Friday, October 29, 2010

A convenient catastrophe

The news headlines yesterday came just in time for Halloween. The story line is a bit different than Friday the 13th, but the creativity, costuming and plot twists are epic. I expect at least a few sequels.
Explosives found in suspicious packages were intercepted yesterday in England and UAE. The packages were bound for the US, in particular several places of Jewish worship in the Chicago area. Supposedly, the packages contained manipulated office supplies like printer cartridges with added PCB's (printed circuit boards) and PETN, "a highly explosive organic compound belonging to the same chemical family as nitroglycerin." The devices were to be detonated via cell phone remotely. Homeland Security called this a new way of transporting explosive devices, making it possible to Fed Ex or UPS instruments of death as opposed to carrying them on board with your cozy socks and Harry Potter book. Spooky huh? Terrorists are everywhere...
Ready for the really amazing plot twist? Just a few weeks after news of a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia had one or two Americans up in arms (or to be fair, maybe just the 8 of you that read this blog), the Saudi government were the very ones who are responsible...for averting this disaster! Ha, tricked you didn't I? You thought they'd be the ones just plain responsible? Oh no, that would ruin the whole story! In order to make our dumb shit decision look slightly less like stabbing ourselves in the back while taunting a snake, we have to make that snake look all warm and cuddly. What better way to do that than pull a 180ยบ on their character?
Not only that, get this, the Saudi government even gave us TRACKING NUMBERS for the evil packages, so our small little brains could find them easier. What mensches! I can see it now: a bunch of Hollywood writers sitting around a table, having a drink or two - as they drink, their ideas veer more and more towards the absolutely fucking absurd...well, here we are.
Ladies and Gentlemen, here we are. I've mentioned before in my posts that the government doesn't even make a valiant effort to veil their mounds of bull shit. They just hand them over to us, hot and steamy, and with a big smile on our faces we dig in and feed our brains the most ludicrous bending of the truth since Mark McGwire claimed from his tiny head perched atop his massive neck that he hadn't done steroids.
Honestly, what the fuck is going on? Do people really believe that these stories are true? That Saudi Arabia would go out of their way to save a bunch of Jews in Chicago? That they would somehow miraculously have tracking numbers for two random packages coming out of Yemen? That terrorist experts never thought of the chance of remotely detonating a package? That we are at any greater risk than we were two days ago before this horse manure hit headlines?
I'm not sure who I'm more pissed off at: the people behind this fabrication, us for being gullible morons or the Saudis for just being assholes. Our form of government dictates that it's b. Fuck US.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Turning tables make me dizzy

The upcoming elections already have me popping advil and holding on to furniture as I make my way through the "he said she said" mayhem drowning this country. Besides the fact that the campaign costs for these elections are surpassing the $2 billion (more than 2006 and 2008 combined), the mud slinging and across-the-aisle fighting is being executed with wizard (or witch depending on who's ad your watching) like precision and pomp.
So, besides that topsy turvy world of excess spending in a hyper-recession, we have our talons tethered to another tumultuous mess in the middle east.
Tariq Aziz, Iraq's ex-minister is being sentenced to death for his supposed role in eliminating religious parties. A fun little fact is that he is a Christian. He was the highest Christian in command under Saddam Hussein and now even the pope is getting involved asking for clemency for this good Christian soul. Nevermind wondering where the hell the pope was when thousands of others were being executed, he's here now, in all his papal glory.
The plot, like any good soap opera, thickens, since Aziz was once very buddy buddy with the very people who are running his former government...US.
He was the minister who enlisted US support for the Iran war, and in 1984 met with then President Ronald Reagan at the White House. I know it may be hard to think back that far, but there was a time when Iraq and Saddam were allies of the US, and a time when he had nothing to do with our beef with Bin Laden...oh wait, no, he never had anything to do with that...right.
Who Bush Jr. would later compare to Hitler, his father helped illegally arm with not only military weapons but also chemical and biological ones. Getting dizzy yet?
There's no set date for the execution so there's still time for the pope to work his magic, along with Aziz's son and of course ample time for us to completely change our minds and decide he's a good guy again. So, stay tuned kids - more cliffhangers and plot twists after these campaign messages from our corporate sponsors.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A leaky ship

A smart man once said, "Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it." Oh Chomsky, why don't more people listen to you? Unfortunately, people usually only listen to good advice once the time has passed to take it.
It appears that the US is the poster child for not only avoiding good advice but doing the exact opposite. Again, while our media (as I perused CNN's website) seems more interested in cool youtube videos and retracing Chandra Levy's steps, mad mayhem is ensuing due to a Wikileaks report on the Iraqi war.
Over 400,000 previously classified war documents showcase evidence of war crimes. Amongst other things: The documents show that there were more than 109,000 violent deaths between 2004 and the end of 2009. Of those 66,081 civilians, 23,984 people classed as "enemy", 15,196 members of the Iraqi security forces, and 3,771 coalition troops. 15,000 unrecorded civilian deaths are also noted. The reports show that although US military claimed not to be keeping track of civilian deaths, the leaked papers prove that they did. They also unveil the previously unreported instances in which US forces killed civilians at checkpoints and during operations.
The Pentagon has obviously sent out a massive shit storm of attempted buffering to try and get out of this one unscathed while Iraq's prime minister, Nouri Maliki bashes Wikileaks for trying to sabotage him as he deals with difficult election matters post March elections.
Meanwhile, many of his constituents applaud the leaking of official war documents saying that the people have a right to this information under a democracy.
Simultaneously, we, the heroic bearers of democracy shy away from any responsibility claiming that when the reports make mention of the abuse of Iraqis by Iraqis, the duty of American soldiers was to "observe and report" what they had seen to their superiors, who in turn would then pass the evidence on to the Iraqi authorities.
Ummmmm...wait...didn't we invade the country because Iraqis were abusing Iraqis? Didn't we claim to march in there all high and mighty because Saddam was a bad man hurting his people? Or did I just fall asleep when Bush admitted he had no fucking reason for killing what has now become nearly 5,000 US soldiers?
So, in short, we cause the splintering of an already strained nation, rape their natural and historical resources under the guise of freedom and democracy, disband their military, build it up again to our own liking and then walk away from any responsibility regarding their actions while simultaneously scolding the evil-doers who dabble in terrorism, torture and violence?
Yep, sounds like us.
I personally applaud Wikileaks for this. It may sound naive, but as a republic, if our government (or any corporate official acting in its stead) doesn't want the people to know of their actions, they shouldn't be doing them. We have every right to know, and since we were so eager to impose our way of life on Iraqis, they have every right to know as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Freedom reform

If you've been able to sift through the ever growing pile of pre-election horse shit as of late, you will have heard of the uproar in France regarding the projected raising of the pension age. Among other pension reforms, the French government intends to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full state pension age from 65 to 67.
If you have had a chance to take a look at that uproar, it includes: blockading fuel depots, shutting down 12 of France's 58 nuclear reactors, all 12 oil refineries are on strike, students (yes, young, engaged people) marching in cities around the country including Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse and Bordeaux, tons of garbage piling up in the streets of Marseilles due to the collectors having been on strike since October 12th, and thousands of other marches, protests and upheaval.
So, why bring this up when we have witch ads, a new Bush youtube video, the first lady picking pumpkins and a White House science fair?! Well, because this actually fucking matters. France may be the "old world" but compared to our "new world" antics, they show a helluva lot more gusto when it comes to upholding the rights of a republic. And I'm not talking about the government. With all due respect to the French, raising the pension and retirement age is not the end of the world. Grapes will still grow and become wine, berets are still cool, and smoking while having a latte under the Eiffel Tower will always be chic. All joking aside though, major props to you Frenchies.
Do we even have a set retirement age? Isn't it just, work until your body physically won't allow it or your mind can't remember how to get there? At which point your social security will do less than dick to see you through the dusk of your days, in pain because medication's too expensive and cast aside because you serve no purpose to the big corporations who once sucked you dry? Ah, don't you just love the smell of freedom?
Actually, I'd prefer the stench of rotting garbage if it meant that the people were engaged and standing up for their rights. If it meant people were out there, fighting for their standpoints, as opposed to quietly muttering them over a beer and some wings at a redneck biker bar. Granted, I might not agree 100% with what's going on in France but any exercise of your birth right will get a "Vive!" from me.
Students are out in the streets, actual young people that are educated and interested in their country. Holy shit! That can't be possible! That's gotta be another one of those Frenchy propaganda things like freedom fries and frog legs.
Unfortunately for us, it's not.
While we reel from Christina Aguileras breakup, ooh and ahh over the first lady picking pumpkins with annoying children, there is a world happening, and most of it is our fault. Sorry to throw a wrench in the festivities, but of all the countries to be sitting back and enjoying the show, we should be last on that list. We're lighting fires all over the fucking place and not only are we not tending them, we're walking away and throwing an oil barrel behind us...well no, we'd take the oil with us...maybe some bud light or cheap American vodka.
As our government tail spins into utter chaos with each ill conceived election ad, each broken promise and back door deal, the American people sit and grow fatter, less educated and less engaged.
As Benjamin Franklin (also famous for his French diplomacy) once said to a woman who asked what the members of the Constitutional Convention were creating, replied: "A republic madam, if you can keep it." Well, clearly, we can't. Ben would be thoroughly disappointed if he could see us all now. As an avid inventor, enlightenment groupie, voracious reader and student, and obviously engaged politician and citizen, he would be utterly disgusted with the state of our union today. Not to put words in the old guys mouth, but he'd probably say, as I did: "Vive la resistance!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quick, a diversion!

As you noticed by my post yesterday, shit is not going too well over in the cradle. So what better time to rekindle the fires of hatred and violence with some news that Bin Laden is hiding in Northern Pakistan. Yep, that's right, we found him! Although, not really. Apparently, we know the region, but just can't seem to find him - after all, a 6 foot Arab with an unmistakable face hooked up to a dialysis machine must be pretty shifty. I bet if you gave a 5 year old a weeks supply of chocolate, he could find him in about a day and a half, including naps and bath times.
Are you fucking kidding me?! This is the most transparent attempt to gather support for more violence and bolster patriotic support against that evil man behind 9/11 (cough-Bush-cough, cough).
According to a NATO official, Bin Laden is hiding out in the Tora Bora region, the same fucking place he "escaped capture" in 2001. That was 9 years ago! You mean to tell me the fucker hasn't even migrated since then and you still can't find him?! Holy shit, these aren't even clever lies!
Apparently, the NATO official wouldn't say how he came to know of Bin Laden or his associates' whereabouts, but claimed he has access to some of the most sensitive information in the NATO alliance. Well, that's just dandy. So, in other words, you don't know where you got the information but you know it's right because it comes from an agency whose track record is about as water tight as a mermaid's undies, and just as fantastical? Got it.
The NATO official also announced that, now, the main strategy is to INCREASE the number of offensive air strikes and ground attacks in the hopes of pressuring the Taliban and other insurgents to lay down their arms and point to the cave where elusive Bin Laden is hiding and mocking us.
And there it is ladies and gentlemen, there it is. Harsh criticism of their murderous tactics prompts story time, and a pathetic diversion to try and justify the killings of thousands.
And you know what? We're gonna take it. We're gonna eat it up. Politicians and military personnel are right now meeting and discussing the exact phrasing, the exact framing of this situation to get the American people to pull out their flags, praise Jesus and fire their guns into the air.
This insult to our intelligence will go unnoticed, like the raping of our rights, the blood shed in our name will continue, or as the official notes, increase. Apparently, the current rate at which we are digging our ditch is not fast or violent enough. So, everyone, let's grab a shovel and we'll meet in the 7th circle...or the Middle East, whatever you wanna call it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We will never win

One of the first books I can recall having an incredibly profound effect on my political mind is "Confessions of an Economic Hitman," the true tale of a man paid good money to ensnare poor countries in a web of corporate and militant mayhem, impossible to pay or politicize their way out of. One line in particular struck me and has never left me as I watch from afar our continued decent into a hellish snake pit of no return in the Middle East. John Perkins was working in the South Pacific at the time and went out to dinner with a few students and professors. This was at the height of the Cold War, and as they sat and sipped cocktails and enjoyed flavorful fare, one of the students made a prophetically morbid comment. The student said that victory against Russia was no problem, if in fact victory when not at war is possible. The student said that since it was government fighting government, Russia would eventually fold. However, in the future, the US would scratch the itch and venture into the Middle East and never be able to find the way out again. Why? Because you will be fighting a religion: ideals, beliefs dug thousands of years deep into a culture unfazed by Western influence. There will be no victory for their solid religious resolution will outlive your troops, by ten fold. And now here we are.
According to new reports, the insurgency in Afghanistan is gaining new strength, attacks being 59% higher than this time last year. Simultaneously, or the catalyst for all this being that in just the month of September, the U.S. Air Force has dropped 700 bombs throughout Afghanistan. Since July, they have dropped more than 2,000 bombs.
As of now, for every suspected militant killed by air strike, 25 civilians are killed. Apart from the UN and humans rights organizations wagging their fingers at us, Afghanis are less than happy with the above figures. you fucking blame them?!
According to a doctor working in the northern regions of Afghanistan, a record number of people have been coming in begging for sedatives, just to get a night's sleep, which very possibly could be their last. When you can't sleep, you see your neighbours, friends and family evaporate in ear piercing balls of fire, you do one of two things, run and hide or stay and fight. That's just plain old evolution for you: fight or flight. Flight being a rather ironic mention considering our favorite method of "dispatching insurgents," drone sorties.
A drone sortie consists of a single unmanned remotely controlled spy plane carrying up to four precision guided missiles. Drone sorties are characteristically carried out in pairs or sometimes even four to six participating in these "licensed to kill" missions.
So far in 2010, The Pentagon has authorized 21,000 of these unmanned drone sorties in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Now, if after reading all these figures, you haven't run through a wall and still have brain power enough to think, begin to think of the amount of devastation these missions cause on a country roughly the size of England, about 20,000 square miles smaller than Texas.
I find it hard to believe there are enough people still alive to man an insurgency. And if so, I'm amazed that we still have any troops alive on the ground. This is palpably absurd! What the fuck are we doing over there? Do you or anyone else even know why the hell we're still over there? Hasn't this just turned into Vietnam to the 100th power? Bin Laden is of no concern to us. The same people authorizing these missions had Bin Laden on their pay roll, even post 9/11. That's right - good 'ole Osama was a CIA employee. How's that for honesty and justice kids? How's that for Uncle Sam more or less cocking a loaded pistol and blowing away thousands of our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, friends - our own fucking people in the name of what - corporate payback, catastrophe cover-up?
No matter what the reason, this is where we are. And we're not gonna make it out like we did in Vietnam - clumsily grab our choppers and gangrenous limbs and fly back home claiming it was a draw. Nope. We're up against something far greater than the countries we invaded, far more dangerous than the bombs we drop. An idea can not die. A religion can not be bombed into submission. The people under the influence of a faith can not be conquered. Yet, because our education system shuns history as glorifying the past, we sit there with protractors and mathematically perfect killing machines while ignoring common sense, historical proof and sound judgement.
As our bombs continue to fall, anger, resentment and militant fervor grow under the watchful eye of a deep rooted faith and hard-as-nails ideologies rather effortlessly painting us as the evil in their midst.
God may bless the US, but I don't think even the big guy upstairs can save us from our own series of colossal fuck ups. I'll hate to say I told you so.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The black jail

So, with midterm elections in full swing, it's hard to find any news about the rest of the world, even tucked in dark corners of the internet or small boxes in the newspaper. That's why I read international news. Funny that I have to go to international news sites in order to find news about what my own damn country is doing. Meanwhile, over here, it's a constant barrage of "he said, she said, this guy, that guy," random polls, pointless arguments and media malarchy aimed at forcing people to pay attention to the didactic dance of politics while completely ignoring the surrounding issues.
Well, here's an issue we shouldn't be ignoring. Since reports from Gitmo and Abu Ghraib years ago, it has been a definite blot on our international face that our soldiers and our "private contractors" are stunningly inhumane to political prisoners.
However, being the arrogant shits that we are, with shovel in hand, we continue on the same path to digging our own graves by maintaining unwelcome overseas presence, bullying middle eastern snake pit politics and keeping open or even opening new "detention centers" in the thick of it all.
Yep, that's right. According to several investigations, the BBC along with the Open Society Foundation has found evidence of a secret prison in Bagram, Afghanistan, as a part of the US military airbase. Ex-detainees claim they were sleep deprived, kept in cold rooms with harsh lights on constantly, not allowed to practice their religion, stripped naked for supposed medical exams, beaten and threatened with dogs.
The US response? "The Department of Defense does not operate any secret prisons” -Captain Pamela Kunze, US military spokeswoman. Simultaneously other members of the US military claim that all their detention centers comply with US and international laws.
Are you fucking kidding me?! It is un-fucking-believable that they can give these kind of responses and not at least get a punch in the face from a civilian standing by. Of course, the inherent issue with their response is more of an inherent issue with our level of apathy and education. They know they can get away with these not even clever or well thought out lies and evasions. The US military doesn't run secret prisons? We comply with all US and international laws? Since fucking when? These responses smack of a learned arrogance, a cold, calculating nonchalant attitude to the repercussions associated with lying and being a fucking idiot. After many years of US citizens' lack of involvement in political affairs, the corporate and governmental branches of our ruling classes have learned that we don't need to know or want to know jack dick. Again, why the fuck am I looking on a British website for US news? Why the hell do I care what Palin is going to wear at the Tea Party Express kick off? Isn't it a wee bit more important to know that we are continuing our brash raping of middle eastern countries, poking at a destructive fate, seeing how far we can push that envelope before too many people hate us for us to buy, bomb or bargain our way out of our deserved violent end? Apparently not. And sorry to say it, that's all our fault. If you are the laissez-fare, uninvolved parent of a troubled teen, don't expect them to come to you for advice or answers when they fuck up. And when they find out they can fuck up and all you do is scratch your balls and continue watching football, they'll keep fucking up, they'll keep spiraling out of control until one day you get a knock on the door saying that your credit card was tied to underground blood money dealings, your house has been foreclosed, some foreign family has kidnapped teenager due to raping, robbing and killing, your money's all gone, your teenager drained your savings, stole your car and set the woods behind your house on fire. Your reaction? Curse the day that teenager came into the world. But in reality, if you would've paid attention, if you would've given a shit, that teenager would be on the couch doing their homework, asking for your help and support while you read up on their schooling, extracurricular activities and teach them how to balance a damn check book.
Seems almost too good to be true doesn't it? Well, until we do something about it, it is too good to be true...and that's blood on our hands.

Friday, October 8, 2010


In celebration of my 100th post, along with a glass of wine, I thought we'd do some statistics. With upcoming elections, you should be no stranger to the poll counts, shiny red and blue graphs that foresee the future. Well, here's one I wasn't expecting.
Was Bush a better president than Obama? Indeed, CNN released a poll questioning voters how they felt about the 44th compared to the 43rd president. According to the poll, only 47% feel that Obama is doing a better job, compared to 45% who feel Bush did.
Hey, on the bright side tho, by a 50 to 42% margin, voters feel that Obama is doing a better job than McCain would have. Not to sound condescending, but what the fuck is wrong with these people?! You are more critical of a man who never even made it into office than the worst president in our nations history?! Are you fucking joking?!
Granted, I have my bone to pick with Obama, but all the hooked on phonics lessons and all the psychiatric sessions in the world couldn't begin to scratch the surface of how I feel about Bush. He and his cronies brought this country from sympathetic heroes to crooked world cop in a matter of a year. He destroyed our economy with his Friedman-esque free market bullshit, he opened up the environment to further get fucked by the protruding special interests of big business, he left every fucking child behind, he put innocent lives on the line for nothing more than some black goo and green paper. Obama isn't worthy of the peace prize but considering the cluster fuck he's wading through, he has made things WAY better than they would've been with four more years of that bullshit. Our country barely made it through. Obama, unfortunately, in my opinion, is not the answer we need, but he is not the antithesis either.
According to a Times article, Obama has spent too much time hearkening back to past ills from across the aisle. He has spent more time defending his stance than actually explaining it and acting upon it.
He will lose seats this November. According to the same CNN poll, six in ten men plan on voting Republican this November while women still tend to lean towards the left. However, less women vote than men. The economy is obviously a huge factor. And while Obama has made countless speeches and written countless "ideas," nothing is changing. Only 17% of those in the survey said they feel the economy is beginning to recover. That's not good enough. The economy can't change overnight but a commander-in-chief's job is to walk the people through his decisions every step of the way, tell them what's going on and where we're at, not throw stones at the opposing side and tell the people it's their fault. That doesn't evoke confidence in the situation.
On the bright side however, January is not just a new year, it's a new chance for Obama to forge ahead with something new. The right will still throw stones, but he can't afford to throw them back. As I've said before, Obama isn't what I thought he'd be but he still has a couple of years to prove he's not as bad as we think he is. More of the same, perhaps. More of Bush, fuck no. But he clearly has to prove that to the people, who aren't so sure.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dance puppet, dance

So, who you gonna vote for? Did you see that ad, that poster, that interview? Seems like a good one, we'll go with him.
And so it happens. You make a choice based on information received consciously and subconsciously in the barrage of media madness leading up to the elections. Meanwhile, corporate America smiles and rubs their hands together. Another one bites the dust.
As Americans, we pride ourselves on our elections. It's one of the pillars of our government: a peaceful transfer of power based on people's choice. Ha! Maybe when GW first handed over power to...wait, what's his name again...Lincoln? No. Jefferson? Close. John Adams. Damn, I knew that.
Anyway, since the days of wooden teeth, wigs and top hats, this beautiful ideal of free elections has been a target for bullies and private interests (redundant). It's just that nowadays, there's a lot more of them, and they've had a couple hundred years to practice their sneaky, sly ways of swaying voters and getting what they want.
According to the Washington Post, "independent" political operations have spent $80 million thus far, five times the amount spent in the 2006 election. Here's a shock: most of that money is being funneled to conservatives in order to defeat Democratic candidates. What?! No.
True story. If you can think back to when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same first amendment rights as individuals, you'll see where this is going. Those douchebags in the robes in their high chairs have opened up the flood gates for anonymous corporate spending, putting our votes and voices in the hands of the top 1% of mostly conservative, totally unethical private interests. Back room deals and underhanded spending are literally completely legal and we don't even get to know who or why. That's fucked up.
As if we didn't have enough to worry about right here in wonderland, studies show that overseas corporate spending to sway elections is a huge asset to campaign financing. But why you might ask. Well, how bout all those shit heads that aren't for outsourcing jobs and are for free trade. Yeah, fuck those guys. The Chamber of Commerce (the same lovelies who suggested that US citizens help pay for the oil spill cleanup) are in line to spend upwards of $75 billion this election period, in support of conservative candidates. The Chamber has opened several Business Councils overseas, including China, Egypt, Brazil, India and Bahrain where the sole purpose is to solicit monies from foreign corporations and governments. Money is then funneled back to their head office in DC and out comes the media blitz funded by conservatives worldwide.
Is that legal?
No. According to campaign finance laws, foreign entities can not contribute to political races here in the US. But then what the fuck?!
Well kids, in march the lobbyists and sway politicians and voters against transparency and voila, you have the secretive behemoth of political funding. Veiled funding is as of now totally legal while foreign funding isn't. But if you can't see one, you can't see the other and so it continues and will continue until government forces it to be otherwise. However, this involves quite a catch-22. How do you defeat the ones that are paying your bills? How do you, the puppet, cut yourself free from the puppet master? Tricky. Very tricky.
As per usual, the main issue gets dragged through the mud by right/left bantering. In 2000, 89% of Republicans and all Democrats agreed that so called "shadow donors" had no place in American politics. But when push comes to shove, we just can't seem to vote on it. Just like in those mystery funded political ads, talking a good game proves enough to keep many a political career afloat. Meanwhile, we continue to get fucked over by shadow puppets and corporate ghosts laugh all the way to the bank.
This won't be a new suggestion from my corner, but a necessary commentary to close this post. We the people are in charge of swaying these votes. If you know what's going on and you know there's some underhanded, dark dealings going on behind closed doors, you don't have to buy into it. Politicians ultimately have no reason to go against lobbyists and corporate interests. They're the ones benefiting from the huge blank checks so why would they fight to stop them? They won't. We have to. There is no cure for this illness inside the sickness itself. Until the people demand transparency, honesty and accountability, we'll get none of it. So til then, dance puppets, dance.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What would Jesus do?

If you're a skeptic like me, you may even doubt the existence of that cute little Jewish kid, J.C. However, let's meander into the realm of fairy tales and wonderlands for a minute. Let's say Jesus was here right now and we could ask him what he'd do in certain situations. For example, what would he say at the funeral of a fallen soldier. Would he:
a) bless his soul and thank him for his selfless sacrifice
b) say a few nice words and then head over to the pond and make some wine
c) ask his dad to get him in for free at the door
d) console the mourners and tell them he's in a much better place than the middle east
e) none of the above. instead he'd hold up a sign thanking his dad for murdering the soldier and saying it's because he was fighting for a country that was pro-homos.

You may not be a guru at multiple choice questions but I think most people that aren't sociopaths could agree it's not "e." Consequently, most of you aren't Pastor Fred Phelps and company who protested at the funeral of a dead marine, celebrating his death as Gods way of punishing the US and homosexuality. No really, it's true.
The Supreme Court met today to discuss a possible "line" being drawn regarding freedom of speech and the inevitable emotional distress and invasion of privacy inherent in Phelps' pyscho babble.

And so the sticky conversation ensues of how you can control free speech without hindering the law itself. If it's the cause of emotional distress, that isn't concrete enough. How does one gauge that? Even Larry Flynt commented on this case, harkening back to his own case involving freedom of speech. He said although some instances of free speech come from despicable intentions, if you have freedom of speech, it's freedom of all speech, from all viewpoints, no matter how depraved or despicable.

Lawyers for the church argued that it was a public funeral and therefore they had every right to be there. Lawyers for the father of the fallen marine argued that they were only there to cause harm and spread hatred, that it wasn't a matter of free speech, but a matter of invasion of privacy, psychological harm and inhuman hectoring. The Supreme Court is expected to settle on a ruling in the coming months. If you ask me, either way, it's a loss. If the Supreme Court sides with the father (like most of me wants it to), you've begun to encroach on the rights of citizens that aren't complete fucking unbalanced psychopaths. While I agree that this guy and his family (which by the way is who the members of the church are) are more in line to go to hell than any homosexual or soldier that I've ever met, I can't help but feel a little irked by the thought of amending the right to speak your mind, no matter how sick it is.
The question arises tho as to the line between freedom of speech and allowing militant, hateful groups to spread their messages to the masses. The same question popped up when discussing extremist Islamist groups preaching the destruction of America and the western world. Ed Husain wrote a book called The Islamist where he recounts his days as an extremist and his path away from it. He says it's a disgrace that England (where he was born and raised) allows these groups to preach the destruction of the very communities they live in. His stance is basically, if you have that big of a problem, move. Of course, these groups usually feel they should stay because the place they are in is in particular need of their services, their messages, their warnings. So, they stay. And they continue to picket outside funerals for fallen soldiers, jeering at his death. And unless the supreme court says anything about it, they'll continue to stay. The right to bury your child in peace is not an ammendment, nor is the right to throw people out of the country for hating you. Until action is taken or threats are made, they can keep on keepin' on.
So, even though a huge part of me would love to see these bastards muzzled for life, I doubt it will happen and even should happen. I don't usually buy into slippery slope theories but as our rights have been fretted away over the past few years, I am no supporter of taking away more.
The only thing I can suggest is that next time, a group of gays, and atheists bring bigger signs, yell louder and make out wearing upside down crosses in front of these loony tunes.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rahmbo's gone, bring in Rouse the mouse

So, as I'm sure you've heard, Rahm Emanuel has left the building. In his stead comes the quiet Pete Rouse, a ghost politician whose advice and guidance helped Obama snag the White House. He's been behind the scenes of a lot of successful political happenings, including being an aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. According to CNN, he is known for his "sharp political instincts, fierce loyalty and absolute discretion on sensitive matters." And apparently he's also a cat-lover. Fucking woopdy-doo.
Rahm Emanuel is of course known as the profane, filterless chief of staff that pissed a lot of people off and got a lot of shit done for the Democrats. However, the Democrats feel that Emanuel's leaving could be more sweet than bitter. With elections approaching and some tough legislation requiring Republican nods of approval coming round the bend, many feel that Rouse's quiet demeanor and "fierce loyalty" could be a better fit.
At the moment, I'm not sure. I like to judge a man on his actions, not whether or not he enjoys cuddling with felines. Although, I do, for the record.
Rouse's track record appears to be a plus for the teetering popularity of Obama and his latest actions. The fact that he is fiercely loyal to his party makes me a little nervous. Being fiercely loyal to anything other than chocolate and your boyfriend is risky business (not that getting fat and cheating don't happen, but at least it doesn't effect the entire country). His loyalty aside, Democrats really don't need another quiet wallflower in their corner. The left right dance of Republicans shooting down all ideas that don't come with a side of dead soldier and bible verse while Democrats come up with meager attempts at legislation is one I'm tired of hearing the music to. It's almost too stereotypical. Republicans are loud and obnoxious, Democrats are quiet and meek. End result? Fuck all. Welcome to American politics.
In the end, as with most things, we'll just have to wait and see what happens. To be fair, I would have been skeptical of anyone up for the job. As I've said before, any Democrat or Republican firmly wedged in the workings of their party is damaged goods to me. This country needs more thinking outside party lines, and I'm not sure Rouse the mouse is the man to do it. As sad as it makes me to say it, Obama isn't either. However, there's some part of this cynic that is still a hopeless hopeful and wishes upon a star that he can help push us in a better direction, seeing as he has quite a bit of experience being a good luck charm for those he advises. Either that or I'm just a morbid bastard who wants to watch as it all crumbles.