Archive for the 'Poliics As Usual' Category

So That Happened

November 17, 2016

I have been trying to put to words my thoughts and feelings on the election. For now this video will have to do:

Aftermath November 2016 from Steve Cohen on Vimeo.

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Updated – Just Another Riot in America

April 27, 2015

Oh Wolf Blitzer. It’s not amazing that this riot is happening in a major US city. It is amazing that riots like this aren’t happening in every major city as a response to the systematic racism, police brutality, imprisonment and overall disrespect and contempt hurled at minorities in this country. Do I condone this behavior? Fuck me. Who cares what this white man thinks. Who fucking cares what you think Wolf. Condemn away.

And this bullshit about “This isn’t how you bring about change.” Well then how? It’s not like things haven’t been screwed up since the inception of this country. And continue to be. And will continue to be, because the powers that be don’t want things to change. They just don’t fucking care as long as white privilege is maintained.

When Republicans say they want their country back, they mean they want an America that is pre-Civil Rights. They want a country where women, blacks, all others, know ‘their place’. Where a white man doesn’t have to compete against ‘others’ in the workplace. Where they can be sexists, homophobics, bigots and no one will dare challenge them on it.

I mean my god we elected a black man President and the Right has done nothing but try to delegitimize him ever since. Question his status as a citizen. Check. Claim he’s a Muslim. Check. Claim he’s a fascist. Check. Attack his mother. Check. Bring the country to a halt. Check. Circumvent the office of the President in international treaty negotiations. Check. Throw out every damn fridge ass conspiracy theory someone can pull out of their ass no matter how racist or insane. Check.

Never mind that people are hunting other people at the border. Or that the War on Drugs has ravaged the black community. Or that states are bringing segregation back in schools. Or that women still don’t have control over their own bodies. Or that the gay community is still fighting for basic civil rights. Or that our democratic process has been given away to the rich on a silver platter. Nope. Let’s believe that things will change if all the ‘others’ would just sit down and talk.

People have been talking for over two centuries. And things are still fucked up. Black men are still being gunned down. Women are still second class citizens. Gays are still vilified as child molesters. Immigrants are still blamed for all our ails. Maybe if things actually changed riots like this wouldn’t happen. But judging by the rise in militias, by the words spoken by Republican Presidential candidates, by the rise of the Tea Party in American politics, the Right just doesn’t give a fuck. They want their country back and to hell with everyone and anyone who they don’t deem ‘real Americans’.

This riot is a blemish Wolf? You want to know what’s a blemish? The fact that so many Americans not only seem completely ignorant of our shared history, but that they are proud of that ignorance. They wear it like a badge of honor. That is what a fucking blemish looks like.

But please Wolf, go back to the fainting couch and continue acting so shocked by this kind of thing. Yep, there probably are a bunch of provocateurs involved here. But why? What event or events occurred that gave them this opportunity? Why do these riots happen? Ask yourself that. Then look in the mirror.

Update 1: Apparently the Baltimore Orioles’ VP and COO gets it:

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

Update 2 – Steven D over at Progress Pond lays out a hell of an argument for how a militarized police force creates riots.

Thougths On The Shutdown II

October 2, 2013

Maybe we should give the far right what it wants. Let’s sell off all federal land. Let’s get rid of all taxes. Let’s get rid of all regulations. Let’s make this a fundamentalist Taliban, I mean Christian, nation. No right for women, for workers, for minorities. Let’s make voting a privilege reserved only for the rich that vote the ‘rightway’.

Let’s wage wars for profit, because we will have to pay for that military somehow. Let’s all sit in our personal bunkers with our arsenals, at least those of us that can afford guns.

Maybe break the country up into tribal regions, where strongmen rule with iron fists. Hell, let’s re-institute slavery.

Because if you really listen to the far right that is what they seem to be pushing us towards.

Thoughts On The Shutdown

October 2, 2013

A small number of Congress folks, who are serving a small number of citizens thanks to gerrymandering, have shut down our government because of legislation that makes healthcare affordable to many who could not get it otherwise.

This has nothing to do with anything other than politics. The Republican party knows that the success of the ACA is a major political defeat for them. So they would rather throw millions of Americans back into a world where people can’t get coverage, are dropped from coverage when they get sick, and have ‘lifetime’ limits that really mean if you get really sick you will go broke. They want us to be at the mercy of real death panels, aka corporate boardrooms.

People were literally chained to jobs because they couldn’t change jobs if they had a sick kid. The rest of us picked up the bill when the uninsured couldn’t pay their bills. College students couldn’t stay on their parent’s insurance. Corporations could keep as much of the money we spent on insurance as they wanted to.

I wish I could say I am surprised, but I’m not. We live in a country where hate is the norm. We live in a country where people are fearful of their government, and each other, to the point that they need to build up personal arsenals. Yet those same people don’t seem to give two shits about domestic spying, a real issue that actually does infringe on our rights.

People scream for ‘small government’ without taking into consideration how those regulations make their lives better. We have a great, if crumbling, infrastructure, safe food, safe water, etc. Yet some would have us loose all that and any protection against predatory business practices. Never mind the whole ‘no taxes’ meme, which never seems to include how multinational corporations have rigged international tax laws to their benefit.

But hey, let’s just say fuck it. Let’s throw it all down the drain. Let’s return to the days before the Great Depression, when workers had no rights. When food made you sick, when we had no highway system, when women and minorities had no rights. When if and when you got sick you just died in the street. When once you got too old to work you were just trash.

And I am sick and tired of the ‘You have to take care of your own meme’. We are all in this together. Our country, and all of us in it, benefit when our sick are taken care of. We all benefit when children can eat, are healthy, and can get educated.

The government isn’t some other entity separate from everyone else, except when we don’t pay attention and let a small number of people manipulate it to their advantage at the expense of the rest of us.

Something is wrong when corporations don’t pay taxes yet make their money using the infrastructure we all pay for. Something is wrong when we have to cut school budgets yet can buy billions in weapons to fight unnecessary wars. And something is seriously wrong when people work their whole lives only to see their pensions stolen, or are forced into the Wall Street scam that is 401k’s while being told that Social Security is somehow bad even when it works.

There has been a long battle to return to the Gilded Age waged in this country. And too many have fallen for it. So here we are, our government shut down, our economy on the brink after barely surviving a major recession.

Oh but we can turn to churches or charities for help. Because that’s apparently the new American dream, begging.

Just a thought…

May 11, 2013

Still waiting for those hearings on the invasion of Iraq. Any day now…oh look, Benghazi, that’s a foreign sounding place. Close enough I guess.

Something I need to get off my chest.

May 11, 2013

The argument has been put forth that we, the citizens of this country, need guns because one day (soon to some) we will need to fight off a, make that our, tyrannical government.

Here’s my problem with this notion.

The reason our government is so jacked up is because of ‘we’ the citizens. That’s right, we either keep voting the same people into office, or we don’t participate at all.

We never hold anyone accountable. We don’t study our own history. We don’t pay attention unless something dramatic, and usually pointless, happens.

So let’s say this fairy tale battle takes place, and we defeat, um, ourselves? I mean who the fuck are we going to be fighting anyways? The military made up of our brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, etc?

But that’s beside the point. Let us say we ‘win’. Tyranny defeated. Do you really think that somehow everything is just going to shit itself right?

Suddenly everyone is going to put on their magic thinking caps and actually change their ways? Please.

Give it a week and we will vote the same assholes right back into office in our new and improved super-duper America.

Guns don’t protect you from tyranny in a democracy (I know, it’s technically a federal republic but whatever). Paying attention, voting, participating, you know, doing something other than sitting around polishing your guns and waiting for the end of times, those things protect us.

That’s the genius of our system. And its weakness. Because it depends on ‘we’ the citizens, not guns, not war. Us.

A Must Read (or two)

October 18, 2011

Sums it all up pretty darn well.

Universal suffrage and liberal freedoms empower all citizens in a radically equal manner. But the one-person/one-vote principle does little to prevent oligarchs from exercising the power of money in a manner that is profoundly unequal. Formal juridical equality is essential to human freedom. But full political equality, even in the most liberal democracy, is impossible as long as concentrated wealth places grossly unequal political influence in the hands of a few citizens. Democracy fused with oligarchy is certainly better than no democracy at all. But there should be no illusions that it is anything other than a partial step toward full political equality and representation.

OK, this is a good one too. Glenn Greenwald at his finest.

Some Texas news

October 3, 2009

Who would have guessed that the State of Texas would put an innocent man to death? Sadly I’m not surprised. I used to support the death penalty until I actually took the time to read about all the cases where people have proven they were wrongly convicted. You would think more effort would be put into a case where someone’s life is on the line. But that just wouldn’t make good headlines. No, we have to look tough on crime.

From the article:

In what some opponents say looks like a political move and Gov. Rick Perry says was “business as usual,” the governor replaced the head of the Texas Forensic Science Commission and two other members on Wednesday, just 48 hours before the commission was to hear testimony from an arson expert who believes that Mr. Willingham was convicted on faulty testimony, a conclusion that has been supported by other experts in the field.

Mr. Perry’s decision to shake up the commission and put one of his political allies in charge has, at the least, delayed the inquiry into the Willingham case. While Mr. Perry says he has no political motive for the move, his opponents have called for the commission to finish its inquiry.

Playing politics with someone’s life; how very Texas Republican of Perry. I guess he’s trying to follow in Bush’s footsteps. After all, Bush played politics with millions of people’s lives around the world, and we all know how that worked out. Everyone sure loves the US right now.

But what really stands out is that bad science is to blame. Well of course we use bad science in Texas, just look at our school board. The right hates science. Hell, I’m more surprised they did any investigation at all. Would have been easier to just tie a rope around the guy’s neck with a rock on the other end and then throw him in a river. If he floated, burn the witch. If he drowned then innocence proved. See how easy this is. All that money wasted on investigations when the Dark Ages provided us with the simplest tests for finding out people’s true nature. I hear thumb screws save a lot of litigation time.

Hank Gilbert calls out Perry’s bullshit:

“Governor Perry’s decision to remove and replace three very competent members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission with three partisan ideologues should surprise absolutely no one.

This was a political decision by a Governor who wanted avoid criticism of the horrendous record Texas has regarding the execution of the innocent. The Governor’s decision should make it crystal clear to every Texan that justice in this state is controlled by the whims of an out-of-control Governor desperate to retain his grip on power.

Governor Perry’s actions were wholly unacceptable. Texas deserves better.”

I would say that humanity deserves better.

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In other news, a Dallas judge has ruled that same sex married couples should be allowed to divorce in Texas. Oh the horror. What is so bad about this? Well, we don’t like them gays in Texas, even though the only things that come from Texas are steers and queers (at least that’s what my drill instructor said in basic training, how original).

Although the case is far from settled, and the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage is a long way from being thrown out, Dallas state District Judge Tena Callahan’s ruling says the state prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the federal constitutional right to equal protection.

No shit. But we wouldn’t want something as silly as constitutional rights to get in the way of religious justice. We should burn the witches! Seriously, the whole same sex marriage ban is based on far right religious fear mongering; the lies that churches will be forced to perform gay marriages and that traditional marriage will suffer because we will all have to marry a gay person.

Two things; one, marriage is not controlled by religion. The state marries people all the time. Two, allowing states to vote against people’s basic rights is insane. We all know there’s a couple of states in the southern part of our country that would vote back in slavery if given the chance. The whole state’s right argument is crap; the Constitution trumps any state’s decisions. I know Governor Good Hair hates to hear that. Might explain his desire to start his own little fiefdom.

A study has been released showing that “there is no significant difference in emotional problems experienced by children adopted by heterosexual and gay or lesbian parents.” But this won’t stop the right from screaming that gays are a threat to families!

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On a good note, Texas just become home to the largest wind farm in the world.

The farm contains 627 wind turbines on almost 100,000 acres of land near Roscoe, Texas.

Wind energy is big business here in Texas, generating more energy with wind than any other state. The Texas grid is the 10th largest in the world, and 12 percent of our electricity currently comes from the wind. We are set to double that in the next 5 years.

To harness all that wind Texas created the CREZ program, committing to build 2000 miles of transmission lines to bring the energy to market. This is creating a lot of jobs right now which are sorely needed. And the towers being built are made from recycled steel.

We should place a wind mill in front of Governor Perry every time he opens his mouth.

Here we go again

September 28, 2009

Another war in the making. It’s like Iraq all over again. Sanctioning Iran will only further empower the Iranian government to become even more extreme. It’s a downward spiral. The more we threaten them, the more Tehran will say, “Look at what they are doing to our people, we have no choice but to defend ourselves.” That means more clamping down on democratic protesters, more money spent on the military, and as the average Iranian finds it harder to feed their family, fundamentalist religious views will spread.

We are told to believe that Iran is now really the threat we should all fear. Iraq? Yesterday’s news. Afghanistan? As long as it’s profitable for the military industrial complex we will still be told it’s the “good war”. But Iran offers up a whole new market for war profiteers to enrich themselves. After all, Iraq didn’t really put up any real resistance, and the Taliban never had large weapons systems to begin with. But Iran, now there’s a country that would cost quite a bit to invade.

What’s worse, the big players in the game are using Iran as a political tool. Look at the Russian’s response. Once we took the missile defense shield off the table, suddenly they see Iran as a problem. It was good for their politicians to resist us and use Iran as a pawn. Makes me wonder what other concessions our government made. No doubt there is a nice fat oil deal or two somewhere in all this for them.

And I’d bet Israel is busy buying up all the military hardware they can get their hands on in anticipation for a war with Iran. The Israeli government is doing the same thing Bush’s administration did; creating the need for more military spending by pumping fear into their people. When the masses are terrified, they have no problem giving into the notion that war will somehow save us all.

It’s sad really. Iran was once a democracy, but our government couldn’t live with the fact that they wouldn’t bow to western corporate profits. How dare they not let us steal their oil for our own gain. What bastards. And that is what this is really about, corporate profits.

Notice how North Korea isn’t on the “to invade” list right now? Oh sure, maybe to some neo-cons. But China would never agree to that, and the reality is that our country is so heavily dependent on loans from China that we wouldn’t dare piss them off. Never mind that China is now home to all our manufacturing base. No, China sells us too much crap to be made an enemy; too many US corporations are making a killing off their slave labor in Chinese factories filling Walmart’s shelves to want to butt heads with the communists.

But if we can convince enough people that war with Iran is a “good war”, then they will have no problem making corporations richer. Because that is what war is really all about; profit. Nothing pisses off the boardroom executives more than knowing that all that oil in Iran is not in their portfolios. The green revolution? Fuck em. It’s better to create an enemy that will require a larger defense budget than to admit we have no business telling other countries what they can do.

Funny how our insane levels of military spending never seem to get mentioned by the teabaggers. Of course not. A single payer health care system wouldn’t be as profitable for the corporate fatcats. We could insure every citizen and then some with much less than we spend building weapons of war. And it would help the average American a hell of a lot more than buying more jets, more bombs and more missiles. But it wouldn’t make the people that are already rich any richer.

There will always be a grave danger to our society as long as money can be made from war. There will always be a need for new weapons systems, bigger “defense” budgets and a further degrading of our constitutional rights. The cycle will never end because our government and the corporations are too in bed together. And our media is owned by the same people that profit from war (I’m looking at you GE). So don’t look to the evening news for the truth. (On a side note, how many of the teabaggers buy communist made product every day while decrying a fear of communism?)

Will we invade Iran? Personally I think we are being primed for an Israeli attack, one that this country will have no option but to support. This works for Israel because they will use it as an excuse to commit further crimes against the Palestinians in the hope that the Palestinians will rise up in response to bombs being dropped in Iran. Same goes for Lebanon and Syria.

And even if an invasion never happens just the threat of one demands an increase in military spending. We have to be prepared after all. And what a great way to change the subject. Torture? Look over here at Iran. Banks getting richer even as the economy crumbles? Iran wants nukes. Health care crisis? Fucking Iran is going to kill us all! Racism alive and well in America? You’re all going to die! Bomb Iran!

So we threaten, and they threaten, and we say we have no choice but war. After all we tried to be nice when we made it impossible for them to feed their families, when we used our might to make them desperate. We corner them, they react, we are justified. Sounds about right. And profitable too.

Watch These Videos

October 21, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phs6CwnutoY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e11-_cE63Us&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuL8teeuJD8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pu6cT6ICQQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTI9r4pUYh4&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWVLr8Y18e0&feature=related

Thanks goes to my one reader for the links.