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Echoes and Mirrors » politics

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

I have a blog? Oh look I have a blog.

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

I’m pretty terrible about not posting anything on here. Pretty much this is a result of being bogged down with a mountain of homework or other academic work, which is an adequate excuse for me. I was considering implementing something to produce a daily digest of interesting links from google reader with a brief comment, but google has gotten rid of shared links. Truthfully, it wouldn’t be a huge time constraint to just sit down and write a blog post every day, but lately I’ve just felt like I don’t have anything interesting to say about much of anything, especially news-wise. But I’ll whip up a few thoughts about #OWS because I’m feeling frisky tonight.

I’ve been following the #OWS movement from twitter and fark.com, where there is at least one thread a day, if not more. Oddly enough, people in those very threads claim that nobody is paying attention or talking about #OWS. This sort of movement is exactly what I think we need right now, even if it’s not organized with a clearly identifiable goal. Because what the US needs is to recognize that something is wrong before trying to figure out exactly what it is. And I think #OWS is accomplishing one thing very well: they’re making the symptoms of the problem very, very clear. But like many alcoholics who refuse to admit they even have a problem, many Americans are refusing to admit that there is anything to protest. And some of them don’t think that protesting is the right answer, but would rather the protesters play the PAC game and attempt to work the system the same way the banks have. This is silly.

The boat needs to be rocked. I’m sorry your overpriced martini was spilled.

Matt Taibbi really nails the frustration with Wall Street. But I see Wall Street’s behavior as a symptom of a bigger problem with the US. That bigger problem is the cause of other ninety-nine percenters siding with Wall Street. I’m not even sure what it is, but there is something fundamentally wrong. And like an unexplainable rash on a patient being treated by House, M.D., we’ll find out that it is something that requires more than government intervention. I suspect it will require a reevaluation of American values, not just rules.

And unfortunately, with the recent DHS coordinated attacks on the occupy camps, Scott Olsen, and Zucotti Park, I am only seeing things get worse. The police are doubling down on their loyalty to the system, even if they know it’s corrupt. They might even care. But I doubt it. The police have been slowly turning into paramilitary thugs armed with tanks for decades. They like the system the way it is. Any given day, a visit to The Agitator shows that the state of law enforcement in this country is only getting worse. And the plutocracy loves it. They get thugs-by-proxy from wars on drugs and invisible terrorists and the serfs run around screaming injustice, too busy to worry about the secret aristocracy.

But I shouldn’t say crazy things like that. It sounds melodramatic even to me. But I do think that there is a problem with American values and that the problem with Wall Street is merely a symptom of that. I offer no solutions, but I’m not even sure what the real problem is yet. The abuses of Wall Street can be fixed, but I suspect it will just come back in a different industry, in a different guise unless we figure what is really wrong.

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But, but, but voting is your civic duty!

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

 

Also, to cut down on the cynicism and inject some wholesome idealism, check this out: ALL-Left.net.

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I’ve been slack haven’t I? Oh bother.

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Yes, yes, I know that nobody reads my drivel anyway, but I still feel sort of bad about not having posted anything since mid-December (is that right? I didn’t even look to see when my last real post was.). I’ve been awfully busy with schoolwork. With luck I’ll actually manage to keep some kind of schedule for posting again. I need to start taking notes of shit I’d like to rant about. It’ll be rad if I can manage that. My coursework is a little lighter than it was last semester. It’s still pretty heavy though.

In the mean time, I’ll just drop off a couple things I’ve found really interesting. Well, I had more things to talk about — Wisconsin, in particular — but I sort of got frustrated with it and gave up. There’s revolution going on everywhere but here. We need some good old-fashioned late-90’s Seattle anarchist-style protests. People smashing up a Starbucks or something, you know? I digress.

This is pretty rad. I think I’m actually going to buy it. Because I’m not nerdy enough, as it is.

There is a flash doohicky of the LROC WAC mosaic of the lunar nearside. It’s like google-maps satellite view for the moon. M-O-O-N that spells fucking awesome. Yeah, so it’s just a ball of rock that creates tides, looks pretty in the sky, avoids attempts to be lassoed, was once confused with a god, and shelters moon-men who plot to take over once we’ve killed ourselves off one day, but it’s still pretty awesome. The moon doesn’t get enough credit for causing lunacy anymore, in my opinion.

I might be alone in this, but Charlie Sheen is my fucking hero. Now, I don’t have predilections towards mountains of cocaine and hookers per se, but I’ll be damned if that lifestyle doesn’t have at least a slight bit of appeal. I’m a bit envious, honestly. I know a lot of people are giving him a lot of flack for his recent shenanigans but that’s just kinda sad, really. He says, “I’m winning” and I look at it and say, “yup.” Why? He’s doing shit we all wish we could and being unapologetic for it. I’m not saying he’s doing the specific things we want to do, but he’s doing what he wants to do and not backing down. So when he called into the Alex Jones radio program and ranted for 18 minutes, it was pure gold. He does not give a flying fuck what we think. Which is sort of admirable. Oh, and don’t do cocaine. It makes you all wacky. If you don’t believe me, follow the link and listen.

The revolutions in the middle-east are going well I guess. I’m sort of interested in seeing how it all pans out. The US’s involvement and interests can only muck things up, but hopefully our el presidente has a decent head on his shoulders and won’t send the CIA in to work their nastiness. It’s never really seemed to work out for us. That whole Taliban thing sure bit us in the ass. So did a few others, I guess. These revolutions and their decision to be democratic could possible end with them simply choosing a new dictator, but I’d like to believe that wouldn’t happen. And just because a certain cretin will be favorable to us in the short-run doesn’t mean we need to help them into power. If we do something like that again, I think Canada should wait until we revolt and install a leader of their choosing into the position of US President. Maybe then we can get some decent hockey coverage on broadcast television.

I have no comment on the Wisconsin Teacher’s union business. I’m a product of Wisconsin’s public education system and it was top-notch while I attended school there (for a public system, it’s fantastic).

Or maybe I’m not seriously paying attention anymore. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m starting to believe that anybody with any gravitas or voice in the media is simply trolling us now. Nobody can seriously believe half the stuff said on television. It’s just not possible. Bill O’Reilly is a prime example: he’s just fucking with us. Plain and simple. Or maybe not, at which point, I’ll go back to my book and pretend not to care some more.

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Of course I posted that too soon, Australia

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

So Australia, I was hasty in my clicking ‘publish’ not because I was wrong or felt bad about making knifey-spooney jokes, but because America being a rotting cesspool of Religiously fanatic politicians that pander to minority watchdog groups is more right than ever. From the AHA:

The American Humanist Association (AHA) expressed concern with the religiously motivated attacks on Hawaii’s gubernatorial candidate, Neil Abercrombie. The claims, which declare Abercrombie’s voting record “anti-Christian”, were produced by Island Values, a group comprised of volunteers and supporters of Muffi Hannemann, Abercrombie’s opponent.

“There are acceptable and unacceptable candidates,” the Island Values statement read. “Neil Abercrombie is unacceptable. He declares no religious affiliation.”

“This attack on Neil Abercrombie is filled with blatant religious prejudice that has no place in a productive, civil campaign” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Religious affiliation doesn’t indicate how qualified a candidate is to serve the public. Claims that having no religion is ‘unacceptable’ are inconsistent with the intent of our nation’s founding fathers.”

The U.S. Constitution’s No Religious Test Clause, Article VI, paragraph 3, states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Australia elected an openly atheist woman to be their leader. In the US, any hint of something like that causes a shitstorm of outrage from a dozen people with money and bullhorns.

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Way to go Australia

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

You’ve re-elected Julia Gillard.

I find this fascinating because you’ve not only elected an atheist, but you re-elected an atheist. I don’t think that could ever happen here; politicians are the leading sellers of “The Fear Of God” in America. It totally blows my mind and makes me a little envious. Maybe this can be the proof that the world needs that atheists aren’t immoral or crazy.

So I may know nothing about Australian politics outside of this, and I’m not sure exactly what the Labour party is (but I could make an educated guess) I do know that Foster’s beer sucks, that stupid Outback restaurant has nothing to do with Australia, and that dingos eat babies. I’ve even made Australian girls say that line for me, so it must be true.

Actually, everything I know about Australia I learned from Quigley Down Under and The Simpsons.

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Somewhat Disturbing Numbers

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

I snagged that from here, courtesy of the Libertarian Party. And the dramatic upswing in “likes” on Facebook is, well, a very good thing for the LP. Facebook seems to be this weird indicator of public opinion. People either click like on things because they genuinely like it or because it’s ridiculous and amusing. For something like a political party it would conceivably be the latter.

But look just below that. That is fucking disturbing and telling. I’m going to bet dollars to doughnuts that the immigration controversy has fueled those numbers. And my fellow ‘mericuns, y’all are on the wrong side. Also, while the number of LP fans have risen one of the best outlets of libertarian news and analysis, Reason Magazine, hasn’t. Ron Paul gained nearly as many as the LP did (30k).

Sometimes, America, I secretly hate you for not caring about yourselves. I’m like the angry father on a really great episode of Intervention, mad that you won’t listen to reason or stop hurting yourself.

Libertarian Party facebook page

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Australian PM is an Atheist

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Gillard won’t play religion card – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd was a regular at Canberra church services and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is known as a devout Catholic.

In contrast, Ms Gillard says that while she greatly respects other people’s religious views, she does not believe in God.

Ms Gillard has been quizzed on personal topics including her attitude to religion and her relationship with her partner during interviews this morning.

She says does not go through religious rituals for the sake of appearance.

“I am not going to pretend a faith I don’t feel,” she said.

“I am what I am and people will judge that.

“For people of faith, I think the greatest compliment I could pay to them is to respect their genuinely held beliefs and not to engage in some pretence about mine.”

That’s pretty cool. I don’t think we will see anything like that here in the states for a very, very long time. I think it would be better sooner than later.

Too bad most Americans think Australia is next to Germany or that they’re just like us with funny accents.

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South Carolina Senator is a Fat, Racist Tool

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Sen. Knotts (R-SC) calls Haley a “Fucking Raghead” and then apologizes for saying “fuck”:

Knotts says he believed Haley has been set up by a network of Sikhs and was programmed to run for governor of South Carolina by outside influences in foreign countries. He claims she is hiding her religion and he wants the voters to know about it.

“We got a raghead in Washington; we don’t need one in South Carolina,” Knotts said more than once. “She’s a raghead that’s ashamed of her religion trying to hide it behind being Methodist for political reasons.”

Holy fucking crazy, batman. How the fuck did somebody like this get elected? Oh, because he’s “not racist,” huh:

Knotts, a former boxer and cop from West Columbia, said he wasn’t worried about being called a racist for the remarks he made. He says he was elected to the Senate to represent his constituents which he says he does well. He says many of his supporters are black.

“This is Jakie Knotts trying to let the people know,” he said about his motivations for leveling the inflammatory charges against a minority Republican frontrunner for governor just days before the June 8 primary elections. He says he’s called her a raghead before.

Oh, so he’s pulling the old “I have black friends,” card. But because she’s not Asian or black, it’s okay to be racist. Just the same way it was fine to bully German-Americans during WWII. Or imprison Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor.

Knotts later apologized for his comments, which showed up in the morning papers.

“My ‘raghead’ comments about Obama and Haley were intended in jest,” Knotts said in a statement. “Bear in mind that this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radio show that is broadcast from a pub. It’s like local political version of Saturday Night Live.”

Aaaand… “it was a joke” card played handily after the real media  caught wind of it.

Knotts said that South Carolina is a religious community.

“We need a good Christian to be our governor,” he said. “She’s hiding her religion. She ought to be proud of it. I’m proud of my god.”

I am confounded and befuddled by this statement. I’m not sure what he means with this string of weasel words or that it even constitutes a coherent thought.

Okay, South Carolina, please secede again. I won’t mind using my passport to cross the river for beer on Sundays (provided your religious community continues to allow that). I’m not even sure voting this guy out of office and Haley into office would be enough. Just get the fuck out, and take Utah with you.

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I know why the Palestinians are angry

Friday, June 4th, 2010

It’s probably the lack of nutmeg to make really great French Toast with.

Or, failing that, the fact that what they’re getting is barely enough to sustain themselves without the opportunity to improve the living conditions. And also, no meat.

But hey, the situation is so polemic and tragic that I just can’t help but feel bad.

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I got yer distopian future right here, ya jerks.

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I have pretty much lost all hope of trying to highlight the fact that things are getting worse. It’s simply become so pervasive and so common place.  People I talk to seem think one of a few things:

  • I have a tin-foil hat hidden somewhere out of sight.
  • The current status quo is ‘fine’ because “they aren’t doing anything wrong.”
  • That free-market economics is synonymous with pr0-corporate economics, and that what we have right now is the former.
  • Education will get them a job. Because, you know, all that school earned it for them.

And you know, for a good majority, they won’t ever encounter any serious problems resulting from an extra speeding ticket. Sure, they’ll be out a couple hundred bucks, but that’s no big deal. And when their children go to school, they can expect that they’ll be held to the same standards as all the other kids.

And they can be safe knowing that the police are free to do their jobs, enforcing the laws that keep them safe, without interference from the unwashed masses and the rabble-rousers:

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

And good for them – they get a clean, standardized, safe America where:

  • They are forking up unnecessary speeding tickets to generate revenue to pay for unnecessary enforcement of silly ordinances and vice laws. And pensions for people that still work in the public sector.
  • Their kids are being drilled to only do rote memorization instead of learning critical thinking skills, turning them into vapid robots.
  • The police can act with impunity because civil rights only get in the way of law enforcement.

For that, America, fuck you.

Yours truly,

The idealist

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