why? Aren't terrorists more dangerous to us when they're in the Homeland? You see what I mean here. That "abroad" clause has already been jettisoned at this point, believe me.

**I'm fundamentally opposed to libertarianism because it completely ignores and enables oppression by non-government actors like businesses, religious institutions, money in general, and all banks other than the Fed. Not coincidently, these actors have done most of the oppressing throughout history. See this spot-on analysis of what's going on at the Cato Institute right now. It's a perfect example of the blinders that libertarians always have on.

That said, I think the Ron Paul campaign is a good thing. It's not simply because Ron Paul is trolling the Republican primaries, although that's nice. It's mostly because he gives Republicans, and all the rest of us for that matter, something different to think about. Diversity of opinion is almost always welcome in our stultifying electoral system. What's most attractive about Paul is that he's against many GWOT policies that all liberals should be against and were against during the Bush administration. I'm referring to the full panoply of Bush civil liberties abuses that Obama has adopted: see the NDAA, FISA reauthorization, targeted killing of American citizens-- oh wait, that's a new one. Bush didn't do that.

Anyway, a debate was sparked a while back among progressives when some dared to suggest that Ron Paul was a welcome presence in the Republican primaries. Some morons interpreted this to mean that those progressives supported Ron Paul. Well, one can of course acknowledge the value of Paul's presence in the race and not support Paul. I am one.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why do we have religious freedom again?

So the Mormons baptized Anne Frank. Bastards.

I must say, as a liberal, I'm getting sick of religious freedom. Between the Catholic bishops bitching about contraception (and molesting boys), Iranian women soccer players wearing headscarves, and now the Mormons baptizing Anne Frank, I'm done being tolerant toward religion in general.

Christopher Hitchens is surely burning in Mormon Hell right now, but that dick was completely right about religion. 99% of people in any given religion don't actually believe the dogma that they're supposed to believe. They're just acting the way they think society wants them to act. 

So what I say is, let's cut the bullshit, America. You know what I'm talking about. And until the glorious day when humanity finally embraces atheism, we unbelievers can have fun with this.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Rape Question

Question: How many extra votes would Obama get from independents, women, minorities, Northerners, and people who appreciate balls, if he charged the Republicans in the Virginia legislature with conspiracy to commit mass rape?

Bonus Question: How many more people would learn about what the Virginia legislature has done who would not have otherwise known?

Bonus Question 2: Would Obama be able to handle the hellstorm of feces that would descend on Washington from across the Potomac, as millions of angry white men don their grand- grand- grand-pappies Civil War rags, KKK robes, and suicide vests, slowly mount their arthritic, diabetic, and otherwise-addled frames atop their noble Medicare HoverRounds, conceal their personal arsenals of automatic weapons in the folds of their skin, and ride, ride, ride to Washington, to the house of the Devil himself, on a horrible wave of mutilation!?


Friday, February 17, 2012

Welcome to Amurica, Andrea Mitchell

So MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell was talking to serial rapist and Santorum backer Foster Friess, and the two of them, along with the rest of us innocent bystanders, traveled back to the year 1955. But we weren't there to save Doc Brown from the Libyans. No, we were there because 1955 was the only place that Foster Friess felt comfortable saying this:

"This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's so... inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives... The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly."

 If you're under 40 years old, like me, you don't know what that means. I will never know what that means, in a visceral sense, but I'm pretty sure that Foster Friess is saying that if women keep pills between their knees, as emperor penguins protecting their eggs during the long Antarctic winter, then they can't walk outside. And if they don't go outside, then Foster Friess won't have to rape them, like he did with 14 women across southern Ohio in the summer of 1990.

Andrea Mitchell, for her part, felt the chill of interminable winter spent in Antarctic darkness as soon as Friess said what he said, because then she said:

"Excuse me, I'm just trying to catch my breath from that, Mr. Friess, frankly," she said, after a pause.

Now, if you are familiar with what usually happens on mainstream cable news, each and every day, then you will know the incredibly stifling restraint on the part of pundits like Andrea Mitchell, at the constant onslaught of right-wing extremism. The record is abundantly clear that as the conservative movement and their corporate backers have become more extreme, more absurd, more aggressive, people like Andrea Mitchell have maintained a faux-objectivity, an objectivity that has nothing to do with observing and reporting on the world as it is, but is instead utterly absorbed with criticizing both sides of a political fight equally. (And they don't even do that very well, mostly because of who they recognize as legitimate players on the liberal side.)

One cause of this faux-objectivity is the fact that people like Andrea Mitchell have been insulated from the effects of forty years of conservative economic policy. They haven't been personally effected by stagnant wages and having to turn to the casinos on Wall St. in order to finance a meager existence. And if Mitchell doesn't know what that's like, then she doesn't know what it's like to be living like that and dealing with right-wing social engineering that limits the options of women and girls in the middle class and below.

Or, maybe she has had a glimpse of what that's like? Perhaps Mitchell's emotional, human reaction to Friess's sexist provocation suggests that she does remember living in America in the 50's and 60's, when all women and girls were treated like poor women and girls are today.

Well, you get what I'm saying here. I hope this is a learning experience for Mitchell. I hope the next time she's talking to Chris Matthews or whoever about the religious freedom of Catholic men to keep their womans in the kitchens, that she at least raises the possibility of religious freedom being a cover for sexism. And if Matthews calls her a dumb broad, then Alan Greenspan, Mitchell's husband, could try and kick Chris's fat ass. And that'd be fun...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Your Civil Liberties: It's All Relative

A recent Digby post just excerpted something awful I heard on NPR a while ago. The post provides some extra context if your interested, but here it goes:
SINGER: Already, a couple of [police departments] have gotten special licenses to operate [drones], Miami-Dade, Mesa County in Colorado. When the airspace is opened up, which is scheduled to happen in 2015, that means pretty much every local, state, federal law agency will have this kind of system. The problem is our Constitution, you know, has the concepts of privacy and probable cause. The police aren't supposed to be able to look over your fence to see what you're doing in your backyard unless they have a search warrant, unless they have probable cause. Well, now you have a technology that allows you to always peek over the fence. And so, you know, it really opens up some interesting, interesting questions we're going to have to figure out very soon.
Yes, it's funny how "interesting, interesting questions" arise every time a new gadget (a camera) allows the police to clearly violate your civil liberties. But at least you think that we have to answer those questions very soon, because until then the police can spy on people all they want, and if anyone challenges them they can say the same thing you basically said to the NPR audience: "Well that's an interesting, interesting question, concerned citizen. I'm not a lawyer though, so piss off."
FLATOW: Yeah, let's go to our next call from Isaac(ph) in Truckee, California. Hi, Isaac. ... ISAAC: Well, I've been dreaming for like 15 years of doing aerial photography with remote-controlled helicopters, and I've gotten to the point now where I can. And I heard the point about the invasion-of-privacy thing, and as far as I know, there's laws against invasion of privacy anyhow. I mean, if I was to put a camera on a long pole, stick it up in somebody's window, wouldn't that be the same thing as putting it on a helicopter? I mean, the laws are already there, right?
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! Sexy Lady Gameshow Mascot, tell our caller what he's won! Sexy Lady Gameshow Mascot: Well! For his exceptional powers of common sense, Isaac wins an appointment to the United States District Court of Central California!
FLATOW: Good question. Anybody answer that? CUMMINGS: Well, I can... FLATOW: Go ahead, Missy, (unintelligible). CUMMINGS: Well, you know, because I'm challenged almost every day. I know my students are trying to fly around my window and spy on me. So it's something I actually have to lower my blinds for. And, you know, the question is - and this is why we need to raise it to this level of debate - I can put - my students could put a vehicle outside my window and have a zoom lens, and they could have it maybe 20 feet or 40 feet or 100 feet away. And so what point then do - are you intruding on someone's privacy? Do you have to be right up next to window, or can you have a really long zoom lens? ISAAC: You could have a zoom lens on a stick as well, you know, with some wires coming down to a pair of video goggles. I mean, it's all pretty much relative. If somebody wants to invade your privacy, they're going to do it one way or another, right? CUMMINGS: That's a great insight. FLATOW: So you're saying the law's there already, and it's just up to someone to test it out and see.
I've invented a focused sound gun that I've tested on stray cats, and it makes their ears bleed until they die. I'm marketing it as a dog whistle for cats called "No Kitty!" I've shipped about a thousand units already; it's really taking off... The problem is, there are these animal cruelty laws, but they don't say anything about sound causing bleeding from the ears and stuff. So do I maybe have to stop selling this, or maybe wait until a test case winds its way through the courts? What?
ANDERSON: My sense is that the interpretation of the law has been around the notion of reasonable expectation of privacy, which is that, you know, can you expect to have privacy behind a fence? And, you know, if the case is yes, then, you know, the law tends to protect that. Presumably, as more and more things are flying overhead, that expectation will decline.
Ok, that's what I was hoping. It's become so easy to accidently kill cats these days. It's like every new discipline product that comes on the market causes someone's "little fluffy kitty princess" to bleed from the ears until they die. I mean, I'm sorry your princess is so sensitive, but you know this stuff happens all the time now; you had to expect this type of thing might happen sooner or later.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tribal bullshit ruins everything

How can some conservatives be so perceptive, yet be so dense? I just read this thing by Arlen Williams, and he actually understands or perceives the same damn things that liberals understand or perceive: the end of the nation-state, the erosion of American sovereignty/empire, the slide into Third World status. Not only that, but he understands that transnational corporations are at least partially responsible for all of that. AND NOT ONLY THAT, but he understands that free-traders and libertarian conservatives like Grover Norquist are enabling it. In other words, Williams and me are on the same fucking page! But unfortunately, my dear readers, we can never be friends because the anti-free-trade, or hyper-nationalist wing of the GOP thinks tribally, and I am not of their tribe. Glenn Greenwald talked about the same problem a few days ago.

Williams gets very profound here:

"Overriding or deconstructing the fact of the American nation is treason and we have been warned about it from all prior generations. Realizing this shows we need a new paradigm in the Soft War against American Sovereignties* — the real paradigm. Words without a objective core, such as "conservative" and "liberal" do not fit American vs. anti-American conflict. Conservative transnational... conservative communitarian... please."

Liberals have also tried to reframe the ideological spectrum into something that more properly reflects the actual allocation of power in our country and around the world, and I would say that our new spectrum looks very much like their new spectrum. From their perspective, the anti-Americans are some invisible Marxist, Trotskyist, Progressive cabal somehow allied with McDonalds and Levi Jeans (see the groundbreaking scholarship of Glenn Beck for more of that). From our perspective, the anti-Americans are just McDonalds and Levi Jeans, as well as thousands of other corporate pirates and the banks that finance them. The difference in our new political spectrums is who belongs on the American side. From their perspective, Americans are people who adhere to a narrow, fundamentalist Christian faith, have lots of money, and eat lots of meat. From our perspective, the Americans include everyone who is exploited by the aforementioned anti-Americans, which I suppose includes pretty much everyone in America and around the world.

So that's of course a huge difference. We liberals consider everyone, no matter their nationality, to be potential Americans-- a very non-tribal concept. It's enscribed right there on the Statue of Liberty: give us your tired, your hungry, your huddled masses yearning to be free. And this consideration of everyone as a potential American is not and should not be limited to immigration. Indeed, everyone around the world who embraces human rights and democracy should be embraced as our ideological brethren. For people like Arlen Williams, foreigners including Muslims, Africans, Chinese, Russians, and even Europeans, will always be suspect no matter what they profess. Exhibit A is the Egyptian revolution.

The people who Williams and I agree are anti-American-- people like Grover Norquist and GW Bush-- consider as friends and allies only those countries that (a) support our global supremacy and (b) let transnational corporations ruin their economies. Despite what Williams sees, there is no common ground between true liberals, who are internationalists on ideological grounds, and neocons or corporate pirates, who are internationalists on hegemonic and materialistic grounds.

Clearly, there is a new trans-ideological perception in America and abroad of who our common enemies are. This perception is based in reality, but one side of the ideological divide is hopelessly mired in tribal warfare and will not be joining the revolution anytime soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Space Odyssey vs. Contact: Discuss

I just saw 2001: A Space Odyssey. It reminded me of Contact, and that is not a good thing, ladies and gentleman. Here's the moral of both movies: Space travel is totally lame. Just don't do it. You will be dissapointed.

You know what else is dissapointing about watching 2001? It was made 42 years ago, in 1968, just before people walked on the moon. Stanley Kubrick thought we might make it to Jupiter by 2001. That's not working out too well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear Egypt,

As I am sure you have suspected, we Americans don't want you to have a democracy. This is because Hosni Mubarek is a team player. Hosni Mubarek is a "good ol' boy, never meanin' no harm, beats all you've ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day [he] was born." That's a lyric from the Dukes of Hazzard theme. Hazzard is a much-beloved American low-brow sitcom from the 1970s. I think it fairly encapsulates my government's sentiments on the matter.

If you do not understand, do not worry. It will be alright. In a few days, it'll be as though none of this rebel-rousing ever happened, and you can go back to your day jobs building pyramids and shit.

In closing, I doubt you guys would like democracy anyhow. It's a big hassle. I mean, I've been voting, arguing, petitioning, donating, and writing to my representatives and fellow citizens for years, and I never get what I want. It's just depressing.

some American douchebag

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Press freedom isn't enough. Joe Lieberman needs to stop talking.

From the latest Glenn Greenwald posting, comes this important quote from the newspaper business in Australia: 

It is the media’s duty to responsibly report such [classified] material if it comes into their possession. To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks, and to pressure companies to cease doing commercial business with WikiLeaks, is a serious threat to democracy, which relies on a free and fearless press. 

 I was struck by the phrase "free and fearless." The "free" part is obvious. Democracies need a free press. Any schoolchild knows that. (At least I don't think the bastards have prohibited teaching about press freedom. It does have a well-known liberal bias.) However, the "fearless" part is critical. In the U.S., our Constitution enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment. Unfortunately, our politicians can threaten to do whatever the fuck they want on the evening news, including threatening journalists, and the evening newsman won't challenge said politicians because said newsman doesn't consider himself a journalist. So U.S. journalism, and now international journalism, is living under fear. And if not fear, then at least they feel hassled. This is bad. The press needs to be fearless and unhampered. They need to know that anything short of placing the U.S. under imminent danger (the standard adopted in the Pentagon Papers case) is fair game for publishing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Guess what I learned about liberty today.

I learned that Thomas Jefferson bellowed his "tree of liberty" quote in support of Shays' Rebellion, which was a revolt against wealthy American creditors trying to impose fiscal austerity on the Massachusetts peasantry. Jefferson implied that the creditors were tyrants, and the tree of liberty would eagerly draw their blood. Worst of all, he voiced these deeply Unserious thoughts from France in 1787, which would soon embark on the first socialist revolution in the Modern Age.

I learned that Thomas Jefferson was clearly a Marxist. Suck it teabaggers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Gem of an Article from the U.S. Treasury Website

Ever surfed through government websites purporting to be educational? I did, recently, and I was shocked, shocked. I found this history of the U.S. tax system at the Treasury Dept. website. The bold text is my emphasis:

"The economy boomed during the 1920s and increasing revenues from the income tax followed. This allowed Congress to cut taxes five times, ultimately returning the bottom tax rate to 1 percent and the top rate down to 25 percent and reducing the Federal tax burden as a share of GDP to 13 percent. As tax rates and tax collections declined, the economy was strengthened further. [well, no, because in the next paragraph a bad thing happens.]

"In October of 1929 the stock market crash marked the beginning of the Great Depression. As the economy shrank, government receipts also fell. In 1932, the Federal government collected only $1.9 billion, compared to $6.6 billion in 1920. In the face of rising budget deficits which reached $2.7 billion in 1931, Congress followed the prevailing economic wisdom at the time and passed the Tax Act of 1932 which dramatically increased tax rates once again. This was followed by another tax increase in 1936 that further improved the government's finances while further weakening the economy. By 1936 the lowest tax rate had reached 4 percent and the top rate was up to 79 percent. "

This is the tone of the entire history lesson: a lower federal tax burden maintained at all times leads to a stronger economy. This is right-wing bias. Lower taxes alone do not strengthen the economy, as the transition between the 1st and 2nd paragraphs hilariously indicates. The second paragraph has some redeeming qualities because it correctly describes the '32 and '36 tax increases as having worsened the Depression. Also, the phrase "the prevailing economic wisdom" alludes to the fact that in 1932, the idea of economic stimulus during recessions had not taken hold yet.

Fast-forwarding to the Reagan tax cuts, we have this rather insensitive phraseology:

"By reducing marginal tax rates it was believed the natural forces of economic growth would be less restrained. The most productive [read "wealthiest"] individuals would then shift more of their energies [read "spend more of their money"] to productive activities rather than leisure"

I'm sick of this crude language. Obviously, the Reagan tax cuts did not discriminate between hard-working rich people and lazy rich people. It gave them all the same amount of money. And wtf is this all about:

"Over the 22 year period from 1964 to 1986 the top individual tax rate was reduced from 91 to 28 percent. However, because upper-income taxpayers increasingly chose to receive their income in taxable form, and because of the broadening of the tax base, the progressivity of the tax system actually rose during this period."

Pretty sure that's a complete lie. Either that, or the article has a distorted definition of "progressivity", and it would do well to clue us in.

Now the Bush tax cuts, and the realization that this article has not been updated since '01 or '02:

"The 2001 tax cut will provide additional strength to the economy in the coming years as more and more of its provisions are phased in, and indeed one argument for its enactment had always been as a form of insurance against an economic downturn. However, unbeknownst to the Bush Administration and the Congress, the economy was already in a downturn as the Act was being debated. Thankfully, the downturn was brief and shallow, but it is already clear that the tax cuts that were enacted and went into effect in 2001 played a significant role in supporting the economy, shortening the duration of the downturn, and preparing the economy for a robust recovery."

Those were the days! -- and you knew who you were then!! Boys were boys, and men were men!

When the Obama propagandists ever get around to updating this article, I suggest they insert the part about multi-trillion dollar derivatives-trading being completely unregulated and untaxed throughout the nineties, the oughts, and even now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

White-on-white racism in the UK

This is bizarre. I mean, I know that police are racist, but white-on-white, anglo-on-anglo racism? Really? What is this, the Middle Ages?

I wonder if this would have happened in the U.S., where there are plenty of brown people to hate?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Does election spending matter? Wrong question.

In analysis of election spending, the election outcome does not matter. The only thing that matters is the policy outcome. The only thing that matters is the quid pro quo. After Citizens United, and now that we are in the midst of a pile of shitty ads excreted by that infamous ruling, we have been treated to studies and musings over the extent to which money influences elections. In the musings category, there is a typically dim op-ed by David Brooks that discounts the Citizen's United ruling and the overall effect of money. On the Media, a typically excellent NPR program, gets in on the act as well. On this week's show, Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner argues that there is no causal relationship between total contributions and election outcome, and UVA professor Paul Freedman discusses a decade-long study finding that negative ads perform a wonderful public service, much like libraries and Roman vomitariums.

Yes, diligent reader, I am pissed at our treatment of this important issue. I think we are completely missing the point. The point is not the election outcome. Who gives a rats patoot if the Democrat or Republican wins? What is the policy outcome? What is the quid pro quo? Do a study on that, and you have got my attention.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Heaven's Pre-Election Thread

Jesus: So I was walking down Wall St. the other day, and I stopped and stared at that statue of the bull-- you know the one with its ass and balls exposed like some goddamn altar to Baal? I was staring right into that bull's balls, looking at my reflection in them. Then some city maintanence worker drops by, and he cleans and polishes the balls. For a moment, I cracked up cuz it reminded me of the ball-polishing scene in Big Lebowski. (Don't fuck with the Jesus! ROFLGANGER) Anyways, when I snapped out of that, I thought about everything those bull's testicles symbolize, and I thought about Obama and the election and Democrats dragging their ass, and I asked myself, "Do we have to await God's judgment on these Wall St. types to get any justice?"

Billy Graham: Jesus, we are all frustrated over the economy. We should not act rashly. Awaiting God's judgement seems like a good idea.

Jesus: Fuck off, Graham. It was a rhetorical question.

Billy Graham: right, I'll fuck off now.

Karl Marx: @Jesus- You know, we do have to await God's judgment on these folks to get any justice. That's why religion exists; it allows the elites to escape all accountability for their crimes.

Jesus: Karl, I happen to know that God exists. I am the son of God. I perform miracles.

Karl Marx: Jesus, I'm not saying God doesn't exist. I'm saying that organized religion is totally effed in the A. It's a tool of the powerful.

Jesus: Granted, it's a tool sometimes. It's abused sometimes. But Christianity was totally grassroots for three centuries.

Karl Marx: ...before it was astroturfed by Constantine

Jesus: ... before it was saved from Roman astroturfing by God, who totally smote the Romans for being asshats, in His Holy Estimation

Karl Marx: .. . before it was re-astroturfed by Charlamagne

Jesus: ... before it was saved, again, from astroturfing by God's Holy Smiting Bolt

Karl Marx: Really? We're gonna keep on doing this? It's your position that God smites everyone who uses Christianity to wield power?

Jesus: Yes, often-- I mean, generally, in the long run. But look, even if God missed a few smitings (ahem, Billy Graham), He totally kept Christianity OG gansta. Cuz if Christianity were totally about power, then how did the stuff about the camel and needle get through the censors? Or the part about David screwing his not-wife? Or the four gospels? Why would a religion need four stories about how I'm awesome? It wouldn't, unless it was interested in getting the story straight.

Karl Marx: That's a good defense of Christianity, Jesus, but it doesn't refute my argument that religion IS used as a tool of the powerful. And until God pre-smites everyone who wants to be a d-bag in Your Name, then we have to deal with the resulting d-baggery on our own.

GOD: Hey guys, may I say something here? Karl Marx is right.

Karl Marx: Awesome. So can we expect smitings and pre-smitings and the outing of all right-wing homophobic preachers?

GOD: Um, no, but I can push up the date of the Rapture. Let me check my palm...

Jesus: Shit, dad, you don't have an iphone yet?

GOD: Fuck no, fuck ATT. Wiretapping motherfuckers... I'm using Credo Mobile.

GOD: right, I can fit the rapture in August 2017, assuming a republican is president.

Karl Marx: I got Tim Pawlenty.

Jesus: Too moderate. It'll be Dick Cheney's re-animated head.

GOD: Nah, General Petreus. Trust me, shit's in the bag.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You are a terrorist suspect. I am on to you.

A paragraph from Dana Priest's investigative series "Top Secret America":

But improvements have been overtaken by volume at the ODNI, as the increased flow of intelligence data overwhelms the system's ability to analyze and use it. Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases. The same problem bedevils every other intelligence agency, none of which have enough analysts and translators for all this work.

Wow. The blogosphere has already commented 10 times over about the redundancy, waste, abuse and corruption at the heart of Amurica's national security horror show. (Most of which was said before this new WashPo investigation.) So I will simply republish this snippet of what we already knew/know and ask the question: How many terrorist communiques have you produced? And don't play dumb! The article said that the NSA collects 1.7 billion per day. That means that about 25% of the world population is doing something terroristy every day. So again, what the fuck have you people been up to?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Awwww, poor U.S. Army recruiters. . .

The kabuki fuckshow known as Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination has begun! Here's the gameplan:
  • What the Republicans need to do: make speeches pretending to attack Kagan's Ivy League pedigree, play Mad Libs with Kagan's completely unknown judicial philosophy, accuse her of hating the troops because of the Army recruitment dust-up (because helping Obama kill Muslims does not demonstrate clearly enough her commitment to the troops), and finally, pray to GOP Jesus that Kagan says something completely lezz-tastic and therefore disqualifying. 
  • What the Democrats need to do: nothing-- well, nothing that pertains to the nomination. Today they basically bashed the Robert's Court, and they should keep it up 'cuz it looks like they're having fun with that. 
  • What liberals need to do: find out whether she will keep torturing Muslims and holding them in jail forever, find out if she has ever been exposed to a poor person, and get her to say something lezz-tastic so that Andy Sullivan will shut-up already. Also, they should somehow derail the nomination and force Obama to nominate Diane Wood.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Who says liberals are not grizzled patriots who pick fights with terrorists and talk like sailors?

Rushbo. That's who says it. But I have more grizzle and patriotism on just one nut than John Stossel has in his mustache. Don't think that's a lot of grizzle and patriotism? Have you seen John Stossel's mustache? It's exquisite. . .

You know who else has a lot of patriotism of the grizzled variety? Sara Benincasa at Wonkette. Read about how she will single-handedly take down Osama bin Laden, who is hiding out in the Appalachians of North Carolina. Didn't know about Osama's knew hideout? I'm not surprised. Rush "lin Baden" is certainly not gonna divulge it. Good luck Sara!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rape Vs. Date Rape

This ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf has got me thinking about the conduct of oil companies in the U.S. as opposed to their conduct in the Third World-- for instance, in the Niger Delta. The analogy that best describes the difference is rape vs. date rape. In the Third World, oil companies just sweep in, bribe the entire government, hire thugs for security, and drill with impunity. In the First World, it's more complicated. You've got to "wine and dine" the government first. You've got to determine who can be bought off. You've got to come up with a greenwashing strategy. You've got to study the regulations and determine which can be ignored, which can be defeated, and which ones can be written off as simply the cost of doing businesss. You've got to know when the inspector is coming.

You get the picture. We make it difficult to rape the environment. We make it a hassle. But we don't outlaw it. We've got to change this. Rape is rape.

Michael Jackson died one year ago. Cue hilarious quote from music reporter:

Bill Werde, editor of Billboard Magazine, says Jackson's death was shocking and tragic — and fans' interest in everything Jackson resulted in the strange benefit of digging the singer out of a deep financial hole:
"Not only does it spur an incredible interest in that artist, which of course, drives sales and other revenue opportunities, but it also removes the spending from the estate in a big way," Werde says.