Friday, January 22, 2010

SCOTUS ruling and the attack on individual citizens

Seriously, this is merely one step closer to outright corporatism. Now the legal readings and ramifications can be debated intellectually......from the definition of 'person' to the controversial note-writing of J.C. Bancroft Davis in 1886. This ruling takes power away from the individual citizen and consolidates more power in the hands of the board of directors....who wield the combined power, money and ideological aims of those who both work for and own shares in the company. But those employees are not able to control where the fruit of their labors go, nor is it clear that those employees would even know where that money goes.

The ruling also adds consolidated power to the incestuous relationship between politics and the media, as all mainstream media outlets are corporate owned. I have no doubt that anyone who supports this ruling is either terminally inept, or merely recognizes that their chosen political party will be the beneficiary of this ruling and are willing to surrender democratic principles and liberty for that end. To be clear...I don't believe in allowing unions this power both cases, money derived from employees can be used against the wishes of said employee. If like minded groups of individuals wish to come together in the form of a PAC, and use raised money for political ends....I have no issues. But voting and the political process should be centered on the individual, voting citizen.

I for one realize that this ruling does not allow corporations to donate money to candidates directly.....that question has yet to be addressed by SCOTUS. But corporations can run their own ads for specific long as the disclaimer is present recording who paid for the ad. Not too much difference, no?

My major issue with the ruling stems to the perception of 'personhood' for corporations. Your employer or union is now edging increasingly closer to holding the same electoral rights as you. When corporations are held to a judicial standard commensurate with individuals, then a case can be made for personhood.

What's troubling to has is two aspects: firstly, the corporate board members or union officers have doubled their power in advocacy for candidates or issues. They retain the individual power to donate and speak out, and they now have the corporate power to do likewise. You and I are left with half of the ability to influence elections. This is vastly different than groups of consensual, like-minded individuals committing to a political cause or candidate.

Secondly, corporations and unions can use the real dollars or the fruits of labor of member, employees and shareholders to fund issues or candidates that very likely do not represent the political interests of all of the organization.

Those who state that the ultimate power still resides in the individual voter are correct technically speaking...but consider that all media outlets are corporate owned and corporations that have been bailed out or retain lucrative contracts with the federal government [especially those that depend on a specific brand of Administration] have the ability to channelize and narrow information that is available to the voter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Massachusetts fallout

Anybody but the extreme right wing has to admit that the 'left' has gotten virtually nothing from the Obama Administration since he took office. Denied on Afghanistan, denied on health care reform, denied on the Patriot Act, surveillance and detentions, denied on DADT.....and the Administration is just about as centrist as you could create. I think a good many of the 'Independents' in Massachusetts are disgruntled Democrats, either fed up, or pursuing a strategy of sending a message to the White House.

The scaremongering of a mythical 'far left' menace by the right was masterfully played...but demonstrably false. But even though the 'far left' myth continues.........Obama is a tried and true centrist. He has continued nearly all of Bush's policies. Democrats are supremely disappointed in him...and Republicans hate him. He's squarely in the middle.

Amid the rhetoric, most Americans can't even define actual Socialism, much less know what one looks like. What we've seen lately from the opposite party however, is Republicans attempting to re-brand themselves as Libertarians, as opposed to the other way around.

The pendulum swings but only in a short, centrist arc. I do however believe, that like Massachusetts electing a Republican Senator for the first time in a few decades....we're likely to see a Democrat take an equal district in a southern state that has been red for quite some time.

So while the right spins the Brown victory as a harbinger of good times ahead, the response from the left will be swifter in further marginalizing Republicans. The Democrats will get pass some legislation while taking credit for getting it done in spite of Republican obstruction. The victory in Massachusetts could end up costing the Republicans more seats in the long run.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Sexiest Woman Alive

Kate Beckinsale shot for Esquire HD from Greg Williams on Vimeo.

To quote Jayne from Firefly........I'll be in my bunk.... defined by the media

The Republican candidate in Massachusetts won an election against a mediocre Democrat who took her victory for a state that is no stranger to electing Republicans to the states highest offices...during an opposition-majority incumbency in two of the branches of government. To cite this as a harbinger of some political hurricane is science fiction.

True Independents are a viable force, but a force that has not yet been reckoned with in the US. American politics are media driven and the Senate race in Massachusetts is a prime example. The media in nearly every case intermixes and confuses undecided voters with actual Independents.....and added to the mix are decidedly partisan voters who find it vogue to label themselves as Independents when their party of conscience has been roundly and soundly lambasted as hypocritical and dangerous. True Independents are not evenly acknowledged by the media...a media that really only recognizes and thus caters to the two major parties. It's ratings built on Us v. Them.

Some Independent power can be noted by the farcical 'tea party' movement. I've seen plenty of Independent and Libertarian friends get sucked in by the propaganda of the 'third way'. It takes a bit of an intervention to make them see that the tea party is a Republican funded and directed movement dressed in different clothes. Many people will espouse smaller government and individual liberty yet continue to vote in statist politicians and policies that grow government and infringe on liberty. An acquaintance and I were bouncing ideas around a while back about how we could truly get a movement started that held to principles over party. Until that time comes [if it ever can] 'Independents' will be treated as either undecided Democrats or Republicans.....or used as a false flag by the triumvirate of corporate-media-politics.


While working out this morning and having VH1 on the tube....I was struck by an odd [though not new] phenomenon........the fascination or fetish with where one grew espoused by singers/rappers.

I don't even mean East Coast versus West Coast....I'm talking about street, neighborhood and even area code for gods sake. I witnessed the Ruben Studdard - '205' fashion while living in Birmingham during the first few seasons of American Idol...but I really didn't know that this was widespread idiocy.

Apparently, if you grew up in a poor, minority or 'tough' part of whatever city happens to be cool....the you too are cool, and some amount of faux respect is accorded to you. I sometimes [OK....often] wonder at how we were able to evolve as a species. Or is it a case of devolution?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Molly's first kill

The Mouth of a Soldier

From Ranger Up:

I curse. Most Soldiers do, and for good reason. The colorful vernacular of the Soldier has been forged by hundreds of years of resilience, swagger, and a comfortable relationship with violence. It’s more of a necessity than show because when you deal with high velocity projectiles for a living and trust your life to the guy next to you, straightforward language that leaves absolutely no doubt as to its meaning is crucial. Feelings are subordinated to hostility when in uniform, so a thick skin is the Soldier’s second body armor. Even in garrison, troops abscond the politically correct, “There are some things you need to work on, but you’re doing great,” in favor of, “You’re a fucking idiot! Get your shit together!”

My situation is a good example. As I’ve noted on several occasions, I work in a government agency that’s full of erudite scientists and advanced degree overachievers who use sterile, politically correct language to ensure no one is ever offended when they get loquacious. To me this is counter-productive, but then again, I’m one of the few people who wear a uniform on my floor and frequently let my mouth function before my brain can stop it. If I think I’ve offended someone, my defense is to shrug and say, “Jesus, I have the mouth of a soldier.” Works every time.

Now I have scientific backup. A recent study by noted San Diego-based social scientists Duffy and Medina determined that profanity in the workplace actually promotes cohesion and breaks down the walls of social awkwardism, which in turn builds better teams. Holy fuck! See, you feel closer to me already.

Since discovering this nugget of 411, I now look for opportunities to drop profanity just for the shock factor that it creates. But it’s an art that not everyone can appreciate. You can’t just drop shit grenades and F-bombs into every sentence and hope to create a super squad from it. After a while, the words lose their impact, so they have to be used sparingly and with just the right emphasis to convey the emotional impact that they’re meant to.

I think most people wish they cursed freely like those of us in the service. Our silver tongues can slice through the coldest of situations and get right to the heart of the matter by saying exactly what needs to be said with no mistaken double entendres. But that’s just not the case. The overwhelming majority of white collared workers adhere to the “kinder, gentler” method of verbal interaction, which isn’t always easy to translate. They want to talk like Soldiers, but just don’t know how. Here’s what I mean:

PC Statement: The benefit of this added capability is an integrated and networked solution that will improve the unit’s lethality.
Soldier Translation: This shit’s the fucking bomb, bro!

PC Statement: The new female in the office brings a great new attitude that makes the environment more pleasant.
Soldier Translation: I’d dip that ass in ranch dressing and explore hidden valley.

PC Statement: I’m not fond of his briefing style.
Solider Translation: That guy’s a fucking douche canoe rowing up Massengil creek.

PC Statement: I’m not confident in his ability to adequately convey the risks associated with this venture.
Soldier Translation: He’s a lying sack of shit.

PC Statement: Candidate X is not the best person for the task at hand.
Soldier Translation: His dick is so flat he could spread peanut butter with it.

PC Statement: I’d rather defer on attending this staff meeting.
Soldier Translation: I’d rather stroke my junk to reruns of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman than waste my time listening to more diarrhea of the mouth.

PC Statement: Unfortunately, I really can’t. I’m task saturated at the moment.
Soldier Translation: Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin, shitbag.

PC Statement: I was hesitant to bring that point up in front of our boss, but I had no choice.
Soldier Translation: Like how I punked you back there, mullet head? Are my testicles salty today?

PC Statement: Let me know if I can help.
Soldier Translation: Awwwww, muffin. You got sand in your crotch?

PC Statement: I sure am looking forward to spending the weekend with my wife.
Soldier Translation: She’ll be driving six white horses when she…

PC Statement: My E.D. has been presenting challenges in my performance.
Soldier Translation: E.D.? Say again? You’re coming in broken and stupid.

PC Statement: Make sure you learn the ropes and get up to speed as soon as you can.
Soldier Translation: Flush your fucking headgear newbie or you’ll be scraping barnacles off Jaba the Hut’s ass by morning.

PC Statement: I’d appreciate it if you could take care of this matter at your earliest convenience.
Soldier Translation: Get the fuck down there and do your job before I clamp a Swedish penis pump to your nose, Pinnochio!

PC Statement: Oh, I didn’t know we got a new secretary.
Soldier Translation: Did the last one tell you about our ranch dressing incident? It happened.

If you’re blessed with the gift of soldierly gab, keep on keeping on. If you’re hopelessly ensconced in a work situation desperate for four letter words, embrace your inner Assholian and channel George Carlin’s “Big 7 of Doom.” Forego “bad idea” for “that blows goats,” and “really?” for “are you shitting me?” In the end your co-workers will appreciate the fuck out of your verbal sodomization of the English language. If they don’t, just shrug and say, “Jesus, I have the mouth of a soldier.”

Works every time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sarah and Fox

I think it's undeniably clear what Fox's motivations are......not to report the news so much as to create the news [not that this is a new phenomenon for them].

"She is one of the most talked about and politically polarizing figures in the country," said Bill Shine, the network's executive vice president of programming. "First off, we hope she brings that."

Shine said he was not concerned that Palin would make false assertions on the air.

"Along the way, we'll talk to her and have conversations and I'm sure everything will be fine," he said, adding that the expectations that Palin will utter something controversial will likely drive viewership. "In the end, that's probably going to help us in that that's what people will want to watch."

LA Times

As I said before, it's a perfect match - the pretend politician who derides 'mainstream media' now working for the pretend news channel who derides 'mainstream media'....even though they are part and parcel of it.

Someone recently said: There seems to be a pattern with Sarah Palin. When she doesn’t have an answer she says “all of them.”

I think he generally nailed it.....but wait! Apparently Sarah believes herself to actually be some sort of expert on national security matters. From her love-in with Hannity:

I’d like to talk to him [Obama] about the national security issues, though, and what I believe the rules of war should be. And I would like to recommend to him that he show a little bit more passion in this war on terror so that we can trust that perhaps, the steps that he takes that seem to me to be so hesitant, to make decisions when it comes to our national security, that um, we can at least trust that he’s really being deliberative.

Listen...our standards for national political office revolve around pandering to your party and being telegenic...but even by these abysmal standards, Palin is astronomically out of her league. It embarrasses me to be an American when she is plastered all over the corporate info-tainment channels, much less when she is hired by one.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's almost as if Scott Ritter is reading my blog....

Of course, he puts things into better perspective than I do....and uses more $5 college it probably seems more like the other way around. Anyway, he writes a great piece over at truthdig, where he illuminates the 'Hope-and-Change' Administration following in the same ideological footsteps as his predecessor.

As such, when one declares a “war” to exist, there must be a physical manifestation of an enemy, as well as the psychological manifestation of victory. After the 9/11 attacks, the “enemy” took on the form of the Taliban in Afghanistan, in so far as they facilitated the operations of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida by providing sanctuary and logistical support, however indirect. That the Taliban had nothing whatsoever to do with the 9/11 attack never registered in the minds of those U.S. policymakers who morphed the Taliban and al-Qaida into a singular entity, thus dictating a singular solution. The United States will forever be chasing the ghosts of al-Qaida in the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan, all the while fighting a Taliban enemy that becomes stronger every day the American occupiers operate inside their country among their people.

The “war on terror” has further complicated the Afghanistan situation by drawing in the complicating reality of Pakistan’s Pashtun population and the centuries-old problem of Islamic fundamentalism, which has always existed in the rugged territory of Pakistan’s hinterlands and northwest frontier. The situation unfolding between Afghanistan and Pakistan is far less influenced by the events of 9/11 than by the historical consequences of the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and the U.S. covert efforts to oppose the Soviet action by supporting Islamic fundamentalist fighters operating out of Pakistan.

In the simplistic formulations emanating from Washington, Pakistan has become a new front in the “war of terror,” and the conflict in Afghanistan has been inexorably linked to an internal Pakistani domestic condition that has existed for centuries. In short, the United States was drawn into Afghanistan through a lack of understanding of the true nature of the problem it faced in the aftermath of 9/11 and is being further drawn into Pakistan by a similar lack of comprehension of the problems in that nation. In both cases, the United States seeks solutions to problems that have been inaccurately defined, which means the solutions being sought solve nothing, and for the most part only further complicate the original problem.

The “war on terror” into which Obama seems to have thrust himself (the most recent manifestation being Yemen) remains the largest obstacle for any rational resolution of America’s problems in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Simply put, so long as the United States seeks an enemy that does not exist, it will always be looking for an enemy in its stead. The “war on terror” has the United States combing the world in search of enemies, and because American policymakers are responsive not to the reality that exists in the world today, but rather the perceptions of an American people largely ignorant of the world in which they live, and paralyzed by the fear such ignorance generates, there will always be countries and causes America will anoint as foe.

The “war on terror” becomes a self-perpetuating problem for which there is no solution. Worse, it is a problem that ultimately will destroy America, not from any actions undertaken by whatever manifestation of “enemy” America conjures up, but rather from the actions undertaken by America itself.

I highly recommend reading the entire piece.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

When did the History Channel

aka, the "Hitler Channel"......become the "the-worlds-going-to-end-in-just-under-two-years" Channel?

Military humor.......

sustains you when you're bored.

Rudy...are you feeling OK?

Rudy Giuliani....."America's [[cough]] Mayor...the politician who never opened his mouth without uttering the holy mantra of 9/ appears on CNN, speaking of the Undie-bomber:

We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama.
Perhaps Rudy is fine....and it's merely the rank and utter hypocrisy and political pandering rising to the surfce....

It doesn't take much to get right wing death threats these days....

Mark Fiore has been getting them over his humorous and quite truthful cartoon:

Learn to Speak Tea Bag

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why do we legitimize Terrorism?

All of the talk about criminal v. combatant and torture [or quasi-torture] v. interrogations [they are not the same] is missing an important context. The context in question refers to what reactions and actions will cause greater harm to terror groups and least harm to us. This context refers to the jihadi psyche.

The jihadi psyche is quite often ignored or given a downgraded status in public debate, primarily because to take this context into primary consideration isn't seen as aggressive, offensive or media sexy. This context is quite often disregarded...but the disregard is shallow and shortsighted. The 'kill em all' strategy only spawns more jihadists and bears the hallmarks of Cheney's clockwork comments as dictated to his personal stenographers at Politico.

Jihadists, like the recent undie-bomber, are usually recent converts to the hardcore bent of Islam. They witness the actions of western policies, further inflamed by jihadi propaganda. They buy into the idea of several sexually inexperienced young ladies at the end of a glorious fireball for Allah. They buy into the idea that the actions of terror groups are legitimate means to the end they deem just. They, in short, are usually prepared to die....but to die as martyrs. The thought failing their assigned mission and ending up as a captive of the infidels abhors them. Being treated like a common criminal abhors them even more. The view of jihadi's being 'warriors for Allah' is a driving force behind recruitment and revenue for terror groups. Treating a captive as a warrior only steels his will in the belief that he will attain his just reward on the other side. Being treated as a criminal has a quite good chance of not only making him confront the legitimacy of his actions, but removing the facade of divine blessing upon his actions.

Trying the terrorist as a criminal won't have an immediate effect, but a sustained campaign of this approach will likely lead to the luster of jihadism wearing off for potential recruits. Getting this message spread through Muslim avenues, that terrorism is not jihadism but irhabism [terrorism] and hirabah [unholy war] the only effort that will eventually either dry up the revenue stream or force the terror groups to turn to the political process.

We cannot fight a war against 'terrorism'....terrorism is not an entity, a movement nor a target. Terrorism is a means to an end. A means that we in the west find abhorrent...but no more abhorrent than many Muslims feel about Predator strikes.

So when we post about what to do with Mr Undie-bomber...or any other captured terrorist...instead of fixating on what makes us feel victorious or safe or patriotic....take a moment to look down the road at what will end this threat instead of perpetuating it. Take a look into the psyche of a's basic intelligence doctrine. Find out what motivates the enemy and exploit that.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pat Robertson strikes again

Alright you pompous, righteous me where....anywhere that 'God' blesses nations or endorses bible reading in public schools?

Pat Robertson says God has told him that the U.S. is under a cloud of divine wrath and is headed for financial ruin. The Christian broadcaster announced his 2010 predictions on Monday's broadcast of The 700 Club.

Robertson said God won't bless an America that institutionalizes homosexual rights and abortion while prohibiting prayer and Bible reading in public schools. "How can we pray for his blessing when we have that going on?" he wondered. "When we have courts that have ruled repeatedly against him, when we have the Bible taken from schools, where we have prayer taken from children?"

And considering that upwards of 50-million babies have been aborted in America, he stated: "A cloud of his wrath is upon this country."


You worthless oxygen thieving charlatan....there are not enough profane words yet invented to describe your ilk.....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sad but True

Airline security and underpants bombers

Returning back to the question of this event being a failure of DHS or the various intelligence agencies, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent postulated that it's not a matter of intelligence, but of policy.

New information may surface. But based on this, is it really fair to point the finger at the intelligence community here? Abdulmutallab’s father told embassy officials in Abuja that he didn’t know where his son was, but might be in Yemen. The CIA had that information. NSA has information that a Nigerian might be used for an attack sponsored by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. If all of this had gone into the NCTC, would someone have put two and two together — setting off the process for pulling Abdulmutallab’s visa or putting him on the no-fly? Maybe. And the rationale for the all-source, multi-agency NCTC is all about intelligence sharing. But remember: the inputs are that the guy’s dad says he’s dangerous; he’s Nigerian; he might be in Yemen; and al-Qaeda in Yemen may be looking to use a Nigerian in a forthcoming attack. Is that really enough?

The answer to that question most certainly requires a policy decision, not an intelligence decision. The intelligence community is drinking from a fire hose of data, a lot of it much more specific than what was acquired on Abdulmutallab. If policymakers decide that these thin reeds will be the standard for stopping someone from entering the United States, then they need to change the process to enshrine that in the no-fly system. But it will make it much harder for people who aren’t threatening to enter, a move that will ripple out to effect diplomacy, security relationships (good luck entering the U.S. for a military-to-military contact program if, say, you’re a member of the Sunni Awakening in Iraq, since you had contacts with known extremists), international business and trade, and so on. Are we prepared for that?

Similarly, there’s a reasonable issue to investigate about intelligence-sharing processes even in the pre-specific-threat level. But remember: that just increases the firehose of data NCTC must process. Information is supposed to filter up to NCTC in strength and specificity from the component intelligence agencies so that NCTC isn’t overwhelmed. If we want to say that there should be a lower standard for sharing with NCTC, fine. But then either NCTC needs to be given more resources, or we risk missing the next Abdulmutallab because NCTC’s analysts will be drowning in nonspecific data and trying to rope it to flotillas of additional information. It’s reasonable to ask, however, what the CIA did post-Nov. 19 to investigate Abdulmutallab specifically. But it’s also important to remember that barely a month passed between his father’s warning and Flight 253.

It should be noted that there hasn't been any major policy shift in the arena of no-fly lists and intelligence sharing from the last Administration to the current. If the minority party can hop off of the ironic-hypocrisy wagon and work with majority party....perhaps we can make some overdue fundamental changes that both make the airlines security tighter and not subject innocent travelers to cavity searches.